African Concepts of Being



                                            From the Ramparts

                                           Junious Ricardo Stanton

                                           African Concept of Being


            "In the eternal cycle of Afrikan life, a human being is acknowledged as having come from the spirit world (the ancestors and the source of life and being.) Spiritual reality manifests as 'human beingness.' Thus, the Afrikan human being (Muntu) comes with a consciousness (‘Kra,). His or her 'destiny' (Nkrabea) is carried within the ‘Kra and contains a 'mission,' a 'message,' an 'intelligence.' We who are Afrikan have chosen to be so. To choose to be Afrikan is to choose to fight for Afrika, otherwise, why come back? We believe that each of us is an ancestor returned. Rebirth into Afrikanness is, then, both a privilege and a duty. We achieve continued connection to the Afrikan family and we become part of the race army. As Afrikans, we have serious work to do. Being Afrikan is not meant to be easy." Dr Marimba Ani A Praise Song for Dr Frances Cress Welsing Our Race Champion


            During the month of February we talked about rethinking African History, reexamining what our African ancestors wrought from antiquity to the present and repositioning African History as the oldest, longest chronicle of human progress on earth. We spoke about huge megaliths throughout the continent that are eons old, that demonstrate an advanced ability to move, carve and arrange stones many weighing tons from one place to another. Not only did they move, carve and arrange those stones but they did so within a metaphysical and astronomic context which showed not only a fascination with the heavens, an attempt to map and track the stars but also a proclivity to arrange their lives in an orderly manner just like what they saw in the heavens.

            Africans are a spiritual people. Out of our spirituality came values and social organization that prioritized an awe of spirit, of nature, harmony, balance, cooperation, mutual aid and exemplary moral character. Our ancestors said the universe was teleological meaning is was intelligently designed with purpose and meaning and everything flowed from this purpose and meaning (Divine Order, Ma'at).

            Africans created the first notions of ethics and morality and their deep thought laid the foundation for what we call philosophy, a Greek word literally meaning the love of wisdom. However this love of wisdom was not what the West means. In the West philosophy is abstract notions of existence from a mostly material perspective, linear thinking or how many angels can dance on the head of a pin for example. For Africans philosophy is practical, pragmatic and applicable on very level.

            African deep thought was about pondering the nature of existence, the universe, how we all are intricately interconnected and related to the universe and its CREATOR. African deep thought was very ancient, holistic and universal. For example almost every ethnic and tribal group had/has a word for the universal life force/intelligence that permeates all creation. The Zulus of South Africa call it Umoya. Umoya is the core essence of existence and it is malleable for the benefit of the people but it's misuse can result in negative consequences. 

            "Zulu tradition explains the world, natural, human, or otherwise as imbued with a force ‘Umoya’, this force is spirit, life force and air, all as one. Nothing is without it, and it affects every state and level of our being. This is an important truth, which corresponds with other shamanic principles all over the world. The super-nature acts are a bending of, or a manipulating of this force, which is mastered by various individuals in Zulu spiritual practice, and this force can be bent for a positive or negative effect, with great consequences. The belief in the super-nature processes is innate in Zulu cultural tradition; it is an intrinsically part of existence and not taken lightly. The Sangoma is not seen as a master or mistress of magick but rather as a healer who knows how to deal with the imbalance of Umoya and the bending or manipulating which may have taken place to cause the imbalance. All in ancient Zulu cultural tradition must lead to balance, equilibrium and an awareness of such harmonies so that the individual and communities can learn from it, correct it and maintain the appropriate balance. It can be tipped so easily through carelessness, ignorance, greed, neglect, lust, negative intent or lack of respect of the ancestors, and when this happens, the lesson or outcome maybe illness or adversity in all its forms; for individuals or the greater community."  The Zulu People

            Africans knew there was energy surrounding, penetrating and resident in them. They also learned how to access and use this energy/intelligence/spirit. Throughout all human history there have been those who were especially adept at recognizing, channeling and manipulating this energy. In European language they are called Shaman, Medicine Men and Women, healers, priests or witches and wizards. Indigenous Africans called them many names. It must be kept in mind that for Africans good character, ethics, harmony, balance and cooperation were essential values they lived by not only within their immediate families but the larger community, their environment and the vast spirit world.

            "The ancestors are not seen as separate from Ubuntu; they are the wisdom keepers of Ubuntu as they pass from body to spirit and maintain contact with those who are still in the physical body. The concept of body, mind and soul and ancestral practice also includes issues of ecology. This issue is an important part of life, especially in the way the Zulu and African peoples relate to nature. The African concept of spirituality is ecological, manifesting, sensitivity towards and solidarity with the earth. The Zulu’s regard Mother Nature not as an object of subjugation, but as a mother and symbol of the divine; in ancient tradition, Zulu and African peoples would not cut a tree without certain rituals, the people are connected to nature. The tree treated no differently in respect than a human would be. The relationship with the whole of nature was important, nurturing it instead of dominating it. Life in an African village is connected to the entire God-source created part of life." ibid

            One reason I say we need to relearn and embrace our Africanity and our deep thought, philosophy and metaphysical legacy is because it was what helped us to thrive and advance and when necessary to fight and defeat our enemies. Calling upon the deep knowledge of the spirit realm is what allowed indigenous Africans like the Ashanti, Zulus, Kongo and Diasporan African settlements in the Caribbean, South America and US called Palmares, Haitians, Saramakas and Maroons to stand bravely against the weapons of mass destruction of the Europeans and hold our own. This is the main reason Europeans don't want us to know who we are or our glorious history. This is why their "educational system" is designed to negate us and African on every level.

            One reason African warriors were so fierce is because our deep thought about the nature of existence taught them life was eternal. We understood when the life force left the physical shell of our bodies, it did not cease, the spirit continued to exist. So the fear of extinction and annihilation was not in them; it did not deter them from their task of defending and protecting the community.

            Most African societies hold that reincarnation is real, that children are ancestors returning to the earth realm to serve the community again.  "It is not widely realized, however, that reincarnation is an essential tenet of many traditional African religious systems and philosophies. Belief in rebirth has been reported amongst peoples scattered the length and breadth of the mighty continent: Akamba (Kenya), Akan (Ghana), Lango (Uganda), Luo (Zambia), Ndebele (Zimbabwe), Sebei (Uganda), Yoruba (Nigeria), Shona (Zimbabwe), Nupe (Nigeria), Illa (Zambia), and many others. There is, of course, a wide variation in understanding of the processes of rebirth: beliefs range from that in a 'partial' reincarnation of an ancestor in one or several individuals strictly within the same family, to that in an endless cycle of rebirths linked to a notion of cleansing and refinement of the inner nature. As there are endless shades of understanding, reincarnation is known by many names: amongst the Yorubas of Nigeria rebirth is referred to in various ways, including Yiya omo, translated as the 'shooting forth of a branch' or 'turning to be child,' and A-tun-wa, 'another coming.' The Aboh-speaking peoples of the Ibo family of nations in Nigeria speak of Inua u'we or 'returning to life,' as they believe death is an end to one life only and a gateway to another; man must be reborn, for reincarnation is a spiritual necessity." Reincarnation in African Traditional Religion by Andrew Rooke

            Africans are a deep and creative people. We need to fully reclaim our deepness and creativity. We have to replace our culturally induced shame and self-hatred with pride and a sense of divine purpose. We need to resurrect the ancient African  ideas about the nature of existence, what it means to be human and our role in the cosmic scheme. We must accept we are the caretakers and custodians of the planet. As such we have to reclaim our spirit, reconnect to THE ONE SOURCE of ALL, restore and live Ma'at, neutralize and nullify the usurpers and restore righteousness to the planet. This is our task, our destiny and our calling anything less is an affront to the ancestors and THE CREATOR.





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