The Bakwerirama team welcomes you to a comprehensive internet project that shall explore, promote and project all things Bakweri, and will be a cultural home for all our people regardless of differentiating characteristics (gender, age, politics, religion etc).
The web addresses for Bakwerirama are as follows:
Bakwerirama will project all things cultural, news, your business, profession, biographies et-cetera. It would deliberately avoid dwelling on those subject matters that promote rancor: politics, vendettas and negative personal agendas.
The ambition for bakwerirama is huge. Culture at its best is an internal thing, manifest in our thinking and feeling. However, recognition and survival and growth of the culture are very dependent on its external corollaries: literature, poetry, architecture, performance arts, plastic arts and today, a credible presence in cyberspace. Today, we fight for our very survival as a people. Our land is under siege. Our weakness in the face of such aggression to a large degree is attributable to the fact that we are almost invisible. Our culture has been so subsumed that strangers and visitors walk into our yard like colossi, look around and see nothing. They confidently lay down their loads and begin to dig foundations for themselves. Not that we are xenophobic, but human custom is that strangers pay tribute, in kind, respect, acknowledgment or all of the above. Then they settle down and become one of us. When strangers do not pay tribute, it is a declaration of war or a statement that they have arrived in a conquered no-man's-land, a characterization that I have heard many times before. I am not saying that we are fighting with bullets, but cultural assertiveness must be at the core of everything that we do if we are to have space in our ancestral land. Many contributors of bakwerirama are in America. One would hope that they all respect the norms and customs of their host country.
Bakwerirama is dynamic and powerful. It is not intended to be one of those anemic web sites that we see around, with nothing new for years, as if its creators went into a state of suspended animation. It is designed to be user-friendly, easy to upgrade. There are going to be brand new postings every week. There is an active comments function, that will allow our people to comment on any item about which they have an opinion, and opinions will be welcome from everybody. We urge you to present your best when you do comment, because Bakwerirama is history. We promise you that your children and grandchildren will be exploring this material, so think about how you want them to see you 40 years from now.
Bakwerirama is meant to be alive and relevant today and into the future. We are not just a museum or historical archive. History is only valuable when it lends perspective, relevance and power to our lives in 2004 and beyond.
Bakwerirama must rise to the very pinnacle of African cultural sites. Bakwerirama=excellence. That will come from using the technology in a very smart way, and also by making good, sound postings to the website. That will create other opportunities and possibilities that we shall discuss in the future.
Bakwerirama creates a launching pad for other cultural creations and activities: books, film, audio, language revival etc. There will be active and ongoing support for plays, cultural festivals, revivals etc. Culture has to be consciously nurtured and developed with one eye looking at the past for rootedness and inspiration. Bakwerirama will serve as a catalyst for that process.
Bakwerirama is personally useful to you. Feel free to email any member of the Bakwerirama team with personal announcements, graduation announcements, marriage announcements orbituaries and death announcements, births, photographs, your business announcements et-cetera. Your announcement will be posted promptly. We have always been a communal people and we shall use technology to sustain and develop those values.
Bakwerirama's language is English, unfortunate in some respects, because we are forced to approach our essence from outside in, instead of from within out. That is the consequence of the decline of the culture. Not many have the requisite mastery of the language and the culture, so a more organic approach would exclude many (including yours truly). Personally, this project is a learning tool. I am a baby as far as this culture is concerned; I only bring a specific set of skills and my confession makes it easier for others similarly ignorant to take delight in learning. English is like some kind of prosthetic device or crutch in this case. It also helps us to project the culture and to give it presence in and out of Africa, which is an important part of the work.
I acknowledge the immense contributions of the following members of the Bakwerirama team:Mola Dibussi Tande Iya Mojoko Ewusi Mola Moleke Mo-Njie
They have tirelessly worked to bring the site up to a launch-ready state. It remains a work in progress, and like many other things into which we put our hearts it will be trailblazing and of unimpeachably high quality.
My most profound gratitude goes to Mola Mbua Ndoko, who is a veritable pipeline to the wisdom of the ancestors, and whose contributions will continue to enlighten us for all time.
Mola Isaac Menyoli has kindly donated some photographs as has Mola Mbella Ndoko. We shall acknowledge all contributions.
We invite all who have skills in language, writing, culture, web design, data-base building, photography, film, music and cookery to communicate with us.
We acknowledge Auntie Kate Idowu, whose seminal cookery book is serving as the starting point on our ongoing work on Bakweri cuisine and diet.
Have fun with this dynamic cultural experience.
Emil Isume Mondoa
Photograph courtesy of finalfocus.com