Greetings Dread people

We at the Dread team have just come, refreshed an enlightened, from watching the new documentary, '500 years later'. This film features a plethora of African intellectuals, offering potent and dignified perspectives on the transatlantic slave trade and the subsequent oppression of Afrikan peoples. With great finesse, the film directly addresses the underlying causes of the present state of African nations and peoples: European colonialism. Most importantly, it celebrates the untold civilisations out of Afrika. With stunning wit and logic, "500 years later" chants the call to a constructive Afrocentric approach to our common progress.

It is a refreshing change indeed to see our people given a voice through elegant cinematography, a presentation of the beautiful rinbow of the beauty of Afrikan peoples the world over. In addition, this documentary, '500 years later' debunks the major myths and misinformed views on slavery and the cost and implications of our current freedoms. They touch, for instance, on the faulty assumptions Western historians make about the number of Africans who perished in the transatlantic slave trade. Another figure in contention is in the area of the total numbers of Africans who were chained into slavery into the new world--they say 1o million, we say, as the documentary does, that at least that number and more have also perished in the voyage. Who's (was) counting anyway?

Perhaps the best feature of this film is its wry turning of the painful history of the African holocaust into fuel for confidence building for our people. Stand-out points included the call to seek spirituality of African origin, such as African Traditonal Religions (ATRs), African Islam or Ethiopian Christianity. With such prolific commentators as Molefi Asante, Maulana Karenga and Frances Cress Walsing, no less than a thorough Afrocentric treatment of the slave trade and of the way forward would be expected. And '500 years later' has delivered. The combination of these forceful African scholars is synthesised into an impeccable argument for the abandonment of destructive Eurocentric ideals (the continued instrument of our oppression) in favour of a contructive and innovative outlook that celebrates African history and accomplishment.

A particularly instructive aspect of this work is the deeply psychologically descriptive manner in which the condition of Blackness is described. The concept of racial sense of inferiority forced on Afrikans, the sort of 'extremism' that characterises someone who chooses to forget their own culture to adopt white civilization, and the definition of the notion of beauty are all topics touched on thoroughly even in a short and slickly packaged presentation. The celebration of Afrikan life and culture is a must see, one that reminds us that the struggle is still on!

Indeed, the struggle is given new texture and style; the panel of eminent experts all seem to unite on a common way forward, a way that gives hope in the darkness of our current situation. This philosophy, love of the African self, is so revolutionary, so bold and so simple. The negative portrayal of African people for the benefit of the former and still slave masters is clearly enunciated and reduced to emptiness, in a defiant celebration of positive African imagery. The mere fact that self-love can be so inspiring and revolutionary in this system is indicative in itself of the systematic method by which Eurocentric colonialists have sought to oppress our people. A recurring and important theme is the need to use self love to break the persisting bonds of mental slavery.

Is our ideal of destiny institutionalised in our Black constitutions? That is a question asked by a community activist in the programme in the light of the visions of James Madisson, Abrahalm Lincoln and others in their constitutions. The parallel made here may not be perfect but it suggests the concern for the future, for a desirable state of being for us and our children, and theirs. Do we as a people still go on living without a cohesive picture of our destinies? Are we still so worried about survival that we cannot look any further into the future? At any point, Star Treck showed us that the role, place and numbers of Blacks in the far-future is not exactly friendly to Black people.

All of this highlights a poignant debate that occurs within each of us Black people who have been immersed into the quagmire of Eurocentric society. Integration has overwhelmingly been the approach, with segregation or Black supremacy marking the extreme margins of Black thought. Therefore the debate is between conciliation and reproach. With so many wrongs having been committed against Afrikan people, conciliation is not an option and violent reproach is not healthy. In this light, "500 years later' gives hope for a new option, one that incorporates the affirmation of dignity into the spirit of redemption. This option, the attainment of consciousness, is unassailable by the EUrocentric forces and WILL facilitate our rise into our natural God-given glory.

Wisdom and strength for Iver
Bless up
Dread dem