“As an African coming to South Africa from the first African nation to gain independence from British colonial rule, Ghana, I realize now I had naive ideas about what freedom, liberty and equality truly mean globally.
Having lived in places like NYC most of my life, I was aware of the provocations of my racial identity and the way it triggered those who found discomfort in my happiness and glow up. I learned that Melanin can often be seen as threatening but coming here really placed my body and identity into a whole new yet very familiar conversation on racially influenced bias and segregation which created an expected undertone for interaction with those different from me. I was suddenly on edge in a whole new way. It was all so blatant.
To constantly experience my body as a political tool started out intimidating but in this experience I have discovered it a strength.
Apart-ness – Apartheid
This idea of separation meant to cripple one group while elevating the other is quite audacious. I mean… How do you come to AFRICA and put up a sign reading “Europeans Only” that keeps us off our own land? Forcibly separating millions of people based on color while forbidding cross racial interaction and bonding. Displacement, disruption and division carried out legally and in plain daylight. One would wonder, Is there no shame left in this world? Going as far as specifically serving lower grade food to an entire group of people, depriving them of access to basic comforts, forcing them to learn in a language they do not desire to speak, beating, killing, destroying bodies, families and lives for your own gain while justifying this grave evil with bogus religion and science. Such epic audacious manipulation and theft which continues to this day fueled by a strong sense of entitlement and greed. How can there be no anger? No bitterness? It lurks beneath the shadows like ghosts sitting heavily on my shadow. The Gods and ancestors are displeased. Still in agony from generational pain.
Controlled by fear of losing what was not theirs to be begin with, a minority chose hatred and separation as a pathway to maintaining control and wealth. Operating off apathy to other humans, cruelty was normalized just as we see it being done today. Separation creates isolated experience which in turn dulls empathy for those outside of our immediate world.
Seeing the effects of this gross injustice and the deeply rooted ways in which it affects my peers causes my mind to spin and my blood to boil. Yes we are angry. Angry over the incomplete dreams of our forefathers. Angry over the audacity of our greedy oppressors. Angry over the state of our world…
It’s difficult to even begin to reconcile all this and so I put my frustration and unresolved conflicts into song. Shedding the old rage to birth a new SELF that reaches inward for strength and reconciliation. My spirit possesses a firm resolve that while we waste energy and time seeking God outside, seeking a face we do not recognize, a face of a God who looks nothing like us, one who seems to believes we are lesser than, we distract ourselves from the power of the great God within us. The fearless, powerful God that runs through our veins and spirit. That which cannot be corrupted or destroyed.
NGIWUNKULUNKULU , which means I AM GOD, serves as a reminder of our identity as Godly beings with supernatural potential. It is also for me, a release of anger and frustration towards myself and the “white man”. A journey to clarity and purpose. An honest expression of my desires for my people, and a reminder of the divine nature of the feminine.
It is time for the black man to re-envision himself as super-powerful. Indestructible, free and rooted from the core of the inner being. We must extend our hands beyond our immediate borders to build community and solidarity. Standing firmly on the strength of ancestral bonds and powers of beings who walked this earth with dignity, unimaginable spiritual strength and immense intellect unique to who we are yet connected to cultures worldwide. We must rediscover the SELF with love, compassion and purpose as an entry point to being able to extend that to life around us. Gracefully letting go of the weight our past in order to levitate and fly free. No longer shackled in mind, body or spirit.
Just as separation was the tool of destruction, we as black people and humans across this grand globe must come together in dialogue with an open mind and heart to heal. There is much progress to be made.We must rise to love and build ourselves. Remaining unafraid of our excellence and God nature, we must push boundaries and occupy spaces otherwise closed off to us in order to amplify our voices. We must speak up against evil and stand up for what is right. We must create new spaces where we are reminded of who we are and who we want to be. We must invest in generational wealth and the breaking of generational curses. We must reconnect the dots between us and our brothers and sisters in the diaspora. These are our greatest allies. This is our time and we are coming… POWER TO THE GOD WITHIN.”
Gods Among Men
Produced, Written and Performed by Jojo Abot
Directed and edited by Jojo Abot
Cinematography – Kgomotso Neto and Vusi Magubane