By Thomas F. DeFrantz, Anita Gonzalez
Contributors. Melissa Blanco Borelli, Daphne A. Brooks, Soyica Diggs Colbert, Thomas F. DeFrantz, Nadine George-Graves, Anita Gonzalez, Rickerby Hinds, Jason King, D. Soyini Madison, Koritha Mitchell, Tavia Nyong'o, Carl Paris, Anna B. Scott, Wendy S. Walters, Hershini Bhana Young
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The complexities of the spiderweb interest me and draw me to the figure of Anansi. Anansi was / is a god, man, sometimes woman and spider. , he is at times a trickster but at other times the one tricked. He rarely works for his food, which leads some to call him lazy. Yet he always manages to eat, which leads some to call him resourceful. In most of his tales, Anansi manages to procure food and shelter by deceiving unwitting animals and humans. And even in those tales where his plans backfire, Anansi manages to survive to play his games another day.
Some of these Africans were familiar with horses and knew the Spanish language. It was natural for them to be assigned the task of overseeing indigenous workers. Peter Stern writes that “they [blacks and Indians] were either neutral towards each other or they joined together in mutual opposition against European control. Where blacks were placed over Indians, relationships were usually antagonistic” (189). Interestingly, Afro-Mexicans also served in the militia of the Spanish viceroyalty. Ben Vinson III has an excellent book that provides extensive historical documentation of the activities of the free colored militia during the late eighteenth century.
Oprah has built her identity based in part around a narrative of her personal ancestors being Zulu despite the fact that the likelihood of an African American being Zulu is extremely slim given that few of the South African Zulu were part of the West African slave trade. Again, the narrative was more important than geography to creating the Oprah we know (or rather the Oprah she knows). The Zulu are known to be fierce warriors, fighters, and not victims. Clearly, Oprah wanted / needed that ancestry.