Transitions: Baba John Watusi Branch At Age 70


Baba John Watusi Branch

[Tribute: Memorium]

The World African Diaspora Union (WADU) sends it deep felt condolences to the immediate and extended family members of Baba John Watusi Branch. Baba J. Watusi Branch made his transition to the world of the Ancestors at 7:00 a.m. on December 28, 2013.

Baba Watusi Branch was a Pan Africanist, a cultural leader, community builder, entrepreneur, author, activist, teacher, organizer, and a father to our youth.

For Baba Branch, his journey from a hostile environment in New York City to becoming an esteemed elder, and now a revered ancestor in the Pan African movement started with his youthful acceptance of African culture. Early in his life he became involved in the East Movement and Uhuru Sasa Pan African school system promoting African culture as the basis for African liberation and Marcus Garvey’s Black Nationalism. As these institutions evolved into the renowned contemporary International African Arts Festival in Brooklyn, Baba Watusi co-founded the Afrikan Poetry Theatre, Inc. (as a Center for Culture).

Under his directorship, the Afrikan Poetry Theatre Theatre (APT) became the beacon for multiple African programs, including African drumming, languages, history, religions, technology, poetry, writing, publications, and dancing. It also served the community with positive entertainments from local to internationally recognized artists, jazz bands, film festivals and theatrical performances from Africa, the Caribbean and Afro-Latino. Additionally, it was a center for African immigration issues, helping the homeless, and African employment. Further, the APT became an African home to many seekers of African knowledge for service, especially the youth. Baba Watusi was a pioneer in organizing regular cultural and business tours to Africa. As part of his work, he led with others, many thousands of Africans from the Diaspora to visit and repatriate to Africa, hence billions of dollars to the economy of Africa.

With his great leadership, Baba Watusi helped to foster the Pan African, Civil Rights and the Black Nationalist movements with regular visits of major leaders to the community. Some of these key leaders and scholar activists were Dr. John Henrik Clarke, Dr. Maulana Karenga, Dr. Amos Wilson, Kwame Ture, Minister Louis Farrakhan, Baba Elombe Brath, Dr. Ben Jochannan, Dr. Charshee McIntyre, Dr. Ishakamusa Barashango, Reverend Herbert Daughtry, Attorney Alton Maddox, Dr. Molefe Asante, Mama Viola Plummer, Drs. Leonard & Roslyn Jeffries, Dr. Julius Garvey, and Dr. Ron Daniels. Also, he has had African and Caribbean ambassadors, elected officials, religious, and youth leaders speak and organize around critical local and global issues, p rograms and projects, affecting Africans, globally.

By the 1990’s, he had pioneered another visionary effort which was to help build a Pan African entrepreneurship group to promote African Diaspora business initiatives across Africa. This group called Africa Trade and Business Assistance (ATABA) became a 21st century model for Pan African self-determined business and investments in Africa. Because of his profound contributions to the African world movement, at the opening of the 21st century, he was tapped to be an advisor on the African Union (AU) Diaspora initiative which started in 2003.

Under his guidance, support and then his leadership, the World African Diaspora Union (WADU) was established by 2007 and he became the Chief of the Secretariat in 2008. Durin g his tenure, Watusi exemplified high level of leadership by consistently advocating for key Diaspora issues like dual citizenship, reparations, repatriation, economic partnership and African culture and philosophy, as the basis for re-unification and a Pan African government.

Before his transition, he urged for greater financial support for the Afrikan Poetry Theatre. The APT has been severely mal-affected by the recent economic depression in the Black global communities. He also urged greater participation of a new generation of leaders in the global African movement.

Finally, he was very concerned with the direction of the cultural movement, especially the setback on African education and on significant cultural programs such as Kwanzaa.

Baba John Watusi Branch was and is the spiritual embodiment of an African with profound love, an authentic legacy and an uncompromising loyalty to African people.


For more information, please contact 718-523-3313. 

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