“Consuewella Africa: Presente!”
For many, the name Consuewella Africa is like many of the Africas: about interchangeable, for unless you spent time with them, how could you know them? Consuewella, called Swella by her MOVE brothers and sisters, was a woman who radiated strength and confidence. My memories of her cause me both to chuckle and to ruminate.
Once, while one on a bus going down Powelton Avenue, I saw her sunning in the summer heat, surrounded by babies. I quickly grab my camera and clicked off a shot, and she tore into me cursing furiously at the intrusion.
Secondly, I interviewed her several times, and one stands out more for her answer than for my question, which, honestly, I can’t remember. She was describing MOVE and said they were the children of God. The children of God: who can forget that?
Swella was the mother of three kids, Tree, Netta, and Lobo, a boy. The two girls, remember May 13th, 1985? Again, who can forget? Tree and Netta were among the 11 men, women, and children slaughtered, martyred, and bombed by the city of brotherly love and its federal and military co-conspirators.
Now we’ve learned that this region’s leading universities have been essentially playing with the bones of Consuewella’s daughters, Tree and Netta—not for years, for decades. What must this have done to Swella, their mother? We don’t have to imagine, for a doctor examined her in her final hours and found nothing wrong with her physically. How could her sheer anger or rage have affected her?
Consuewella Africa was named MOVE’s Minister of Confrontation, and she rumbled in and out of jail to promote MOVE’s beliefs. She fought her entire adult life for freedom, and recently, after the news about her daughters’ bones emerged, she fought for this commentator’s freedom as well. Consuewella Africa, remembered.
From in prison nation, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.
These commentaries are recorded by Prison Radio.