The Compassionate Activist - a book for these times
Birthing a Book
I have been immersed in this work since 2019. Now is the time to stand back and watch it take its own place in the world. To see the book through other people's eyes is a real honour. I am deeply grateful to both Rutendo Ngara and Warren Nebe for their support and beautiful words. Their forewords position The Compassionate Activist within these times of 'many and immense challenges'.
Foreword by Rutendo Ngara, healer, philosopher and engineer
'Wholeness at a Time of Holeness': The year was 2020. Despite humanity’s quests for 2020 vision through the age of modernity, clarity of seeing instead found the world wading through murky waters in a raging storm - blindfolded. 2020 was a time of unraveling. At the hands of a microscopic sentient being, the COVID-19 virus, the world stopped in its tracks. Borders were closed, systems were shut down, economies catapulted into recession, health systems were strained, millions of sources of livelihood were lost and many of the prevailing ills of society were accentuated. The repetitive pleas of George Floyd, “I can’t breathe!”, as he was suffocated to death by a white policeman on 25 May 2020 reflected not only the modus operandi of the virus in restricting the body’s respiratory system’s ability to sustain life, but the constrictive nature of oppressive systems worldwide. “I can’t breathe!” similarly spoke to the shifts in environmental factors as climate change becomes a startling reality.
The pandemic catapulted the world into pandemonium, unearthing the collective pathologies of humanity – seen only in the dilated pupils of society. Yet even as the virus mutates into normality, wars of differing shades and timbres rage on. In its intelligence, the virus has been a catalyzing force. In its belligerence, the virus has been an illuminator. In its resilience, the virus has been an activator. To Nigerian philosopher, Bayo Akomolafe, Coronavirus is at once a Mother, a Monster and an Activist. He tells us, “The times are urgent, so let us slow down.”
During the throes of the chaos, a group of seasoned activists, scholars, artists, healers, visionaries and wisdom keepers began to gather in circle around the proverbial baobab tree, seeking to create new systems, foster new ways of working and build new paradigms for the future. In this, the Earthrise Collective braids the threads of Activism, Ancient Wisdom and Alternatives into a tapestry. As founding member of this Collective, Kabir Bavikatte, reflects, “The vision of Earthrise is one of Wholeness”. This is a Wholeness that reminds us that we are ‘a part’ and not ‘apart’ from life. This Wholeness is relational, while allowing each individual to embody their own ‘isnesses.’ This Wholeness affords each node or knot a place in the cosmic web. This Wholeness is at once a crease in the fabric of Life… and the very fabric itself. Yet this fabric is frayed at the edges. This crease has threads running bare. This vision is marred by the reality of “holeness”. Holes in our thinking. Holes in our doing. Holes in our being. Isness has long given way to an ‘othering’ proclivity. Innovativeness has long stepped aside for dwindling creativity. An apartheid of ideas - a segregative propensity - has bound us in captivity. The dimming spark of life creates shadows seen only at the dusk of an epoch.
At this time of turning we seek a common passion; we seek engaged activity; we seek an alternative activism in our present, rooted in ancient wisdom, as a feedback loop to shepherd us into the arms of a benevolent future. This is a moment that calls out to the spirit of Sankofa. It is a moment screaming for Ntu – the original real reality, the source-force and the unified field that animates Ubuntu. It is a moment calling for both outer and inner revolution.
Lucy Draper-Clarke’s work provides us such a bridge. The Compassionate Activist draws many tributaries from universal wisdoms, rooting us into the mutual duality of reality. Activism can foster meaningful engagement only if it takes time out to contemplate. It is in the stillness that action is born. It can only illuminate and shift the status quo when it delves into the shadows that merge into the night, eventually making way for the clarity of the day. In a time when inequality and lack of equity abounds, activism calls us into the realms of equanimity. We slow down into the urgency. Trans-formation, re-storation and re-generation, can only begin from within. This work- and play-book gives us new tools to create alternative fabrics of reality. It gives us new threads to weave fresh tapestries of creativity. It gives us new imaginaries to manifest emergent fractals of activity. It brings a 2020 vision of wholeness into a time of holeness.
Foreword by Warren Nebe, Founder, Drama for Life, University of the Witwatersrand
In a time of profound hurt. In a time when people are walking wounded. In a time of local, national, and global catastrophe, Lucy Draper-Clarke’s The Compassionate Activist opens a door for us to bridge an old world order; one that will surely see our demise as a human species if we do not evolve