In a recent visit to Chicago, well-known holistic health practitioner, Dr. Llaila O. Afrika, delivered a lecture at Oak Park’s AfriWare bookstore. On the evening of Sept. 21, a small crowd listened intently as Dr. Afrika offered a striking contrast between holistic health care and conventional U.S. health care, while challenging those in attendance to take charge of their own mental and physical health.

Dr. Afrika defined African Holistic Health as being healthy in mind, body and spirit. He mentioned that with holistic health, Blacks can begin to free themselves from their current conditions.

“We will survive and we will win, and the only way to do that is to be healthy,” he said. “There’s no way to think clear when your body is sick. Whatever you feed your body, you feed your brain. A sick body cannot define freedom.”

Briefly, he touched on his background in mental health as it relates to black Americans. He was trained by the National Institute of Mental Health in Washington, D.C. to be community organizer.

“They sent me in black communities to organize them without them knowing it. I was one of those who would organize you so they could run experiments on you,” he said. “So I was organizing people and they taught me, ‘Never educate the Negros.’ That’s how you organize, that’s how it’s done.”

About the fast food industry, Dr. Afrika said, “McDonald’s has never educated you about nutrition, yet McDonald’s is in the nutrition business. Don’t you understand how they roll? That’s how they get you to spend your money. Never educate the Negro-and that’s how the business is run. That’s how they run the black community. It’s a very simple process.

“We have the highest rates of diabetes, infertility, prostate disease, fibroid tumors, obesity amongst women, and mental illness of any race in America.” he said, adding that the reason these numbers are so high is “they use disease to keep the energy out of the black community. It’s just another form of slavery, you see. When you have a disease, it’s very political.”

Disease is a business, he suggested, that fuels the medical industry at the expense of poor blacks. “A disease is a very beneficial thing. They are used to manipulate you, punish you and make you feel guilty. Why should they give up a million-dollar thing called a disease, for health? If they get rid of disease, now they have to be responsible. So disease keeps us oppressed too.”

Afrika has a theory on why people are being kept in the dark about the true nature of diseases and what they really mean. “Most of the diseases are just descriptions,” he said. “They don’t tell me what it is. Herpes is a description of a bump. Multiple Sclerosis means ‘many hardening.’ It just tells me, ‘I’m getting hard all over.’ That doesn’t tell me anything. That’s the whole objective,” he said.

He attempted to dispel what he said are myths about diabetes, another disease caused by sugar that afflicts black Americans.

“The primary cause of diabetes is emotional,” Afrika said. “People eat for emotional reasons. Our inability to give love and receive love is associated with sugar. So if you are failing to give love or allow someone to love you, then you medicate yourself with sugar.”

AfriWare owner Nzingha Nommo, who hosted the evening, said, “Everyone came and had a good time. I really appreciate him for dedicating his life to helping us free ourselves, mind, body and soul.” she said.