The “Year of the Push and Pull” in the African Cultural Calendar is the first afriyear “of the diaspora (otd)” period. The diaspora is that event in our history, which has split time into two. It began when our enemies were able to divide our family and convinced some of our ancestors to stand with them against us; to help them achieve their goals. The term “Push and Pull” recognizes that the diaspora was only possible because of the actions of some of our ancestors. It shows that the diaspora started with both a push and a pull. The “Year of the Push and Pull” is the year that we arrived at the Doors of No Return. The Doors of No Return would be the places that the ancestors would forever say that they were fighting on arrival. The ancestors were fighting to stand on our foundation, to be who they were, to preserve the world they had built in their image. The diaspora did not begin because they walked through the Doors of No Return. It began because they were pushed into it and pulled through it; that is why the first year of the diaspora is called the “Year of the Push and Pull”. It is the year when our ancestors started re-building their lives.
We have lost much since the Year of the Push and Pull, but we have not lost ourselves. We can rebuild our lives with an African centre. It is still possible for us to stand on the foundation that the ancestors built. If we are going to succeed, we will have to be truthful with ourselves. We will have to remember that the diaspora could not have started without our family assisting the enemy. It was family who pushed us through the Doors. Our people have somehow found themselves at a place where family had less meaning and value than trinkets. This, we cannot forget but because they were family, we have to save all of our forgiveness for them. The enslavement and colonization of all of us should teach us that nothing should be valued above family. It should make all of us ready to stand with the ancestors and to be who we are.
That is only half of the story of how the diaspora began. The other half is that the enemy pulled us through the Doors of No Return. Then, they tried to make us believe that we would never again see home. Never again would we know our land, never again would we speak the languages of our mothers, never again would we be able to call on the ancestors. The enemy pulled hard and dragged us everywhere, but we have not forgotten who we are. We have never forgotten home and wherever we could, in the slave communities and in the quilombos, we called on the ancestors. We fought in every way not only to preserve ourselves but also to destroy the enemies.
The “Year of the Push and Pull” was the year that our struggle began. That was the year when we began again; when we were pushed by family and pulled by the enemy. We must forgive family, but we must never speak the name of the enemy. The enemy is everyone who is not us. Re-building our lives is about us. It is about what we can do for ourselves; we should not speak the enemy’s name because we are not to lift him up. We are to leave him behind and stand on our foundation. It has been 506 otd afriyears since the “Year of the Push and Pull”, we have fought and paid the price so that today we can have the greatest opportunity to re-build our lives and to re-make our culture.
If you are one of us, you are living in a special time. This is the rainbow we have been hoping for. We are free; we can re-build our lives. All we need is the strength to leave the enemy behind and the courage to pick up where the ancestors left off. We can see home again; we can speak our mother’s tongue again and we can stand on the foundation that the ancestors built.