About Author

Baba Buntu is an Activist Scholar and Founding Director of eBukhosini Solutions; a community-based company in Johannesburg, specializing in Afrikan-Centered Education. As a Pan-Afrikan educator, writer, mentor and practitioner, Baba Buntu has more than 30 years of experience in conceptualizing and contributing to programs on social development, innovative entrepreneurship and cultural empowerment. He has founded a number of community interventions based on practical approaches to Black Consciousness and decolonial methods. With experience from working engagements in Afrika, the Caribbean and Europe, Buntu’s passion lies within people-centred development for practical empowerment of Afrikan youth, families and communities. He holds a Doctoral and a Master Degree in Philosophy of Education from UNISA.

From Boys to Men

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Let me just level for a minute, gotta get this off my chest; I mentor a lot of young Warriors and I feel blessed beyond words to be given the trust, insight and openness from young Souljash. Trust me, I know it its not easy to give someone full-view of your inner being. And the reason I mentor is not that I think I know everything, I just think it is an OBLIGATION for ANY Black man over 30 to reach out and pull the next man up. But, Im very concerned about this: THE ABILITY TO STAND – THE WILLINGNESS TO GO ALL THE WAY – THE STUBBORNNESS TO CHOSE STRENGTH WHEN WEAKNESS SEEMS TO BE THE ONLY OPTION. A lot of young Black men work up to a certain point and then fall. And, often, they fall deep.

I know some of my mentees feel I’m driving them too hard. That I expect too much, that I “break” their comfort zones, expose them and confront in ways that sometimes are uncomfortable. And I don’t apologise for it. When life is hard, you need to be harder. I would disrespect the whole universe when I see the great potential in a young warrior, but lower the standards just because he does not believe in himself. We are under siege. Our land is taken. Our minds are corrupted. The powers of world as we know it has a plan for the next 1000 years – and we feature nowhere in it, apart from continuing to be the bottom layer. We simply have no time to walk slowly. We should be thorough, but we must know that each minute count. That’s why I push.

Black man, you have a LOT to deal with. Firstly, your footprint of excellence on this planet has been wiped out. Secondly, you are explicitly told that you will never amount to anything. Thirdly, you get knocked out many of the times you attempt to rise. The biggest problem is that you then develop a place in your mind where you accept that you cannot really amount to greatness. And now THIS becomes the engine for your machinery. So you keep approaching life with only 10% of your potential strength, because you BELIVE that’s all you can do. Of course you are ANGRY – you have all the right in the world to be – but the big problem is that you allow your anger to eat you and neutralise everyone around you. That’s exactly what White Supremacy had in store for you….

Your sense of being becomes minimised to a diploma, a job title or a paycheck. A marriage (that might be on the verge of breaking), a child (who you might not always get to develop the relationship you had intended with), a house, a car – or some shallow feat that you have to cling to with clingy hands. You try and try and try. And each time the world reminds you that you are a failure, you find your resistance becoming weaker. Until you finally give in. And give the world what it seems to want: A clown who says he is fine, desperately tries to fit in and with an inner being ravaged by war; a clownery you will never admit, compromises you will never acknowledge and an inner war you have no language to articulate.

A big chunk of Black Masculinity is to encounter all that it is NOT. To confront the notions of being “nothing”, of shame, of guilt, of being judged, of not living up to what is expected, of questioning yourself until your mind almost explodes – and still conclude that it is probably just you who is “too weak”. And the circle of negativity starts over. THIS is where I need us all to have tools, mechanisms, solutions – not to just “overcome” but to COME OVER, CONQUER and EXPAND.

Black man, I need you to wake up! I need you out in the battlefield. I need you to process and heal all these wounds that history so unfairly has put on you. I need you to fight to your last drop of blood to do more than just surviving. Because you were never meant for mediocre half-life. You carry the DNA of ultimate origin of this world. In you is the blueprint for greatness. The world started WITH you and can only rise again THROUGH you. Accept that life is hard. But be VERY intolerant to every message that attempts to internalize itself into you- convincing you that you cannot stand up and arise.

I cannot but continue to push, to kick, to expect and to “break” my mentees. In loyalty to Mama Afrika, our Mothers, our Fathers, our Queens and our Children – I will be hard on myself and on every other Afrikan in my midst. Anything else is a defeat we can NOT afford. Rise with me y’all!

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