Get Up, Get Out and Do Something
"We who believe in freedom cannot rest. We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes."
Sweet Honey in the Rock "Ella's Song"
Turmoil, political unrest, war, hate crimes, sexual violence, corruption, and so many other social atrocities have greatly impacted the world. Now is the time for us to take positive action, as well as stay abreast of current issues. Reading and dialoguing are just the beginning of contributing to redevelop and stabilize this world.
In the United States, presidential elections are around the corner, and it is critical for us to be involved in every facet of the political process. Since the US has its hands in many international affairs, our work here affects our sisters all over the world.
From your place of work, to the community, to the national issues, we must be active. Voting is just one way because political activism and education go far beyond the ballot. I am the last one to criticize anyone who does not believe in the voting process, but I challenge everyone to politicize themselves.
Internationally, countries such as Kenya are involved in a bloody and bitter post-presidential election that has left hundreds dead. There are people who are willing to die for fair elections. That struggle is deep and runs through the struggle of all oppressed people, and nations who are recovering after years of oppression, colonialism, and slavery.
What I do call from Excursionista readers is that we consider looking at the world from a Pan-African vantage point. This means we understand that black people are connected all over the world. Then after we embrace our intimate ties, we must honor this link.
When you travel more, you will see the physical resemblances of people of the Afrian Diaspora from Peru to Panama. I guarantee you will meet your aunt, uncle, mother, best friend, or someone that you know in another country.
Let me not deviate from this Golden Law to Gr8tness. Your participation in the flow of this world is critical. Even if for a second you give your all, you have given to the world a lot, thus you have served as our salvation.
Destination: It is summer in South Africa and the perfect time to check out the country's three major cities which are Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town. You will be immersed in various cultures that richly carve out a country known for its intricate clash of contemporary and tradition, European and African, Asian and Indigenous Nations. The cities are situated in distinct areas of the country, and have their own beauty.
Let's start with Cape Town. A picturesque city by sea located on the western coast is experiencing major developments due to it being the host of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the über soccer event of the world.
Durban, which is also identified by the original inhabitants as Kwa Zulu Natal, is a breathtaking region on the west coast of the country by the sea as well. The hotels and inns are very reasonable. When I was there, my friend got a penthouse suite in the off season for US $45 a night. I know much has changed since then. I remember the beautiful purple flowers on hills and mountains of lush green. Don't sleep, to get to the memorial site of Shaka Zulu was a disappointing journey because the Indian people in the area ridiculed this celebrated African warrior.
Johannesburg is like a mixture of New York, Washington, DC, and Miami with a Zulu/Xhosa swagger. You know it's the city, but it emits an African flair that I love. The city is filled with these grand mansions once occupied by rich whites, but now the owners have diversified somewhat. You can easily visit Soweto, or the infamous Sun City. Please, don't sleep on this city because the gun-clappers are out and you definitely have to watch your back.
Alternate Destination: Black Paris Tour is a company founded by Ricky Stevenson of Oakland, California USA, who had the desire to live in Paris after her career as an international travel journalist. This tour gives you the historical and contemporary depth of the black presence in Paris. You can contact Ricki at Rickis@club-internet.fr or phone her at (from the U.S): 011.331.46.37.03.96; In Paris call: 01.46.37.03.96; Cell Phone: 06.62.68.03.96. Read about her online: http://www.tomtmusic.com/id155.htm.
Lifestyle: Film Festivals to Consider
Images of Black Women African Descent Women in Cinema
Pan-African Film Festival
African Film Festival
National Black Arts Film Festival
Langston Hughes African American Film Festival
African American Women in Cinema
American Black Film Festival
Alternate Lifestyle: Read a Book Sista! Other than the street novels and gutter love stories . . . not hatin' on Zane, I'm just saying daaggggggg, step outta your box! Here are a couple of fiction and non-fiction women writers to look up (some have already made their transition). Bessie Head(South Africa), Mariama Ba(Senegal), Octavia Butler(USA), Toni Morrison(USA), Ama Ata Aidoo(Ghana), Maryse Conde(Guadelouoe), Assata Shakur (USA, but has been living in Cuba since she escaped from prison), Tananarive Due (USA), & Nalo Hopkinson(West Indies/Canada).
Beauty & Health: Water is great medicine! Drinking the right amount of water increases your metabolism, moves your digestive system, cleanses your body, and clears your skin. It is always good to drink lots of water during travel.