Posted by: Dr. Y. | January 23, 2020

Proverb on Being Able to Judge Oneself

Monkey1Un singe ne voit pas sa chevelure (Proverbe pygmées – Afrique Centrale). – Nul n’est juge en sa propre cause.

A monkey does not see its hair (Pygmy proverb – Central Africa). No one is judge in its own case.

Posted by: Dr. Y. | January 21, 2020

Why the Name: Dodoma ?

Tanzania_Dodoma city center

Dodoma city center (Source: The East African)

I always loved the sound of the name Dodoma, the capital of Tanzania: the way it rolls off your tongue like a dearly beloved, like something or someone so sweet and precious… DO-DO-MA, almost like musical notes! So what do you think Dodoma means?

Well, the name Dodoma is derived from Idodomya, a word in the Chigogo (Gogo) language, which means, “it has sunk.” Tradition says that, an elephant once came to drink at a nearby creek, and got stuck in the mud, and gradually sank. It was then that the villagers exclaimed in amazement, “idodomya!” And from that moment, the place was known as Idodomya, the place where the elephant “has sunk.” It later became Dodoma in 1907 when the Germans colonists, who were probably struggling to pronounce Idodomya, came for the construction of the Tanzanian central railway. The layout followed the typical colonial planning of the time with a European quarter segregated from a native village (European-Only Neighborhoods in African Cities before Independence).

Tanzania_Dodoma 1912

Dodoma in 1912 (Source: Museum of World Cultures)

In 1967, following independence, the Tanzanian government made plans to reorganize its then capital Dar es Salaam, which was undergoing rapid urbanization and population growth. In 1974, after a nationwide party referendum, the capital was moved from Dar es Salaam to a more central location to create significant social and economic improvements for the central region and to centralize the capital within the country. With an already-established town at a major crossroads, the Dodoma region had an agreeable climate, room for development and was located in the geographic centre of the nation. Its location in a rural environment was seen as the ujamaa (family-hood) heartland. The ujamaa concept was a concept championed by the first president of Tanzania Julius Nyerere as part of his social and economic development policies: it was to serve as the basis for an African model of development, or African socialism.

Tanzania_Dodoma Julius Nyerere Square1

Julius Nyerere Square in Dodoma

However, over the past 40 years, much of the initial design, and intents never came to fruition, and to this day many government offices and embassies have remained in Dar es Salaam, which remains the economic and the de facto capital of Tanzania.

The story of Dodoma and Dar es Salaam is similar to that of Abuja and Lagos in Nigeria, of Brasília and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, and even Washington, D.C. and New York City in the United States, to name just a few. In many of these cities, there is always an economic capital which is the lung of the country, which dwarfs the political capital in size and energy. Nonetheless these political capitals are still special and unique.

Well, if you ever visit Dodoma, remember that elephant who sank there, try and visit them in all the national parks of the country, but most importantly remember to take with you the ujamaa spirit!

Bird_African Kingfisher_1

African Kingfisher

I had to share with you the image of the magnificent bird whose presence graced my mother’s backyard recently. It is beautiful, colorful, and just amazing. Very often in urban settings we often forget to look at nature, and in many African metropolises, we pass birds everyday without a second thought. I was recently introduced to the kingfisher bird. Not being a ‘bird’ person, I had to search for this colorful bird’s name. Did you know that there are 87 species of kingfishers in the world, and about 17 are found in Africa? I believe my mother’s visitor to be a woodland kingfisher or Halcyon senegalensis. However, it would seem to also look like a mangrove kingfisher. I know that it is definitely not the blue-breasted kingfisher. A question for you all is: If you didn’t know where in Africa this bird was coming from, which species do you think it is?

Lastly, this is a call to preserve our biodiversity, and be mindful of our environment; this calls for the necessity to build parks in African cities, not just pour concrete and cement over everything… I know that land is supposedly scarce, but parks will beautify the cities!


Bird_African Kingfisher

Bird_African Kingfisher_2

Posted by: Dr. Y. | January 15, 2020

Proverbe malgache / Malagasy Proverb

Money3L’argent ressemble à l’hôte de passage : aujourd’hui il arrive, demain il n’est plus là (proverbe malgache – Madagascar).

Money is like a passing guest : today he arrives, tomorrow he is gone (Malagasy proverb – Madagascar).

Posted by: Dr. Y. | January 13, 2020

Vanillanomics or the Economy surrounding Vanilla



The term Vanillanomics is not from me, but from the article below on Bloomberg. I just wanted to let you in on the Vanilla trade, and more. Sad to note that these very rich regions, i.e. rich in vanilla are always in the most remote, poorest, and inaccessible areas of the country. This is the same throughout Africa, whether you are talking about the cobalt of DRC which is lifted from its mines by special planes bypassing the national airports, or the cocoa of Côte d’Ivoire, or the diamonds of Sierra Leone, or even the coffee of Cameroon… and much more. Enjoy! The full article can be found on Bloomberg Business Week.


First, we needed a 4×4 of some sort, along with a driver willing to chance roads that are sometimes passable, sometimes not. The man we found struck us as the quietly skeptical sort, but after a few hundred rutted kilometers, any hesitations he’d been suppressing hardened into emphatic certainties. “The only people who drive on this road,” he told our photographer and me, via our translator, “are people who want to kill their cars.” Yet he gamely pushed ever deeper into Madagascar’s tropical north, until our mud road descended a hill and was swallowed by a wide river. It was the end of the line for the driver. He seemed relieved.



Somewhere on the other side of that water, dozens of farmers would soon converge upon a regional vanilla market in the village of Tanambao Betsivakiny. Growers would negotiate with buyers working on behalf of exporters and international flavoring companies, and together everyone would hash out a collective, per-kilogram price for the crop. Most buyers would pay cash on the spot, and the farmers would hand over several tons of green, freshly harvested vanilla beans.

Those humble beans, whose essence is associated with all that’s bland and unexciting, have somehow metamorphosed, butterfly-style, into the most flamboyantly mercurial commodity on the planet. In the past two decades, cured vanilla beans have been known to fetch almost $600 per kilogram one week, then $20 or so the next. Northeastern Madagascar is the world’s largest producer of natural vanilla, so every boom and every bust slams this region like a tropical storm. When prices peak, cash floods the villages. When prices fall, it drains away.


Vanilla bean

Madagascar was largely integrated into global trade centuries ago. The island is bigger than France, with cultural traditions that vary by region, unique biological treasures, and a developing tourism economy. The capital, Antananarivo, is full of laborers, lawyers, bureaucrats, bankers, artists, entrepreneurs, intellectuals—everything a 21st century city of 1.5 million needs. Yet Madagascar is also one of the poorest countries on the planet. You see and feel its disparities most sharply in its more remote pockets, including in the vanilla-growing region of the northeast. The extreme isolation of those communities, their dominance over the international supply, the dramatic changes they undergo during price swings—all of it has turned this part of the country into a semicontained observation lab that exposes both the genius and the insanity of globalized commerce. …

Posted by: Dr. Y. | January 10, 2020

Bernard Dadié on African Immigration and the Return

African tears

Dry your tears Africa

Sèche tes pleurs Afrique!
Tes enfants te reviennent
dans l’orage et la tempête des voyages infructueux.

Sèche tes pleurs, Afrique!
Tes enfants te reviennent
Les mains pleines de jouets
Et le coeur plein d’amour.
Ils reviennent te vêtir
De leurs rêves et de leurs espoirs.

Dry your tears, Afrika!
Your Children come back to you
Out of the storm and squalls of fruitless journeys.

Dry your tears, Afrika!
Your children come back to you
Their hand full of playthings
And their heart full of love
They return to clothe you
In their dreams in their hopes


With the end of the ‘year of return‘, I think parts of the poem above by Bernard Binlin Dadié are appropriate and perfect to talk about African immigration and illustrate the return. Africa’s children are coming back, and they are coming to contribute, and also to build her… this applies to those of the diaspora whose ancestors made it to the new world in ships of the Mali emperor’s (Kankan Musa‘s predecessor) or via slave ships, or simply to recent African immigration to other part of the world: Africa needs you, and together, united, we have the potential to usher in a new positive era.  Excerpts above are from the poem titled “Dry your Tears Africa” or “Sèche Tes Pleurs,” published in 1967 by Bernard Dadié“Seche Tes Pleurs” de Bernard Binlin Dadié / “Dry your Tears Afrika” by Bernard B. Dadié

Stars and moon_1

Etoiles et lune / Stars and moon (Source: Universite Paris Diderot)

Je vous ai montré les étoiles et la lune, mais vous n’avez vu que le bout de mon doigt! (proverbe Tanzanien – Tanzanie)

I pointed out the stars and moon to you, but all you saw was the tip of my finger! (Tanzanian proverb – Tanzania)

Kenya_999 year leaseDid you know about the 999-year land lease granted to Europeans in Kenya? Did you even know that there was such a thing as a 999-year lease (a.k.a. 1000-year lease)? It’s like “Hello? who will remember such a thing by the time a millenium has gone by? who will be there to fight for the land?” I knew about the 99-year lease of Macau and Hong Kong (by the British) which were returned to China (thanks to the hard work of the Chinese to recover what was rightfully theirs)… but the treachery of this 999-year lease is particularly outrageous! Well, the 999-year lease was granted in the Rift valley region of Kenya by the British colonial administration to their fellow brothers, ‘early’ British settlers in Kenya. This paved the way for the violent seizure of thousands of acres of land from the local communities whose anger and discontent led to the armed struggle (The British Government apologizes for Mau Mau atrocities) which later led to the independence of Kenya from Great Britain. There are probably other countries like that across the continent with such outrageous leases; I am sure that there are such things in Francophone Africa, but with the well-known perfidy of the French government (FCFA), such contracts are probably hidden from the masses (If you uncover any, please share with us).

Luckily, the Kenyan government has recently, in 2010, re-written its constitution to cut down these leases from 999 years to 99 years, retroactive from those dates in 2010. That retroactive date is a pity in my opinion… for it will mean that some lands would have been leased for almost 200 years by the time the date runs up! However, it is a step forward, reducing 1000-year lease down to 200-year! (Question for readers: couldn’t these have been annulled all-together?)

To learn more, I have compiled excerpts from different articles. As you read these, you will remember that Robert Mugabe did indeed say that most of the lands where the Safaris happen in Zimbabwe (probably the same in South Africa, and as you will read below in Kenya as well), do not belong to Africans. Enjoy!


Cutting 999-year Lease Terms” – Daily Nation (14 Nov 2009) 

Kenya_Land leaseOne of the most contentious clauses in the new land policy is a proposal to scrap 999-year leases. The draft proposes to cap leasehold terms at 99 years.

This proposal has drawn protests from landowners, mostly of them of European origin, who hold titles to large farms under leases of 999 years granted in 1915 after sustained pressure from white settlers on the British colonial administration.

The seizure of thousands of acres of land from local communities created discontent among the African population. This anger would later boil over into the armed struggle for independence.

Early settlers, who were initially granted 99-year leases beginning 1902, applied pressure on the British government to extend the leasehold terms to 999 years.

The move succeeded, and the Britain allowed the passage of the Crown Lands Ordinance of 1915, which extended the leases. If the draft policy is adopted, all the existing 999-year leases will be shortened to 99-year holdings.

New Law on Land a Double-Edged Sword” – Business Daily Africa (7 Sept 2010)

Kenya_mapIn Kenya, those with registered private land hold either freehold or leasehold interests. A freehold interest is for an unlimited period and is the kind held by Kenyans in most rural areas. They are easily managed and inherited.

A leasehold interest is held for a defined period after which the land reverts to the person who granted the lease. Most leasehold interests are found in urban areas. But many leases were granted by the colonial government to promote Kenya’s agriculture and for religious purposes in various counties. Many of these have since been passed on to local people and companies.

Leases in Kenya have been routinely issued for 33, 66, 99, 999 and 9,999 years. All leases of terms greater than 99 years held by non-citizens were, however, automatically converted to 99 years on the promulgation of the 2010 Constitution.

Are leases in Laikipia about to start expiring?” – The Star Reporter of Kenya (27 Nov 2017)

Kenya_Great Rift Valley

Great Rift Valley in Kenya

Draft land regulations from the Ministry of Lands state that the effective starting date for the new 99 year leases is 27 August 2010. Therefore freehold titles formerly held by foreigners and now converted to leasehold titles will not expire until 2109.

Most of the ranches in Northern Kenya are owned by Kenyan citizens, including those of European extraction, and they are therefore unaffected by the 2010 Land Registration Act. If they hold Freehold title deeds or 999 year leases, those were both preserved by the Constitution. Therefore no freehold title or lease will expire on most of the ranches in Laikipia or northern Kenya in the foreseeable future..

The conservancies in Laikipia formerly held 999 year leases but these are now being reduced to 99 year leases, if they are not Kenyan owned, and they will expire in 2109.

There is another small batch of 99-year leases issues by the colonial government in the 1950s called Temporary Occupation Licences (TOLS), a government system that applied in remote parts of Kenya. These 99 year leases will only expire after 2050. If Kenyans own those leases, they will be automatically renewed by government.

The Land Laws of Kenya” – A Summary of the changes compiled by Mona Doshi (Oct 2012)

Pursuant to the Constitution of Kenya, three Acts of Parliament have been enacted and came into
force on 2nd May, 2012:
 Land Act, 2012
 Land Registration Act, 2012
 National Land Commission Act, 2012
The following Acts have been repealed:
 The Indian Transfer of Property Act, 1882
 The Government Lands Act
 The Registration of Titles Act
 The Land Titles Act
 The Registered Land Act
 The Wayleaves Act; and
 The Land Acquisition Act


Flag of Kenya

A significant change under the new laws is that:
 freehold land cannot be owned by a non-Kenyan citizen; and
 a leasehold interest of over 99 years cannot be held by a non-Kenyan citizen.
Therefore any freehold land owned by a non-Kenyan citizen is deemed to have been converted into a 99 year leasehold interest commencing from 27/8/2010 and any leasehold interest with an unexpired term of over 99 years is deemed to be converted into a 99 year leasehold interest commencing from 27/8/2010.
As yet there is no procedure in place for conversion of freehold title to leasehold so, for example, if prior to the coming into effect of the new Constitution a non-Kenyan citizen owned freehold land and you conduct a land registry search today the result will still show the non-Kenyan citizen as owning the land on freehold tenure.
The Constitution states that a body corporate/company is deemed to be a Kenyan citizen only if it is 100% owned by Kenyan citizens. Therefore a company with even one shareholder who is a non-Kenyan citizen would only be entitled to own a leasehold interest of 99 years or less.
It is unclear whether a freehold title or title with an unexpired term of over 99 years that is owned jointly by a Kenyan citizen and a non-Kenyan citizen would be converted to a lease of 99 years or whether the tenure would remain intact.

Posted by: Dr. Y. | January 3, 2020

Happy 2020!



Dear readers, wishing you all an AMAZING HAPPY new year. May the year 2020 mark the beginning of a decade of joy, the fulfillment of old and new dreams that will last a lifetime, and the completion of past endeavors. We, at Afrolegends, would like to express our profound gratitude for your constant support, as your readership has carried us forward. Thank you to all those who visited the blog, reblogged articles, commented, and to all future visitors. 2019 was a full year: had lots of views, subscribers, and many articles reblogged on multiple sites. In August, we celebrated 2 Million Views and 10-years Anniversary on the African Heritage Blog !!! We most importantly celebrated your continued presence on our blog, and as always African achievements.


Happy 2020

The top 6 posts of 2019 are listed below. For this new year, 2020, we will bring you even more amazing, fun, enlightening, and rich articles. We will also take you on a journey to new places. Keep trusting, reading, sharing, reblogging, and liking. We wish you a beautiful, full, and amazing new year, rich in blessings, and rich in greatness. May 2020 be the year of greatness! Keep your heads up, and may your year be as beautiful as the petals of this flower! As you can see, everything about this flower marks the beginning of something beautiful: a new start, a new life, and a new joy! As always, like Agostinho Neto said, “A luta continua … a vitória é certa!

1. The 11 Components of the French Colonial Tax in Africa

2. Bride Price Practices in Africa

3. Adinkra Symbols and the Rich Akan Culture

4. Scarification: an ‘Ancient’ African Tattoo Culture

5. Sarah Baartman: The Black Venus

6. Samori Touré: African Leader and Resistant to French Imperialism!

Posted by: Dr. Y. | December 31, 2019

Who / What did we Celebrate in Africa in 2019?


Laurent Gbagbo

1. The liberation of President Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé (How long shall they kill our prophets…?) from the Hague after 8 years unjustly accused of crimes against humanity. All charges were dropped, Laurent Gbagbo, Former President of Cote d’Ivoire, was acquitted of War Crimes, yet Blé Goudé and him are still persecuted by the prosecutor, and Blé Goudé is still stuck in the Hague unjustly, while Gbagbo is in Belgium; both are unable to return home to Côte d’Ivoire. This is another case of Deportation of African Heads of States. Our prayers have been answered, and we will continue until they can both return home, and until Côte d’Ivoire is rid of all the nonsense brought by France there.  As Agostinho Neto Neto said: “La luta continua e la victoria e certa!”

2. Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)‘s first democratically elected president, Felix Tshisekedi, was invested on 24 January which marked a historic day in the life of the DRC. Félix Antoine Tshilombo Tshisekedi marked the first peaceful transfer of power in the history of the DRC in 60 years, since the Belgium granted it independence.

Ethiopia_Abiy Ahmed

Abiy Ahmed, Prime minister of Ethiopia (Source:

3. Abiy Ahmed, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize this year. We celebrate it, but it has become quite controversial as he was awarded the Nobel for his work in ending the 20-year post-war territorial stalemate between Ethiopia and Eritrea…. the question remains as to why wasn’t his Eritrean counterpart recognized as well … doesn’t it take two to tango? Remember how F. de Klerk and Mandela were both awarded the Nobel peace prize for the end of apartheid? Both sides were recognized… so why not in the case of Ethiopia and Eritrea?


Kais Saied,  new president of Tunisia getting sworn in (Source: Al Jazeera)

4. Tunisia celebrated the election of Kais Saied aka ‘The Robot’: The Political Outsider Who Won the Tunisian Presidential Election. Saied, a political outsider and retired law professor, won the presidential election with a landslide victory. We cheered with the Tunisian people for a good election and hopefully a good choice.

5. Cameroon’s opposition leader Maurice Kamto was freed after almost 10 months of unjust arrest. This has helped us all uncover yet another scandal: Cameroon and the Double Standard of the ‘International Community’. Kamto had been locked up with over 200 of his supporters at the capital’s maximum security prison for a peaceful march. He has now been freed, and all charges dropped, while the situation in Cameroon keeps disintegrating under the leadership of France’s puppet Paul Biya and his croonies.

6. Rwanda announced the opening of the first mobile phone manufacturing plant in Africa. The mobile phones will be entirely made in Rwanda… for Rwandans. Rwanda opens first entirely homemade smartphone factory. The Mara Group, a pan-African business headquartered in Dubai, says the factory will deliver “high quality smartphones at an affordable price.” Volkswagen will also open its first ever car assembly factory in Africa in Rwanda.

Kipchoge_INEOS 2019

Eliud Kipchoge after crossing the sub-2hour marathon line (Source:

7. Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya ran a sub-2 hour marathon to become the first person in recorded history to run a marathon in such times.

7. Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei set a jaw-dropping new women’s world record at the Chicago marathon with a time of 2:14:04, breaking the record set by British runner Paula Radcliffe in 200316 years ago.

CAN 2019_Algeria

The Fennecs of Algeria celebrating their title at the CAN 2019 (Source: The Guardian)

8. The Fennecs of Algeria won the African Cup of Nations 2019 in Cairo, Egypt. The Fennecs of Algeria defeated the Lions of the Teranga of Senegal 1-0 to become Africa’s new champions. This was their second title since 1990. They were clearly the tournament’s best team. The revelation of CAN 2019 tournament was the Barea of Madagascar which for their first participation ever to the African Cup of Nations, performed extremely well, and went as far as the quarter finals.

Cape to Cairo_Alvin Zhakata_1

Alvin Zhakata in Khartoum, Sudan (Source: Alvin Zhakata)

9. This year also saw several fans attempt the journey from Cape to Cairo: Trekking 10,000 km for the African Cup of Nations. One of them finished: Alvin Zhakata, of Zimbabwe, trekked 10,000 km to cheer for the Zimbabwean warriors at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Cairo. Even though he arrived late, after his team had been eliminated, he was offered a VIP ticket to the final. What Zhakata did was no easy feat: he traveled from Cape Town to Cairo by foot enduring visa delays, internet blackouts and revolutionary protests all for the love of football. This was also a bold political statement to all African leaderswe need roads to connect each other; we need better visa system for Africans, safer travel, and increased trade among each otherwe need a united AfricaZhakata’s statement is one of Unity, … African Unity

10. To end the year in fanfare, Ethiopia celebrated the launch of its first satellite. This is an outstanding feat and we are happy to celebrate with Ethiopian scientists and all Ethiopians.

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