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Mami Wata | Wata Mami

April 7, 2018 @ 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm CDT


The 2018 African Studies Symposium “Honoring Ancestors in Africa and Beyond: Arts and Actions,” is a two-day Symposium exploring how various cultures remember, mourn, honor and celebrate those who have departed. Attendees will consider a wide range of examples of arts and actions from Africa and the African Diaspora, witness performances by Egungun masqueraders from Oyotunji African Village in South Carolina, and hear from a Ghanaian artist who creates coffins reflecting the lives of individuals. Let us explore these death traditions as we celebrate life — as Yoruba say “the world is a marketplace (we visit briefly), the otherworld is home.”

To register by Sunday, April 1, visit the symposium website at whirlingancestors.wisc.edu.

Dr. S. Ama Wray will present Mami Wata | Wata Mami during the afternoon presentations:

I mirror Mami Wata, the hybrid female water spirit of African origin; she flows and shows across the Diaspora. Why’s it only now that I happen upon her? Is it because she’s archetypally feminine and I consider myself not?  But, is this not a powerful reason as to why I should reflect her, tango with her, mimic her or make a humble confession concerning my denial? Maybe there is still time for MW to rise within me? I hear the ancestors reminding me that fixity is unbecoming to the Creator. Perhaps my iteration could be a truer mirror, a reversal of sorts : Ataw Imam. Yes, this resonates with my soul! Or perhaps I could explore another facing: Wawi Mafa.  Now that sounds like water, ‘a gentle tide washing in and away from the shore’. So, despite my late arrival at Mami Wata’s place, I’m sure that I’ll now encounter her with increased frequency. The filters and my load of preconditions the dynamism of MW’s ageless rhythms and wisdom are once again in motion.


April 7, 2018
2:30 pm - 4:30 pm CDT
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