Spiritual Bandung

1863. Te Ua Haumene, the Māori prophet, writes his gospel.

Te Ua, born in Taranaki, Aotearoa New Zealand. Raised as a slave of the Waikato people in Kawhia.

Builds his own church. Puts it in service of the anti-colonial King movement.

Peaceable God has told me twice that his people, Forgetful, Standing Naked, in the Island in Two Halves will be restored, even to that which was given unto Abraham, for this is Israel. It was evil that Ham and the black race of old were excluded, because He made both black AND white.

Te_ua_haumeneHere is the chant of the soldiers of Te Ua: “Shem, Ham, Father Glory, verily, Hau.”

In the spiritual hinterlands, Te Ua bids enslaved Ham and dispossessed Shem stand together with fates entwined around a colonial injustice.

…leaking through into the manifest…

The Māori King Movement publishes a propaganda newspaper around the same time as Te Ua’s ministry. The editor wishes to span the islands of Ham and Shem:

Wait a little and perhaps the Rangatiratanga [chieftainship] of this island will be like that of Haiti; possessing goods, authority, law … Perhaps God will protect his black skinned children who are living in Aotearoa.

****

Backwards to the present.

Jamaican author Erna Brodber writes a short story. A sort of Prince Charming for the African diaspora.

Two sojourners meet, in the spiritual hinterlands – a woman and a man. They discuss how they have been travelling to significant sites across this “continent of Black Consciousness”, charting out a path for repatriation.

Prince reveals to princess that he has been acting as a “sort of ambassador for the return”. And that he was “trying to make it to the Māori” when the two met.

424583_10152903127160249_1510314257_nI ask Ms Brodber: how come she included Māori in this Pan-African fairly tale? She replies, “it came from considering the Māori part of us.”

…leaking through into the manifest…

And Forward to 1991. Ras Sam Brown is chanting to a Rastafari congregation in Jamaica:

smabrownAustralia, New Zealand, the island of the East, all those lands, the lands of the long White Cloud, all those lands are African lands. When we shall free Africa from Cape to Cairo and from Timbuktu to the Nile, our job is not yet finished, for we shall free the sub-continent of Australia, and we shall free all the lands of the Pacific that bear the pigmentation of Black Humanity.

Then forward once more to the 1930s. Tuff Gong. Now there was a man.

leonardLeonard Percival Howell.

Proclaimed Haile Selassie to be his God and King. No white George was going to run his world.

Placed in Bellevue, Kingston’s mental asylum. Left for the hills, built Pinnacle.

In the spiritual hinterlands old Leonard enjoyed regular visitations from Rabindranath Tagore. And Reasoned together on anti-colonialism, the nature of reality, the heights…

Old Leonard Even took on the name Gong Guru Maraj. Highly esteemed teacher. His followers, the Rastafari, called him Tuff Gong. Bob named his record label after the man.

…leaking through into the manifest…

The first self-sustaining Black community in Jamaica post-emancipation? That was Pinnacle.

****

All roads lead to Rome. so says massa.

Crop, mineral, goods, bodies, value, narrative, concept, Jesus.

Rome guards all gates and pathways.

Eyes straight!

How could it possibly be that some of the sufferers might give… sideways glances?

****

African Baptists in St Vincent undertake spiritual journeying. These sojourns provide them with guidance for the problems that plague their manifest life.

As above, so below. Such spiritual hinterlands operate on a fractal logic. Highly advanced logic. Mapping out a celestial cartography of the manifest colonial world.

Except that here, in the spiritual hinterlands, the rule is relation not segregation.

Carib, Africans Indians Chinese English: St Vincent’s colonial Caribbean clutter. Debris on a mostly one way tide.

But the Baptists could visit all their points of departure in the spiritual hinterlands. Figure out the people, what makes them tick. How part of. What prospects? Openings?

Baptists Could even meet Ethiopians – “a tribe of very small, eery dark people in Africa”; although to enjoy this encounter the tone of the spirit must be deep indeed.

****

So many people trodding through these spiritual hinterlands.

Out of sight.

Different time zone.

Different frequency.

Criss crossing.

    Comparing

          Compassing

                Conversing

                        This…

“Hegemony of the spirit”.

Leaking through into the manifest.

Did it prepare the way for Bandung?

****

Well, Māori still on the road to self-determination. Rastafari still on the road to repatatriation with reparations. And Pinnacle? Being occupied once more as we speak. Sons and daughters of tuff Gong up against the land developers, the eaters of souls.

And Many more tales to tell.

How do they do that in the midst of the existing conditions? And they create, they are always saying things. Bourgeosie have produced nothing! People who have suffered all these years create. That is amazing.

 

Easy bro Walter, we know how.

There was a political Bandung. That came and it went.

There was a cultural Bandung in Paris, one year later. That came and it went.

There is a spiritual Bandung.

The seedbed of decolonization.

Question is:

Is our tone

deep enough

to travel there?

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