How I Became Known as a Nutjob
My African family and old friends have spent years worrying about me, praying to God to release whatever hold made me suddenly passionate about black revolutionary thought. Asking among themselves whether and how to send me to a mental hospital, asking me if I was “okay.”
I was 21 years old when my boyfriend gave me the book Thomas Sankara Speaks. In my one year after finishing college, I had done enough Internet digging to come to the conclusion that Africa’s problem was the brain drain. I’m not sure if I yet knew about the blood diamond trade, but I was founding a website called Mama Afrique to sell African food to Africans all over the country. By then I was questioning everything, and looking for a solution that would allow me to go home to a country that was no longer a death sentence. That would make my parents want to go back.
I had worn my hair natural for over three years by then, but still wore braids from time to time. I was mostly a health nut, having gone vegetarian a year and a half before. I read the Autobiography of Malcolm X in high school when one of my best friends gave it to me for my birthday. Wondering now how she knew it was the perfect gift for me and how, in spite of my subsequent obsession with the film, I was not a Marxist yet at 21.
So I read Thomas Sankara Speaks and I was changed. I thought, wow, revolution has happened in Africa and it was successful. It took me many months to finish the book though. I read it only after I had secured a well-paying IT job in New York, toting it around from hedge fund to hedge fund, having clients wonder why their techie was wearing a military style jacket and reading non-IT books. Then came CHE, the heavy book, which I also toted in to work. There was a series of Cheikh Anta Diop books, Frantz Fanon and many others. Many Fridays the only thing I would use my paycheck for outside of bills was books. It took a series of such mind-blowing books, private meetings in my home with like-thinkers, marriage to a bigger nutjob and a revolutionary church to bring me to my current state of thinking.
I went through many phases of emotion while reading these books. The most memorable was rage. But there was also hope, sadness and more rage. My reaction to this rage was to find a way to solve the problem, which is what my subsequent research went into. Many of the books I read, and continue to read, established successes, illustrated what their movements did right and what they did wrong. I continue to question the origins of the Bible while strangely, believing and living its truths as much as I can. My research now focuses more on that and the Ancient Africa tie-in, the migrations and linguistic similarities; but also business and movements in contemporary Africa.
I have settled most of my rage with my faith that there will be a restoration of all oppressed people who choose to be free, that I will one day go home to live in Africa safely; with belief in the Yoruba proverb that “every suffering has an expiration date.” But you can still call me crazy if you need to.