Are We Suffering a Patriarchal Pathology? Is Matriarchal Medicine the Cure?

Posted on June 30, 2011 by

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Sis LeTava

SIS LeTAVA MABILIJENGO (mah-bee-lee-jayn´-goh) is a steadfast activist for the restoration of African people to the principles of matriarchal leadership, which she refers to as, “The oldest principle of governing that any people on the planet ever experienced; the first form of leadership on the planet among civilized people. . . . It is not merely females in charge; it is the divine principle of valuing femininity – life-giving, providing provisions, extending protection.”

“ . . . we aim at getting people to understand that all things that we need comes from Mother Earth —  food source, housing, safety — all provided by her for all living beings before they arrive. The same is true for us as women, for us as a people. We are a matriarchal people. We have been made into this other garbage that we see moving among us . . .”

“These are values and reality that we must pass on to our children and future generations.”

(The following link connects you to the HC Live & Direct! 2-hour interview with Sis LeTava, hosted by Brother Amenseph and Brother Mxolisi, from which this article is drawn: http://www.talkshoe.com/talkshoe/web/audioPop.jsp?episodeId=484502&cmd=apop).

“It’s difficult for us right now to wrap our minds around it because we live in a society that is patriarchal, so it sounds foreign. But the first form of leadership on the planet among civilized people was matriarchy. And it’s basically from the simple principle that everyone has a mother . . .  no matter where you start or aspire to become, you have a mother. The value system attached to that brings about a certain order.”

An honorable, genuine, natural mother loves her children divinely. That brings about a certain order!

“The universe itself is a womb from which comes all things in existence. It is a macrocosm of what goes on with us as women, our wombs and vaginal canals. It’s not so much a thing of privilege, it’s a divine responsibility. And when you deal with responsibility that means to restore order, to correct us when we’re wrong; we must have a keen self-awareness. Not just awareness of who you are as a female, but who we are as a people — representations of the oldest people on the planet. That’s a tremendous responsibility.”

Father: an analytical thinker

Sis LeTava, one of 14 siblings, was not raised in a matriarchal household but was educated, she says, “ by a father who was very much an analytical thinker and he offered that to us, that we must be educated and thinkers, and those of us who grasped it have gone on to do very well.”  In that context, she says, “we learned that you are either part of your problem or part of your solution.  Correctly identifying a problem gives you fifty percent of your solution. These are values and reality that we must pass on to our children and future generations.”

“It doesn’t take much to realize that we have a significant problem. When looking at ourselves as a people and realizing that things are out of order, you start thinking, seeking to understand what would be order. If we are out of order, what takes us out of order? What would be divine order? And it doesn’t take scratching very deeply beneath the surface to realize that there has been a grave scam pulled over on us as a people. Unfortunately we – both male and female – continue to participate and perpetuate it.”

The Black Woman’s Agenda is a book that Sis LeTava has written, inspired by the understanding that “our liberation dependsupon the liberation of our women, because enslaved women, women with such a mentality, pass it on to their children. And that’s what we have,” she asserts. “And that’s a difficult thing to hear, for men as well as women. But we need to hear it, because once we hear it we have to become responsible.”   

 “We have just as many women as men who don’t want to hear about matriarchal leadership because they don’t want to be responsible. . . . But we need to restore balance . . . be honest with ourselves and recognize that we are gravely sick; take the antidote at a larger than normal rate or dosage to get back to balance.”

The book outlines step that Black women can undertake on a daily basis to restore matriarchal principles to our lives. She is committed to giving away one-million copies of the book. (Go to www.theblackwomansagenda.com to download your free copy.)

What are the features of the patriarchal affliction?

“Too much heaviness of male privilege . . . Raising knuckle head little boys who don’t know how to do anything. They don’t participate in the house work; they become useless food eaters and the burdens of the family. They didn’t come here that way; they were made that way through male privilege. Imagine some little 12 year old kid being referred to as the man of the house or the head of the house or some crap like that; (7 years old and not even wiping his behind good yet, but he’s the man of the house).”

“The insecurity that we have programmed into our young males causes them to need to be validated. Too often that involves the prioritizing of the adult male over the needs of the children . . .  a stroking of ego that’s going to turn around and kill us all. . .  That pumped up ego is the very thing that makes the home the most dangerous place for Black women, a deadly place for Black children.”

In contrast to this “heaviness of male privilege,” Sis Mabilijengo says we need to get back to “prioritizing our children,” adding that we have “too many children not being breast fed because the women can’t get their dudes off their breast. We’ve stop breast feeding our babies and now too many of our women are dying of breast cancer.”

But matriarchy is not . . .

“On the other side of that, some people want to go to the other extreme and say maybe we should worship women. But being born with a split tail doesn’t make you worship-worthy. What we need right now is balance. We need the reverence of the female value system put back in place.”

“The Female Value System is: Empathy; Accommodation; Genuine Love – the systematic love necessary to restore ourselves as a people, not that warm and fuzzy BS. It’s love that holds you accountable, chastises and corrects you, nurtures, heals, provides for and protects. It’s correction, accountability and affection.  It’s not just the warm and fuzzy. Sometimes it’s the switch cut from the tree.”

                “When our women are well, we’ll be a better people!”

“A well developed woman is the pride of her people.”

A huge issue relative to the two proceeding statements, Sis LeTava feels, lies in the following: “We don’t get enough of who our women were! There is an imbalance of focus on our great men (scholars, political leaders, etc.) When you help our women understand definitively what blood line we come from – that’s important.” She feels that the comprehensive self-knowledge which that information can inspire and facilitate will lead to cooperative/protective/empowered sisterhoods — collective networks of guardians/guiders. Such networks and Sisterhoods would involve the pooling of resources, providing for the empowerment needed for the production and acquisition of greater provisions.  

The “better people” that we can become includes Brothers overcoming insecurity, fear or resentment relative to women having greater income than men, and “the inability of too many Brothers to see that we are on the same team; the feeling that women don’t respect them. We need to recognize, respect and pool the resources (skills, aptitudes) that each brings to the team.”

“Too many of our men fear female leadership, even see us as the enemy:  They’re afraid their women are going to treat them the way they have treated their women. But I’ve never had a man who has respected me have to worry about being on the business end of my wrath.  And I can guarantee you that neither have most of these other Brothers. It’s part of the values system that has been imposed upon us wherein things are more important than people.”  

“When Waging War Against the Oppression of Black Women Our Only Hope is to KILL GOD”

The forgoing is the long title of a relatively short book Sis LeTava has written, endeavoring to share the heart and soul of her vision with her Sisters – and her Brothers. The book is promoted as “an intellectually provocative probe into the relationship between patriarchal leadership, religion and the oppression of Black women. Not for the faint of heart; this occasionally cut-throat and shocking exploit may quake the very core of the Western colonized belief system.” Visit her web site for information on how to obtain the book: http://www.sisterletava.com/.

 

The H.E.R. Commune: A place to practice what’s being preached

“Unless you put your hands in the soil of liberation you can’t really appreciate it,” serves to introduce us to the African-centered H.E.R. Sustainable Tribal Living Campus where matriarchal leadership principles are being put to use. (H.E.R. = HONOR our Ancestors, EDUCATE our children, RESTORE our people.)  

The H.E.R. Campus is described as “a small collective of Black families in Indiana. We own our own land, grow our own food, educate our own children and strive for sustainability. We have an Ancestors Grove, outdoor alters, an outdoor sanctuary, The Sage House Self-improvement Center and a tribal Great Garden. Camping is available on our grounds.”

“We are a spiritual (but NOT religious) community that maintains a moral compass so to speak— primarily the Nguzo Saba. We don’t smoke. We don’t drink. And we’re mostly vegetarian. We’re a matriarchal community that has, loves and fosters strong men.” 

“However, this is not the place for retired revolutionaries to hang-up their boots or artsy spiritualists to sit on their cans. This is a living campus; a labor of love. We all understand that if you don’t work you don’t eat. Our goals include generational liberation and prosperity. And freedom isn’t free.” 

The H.E.R. campus is open to new members and/or day visits. For further information and details, contact H.E.R. via: http://www.sisterletava.com/  or http://directory.ic.org/22241/HER_Co_operative_Tribal_Living

*       *       *

(This riveting conversation with Sis LeTava led us to some research on so-called pre-historic African cultures — hunter-gatherer societies which proceeded patriarchal societies and were generally egalitarian in nature. A May 2011 Psychology Today article by Dr. Peter Gray provided some insights that we found quite interesting. (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201105/how-hunter-gatherers-maintained-their-egalitarian-ways-three-complementary)

In each of these societies, the dominant cultural ethos was one that emphasized individual autonomy, non-directive childrearing methods, nonviolence, sharing, cooperation and consensual decision-making. Their core value, which underlay all of the rest, was that of the equality of individuals. It meant that group decisions had to be made by consensus; hence no boss, “big man,” or chief.

The hunter-gatherer way of life  . . . apparently depended on intense cooperation and sharing, backed up by a strong egalitarian ethos; so, hunter-gatherers everywhere found ways to maintain a strong egalitarian ethos, including the following:

a)      hunter-gatherers were not passively egalitarian; they were actively so. Indeed, in the words of anthropologist Richard Lee, they were fiercely egalitarian. They would not tolerate anyone’s boasting, or putting on airs, or trying to lord it over others. Their first line of defense was ridicule. If anyone–especially if some young man–attempted to act better than others or failed to show proper humility in daily life, the rest of the group, especially the elders, would make fun of that person until proper humility was shown.

b)      hunter-gatherers suppressed the tendency to dominate and promoted egalitarian sharing and cooperation by deliberately fostering a playful attitude in essentially all of their social activities.

c)      hunter-gatherers employed a style of parenting that others have referred to as “permissive” or “indulgent,” but which I prefer to call “trusting.” They trusted infants’ and children’s instincts, and so they allowed infants to decide, for example, when to nurse or not nurse and allowed children to educate themselves through their own self-directed play and exploration. They did not physically punish children and rarely criticized them. One researcher who suggested that the moral character of hunter-gatherers comes from their kindly child-raising methods is Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, who was among the first to study the Ju/’hoansi of Africa’s Kalahari Desert. Here is what she had to say about the parenting she observed:

“Ju/’hoan children very rarely cried, probably because they had little to cry about. No child was ever yelled at or slapped or physically punished, and few were even scolded. Most never heard a discouraging word until they were approaching adolescence, and even then the reprimand, if it really was a reprimand, was delivered in a soft voice. … We are sometimes told that children who are treated so kindly become spoiled, but this is because those who hold that opinion have no idea how successful such measures can be. Free from frustration or anxiety, sunny and cooperative, the children were every parent’s dream. No culture can ever have raised better, more intelligent, more likable, more confident children.”

Without a doubt, this is not an exhaustive, definitive study, but some food for thought that might outline some elements of the “balance” Sis LeTava envisions “a larger than normal rate or dosage” of matriarchal leadership and reverence for the female value system facilitating. Ankh, Udja, Seneb!!!)

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