Credit: Contributed

As we are all well aware of the impact of COVID-19 financially, mentally, physically and emotionally, the act of service regarding emotional support and spirituality has progressed rather than digressed. Chief Ayanda Clarke has used this time of being quarantined to productively continue sharing his teaching, faith and spirituality with the community by offering emotional and mental support. Clarke has recently been on two media outlets, BRIC TV & Radio’s Brooklyn, USA and Diaspora Radio’s “Back to Basics” with Amsterdam News Editor Nayaba Arinde to share his insight and knowledge.

Chief Clarke briefly discusses the origin of his practices which are based on traditional African spiritual principles from Yorubaland. His work is known to be efficient as he shares words of encouragement despite one’s differentiation or point of view in religion or spirituality. His work is described as self-healing, motivational and inspirational. Speaking to the Amsterdam News, when asked what advice he would share with someone who has recently experienced traumatic events, such as multiple deaths due to COVID-19, and is beginning to lose faith within themselves and the universe, Clarke responded, “So many of us are experiencing and have experienced traumatic events during this COVID-19 pandemic. It is natural to grieve. It’s understandable to wonder why and how such things can occur. And under these circumstances crises of faith are quite common.

“But know that you are not alone. Know that the benevolent divine energies of light have not abandoned you. The sun will rise tomorrow and the light will return. Healing may be a long process with ups and downs, BUT healing will occur. Be patient with yourself. Be kind to yourself. Reach out for help from family and friends. Seek guidance and support from professionals, when necessary. And when the light does present itself, embrace it and hold it with both hands.”

In 2016, Clarke was given the position as Chief Ayanda Ifadara Clarke, Ajibilu Awo of Osogbo. The title “Ajibilu Awo of Osogbo” is defined as the spiritual healer that is born to drum. He was sponsored by his mentor Chief Agbongbon Fakayode Faniy. Chief Ayanda Clarke was granted the position of chief from the council of elders and high priests as he showed years of dedication and endless commitment to Africa.

Clarke also begins to go in depth about the significant moments in his lifetime that have contributed to his roles as a spiritualist health counselor, percussionist, and art educator. Clarke mentioned, “My birth name, Ayanda, means born from the spirit of the drum. I have been a drummer and percussionist for my entire life. My community has poured into me, has educated me, has trained me in traditional African arts and culture. I passionately share and pay that forward as an arts educator. I was raised from birth in an Orisa household where spiritual health was as important as physical health. In my home growing up, the understanding of ourselves as spiritual beings having a physical experience was fundamental. Now, as a Babalawo and Orisa initiate, I use that understanding as I support others along their life path in pursuit of spiritual growth.”