Posted by: Dr. Y. | November 24, 2017

Old Clothes, a Kikongo Tale


Illustration from ‘Mataya, Les Vieux Vetements’,

There once was a woman who loved to keep her old clothes while sometimes buying new ones which she never wore because she preferred the old ones.

One day, she received the news of her mother’s passing. To attend the funerals, she decided to change her look. She wore new clothes, and took great care of herself, and carefully folded the old ones away.

When she started to go to the funerals, the old clothes thought and said: “We have always been together. Now, for your mother’s funerals, you want to leave us behind? No. We will follow you.”

When she stepped out, the clothes followed her and started to sing: “You did not leave us before, but today, you leave your old clothes at home; we will follow you to your mother’s funerals (2 bis).”

Congo_bust of a Kongo girl ca 1910

Bust from a Kongo woman, ca 1910

The lady walked, walked, walked, and once at her mother’s funerals, she entered. The people did not like what they saw and said: “You are very elegant, but what is that bunch of clothes doing here?”

But those who knew her said: “No. She dressed this way and the old clothes followed her because she never used to wear new clothes. She always dressed in old clothes. She never changed because she did not like new clothes.”

Ashamed to hear this, the lady decided to change. She stopped wearing, exclusively old clothes, and started to vary, wearing sometimes old, sometimes new clothes.

Morale: Attachment to old habits leads to spiritual and material poverty.

This is a Kikongo tale from the Uíge province of Angola. The original in Kikongo, as well as the first image, can be found on CONTAFRICA. The English translation is by Dr. Y.,


Map of Cabinda

Here is another treaty which led to the Treaty of Simulambuco between Portugal and the people of Cabinda, namely the Treaty of Chinfuma. This one was signed on the hill of Chinfuma, at Lândana, on 29 September 1883, between Guilherme Augusto de Brito Capelo and the local Princes.  The original in Portuguese can be found here: Angola, Cabinda, Tratado de Chinfuma. The river Chiloango referred to in the treaty can be seen on the attached map, as well as the city of Cacongo. Again, the website, has a lot of these treaties.


On the 29th day of the month of September, in the year of Our Lord 1883, on the hill of Chinfuma, at Lândana, on the western coast of Africa, were present on one side, for the Portuguese Government, the Lieutenant-Captain of the Navy, Guilherme Augusto de Brito Capelo, commanding the corvette Rainha de Portugal, and on the other side, for the people inhabiting both banks of the River Kacongo, the Princes and other Notables, now Chiefs and Governors of said people and tribes, who by all present were recognized as the true and identical parties, together with the Portuguese and foreign merchants owning commercial houses at Landana, Chiloango, and on the banks of said river, who volunteered to be present at this meeting as witnesses to all that may be enacted in the premises; being also present Robert F. Hammick, Commander of the English gun-boat Flirt, and the agent of the house Hatton and Cookson, R. E. Dennet; the above mentioned Commander (of the Portuguese corvette) declared that as several Chiefs had expressed the wish of demanding the protection of Portugal, under whose sovereignty they wanted to remain, as being the nation with whom they maintained the most intercourse commercially, as well as in customs and language, ever since Europeans have trod African soil south of the Equator, he, the Commander, now came fully empowered by the Government of His Majesty the King of Portugal to frame a Treaty, which, after being ratified and signed by both Contracting Parties, should establish the future intercourse between Portugal and the countries governed by the subscribing Chiefs. And the Princes and other Notables having formally declared that they wanted to make good, with their signatures, a document by which the Protectorate and sovereignty of Portugal should be clearly authenticated over all the territory lying between the River Massabe (Luiza Loango on the English maps) and the Molembo, 11 Articles were discussed and adopted in a Treaty which, after having been read and duly explained both in Portuguese as well as in the language of the country, was signed by all parties with the sign of a cross, not knowing how to write. And in order that the measures adopted in this solemn meeting might in future be duly authenticated, this statement was made and signed by all parties and attached to the Treaty, which was copied and duly certified and sealed with the seal used on all official documents of the corvette Rainha de Portugal, and copies given to the chief Princes, Tali-e-Tali, Prince Regent of the Kingdom of Kacongo; Mancoche, King of Encoche Luango; Antonio Thiaba da Costa, Regent of the Kingdom of Cinchôcho, representing the Queen of Samano; Mangoal, Prince Regent of Mambuco Manipolo; Antonio Thiaba da Costa, Governor of Massabe, representative of the Chiefs of that place; who also received the Portuguese flag to be hoisted at their Settlements and on the lands that may be ceded to the Portuguese Government, to be kept and defended as the symbol representing the sovereignty and Protectorate of Portugal over the lands governed by them.

Heights of Chinfuma, September 29, 1883.


Commander of the corvette Rainha de Portugal.

Their marks




x      MAMBUCO.



1st Lieutenant in the Navy.


2nd Lieutenant in the Navy.

ACHILLE DE ALMEIDA NAVARRO, Naval Doctor of the 1st Class.


Merchant in Landana.


PEDRO BERGNO, Marine Guard.


ANTONIO NUÑES SERRA E MOURA, Officer of Fazenda in the Navy.


Angola_Royal court of N'Gangue M'voumbe Niambi in Loango ca 1668

Royal court of N’Gangue M’voumbe Niambi in Loango ca 1668

Guilherme Augusto do Brito Capello, Lieutenant-Captain of the Navy, Knight Commander of the Order of Aviz, and Knight of various Orders, Commander of the corvette Rainha do Portugal, commissioned by the Government of His Majesty the King of Portugal, has concluded with the Princes Tali-e-Tali, Regent of the Kingdom of Kacongo; Mancoche, King of Encoche Luango; Antonio Thiaba da Costa, Regent of the Kingdom of Chinchôcho, Representative of the Queen Samano; and Mangoal, Regent of Mambuco, and their successors; as well as the other Chiefs of the hind lying between the Rivers Massabe and Molembe, on the Westem Coast of Africa, the following Treaty:—

Art. I. The Princes and other Chiefs of the country, and their successors, do voluntarily acknowledge the sovereignty of Portugal, and place under the Protectorate of that Government all the lands governed by them.

II. Portugal recognizes the present Chiefs, and will confirm all those that in future may be elected by the people according to their laws and customs, assuring them assistance and protection.

lII. Portugal obliges herself to maintain the integrity of the territories placed under its Protectorate.

IV. To the Chiefs of the land and their inhabitants will be maintained the direct ownership of the lands belonging to them, with the right of selling or alienating them in any manner whatever, to establish trading factories, or any private undertaking, on paying the customary fees, and marking clearly and exactly the lands transferred or ceded, to avoid future difficulties; these contracts to be ratified by the Commanders of the Portuguese ships of war.

V. The greatest liberty will be conceded to all merchants of every nationality to settle on these lands, the Portuguese Government holding itself obliged to protect these establishments, retaining, however, the right of proceeding as it may think proper whenever it may be proved that any attempt is made to overthrow the dominion of Portugal.

Angola_Burial of a king view of the Cabinda mountain 1786-87

Burial of King Andris Poncouta, Macaye, and view of the Cabinda mountain 1786-87

VI. The Princes and other native Chiefs bind themselves not to make any Treaties, nor to give up any lands to the Representatives of foreign nations in an official capacity, and not with the object mentioned in Article IV.

VII. They likewise bind themselves to protect the commerce of the Portuguese as well as that of the foreigners and of the natives, prohibiting all interruptions in the intercourse with the interior, using their authority to keep open the roads, assisting and protecting the relations between buyers and sellers, religious and scientific Missions that may be temporarily or permanently established on their lands, as well as the development of agriculture.

§. They bind themselves further to prohibit the Traffic in Slaves within the boundary of their dominions.

VIII. Any difficulty arising between Europeans and natives will be settled in the presence of the Commander of the Portuguese ship of war, who on such occasions may be in possible communication with the shore.

IX. Portugal will respect and will cause to be respected the usages and customs of the country.

X. The Princes and Chiefs cede and transfer to Portugal the entire right and title to portions of land in Landana, Chinchôcho, and Massabe, which will be marked conjointly with the Chiefs of those districts duly authorized by the Princes to give possession. The Deed of Possession will be drawn up in duplicate, one of which will remain in the hands of the Portuguese Delegate, and the other with the native Chief.

XI. The present Treaty, signed by the Princes and Chiefs of the country, as also by the Lieutenant-Captain Commander of the corvette Rainha de Portugal, will take effect from the day of its signature. It cannot, however, be considered definite until it be approved by the Government of His Majesty the King of Portugal.

Chinfuma, at Landana, September 29, 1883.


Commander of the corvette Rainha de Portugal.

Their marks

Congo_Stanley map

Map of Congo by Henry Stanley, with parts of Cabinda and Congo in red: Landana, Chiloango, Massabe, the kingdoms of Kacongo and Malemba, can all clearly be seen on this map

x    TALI-E-TALI, Regent of the Kingdom of Kacongo.

x     MAMBUCO, Vice-King of Kacongo.

x     A. THIABA DA COSTA, Representative of Queen Samano.

x     MANCOCHE, Regent of Encoche Luango.

x     MACHELLA, Chief of Chella.

x     MALUANGO, Chief of Ponta do Chiloango.

x     MAMBUCO, Chief of Chinchôcho.

x     MAMGOVE-MAMBO, ditto.

x     MATENDA, Chief of Ponta de Landana.

x     MARUMBA, Chief of Landana and Molembo.

x     MANCOCHE DE MUBA, ditto.

x     MANCUNGO, ditto.

x     MICHELLA, Chief of Molembo.

x     MAMBANGA, Chief of Landana and Molembo.

x     BINDUCO, ditto.

x     CAPITA, ditto.

x     MANGOVE FERNANDES, Chief of Molembo.

x     MASSAÇA-MANIFUTA, Chief of Kacongo.

x     MATANGA, of Luvula.

Angola_Loango 1668

The city of Loango in 1668

x     MAFUCA, of Landana.

x     MALAMBO, ditto.

x     MAFUCA-BABA, of Molembo.

x     MANIMBANZA, of Chilunga.

x     GANGA CHINFUMA, of Landana.

x     GANGA BEMBO, ditto.

x     MALENDA, of Boica.

x     CAPITA MANITATE, of Kacongo.

x     CAPITA MAMBUCO, of Molembo.

x     MANGOVE, of Ombuco.

x     MANGOVE, of Tenda.

x     MANGOVE, of Muba.

x     CAPITA, ditto.

x     MASSANDE, ditto.

x     LINGUESTER, of Tenda.

x     MANIMBACHE, Prince of Kacongo.

x     GANGA MECHEMECHAMA, of Kacongo.

x     GANGA DE CHINFUMA, of Molembo.

x     GANGA MAFULA, of Kacongo.

x     CAPITA MANIMACUNGO, of Molembo.

x     GANGA E LUNGA, of Kacongo.

Angola_Loango girl

A girl from Loango

x     MENTATA DO LUVULLA, of Ponta de Landana.

x      BUNDO, of Tenda.

x      MAMPAGALA, ditto.

x      MATENDA-PEÇA, ditto.

x      BOMANGOVE, ditto.

x      MANCACA, ditto.

x      MANSANGE, Prince of Massabe.

x      MAUNVULE, ditto.

x      MABICHETE, ditto.

x      PINDO, ditto.

x      MATICIBALA, ditto.

x      GANGA BONO, ditto.

x      MANUELA, ditto.

x      MASSUCO, ditto.


x      GANGA MUCULO, of Encoche Loango.

x      UMBINDUCO, ditto.

x      MASSI MONGO, ditto.

x      BANCHE LUANDA, ditto.

x      MANCACA, ditto.


Logo of the province of Cabinda, in Angola

x      MANGOVE BEMBO DA COSTA, of Tenda.

x      MEIMECASSO, ditto.

x      MANGOVE MAZUNGA, of Molembo.

x      ANTONIO PITRA, ditto.

Witnesses :


Merchant in Landana.




Map of the province of Cabinda: is the city of Chicamba the same as the one where this treaty was signed?

Here is another treaty of Portugal signed in Cabinda, Angola, this time in Chicamba which is near the border with the modern-day Republic of the Congo. Now at the time, this area was much bigger as delineated in the text. This treaty was signed on the 26th of December 1884 in Chicambo. I am not sure if the name ‘Treaty of Chicamba‘ is not just a ‘typo’ from a Portuguese person from that era, and that maybe it should have been ‘Treaty of Chicambo‘ instead, since the treaty clearly states that it was signed in Chicambo? The original version in Portuguese can be found here: Tratado de Chicamba 26 Dec 1884. The website has even more treaties signed by Portugal in Cabinda. Note that this treaty did not make Cabinda a Portuguese protectorate yet; The Treaty of Simulambuco signed the following February is the one which officially made Cabinda a Portuguese protectorate. On the map to the left, is the city of Chicamba the same as the one where the treaty was signed in 1884? is the lake Massabi (Lago Massabi) the one referred to in this treaty as Massabe? Is the Luema River referred to in the text, the same as the Loémé River in the modern-day Republic of the Congo?



Flag for the province of Cabinda

On the 26th day of December of the year of the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ of 1884, in Chicambo, the left bank of the Luema River, 30 miles or so from Massabe, meeting as representatives of the government Portuguese, the delegate of the same government in Kakongo and Massabe, José Emilio dos Santos Silva and the captain of 2. ‘ António Thiaba da Costa, head of the civilization station in Kakongo and Massabe, and the secretary of the civilization station in Kakongo and Massabe, José António da Conceição, and by the Peoples that extend along the left bank of the Luema River from N’Cula.

To the embouchure extending a little more than 60 miles, spanning N’Geba, Chicambo and Buamongo, the Princes and Gentlemen who presently govern them, who by all present were recognized as their own, was by the delegate of the declared government: That these Princes and Gentlemen, Governors of these territories, had manifested their desire to be included in the Protectorate which Portugal had established in Kakongo and Massabe, under its sovereignty, since it was the Nation with which they maintained more constant relations, both commercial and of habits and language, since the Europeans had trod on land from Africa to the south of Ecuador, he delegated as a representative of the Portuguese government, was authorized to grant to the natives the requested annexation, making a treaty that, once approved and signed, established the Relations between Portugal and the countries governed by the Heads that signed it.

Angola_Loango 1668

The city of Loango in 1668 (between Cabinda and the Republic of Congo)

And having the Princes and more Gentlemen formally declared that they wished to sign a document by which the Protectorate and sovereignty of Portugal on all the territories of the Massabe to the left bank of the river Luema were authenticated, were authenticated and approved twelve articles of ‘A treaty which, after being explained in good and due form, both in Portuguese and in the language of the country, was signed by all (with a sign of the cross because they could not write).

And, in order to be authenticated in the future, the resolutions adopted at this solemn meeting were drawn up and signed by all those who signed the treaty, from whom they obtained duly certified copies and delivered to Princes Machamba, Governor of Buamongo, Mai-Sexo, Governor of Guamon-o, N’Ganza-Camba, Governor of Chicambo, Mangemba, Governor of N’Geba, Mancuta, Governor of N’Cula, who also received the Portuguese flag to have them hoist in their villages and in places that conveniently Then designate, in order to conserve and defend it as a representative symbol of the sovereignty and Protectorate of Portugal.

Chicambo, December 26, 1884:

  • Angola_Burial of a king view of the Cabinda mountain 1786-87

    Burial of King Andris Poncouta, Macaye, and view of the Cabinda mountain 1786-87

    José Emílio dos Santos Silva, delegate of the Portuguese government

  • A. Thiaba da Costa, Captain of 2. ‘ line.
  • José António da Conceição, Secretary of the civilizing station
  • Signal of King Machimba.
  • Signal of Cutoto.
  • Signal de Massanza.
  • Signal of Bolamba.
  • Signal of Gangacaca.
  • Signal of the King Mai-Sex.
  • Signal of Pita da Praia.
  • Signal of Bivumbi.
  • Signal of Mambuco Mani Luemba.
  • Signal of the Macai King.
  • Signal de Chibilongo.
  • Signal of Mamboma N’Cusso.
  • Signal of Macacata.
  • Signal of Manganda-Cai.
  • Signal of King Ganga-Misi.
  • Signal of Culombo.
  • Signal of Machichita.
  • Signal of the King Mangalola.
  • Signal of Ganga Camba Bona.
  • Signal of Mafuca N’Gali.
  • Signal of Machanzi-Monzo.
  • Signal of Prince Muene Tati
  • Signal of Luangili.
  • Signal of Command.
  • Signal of Mafuca Macosse.
  • Signal of Machienzi Zuela.
  • Signal of Mafuca Naungi.
  • Signal of Mamboma Issambo.
  • Angola_Cabinda_2

    Map of Angola with the province of Cabinda

    Signal of N’Bundo Pubo.

  • Signal Mafuca N’Goma.
  • Signal of N’Coti Cuanda Poáti.
  • Signal of Calumbo.
  • Signal of Massongo.
  • Signal de Mamando.
  • Signal de Mansalisi Chibaza.
  • Signal of Chimbi Chianga.
  • Signal of Maconde Bitumbo.
  • Signal of Cibanza.
  • Signal of Lingster Pandi Numtoto-Ola.
  • Signal Michienzi Buanga.
  • Signal of Mafuca Mavingo.
  • Signal of Mambuco M’Paca.
  • Signal of Mafuca Pambo.
  • Signal of Chibuqueli Muene Pambo.
  • Signal by Muene Banza Pambo.
  • Signal of Mangofo Panzo.
  • Signal of Muene N’Zau.
  • Signal by Lingster Filipe.
  • Signal of Mafuca N’Buia.
  • Signal de Massavi N-Cambo.
  • Signal of Mafuca Chiluemba.
  • Signal of Ganga N’Zomongo.
  • Signal of N-Combe.
  • Sign of Mambuco Mani-Macambo.
  • Signal of Chibuquila Mani-Muto.
  • Signal by Macaia Chintomo.
  • Signal of Mamona Chibua.
  • Signal of Ganga Luti.
  • Signal of Benze Mongofo N’Poáti.
  • Signal of Bungo Michivata.
  • Signal of Mamboma N’Bungo.
  • Signal of Ganga Lamongo.

José Emilio dos Santos Silva, second lieutenant of West Africa, delegate of the Portuguese government and head of the civilizing station in Cacongo and Massabe, concludes with Princes Malhambo, Mai-Sexo, Ganga, Camba, Mangeba and Mancala, Governors and Regents of the Peoples of Buamongo , Guamongo, Chicambo, N’Geba and N’Cula, as well as the most Chiefs of the territories that of the Massabe extend to the N’Culo, the NE of Massabe, West Coast of Africa, the following treaty … Note: The treaty is textually the same as that of Chinfuma plus one more article.

As follows: “Article 12.- Any treaties shall be declared null and void, which contain clauses and, contrary to previous articles (Cfr. João de Matos e Silva, Contribuição para o Estudo da Região de Cabinda, cit., pp. 146-147).

ElephantsL’éléphant naît avec ses chaussures (Proverbe Ambundu – Angola).- Le fils d’un homme riche est riche dès sa naissance.

The elephant is born with his shoes (Ambundu proverb – Angola). – The son of a rich man is born rich from birth.

Angola_Cabinda_2Portugal had a few colonies in Africa: Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, Guinea-Bissau, Angola, and Mozambique.  Since 1885, the State of Cabinda has been a Portuguese Protectorate according to the Luso-Cabindan Treaties of Chifuma, Chicamba, and Simulambuco. Today, it is an exclave and province of Angola, a status that has been disputed by several political organizations in the territory. The capital city is also called Cabinda. Modern Cabinda is the result of a fusion of three kingdoms: N’Goyo, Loango and Kakongo.


Logo of the province of Cabinda

On February 1, 1885, the Treaty of Simulambuco established Cabinda as a protectorate of the Portuguese Empire, and the Cabindan independence movements consider the occupation of the territory by Angola illegal. The Treaty of Simulambuco was signed between the emissaries of the Portuguese Crown and the princes and notables of Cabinda, giving rise to three territories within the Portuguese protectorate of Cabinda: Cacongo, Loango, and N’Goyo. The original in Portuguese can be found here: Cabinda_Tratado de Simulambuco.


Treaty of Simulambuco between the Portuguese Crown and the Princes of Cabinda

Guilherme Augusto de Brito Capelo, captain-lieutenant of the fleet, commander of the Corvette Queen of Portugal, Commander of Avis and Knight of several orders, authorized by the government of his most faithful Majesty King of Portugal, satisfying the wishes expressed by the princes of Cabinda in Duly signed by them in a large foundation, concluded with their respective Princes, Governors and Heads, their Successors and heirs, the following:

Article I – The princes and chiefs of the country, and their successors, declare, voluntarily, to recognize the sovereignty of Portugal, placing under the Protectorate of this nation all the territories governed by them.

Article II – Portugal recognizes the current Chiefs and confirms those who are elected by the Peoples in accordance with their laws and practices, promising them aid and protection.

Article III – Portugal undertakes to maintain the integrity of the territories placed under its Protectorate.

Article IV – The Landlords of the Country and their Inhabitants shall be kept directly from the lands belonging to them, and may sell or dispose of them in any way for the establishment of business factories or other private industries, by paying customs, marking a Clear and precise the area of land granted in order to avoid future complications, and the contracts must be ratified by the commanders of Portuguese warships or by the authority in which the government of his Majesty delegates his powers.

Angola_Burial of a king view of the Cabinda mountain 1786-87

Burial of King Andris Poncouta, Macaye, and view of the Cabinda mountain 1786-87

Article V – The greatest freedom will be granted to traders of all nations to establish themselves in these territories, the Portuguese government being obliged to protect these establishments, reserving the right to proceed as it deems most convenient, if it proves that an attempt is being made to destroy the domain of Portugal in these regions.

Article VI – The princes and more indigenous chiefs undertake not to make treaties nor to assign lands to the representatives of foreign nations when this transfer is of an official character and not for the purpose mentioned in article 4.

Article VII – It is also obliged to protect the commerce of both the Portuguese and foreigners and indigenous people, not allowing interruption in communications with the interior and making use of its authority to unravel the paths, facilitating and protecting relations between buyers and sellers, missions Religious and scientific organizations that establish themselves temporarily or permanently in their territories, as well as the development of agriculture.

Article VII.1 – They force themselves not to allow trafficking in slavery within the confines of their domains.

Article VIII – Any and all questions between Europeans and natives shall always be resolved with the assistance of the Portuguese ship’s war commander who may be able to communicate with the land on that occasion, or who has duly legalized powers.

Article IX – Portugal will respect and respect the customs and customs of the country.


Flag of Portugal

Article X – The Princes and Chiefs ceded to Portugal the whole and complete ownership of portions of land for the payment of their respective amounts, in order that the Portuguese Government may have them build their military, administrative or private establishments.

Article XI – The present treaty signed by the Princes and Chiefs of the Country, as well as by the captain-lieutenant commander of the corvette Queen of Portugal, shall begin execution from the day of its signature, but may not be considered definitive until after it has been approved by Government of his majesty.

Simulambuco, in Cabinda, February 1, 1885

(A) Guilherme Augusto de Brito Capelo, commander of the corvette Queen of Portugal.

  • De Neto do Prince Gime, Viceroy. (A) Guilherme Augusto de Brito Capelo, commander of the corvette queen of portugal.
  • De Neto do Prince Gime, Viceroy.
  • De Ibiála, Mamboma do Rei and representative of the Regency.
  • Muanafumo Mahundo, son of the late King.
  • For Mangove Dangoio Puata Puna.
  • From Princess Maria Gimbe, Mambuko. (A) Barão de Cabinda, Manuel José Puna.
  • Sambo Franque, Governor of Chinga.
  • Machimbi, Mafuca Franque.
  • Mavungo Mangombe, Governor of Samona. (A) Manuel Bonzola Franque, Governor of Puerto Rico and Mutamba. (A) Francisco R. Franque, Governor of Pernambuco and Vitória.
  • Fernando Sonsa, Governor of Povo Grande.
  •  Pucuta Caetano, Iinguist de Porto Rico.
  • Manichuvula, Prince, Mambuko de Buco-Sinto.
  • King Jack, Prince of Ponta do Tafe.
  • King Taine, Prince of Ponta do Tafé.
  • Fenando Mingas, son of Prince Jack do Buco-Sinto.
  • Mangove Velho, Don of Povo Grande.
  • Son of Prince Bette Jack, Governor of Caio,
  • Manissabo, Governador de Chobo.
  • Perico Franque, linguist of Mambuco.
  • Puata Puna.
  • Luemba Franque, irmão do Príncipe Sambo, Governor of Chinga.
Posted by: Dr. Y. | November 10, 2017

Don’t let others define you

Angelique Kidjo2

Angelique Kidjo (Source: World Music Central)

“Don’t let anyone define you from what you live through and everything that they think you stand for. Just be proud of who you are.” Angélique Kidjo

Happy 2017_2

Posted by: Dr. Y. | November 8, 2017

African Women and Revolution

Winnie Mandela_5

Winnie Mandela

Very often history books suffer from amnesia: they forget women’s contributions to revolutions. History acts as if the men had been all alone, as if only men were there, as if only men stood against injustice.

When people talk of the struggle for independence in Africa, and around the world, only the great men are cited. As one browses from country to country, only men are cited, as if women had been silent spectators. Do you think apartheid would have collapsed without the critical and vital input of women? Do you think without Winnie Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s name would have been anchored in our heads today? What do you think these women were doing while their husbands were in prison? History wants us to think that they were ‘just’ raising children as if that was not an enormous contribution already, but in the case of Winnie Mandela and countless others, they took up the fight, and were jailed, harassed, beaten, and humiliated by the system (some were even raped). Yet today, the world acclaims only the men! And when a woman raises too strong a voice, then she is vilified, told that she acts like a man, or is an ‘angry’ woman. How could you face injustice day after day, and just keep quiet? There comes a time when, as Bob Marley says, “You can fool some people some time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time…” people will rise up!”

Thomas Sankara family

Mariam and Thomas Sankara, with their children

I am so sick of the saying, “behind every great man, there is a great woman.” I think it is again quite sexist, and should rather read, “ALONGSIDE EVERY GREAT MAN IS A GREAT WOMAN.” Raising children, and pumping somebody’s ego after a day’s fight, taking up the fights, and then keeping the men’s memory so that the world does not forget them, are no easy fit; these are extraordinary fits. Alongside Nelson Mandela, there is Winnie Mandela. Alongside Thomas Sankara, there is Mariam Sankara. Alongside Patrice Lumumba, there is Pauline Lumumba. Alongside Felix Moumié, there is Marthe MoumiéRosa Parks had to be defiant and sit in the front of the bus, for the movement to be taken over by Martin Luther King Jr.; without her part in the fight, there would have been no movement!

Ernest Ouandié, Marthe Moumié, and Abel Kingue in Geneva after Felix Moumié's death

Ernest Ouandié, Marthe Moumié, and Abel Kingue in Geneva after Felix Moumié’s death

It is our duty to remember this, and to claim it. The world and history wants us to think that men are the only ones in the world, when we know that 50% of the world’s population is female; men are not the only ones fighting for independence, liberation, freedom, revolution, democracy, … Can one make a revolution without the remaining 50%? NO! It is our duty to remember Women’s contributions to history, and stop the global historical amnesia!


Posted by: Dr. Y. | November 6, 2017

Anton-Wilhelm Amo by Elikia M’Bokolo


First page of Anton-Wilhelm Amo’s dissertation (Source:

The renowned historian and journalist Elikia M’Bokolo did a short piece on Anton-Wilhelm Amo, the outstanding African philosopher who taught at a university in Germany in the 1700s. This reminded me of the piece I wrote a while back, Anton-Wilhelm Amo, African Professor in Germany in … 1700s.

Amo Anton Wilhelm earned his doctorate degree in philosophy from the University of Halle in Germany. He was a respected Ghanaian German philosopher who taught at the Universities of Halle and Jena in Germany in the 1730s… That’s right… you read it well, 1730! His thesis was the rights of Africans in Europe! He is said to have been the first African person born in Africa to be awarded a doctorate degree from a European university, and to later teach there. Enjoy the Elikia M’Bokolo’s piece, on RFI, on Anton-Wilhelm Amo, also known as Amo Guinea Afer!

Posted by: Dr. Y. | November 3, 2017

African Joke: the iPhone 7


iPhone 7 (

In class, the teacher says: “I will give my iPhone 7 to whoever will answer my question correctly.”

Question: “How many men did Jesus feed in Bethsaida?

Toto raises his hand and answers, “5000 men, sir“(Luke 9: 10-17).

The teacher: “Good answer Toto“, and the teacher gives him in iPhone 7.

The teacher then tells Toto: “Ask me a question Toto, and you give me back my iPhone 7 if I give you the correct answer.”

Toto, all smiles, asks him, “Sir, could you please give me the names of those 5000 men?“😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

Laugh a little to chase away the stress!

The original in French is found on (for iPhone 6S). Translated to English by Dr. Y.


Posted by: Dr. Y. | November 1, 2017

Sourire aux Etrangers / Smiling to Strangers


Sourire / Smile

Offre un sourire à un inconnu, l’inconnu te sourira (proverbe Maure – Mauritanie, Algerie, Maroc, Tunisie, Niger, Mali, Sahara Occidental).

Smile to a stranger, the stranger will smile back (Moor proverb – Mauritania, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Niger, Mali, Western Sahara).

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