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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.

Talking and Talking

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I’m sure it has happened to all of us; Leaving an activist / community / mobilisation meeting, throwing our hands up, shouting out in frustration: “But, guys, here we are again, just talking”. And, let’s admit it, the amount of time we spend talking, shouting, complaining and deconstructing has not always led to action or transformation. A lot of Black talk ends up being just that; Black talk. Powerless Black Talk. I believe there is <talking> – and TALKING.

<talking> is when the audience is just participating in a verbal orgy of renditions, applying deep terms, repeating profound quotes and either intimidating each other with high-fly intellectual mysticism or sinking into a mud of matter-of-factly observations masked as an anointed oratory. <talking> is mostly promoted by Sisters and Brothers who build their self-assurance on TELLING the flock what is really up, pointing multiple fingers at EVERYONE & EVERYTHING (apart from themselves) that can be labeled reactionary and leaves the collective mind in an even darker space than when the engagement started. <talking> forces you to nod your head in serious agreement, but allows you to keep your hands in your pocket.

And then there is TALKING, whereby the verbal exchange has content of relevance, purpose of direction, engagement of new mind-space, reflection of self, provocation of being and challenge of action. Meta-consciousness of Black location and Afrikan agency. Not always the most COMFORTABLE of exchanges (as it forces you to wake up, take responsibility and change), but indeed liberating. TALKING embodies a firm awareness of limitation; that its’ role is to PREPARE for action, not pretending it is action itself. REAL TALKING is only fully completed when it results in the action it motivates.

It sure feels good to <talk> (the audience normally offers cascades of applause in response….). But if you don’t have much to TALK about, maybe it’s time to shut up and go DO something….?

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