ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



 Winnie is the symbol of a nascent worldwide African resistance

against global capitalist domination



  Freedom Ain’t Come Yet!

By Aduku Addae

Ev’rytime I hear the crack of a whip, My blood runs cold. I remember on the slave ship, How they brutalize the very souls. Today they say that we are free, Only to be chained in poverty.“Slave Driver,” Bob Marley

Barbara Gloudon’s article appearing in the Jamaica Observer online edition of July 4, 2003 evoked this Marley lament. Purporting to speak for the South Africans, Ms. Gloudon remarked that: “They still thank us for showing solidarity for the early ban which NW Manley placed on South African imports and the intellectual support in forums like the United Nations where we joined in keeping up the pressure till freedom come.” I cannot conceal my amazement at this imbecility! What freedom is she making reference to? In 1977 I was in the process of purchasing a woolen beret, the then popular headwear for conscious/rebel youth, when an alert brethren tipped me to check the label.  The label betrayed the origin. It was made in South Africa. Manley’s embargo, like the Jamaican motto, was an empty declaration. The real, and often deadly, struggle against the Apartheid regime in South Africa was waged by people all over the world who put their lives on the line.  People like Peter “Bush Doctor” Tosh who was beaten by members of the beastly Jamaican Constabulary Force and left for dead on the floor of the Halfway Tree Police Station in Kingston. How they brutalize the very souls! Today they say we are free, only to be chained in poverty. South Africans find solace and inspiration in the songs of the Rastafari messenger but this refrain in their daily reflection has transformed them into living Wailers. The consequence of their “freedom” from the oppression of the white minority is that they are chained in poverty by an ANC regime that has made no attempt to change the underlying social and economic relations which characterized Apartheid.  White minority rule is now more pervasive under the ANC regime than it had been under the rogue regimes of the Boers. Gloudon speaks disparagingly of the conduct of the House of Rastafari applying such demeaning references to the brethren as “The Next Lot”, “Rasta-brigade”, and “zealots” in response to their public calling-to-account of Thabo Mbeki on the matter of Winnie Madikizela’s unjust treatment in the Apartheid-run courts of South Africa. She charges the brethren with being out of order but it is Ms. Gloudon who, truly, is manifestly out of order in this matter.  The freedom fighters of the Rasta family merit the greatest respect for their longstanding courage and dedication in service of the African cause. In the search for justice there can be no undue respect for persons, or, institutions. We Africans who have suffered from the most horrendous torture in consequence of deference for our elders, which is at the foundation of the persistent rape of Africa by the Europeans, have grown wise in our suffering and have become very discriminating in according respect and deference to elders. We are not frightened anymore into obeisance by age. We honor wisdom and integrity not years.  And, we do not defer to those who do injury to our cause. Mbeki’s office does not make him sacrosanct. And, luckily for Ms. Gloudon, her age does not shield her from criticism, for, she is in sore need of re-education.  To tell the truth, not even ole bwoy Mandela is untouchable. The Rastaman is the standard bearer for justice worldwide and especially in Jamaica.  Consider this scenario which Ms. Gloudon recounts: “At the university on Monday night [June 30, 2003] where Mr. Mbeki gave a public lecture, one of the zealots forgot himself, and while he [Mbeki] was speaking, began shouting and waving a picture of Mrs. Mandela.  The rest of the room reacted with disapproval. [My emphasis].  A large police officer quickly took charge and the man was hustled from the room. The lecture continued but the odour of the disrespect hung in the air.”  Who was ‘di onliest’ freedom fighter in the lecture hall at UWI? The Rasta man, of course! There was an “odour” all right.  It is an odor of rank ignorance and cowardice on the part of the gathering and the “large police officer” that symbolizes the Jamaican mindset and practical disposition to matters appertaining to Africa.  Rasta people have consistently thrown themselves, bodies and souls, against this twin affliction of ignorance and cowardice.  Long live the Rasta man and woman! Winnie Madikizela’s (I shall make no reference henceforth to the name Mandela in connection with her) travails in the Apartheid courts of the ANC-Boer confederacy, and her subjection to house arrest, symbolize the qualitative state of the struggle against Apartheid. The forces of reaction are struggling to contain and ‘domesticate’ [read localize] it. Winnie is the symbol of a nascent worldwide African resistance against global capitalist domination. It is a signal honor that the first voice to raise this standard, to call out “Free Winnie!” wells up from a lone Rastaman whose consuming passion for justice and Africa’s liberation drives him to “forget himself.”  And, this as “the rest of the room reacted with disapproval.” Whither Jamaica? It is not incidental that we speak of Africa as mother.  Women are at the very center of the struggle for African survival. They are the major casualties in the multi-faceted war being waged against Africa. For the most part they are the farmers, which the mining interests seek to displace at any cost in blood. These bearers of the seeds of nations, literally and figuratively, are bearing the brunt of mortality from AIDS, the genocidal proxy wars initiated at the behest of the global capitalists, famine, curable diseases, social and economic dislocation deriving from the structural adjustment programs of the IMF and the World Bank. The war against Africa resonates with domesticity – it is a war against women and children. Winnie’s domestic incarceration (house arrest) captures its essence.  Winnie is “Mama Africa” in a profoundly significant sense. To free ourselves from the insidious, avaricious and destructive grip of monopoly capital, a.k.a. globalization, we must echo the call to free mama Africa. We must shout everywhere and at all times Free Winnie! African people let us Free Winnie!

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The Haitian Revolution, 1791 to 1804: Or, Side Lights On the French Revolution

By Theophilus Gould Steward

This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923. This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide. We appreciate your understanding of the imperfections in the preservation process, and hope you enjoy this valuable book.—

The Haitian Revolution, 1791 to 1804. By T. G. Steward. Thomas Y. Crowell Company, New York, 1915. 292 pages. $1.25.

Reviewed by J.R. Fauset. The Journal of Negro History. Vol. I., No. 1, January. 1916.

In the days when the internal dissensions of Haiti are again thrusting her into the limelight such a book as this of Mr. Steward assumes a peculiar importance. It combines the unusual advantage of being both very readable and at the same time historically dependable. At the outset the author gives a brief sketch of the early settlement of Haiti, followed by a short account of her development along commercial and racial lines up to the Revolution of 1791. The story of this upheaval, of course, forms the basis of the book and is indissolubly connected with the story of Toussaint L’Overture. To most Americans this hero is known only as the subject of Wendell Phillips’s stirring eulogy. As delineated by Mr. Steward, he becomes a more human creature, who performs exploits, that are nothing short of marvelous. Other men who have seemed to many of us merely names—Rigaud, Le Clerc, Desalines, and the like–are also fully discussed.

Although most of the book is naturally concerned with the revolutionary period, the author brings his account up to date by giving a very brief resumé of the history of Haiti from 1804 to the present time. This history is marked by the frequent occurrence of assassinations and revolutions, but the reader will not allow himself to be affected by disgust or prejudice at these facts particularly when he is reminded, as Mr. Steward says, “that the political history of Haiti does not differ greatly from that of the majority of South American Republics, nor does it differ widely even from that of France.”

The book lacks a topical index, somewhat to its own disadvantage, but it contains a map of Haiti, a rather confusing appendix, a list of the Presidents of Haiti from 1804 to 1906 and a list of the names and works of the more noted Haitian authors. The author does not give a complete bibliography. He simply mentions in the beginning the names of a few authorities consulted.—

J. R. Fauset.

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African Revolutions

       By  Mukoma wa Ngugi

Her womb pressed against the desert to bear the parasite

that eats her insides like termites drill into dry wood. 

He is born into an empty bowl, fist choking umbilical cord. 

She dies sighing, child son at last.  He couldn’t have known,


instinct told him – always raise your arm in defense of your

own -Strike! Strike until they are all dead! Egg shells

in your hands milk bottle held between your toes,

you have been anointed twice, you strong enough to kill


at birth and survive.  You will want to name the world

after yourself but you will have no name- a collage of dead

roots, tongues and other things.  You will point your sword

to the center of the earth, duel the world to split into perfect


mirrors after your imperfect  mutations but you will be

too weak having latched your self onto too many streams

straddling too many continents, pulling patches of a self

as one does fruits from an from an orchard, building a home


of planks with many faces. How does one look into a mirror

with a face that washes clean every rainy season? 

He has an identity for every occasion – here he is Lenin

 there Jesus and yesterday Marx – inflexible truths inherited


without roots.  To be nothing to remain nothing, to kill

at birth – such love can only drink from our wrists.  We

storming from our past to Jo’Burg eating wisdom of others

building homes made of our grandparent’s bones.  We


gathering momentum that eats out of our earth, We standing

pens and bullets hurled at you, your enemies.  Comrade, there

are many ways to die. A dog dies never having known

why it lived but a free death belongs to a life lived in roots,


roots not afraid of growing where they stand, roots tapped all over

the earth. Comrade, for a tree to grow, it must first own its earth.

Source: Zeleza

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Ancient African Nations

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The Slave Ship

By Marcus Rediker

In this groundbreaking work, historian and scholar Rediker considers the relationships between the slave ship captain and his crew, between the sailors and the slaves, and among the captives themselves as they endured the violent, terror-filled and often deadly journey between the coasts of Africa and America. While he makes fresh use of those who left their mark in written records (Olaudah Equiano, James Field Stanfield, John Newton), Rediker is remarkably attentive to the experiences of the enslaved women, from whom we have no written accounts, and of the common seaman, who he says was a victim of the slave trade . . . and a victimizer. Regarding these vessels as a strange and potent combination of war machine, mobile prison, and factory, Rediker expands the scholarship on how the ships not only delivered millions of people to slavery, [but] prepared them for it. He engages readers in maritime detail (how ships were made, how crews were fed) and renders the archival (letters, logs and legal hearings) accessible. Painful as this powerful book often is, Rediker does not lose sight of the humanity of even the most egregious participants, from African traders to English merchants.— Publishers Weekly

Marcus Rediker is professor of maritime history at the University of Pittsburgh and the author of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (1987), The Many-Headed Hydra (2000), and Villains of All Nations (2005), books that explore seafaring, piracy, and the origins of globalization. In The Slave Ship, Rediker combines exhaustive research with an astute and highly readable synthesis of the material, balancing documentary snapshots with an ear for gripping narrative. Critics compare the impact of Rediker’s history, unique for its ship-deck perspective, to similarly compelling fictional accounts of slavery in Toni Morrison’s Beloved and Charles Johnson’s Middle Passage. Even scholars who have written on the subject defer to Rediker’s vast knowledge of the subject. Bottom line: The Slave Ship  is sure to become a classic of its subject.—

Bookmarks Magazine  

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Wild Women Don’t Have the Blues

                                                         By Ida Cox

I hear these women raving ’bout their monkey men About their fighting husbands and their no good friends These poor women sit around all day and moan Wondering why their wandering papas don’t come home But wild women don’t worry, wild women don’t have the blues. Now when you’ve got a man, don’t ever be on the square ‘Cause if you do he’ll have a woman everywhere I never was known to treat no one man right I keep ’em working hard both day and night because wild women don’t worry, wild women don’t have no blues. I’ve got a disposition and a way of my own When my man starts kicking I let him find another home I get full of good liquor, walk the streets all night Go home and put my man out if he don’t act right Wild women don’t worry, wild women don’t have no blues You never get nothing by being an angel child You better change your ways and get real wild I wanna tell you something, I wouldn’t tell you no lie Wild women are the only kind that ever get by Wild women don’t worry, wild women don’t have no blues.  Born Ida Prather,25 February 1896 in Toccoa, Habersham County, Georgia, United States. Died 10 November 1967 (aged 71) Genres Jazz, Blues Instruments Vocalist.

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Guarding the Flame of Life / Strange Fruit Lynching Report

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The State of African Education (April 200)

Attack On Africans Writing Their Own History Part 1 of 7

Dr Asa Hilliard III speaks on the assault of academia on Africans writing and accounting for their own history.

Dr Hilliard is A teacher, psychologist, and historian.

Part 2 of 7  /  Part 3 of 7  / Part 4 of 7  / Part 5 of 7 / Part 6 of 7  /  Part 7 of 7

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John Henrik Clarke—A Great and Mighty Walk

This video chronicles the life and times of the noted African-American historian, scholar and Pan-African activist John Henrik Clarke (1915-1998). Both a biography of Clarke himself and an overview of 5,000 years of African history, the film offers a provocative look at the past through the eyes of a leading proponent of an Afrocentric view of history. From ancient Egypt and Africa’s other great empires, Clarke moves through Mediterranean borrowings, the Atlantic slave trade, European colonization, the development of the Pan-African movement, and present-day African-American history.

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Hunger for a Black President  / Introduction I Write What I Like

Biko Biosketch   Biko Speaks on Africans

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues

1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        


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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery /

George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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updated 20 October 2007




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