Author Rev. Khandi Konte-Bey Paasewe has little coming to those expecting eloquent cowardice in her writing. She has living experience that polygyny is central to African peoples' rise away from life destroying Western existence. As a spiritual counselor and straight talking woman of our times, there is hardly a stone left unturned in identifying solutions. Throughout the 1970s to the present, many of us Africans born in the USA have had to forthrightly take the battle to define ourselves to the oppressing agencies, or conform. My Sister, as she had long ago, back when we met in the place we call "filthydelfia", hasn't given up ground.
What the reader receives is organic, and not a siphoned off replica of anything America sanctions. Khandi, an uncompromising polygynist, has advocated what has been to generations in the US a natural holding on to Africa. An Africa, and particularly West African societies, that prior to European domination had one man sharing life with more than one wife. Indeed today, it is not uncommon to meet, for example, Nigerians that are sons and daughters of a this social unit, a man and as many as seven wives. In the 21st century, forces of capitalism, Islam, Christianity, enforced European folkways and just plain hatred of African people are arrayed against what is ancient. Yet worldwide, the destruction of African family relations resulting in poverty of pocket and soul have not kept tradition from spreading.
The book the reader is holding is a departure from established works on the who, what, where and why of African women and men's social lives, indeed spiritual lives, in America and beyond. Humor and it's cousin, flinty criticism- glancing and roundhouse punches to the gut of almost anyone questioning Khandi 's revelations shouldn't be feared, but felt and then be immersed into. From the courage to share comes knowledge.
This, until now, unheard call to polygyny by Khandi is a collected definition of her life as a polygynous woman, of the trials and tribulations of husbands, "co-sistas" and the society and economy of imperious Americans declaring the life choice illegal. Drawing upon intellects of mainly the last 50 years, but indeed some from the last 50 decades, Khandi brings fresh focus to the oral guidance of the aunts, mothers and friends belonging to a people liberating themselves. She dares to bring her own experiences to the light of day. Explorations into the last three decades of African polygyny in the face of family destruction under Nixon through Bush policies gives insight which can be gotten nowhere else. In any other case, the 2 million un-natural deaths since 1960 of Africans in America would be called what it is: genocide. Can anyone ask why the entity is known as "AmeriKKKa"?
The author has been a polygynous co-sista since 1974 and throughout the essays and personal accounts constantly derides the myth that African people are involved in polygyny to oppress one another, for gain in the number or partners or variety of intimate experiences. The spotlight that many people of all races have about African people and their tradition is taken away from racist myths regarding the African body's reproductive organs and bedrooms. Khandi points out that the genetic fertility and cultural longevity of African people in the US and globally depends on this seminal tradition. Researched with care and balanced by her own unapologetic stand on the issues of self determination, dignity of African women and love of African men, Khandi's vibrant words, page after page, bring forth weapons of timely sharpness.
As the reader makes the journey into an earnest celebration and offering, Rev. Khandi Konte-Bey Paasewe satisfies with a voice of vigilance, heard on the fog and windswept mountain pass. The valley below leads to liberation.
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