The Chattering Tree

It is a little known fact that the tree in the NKALA logo was inspired by one of our venerable elders (now amongst the ancestors) Baba Medahochi Kofi Ọmọwálé Zannu. Baba Medahochi was one of the early pioneers in the movement of Diaspora Africans’ reclamation of their traditional culture and spirituality. Baba Medahochi used to freely distribute books and other learning materials (typed manually on a type writer) to his students. His monthly newsletter was known as “The Chattering Tree.” The excerpt below is from Baba Medahochi’s monthly newsletter:

In many traditional Afrikan communities there were special trees under which the elders would sit and discuss the problems which the community faced. They not only discussed “problems,” but – talked about the current news of the day, both good and bad. It was a place where announcements were made, where griots and poet-singers often came to express themselves. We borrowed the phrase “The Chattering Tree” from a movie filmed in Senegambia in the year 1975 under the direction of Sate Faye, one of the few Afrikan women filmmakers. The film was called “The Peasant Letter.” We hope that this small monthly newsletter will serve our community in the same way that the thousands of “chattering trees” served our traditional communities in Afrika, a place where one can come and present his ideas, opinions and news of the day. Also, where one can come and hear the ideas and opinions of others. Remember, the “chattering trees” only served as places where people came to discuss. The trees themselves, never interrupted, never criticized and never contradicted. In like manner our monthly news letter is only a place where one can come by way of articles, letters, poems, short stories, ink drawings and news items about the “third world.”

We invite you to come and sit under NKALA’s chattering tree and learn from those who actually do it.

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