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How I Learned the Power of Pussy Prayer

Pussy prayer is how we heal the wounds of sexual trauma. One woman's journey from hurt to acceptance.

“I’m sorry Ms. Jackson, I am forreal…” booms from Ronald’s country home when I arrive to his house. I am 14. It is the family reunion weekend. I tell him that I’m coming by to spend time together before the family gathering later in the evening.


I lied. I didn’t come to bond over “what I’ve done since the last reunion” stories. I am coming to his house because I want my pussy back.

Ronald wore a white tank-top, denim shorts, with a gold-plated dog chain around his neck. For an hour, he smiled and laughed. He asked casual questions about my life while I stared blankly at the silver knife in the kitchen.

This is how it should have happened: I tell him how he used to be my favorite cousin before he molested me. I raise my hand, high above my head, and smack him. I scream until empty of pain, about how I can still feel his fingers pressing into my 7-year-old body that Thanksgiving.

I’ll be free. I’ll have my pussy back.

Since Ronald, I’ve detached myself from my pussy. When I ran away at 12, I exchanged it for places to stay. When I felt suicidal, I exchanged it for late-night embraces to feel loved. When I needed safety, I exchanged it to have men with big sex drives and bigger guns. Before I learned about periods, I learned that pussy is a tool. Commodity. Trade.

A year later, it is an August summer day, and people are arriving to my aunt’s house for the annual family reunion. My aunts, uncles, and cousins, exchange hugs, unload platters of soul food, and talk in their Virginian drawl.

“Hey cuz,” someone says, gravel-voiced.

“Hey Ronald,” I respond flatly.

“It’s been a while, cousin, how you holding up?”

He reaches for an embrace, and as this is a joyous occasion of fish frys, line dancing, and generational tales—there is no space for the truth. He smells of musk and sweat.

“You miss me?” he asks. I smirk, and ease from his grasp.

We are living as though we never touched. The truth is becoming smaller, further backwards in time; my body is growing larger, forward in time.

A high school boyfriend reminded me that I never had an orgasm: “are you comfortable?” he asked. My legs wrapped tense around him, face scrunched between moaning and melancholy. My back arched from the bed, not in a curved stretch of ecstasy, but a stretch of skepticism. How could I trust someone enough to moan, fully from within? Had I ever let my back relax and feel the cool silk of bedroom sheets?

“Yes,” I shook my head and loosened the grip of my legs. “I’m comfortable.”

I honestly never considered how comfortable I should feel during sex.

The next family reunion, we are driving through the countryside of Suffolk to the hotel, when Ronald’s mother shamefully announces, “Ronald is locked up.”

The family concern springs into action, “What? What happened? How long is his sentence?”

“I don’t know what my son got himself into,” she says as she turns into the hotel parking lot.

“We got to pray for him, that’s what family has to do,” another aunt says. I snuff at the idea of prayer for Ronald. I cross my legs and fold into myself.

When we arrive, the family packs the hotel entrance, drinking coolers and laughing with matching blue shirts that read – “Wilson Family Reunion - 45th Anniversary.”

My older brother is home watching TV when I come home from school. I drop my bags, pour a glass of fruit-punch and sit next to him.

“You remember that time you caught me having sex in the backyard?”

He cuts me a weary eye. “Is that what you were doing?”

“That’s why I was bleeding in the bathroom when I came in the house,”

“I thought that was your period.”

“No,” I laugh. “I shouldn’t have done that.”

“Was it with that guy that come here that morning? How old was he?”

“19.”

He counts the years. “He should have gone to jail.”

“Yeah,” I sigh. “I’ve been meaning to tell mama this,”

He looks towards me, finger hovering on the remote. “What?”

“Ronald used to touch me.”

Silence falls. The TV channel never changes.

It has been years, and Ronald is locked up—that’s the initial reason some people feel like there’s nothing to be done about the molestation. We’re adults. It’s over. You’ve went from clear lip gloss to burgundy lipstick, you’ve been a woman for a long time, they insinuate. But, my pussy remembers. I remember. Molestation is momentary, but it’s effects are monumental. As we learn the pain of fire, our bodies learn the pain of people. We remember when we are touched—by God or by the devil.

I’m walking to my evening university class, when I receive the notification. “Ronald Wilson sent you a friend request.”

I accept.

Nights later, I light three candles, play a vinyl record, and get undressed. I sit naked on the floor with a mirror in front of me. I look deeply at my body: my full breasts, the curve of my womb, acquired scars, and the brown-pink colors of my labia. I wonder how my pussy feels about itself, so I listen to it.

About an hour into meditation, a sense of beauty flushes over me. It is gold and as warm as hands near a crackling fire. Within myself, I can feel past partners. In silence, I feel the spirit of them.

I am compelled to talk to my womb:

“I pray for the healing, transformational and creative power of you. I pray that we stay aligned with the moon. I pray that we are healed and that all energy that enters and exits you is cleansed and given life. I’m sorry for hurting you. I love you.”

This is the first time I don’t think of my pussy as a penetrable hole, but as a black hole. Pussy prayer is less about sex and more about what we use for sex: passion, energy, creativity, and life. Pussy prayer is a way to honor one of human beings’ closest ways to the Ether—where before life and afterlife rest. Pussy is a portal to God. As we worship the Creator, we worship where the Creator sends creations through.

It is about midnight, when we fall onto burgundy sheets, bodies sweaty and ablaze with each other’s vibration. My lipstick is red now, and this is the man who my back relaxes for. Sometimes, we pray before sex. We say affirmations during sex. We do rituals after sex: we lay under each other’s noses, softly rub our toes, make finger-shapes on each other’s chest.

He kisses my forehead and places his hand on my womb.

“During sex, do you know where we traveled to?” I look up at him.

“No, but I was there with you.”

My pussy clenches—and something finally releases.

Fire Angelou is a Black-American writer from Baltimore, MD. She is the editor-in-chief of Daughters of The Diaspora where she covers arts, culture, Black Consciousness, The African Diaspora, and womanhood. Follow her @fireangelou

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Image courtesy of 'The Spread'

'The Spread' Is the Sex-Positive Kenyan Podcast Offering a Safe Space for Women and LGBTQIA+ Issues

'The Spread' is the podcast dedicated to "decolonizing" the way Africans talk about sex and sexuality, say it's creator Karen Kaz Lucas.

Karen Kaz Lucas is the revolutionary brainchild behind Africa's best-known sex positive podcast, The Spread. Three years in, the 52 podcast episodes, covering a range of diverse topics including: The Male-Female Pleasure Gap, Sex positive parenting, LGBTQIA+ issues, Kink, Reproductive Rights, and Porn vs. Reality, has listeners ranging from 6,000 to 21,000 and episode on SoundCloud.

Recently, The Spread had its first major event TheSpreadFest, a day-long event attracting over 600 people with diverse panels, workshops and more. It's been hailed as a truly safe and inclusive space for people of all sexual identities. Okayafrica contributor, Ciku Kimeria speaks to The Spread creator Kaz on her journey to decolonize sexuality, her motivation, and her hopes for the continent relating to matters of sex and sexuality.

Read the conversation below.

Karen Kaz LucasImage courtesy of 'The Spread'

What made you start The Spread podcast?

It was to address the key gaps in discussions around sex and sexuality and to create a safe space to discuss them. Younger people were either learning about sex from porn or on the flip side from a religious standpoint or the education system, where the focus is on the risks of engaging in sex (teen pregnancy, STIs etc). As such they were either getting information from a fear-based system, shame-based system or porn that has very little to do with real life sexual situations and intimacy. I wanted to create a safe space where people could talk about all issues related to sexuality but in an open, accepting and enlightening way. For me, this is an informal form of sex education that allows people to explore their sexuality from an unbiased perspective—no judgement, no shaming.

What's the reception been like so far?

The reception has been overwhelmingly positive. I had no idea that the podcast would grow and be as successful as it is now. People are hungry to meet similar people and have discussions without judgement. Of course, there are also people who react negatively to my work and say that this is a result of "Western influence." To those people, I say that they should know that the majority of my work is focused on decolonizing sexuality.

Great transition. I first saw the term "decolonizing sexuality" in your Instagram bio. What exactly does that mean?

Prior to Western intrusion, we already had our own sexual culture. I'm trying to remind people that certain things we embrace as "African" and defend when it comes to sex and sexuality, are elements that came to us through religion, Westernized education etc. The shame associated with sex and sexuality on the continent are remnants of Western teachings.

Prior to colonization many ethnic groups had religious healers who were neither considered male nor female but were gender fluid or intersex. There were ethnic groups that didn't base gender on anatomy but on energy. Gender fluidity on the continent was observed even more than you would find in the most liberal country right now. For some, you could physically have male features but possess female energy and live as a woman. Some people worshipped androgynous or intersex deities and believed that the perfect human being is both male and female. Certain tribes did not ascribe a gender to anyone until the age of puberty. In other communities, their priests were transgender, and they were the only ones who could conduct certain spiritual ceremonies. There is evidence that for several ethnic groups gay and lesbian relationships were not taboo. Unfortunately, a lot of this history has not been publicized or it is being revised as it does not fit in well with the idea that the continent is trying to now uphold as a patriarchal, heteronormative society. That is why the work of decolonizing sexuality is extremely important as we now have a generation that is open to questioning themselves. The generation of our parents lived in a time of oppressed and suppressed sexuality (among other things) as they themselves or their parents had suffered the colonial rape and pillage [both literally and metaphorically] of their lives. All they could carry was anger and fear. To survive they had to conform to what the oppressor enforced on them through religion, western education etc.

[Recently deceased] Kenyan writer and gay activist, Binyavanga Wainaina clearly outlines how it is only former British colonies that have anti-sodomy laws, which came during colonial times from the fear that British soldiers and colonial administrators would be corrupted by the natives while they were away from their wives. The law, the fears by the British government at the time, really are proof that some of the natives were already practicing sodomy.

Image courtesy of 'The Spread'

What for you is the link between sex positive work and women's empowerment?

The average person might think that the type of work I'm doing is frivolous, but the reality is that when a society believes they have any right over women's bodies, we see all the terrible things that happen to women: rape, rampant femicide, violence against women and more. Reclaiming your sexuality as a woman is about asserting your own authority over your body—declaring the right to fulfilling, consensual sex of your own liking, the right to having children, or not having children if you don't want to, postponing or terminating a pregnancy. Once we accept the policing of women's bodies, it's a slippery slope.

Feminism is about women having equal rights and opportunities as men, and that also extends to their sex lives. My body, my choice. For those who are always ready to bash feminism, seeing it as women somehow trying to take over, dominate men, oppress men etc. They should realize that the only reason feminism exists, is because we live in a patriarchal world. Women are at the bottom of the rung, oppressed in thousands of ways. All we are trying to do, is get the same rights that men take for granted. Of course, to the ones who hold power, it will feel like a loss of power.

This is the reason why the topics we cover span everything from women's sexual pleasure to gender-based violence to LGBTQIA+ rights to women's reproductive health. All these discussions must happen in tandem.

Let's talk about the state of affairs in Kenya around various key issues, starting with female reproductive rights.

I'm working very closely with two organizations working on women's reproductive rights and abortion rights. The problem in Kenya is that there is so much misinformation. I plan to release a video very soon on the topic. I only recently found out all public hospitals in Kenya provide post-abortal care. Even though, abortions are illegal except in certain circumstances, post-abortal care is available throughout the country. Lack of information makes women especially vulnerable to the influence of quacks, back-alley doctors, or police who threaten them with imprisonment if they don't pay exorbitant bribes. The Kenyan law is that you are not allowed to administer an abortion unless the health of the mother or child is in danger. Health also includes mental health. As such, people with severe depression or suicidal thoughts do legally qualify for abortions, but most people don't know this.

Image courtesy of 'The Spread'

What about on the issue of sexual violence against women and children?

Sexual violence against women and children isn't taken as seriously as it should be. Sensitivity training across police stations is still lacking. Rape is extremely underreported in the country as most people don't expect to be treated with discretion, sensitivity or any consideration once they do get into the system. I did a whole video series years back interviewing female rape survivors and their experiences highlight the challenges with our police system including the trivialization of the crime by police officers who consider rape almost routine, given how often this happens. The statistics are masking the issue, rape survivors don't know who to turn to and feel completely isolated. The issues of male sexual violence against men isn't even spoken about as the survivors fear further shunning and stigmatization from society. Kenya doesn't yet have the right structures—including mental health structures—to deal with the normalization of rape and sexual violence against women.

In 2015 three men gangraped a teenage girl as she was on her way home from her grandfather's funeral. After the attack, they dumped her in an open sewer, leaving her with a spinal injury that has confined her to a wheelchair. When the men were taken to the police station, their punishment was to cut the grass around the police station. The incident made it to the news, sparking international outrage, resulting in a signed petition and leading to protests in the country demanding #justiceforliz. As a result, the men were eventually sentenced to 15 years in prison. While we can celebrate this particular win, it also makes us reflect on all the other hundreds of thousands of cases, where the survivors remain silent or seek justice, but never get it.

What about LGBTQIA+ rights?

The definition I adhere to for this group is actually a longer, more confusing acronym, but also one I hope makes more people feel included. LGBTQQIAPPK, which is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual & transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, polyamourous, pansexual and kink.

We have some cause for celebration, but also a very long way to go. We were hopeful recently when the High Court reviewed the key law banning gay sex, but unfortunately, they chose to uphold it. Last year, we did have a small win when the courts deemed unlawful the use of forced anal exams to test whether two men had sex.

The National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights commission of Kenya are doing a really great job in trying to get colonial era penal codes repealed. They are the legal team behind the court cases for the repeal of these laws. From a legal standpoint it's great, but from a social standpoint, it's still so sad that our binary understanding of gender is tied to what the colonizers forced on us. The worst argument is when people say that any deviation from the heteronormative narrative is "un-African." My question then is "Do you really know your history? Are you willing to educate yourself and to take off the yoke of colonialism and even consider the idea that what you consider normal is based on systems that came to you through oppression and repression?

For a country that is so progressive in many ways, this particular issue still remains an uphill battle.

Image courtesy of 'The Spread'

What about women's sexuality, sexual pleasure?

All the events we have are 95% women. Men are scared to admit they might not know it all. Society paints them to be macho and [makes them think] that they should somehow know it all, but they are scared to learn about their sexuality as they feel that it will take away from their masculinity. For women, it's empowering. Men are frightened about women learning and embracing their sexuality.

I want to be a part of this revolution, spearheading it on the continent.

Finally, tell us about The Spread Fest and your plans for it?

Our objective for the festival is to foster learning, inspiration and wonder—and to spark conversations that matter. The aim is to be more empathetic about our diversity, but also to leave people knowing more about sex and sexuality. This year we had 600 people in attendance, 5 panels, one workshop and it was a full day event. Next year, we plan to double everything.

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Via SABC livestream

The Omotoso Rape Trial Shows Why South African Women are in Crisis

South African women are enraged at the way the defense seems to blame women for their own abuse.

"How long was the defendant's penis? You didn't measure it? You allowed him to rape you? You're a good actress." These are some of the victim blaming questions posed to one defendant, Cheryl Zondi, in court last week during the trial of Timothy Omotoso.

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Burna Boy. Photo by Joseph Okpako/WireImage (via Getty Images).

The 20 Best Nigerian Songs of 2019

Featuring Burna Boy, Rema, Tiwa Savage, Zlatan, Mr Eazi, Wizkid, Teni, Davido, Lady Donli and many more.

2019 was another huge year for Nigerian music.

Zlatan's presence was ubiquitous and powered by the zeal for zanku, a dance which is now de rigueur. Rema led the charge for a group of young breakthrough artists that include Fireboy DML and Joeboy. They all represent an exciting crop of talents that point the way forward for Nigerian pop.

Burna Boy's new dominance, built around his excellent African Giant album, delivered on his rare talents, while the long wait for Davido's sophomore album, A Good Time, paid off in satisfying fashion. Simi's Omo Charlie Champagne Vol. 1 announced her departure from her longterm label. Tiwa Savage also made a highly-discussed move from Mavin Records to Universal Music Group. Meanwhile, Yemi Alade exuded female strength with her latest record, Woman of Steel.

Not to be left out, Wizkid sated demands for his fourth album with a new collaborative EP following a year of stellar features that included his presence on Beyoncé's Lion King: The Gift, an album which also boasts Tekno, Mr Eazi and Tiwa Savage. Mr Eazi also notably launched his emPawa initiative to help fund Africa's promising up-and-coming artists.

Asa returned in a formidable form with Lucid, while buzzing artists like Tay Iwar, Santi, and Lady Donli all shared notable releases. Lastly, the beef between Vector and M.I climaxed and sparked a resurgence of Nigerian rap releases from Phyno to Ycee, PsychoYP and more.

Read on for the best Nigerian songs of 2019. Listed in no particular order. —Sabo Kpade

Follow our NAIJA HITS playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

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OkayAfrica Presents: 'The Adinkra Oracle' December Reading with Simone Bresi-Ando

We're back with another Adinkra reading from Simone Bresi-Ando to help guide you through the end of the year—and the end of the decade.

It's the a new month and that means we're ready for a new Adinkra reading from Simone Bresi-Ando to help you navigate your December.

After cleansing the space, Simone will pull five Adinkra Ancestral Guidance Cards from a deck of 44 Adinkra symbols—these cards help to channel information, messages and direction from your ancestors using Adinkra symbols when read correctly. Remember, as Simone says, "these readings tell you what you need to know and not necessarily what you want to know—our ancestors are emotionally pure."

Simone gives a general reading of what December has in store to help you know what actions and thoughts are necessary to get the best out of the month. This is a special installment as it also guides you through the end of the year—and the end of the decade.

Watch below.

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