Bayo Akomolafe

In his own words:

The Africa I come from, the one I poetically and ironically identify with, is the Dark Continent – but this darkness is not the darkness of inadequacy and incompetence; it is the darkness of a mother’s womb, wherein the swoosh of blood and shadow conspire to create a new dance of life….

Across the world, there is an awakening to, and general yearning today for these indigenous stories. Thanks to shamanic arts and local voices from the fringes, trans-local communities are seeing a revitalization of the feminine, a rejuvenation of our multidimensionality and a penetration of the politics of the normal…

For me, trying to eradicate poverty is like trying to get rid of a fever. In both cases, the real culprit often escapes detection. Poverty is a parenthetical remark in a sentence that is hidden between the lines – a singular story that has come to define how we see – and this is the modern idea that we are alone. It is this narrative that has spurned our anxious constructions of prosperity, of property, of health, of dominance over the earth, of superiority, of salvation, of virtue, and of the good life. At the moment, I think we might as well be grateful for poverty (and fevers!) – for without it, we would have thought all was well…. .

And so my life-nectar Ej, myself, and friends from across the world came together with a dream of building a trans-local network of re-enchantment through disenchantment….

We called it Koru. Koru, derived the Maori of New Zealand, says ‘life is playful, reality is multiple, there are no facts…only stories – come to a field of magic!’ We ‘conceived’ Koru as a celebration of failure, as a way of tapping into our disenchantment with the industrial-academic-consumerist complex. Recognizing that the paradigmatic shift we need today are small changes in how we relate with each other, the co-creators of Koru are right now concretizing a beautiful experiment of localization….

When my children alight upon terra firma, I will gather them close and teach them a conspiracy; I will whisper to them a subversive tale under the nodding approval of many moons: I will stare into their starry eyes, and tell them that the world is intensely abundant – so utterly full of everything we need, that we do not need to compete with each other to thrive.

Excerpted from a talk at the 2013 Economics of Happiness Conference on March 16th in Byron Bay, NSW, Australia.