Three months prior to Simba meeting me he bought the coffee shop we met in. The building is a beautiful brick building with a large store front. Upstairs there are four apartment units, one of which Simba lives in. The coffee and tea shop is right in the heart of the eastside. He had a very interesting clientele. Everyone from drug dealers to legit business people comes in. Simba told me he provides what the community needs. A healthy peaceful environment where they can come experiment with all types of legit herbs like ginger root, goto kola, ginko, peppermint, and etc. Simba has free classes for any one that’s interested in finding out about the use of herbs. He also puts out books so they can figure out for themselves what they want. One of his biggest sellers is his sex potions for men. Every thug in town comes in to get a little edge on the ladies.
Our conversation started getting more intense. He called it “building”. He said that he wanted me to have a clean idea of what I was getting into. One evening we were sitting in the shop and he started a conversation about nation building.
“Jay you have been coming here for at least 3 months now, and I feel that you are a genuine brother. I have been teaching and learning from you over these many months, and I was wondering are you ready to take it to another level?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean are you ready to take what we are talking about and make it reality? You see the plight of our community. You have a good idea of what Africans in America go through. Hell, you come from the streets.”
“You’re right about all that, but what is this next step?”
“We begin your Rites.”
“My rites? I said shocked, what the hell is that?”
“Your rites into manhood, warriorship and eventually into a nationbuilder.”
“Wo, wo, wo, slow down old man I am already a man. I have been taking care of myself since I was seventeen. Hell, I know how to take care of myself better than damn near anyone I know.”
“I did not mean to insult you Jay. Listen to me. Whose definition of a man are you using and does this definition fit what your community and future nation needs? Yes, I realize that you can take care of yourself, but can you do better?”
“Well to answer your first question I am using my definition, and because the definition I am using has been shaped by the streets no it does not help my community. Lastly, I would be a fool to sit here and tell you that I could not do better.”
“So are you ready to learn what me and the Council of Elders have to teach you?”