By Mwatabu S. Okantah

I was in African airspace. Africa. I was seated aboard a Ghana Airways jet bound for Dakar, Senegal. I had begun my journey in Nigeria. Actually, it had begun in South Carolina, in Charleston, in Geechee country, in the Africa kidnapped inside a wandering people's lore. I had to find Africa on American shores. If I could not find, and see Africa in myself, in the America a held hostage people created, it would never have meaning in my personal life. Only then could I truly know, and make peace with the collective who we have become as a distinct New World people. Approximately two weeks prior to leaving for West Africa, I began my pilgrimage in the black belt, in the low country along the South Carolina coast.

By Mwatabu S. Okantah

The Most High is truly wonder-filled. It appears the Rastafari Movement is sweeping West Africa by storm. Even in French-speaking, Muslim Senegal, I found that Rastafari is making significant inroads. Ultimately, reggae music's reception in Africa did not surprise me in that the Rastafarian Movement is so Africa centered. In some ways, it is ironic that it is the Rastas who have kept the name and teachings of Marcus Garvey alive, given his early reservations and disparaging remarks about the early converts to what is now commonly accepted as the "revelation of Rastafari." Even though remnants of the Universal Negro Improvement Association(UNIA) still exist, it is the Rastas who have spread Garvey's redemption message, not only throughout the Diaspora, but, in Africa as well.

By Mwatabu S. Okantah

Healing is work, not gambling. It is the work of inspiration, not manipulation. If we the healers are to do the work of helping bring our whole people together again, we need to know such work is the work of a com- munity. It cannot be done by an individual. It should not depend on people who do not understand the healing voca- tion....The work of healing is work for inspirers working long and steadily in a group that grows over generations, until there are inspirers, healers wherever our people are scattered, able to bring us together again. -- Ayi Kwei Armah

By Mwatabu S. Okantah

I understand, now, why Langston Hughes titled one of his autobiographies, " I Wonder As I Wander." The wondering and the wandering began in my life at about the same time I discovered my affinity for the work of Hughes, and several other black writers: Zora Neale Hurston, Aime Cesaire, Gwendolyn Brooks, Leon Damas, Lance Jeffers and Toni Morrison. I did not realize then that this wondering and wandering that began in some distant place in my mind would lead me to my own cultural heritage in West Africa. I did not realize then that there was relief to be found waiting inside the culture, that there was peace to still the tension; self-knowledge to embrace the alienation.

By Raliat Oluyemisi Sunmonu

It was supposed to be the simplest of plans: get in, do what you want to do and get out. Piece of cake. Only it isn't, of course.

I always knew what I wanted to do: come to America, gain as much knowledge and expertise on computer technology and its applications, then go back Home and put that knowledge to good use and in the process, earn my country's undying gratitude and admiration (naturally). I scoffed at people who'd been abroad for decades. I couldn't understand what was so difficult about my plan. If it wasn't working out for them, they weren't trying hard enough, I concluded with an arrogance matched only by my inexperience.

By Raliat Oluyemisi Sunmonu

To borrow a line from the band Queen: "Another one bites the dust. And another one goes and another one goes..." This is the refrain that thrums in my brain every time I learn about a new patent that will potentially "play a key role in our lives."

By Raliat Oluyemisi Sunmonu

Nigeria may be home to more than 200 different ethnic groups, everyday may bring a new religious/ethnic strife and it may be next to impossible to find two Nigerians from different parts of the country who agree on any political point, but if there is one thing that unites us all, it's what is euphemistically called "The Nigerian Mentality" or TNM.

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