In a letter published in SN on September 5 and written by Tacuma Ogunseye we are enjoined to reject self-hate and to return to the ancestral goddesses that we have abandoned.
He writes ‘Rejecting the African philosophy and spiritual principle of duality for a foreign Euro/Arab male supreme God is a manifestation of African self-hate in the most profound way’. He was commenting on the recent remarks by David Hinds and David Granger on the subject of Afro Guyanese self-hate.
He sees fidelity to Mami Water, Yemenja, or the Haitian transgender Baron Samedi as signs of positive cultural healing and would like to see us all, Granger included, flouncing on our heads in a trance as the new version of Little Jones gives us the rhythm.
There is no shortage of female godlets in the Afro American faiths still active in the region. Winti in neighbouring Suriname, Candomble, Voodoo and others, syncretic or purely African, testify to the absence of self-hate in countries all about us. So Ogunseye must be calling for a greater role in our public and ethnic life. As a long-time activist, he and others similarly persuaded could start seances, ceremonies and public gatherings.
The second point is about the ‘maleness’ of the God he describes as Arab. Gender or sexuality, which the term signifies, are qualities of creatures and not of their Creator. The Quran says clearly that he is the Only divinity and that he begets not. All the known goddesses have male partners and live in an anthropomorphised universe and sometimes beget issue. The fact that Mami Wattr could require your body and kill you if you fail to comply or that Baron Samedi has Mama Brigitte as spouse indicates the distance from other conceptions of godhead.
Hindu religion offers anthropomorphic deities who in two cases may have been incarnated as members of the other sex
The fact that Jehova or Allah is referred to as male in the scriptures is more of an evidence of the primacy of his role as Supreme and the requirements of human language. He is without reproductive functions.
Self-hate could clearly be shown in the confusion of worshipping ancestral Gods because they form part of our cultural heritage. As the Quran says ‘what, even though the ancestors were wrong?’
We have to look at the role and messages of these divinities and it must be said that nothing in their existence renders them worthy of worship. To my mind. The spirit that possesses a human being and puts him to dance or asks for a white hen is most likely a Jinn.
Many African activists complain about the black cultural condition. Papa Doc Duvalier in Haiti officialised Voudou and was a known practitioner. Should we, as Afro Guyanese, count on Tacuma to start ancestral works? He may remember the Afro American who was promoting Damballah the snake god here in the early seventies. Apart from him I am not aware of any other effort to do that work. Humans should adore a divinity that is Truth.