The Geological Scandal that is the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) mineral map (Source: Atlas du continent africain, Jeune Afrique et editions Jaguar, 2000)

Last week, a reader asked us why the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is often referred to as a “geological scandal” of nature. For starters, the DRC is one of the world’s richest countries in natural resources, with the richest concentrations of precious metals and minerals on earth, with large deposits of gold, diamonds, uranium, copper, cobalt, tungsten, coltan, bauxite, cassiterite, and much more. According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), it has about 75% of the world’s coltan, the material at the heart of the mobile phone revolution; about 70% of the world’s cobalt reserves, over 30% of diamond, 10% of copper. The uranium used for the bombs that detonated over Hiroshima and Nagasaki came from the DRC. The electrical car battery revolution is all based on Congo’s wealth; there is no way the West can sustain an electrical car industry without Congo and its reserves. Apart from mineral wealth, the DRC is also one of the most biodiverse areas in the world.

Unfortunately, this abundance of internationally valued minerals and natural resources has however failed to bring any kind of prosperity to the country. It began with colonial exploitation of the land and its people by King Leopold II (King Leopold II and The Congolese Genocide), and continued in bloody civil war; the Congolese have harvested nothing from their country’s natural riches but misery and poverty. The world’s bloodiest conflict since World War II is still going on today on Congo soil, and has made over five million deaths…

For more, check out the article by Colette Braeckman, The Looting of the Congo, BBC – DR Congo: Cursed by its natural wealth and the extensive articles written by a fellow blogger at WiPoKuli Schluter. We had found a good documentary a while back about Congo’s resources, but somehow it is no longer available. So I live you instead with The Race for Africa by Gravitas Plus, which actually helps to understand the importance of Africa (and Congo) today, and the race for its resources. Enjoy!

Electricity producing Stones found in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)?

Map of the Democratic Republic of Congo
Map of the Democratic Republic of Congo

In recent days, there have been videos of rare electricity producing stones recently discovered in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) trending on the internet. Online users claim that the ore is the fictitious Vibranium found in the Black Panther movies.  At first, I took the story to be internet hyped stuff, so paid no real attention. After all, isn’t Congo a geological scandal? Isn’t Congo the place with the biggest deposits of coltan, metal at the base of the cell phone revolution we have been experiencing in recent decades? Isn’t Congo the place where new minerals are found often? I paid no real attention until I saw an article on the BBC website published yesterday to address the ‘rumors’. That is when I thought to myself, tosilisi, We are finished! In the article, some scientists in several parts of the world were shown the videos and asked to give their opinions. As you probably guessed, most said that it was an impossibility. The real question is, if the thing is not real, why is the BBC bothering to address a ‘fake’ story? Why not just let it slide like we all did at first? Is it some sort of damage control until the ‘real’ experts are deployed on the ground to assess, and retain all rights to the mines containing this rare ore (like it is usually done in Africa)? Is it a way to make us lose interest so nobody looks until the major multinationals sign deals (remember Mozambique)? Although this will mark an amazing revolution in terms of energy if found to be true, it still makes us fear for the DRC which has been in the midst of civil wars for more than 25 years because of all its large mineral deposits, civil wars funded by foreign money. At this point, the words of anthropologist Coovi Gomez ring true, as he said, truly for Africa to be free, Congo needs to be free; by Congo, he meant the original Congo which encompasses most of Central Africa today.

J.J. Rawlings in His Own Words: African Identity, Betrayal, and More

President Jerry Rawlings of Ghana (Source: thecable.ng)

A couple of years ago, we published the words of President J.J. Rawlings of Ghana on Betrayal. Let’s take a trip down memory lane to revisit that article published here on Afrolegends in 2020, where Rawlings talks about African identity, betrayal and much more. As Amilcar Cabral said, “Let no one tell us that Nkrumah died of a cancer to the throat or some other disease; no, Nkrumah has been killed by the cancer of betrayal …“; the cancer of betrayal is a true gangrene to progress in Africa, how many leaders has it claimed?

=====

In the video below, you will hear J.J. Rawlings talk about the issues always discussed on this blog: the loss of the African soul to westernization, the danger of traitors within the ranks, and more importantly the dangers of globalization. People should really pay attention to all he has to say about betrayal, African identity, and also about the manipulations of the people by the triumvirate that is the multinationals, the media, and the intelligence.

Kwame Nkrumah
Kwame Nkrumah, First President of Ghana

On betrayal, Jerry Rawlings said, “Something that is worse than an enemy is a traitor.” This is very reminiscent of the speech Amilcar Cabral gave at the funeral of Ghana’s first president Kwame Nkrumah on May 13, 1972, which I translated to English here on Afrolegends, “The Cancer of Betrayal” by Amilcar Cabral. J.J. adds, “As bad as an enemy can be, … something worse than an enemy is a traitor.”

On African identity, Rawlings affirmed, “In the process of trying to modernize, we [Africans] have ended up being westernized. … When I wanted to even name my children African names, heroic names, … the catholic church said no… they will have to be catholic names … [which] are European names.“… “I have a right to my identity, don’t take away my identity!

Christianize me if you may, but don’t westernize me!” He talks about the issues of African identity, which is powerfully shown in the poem ‘My Name’ by Magoleng wa Selepe.

On globalization, “The world is manipulated by the multinational corporations, the media, and the intelligence apparatus, … they work as a triumvirate and they are neatly sandwiched… in between the governed people and the governors… the sooner we begin to return, restore, some sense of morality in business ethics, in politics, in the media, intelligence apparatus, …” apply the same morality to all, especially when talking about globalization, applying the same moral standards to all.

“The Cancer of Betrayal” by Amilcar Cabral

Kwame Nkrumah
Kwame Nkrumah

This week marks the anniversary of the assassination of Amilcar Cabral, the father of the independence of Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau. To celebrate his life, I have decided to re-post Cabral’s speech given during President Kwame Nkrumah‘s state funerals in Conakry on 13 – 14 May 1972 “The Cancer of Betrayal” which I transcribed to French (“Le Cancer de la Trahison“) and translated to English (“The Cancer of Betrayal”) and published on Afrolegends in 2012. As Cabral states, betrayal has been at the heart of so many issues faced by Africa today: ” from class struggle, … from contributions to social structures, from the role of party or other instructions, including armed forces….  My idea on this question will allow us to better understand the greatness of Nkrumah’s work, to understand the complexity of problems he had to face so many times alone,… …. we, Africans, firmly believe that the dead continue living by our sides… .  Nkrumah will resuscitate each dawn in the hearts and in the determinations of freedom fighters, in the action of all true African patriots.”

=========

In his last public speech in Conakry, at the funeral of the former Ghanaian president Nkrumah, Amilcar Cabral had denounced the cancer of betrayal that eats up African movements.  His comments today take a strange resonance in Guinea as in Angola, and Mozambique, where many movements are demanding power which the Portuguese have not yet abandoned.

Amilcar Cabral
Amilcar Cabral

… What to say? but we must speak otherwise at this point, if we don’t talk, our hearts may burst.  Our tears should not infiltrate the truth.  We, freedom fighters, we do not mourn the death of a man, even a man who was a comrade and an exemplary revolutionary, because as President Ahmed Sekou Toure often says ‘what is man in front of the infinite being and transgressing of the people and of humanity?’  We do not mourn the people of Ghana scoffed in its most beautiful realisations, in its most legitimate aspirations.   We are not crying for Africa, betrayed.  We are mourning, yes, of hatred towards those who were able to betray NKRUMAH to serve the ignoble imperialism …  Mr President, Africa by requiring through the voice of the people of the Republic of Guinea, as always fairly represented by President Ahmed Sekou Toure, whom NKRUMAH had put in his right place on the Kilimandjaro’s highest summits of the African revolution, Africa rehabilitates itself and through history.  President NKRUMAH, which we honor is primarily the great strategist of the struggle against classic colonialism, he is the one who created what we call African positivism, what he called “positive action”, affirmative action.  We pay tribute to the declared enemy of neocolonialism in Africa and elsewhere, the strategist of economic development in his country.  Mr President, we praise the freedom fighter of the African people who always gave his full support to national liberation movements, and we want to tell you here that we, in Guinea and Cape Verde islands, even though it is true that the most important factor for the development of our struggle outside our country was the independence of the Republic of Guinea, the heroic ‘no’ of the people of Guinea on 28 September 1958.   It is also true that if we went through the struggle regenerated, it was essentially due to the concrete support of Ghana and particularly of President Nkrumah …

Mr. President, we should however in this moment remember that all coins in life have two faces, all realities have positive and negative sides… to all positive action, is opposed a negative action. To what extent is betrayal’s success in Ghana linked to problems of class struggle, from contributions to social structures, from the role of party or other instructions, including armed forces as part of a new independent state.  To what level, we shall ask ourselves, is betrayal’s success in Ghana linked to a correct definition of this historical entity and craftsman of history that is the people and their daily work, in defending its own independence conquests?  Or to what extent is betrayal’s success not linked to the major problem of the choice of men in the revolution?  My idea on this question will allow us to better understand the greatness of Nkrumah’s work, to understand the complexity of problems he had to face so many times alone… problems that will allow us to conclude that, as imperialism exists, an independent state in Africa should be a liberation movement to power or it would not exist.  Let no one tell us that Nkrumah died of a cancer to the throat or some other disease; no, Nkrumah has been killed by the cancer of betrayal that we should uproot… by the cancer of betrayal, that we should root out of Africa if we really want to definitely crush the imperialist domination on this continent.  But, we, Africans, firmly believe that the dead continue living by our sides, we are a society of dead and living.  Nkrumah will resuscitate each dawn in the hearts and in the determinations of freedom fighters, in the action of all true African patriots.  Our liberation movement will not forgive those who betrayed Nkrumah, the people of Ghana will not forgive, Africa will not forgive, progressive mankind will not forgive!”

Translated from French by Dr. Y., afrolegends.com (12 October 2012)

French version here Amilcar Cabral – Le Cancer de la Trahison

‘L’Oiseau en Liberté’ / ‘The Free Bird’ de Claude-Joseph M’Bafou-Zetebeg

Souimanga bronze / Bronzy sunbird

Wouldn’t it be nice to be a bird? To take off and fly away, carefree? What comes to mind when observing a bird: a great sense of freedom; freedom to come and go, freedom to sing, no worries for tomorrow, and freedom to just be. Beauty also comes to mind, but liberty always prevail as one of the main descriptors. I recently stumbled upon this poem by Cameroonian author Claude-Joseph M’Bafou-Zetebeg, ‘The Free Bird’ which describes so well that sense of freedom which most of us aspire to. The author focuses on a bird, and describes the freedom the bird enjoys, the lightness, which is greater than all fortunes. I present here ‘L’Oiseau en Liberté‘ by Claude-Joseph M’Bafou-Zetebeg, published in Anthologie Africaine: Poésie Vol2, Jacques Chevrier, Collection Monde Noir Poche, 1988, and translated to English by Dr. Y. Afrolegends.com . Enjoy!

L’Oiseau en liberté’ / ‘The Free Bird‘ de Claude-Joseph M’Bafou Zetebeg

L’oiseau qui passe là-bas,

L’oiseau léger

Qui bat des ailes

Et fend l’air là-bas à l’horizon,

N’a rien à lui au monde,

Mais comme il est joli

En liberté !

Et c’est en chantant

Qu’il vit sur la branche,

Le bel oiseau voyageur

Qui rythme les saisons.

Car rien ne vaut la liberté :

C’est la plus digne

De toutes les fortunes,

La liberté dont jouit l’oiseau

Qui vit sur la branche !

La liberté au feu sacré,

La liberté naturelle,

O la sainte liberté

Dont devrait jouir

Tout être

Dans sa facture naïve !

The bird that passes by,

The light bird,

Who flaps its wings

And splits the air over there in the horizon,

Has nothing of its own in the world,

But how pretty it is

In liberty!

And it is by singing

That it lives on the branch,

The beautiful traveling bird

Who punctuates seasons.

‘Cause nothing beats freedom:

It is the most worthy

Of all fortunes

The freedom enjoyed by the bird,

That lives on the branch !

Freedom in the sacred fire,

Natural freedom,

O the holy freedom

That every being should enjoy

In its naive craftsmanship !

Pelé in Africa

A Young Pele at Santos FC smiling at the camera (Source: Daniel Edwards, Goal.com)

Football has played an integral part to the lives of many around the globe. The 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup this past November is a testimony to that. The legend Edson Arantes do Nascimento, often known as Pelé, believed by many to be the greatest player that ever lived, passed away at the end of last year. Three-time World Cup winner, Pelé managed to score 757 goals in 831 games throughout his 20 year career although his club Santos claims his tally was closer to one thousand. Pelé was deeply loved in Africa; he was a gifted Black Brazilian footballer, among the first of African heritage to receive such international acclaim, no wonder that in the African independence era, Africans identified with him. His story with Africa was a great love story. To Black Brazilians, he was key in carving out space and recognition for black people in Brazilian football, acclaimed by the masses, without being directly involved in the fight against racism. To Africans and multitudes in the world, he was simply Pelé, the king. Below are excerpts from the BBC article. Enjoy!

====

Being one of the very first young black sporting superstars of the television era, Pelé drew the love and affinity of Africans across the continent.

As decolonisation movements swept across Africa in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Pelé was invited by newly independent countries to play in prestigious friendlies with his club Santos FC and the Brazilian national team.

In his autobiography, Pelé said that the following decades and subsequent repeated trips to the African continent, “changed not only my view of the world, but also the way the world perceived me“.

The author of the Almanac of FC Santos, Guilherme Nascimento, correctly pointed out that the African trips were “so full of stories that there is no clear boundary between legend and fact“.

His time in Algeria, for instance, was like something out of a film. In 1965, the 24-year-old arrived while film director Gillo Pontecorvo was shooting The Battle of Algiers. As a result, it was perfectly normal to see battle tanks shuttle across Algiers from downtown to the Casbah. Algeria’s football-loving President Ahmed Ben Bella scheduled two friendly matches for the occasion – one in Oran on 15 June, and one in the capital, Algiers, four days later. However, on 17 June, Ben Bella’s own Minister of Defence Houari Boumediene carried out a coup d’etat, deposing the president and cancelling the second match. Some credible journalists and historians believe that Boumediene may have used the commotion around Pele’s arrival as a distraction in order to carry out his coup.

Pele’s trips to Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo have also become shrouded in lore. During both trips, he was apocryphally credited with instilling peace in the country that was hosting him. The Nigerian Civil War raged from 1967-1970, yet when Pele visited in 1969 to play in an exhibition match versus the Nigerian national team, there were claims that a 48-hour ceasefire had been declared. I’m not sure it’s completely true,” Pelé said in his book. But the Nigerians certainly made sure the Biafrans wouldn’t invade Lagos while we were there,” he said, recalling a huge military presence. There was never much of a chance of that happening though, as the Biafran separatists were at least 500km (310 miles) away and being pushed back by the army.

Happy 2023!

Fireworks
Fireworks

Readers, friends, I wish you a beautiful and prosperous year 2023! There were so many joys and losses in 2022, and we hope for the best in 2023. May this new year mark the beginning of new endeavors, the continuation of current ones, and/or the end of old ones.  2022 was quite a year, and many are hoping for something better. Let us turn the 2022 chapter, and start 2023 ready to take off for this new year, never losing altitude during this flight, and trusting for better. May it be filled with health, prosperity, joy, love, happiness, abundance, harmony, and peace!

Happy 2023

The top 6 posts of the year 2022 are listed below: an old-time favorite “Love Poem for my Country” by Sandile Dikeni took first place as the most read post of the year, while another favorite poem “My Name” by Magoleng wa Selepe took second place. The surprise of the year was the post “Why the Name: Morocco ?” which came in, in fifth position, no doubt thanks to Morocco’s outstanding performance at the 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup where Morocco made Africa proud by becoming the first African country to reach the semi-finals in the history of the World Cup. We, at Afrolegends.com, would like to express our profound gratitude for your constant support, as your readership has carried us forward. Keep trusting, reading, sharing, commenting, reblogging, and liking.  We wish you a full and amazing new year, rich in blessings and greatness. Keep your heads up, and may your year bring in new fruits, bright fruits, that stem from unity as beautiful as the fruits in the picture! I love this picture because not only does it symbolize unity, it only symbolizes growth, and beauty! As always, like Agostinho Neto said, “A luta continua … a vitória é certa!

  1. ‘Love Poem for my Country’ by Sandile Dikeni
  2. ‘My Name’ by Magoleng wa Selepe
  3. History of African Fabrics and Textiles
  4. The Charter of Imperialism
  5. Why the Name: Morocco ?
  6. The Lebombo Bone: The Oldest Mathematical Artifact in the World

A bientôt fier guerrier: Jean Paul Yitamben et le microcosme de la fragmentation de l’Afrique

Une grande lumiere

Une grande lumière a rejoint les étoiles. Sa Majesté, Jean Paul Yitamben, Chef du Village Batcheu au Cameroun, a changé de dimensions et maintenant s’est élèvé au rang d’ancêtres qui guidera nos pas. Grand économiste, professeur, historien, père, frere, époux, il s’en est allé. Comme Behanzin avant et beaucoup d’autres rois, il a consacré sa vie au service de sa communauté et son peuple. La bataille a changé ! Les rois locaux ne sont plus deportés, mais des royaumes et cultures sont toujours fragmentés, écrasés sous le poids du « faux » modernisme assisté par des administrations (excroissance du colonialisme) qui sont au service de forces exterieures qui continue le travail de l’annihilation et/ou de la spoliation de l’identité Africaine.

Descendants de grands rois avant lui, Jean Paul Yitamben était un avide historien et un perfectionniste qui recherchait inlassablement la perfection dans tout ce qu’il faisait. Méticuleux à la lettre, il ne tolérait pas le travail à moitié fait. Avec son épouse, entrepreneur sociale de renommée internationale, Gisèle Yitamben, il a travaillé sans relâche pour permettre aux femmes d’avoir accès à la micro-finance, aux jeunes moins privilégiés de trouver des emplois dans nos économies locales difficiles, et plus important encore, il a affecté la vie d’innombrables autres personnes en dehors de son propre village, communauté, ville, et au-delà. Le projet avorté de palmeraie d’huile de palme et de développement indigène du village de Kugwe dans la région du Nord-Ouest du Cameroun en est un exemple clair.

Le soleil / The sun

Yitamben était très méthodique. Il avait beaucoup de projets! Il a travaillé pour amener l’énergie solaire dans son village, a envoyé des villageoises locales se former en Inde pour devenir des ingénieures solaires à une époque où ce n’était pas encore courant. Il a envoyé d’autres en Australie et au Danemark, et fut le premier dans la région à organiser la «quinzaine»: deux semaines de compétitions sportives pour encourager la fierté locale et distribuer des prix aux gagnants, encourageant les enfants à s’appliquer pour leur éducation; l’attribution de bourses aux jeunes et de prix aux mères et grands-mères. Il était en avance sur son temps, en Afrique subsaharienne où des millions de personnes ont un faible accès à l’électricité, le bois de chauffage et le charbon de bois sont la principale source d’énergie pour la cuisson des repas, représentant les trois quarts de la demande énergétique totale ; Yitamben a apporté les foyers améliorés qui sont plus efficaces et meilleurs pour l’environnement. Il a fait venir des collaborateurs internationaux parce qu’il voulait élever son village et son peuple à une place formidable. Prennons exemple sur sa force et son courage!

Libya, the Prey of the West
Libye, la proie de l’Occident

Son plus grand combat était celui de son village. La colonisation ne s’est pas arrêtée en 1884, or en 1960 avec l’avènement des pseudo-indépendances, elle est bien vivante et s’intensifie de plus belle. La bataille n’est pas frontale, mais comme en Libye en 2011 ou au Mali aujourd’hui, le but est toujours de fragmenter, de diviser et de conquérir; briser en mille morceaux et piller les richesses locales tout en écrasant l’esprit des populations indigènes. L’objectif global est toujours la destruction des initiatives locales pour s’accaparer les terres et ressources ; Ça n’a pas changé.

La bataille au niveau du village de Chef Yitamben est un ample microcosme de ce qui arrive à l’échelle nationale et continentale en Afrique : quand une terre est riche, ou lorsque l’ennemi convoite une zone, il promeut la division entre les frères (Ethiopie – Erythrée, Soudan – Sud Soudan), division sur les frontières (Cameroun – Nigeria sur Bakassi, Tanzanie – Malawi sur le Lac Nyassa/Malawi), et division sur les ressources (RDC – Rwanda).

Behanzin, king of Dahomey
Behanzin, Roi du Dahomey

Rappellez-vous que du temps de Béhanzin, après sa déportation, la tactique utilisée avait été l’installation de Agoli-Agbo comme marionette; un qui n’avait pas été choisi par les traditions du terroir, mais par les Européens dans le but d’affaiblir et éradiquer les traditions, et promouvoir les divisions (Côte d’Ivoire ou Alassane Ouattara avait été installé par les chars Français en 2011).

Flash infos…

Les combats qui ont eu lieu plus de 100 ans dans le royaume du Dahomey, ou d’autres parties de l’Afrique, sont toujours en cours, bien qu’à petite échelle (et à grande échelle également). Les villages sont divisés, fragmentés et les institutions locales affaiblies. Les gouvernements qui, dans la plupart des pays africains ne servent pas les locaux mais les forces étrangères, sont complices de la destruction des traditions et des institutions africaines. Yitamben croyait qu’il était possible de changer le cours du temps, en réveillant au moins son propre peuple contre la division. Il s’est battu sans relâche pour l’unité et contre la division ; refusant catégoriquement la fragmentation orchestrée par une partie de son peuple aidé par une administration complice aux pulsions coloniales. Il ne pouvait pas comprendre comment son peuple pouvait se laisser utiliser pour détruire sa propre terre. Il était une force de la nature. Il avait une force titanesque; mais c’est un combat difficile.

Fier Guerrier, tu as placé les briques sur la foundation, et la tâche sera achevée. Tu t’es donné inlassablement pour cela. La bataille continue. O grand Guerrier! Ton héritage perdure.

Lorsque nous avons perdu un leader, nous devons regarder vers l’avenir et construire pour les générations futures. Yitamben avait une forte présence, était charismatique, et généreux dans le partage de son temps, ses ressources, et ses connaissances.

A bientot frère, père, époux, ami, … que tes graines portent beaucoup de fruits. Je me souviendrai de ton rire, de ton grand sourire, de ton intelligence, de ton combat pour la perfection, et surtout de tes enseignements. J’ai eu le privilège de te connaître, et de recevoir tes enseignements. Tu nous as montré le chemin. Maintenant nous devons porter ta lumière plus haut.

Que les ancêtres te reçoivent et te chèrissent.