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The population here is very diverse. The national population is about five million

with the greatest concentration in the Central Highlands. Papua New Guinea (Niugini

in the local dialect) is made up of nineteen provinces and they all seem interesting.

 

 

Writings of Runoko Rashidi

 

Introduction to African Civilizations / African Presence in Early Asia / Introduction to the Study of African Classical Civilizations

 

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Runoko in Papua New Guinea

Travel Writing by Runoko Rashidi

 

Notes from Papua New Guinea, in Paradise (?)

19 October 2008 

Greetings Family,

I am in Port Moresby—the capital of Papua New Guinea. It is my first time here.   I don't know how much time I have on the Internet and so I will try to write fast.  First of all, Papua New Guinea is a Black nation.  The people are lovely.  There is a wide diversity of physical types and the sisters are gorgeous.  I have only been here for a couple of hours but from the time that I arrived in the airport I felt that I was in a place that I always wanted to be.  The reason I put a question mark after paradise is that I am afraid that it is almost too good to be true.  And if this hotel in the capital is this nice, my goodness what must the rest of this country be like?

The people here give the impression of being kind and gentle and humble and a little shy.  And they are Black!  I love the sisters and brothers in Australia but, at the risk of being offensive, they have been so dispossessed that it is like they are fringe dwellers in their own country.  I enjoyed much of my experience in Australia.  I went to the Black community of Yarrabah where I spent a lot of time with the mayor, spent some quality time with Professor Graceyln Smallwood and her good friend Christine Howes, and had a fascinating experience watching and talking to people at an Aboriginal rugby tournament. 

But the energy between the people in these two places, Australia and Niugini, is like night and day. In Australia white supremacy is clearly dominant.  So being here is like a breath of clear fresh air.  I love it.  I mean that these are really wonderful people. 

On the one hand, many of them look just like people I have known all of my life.  Others look like no Black folks that I have ever been around.  Does any of this make sense or do I sound like the crazy man that I oftentimes think that I am?  The people here actually act like they care about you! 

So I am in a very nice hotel with an Internet connection.  It is expensive but from what I can gather all of the tourist hotels are expensive here.  So I am just going to have to deal with it.  Besides, I am only here for two nights before I fly to the island of New Britain and perhaps New Ireland. 

And I asked one of the questions that you asked me to ask.  I asked one of the sisters at the front desk where do the people here say that they come from.  Her answer was short and direct.  She said that they come from Africa!!!  And she said it boldly and with a expression of pride on her face.  The vibe in northern Queensland, Australia is vastly different.  I asked a prominent brother from Australia yesterday how he felt about origins.  I told him that I placed the Aboriginal people of Australia within the family of African people.  He just smiled.  And then I got my courage up and asked him how he would feel if I simply called the Australian Aboriginals African and he expressed the belief he would be deeply offended. 

I don't think that the sisters and brothers in Australia dislike Africa.  But, as the brother told me, the tradition handed down from generation to generation is just that the Aboriginal people have always been in Australia and that was that.  He was firm about it and it did not seem like there was much to say after that.  I will spend more time with that theme in another email as it is nothing to be glossed over.  I also want to share  a conversation that I had two days ago with a Ugandan brother about the similarities between sisters and brothers in Australia and those in Africa.  So at least we are talking and I am asking a lot of questions.

So I am happy and in love all over again.   So far, being here, is like my trips to Fiji and Palau, only bigger and better.  There is something about the Pacific that I have found nowhere else on earth.

I will write when I can but at least you know that, for at least the present, I am safe and sound and most content. 

In love of Africa,

Runoko Rashidi Okello, in Paradise (?)

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More Notes from Papua New Guinea

20 October 2008

Greetings Africans,

I finished early today and these are probably my last or next to last notes from Port Moresby (but don‘t count on it!). It is now going on three o’clock in the afternoon and it is hot and humid outside. It has to be about ninety degrees Fahrenheit outdoors and so I am back in my room pondering and wondering and writing and relaxing.

Today has been an easy day and I spent quite a bit of time chatting with a number of the hotel staff. They are a most friendly and easy going group and seem as interested in answering my questions as I am in asking them.

I just got to Port Moresby yesterday but it seems like I have been here for a long time. African-Americans are pretty rare here and I know that I am the only one in this hotel; for all I know I may be the only one in the entire town. People are curious about me but not intrusive and I seem to fit right in. English is widely spoken and I think that the people that I encounter tend to take me for a local until they hear my accent.

The literature that I read about Port Moresby says clearly that it is dangerous to walk about and that you must be very careful where you go. But I grew up in South Central Los Angeles!

As long as I understand the language I do not get frightened or rattled very easily and feel like, with a little common sense, that I could go just about anywhere here without fear of being bothered. I also went to the National Museum today. It was officially closed until further notice and the door was locked, but the brother in charge had few qualms about me, as he put it, "taking a quick look around." He seemed really shocked but quite pleased when I gave him five dollars for his trouble, and when I left he bade me a fond farewell.

Then, after a quick pass by the parliament building, I went to a supermarket and got my lunch. I find that shopping here, going to the market, like shopping just about anywhere, is an education in itself. The coin of the realm here is the kina (pronounced keena) and I have spent quite a lot of them. I am, as Barack Obama might say, “spreading the wealth.” Nobody begs here but I give very good tips! By the way, everybody that I talk to here is pulling for brother Barack and hoping that he gets elected president. I have been asked my opinion quite a lot and they are all happy when I tell them that I am a big Barack Obama supporter. For better or worse I have found that Barack Obama represents the hopes not just of sisters and brothers in the United States but of the entire African world. At least that is my impression.

The population here is very diverse. The national population is about five million with the greatest concentration in the Central Highlands. Papua New Guinea (Niugini in the local dialect) is made up of nineteen provinces and they all seem interesting. I wish that I had the time and money to visit all of them. I could stay here for a very long time. Anyhow, here are a few photos that I picked up for you. I think that I am going to send you three or four of them in separate emails. If you don’t have the daily digest format of mail delivery you should be able to easily open the attachments and view them.

Enjoy. You might hear from me later as I am scheduled to meet a local anthropologist early tomorrow morning before my flight to Rabaul in East New Britain. From there I am going to try to go to the island of New Ireland, maybe by ferry, if only for a day, and then I head to Buka Island and hopefully to the semi-autonomous province of Bougainville before I return to Aboriginal Australia and then to the United States late next week.

In spite of how gentle these folks seem, from what I have read head hunting long existed here and apparently even a number of European missionaries were eaten in these islands until relatively recently, and so I guess that I am going to be right in my element! And I should have some most interesting stories to relate as long as I keep my head! So far, so good! What a life!

In love of Africa,

Brother Runoko, in a good mood and having a blast in Papua New Guinea!

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Last Notes from Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

21 October 2008

Greetings Family,

I will soon be checking out of my hotel and so this is it for now.  In just a short time I leave for the a city called Rabaul in a place called East New Britain. I don't know what to expect there but I am not the least bit afraid or apprehensive, but I have found it so pleasant here and wanted to share just a few quick observations.

In my first email from here I put, in the title, the word paradise with a question mark behind it.  I remove the question mark now and tell you why.

1.  The people are wonderful and I feel like I am treated particularly special.  They are proud Black people and I feel like I am among family.

2.  I have not heard the "n" word or the "b" word one time.

3.  I have seen no sisters (or brothers!) in tight, revealing western clothes.

4.  I have seen no weaves or artificial hair.  I have seen no one who looks like a pressing comb has been in their hair.

5.  I have seen nobody who looks like they bleached their skin.

6.  Most people are Christians but so far I have seen no images of white Jesus.

7.  No one has imposed their religious and/or cultural values on me.

8.  The people believe that they come from Africa.

9.  Nobody has asked me for anything.

10. There is a degree of humility and kindness among the people that I have rarely seen anywhere at anytime at anyplace.

That is my criteria right now for Paradise.

I love you sisters and brothers.  I am going to what is for me something akin to the ends of the earth and hope to email you from there.

Be a blessing and go Barack Obama!

In love of Africa,

Runoko Rashidi Okello

TravelwithRunoko-owner@yahoogroups.com

http://www.cwo.com/~lucumi/runoko.html

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Buka Island‏

27 October 2008

Greetings Family,

I am on Buka Island in the Autonomous Region of Bouganville, Papua New Guinea, deep, deep in the South Pacific.  I am among the most heavily melanated people that I have ever seen.  I have been among black people in Southern Sudan, Senegal, Uganda and parts of East India but I have never seen Black folks like this.  Some of these sisters and brothers are so dark that I dare say that you might not be able to see them at night!  Some of them are shiny black; others are coal black and some of them are just plain black.  These are the Bouganvilleans—the Buka—the "black-skins" and I have been with them for four days days now.  I am wantok—that means that I am family—I am one of them.  They act like they really care about me and with no pretense and no expectation of reward.  They are special.

Never been in an environment like this.  I have been on Buka Island most of the time but a couple of days ago I was taken by boat across the body of water called the Buka Passage and then by truck through the big island of Bouganville.  It is called cowboy country because people say that there is no law and order there.  Very friendly people; like we have known each other forever.  They identify with Africa more than any other place. And you should see the photos that I have taken! 

I am fine and well; with family.  Could stay in these islands indefinitely.  Am healthy and pretty fit; never nervous.  Eating local food; chewed betel nut; drank my share (with everybody else) of South Pacific beer; staying at a Black owned, kind of mom and pop hotel.  One bank in the city; two hotels in the city; one cyber cafe and that one does not work.  Extremely hot and humid; tropical climate.  A lot of flying and crawly things including the biggest most beautiful butterflies I have ever seen.  People walk around with Tupac, 50 Cent, Bob Marley and Rasta t-shirts.  Some of them know about Barack Obama and are pulling for him. 

I am in another world!  People very Black nationalistic! 

Tomorrow I return to Australia.  I go direct to Townsville, Queensland and from there to Palm Island--a former Aboriginal penal colony.  Am scheduled to meet the Aboriginal Mayor. meet brother Lex Wooton, and do a lecture. 

Will write when I can and when I have words.  Right now it is hard, even for a writer like me, to express myself.  I am just feeling it.  It is pouring rain outside.

Am having another experience of a lifetime!

In love of Africa,

Runoko Rashidi Okello

TravelwithRunoko-owner@yahoogroups.com

http://www.cwo.com/~lucumi/runoko.html

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Runoko Rashidi is a historian, research specialist, writer, world traveler, and public lecturer focusing on the African foundations of world civilizations. He is particularly drawn to the African presence in Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Islands, and has coordinated numerous historic educational group tours worldwide.

Dr. Rashidi is highly sought after for radio, television, and newspaper interviews, having been interviewed on hundreds of radio broadcasts and TV programs. He has made presentations at more than 125 colleges, universities, secondary schools, libraries, book stores, churches and community centers. On the international circuit he has lectured in over 50 countries.

Dr. Rashidi is the author of Introduction to the Study of African Classical Civilizations. He edited, along with Dr. Ivan Van Sertima, The African Presence in Early Asia, considered "the most comprehensive volume on the subject yet produced". Dr. Rashidi also authored The Global African Community: The African Presence in Asia, Australia and the South Pacific. In December 2005 Dr. Rashidi released his first text in French, A Thousand Year History of the African Presence in Asia. He is the author of the forthcoming work Black Star: The African Presence in Early Europe.

As an essayist and contributing writer, Dr. Rashidi's articles have appeared in more than seventy-five publications. His historical essays have been featured in the Journal of Civilizations Anthologies, and cover the global African presence.

Included among the notable African scholars that Runoko has worked with and been influenced by are: John Henrik Clarke, John G. Jackson, Yosef ben-Jochannan, Chancellor James Williams, Charles B. Copher, Edward Vivian Scobie, Ivan Van Sertima, Asa G. Hilliard III, Karen Ann Johnson, Obadele Williams, Charles S. Finch, James E. Brunson, Wayne B. Chandler, Legrand H. Clegg II, and Jan Carew.

As a traveler, Runoko has visited one hundred countries, colonies and overseas territories in a twelve year period beginning in 1999.

Dr. Rashidi believes that his main mission in life is to help make Africans proud of themselves, to help change the way Africa is viewed in the world and to help reunite a family of people that has been separated far too long

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The Eyes of Willie McGee

 A Tragedy of Race, Sex, and Secrets in the Jim Crow South

By Alex Heard

The Slave Ship

By Marcus Rediker

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

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Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake. She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.WashingtonPost

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Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid

By  Frank B. Wilderson, III

Wilderson, a professor, writer and filmmaker from the Midwest, presents a gripping account of his role in the downfall of South African apartheid as one of only two black Americans in the African National Congress (ANC). After marrying a South African law student, Wilderson reluctantly returns with her to South Africa in the early 1990s, where he teaches Johannesburg and Soweto students, and soon joins the military wing of the ANC. Wilderson's stinging portrait of Nelson Mandela as a petulant elder eager to accommodate his white countrymen will jolt readers who've accepted the reverential treatment usually accorded him. After the assassination of Mandela's rival, South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani, Mandela's regime deems Wilderson's public questions a threat to national security; soon, having lost his stomach for the cause, he returns to America. Wilderson has a distinct, powerful voice and a strong story that shuffles between the indignities of Johannesburg life and his early years in Minneapolis, the precocious child of academics who barely tolerate his emerging political consciousness. Wilderson's observations about love within and across the color line and cultural divides are as provocative as his politics; despite some distracting digressions, this is a riveting memoir of apartheid's last days.Publishers Weekly

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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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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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posted 20 October 2008

 

 

 

Home Black Librarians  Transitional Writings on Africa   

Related files:   African Libraries Project  Runoko Rashidi       The Black Presence in the Bible: A Selected Bibliography  Delany and Blyden  Tribute to Ivan Van Sertima  Runoko in Budapest   Niger and the National Museum   

Photos of Global African Presence  Runoko in Papua New Guinea   Runoko Rashidi Speaks in Nigeria  Those Missing Noses in Kemet Sculpture    African Genesis Media Group    Nomads of Niger

An African Gathering in Senegal