There is a hurricane in my heart

There is a hurricane 

In my heart. It’s sudden, 

Prolonged and merciless.

What a hurricane causes,

You already know.

– Rain, thunder, windstorm.

The scars are scary.

Are you sure you can handle

Hurricanic love?

You are beautiful.

The beauty of your soul is 

Enough for my healing.

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Kluvi Susu (Slave Mindset)

The word “Kluvi” in my native Ewe language means “a slave” and “susu” means “mindset.” Kluvi Susu is therefore a phrase I will use to describe what I see in the behaviour of some Africans. Some of us seem to lack a philosophy.

It was at the Berlin Conference of 1884, that Africa was divided like a piece of cake, by European nations for the sole purpose of colonialisation and exploitation. The Belgians claimed ownership of mineral rich Congo and enforced its borders. The Germans claimed ownership of Transvolta Togoland which is now part of Ghana. The British claimed ownership of Gold Coast (now Ghana) and Nigeria etc., the French took Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Benin, Guinnea and a host of others. Bacause of rivalry all of them created borders and enforced their borders. More than 60 years on after so called independence, African nations still enforce these borders against fellow Africans. As a Ghanaian you will need a passport just to cross the border into Togo which is literally a walking distance from my village.

As a young political activist in South Africa, Mandela travelled all over Africa requesting assisstance from other Africans to fight the South African apartheid government. He came to Ghana aiming to see Kwame Nkrumah, who was then president. Many African leaders supported him with money, military training, logistics and other resources. Today black South Africans turn on their fellow immigrant Africans and set them ablaze. And this is not the first time. Are we a reasonable people at all? Who is the enemy? Who exploited South Africa for more than a century? Who established the Group Areas Act and Bantu Education Act to suppress black South Africans? Who imprisoned Mandela, Sobukwe and a whole lot of others, many of whom died in prison? Who was responsible for the Sharpeville massacre which saw the murder of 69 black South Africans? Was it fellow Africans? Alas! “Kluvi susu” is still working in us after many years of so called freedom. If we attack our brothers and sisters, then we are not thinking right. 

South Africa has a big problem regarding the education of its black youths. As Africans, we are all one people – whether Ghanaian, Nigerians, South Africans, Zimbabweans, Congolese etc. Lynching other Africans will not solve any problem in South Africa, it only makes a mockery of us blacks. It’s a shame. National identities should not supercede racial ones especially because these identities were imposed on us by the colonialist. 90% of all ideas circulating in Africa now are not originally African.

If African Philosophy is taught to these young people in South Africa they will abandon “kluvi susu” and begin to see other Africans as brothers and sisters. We are all one people. I have held this view for a long time, though without concrete evidence, that colonialism (with its related ideologies) irreparably destroyed something not only in the African society but also in the African mind. If our own culture now seem alien to us how can we prove that we are not fools. If we are divided and fighting eachother how will we move forward? Unity is progress.

Finally, years ago, someone argued that colonialism is nothing like slavery and that I should not link the two. Well, I do not adopt such narrow views. To put it bluntly both colonialism and slavery have exploitation as their absolute motive. If the slave master exploits you in your native land it’s called colonialism. If he carries you in chains across the Atlantic Ocean into other lands and exploits you there it’s call slavery.

African Philosophy: Herbalism

Ladies and gentlemen, in our previous discussions on philosophy we were occupied with issues of African religion and orthodox Christianity. We compared the two and, contrary to what many believe, saw that there were a lot of similarities. Both religions showed traces of trine elements in them. Moving forward we shall analyse certain African cultural practices and their significance. This is necessary because of the fast rate at which African culture is being erased by European culture. It is now strange to speak to the average African about their own culture and traditions. They now enjoy meaningless songs and live meaningless philosophies.

Before colonialism, the witch doctor who doubles as a herbalist was a “powerful” man. Every community had its own herbalist and the herbalist is not just a healer but also a diviner. He or indeed she could divine the future and see the causes of illnesses and further prescribe cures (or dos and don’ts). In so doing he or she promotes the philosophy of the people. This is philosophy that is lived not written. Some herbalists are more experienced than others. But unlike so called trained modern doctors no herbalist ever takes payment first before diagnosis of illnesses. The herbalist may use strange methodologies but there is something humanistic about their treatment. They ask to be paid only after diagnosis and treatment. That’s another beauty of African culture. In a modern hospital you have to go through OPD and pay consultation fees to the last penny before you see a doctor. In most circumstances those who can’t pay are left to die.

African philosophy is not written in books but practiced so we need to examine the lives of the people – their worldviews, traditions, meanings and significance behind the customs before we can make any accurate assumptions. Africans don’t wake up in the morning and ask what value is there in work, life, faith, relationships, love etc. They live these. The value of a philosophy is in living it. And the herbalist is there to solve problems that may come up. Some may argue that these are juju or malevolent practices. That is arguable. There have been herbalists treating people for thousands of years before modern medicine. If herbalists were ineffective in their practice or malevolent the people would have abondoned them.

We are losing the wealth of knowledge possessed by African herbalists. Herbalism has been degraded and considered primitive. Everyone runs to the doctor now, many of who, soon after taking your money will tell you they are sorry they cannot help your case. We must make a turn towards nature and herbalism. The African herbalist is an expert in their own right.

African Religion and Philosophy vis a vis Orthodox Christianity 

The single god hypothesis fails miserably when it comes to African Philosophy and Religion. Even in Christianity, a supposedly single God suddenly devolves into a son and a holy spirit. In practice Africans worshipped many gods. There is the god of love, the god of harvest, the fertility god, the god of protection, the god of war and the list goes on and on. A master has his god, likewise a servant. All of these gods are classified on one side as deities. Then there is the ancestors on the other side. Deities do not play any role in judging departed souls but they do serve as mediums of contact between the living and dead ancestors.

The point of this post is not to promote black magic. The point I’m trying to make is that there are many ways of knowing what is true. No one religion can claim exclusive possession of some absolute “revealed” truth. To say your religion or prophet is the only way to truth is to belittle all other religions. Fundamentalism is not good for peaceful co-existence. One must keep one’s religion to oneself and there will be peace and this was how African religion was practiced. There was no proselitysation, no evangelism, no hypocrisy and no jihadism, which makes African religion one of the most peaceful.

Now let us look at Christianity which claims there is only one God. Then suddenly this God has a son. And this son became human, specifically a Jew, he lived and died to save humanity from himself. His mother was a virgin girl, who in Catholicism, is venerated to this day as mother of God. My dear reader, Christians claim this is not a fairy tale but fact. But let us hurry on to other clues. This son is believed to have died and was risen on the third day and when he departed earth he left a holy spirit to guide his followers. First of all, you will recall the important role female virginity played even in primitive religions. Anything dedicated to a god or a priest must be a virgin and undefiled. O yeah! priests and gods have such good taste. So it’s not surprising that this idea has survived in a modern popular religion such as Christianity. Secondly, the son died 2000 years ago. Can someone die to save you at a time you didn’t exist?

My conclusion is that African Religion is essentially doing the same job in the human being as Christianity but in a different way using different psychological methods. In both religions three factors or elements were identified namely: Supreme God, Deities and Ancestors corresponding to Supreme God, the son and the holy spirit in Christianity. I have represented the similarities between the two in the diagram presented above. Criticisms are welcome. All religions have their faults and as to why Africans converted enmass, I will compare it to jumping from the back of a cargo car into SUV because SUV is more comfortable to sit in. Have a good week.

If you apply philosophy to love, love becomes joy

Don’t get involved if there is something you don’t like about your partner. The very thing you don’t like could be repeated frequently in the relationship or replicated in your offsprings (if any) and you will spend the rest of your life worrying. What you don’t like about your partner could be a physical or behavioural attribute. Maybe your partner seem too tall, too short, too loud, too untidy, too inflexible, too unintelligent, too intellectual, too lazy, too frugal, too wasteful, too naive etc. I read somewhere that a man divorced his wife because she was too slow and almost always finishes cooking very late. Why don’t you marry a caterer if what you want is timely cooking. 

Love is pain; Love is blind; these are all Shakespearean banalities. If the joy is too little it could not be love. It is better to be alone than to be in pain for the sake of being with another. My philosophy is very simple and I have often told my friends that, whatever you do, if it hurts then don’t do it.

Before you decide to spend the rest of your life with somebody, decide what attribute is most important to you, find it in that person and be sure you like everything else that follows. If that person also finds their desires in you then it might work. Don’t lie, don’t cheat and don’t complain once that commitment is made. Love is joy if you apply philosophy to it.