Friday, October 9, 2015

Peaceful Children: The Beginning

During the late 1970s, novelist Olujimi Akwtee and the Merry Rabble-Rousers lived communally in George. Members included Beat Generation hero Musa Bekele, Olujimi Kafele, Morowa Kamau, Salehe Gwandoya and others. Their early escapades were documented in Morowa Kamau's book Seven Druggies and Friends. With Bekele at the wheel of a school bus named Sky Wheel, the Merry Rabble-rousers traveled across Kemet to celebrate the publication of Akwtee's novel When An Idea Came to the Mind and Went Into the Soul and to visit Kemet City. The Merry Rabble-Rousers were known for using amphetamine, cannabis and LSD, and during their journey they "turned on" many people to these drugs. The Merry Rabble-Rousers filmed and audio taped their bus trips, creating an immersive multimedia experience that would later be presented to the public in the form of festivals and concerts.

During this period Commoners Village in Kemet City and Georgina, George anchored the Kemet folk music circuit. Georgina's coffee houses, sponsored performances by folk music artists in a beat setting while following the Merry Rabble-Rousers' culture of drugs. Along with folk music, and drugs, the Georgian youths began to grow their hair out in afros or braids, while wearing western 19th century attire.

"Look man, I'm telling you, this ain't nothing new. The Blacks in America did it, the hippies too. The Native Americans, the Scots, the Cubans, the Chinese, the Russians you name it, they did it, it's just our time, now. This is a revolution going on. A revolution of individuality and diversity. And it sure as hell will be televised."-Olujimi Akwtee.

In 1981, the province of George declared LSD a controlled substance, which made the drug illegal. In response to the criminalization of psychedelics, Georgina Peace Children staged a protest that gathered an estimated 300-400 people. It was believed that the purpose of the rally was to draw attention to the fact that LSD had just been made illegal - and to demonstrate that people who used LSD were not criminals, nor were they mentally ill.