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Baba Hannibal Tirus Afrik: The Epitome of African Fatherhood, Part 2

By Afohene Gimbu Kali Vernon

Presented by Omni-U Virtual University

As we conclude our tribute to our revered Ancestor,  Baba Hannibal Tirus Afrik, we begin with the “nationalist  libation ritual” that he created. It was originally  recited, in 1972, at the Shule ya Watoto (School for Children). It continues to be observed  by The Bolozi Wazee (Council of  Elders) which was also founded by Baba Hannibal Tirus Afrik.

"Sifa Ote Ina" means "all praise is due" the rest differs depending on who is being called upon; i.e.,Muumba weusi, Creator; Mababa weusi, Ancestors; Taifa weusi,  nation; wote weusi,  people….: ‘Weusi” means black.*

Sifa Ote Ina Muumba weusi

Sifa Ote Ina Mababa Baba Hannibal Tirus Afrik weusi 

Sifa Ote Ina Taifa weusi

Sifa Ote Ina wote weusi

One of the things I realized ,early on, was that Baba Hannibal was very serious about everything that he did. If you didn’t plan to be serious, while  doing measurable, quantifiable work, Hannibal was NOT the person with whom  to be working.  His influence was based on his personal example, and not feeding his ego. He had a magnetism that persuaded and attracted serious people, and only tolerated people who would do serious work!  One of his strongest beliefs was that the primary problem with Black people, was a lack of accountability- both on an individual and a group level. If you did not want to be held accountable for whatever you said and did, Hannibal was NOT the person to be around.

Among the things I cherished most about Baba Hannibal was his personal integrity and the fact that he NEVER used his influence over us for his personal benefit or gain. At this time- late 1970’s to the early 1980’s- Hannibal had such a degree of influence over us, that if he had told us to “off” someone, we would have done it!!! He knew he had this degree of influence, however, not once did he EVER try to use it for his personal benefit.

I cannot say the same for some other so-called leaders, who had a similar degree of influence over some young men, and used it to drive their business competitors out of business, or worse. I personally know people who went to jail for 10-20 years following the mis-leadership of some of these so-called “leaders.” In the early 1980’s the African country now known as Zimbabwe, was called Rhodesia.  There was a group of Uncle Tom “Africans” called the “Serlous Scouts.” They essentially played the same role as “Indian Scouts” did in early America who aided the American bounty hunters track down and murder their own people. There was a Black man from America, ex-military- now mercenary- who had joined the Selous Scouts. He had been one of Hannibal’s former students while he taught at Farragut High school. Apparently, he did not understand Hannibal very well. He was proud of what he was doing and wanted to meet with Baba Hannibal. When Hannibal shared this news with us, we begged Hannibal not only to let us “take him out” but to do so in a very public way!!!  Of course, his response was an emphatic “NO” to our request. This says tons about Hannibal’s personal integrity.  He also NEVER used his influence to get sexual  favors from women, as a whole lot of so-called “leaders” were known to do!!! Again, this speaks volumes about Hannibal’s personal integrity.

We considered it an “honor” to be in Baba Hannibal’s presence!  I do not think anything scared us as much as the idea of “failing our mission” or letting Baba Hannibal down!

He had a keen skill at attracting, organizing, and inspiring people to move past his physical presence, and continue to organize and work.  He not only believed in helping to develop men, but women as well, with very high expectations to be both multi skilled, and multi-talented! He said that we could not afford the luxury of specializing in only one area, with the multi-faceted opposition that we were up against!!!

Baba Hannibal continuously pushed people to develop themselves. In the OLSP, we all had to develop ourselves as both leaders and supporters. At some point, all of us played the role of Camp master, Assistant Camp Master, and  general support roles. Each person had to know their role and play their respective part. This pertained to both males & females. Hannibal strongly believed in male and Female balance in leadership roles.

He was confident that he had developed us so well  that when he decided to relocate to Mississippi in 1999, the institutions that he had developed would continue. We continued the Outdoor Leadership Training.Project at various locations across the country- California, Virginia, New Jersey, Missouri, Mississippi, Texas, and Georgia.

Hannibal Afrik represented the pinnacle of what Black Fatherhood, Manhood and Leadership ought to be! He believed in honesty, integrity, personal and group development, sacrifice, inspiration, and pushing people beyond their comfort zone. In my humble opinion, the national Black community would be light years ahead of where we currently are, if we had more genuine fathers, leaders, and men like Baba Hannibal Afrik. Aluta Continua (the Struggle continues), Pamoja Tutashinde (together we will win.

*Editor's Note: I can also see “weusi,” i.e., “black,”  as “we us i” (with a lower case “i”).

Recommended Viewing: 

“Reflections on the Life of An Icon: Baba Hannibal Tirus Afrik, Part 2,” Featuring: Joan Collaso; Maggie Brown, Ancestors Useni Eugene Perkins and Chaplin Rasheed Akbar, with prayer and music by Brother Minister Rahim Aton/ Darrell “Sax Preacher “ Wilson.

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1 Comment

Jun 29

Thank you BaBa Hannibal for the strength, knowledge, and wisdom that you shared so unselfishly with my brothers and I. I will never forget the ceremony of the American name change to my Ancestry in which you blessed me with ADAMA BISA which means Queen who is greatly loved! It is still used this very day. Thank you for opening my mind about our Ancestors and the TRUE HISTORY of our people!


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