The Afrikan world received a monumental jolt on the second day of Mosiah (Aug) 6261 (2021), when the family of Baba Runoko Rashidi Okello announced his transition into the Ancestral Realm.
Aged 67, Baba Rashidi had been in Kemet since July 31st for his annual tour that was scheduled to finish on Mosiah 13th. He is known fondly throughout the Afrikan world as one of our most travelled, consistent and beloved warrior scholars as well as being "the world's leading authority on the African Presence in Early Asia." He was indeed a giant and he cut his scholastic teeth walking in the footsteps of giants like Baba John Henrik Clarke, Baba Yusef Ben-Jochannan and Ivan Van Sertima among others.. For many, he first came to prominence as a contributor and editor of the Journal Of African Civilizations, volumes such as African Presence In Early Asia; African Presence In Early Europe; Black Women In Antiquity and Egypt: Child of Africa, published by Ivan Van Sertima.
In his late teens he reclaimed the name Runoko Rashidi (some decades later the name Okello was bestowed on him while visiting northern Uganda). By his own account he visited 124 countries and was a frequent visitor to the UK. He as renowned for his accessibility, humility and especially his ability to spectacularly illuminate little known aspects of the global Afrikan presence – with an abundance of documentary proof!
Baba Rashidi had been an Garveyite for over 40 years, serving as an active member of the UNIA-ACL for many of them. He also undertook Associate Editor duties for the UNIA-ACL Journal Garvey's Voice. In July 2011 he was publicly sworn in as UNIA-ACL Traveling Ambassador by the then UNIA-ACL President General Senghor Jawara Baye.
Among his published books are: Introduction to the Study of African Classical Civilizations; The Global African Community: Travel Notes; Black Star: The African Presence in Early Europe; Uncovering the African Past: The Ivan Van Sertima Papers; My Global Journeys in Search of the African Presence; Assata-Garvey and Me: A Global African Journey for Children (with the Uncovering The African Past Research Group) and The Black Image in Antiquity: Beautiful, Royal and Divine, published in 2020.
Some have noted the significance of him passing on the Motherland which has added poignancy given his own contemplation of his mortality: "I want us to love Africa with our dying breath. As God is my witness, I hope my last words on earth are: Long Live Africa."
Thus, may the spirit of Baba Runoko Rashidi Okello rise on the wings of Ma'at after a favourable judgement in the council of Asar. AṢẸ! AṢẸ! AṢẸ-O!!!
We ask the question:
Runoko Rashidi: How can we best safeguard his legacy?
1) How do assess Runoko Rashidi's contribution to the Afrikan World? 2) Do you have a favourite book or essay? 3) What is the best way to make use of his scholarship? 4) Where does passing leave Afrikan-Centred scholarship?
Our Special Guest:
Bro. Ldr. Mbandaka: Resident guest who is Spiritual Leader of the Alkebu-Lan Revivalist Movement and an Afrikan-Centred Education Consultant. Bro. Ldr is a veteran activist of almost 40 years standing, a featured columnist in The Whirlwind newspaper and author of Mosiah Daily Affirmations and Education: An African-Centred Approach To Excellence.
Baba Senghor Jawara Baye: is the 1st Assistant President-General Government of the UNIA-ACL RC2020. He has been a member of The Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League, the organization founded by Marcus Mosiah Garvey in 1914 for over 40 years and served as its President General between 2008 and 2016. That period saw the profile of the UNIA-ACL raise significantly around the world. Baba Senghor is the author of A Garveyite's Whirlwind Journey 1980 to 2016, for which Baba Runoko Rashidi wrote the introduction.