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EMPRESSES BRILLIANTLY  REPRESENTING THE NATION
Empress Marina Blake's report from the African Diaspora Conference 2012 followed by videos with Queen Mother Moses and Queen Affiong L. Affiong

REPORT ON THE AFRICA UNION DIASPORA CONFERENCE
Prepared by: Empress Marina M. Blake     May 22-30, 2012


ARRIVAL IN SOUTH AFRICA

Empress Marina and Empress June arrived in South Africa on Monday, May 21, 2012 at approximately 5:30 p.m. where they were met at the airport by Queen Mother Moses (QMM), King Azah, Prophet Jah Rodd and QMM’s son, Amazing.  They quickly headed to their hotel in Sandton, after picking up something to eat.

The Honorable Priest Budd arrived from Ghana at about 7:00 a.m. on the morning of Tuesday, May 22, 2012 and joined Empress Marina and Empress June at the hotel.

PAN AFRICAN PARLIAMENT DINNER (Tuesday, May 22, 2012)

On Tuesday night, there was a Pan African Parliament Dinner held at a hotel in Johannesburg. We were able to meet and talk to several dignitaries and representatives from various countries.  No heads of state were present at this dinner.

Empress Marina had a brief conversation with several members of the delegation from South Sudan, where they exchanged pleasantries.

We spoke with Julius Garvey, who was briefly seated at our table, along with Yaa Ashantewaa, Empress Marina, Priest Budd and Empress June.

We met John Godson (born Chikama Onyekwere in Nigeria) who moved to Poland in 1993, becoming a Polish citizen in 2001.  Mr. Godson became the First Black person to be elected to the government in Poland.  In a conversation with Empress Marina, Mr. Godson stated that the Polish people are all wonderful and that there is no racism in Poland.  Empress Marina asserted to Mr. Godson that it is the genius of the white supremacy system that it is able to cleverly masks the very thing that it promotes (racism).  Empress Marina promised to send Mr. Godson a copy of her “Letter to the Continent” and Mr. Godson, in turn, invited Empress Marina to Poland to see how wonderful the Polish people are.

Empress Marina had an intriguing conversation with Louis Olivier Bancoult, who is the Chariman of the Chagos Refugees Group.  Mr. Bancoult explained to Empress Marina that Chagos is an island located in the Indian Ocean and is part of the Island of Mauritius, a former French colony which was ceded to the British in 1810.

In 1968, Mauritius gained its independence from Britain.  However, in an act of deceit and betrayal, Britain politically severed Chagos from Mauritius, leasing Chagos to the United States, after forcibly expelling 2,000 Chagossians from their island home.  The United States has used the island of Chagos for military bases, military installations and for the launching of missiles.  The current lease expires in 2016 and is up for renewal in 2014.

The people of Mauritius and Chagos continue to fight for a return of the 2,000 Chagossian to Chagos and for recognition that Chagos is part of Mauritius.  The people of Chagos are also demanding reparations for the loss of their home from 1968 until the present.  The British government continues to resist returning Chagos to Mauritius and the Chagossian people to their home. (For more information go to:  chagosrefugeesgroup.net)

The night was topped off with a group of young people performing indigenous dance.

PAN AFRICAN PARLIAMENT

On Wednesday, May 23, 2012 Priest Budd, Empress Marina and Empress June headed to the Pan African Parliament located at the Oliver Tambo Hall in Midrand, Gauteng, South Africa, where they met up with Yaa, Queen Mother Moses (QMM), Ras Azah and QMM’s son.  The first order of business was to get “accreditation” so that we would be allowed to sit in on the session. [This was a two-day event, from May 23-24, 2012].

Dr. Julius Garvey was the Keynote Speaker at this event.  In his talk Dr. Garvey emphasized the need for unity among the African states, as well as with the Diaspora.  In making his point, Dr. Garvey quoted Kwame Nkrumah who said “Our freedom stands open to danger just as long as the independent states of Africa remain apart.  If we are to remain free…we must unite to plan for our total defense….To go it alone will limit our horizons, curtail our expectations and threaten our liberty.”  Dr. Garvey also talked about the renewed sense of Pan Africanism advanced by the late Muammar Qadafi and Abdoulay Wade, and subscribed to by many other African leaders.  He stressed the efforts being made to include the Diaspora in Africa’s re-development and again provided the AU definition of the Diaspora as “consisting of people of African origin living outside the continent, irrespective of their citizenship and nationality and who are willing to contribute to the development of the continent and the building of the African Union.”

John Godson, a Member of Parliament in Poland and Chairman of the Parliamentary Team on Africa, also delivered an address to the Pan African Parliament.  In his speech, Mr. Godson stated that 40 years ago China was at the same level with Africa.  Today, China is lending money to the world while Africa is still struggling with the same problems it had 40 years ago.

Mr. Godson said: No other person or country can solve the challenges facing Africa – only Africans.  The time for begging should be over.  Only when Africa has put its house in order , can we speak with authority, dignity and integrity and only then shall we be heard.

Mr. Godson challenged us to ask the right questions and to answer those questions honestly and then use those answers as a starting point to a greater Africa.

Our Esteemed Sister, Yaa Ashantewaa, of the Nyah Binghi House, also spoke at this event.   (Yaa was born in Jamaica but has been living in South Africa for about 17 years and is married to a South African man).  Yaa talked of the strong role to be played by the women in the Diaspora in the development of Africa.  She spoke of the possible need to bulldoze those who are impediments to the movement.  Three main points of Sister Yaa’s presentation are that (i) Africa shall rise through its women (ii) Africa shall rise through infrastructure and (iii) Africa shall rise through the Diaspora.

The President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma said that the Diaspora will be given observer status in the AU, where the Diaspora will be allotted 20 seats and must work out how those seats will be allocated throughout the Diaspora.

Specific recommendations came out of this meeting, including the recognition for (1) the granting of dual citizenship to Diasporans (2) DNA testing to establish origins of Africans in the Diaspora (3) need to have representation of the parliamentarians in the African Diaspora in the PAP and (4) the fostering of unity based on shared identities, sense of shared history and shared identities.

At the end of the session, a joint statement was issued by the Pan African Parliament and the African Parliamentarians in the Diaspora to the Heads of State and Governments.  Among other things, this statement outlined the need to develop policy frameworks that will enable the Diaspora to participate in the development of Africa, as well as a need to categorize the Diaspora

Furthermore, the MP’s of PAP and the MP’s of the African Parliamentarians have decided to establish an annual parliamentary meeting as a forum to debate in a democratic way the issues affecting the relations between Africans on the Continent and those in the Diaspora.

NOTE:                        The writer is unclear as to who, or which group, specifically comprise the

African Parliamentarians in the Diaspora.

AFRICA UNION DIASPORA CONFERENCE (Friday, May 25, 2012)

The AU Diaspora Conference convened at 9:00 a.m. on the morning of May 25, 2012 in Sandton, Johannesburg.  The conference was chaired by Mr. Boni Yayi, President of the African Union and also President of Benin.  [Prior to the commencement of the Conference, Empress Marina spoke with or greeted several Heads of State and other dignitaries, including President Mugabe of Zimbabwe; General Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of South Sudan; Ruth Pinheiro of the Sociedade Civil of Brazil; Norma Taylor Roberts, Jamaica’s High Commissioner to South Africa and Shimane Keloatswe, the Deputy High Commissioner of the Republic of Botswana.

The opening remarks were delivered by President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, who heartily welcomed all “back to [Africa] the source of civilization and humanity.”

In his remarks, President Zuma spoke of Africa as the source of civilization and humanity.  He paid homage to several luminaries such as, Marcus Garvey, Dudley Thompson, WEB duBois, Martin Luther King, Kwame Nkrumah and Nelson Mandela.  Mr. Zuma stated that women must be the centerpiece of Africa’s desired change.  He quoted Samora Machel who said, “The liberation of women is a necessity for the revolution, a guarantee of its continuity and a condition for its success.”

President Zuma spoke of his aspiration for a united and prosperous Africa, and stated that Africa working with the Diaspora will move faster to meet the Millennium Development Goals.

Several notable speeches were delivered by various countries during the conference.  Of special note are the speeches summarized below, beginning with the speech from Cuba delivered by Esteban Lazo Hernandez, Vice President of the Council of State of Cuba.

Cuba.  In his speech Mr. Hernandez paid tribute to the millions of Africans were forcibly removed from African and taken to America where they were enslaved.  He spoke of the many evils that beset the world, including hunger and diseases.  He tracked the many contributions made to Cuba by enslaved Africans and their descendants, including their participation in Cuba’s war for independence.  In recognition of the debt owed by Cuba to Africa, Mr. Hernandez outlined that there are over 5,000 Cuban professionals working in 35 countries in Africa in the fields of health, education, agriculture, fishing, construction and sports.  He spoke of the many Africans studying in Cuba and stated that over 34,000 Africans have graduated from universities in Cuba during the past 50 years.  He spoke of the literacy campaign designed by Cuba that has been implemented in 6 African countries.  He singled out Haiti as a country that needs our special attention and assistance.

Mr. Hernandez referred to “the same forces that always exploited us, and continue to try to colonize us by new methods,” without identifying any particular country or people but indicated, by tone and gesture, that we all knew who he meant.

The Cuban representative called for reparations, stating that Cuba, too, was owed a debt as it was a victim of colonialism.  He stated that Cuba would be willing to have its reparations transferred to Africa where those resources could be used in the projects discussed in the conference.

Finally, Mr. Hernandez took the opportunity to call for an end to the U.S. economic embargo which has been imposed against Cuba for the last 50 years.

Ghana. Ghana’s speech was delivered by the Hon. Muhammad Mumuni, Minister of Foreign Affairs.  The Minister spoke proudly of the establishment of the Africa Union Diaspora African Forum (“AUDAF) Mission, headquartered in Accra, Ghana at the W.E.B. DuBois Center.  The AUDAF is a nongovernmental organization, established on July 1, 2007 for the purpose of representing the Diaspora to the Africa Union, and seeking to bridge the gap between the Continent and the Diaspora through investments and other partnerships.  The AUDAF is headed by Dr. Erieka Bennett.  

The highlight of Ghana’s speech was when the Minister spoke of the “Right of Return and Indefinite Stay” for people in the Diaspora.  Under the law as presently exists, persons of African descent in the Diaspora would be entitled to (i) remain indefinitely in  Ghana (ii) enter Ghana without a visa (iii) work in Ghana either as a self-employed individual or as an employee without work permit (iv) own property and (v) subject to the laws of Ghana.  {It is to be noted that this has not yet materialized in any meaningful way}

The Minister went on to say that the Black race is the most traumatized race in the history of mankind and called for a comprehensive study on the history of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade in all its diverse ramifications.

Jamaica.  A. J. Nicholson, Minister of Foreign Affairs, delivered the address from Jamaica, in place of Jamaica’s Prime Minister, the Hon. Portia Simpson-Miller.  In his address, Mr. Nicholson called attention to the fact that the ANC was celebrating its 100-years anniversary at the same time that Jamaica was celebrating its 50 years of independence from colonial rule.  Mr. Nicholson reminded the audience of the role of the Caribbean Pan Africanists of the 1920’s in advocating for freedom for Africans on the continent.  In this vein, Mr. Nicholson pledged Jamaica’s continued support for the liberation and development of all the African states and called for greater unity between those on the Continent and those in the Diaspora.

Mr. Jean Ping, Chairman of the AU Commission and former Foreign Minister of Gabon also spoke.  [Dr. Ping was born in Gabon on November 24, 1942 to a Chinese father and a Gabonese mother.  He later studied in France and has been very active in Gabonese politics, as well as in African affairs and at the United Nations].

In his address, Mr. Ping emphasized the historic significance of the “first ever AU Diaspora Summit” and how the road to this point had been long and rocky.  Dr. Ping talked about peace and security as a prerequisite to Africa’s development and spoke of Africa’s “renaissance.” Dr. Ping also stated that the Draft Declaration was a credible and very important document to which we should commit.

Draft Declaration.  At the end of the day, a Draft Declaration was distributed, with a promised to pursue those resolutions contained in the document.  Among the resolutions to which the Draft Declaration committed itself are:  (1) To establish more formal relations with the Caribbean and Latin America (2) Create platforms for closer interaction including the continuation of Regional Consultative Conferences (3) Encourage and intensify the participation of the Diaspora in conflict prevention, management and resolution, including post-conflict reconstruction and reconciliation and disaster mitigation in Africa and the Diaspora regions (I believe that this speaks directly to the situation in Haiti); (4) Strengthen the participation of the Diaspora in the affairs of the Africa Union (5) Develop an Africa Union Diaspora Volunteer program as a framework for including the Diaspora directly in the development of the Continent; (6) Encourage the Diaspora to organize itself in regional networks that will facilitate the coordination and implementation of programs and policies (7) Support efforts by the Africa Union to expedite the process of issuing the Africa Union passport in order to develop a transnational and transcontinental identity and (8) Examine the possibility of establishing a Pan-African Secretariat in Dakar, Senegal for the Conference of Intellectuals of Africa and the Diaspora.

Five legacy projects were adopted by the conference, namely, (i) the production of a Skills Database of African Professionals in the Diaspora (ii) the establishment of the African Diaspora Volunteers Corps (iii) the African Diaspora Investment Fund and (iv) a program on the Development Marketplace for the Diaspora, as a framework for facilitating innovation and entrepreneurship among Africa and the Diaspora (v) the African Remittances Institute to facilitate the transfer of monies between Africa and the Diaspora, instead of giving those resources to Western Union.

The matter of the Diaspora as the Sixth Region was not formally adopted, as many Heads of State on the Continent are opposed to the Diaspora having equal status and rights as the other Five Regions, as the Diaspora is not intimately involved in the daily affairs of the Continent and may not be sufficiently acquainted with pertinent facts so as to make informed decisions in behalf of the Continent.

Mention was made of a Diaspora Commission which could make recommendations for consideration by the Africa Union.

Furthermore, there is a request that we further refine the definition of Diaspora, in light of the claims made by the Aborigines of Australia and the Dalits in India.  Both groups have made claims of being of African descent.

JAMAICA HIGH COMMISSION

On Saturday, May 26, 2012, Priest Budd, Empress Marina and Empress June went to the Office of the High Commission for Jamaica located in Pretoria.   We were invited to the offices by the High Commissioner, Norma Taylor Roberts, who held a small brunch for the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Senator, A.J. Nicholson.  Mr. Nicholson had traveled to South Africa to deliver Jamaica’s speech to the A.U. on behalf of Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Portia Simpson-Miller, who was unable to attend the AU Conference due to pressing matters of state.

Others from the Rastafari community also present were Nana Farika from the Nyahbinghi Mansion; her son, Ashley G. Hamilton-Taylor, who is a lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus and the son of Nana Farika; Sister Malieka from the EWF, Empress Mere Jah from the Nyahbinghi House and who lives in Benin, Sister Wumba and her husband, as well as several other Rastafari members of Jamaican parentage who live in South Africa. 
The Honorable Priest Budd had a lengthy conversation with Mr. Nicholson who provided his personal information to Priest Budd and invited Priest Budd to stay in contact with him.

While at the High Commission, Empress Marina and Empress Mere Jah engaged in a very intense discussion on the infiltration of Rastafari culture by whites.  Empress Mere Jah   was born in Guadalupe but repatriated to Benin several years ago with her husband and four children.  Empress Mere Jah has established a very successful Rastafari Village which has gained the attention of the government of Benin and for which she has been commended.

In the discussion, Empress Mere Jah told Empress Marina of a book entitled “Le Premier Rasta” written by Helene Lee, a white woman.  According to Empress Mere Jah, in the Foreword of the book, Ms. Lee stated that the Rastafari were very disappointed when they found out that their God, HIM, was a white man.  Throughout the book, Ms. Lee kept making subtle remarks tending to erode at the fact that Rastafari is a Black culture, created by Black people for Black people.

At about 5:00 p.m., we departed the Jamaican High Commission and headed to Mamelodie.

MAMELODIE, PRETORIA

On the evening of Saturday, May 26, 2012, after leaving the Office of the Jamaica High Commission, we traveled to the Haile Selassie Village in Mamelodie, Pretoria.  Queen Mother Moses (QMM) has been working with the Rastafari community in Mamelodie for many years and was instrumental in the establishment of this village.  The village sits high atop a mountain and has a breathtaking view of the city of Pretoria.

This land had been granted to the Rastafari community over twenty years ago by the King and the King has been urging Rastafari from the West to come in and help develop the land.  There is no water on the land and Priest Budd suggested to the brethren there to get a well built, as a first step to development of the land.  He told them to contact a company regarding the cost of renting a “bore hole” for the for the purpose of digging the well.

While at Mamelodie on Saturday, the King gave a heartfelt speech in which he stated unequivocally that Africa belongs to the Black man and could never belong to the white man.  The pain and feeling in his voice was evident and we were moved by his plea for us to come home.

Later on that night, Empress June and Empress Marina went to the home of Solomon Mahlangu, where they slept for the night and were guests of Mahlangu’s parents, the Chief and the Queen Mother, who lived above in a new house constructed for them by the ANC government.

Priest Budd remained at the Haile Selassie I Village with Binghi Sean, where an all-night Nyahbinghi was being held.  They slept on the floor in a tent.

During their stay at the home of Solomon Mahlangu, Empress Marina and Empress June spoke with Solomon’s mother, who clearly still felt the pain of her son’s execution by the illegitimate and evil, white South African government in 1974.  Mahlangu had been accused by the white apartheid government of killing a white police officer.  Mahlangu’s mother told the Empresses that on the day of her son’s execution, she did not know what to do.  She stated that he had suffered before dying.  However, she told us that prior to his being taken away he had told her that “the Rastafari are coming” so she shouldn’t worry.  The reports are that the neighbors were not even allowed to properly console the parents on the day of Mahlangu’s execution, as the police were stationed at the house and prohibited any visitor from staying more than 5 minutes.

The reports are that as Mahlangu was being led to the gallows, he declared “My blood will nourish the tree that will bear the fruits of freedom.  Tell my people that I love them and that they must keep fighting – AMANDLA.”

Empress Marina and Empress June also interviewed three other neighbors, while staying at the home of Solomon Mahlangu.  During that interview, the Empresses asked the women why they did not wear their traditional clothes, to which they answered that “they did not know how to sew.”  The Empresses then told the women about the Black struggle in the West and African pride. One woman stated that the white government of South Africa had wiped out that type of African pride from among them, basically forcing them to adopt European culture.  Most surprising, however, was the fact that the women did not have much memory of their past, prior to the arrival of the white man in South Africa.  In fact, they had been told by the whites in South Africa that they the Blacks were not originally from South Africa but from Central Africa where they wandered down to South Africa.  (I suppose the whites tell this story so as to legitimate their presence in South Africa or, at least, to convince the Blacks that Black people have no superior claim to the land as they too migrated to South Africa in the same way as whites.)

Empress Marina later learned in a conversation with an elder Jamaican man who has lived in South Africa for many years that to wear African clothes in South Africa on a regular basis would be viewed as a statement of rebellion and a confrontation of the system. (Can you imagine?!!!!)  Moreover, it would disqualify an individual from many opportunities, including jobs and housing.

On Sunday, May 27, 2012, we returned to the Haile Selassie I Village in Mamelodie, where many had assembled for a reasoning.  The reasoning was chaired by Ras Gideon.  During this reasoning, Nana Farika spoke, as did Empress Mere Jah, Queen Mother Moses, Empress Marina and Priest Budd.  The Hon. Priest Budd and Binghi Sean were on the drums, as part of the Nyahbinghi band.

There seemed to have been a lot of animosity from several ones directed at Bobo Shanti.  For one, in a private conversation, a brethren spoke of Bobo Shanti as “wearing woman’s clothes.”  Empress Marina told him that Robe and Turban are indigenously Africa and that Bobo Shanti did not invent it.  The Empress further pointed him to the fact of the various tribes throughout the Continent where the men wear robes and turbans.

During the reasoning, an Empress stood up and spoke harshly of the 21-day principle.  As she went on, her voice became louder and angrier.  We could not understand it, especially that she is not a Bobo Shanti and is not living the 21-day principle.  We did not have the opportunity to offer a rebuttal, as the time did not permit and the moderator guided the reasoning in another direction.

Teckla, a brethren who started a South African version of Rastafari and who identifies himself as a “Bantu Rastafari” also spoke.  He stated that he was a polygamist, and he made no apologies for it because, as he says, it was not about sex.  He spoke forcefully, asking that “ the Christians be driven out of Rastafari.”  This brethren is highly intelligent, articulate and charismatic and asked that the Rastafari in the West please come back to South Africa and “decolonize” the minds of the Rasses in South Africa who believe that they cannot act independently, on their own, but must await instructions from Jamaica.   Teckla found this very insulting and offensive because, as he stated, many of the practices of Rastafari are Western practices and not African in nature.   The thrust of Tecla’s argument appears to be that we in the West need to have respect for African cultures, most of which predate the Western version of Rastafari.    We must, therefore, find a way to have a workable fusion between the two.

Sister Nonhlanhla also spoke.  She expressed disappointment and some anger that nothing had materialized between the Empresses in the West and those in South Africa since our visit in March 2010.  She spoke of the financial needs of the sisters in South Africa and it was clearly evident that most ones on the Continent are looking to us in the West for financial assistance, as well as partnership opportunities.  Empress Marina told Sister Nonhlanhla that it was unlikely that anyone in the West would make any financial investment in any project where no proper, written business proposal had been submitted for review and consideration.

At the conclusion of the reasoning, personal information and e-mail addresses were exchanged.

BOTSWANA

On Tuesday, May 29, 2012, Priest Budd, Ras Jabulani, Empress Marina, Empress June, Queen Mother Moses (QMM) and QMM’s son, the “Amazin Papa G” embarked on a 5-hour drive to Botswana.  The purpose of the trod was to meet the certain Rasses at the University of Botswana where a conference was being held for the purpose of responding to summarizing what took place at the AU Diaspora Conference, as well as to discuss Empress Marina’s “Letter to the Continent.”  Our group was well received by those in Botswana with much excitement, joy and love.

The Welcoming remarks were delivered by Sister Yashimabet TafariAfter, after which  QMM read from her speech delivered to the Global African Diaspora Summit Pre-Summit Consultation Meeting on May 17, 2012 in which she acknowledged H.I.M. as the Father of African Unity and Co-founder of the OAU.  QMM’s son also gave a presentation and Empress Marina highlighted some of the major points in her Letter to the Continent.  Several speakers then followed up with comments, all of which were positive.

Among the additional speakers were the Hon. Priest Budd who stated that he was impressed by the group and their quest for education.  He applauded their efforts to work together in unity, despite any differences in Mansions.  Ras Jabulani also spoke of his more than 30 years living in Southern Africa – from South Africa and Botswana to Zimbabwe –  after leaving Jamaica so many years ago.  Ras Jabulani stated that party politics is an even greater threat to Black unity than tribal, ethnic or religious differences, as party politics divide the very family unit.  Divide and Fool, is how Ras Jabulani puts it.

After about three hours in Botswana, we drove back to South Africa that night.

RASTAFARI DISCUSSION

During the “Closed Door” session of the May 25th AU Diaspora Conference, the Rastafari in attendance convened for an informal meeting.  Among the topics discussed were:

(1)        Whites living on the land Grant in Shashamane, which land was granted to Black people.  Ethiopian government has had to remind Rastafari of this fact, especially that Rastafari culture now includes whites;

(2)        Threat to Rastafari from non-Blacks, especially whites who are seeking to assume a leadership role within Rastafari culture;

(3)        The definition of Diaspora must be expanded to include those who have repatriated to Africa from the Diaspora.  Binghi Sean stated that it was his opinion that once a person repatriated, they should no longer want to be considered “Diasporan” as they were now living on the Continent and Diaspora means living out of the Continent.  [The concern remains, however, that even those who have repatriated are not treated like the indigenous people but are considered “foreigners,” thus they are caught in this rather peculiar situation where they are neither Diasporan nor African.]

(4)        The situation of the Australian Aborigines and the Dalits of India who are claiming their African heritage and want to be considered part of the Diaspora.

(5)        The fact that repatriation in Liberia is often used as a point of reference to demonstrate the difficulties involved in repatriation.  Those Blacks from the West who repatriated to Liberia have tended to be domineering toward the native Liberians and the situation between the two groups has become very acrimonious over the years.  Some argued that the Liberian situation is not a good example, as those who repatriated to Liberia under the “Back to Africa” Movement, were not Africa conscious individuals and, therefore, did not have the mind-set necessary to unite with the native Liberians in a mutually beneficial way.

Ras Azah – a very articulate and intelligent South African Rastafari brethren – stated that we, in the Diaspora, must come home with a heart of respect, humility and unity, open to the cultures of Africa, rather than with the intent to “colonize” our brothers and sisters on the Continent, by imposing our views.

(6)        DNA – Citizenship based on DNA testing.  Best to trace DNA through father’s line, says Nana Farika.

This reasoning proved very enlightening.

All in all, we had a great fellowship with our brothers and sisters from all Mansions, both in South Africa and Botswana.  There was lots of love, sharing, caring, showing of respect and appreciation for the work that each and everyone was doing for the advancement of the Black race.  It was a great feeling to be present for the First Ever AU Diaspora Conference and there was a general feeling of wellbeing and a sense of “belonging” that we all felt with each other.

The writer can report that she “felt a seismic shift in the moral universe”, as she witnessed the re-uniting of the Black family.

SPECIAL THANKS

Special thanks to Yaa Ashantewaa who worked continuously to ensure that we had proper certification to get into each conference and for orchestrating our movements between the different venues.  Yaa never stopped looking out for us, and would call frequently to confirm that we were on schedule for our next event.  Yaa also took personal responsibility for overseeing the care of Dr. Leonard Jeffries and Dr. Julius Garvey.

Special thanks also to Queen Mother Moses who did all the planning and coordination for the Conference at the University of Botswana, as well as the events at the Haile Selassie I Village at Mamelodi for both Saturday and Sunday. This tireless soldier of Rastafari is also responsible for several ones attending the Conference.   Shout out also to QMM’s son, as a young Ras representing the youths in the Diaspora.

Special thanks also to the Hon. Priest Budd who was constantly being called upon to drive ones and ones here and there, and for keeping his cool, even at times when his efforts seemed unappreciated and he was being treated like a “chauffeur.”  Give thanks for your patience and care, my Lord.   We also want to thank you for engaging the many diplomats and representatives in conversation and for advancing the interest of Rastafari

Special thanks to all attendees from the Diaspora for their contribution in attending this historic Conference.

DEPARTURE

On Monday, May 28, 2012, Empress Mere Jah departed South Africa for Benin.

On Tuesday, May 29, 2012, Binghi Sean departed South Africa for the U.S.

On Wednesday, May 30, 2012, Empress Marina, Empress June, QMM and her son

departed South Africa for the United States.

On Thursday, May 31, 2012, Nana Farika and her son departed South Africa for the U.S.

On Friday, June 1, 2012, the Hon. Priest Budd departed South Africa for Ghana.

THIS REPORT IS PREPARED AS A COURTESY --  (June 16, 2012)

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