Ethiopia_Prime minister Abiy Ahmed

Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed plants a tree as part of the reforestation project (Source: Office of the Prime Minister – Ethiopia)

Last August, Ethiopia broke a world record for… not in long distance running, people… but for the most trees planted in a single day in the world. The goal was to plant 200 million trees to fight against deforestation and droughts in Ethiopia. Kudos to the prime minister Abiy Ahmed and to the strong people of Ethiopia.

Enjoy the excerpt below below from Borkena; you will find the full article there.

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Prime minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration has been mobilizing for months for what it called “Green Legacy” project which aimed at planting over 200 million trees in a single day.

Government affiliated media, Fana Broadcasting Corporation (FBC), cited the coordinating committee of the project to report that 353,633,660 trees have been planted across the country.

Religious leaders, workers, business people, actors, members of the Ethiopian Defense force, senior government officials, students, among others, have participated in the campaign.

[…] Over the last decades, Ethiopia lost much of forest coverage across the country due to deforestation. Currently, the forest coverage is said to be below 3 percent.

Organizers of the green legacy campaign and Abiy Ahmed’s administration pride itself by claiming world record with the 200 million trees in a day campaign.

According to Guinness World Records, the record for individuals was registered in 2001 in Canada. Ken Chaplain planted 15,170 trees in one day in Saskatchewan.

In terms of tree planting by volunteers, the highest number of trees planted is India in 2016, as per The National Geographic report. About 50 million trees were planted on June 11, 2016.

Posted by: Dr. Y. | September 11, 2019

Robert Mugabe in His Own Words

Robert Mugabe_12

Robert Mugabe

Africa must revert to what it was before the imperialists divided it. These are artificial divisions which we, in our pan-African concept, will seek to remove.” – Speech at Salisbury, 1962

Was it not enough punishment and suffering in history that we were uprooted and made helpless slaves not only in new colonial outposts but also domestically.” 1960s

We of Africa protest that, in this day and age, we should be treated as lesser human beings than other races.” 2003

Flag of Zimbabwe

Flag of Zimbabwe

“If the choice were made, one for us to lose our sovereignty and become a member of the Commonwealth or remain with our sovereignty and lose the membership of the Commonwealth, I would say let the Commonwealth go. What is it to us? Our people are overjoyed, the land is ours. We are now the rulers and owners of Zimbabwe.” – Speech at ZANU-PF Congress December 2003 . This is somewhat reminiscent of when Sekou Touré said ‘NO’ to France in 1958, “It is better to be poor and free, than to live in opulence and be a slave.”

Zimbabwe2

Map of Zimbabwe

We have fought for our land, we have fought for our sovereignty, small as we are we have won our independence and we are prepared to shed our blood … So, Blair keep your England, and let me keep my Zimbabwe.” – Earth Summit, South Africa, 2002

We don’t mind having sanctions banning us from Europe. We are not Europeans.” 2000s

Our small and peaceful country is threatened daily by covetous and bigoted big powers whose hunger for domination and control of other nations and their resources knows no bounds.” 2000s – Isn’t this true for Africa as a whole today since the Berlin conference of 1884?

“The white man is not indigenous to Africa. Africa is for Africans. Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans.” ZANU-PF Congress December 2000.

The land is ours. It’s not European and we have taken it, we have given it to the rightful people … Those of white extraction who happen to be in the country and are farming are welcome to do so, but they must do so on the basis of equality.” 2000s

Robert Mugabe_ZANU PF

Robert Mugabe at a ZANU PF Congress (Source: Nehanda Radio)

“Mr Bush, Mr. Blair and now Mr Brown’s sense of human rights precludes our people’s right to their God-given resources, which in their view must be controlled by their kith and kin. I am termed dictator because I have rejected this supremacist view and frustrated the neo-colonialists.” UN General Assembly 2007.

African resources belong to Africa. Others may come to assist as our friends and allies, but no longer as colonisers or oppressors, no longer as racists.” 2015

“We have said we will never collapse, never ever. We may have our droughts, our poverty, but as a people, we shall never collapse, never ever.” 

Robert Mugabe_4

Robert Mugabe (History.com)

One of Zimbabwe‘s great sons is no longer: Robert Mugabe, the first president of Zimbabwe has passed away. This was a man who tirelessly fought for his country’s liberation, and for the Black race as a whole. Some have called him an icon of liberation, and indeed he was!

Robert Mugabe epitomized the freedom fights of then Rhodesia, a British colony ruthlessly run by a white minority. This once beautiful place had been renamed after  Cecil Rhodes a white tyrant who committed the greatest atrocities in that country in the name of the superiority of one race over the other and capitalism. It was only befitting that a freedom fighter like Robert Mugabe should come up, and fight to not only reclaim the land of his ancestors, but also appropriately reinstate it to its past glory, that of Great Zimbabwe !

Flag of Zimbabwe

Flag of Zimbabwe

Few people have sacrificed so much for a fight for freedom. After criticizing the government of Rhodesia in 1964, Robert Mugabe was imprisoned for more than a decade without trial. Mugabe lost his then only child while in prison; the colonial government did not allow him to bury him (almost 30 years later, he went on to have other children).

Robert Mugabe embodied Africa’s struggle against colonialism. He was a courageous politician, imprisoned for daring to defy white-minority rule. Later on, he was vilified by the ‘international community‘ (now we all know that this means: parts of Europe + USA) for restoring their lands to Africans, because this attacked whites’ interests in his country. I am not sure how to this day, some people believe that it is okay for less than 5% of the population to own 90% of the land in a country which is not even theirs… that is beyond me… what about those who were born there? what about those whose land it is? Will it be okay if the few Africans who have immigrated to say France, owned 90% of the land there?… Now will we all hear about injustice!

Robert Mugabe_7

Zimababwe’s President Robert Mugabe chants Zanu PF slogans with supporters gathered at the Harare International Conference Centre in Harare, Wednesday May 3, 2000. (AP Photo/Christine Nesbitt)

Learning of the passing of Robert Mugabe, many world leaders have expressed their condolences… below are just a few.

Julius Malema of South Africa said, “I’m saddened by the passing of our martyr and giant of the African revolution cde President Robert Mugabe. Let’s continue the fight and protect his legacy. We must not allow our enemies to tell us how to remember him; we know our heroes.”

Joseph Kabila, former president of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) said, “We will forever remember the worthy son of Africa, who came to our rescue when our country was victim of a foreign aggressor. The continent has lost one of its pan-African leaders, a hero of independence.

Hage Geingob

Hage Geingob of Namibia (ZimbabweSituation.com)

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta said Mr Mugabe had “played a major role in shaping the interests of the African continent” and was “a man of courage who was never afraid to fight for what he believed in even when it was not popular.

Hage Geingob, president of Namibia added, “… Robert Mugabe [was] an extraordinary revolutionary and tenacious freedom fighter who contributed immensely to Africa and Namibia’s cause for freedom.

Jerry J. Rawlings, former president of Ghana said, “RIP Comrade Mugabe. You lived for the dignity of your fellow black. Your African pride, dignity and audacity were unassailable. Africa has lost a bold and noble Statesman.

Cyril Ramaphosa

Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa (AlJazeera.com)

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa called Mr Mugabe a “champion of Africa‘s cause against colonialism” who inspired our own struggle against apartheid“. And indeed Robert Mugabe supported the fight against apartheid and tremendously helped the ANC in its struggle to defeat that monster called apartheid. Ramaphosa added that under Mugabe’s leadership, “Zimbabwe’s sustained and valiant struggle against colonialism inspired our own struggle against apartheid and built in us the hope that one day South Africa too would be free”. During the decades of our own struggle, Zimbabwe’s liberation movement supported our own liberation movement to fight oppression on multiple fronts. After Zimbabwe achieved independence, the apartheid state brutalised and violated Zimbabwe as punishment for supporting our own struggle” . Many Zimbabweans paid with their lives so that we could be free. We will never forget or dishonour this sacrifice and solidarity.”

Robert Mugabe_China

Xi Jinping of China with Robert Mugabe (Source: South China Morning Post)

In his condolence message, Chinese President Xi Jinping said China had “lost an old friend and a good friend.” Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Mugabe’s death was deeply mourned in China, noting that the former president opposed foreign interference and actively promoted Beijing’s relations with Zimbabwe and Africa. China described Mugabe as an “outstanding leader of the national liberation movement and statesmanwho firmly defended the country’s sovereignty, as African leaders termed him a “liberator” and “pan-Africanist.

cowLa vache de tête se fait fouetter le plus . Se dit d’un leader. (Proverbe Zulu – South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Malawi, Mozambique).

The lead cow (the one in front) gets whipped the most . Said of a leader. (Zulu proverb – South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Malawi, Mozambique).

Posted by: Dr. Y. | September 3, 2019

Burkinabe Woman Turns Water Hyacinth Into Gold Mine

Burkina Faso - Mariama Mamane1

Mariama Mamane (Source: UNEP)

In Ouagadougou, the capital city of Burkina Faso, a young scientist, Mariama Mamane who won the Young Champion of the Earth in the year 2017, is turning water hyacinth, an invasive species, into fertilizer, bio-gas and energy.

Mariama’s pilot program prevents desertification, creates food security and converts a problem into a livelihood opportunity for people in Burkina Faso. Her project, “JACIGREEN”, offers an innovative eco-solution introducing a plant-based purification mechanism to help manage fresh water and improve access to drinking water. It simultaneously implements a system to produce organic fertilizer (via anaerobic composting) and electricity (from biogas recovered from the water hyacinth transformation process). Her goal is to “Improve living conditions of population through sustainable agriculture and renewable energy for energy deficient rural communities in West Africa.”

Lake Victoria1

Water hyacinth invasion in Lake Victoria (Source: Lilian Ochieng, The East African)

Recall that Achenyo Idachaba of Nigeria has been exploring other alternatives making arts and craft products with the Water hyacinth (Jacinthe des eaux) in Nigeria. For those who do not know what the water hyacinth is, it is a plant which has been suffocating rivers around the globe, and has proliferated in places such as Lake Victoria (Africa’s largest body of fresh water) not only depriving the lake of its oxygen thus reducing nutrients for fishes, blocking water ways, and breeding all sorts of new diseases. This plant is not native of Africa.

Please help me applaud the work of Mariama Mamane. She was featured in this UN video below turning plant to power in Burkina Faso. Enjoy!

Posted by: Dr. Y. | August 30, 2019

Amanishakheto, Warrior Queen of Nubia

Nubia_Stele of Amanishakheto from the temple of Amun in Naqa

Stele of Amanishakheto (center) from the temple of Amun in Wad ban Naqa (Wikipedia)

Amanishakheto was a great queen of Nubia and is known as a great warrior and pyramid builder; she built numerous pyramids and temples at Meroë. She is also the daughter of Amanirenas, the fearless and one-eyed queen who defeated the Romans, and the mother of Amanitore, another great queen. Today, vestiges of her palace which had been destroyed and plundered by the Italian explorer Giuseppe Ferlini can still be seen at Wad ban Naqa, and her jewelry (looted by the same Italian), are now on display at the Egyptian Museum of Berlin, and at the Egyptian Museum of Munich.

African Heritage

Candace Amanishakheto on a mural Candace Amanishakheto on a mural

Great women are often left out of history.  Rarely do we hear or read about African queens.  It is already hard enough to read about great African men and leaders in history books, but as for African women… it is more like impossible.  How many have heard of the great warrior queen of Nubia, Amanishakheto, who defeated a Roman army?  Who has heard of this great queen whose pyramid/tomb was leveled to the ground by an Italian treasure hunter, Giuseppe Ferlini, in 1832? Who has heard of this woman who led her people with a strong arm, and built pyramids in Meroë?  Who has heard of this great candace, whose daughter Amanitore, also queen of Nubia, is mentioned in the Bible (Acts 8:27) … yeah the Queen of Sheba is not the only African…

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Posted by: Dr. Y. | August 30, 2019

A Gift from the African Heritage Blog

To celebrate our 10-years anniversary, one of our contributors is offering you this amazing book on Amazon . A king, a beautiful princess, and a pot of hot chili sauce… the combination is bound to make you laugh. Enjoy this book, an African Children’s book, for young and young at heart! It is on kindle e-book in both French and English.

 

cover-image

The Hare, The Princess, and the Hot Chili Sauce

 

Posted by: Dr. Y. | August 27, 2019

‘My Name’ by Magoleng wa Selepe

Colonization in Africa

Village school in French West Africa (AOF) 1900s – French assimilationism (Louis Sonolet, Source: http://exhibitions.nypl.org)

The poem ‘My Name‘ by Magoleng wa Selepe has touched many strong chords. It is the truth, and still rings true today. During colonial times, our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents were stripped of their names and identity: to go to school, they had to have a European name, and very often their own names were distorted because the European colonizer could not spell it properly. Depending on the origin of the colonizer, whether it was France, Great Britain, Germany, or Portugal, one ended up with a French, British, German, or Portuguese name. Enjoy !!!

African Heritage

African Savanna

I just thought about what happened to our fathers, mothers, grandmothers, and grandfathers during colonial times: to go to school African children were forced by European missionaries to adopt a christian name such as John, Peter (Jean, Pierre), etc… as opposed to their good old African name Nomzimo, Makeba, Ndoumbe, Keïta, etc.  Thus many Africans who would have just worn the name ‘Ndoumbe Mpondo‘ or ‘Binlin Dadié‘ or ‘Um Nyobé‘ had to adopt a European name such as John + their own name, such that they became: John Ndoumbe Mpondo or Bernard Binlin Dadié or Ruben Um Nyobé.  To this day, the tradition has remained… most Africans would have three or four names: their family name, and their given name, plus the European first name and in some cases a European middle name as well.  The poem below entitled…

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Posted by: Dr. Y. | August 23, 2019

Scarification: an ‘Ancient’ African Tattoo Culture

Congo_Batetela woman Lualaba Kassai_1905

Tetela woman with intricate ritual scarification designs ca 1905, Lualaba – Kasai

Today, we will reblog our article on scarification, an ‘ancient’ African tattoo culture. Not too long ago, scarification, as practiced in Africa, was much more than art work on skin. For many, it was a way of identification (the ethnic group you belonged to), a right of passage (boyhood to manhood, girlhood to womanhood, …), symbols of beauty and status, protection against evil spirits, and a rich tradition passed on from generations to generations. So next time you think about tattooing yourself, remember the ancient ways and designs of yore.

African Heritage

Image of a young woman's face (agnautacouture.com) Image of a young woman’s face (agnautacouture.com)

These days, many of my fellow African brothers and sisters sport tattoos of some European or foreign symbols on their skins. These symbols are usually alien to our cultures, traditions, thinking, and history. So I thought about talking about scarification, which could be called an “ancient” African culture of tattoos.

For starters, Africa has a rich culture of scarification. Many cite HIV, and ugliness as being the reason why they would not do scarification and why the practice has been abandoned. I neither agree nor disagree with them, but I would like to give a history of scarification and why, this is something to be cherished as part of our history, even if it is no longer practiced and/or needed today.

Sculpture of a Mangbetu person, in Congo (this sculpture is exposed at the MET) Sculpture of a Mangbetu person, in Congo (exposed at the MET)

In the past, a woman or man would have scarification marks that…

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Posted by: Dr. Y. | August 20, 2019

History of African Fabrics and Textiles

As I share this other great favorite on African textiles, I am preparing to write another piece on this subject next month… so stay tuned.

African Heritage

Wax Hollandais Wax Hollandais

Very often, Africans are depicted on old pictures as naked people, walking around without any clothing.  This seems to be quite at odd with the fact that the Dutch textile company VLISCO has been installed in Africa, more precisely in Togo, since 1846.  So how could pictures from the 1800s and early 1900s only show naked Africans?  The BBC recently ran a story on VLISCO and African textile tradition actually being European.  The New York Times claimed that Africa’s fabric was entirely Dutch.  I find this quite appalling, and I call this a falsification of history.

For starters, before VLISCO, Africa had a very rich textile industry as noted by Kankan Moussa‘s entire delegation being clothed from cotton woven with golden threads in 1300s during his pilgrimage to the Mecca (this will be a story for another day), or the Kanembu clothing tradition which dates as far…

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