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I Ching for the ‘African Renaiss ance’

I Ching for the ‘African Renaissance’

ISBN 0-86970-648-9


A proof of concept version of this work was exhibited in an exhibition entitled: “Navigating the Bookscape�, curated by David Paton in 2006. It was purchased by the Rare Book Collection and University Archives of the University of Johannesburg. A handmade leather bound copy in A4 format was given to President Thabo Mbeki in 2006. First published in paperback 2006. Published by Nomadic Exploration Press P. O. Box 622 Wits Johannesburg South Africa 2050 This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/za/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 543 Howard Street, 5th Floor, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA. ISBN 0-86970-648-9


Fellow Africans, This simple object is offered in response to a call from one of us – an African - whose sincere concerns many share. His plea (in 1998) for an ‘African Renaissance’ resonated with me, as I am sure it did with many of you. From that time, until now, I have thought about many possible responses that could in some ways address the concerns expressed in his statements. I believe that it is possible to offer one small seed that may, or may not, contribute to such change. Please accept this gift as an outcome of my sincere efforts in this regard. I am painfully aware of my limitations to make any contribution whatsoever to real transformation. May many others come and do it better. If this object fails to assist in the birth process of such a great ideal, please accept my sincere apology. But if one person finds transformational power in it and applies this power in their personal or public life, it was worth the effort. Like others before me – who have wished it was possible to remain nameless when speaking of matters far beyond their personal capacity or direct influence – I too wish to be


known only as a person behind a mask. Not because I wish to conceal my identity, or am ashamed, but because it would be pretentious to present a path to ancient wisdom as if I had any part to play in its foundation and development. The real creator of the value of this work is the one who asks, studies and listens; the one who reframes old concerns in new ways; the one who is willing to let go of false necessities and formative contexts of the past; the one who applies new learning and transforms the ‘self’ in the process; the one who freely shares their own seeds for new ways to think about becoming other kinds of beings. The real creators of this work will find they are able to generate new patterns of thinking and will allow themselves to let go of patterns they relied on in the past.


If you take up the challenge to ask sincere questions –

From the moment this work was produced many have

framed in the context of a possible ‘African Renaissance’; if

asked me to supply the formulae for its application. This is a

you ask such questions about the part you can play - through

matter of great concern to me.

your actions in this regard - I assure you, you will surprise yourself, and no doubt many of us – ‘other’ Africans. I hope you will explore beyond limits. I hope you will

Have we become so limited by discourses of the past that we lack the faith in ourselves to devise various methods to interpret such a work? Have we become so programmed

find other Africans doing the same. I hope, thinking and

and structured by communicative actions – both our own and

acting in ways that make what seemed impossible, possible -

from elsewhere – that we cannot see what is there before our

both in our private and public lives - becomes a regular

already encoded eyes? Have we become blind and unable to

attribute of becoming African.

produce and interpret meaning for ourselves? Have we become so dependent on authority that we

(2006)

cannot determine the worth of a message or a method for ourselves? Do we need false priests to bless it from on-high before we can see its value? Do we need it meticulously unpacked in bite sized chunks according to a rationality that is not our own? Must everything we learn be offered with a spoon? Must it be force fed to us by another whom we blindly trust to make inclusions or exclusions on our behalf (supposedly for our benefit)? If we lack the ability to imagine how this simple object (which clearly references ancient practices and admittedly augments them in several ways) may be applied to our


actions aimed at an ‘African Renaissance’, then we also lack

assist students interested in problems related to patterns,

the capacity to bring about such transformation.

limits and the ‘correct’ order of actions. This object you hold in your hands today is not like that

I delight in the young ones who have offered many suggestions for methods to use this work. I lament that

at all. It deals with the problem of patterns or regularity in the

students ‘educated’ by formal disciplines find it impossible to

ways we think and act – that is true – but it does not have the

think outside of their disciplinary boundaries when

same goal! Allow me to say that slower and louder. IT

confronted with this object.

DOES NOT HAVE THE SAME GOAL !!!

Against my better judgement I will offer one insight -

Its goal is NOT to restore the lost order or codes of the

which is my own. I will do so by referring to my experience

past. Its goal is to entice you to go where you have not been

with a curious object when my body was considered to be “a

before – where you have not allowed yourself to go before –

boy”.

and to find (for your own sake and for the sake of all of us Like many youngsters at the time, I desired and was

given a strange multi-coloured cube. This cube consisted of

Africans) some precious insight that may help us move towards a new becoming.

many parts. I could manipulate its parts around three axes.

I considered at first, to give you a comprehensive

This action allowed the colours (on the surfaces of the parts)

bibliography – as a scholar would do – but I have decided to

to be radically re-ordered. It presented a problem to its owner.

refrain from such action because I may - through my own

The problem was to allow its order to be disturbed

blindness - exclude what you may find most precious. You

through free play, and then to restore the lost order to its

will find a wealth of information about the “I Ching” – as we

original configuration – where all the similar coloured

know it in the West. Most libraries and any web search engine

surfaces found themselves adjacent to one another.

should allow you access to a network of statements referring

Of course, you have guessed it, it was a “Rubik’s Cube”. Today there are many who have used it as a teaching tool to

to it.


actions aimed at an ‘African Renaissance’, then we also lack

assist students interested in problems related to patterns,

the capacity to bring about such transformation.

limits and the ‘correct’ order of actions. This object you hold in your hands today is not like that

I delight in the young ones who have offered many suggestions for methods to use this work. I lament that

at all. It deals with the problem of patterns or regularity in the

students ‘educated’ by formal disciplines find it impossible to

ways we think and act – that is true – but it does not have the

think outside of their disciplinary boundaries when

same goal! Allow me to say that slower and louder. IT

confronted with this object.

DOES NOT HAVE THE SAME GOAL !!!

Against my better judgement I will offer one insight -

Its goal is NOT to restore the lost order or codes of the

which is my own. I will do so by referring to my experience

past. Its goal is to entice you to go where you have not been

with a curious object when my body was considered to be “a

before – where you have not allowed yourself to go before –

boy”.

and to find (for your own sake and for the sake of all of us Like many youngsters at the time, I desired and was

given a strange multi-coloured cube. This cube consisted of

Africans) some precious insight that may help us move towards a new becoming.

many parts. I could manipulate its parts around three axes.

I considered at first, to give you a comprehensive

This action allowed the colours (on the surfaces of the parts)

bibliography – as a scholar would do – but I have decided to

to be radically re-ordered. It presented a problem to its owner.

refrain from such action because I may - through my own

The problem was to allow its order to be disturbed

blindness - exclude what you may find most precious. You

through free play, and then to restore the lost order to its

will find a wealth of information about the “I Ching” – as we

original configuration – where all the similar coloured

know it in the West. Most libraries and any web search engine

surfaces found themselves adjacent to one another.

should allow you access to a network of statements referring

Of course, you have guessed it, it was a “Rubik’s Cube”. Today there are many who have used it as a teaching tool to

to it.


If you take up the challenge to ask sincere questions –

From the moment this work was produced many have

framed in the context of a possible ‘African Renaissance’; if

asked me to supply the formulae for its application. This is a

you ask such questions about the part you can play - through

matter of great concern to me.

your actions in this regard - I assure you, you will surprise yourself, and no doubt many of us, ‘other’ Africans. I hope you will explore beyond limits. I hope you will

Have we become so limited by discourses of the past that we lack the faith in ourselves to devise various methods to interpret such a work? Have we become so programmed

find other Africans doing the same. I hope, thinking and

and structured by communicative actions – both our own and

acting in ways that make what seemed impossible, possible -

from elsewhere – that we cannot see what is there before our

both in our private and public lives - becomes a regular

already encoded eyes? Have we become blind and unable to

attribute of becoming African.

produce and interpret meaning for ourselves? Have we become so dependent on authority that we

(2006)

cannot determine the worth of a message or a method for ourselves? Do we need false priests to bless it from on-high before we can see its value? Do we need it meticulously unpacked in bite sized chunks according to a rationality that is not our own? Must everything we learn be offered with a spoon? Must it be force fed to us by another who we blindly trust to make inclusions or exclusions on our behalf (supposedly for our benefit)? If we lack the ability to imagine how this simple object (which clearly references ancient practices and admittedly augments them in several ways) may be applied to our


I Ching for the 'African Renaissance'  

Artists' Book - reply to Thabo Mbeki's African Renaissance vision.

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