Becoming a native, avoiding to stay indigenous
by Albert Christoph Reck (talking Art) – The Times of Swaziland 09.12.2001

I hestitate to call myself indigenous. Why?

I ran again into a book, this time with the title “The healing Wisdom of Africa”, written by Malidoma Patrice Somé. He is an African shaman and scholar. This book deals with nature, rituals and community. This man lives in California and is conducting courses in Americs in healing and connecting the contemporaries back to nature through rituals and this with the help of the community. He is an indigenous from Burkina Faso.

Reading this book, it just coincides with an article I recently wrote for an American art news website in San Diego. I am convinced, my article will add some light to the book mentioned above, in particular on special circumstances of live in Africa and so in Swaziland, latter mentioning, I hope, it would be from interest for the reader of Swaziland “Sunday Times”.

I am alergic, when I hear the call of the Frenchman Jean-Jaques Rousseau: “Retournez a la nature!”

Why should the Swazi return to nature, for instance, when he is already on the way to the comperative. When standing in Nature, we are calling this position on the positive, to quote the famous American writer Thomas Wolf, who said in one of his novels “there is no way back!” Modern life is forcing every one today to leave the positive and to enter into competition of the new circumstances. Entering competition, one starts to compare. But comperative is not preparing for us a home. It is not a place to stay for long; it is a passage from the positive to the superlative. That means, I am in-between, in a hovering position. Only money allows us to stay in this hovering state. Because money is a substitute value, a second hand. The rich, who has money, is not standing on the natural ground. He is buying a cow, for instance, and pays with money instead of paying with bags of corn. In this case, a rich has the possibility to balance himself with the help of money in the comperative.

Now Malidoma is offering us Westerners his African shamanistic help to guide us back from our “Second Hand” hovering into the arms of “mother” Nature, or as he discribes it in his initiation story into the arms of the Green Woman. This Green Woman is a Spirit of the ground. We are dealing with dwarfs, fairies or goblins and all the other spirits of different stories of the world. All this spirits of the ground do not affect me, because I have two legs and with them I am able to go into distance. Malidomas Green Woman is fixed to the tree in his neighbourhood. She is equal to the old tree and therefore not able to move like a human being. She has – so to say – only one leg. Her direction of movement is only forwards or backwards. She is not able to turn into a bend.

I do not need to mention, that this “Retournez a la nature” is one of the biggest threads or dangers of our time. Actually it runs into all the new sects or religions of nowadays. One of the prominent sect calls itself “New Age” and is known under the fancy name “The Rainbow People”. These earth religions are spreading nowadays like mushrooms.

Of course, the “idiot” is trying by all means to tie us to the green woman. If a human arrives there, he will only be able to move either forwards or backwards. Finally we become something angelic. Not a spirit of the ground and also not an angel. We will live from now on as a mongrel or hybrid. And if we look around, they emerge today out of every direction.

Reading the book: Healing Wisdom of Africa, every paragraph has the tendency either to move forward or to move backward. I could not find any creative turn or bend, only the return to nature. From there, from nature, comes the turn forwards to the community. As everybody might already know, my motto is: “open and free as the wind”. And the wind blows, where he likes to blow. In short, I am not happy with a forward or backward movement.

My question, after making a result is: becomes contemporary humanity healed, when only allowed to move forwards or backwards? Humanity is bound to freedom and not to a restricted movement.

Malidoma D. Somé is calling his tribe, the Dangara indigenous. He never mentioned or uses the expression native. Again I ask, why? It seems he makes a difference between  that two expressions. May be he knows or anticipates them.

To call himself so means in the case of Malidoma Somé, he is an indigenous Dangara from Burkina Faso. If he means that, I would not call him a native of Africa. The indigenous Dangara is bound to the ground of his region. He is an earthling and fixed to the positive. As a native I am on the move; and being on the move. I am in line with the spirit. I am bound to the superlative, the “most beautiful”. Before that, of course, I have to pass the comperative. Finally it means, I have to live in community by competing.