Tag Archives: Culture

Amandla – Brother Sechaba J. Mokoena of South Africa, iba’e

Most recently I took on the commission of installing an Ancestral Community altar paying homage to beloved Arts and Cultural leaders who’ve transitioned into the Ancestral realm, all-knowing that this calling was a whole lot greater than the actual work.  Thinking from a genealogical perspective led me to the daunting task to actually research sunrise and sunset dates associated with the names located.  Eventually, another tier added to these efforts was to locate the place of birth and place of death.

Reared, educated, trained, performed, in the richness of the Bay Area’s Cultural landscape, my honing grounds is that of the African Dance and Drum Community in Oakland, California preceded by my Mother. [see nzoCALIFA dance.blog post] Mentored as a Cultural gatekeeper, now prospering these gifts into a Dance mediumship for service, I envision this opportunity for Ancestral and Communal healing, a mission shared by 2 of my Dance kinship who serve as co-commissioners for Oakland’s Life is Living Festival: African in Oakland – Dance Zone.  United we bring into focus, The Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts, celebrated Arts portal and cultural cradle place nationally renown also represents for us as “Nzo”, our house, village house and or sacred home, with a mission to elevate its vitality by intentionally honoring our beloved transitioned, treasuring their contributory gifts today.

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#nzoCALIFAncestry:  U.S. Public Records Index researched Communal Ancestor   Sechaba J Mokoena of Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa

Immediately the need is to remember our dead transitioned and restore Ancestral rites of atonement in the Community. Approaching this process like a “Spiritual Architect” coin-phrased by Pastor Yolanda Batts of Brooklyn’s Celebration Spiritual Center, I bring my tools as a Field Research Genealogist to the table, ready to shed light upon those good folks who I’ve known through my Oakland Village of African Dance, Drum, and Culture — more than just to say their names, it is important to share their stories cultivating the wealth of knowledge already invested in the Community and to encourage such exchange among each other.  From a collected roster of names collected, over 40 to date and growing, my first attempt guided me to research an International comrade who used to wail the call of Zulu warriors with songs of Freedom envisioning the unification of Africa.  As an expatriate of apartheid South Africa, I also learned that Brother Sechaba J. Mokoena was a touring member of critically acclaimed South Africa musical “Ipi N’Tombi” eventually defecting to the United States in the 80’s,  becoming a resident of the Bay Area.

#nzoCALIFAncestry: I located the record above, showing Brother Sechaba’s birthdate and as a resident of Oakland, California, North Oakland, known as the Upper Telegraph area today; he flourished as a founding member of prominent South African Cultural Groups, Zulu Spear band, and U-Zulu Dance Theatre, always keeping his vision of a United Africa. I am still locating his death date, I have an approximate year based off my recollection at the former Citicentre Dance Theatre back in 2004.

And if ever there’d be a living archive so true to date, that’d capture his views, this video documentary discovered from online research delivers!  Listen to the message and learn more about Brother Sechaba.  AMANDLA Brother Sechaba Mokoena!

Give praise to life.   ~R. Calloway, #workingmylines

Community Ancestors
“Give Praise to Life” Fall Ancestral Harvest Commemoration, Oakland, CA. @nzoCALIFA

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  • Public record accessed from Ancestry.com
  • Video published by Sonny Walebowa
  • #nzoCALIFAncestry: Continued works, documenting and preserving beloved Communal Ancestors transitioned from the Malonga Center Community legacy. Installed at Life is Living Festival and “Library Edition” Oakland Public Library

#Dancestory2013 – A Momentous Meeting in St. Louis

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#STL – My 2nd class @Black Family Life Center

#‎Dancestory2013 #‎STL– Post #MAAGI, one of the climatic moments of my Sojourn a private tour led by the illustrious Ms. Ruby Streate, Director of Dance & Education for the Katherine Dunham Centers in East St. Louis.  Upon, crossing the building’s threshold of legacy and washed by a waterfall of timeless information exchange, enlivened stories, rare artifacts and cultural treasures marked a reflective moment in my own Dance steps including my most profound trek, #‎Dance Professor/ Mentor Paula Fleury- McCullum with Jacque Burgess; and Lynn Coles & Linda Johnson at Laney College; My early #Dance nzo founded by  Dr. Halifu Osumare Everybodys Creative Arts Center whose transcendental works still thrive at The Malonga Casquelourd Center for The Arts. And Dr. Albirda Rose revolutionizing and delivering the sermon to certification chronicling Dunham legacy all along the way. The finale, US speaking fondly of her beloved Sister-kin Ms. Alicia Pierce and my Paula McCullum  – give praise to Life!

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#STL- Califa in the office of Madame Katherine Dunham [Museum]
*Ms. Dunham thank you for your breath, brilliance and rich legacy for all to inherit- in grand Salute! Ayiboboo! Ms. Streate, thank you for such a glorious tour and sharing of an incomparable Dance story that affects us all. *still reeling*

Although I made it a point to catch a good whiff of the city visiting sites like the Western Expansion Museum, took a picture in front of “the Arch” – not your average structure, it’s pretty impressive. Even saw “The Wiz” at the local Black Repertory Theatre, past through Forest Park, saw several Universities, and neighborhoods, a flourishing downtown Art District, even spent time at the Library, I knew there was so much more to appreciate – so I shall return. My last night was imbued with a KP #Brass rehearsal session, Bush Ra’s unmatched Banana pudding and Dre’s “can’t stop eating it” Routelle dip. I smiled at the symbiotic nature of it all, this #STL Sojourn was full, vibrating a high rise and wouldn’t you know it- the block experienced a slight power outage! Nevertheless, the Brass kept playin’ on. I shall meet in St. Louis once again, real soon – those folks did me #RiteOn!

A Big kinship hug and a heart-full thank you to Weedie Braimah and Andrea Peoples – Jahi, Jason, Mike, Jackie, Douns, Djembes, Bush Ra & the nephews and otha KP kin – you are the tops – Stay UP!

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On #Dancestory2013 track: Gathered surnames from kinship encounters to unearth: #Ebron of Virginia, legacy music traditions of the #Morris of New Orleans and #Peoples of Arkansas. iba’e [give praise to life] For more info about #DANCESTORY2013  [just click link]

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…My last nite in #STL in sheer Brass heaven with Kreative Pandemonium

Greetings from St. Louis #MAAGI finale

Greetings from St. Louis! 

On an amazing journey, making tracks to build lasting legacies.  Just finished co-producing a blogtalk radio show segment I spoke about last post.  This was a “Blogtalk” class project was commissioned to Track 4 participants “Genealogy as a Profession” by one our Teachers Ms. Bernice Bennett, granting us the opportunity to broadcast a show on her popular program “Ancestors Footprints”.  Launched LIVE July 10, 2013, from #‎MAAGI at the Historical Harris-Stowe State University, St. Louis, MO, listen in as Institute classmate Callie Flournoy-Riser shares her #‎genealogy journey to Cameroon with our class host Gary Franklin. Here’s the broadcast link: http://bit.ly/134oWEp and below is my Track 4 classmates.

#Dancestory- #STL - at MAAGI
Track 4 class – “Genealogy as a Profession” coordinated by Angela Walton-Raji
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#STL- Lobby Greeting at B.F.L.

Part of my #Dancestory2013 mission is to participate in cultural exchange with kinship organizations of the African Dance and Drum Community to invoke dialogue about our Family Histories, while exploring cultural connections. Through Kreative Pandemonium, I was invited to teach a Afro-Cuban Diaspora Dance/lec at the historic Better Family and Life Center led by DeBorah and Malik Ahmed. To be greeted warmly by students of the Community and to encounter the powerful artistry of Mardi Gras Indian traditions was a wonderful welcome; I along with many have have sewn a few of the pieces of this very suit by the Zulu Family of New Orleans, worn by Chief Shaka Zulu of Yellow Pocahontas, member of 200 year legacy founded by the legendary Big Chief Allison “Tootie” Montana. Mind you, every stitch counts for such a monumental task taking about a year to complete.  God Bless the Mardi Gras Indian tradition.

#STL- #Dancestory2013 - KP
#STL HOT topic 24/7 aka “

My “KP” kinship began with long time Brethren Weedie Braimah,  leading to meeting his life-partner Andrea Peoples a whirlwind of familiar hospitality and a creative force, both imbued with long-standing music traditions in their own heritage stemming from New Orleans and the infamous Temptations, respectively. Their Organization/ Band/ Family Kreative Pandemonium, so aptly named breeds a powerful movement of sound filled with deep soulful grooves, intricately woven with West African Ancestral calls, historical Jazz runs, flipped with #STL swagg all day and them some.  I was privy to some of the rehearsals and was compelled to do a jig on the spot in my little corner, because this was NOT sit down music – AND, the musicality is on HIT!

Wearing my red Fogo  2004 “Kongo Ya Bakoko” shirt in tribute to the legacy of the Ancestors, the class opened up naturally to honor St. Louis’ infamous Cultural Ambassador and treasure Ms. Katherine Dunham.  As I shared my own Dunham #Dancestory citing my Mother, Patricia Waters-Calloway whose teacher was Ms. Ruth Beckford, Dunham Biographer, toured with Ms. Dunham in 1943, celebrated 1st Lady of Oakland Dance and Professor Elendar Barnes, Founder of the Laney College Dance Department and Co-Founder of Dimensions Dance Theater, later to further ignite my own passion under the aegis of Mentor/High-school Dance teacher Paula Fleury-Mc Cullum, with a myriad of Dunham emissaries along the way.  I reflect favorable upon an fortunate opportunity to meet Ms. Dunham at San Francisco’s Festival 2000 in 1990, where as a Marketing/PR associate I was privy to accommodate her general needs and to observe a class she instructed masterfully from here chair at Laney College. Later in 2006, I’d participate in a “Living Birthday Card” choreography, honoring her 97 years on earth, presented by the Dunham Legacy Project of Northern California at Laney College. For my first class in the #STL, we started in 1st position parallel, working plies, undulations,  parallel flat back, rhythmic isolations, then onto progressions – warmed up to a sweat dancing for Palo, adding some heat with Ogun and hit a frenzy with a little Vodou-Arara ,all in dedication to them- here and beyond. I had a great time and love the energy of “da Lou” filled with generations of deep-soul Dance and Drum folks. #grateful

#Dancestory2013 - #STL
#STL- R. Califa teaches Afro Cuban Dance #STL Better Family and Life w/KP
#Dancestory2013 - #STL Drummers
#STL Drummers Led by Weedie Braimah of Kreative Pandemonium

IMG_1867I am ushered to highlight the Bay Area’s African-Ancestored #Dancestory, so inspired by the tenacious Soul-searing ground works like that of my Sis-kin Amara Tabor Smith and the talented Dance mediums of “Ed Mock-manifestations” giving us signs that “We and They” want to be heard.  In shared works and more, I too pose the question:

“How shall we preserve and archive vital information that   transcends generations, and inform these times?”

To this, I relish these thoughts:  My living Grandmother allowing me to perform data entry on her job computer at 14, being a Mac User since 1984 and my Grandfather [deceased] urging me to re-do his Family History documents on a newly purchased Mac to appease my Grandmother, knowing that I’d “hang around”.  We produced our first Family history book – #Walston 1993,  taking it next level in 1994 on the matrilineal side, lead by my Grandmother – #Coleman/Culverson.

Yet, when I think of my experience at Midwestern African-American Genealogy Institute this year in St. Louis, I think back that just a couple of months ago, my family buried my 1st cousin who was my age…Her beautiful transcendental Spirit of perseverance is my fast pass to live my life NOW, which lead to my Scholarship Award from Afrigeneas.com making it possible to attend #MAAGI.

It shall always be an indelible print upon my memory, taking our inaugural class picture, my eyes welling up in quiet pride. I shook my head, because I could see my grandfather smiling and sense Ancestors applauding for this moment was truly historical and I was a part of it–for the record. #Dancestory2013-STL

#MAAGI2013 Inaugural Class
Inaugural Class of the Midwestern African-Am     Genealogy Institute, July 2013
Harris-Stowe State University, St. Louis, Missouri

*For more information about #Dancestory2013  [just click link]

**Special thank you to Institute Founders, Directors, Coordinators, Professors and Experts. A very special thanks to Charles Brown, Jr and Angela Walston-Raji along with the tenacious works and hospitality of the St. Louis African American Genealogy Institute. Pleased to be in the esteemed kinship of Kreative Pandemonium and Better Family Life Cultural, Educational and Business Center, and Community Dancers, Instructors and Drummers.

***Hail Up: Baba Bro. Rodney Lindor of Haiti, Bokulaka, Black Repertory Theatre, 14th Street Artist Community, Sabayet Inc., Dr. David Imhotep, Baba Kenya Ajanaku, and the New African Paradigm Study Group and my roomies from the Afro-American Genealogy Historical Society of Chicago.

#Dancestory2013 – ZAPPED by Ms. Electra Price – Chief Genealogist

Photo: Siana Hristova, The Chronicle
Ms. Electra Price Oakland Bay Area Pioneer in Genealogy with nationally renown contributions to the field, specializing in African Ancestored Family Histories. She’s also a founding member of Afrigeneas.com, Founder of local African American Genealogical Society of Northern California, with 15 years of outstanding stewardship serving as a volunteer at the Family History Center housed at Oakland’s Mormon Temple.

This Sojourn would privy me to the rare sittings and cherished conversations with Eldership who are trailblazers in this burgeoning field of Genealogy; As my interest is of African Ancestored Family Histories in shared vision with Afrigeneas.com, I’d meet a founding member residing right here in Oakland- Ms. Electra Price! “Come on in here baby…” greeted with a sparkling smile and infectious candor, I am literally floating in from a soggy rainy day- grateful for my Dance-kinetworx – SHOUT OUT TO LEAH KIMBLE-PRICE [lovez you].

Needless to say in true “geek” behavior, I squealed at the site of seeing two computer screens, desks of vital information, data, album stacks, a printer, wall-lined books endless of my eyesight as I wanted to read them all up – yup this is my house, to train, to learn, to initiate! All so serene, encompassed in an atmosphere of a scholar’s lounge. And 3-4 hours later, I found a deep kinship beyond the book stacks, shared interests, and name claims – WE Oakland natives Ms. Electra and I share a deep pact with Ours, to somehow “leave the data”. And NO, I can’t begin to tell you everything as we combed decades, traveled dimensions weaving information as I fast took dictation -yet I will leave you with one of the endless tips from Ms. Electra Price to aid in your own personal journey in discovering your Family history.
TIP:
Go home get the old photos you’ve collected turn them over, label and date them i.e. who, where, when. A gold mine of information!

MORE about Ms. Electra Price: Read this article by Brenda Payton, Veteran Journalist: http://bit.ly/1cwqBIh

SUPPORT – My #Dancestory2013 Sojourn underway in preparation to attend the Midwestern African American Genealogy Institute in St. Louis, MS for continued study and development and travel to collect Family data, documents and stories from 3 states. Please review: http://www.gofundme.com/Dancestory2013

#WINNER – AfriGeneas Scholarship Award

#WINNER – AfriGeneas Scholarship Award

#Dancestory2013 NEWS: *still recovering from a natural high* – THIS EVE, I received notification of CONGRATULATIONS as the recipient of the AfriGeneas Scholarship Award Scholarship recipient covering tuition to study at the Midwestern African American Genealogy Institute (MAAGI)! Certainly the crown piece of my sojourn, as I’ll prepare to be immersed in 4 lectures a day over a 3 day period. 2013 marks the Institute’s inaugural year featuring genealogy leaders and experts specializing in African Ancestored family history research, held at Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis, Missouri. My Study track Genealogy as a Profession  will be conducted by the illustrious Angela Y. Walton-Raji, nationally renown researcher and founding member of Afrigeneas.com, where participants will focus upon strategies for teaching, lecturing, writing and taking our practice to the next level and so much more, #RiteOn. I humbly thank Afrigeneas.com, MAAGI, the one above & the “divine9” representing the jumpoff! http://www.gofundme.com/Dancestory2013

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note: Interested in tracing your roots, don’t know where to start, here’s the perfect place “the beginning” with Angela Y. Walton-Raji’s site:  http://beginninggenealogist.com/ 

#Dancestory: Algiers/New Orleans – ‘cross river ties

#Dancestory: Algiers/New Orleans - 'cross river ties

R. Califa, pictured at the historical colonial holding grounds in Algiers for Africans, before being sold to Market ‘cross river to eventually Congo Square; it also became the holding area for Cajuns dispelled from Nova Scotia; Today it remains a historical landmark, sacred space and didactic learning experience about the folks and culture of those times as it were – bearing “the names” of those African nations actually brought to port./~nzo.califa

See Her #Dancestory2013:  http://youtu.be/1nQfV3evqBI