Africans on the Move: Transnational, Intranational, and Metaphorical Migrations
ideology. Within the context of Niaah’s analysis, this Ethiopianist endorsement of repartriation denotes a search for a reconnection with the father. From Marcus Mosiah Garvey to various teacher-leaders and folk philosophers within the movement, including Bob Marley, Mortimo Planno, and Bongo Watto led what Niaah describes as “the forces of progressive resistance” against “those of systemic domination and destruction” to foster the return of the father to the bosom of the family; a return to the way of the father, and the involvement of the father in the socialization of children within the family. Ultimately, this return is carried to its logical connection when there is a connection with Africa, African philosophies of life, and particularly, the deification of the Ras Tafari as Godhead and father par excellence. Within Rastafarian cosmology, all of humanity share brotherhood and have a common father, God. The African Diaspora is conceptualized as the contemporary Israelites in Babylon – captivity and bondage – a return to Africa is then a return to righteous ways, since Africa is “the land of Our father”, the land of God “the All Mighty Father Creator”. This return is also cast as the re-connection with the original foundational principles in fulfillment of a biblical admonition that recommends that fathers and children become emotionally re-connected in order to ward off the catastrophe of the earth being cursed, and embrace and claim the promised abundance and blessings galore.
Niaah’s Jamaican Rastafarians resemble Adéyanjú’s transnational Yorùbá in Toronto in one crucial respect. The two groups valorize the aspects of African tradition that elevate men to the stature of demi-gods and denigrate women. It would have been very interesting to hear what the women in each community think and do about this. This is in no way to downplay the importance of having men step up to the plate and take their responsibilities as fathers seriously, as Niaah tells us that the Rastafarians did, but it is to question the extent to which both men and women participate developing what Niaah describes as the “New Faculty of Interpretation” Africa after all, is also commonly referred to as Mother Africa. A Google search at 9:18 am on December 11, 2003 spit up 2,150,000 webpages that have “Mother Africa” references, while a 9:19 am search turned up 1,610,000 references to Father and Africa. While the references to Mother Africa linked the two words, Father and Africa were not necessarily linked. This bit of information can be dismissed as arising from the “headecayshun” of those whose minds have been tampered with by colonialism, but it does arise out of serious engagement with the liberatory project of the Rastafarian movement. For the Rastafarian project of social recovery and political and economic liberation to be successful, it is our humble opinion that both men and women must engage in the struggle as co-equals. Adéyanjú recognized that the transnational Yorùbá in Toronto would not get very far in their struggle against white dominance and its negative ramifications if they do not democratize from within in a manner that challenges entrenched class and gender privileges.
Araoye’s contribution to this issue is especially refreshing because it brings to mind the
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