ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
The brother rules over Swaziland . . . his people live
mostly in huts and survive on just the equivalent of 50
American cents a day but that is the least of his worries.
Books by Uche Nworah
* * * * *
The King And His Mighty Libido
By Uche Nworah
The story of the mighty libido King Mswati 111 of Swaziland may just be the last evidence we need to show that maybe we are being a bit too harsh on our leaders in Nigeria, you know who they are, the ones that lord it over us, the ones of which we are supposed to say how high your Excellency whenever they say jump!
Our supposed leaders come in different shapes and sizes, they also come with different tastes, expectations and fantasies as regards their choice of women ranging from ikebe, lekpa, American specs, European specs, double- action, sweet sixteen, Big mama etc, some of them though, in all fairness have remained in the past, staying loyal to their wives and ensuring that their trousers or shokoto remain zipped or roped up always. But for the rest of them, they may have finally found their match in the 37 year old King Mswati 111 who is only still married to 13 wives, not any where near his late fathers 70 wives record.
For some of our profligate leaders the king may just be their most influential role model yet, and to think that my late grand father Nze Nkaonadi Nworah Okeke who only managed a lowly and pitiable 3 wives went about town like a warrior and conqueror when his mates were marrying tens of wives, I wonder what he would have said if he was here today to hear the kings story.
The brother rules over Swaziland, a poor and impoverished land in Southern Africa with a population of about 1.1 million, his people live mostly in huts and survive on just the equivalent of 50 American cents a day but that is the least of his worries. He appears bent on breaking both his fathers and King Solomons record of the king with the most concubines and wives. He is surely on his way though. Still in his 30s, he already has 2 fiancées, 13 wives and has only managed to father 23 children till date.
Now I understand why majority of Germans were angry with Americans during the Monica Lewinsky affair, they couldnt understand the fuss over Monica, cowboy Bill and his famous cigar. Such malfeasance in Germany is actually a way of life and a positive sign of manhood, a man like Bill Clinton in Germany will be applauded and given a loud ovation, a sure sign that men are still alive and that the feminization of man that Rudolf Okonkwo wrote about is yet to show up on their shores.
In Germany Bill would have been considered a saint, especially when you consider that Gerhard Schroeder (their former Chancellor) is currently trialling his fourth marriage with Doris Kopf. To the average German, all that Bill did wrong was to stay married to one woman Hillary plus that one off indulgence with Monica, an act that is not anywhere near the heroics of the true greats.
Anyway, back to the great one of Swaziland. As a man, just be honest, do you envy him? Would you wish to swap places with him for a day? Especially during the occasion of the annual reed dance when over 20,000 young virgins and maidens strut out half-naked in the village square and expose their goods and wares to the king, pleading, waiting and hoping to be selected as wife number X.
Surely the king is stretching his customer (or is it suitor?) rights to the limits, inspecting the goods first before buying.
I am still surprised though that in all their foreign travels, none of our leaders have yet been reported to have visited Swaziland. They choose rather to hunt and fish in local and nearby colleges and universities and also in London and America where their several mistresses get paid to look after government treasury on their behalf, although with the recent happenings and plights of the likes of Joshua Dariye of Plateau state, and D.S.P Alamieyeseigha (I hope I got the spelling right). London and America may no longer be ideal for such executive past times. If only King Mswati 111 knew of the affinity he has with some of our leaders, and the passion they share together. I am sure he would be glad to have willing allies in them.
After seeing the photos from the annual kingly wife selection event, it would be interesting to see if any of our leaders would undertake to visit the king as special guests of honour (a privilege our excellencies cherish so much), if tomorrow the king extends any such invitations to them and they indeed accept, at least you know why they have accepted the invitations.
The king apparently is a smart man, already thinking of the chastity of his future wives, just like his late father King Sobhuza 11, he once banned teenage sex in his country, a ban which he broke and eventually revoked when he married a 17 year old school girl and paid a fine of a cow as a result, some people have life easy you may say.
This ban, a protectionist policy and measure was borne not out of love for his country nor to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS which currently afflict over 40% of his kinsmen and women, but rather to ensure that no other man touches the young girls, as any of them could still potentially be one of his wives in the future.
I still think that Nigerians should be ashamed of themselves for their criticisms of our leaders and their ways, especially with women. We are being unfair to them because they havent even gone any where near a third of King Mswatis bootylicious exploits yet, the king and his country do not have the type of resources that our leaders have at their disposals and see how many women the king controls. This means that our leaders deserve more. They are not yet up there in the rankings; if they were, Jonathan Elendu and Omoyele Sowore would have longed exposed the brand and quantity of condoms they use per week (if any) , as well as the names and addresses of the shops where they are bought. Do we still require any further evidence to show that our leaders are still playing in the minor league?
We should just leave them alone to indulge before they change their minds and go into exile to Swaziland where their soul mate is beckoning, and then we wont benefit anymore from their great leadership and wisdom. Such a situation will definitely cause great uproar and turmoil in the land, especially amongst the female folks (the beneficiaries of government contracts and other pecks from the largesse of our leaders kindness).
We dont want to put these women out of work and then swell the ranks of the unemployed in our land, do we?
* * * * *
Uche Nworah is a freelance writer and lives in London. firstname.lastname@example.org
* * * * *
Photos of Swazi Virgins
Rudy: I am stewing in an editorial dilemma. I believe in a free press. But I suspect like many Americans (and Muslims, too), I am when the superficialities of civilization are scraped away not at heart the savage and heathen I purport to be, but that I am rather a puritan, and little more. I received from my Nigerian brother Uche an article in which he sets up an analogy between the King of Swaziland with his many wives and the leaders of his home country Nigeria with their European mansions and their American bureaus and their relationship to women. The African who is a superficial Christian and the African man with many wives, concubines, and other kinds of sexual partners are viewed as the norm for what is “African.”
There is nothing wrong here. Such an intellectual discussion I can manage. Along with this expose of African sexual morality (of the well-heeled and powerful), Uche sent also photos of King Mwaiti in which he summoned 20,000 virgins to present themselves so that he could make his selection of X wife in addition to his present thirteen wives, two fiancées, and other numerous concubines. These Swazi virgins (of all complexions and dimensions) are beautifully and wonderfully arrayed in “traditional” dress–exposing legs, stomach, and breasts, carrying either reeds or swords.
I was at once horrified and delighted. Here’s where my puritanism kicked in. Richard Wright tried to write about his unsettled sensibility in his Ghana tour. I averted my eyes when I was in the village of Luberizi when a native woman appeared thus exposed with a jug of water on her head. She was as natural as if she were a nun or a Muslim woman fully robed from head to toe. How could such innocence be? But these Swazi women also look like American black women and many from their countenance were very much apart of the modern world.
These Swazi virgins are not the women one grows up seeing in National Geographic. But still one does not note sexual self-consciousness or even an air of immodesty one usually expects in Western women of whatever complexion. Nor is there that seductive nakedness that one finds in Playboy or lower levels of Western pornography. These photos are not what one even might view as erotica, which now has middle-class respectability, at least in literature, if not in image or film. They appear as if they are taking part in an actual African tradition before the royal personages of king and court.
This situation is also unsettling on another level. I am decidedly American in my sensibility. I am a democrat in an Age of Afrocentricity and the worship of things African. Pride in African kings and queens, and other exalted figures is the favorite pastime of both the educated and the “aware” Negro. As a pure American, I have no love for kings and queens. I know there are many blacks who feel sentimental toward the English court, who are most of the time heavily clothed. So I welcome Uche’s denunciation of the romanticization of things African. Still I am troubled whether to post or censor these photos of the royal abuse of Swazi women.
Miriam: Since I haven’t seen the photos, it’s hard for me to say. Are the women presented in seductive, salacious poses that would offend African American women? Are the photographs absolutely essential in conveying the message of the written text? A lot depends on the readership of ChickenBones as well as on other types of images that you’ve depicted. I view the journal as a serious publication that deals with significant issues in a very professional way. if there’s any chance that the photos would offend or demean people, then I’d err on the side of not including them. It’s really not a matter of censorship but of what fits into the context of your publication. I wouldn’t have a problem with the images privately, but once they’re put out in the public domain, that’s another matter. Someone could take the images out of context and use them for other purposes.
Mackie: Some will chuckle or guffaw at my words, but though we can discuss this topic according to the spirit of the matter without the photos, we can’t explore the subject according to the letter of the matter without them. We understand your meaning but can’t be guilty or innocent of prurient interests without the actual photos. I assume that these pictures were not taken for prurient reasons; so we ought to be able to be bigger than our suspicions about one another.
Rudy: I do not think they are salacious or prurient. Reeds (sticks) and swords they carry undermine such thoughts. Such implements rather deflate physical excitement. There’s no titillation as was found in the congressional sanctioning of Janet Jackson.Uche: The women are young girls from swaziland participating in the annual reed dance in swaziland, an occasion that King Mswati III uses to select his wives, the photos are sourced from private sources, from a Kenyan colleague actually who asked that I do a write up on the King’s excesses. I have appropriately captioned the photos.
Ben: The aberration in morality is that you had to avert your eyes when presented with God’s gift to man, the sight of a beautiful woman, moreover, a black woman. How sad. In a way as we grow up we are trained to “avert our eyes” and Playboy is hid under the bed. Yes, 20,000 virgins is a bit much, but it comes a great deal closer to our fantasy than it does to our reality.
Jerry: Post the photographs with Mr. Uche’s article. As you describe the photographs, they are somewhat “anthropological” and a useful bit of visual evidence. You may add critical citations that express your uneasiness with them (a la Mr. Wright who did take similar photographs in Ghana; I looked at the whole collection of photographs at Yale this summer), but please do not censor what Mr. Uche very likely considers to be historical evidence.
Often we do not like what people value or tolerate in cultures other than our own. Our dislike, disgust, shame or whatever the case may be do not justify our hiding available evidence. Let your readers and viewers see for themselves and render the judgments they must.
Joyce: I don’t think the Internet provides a suitable venue for the complexity of this information. What is the brother’s point in offering this information? It is too easily “abused.” If I were you I wouldn’t publish either the article or the photos. What purpose does it serve? These cultural practices require more context, historical and cultural interpretation than is possible in a brief essay.
Moreover, some comparative information about cultural practices in various societies historically and today is needed to avoid the rampant stereotyping in the western mind that would be further entrenched by this information. People can find this stuff all over the place. The “royal abuse of Swazi women” (certainly not THEIR perspective) has its counterpart in the western media/mindset’s abuse of any and everything African.
Send your query to Runoko Rashidi who travels widely throughout Africa and get his opinion. Runoko Rashidi email@example.com
Wilson: A lot of my brothers and sisters don’t want to accept criticism of themselves or other black people. They want to ignore their own faults and those of other black folk. They hide behind the excuse that we shouldn’t air dirty linen. Their real concern is that they don’t want to change their ways or accept ugly facts. It is a truly base awkward people who hide behind the excuse that we can’t give them too easily abused information. White people already know everything we think or do. Let’s not kid ourselves.
Jerry: I do respect the point that Dr. Joyce King makes about proper contextualization and thorough, rigorous inquiry with regard to Mr. Uche Nworah’s materials. That is what I believe the dedicated scholars among us should and will do. I do not agree, however, with the notion that we can successfully retard the western mind’s rampant stereotyping of things. Neither the Western mind nor any other geographically/culturally identified abstraction called “mind” will cease its habitual activities until human beings no longer exist on this planet.
Ben: There is no more enticing pit than the sexual abyss. A few priests, rabbis, and reverends would tell us that a hundred million years of design is somehow wrong, and men and women’s sexual desires and conduct can be regulated. Hah!
Miriam: Rudy, I can certainly understand Joyce’s point and I agree that the text & photos could be misused on the internet. But I also believe that we have to “air our dirty laundry,” so to speak, or the actions of these despotswhether political, economic, or social (as this one is)will continue. We African Americans have to speak out not only against Apartheid and genocide but also against corruption, genital mutilation, the militarization of children, and cultural practices that spread HIV/AIDS throughout the continent.
I can certainly understand Joyce’s point and I agree that the text & photos could be misused on the internet. But I also believe that we have to “air our dirty laundry,” so to speak, or the actions of these despotswhether political, economic, or social (as this one is)will continue. We African Americans have to speak out not only against Apartheid and genocide but also against corruption, genital mutilation, the militarization of children, and cultural practices that spread HIV/AIDS throughout the continent.
Jerry: Miriam, I agree with the point you are making wholeheartedly. We African Americans have to abandon “silence” and speak out in ways that can be at once passionate and thoroughly informed about all the interrelated issues of our vast African Diaspora. Smashing silence with people from various African nations; North, Central, and South America and the Caribbean, and certain areas of the Pacific.
If my sense of what you are proposing is accurate, your ideas about international Diasporic discourse is consonant with what the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD) has been promoting to a large degree. One organization, however, cannot carry all the weight.
Articulate people inside and outside of academic circles must participate in the work of gathering and analyzing evidence, entering debates, and constructing policies that champion human rights. As you have suggested in other comments, words are often not enough. Real labor in crisis sites is required. Thanks for your efforts to open minds and enlarge our options for action.
Masauko: Rudy, the Swazi king is an outdated fool. Don’t run the photos unless you plan to expose him as a fraud. All of these kings in Southern Africa can be seen one day driving through Rosebank mall in benzes where they have Woolworths and McDonalds. They only turn on this archaic king jive when they want to feed on more young women.
We have a running joke is Southern Africa: you never leave your girl anywhere you can’t see her in Swaziland because she could end up in the kings line up. There is a bit of truth in every joke or it ain’t funny.
The only reason to run these photos is to do it in conjunction with a really strong article where someone can get an interview with various people from Swaziland and ask what all this means to them. I think you’ll be surprised that most people there are pissed off about it.
Rudy: An interview with a Swazi is impractical at this time. Uche’s satirical style does not countenance the marital practices of the Swazi king, although his interests lie in Nigeria and the sexual exploits of the well-to-do businessmen and politicians. Still I’d be interested in what the average Swazi has to say including fathers and mothers. Of course, we’d be more than happy to post such an interview article if someone manages the feat.
Ditti: OOOOOaaay! Don’t know that I can answer your question. I’m not familiar with ChickenBones beyond it’s a publication of some sort; therefore, I don’t know its readers. Would the article & photos be a change from the usual materials published therein? The photos are absolutely beautiful; might be difficult for some to handle but it is reality. Is the 1st picture really from Africa or are these USA gals dressed as such? I got that feeling immediately, perhaps because of the western type influences, mod shades, mod earrings, makeup, etc. that are not visible in the others photos. There just seems to be a sense of dignity (comfort maybe?) in the other photos among the women that I don’t see in the first one. Read the article and learned a great deal from it.
Anita: Rudy, Uche’s ‘Bootylicious’! HA! I really laughed when I read that word! Is that BEN (The Egalitarian ‘apples and oranges guy’?) Tell him guys don’t hide the sex magazines any more! They keep collections on their shelves in their parents homes and they watch R rated movies at their buddy’s house. Well, my first reaction of the photos before I read comments: I thought ..hmm, gosh, what pretty young African girls in bright colorful cute mini skirts with nothing on their boobs. To me, nothing shocking or offensive of any kind. (I wish my boobs looked half that good!) oops sorry!
Now, to the point: Without these photos, people might visualize the worst in their mind while reading the text. (Girls being physically and emotionally abused). So in that regard it helps to display them. They don’t looked happy, more like they were waiting for their turn or something. Young girls don’t know about men! But we Mother’s do!! HOWEVER, I do understand how African American or ANY culture of women would have a problem with this King! I wouldn’t want my daughter picked out to be one of the Kings next ‘crops’. You notice Masauko’s comment about ‘the running joke’. What mother would want that for her daughter? This is hardly comparative to what Bill Clinton or some of the others did! here in the USA. That King isn’t hiding anything if everybody’s making jokes about it. Still by our standards it’s horrible and against the law to do that here.
But an American President who is sneakin’ around with a young White House Intern is shameful to his highest position, his wife and family and becomes a clown in people’s minds. Poor decision making policy, there Bill!
And to the man who made a comment on what white people already think and know about know African Americans? HA!, it’s opposite of that, which is why there are problems . . .
Thank you so much for the wonderful links. I’m learning so much. I really am!
Rudy: Anita, I think that you are right–the photos (in themselves) are neither offensive nor seductive. I have tried to look in the souls of these girls to discover what is going on there, and suspect that the thinking going on in their minds is much more complex than we can imagine. For I suspect that they have also been Western educated and influenced.
I got some of the impressions you described: “They don’t look happy, more like they were waiting for their turn or something.” I suspect that something is amiss here.
But I’m not sure what it is. Nevertheless, I felt like you these are: “pretty young African girls in bright colorful cute mini skirts with nothing on their boobs.” They look like American girls I’ve seen. I also agree just reading an article about such events, that people “might visualize the worst in their mind.” Some of the fears (of exposure and shame) are indeed irrational. I understand the source of the attitude.
The photos, I believe, help us to judge more objectively what’s going on here/there. I do not think it is just the King that is the problem. But there is also the co-conspiracy of 20,000 mothers and fathers and a people who have been bamboozled by a “tradition” not examined in light of today’s reality. They need a revolution. The way that such practices will change is not by hiding them and praying that gradually such persons will come to their senses. If we are a global community, we should have I say based on the facts.
I have no regrets publishing either the article or the photos.
Joyce: Well, this [publication] should generate a lot of response. I’m still not convinced that a worthy purpose is served.
Rudy: well, I’m pleased you’re still speaking with me. Yes, there was considerable response. But I’d preferred more response from my killing off the Black Church–Death of the Black Church. Of course, there is a lot of fear among us, that is, in speaking one’s mind. I suspect that most people do not know what they think and thus say nothing. They wait to see which way the wind blows and then join in. It has always been that way. I admire you in that you are willing to speak your mind. Personally, I have been one who questioned from my earliest days as a child. And I have been opposed to concealment of “family secrets,” especially when they stand in the way of development. I admire what Uche and other Nigerian journalists do with respect to attacking the excesses of Nigerian leadership.
Joyce: I’m not a “fair weather” friend, Rudy. I don’t see this issue as “dirty laundry.” It’s an educational matter from my perspective. What is the best way to become educated and informed in order to be effective in our criticism. “Expose” (expose-say) is not education but distraction. We also get “used” on this side of the family in “family wars” over there that we don’t know too much about. They also have no clue about the damage these so-called criticisms do to the African family because of the way all of us are regarded with respect to sexuality, etc., etc.
But then I’m neither a poet, journalist or griot. Just a teacher.
Rudy: Such black united fronts never work for more than a moment. They become a cover for knaves, opportunists, scoundrels, and demagogues. My first exposure to African sexuality and nudity was via the National Geographic, even with its anthropological (scientific) pretensions, which is a thousand times worse than our “exposure” of the excesses of the African king of Swaziland, which I do not include in my family or even among my friends or among those I admire. This clown is not deserving of our respect.
I, however, am interested in what you would do with such information as an educator, when asked by a student to explain such “African behavior”? There is certainly no modern justification for this swazi fete.
Joyce: I accept the challenge. There are all manner of anachronistic practices among every people on earth that “deserve” to be critiqued and helped toward extinction–from the damaging rap videos here to the “Swazi fete.” My comments are intended to reject the “ex-po-say” (I don’t have the accent on the “e” to fix this word) approach per se. I am questioning the good that can come out of this way of informing the broader public about the King and his concubines, wives, virgins, etc.
Your choice of the word “exposure” is interestingas in “pulling the covers off” something that is otherwise hidden or should be brought out (and again I ask: for what purpose?) If the purpose is the bring an end to the oppression of women in that context, then, like the sisters here who PARTICIPATE in the rap video industry, we ought to understand better what is going on with them as well as the brothers and the King.
I’m prepared to argue that we are dealing with cultural matters as well as other factors that need to be understood not excused or hidden. My goal as an educator is understanding and human growth in the fight for justice. I also intend to do all that I can to strengthen the family bonds that I value among African people. That doesn’t mean that I excuse any roguish behavior anywhere–here or wherever African people are. My comments are not intended to imply that this practice or the practioners (the King and the women so engaged) “deserve” our respect. But I don’t believe we ought to unwittingly be doing the work of the system of white supremacy.
Whether we (you or I or any Black person) chooses to include any of these folks here and there in our “family”–the reality is that white supremacy racism does that for us. I will share this dialogue that we are having with some of the teachers I am working with on curriculum matters. It may not be possible to tackle this issue directly in a curriculum for young people, but I’ll see what we can come up with and I’ll get back to you.
I’ve done some educational programs for adults and this discussion suggests to me that we need to extend our work beyond the classroom to teacher (adult) education. Other issues that come to mind are “female circumcision”. It’ll take a couple of months but I will definitely get back to you.
Rudy: That sounds great. I indeed would like to know what the swazi girls themselves think and what some of the swazi parents think about such “traditions.” I suspect that many thought they had no real choice or options were limited. . . .
I feel just as inadequate in judging the sister that was the author of Memoir of a Video Ho. There was an article about her in the NYTimes (an organ of the “system of white supremacy”?). The book itself is a bestseller among young African American women. This situation is worse in that her specialty is caught up in, not so much the sexual act, but rather personal greed and avarice and she has put a pretty face on, literally. She sees nothing wrong in what she has done, no apology or remorse whatsoever. She is proud of her accomplishments and has placed a trademark on the word “Superhead,” her given nickname in the rap industry. I understand there is a film option on the book.
I do not know how an educator would explain this black American phenomena. In a manner it is worse then the “swazi fete” or “female circumcision.” What we have here is capitalist enterprise being recommended to our your women And I’ve heard no feminist criticism whatsoever about this book or its author. In America, I suppose it is not the sexual act itself that is the problem but the gender involved in the unethical act.
Uche Nworah is freelance writer, lecturer and brand strategist. He studied communications arts at the University of Uyo, Nigeria and graduated with a second class honours degree (upper division). He also holds an M.Sc degree in marketing from the University of Nigeria, Enugu campus and obtained his PGCE (post-graduate certificate in education) from the University of Greenwich where he is currently enrolled as a doctoral candidate. His articles have been published by several websites and leading Nigerian newspapers. He received the ChickenBones Journalist of the Year award in 2006. Uche can be contacted through www.uchenworah.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
posted 17 October 2005
* * * * *
#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane
#10 – Covenant: A Thriller by Brandon Massey
#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva by Ashley and JaQuavis
#12 – Don’t Ever Tell by Brandon Massey
#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide by Ntozake Shange
#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree
#15 – Homemade Loves by J. California Cooper
#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper
#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber
#18 – Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare
#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King
#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey
#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe
#22 Thug Matrimony by Wahida Clark
#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark
#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber
#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter
#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson
#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History by Ahati N. N. Toure
#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley
#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell
#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore
#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit by RM Johnson
#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins
#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell
#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard
#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris
#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice
#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields
#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class by Lisa B. Thompson
* * * * *
This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label ‘trafficked’ does not accurately describe migrants’ lives and that the ‘rescue industry’ serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. “
Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality.”Lisa Adkins, University of London
* * * * *
By Tracy K. Smith
Tracy K. Smith, author of Life on Mars has been selected as the winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. In its review of the book, Publishers Weekly noted the collection’s “lyric brilliance” and “political impulses [that] never falter.” A New York Times review stated, “Smith is quick to suggest that the important thing is not to discover whether or not we’re alone in the universe; it’s to acceptor at least endurethe universe’s mystery. . . . Religion, science, art: we turn to them for answers, but the questions persist, especially in times of grief. Smith’s pairing of the philosophically minded poems in the books first section with the long elegy for her father in the second is brilliant.” Life on Mars follows Smith’s 2007 collection, Duende, which won the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, the only award for poetry in the United States given to support a poet’s second book, and the first Essence Literary Award for poetry, which recognizes the literary achievements of African Americans. The Bodys Question (2003) was her first published collection.
* * * * *
By Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer
American democracy is informed by the 18th centurys most cutting edge thinking on society, economics, and government. Weve learned some things in the intervening 230 years about self interest, social behaviors, and how the world works. Now, authors Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer argue that some fundamental assumptions about citizenship, society, economics, and government need updating. For many years the dominant metaphor for understanding markets and government has been the machine. Liu and Hanauer view democracy not as a machine, but as a garden. A successful garden functions according to the inexorable tendencies of nature, but it also requires goals, regular tending, and an understanding of connected ecosystems. The latest ideas from science, social science, and economicsthe cutting-edge ideas of todaygenerate these simple but revolutionary ideas: (The economy is not an efficient machine. Its an effective garden that need tending. Freedom is responsibility. Government should be about the big what and the little how. True self interest is mutual interest.
* * * * *
By Charlayne Hunter-Gault
A personal history of the civil rights movement from activist and acclaimed journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault. On January 20, 2009, 1.8 million people crowded the grounds of the Capitol to witness the inauguration of Barack Obama. Among the masses was Charlayne Hunter-Gault. She had flown from South Africa for the occasion, to witness what was for many the culmination of the long struggle for civil rights in the United States. In this compelling personal history, she uses the event to look back on her own involvement in the civil rights movement, as one of two black students who forced the University of Georgia to integrate, and to relate the pivotal events that swept the South as the movement gathered momentum through the early 1960s. With poignant black-and-white photos, original articles from the New York Times, and a unique personal viewpoint, this is a moving tribute to the men and women on whose shoulders Obama stood.
* * * * *
From The World and Africa, 1965
* * * * *
* * * * *
If you like this page consider making a donation
online through PayPal
* * * * *
Browse all issues
* * * * *
* * * * *
* * * * *
* * * * *
update 10 July 2012