Posted by: Dr. Y. | February 20, 2020

Stolen 18th Century Crown Returned to Ethiopia

Ethiopian Crown 18th Century

The crown is currently being stored in a highly secured facility in the Netherlands (Source: BBC/AFP/Getty)

Following our article back in October of last year, 18th Century Ethiopian Crown to be Returned Home from Netherlands, it is with great joy that we announce the official return of the crown to Ethiopia. Below is from the BBC.

====

The Ethiopian government has received an 18th Century crown that had been stolen then hidden in a flat in the Netherlands for 21 years.

The crown is thought to be one of just 20 in existence. It has depictions of Jesus Christ, God and the Holy Spirit, as well as Jesus’ disciples, and was likely gifted to a church by the powerful warlord Welde Sellase hundreds of years ago.

Ethiopian Sirak Asfaw, who lives in the Netherlands, discovered the crown in the suitcase of a visitor he was hosting.

Upon realising that it was stolen he held onto it until 2018 when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was elected to office. He then reached out to art historian Arthur Brand and Dutch police to help keep it safe until its return home to Ethiopia.

On Thursday, Mr Abiy tweeted photos of him receiving the crown from a delegation that included Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag.

Pirogue

Pirogue / canoe

Ne repoussez pas du pied la pirogue qui vous a aidé à traverser la rivière (proverbe malgache – Madagascar).

Do not push away the canoe that helped you cross the river (Malagasy proverb – Madagascar).

Posted by: Dr. Y. | February 14, 2020

Happy Valentine’s Day 2020

A box of Valentine's day chocolate

A box of Valentine’s day chocolate

Given that we talked about Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Joseph Shabalala, I thought it befitting to celebrate this year’s valentine’s day, by introducing you to “Hello My Baby” by Ladysmith Black Mambazo. I particularly love the beginning of the song, the harmony, and the message. When the singer says ‘come along, come along, come along, to kiss me,‘ one can clearly hear the sound of the kisses… amazing! Impressive when you think that this is all done a cappella! So for this Valentine’s day, ring up your baby… and send them those kisses you can hear so loudly in the song … and if there are no Valentine one… send kisses out to the world, plenty of them!

Even though I love the original version better, which I have included here, I have also added the recent re-make Ladysmith Black Mambazo did with the late giant Oliver Mtukudzi which is also outstanding.

Posted by: Dr. Y. | February 12, 2020

Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Joseph Shabalala

Ladysmith-Black-Mambazo_5

Ladysmith Black Mambazo with its leader Joseph Shabalala at the center (Source: US.Napster.com)

A few years ago, I had the privilege to attend a concert offered by Ladysmith Black Mambazo. To say that I am a fan is an understatement… I have always danced to the tunes of Ladysmith Black Mambazo. It was special in so many ways because I saw the entire group including their leader Joseph Shabalala, I heard their harmony which had been part of my life, and I also danced to some South African music (extra, extra bonus)… For those who are not familiar with the group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo is an a capella group of male vocalists founded in the early 1960s by Joseph Shabalala in South Africa. The group fuses indigenous Zulu songs and dances with South African isicathamiya, an a capella tradition that is frequently accompanied by a soft, shuffling style of dance. The name of the group can be broken down as: Ladysmith for the city where they grew up in KwaZulu-NatalSouth Africa; Black for the black oxen who is the strongest animal on the farm; and Mambazo which is Zulu for an axe which represents the ability for the group to cut down competition.

Michael Jackson_Moonwalker

Poster of the movie Michael Jackson Moonwalker (Wikipedia)

They were introduced to the global stage by Paul Simon with their collaboration on his 1986 Graceland album. They are seen dancing and singing in the last scene of Michael Jackson‘s movie ‘Moonwalker,’ where their entrancing song goes as, “Come and see. The moon is dancing.”  Not to be in awe of their amazing songs, the harmony, their voices, is truly not possible.

Ladysmith-Black-Mambazo_3

Ladysmith Black Mambazo in a move (Source: Timeslive.co.za)

It is with great sadness that I heard of the passing of the founder of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Joseph Shabalala. I am just so glad that his legacy, the Ladysmith Black Mambazo, leaves on, and that his voice will still serenade countless people around the globe. Long Live Joseph Shabalala’s legacy! Long Live Ladysmith Black Mambazo!

Posted by: Dr. Y. | February 11, 2020

Lobsters and Octopuses are Back in Kenya

Kenya_map

Map of Kenya

Pollution, overpopulation of some areas, as well as over-fishing have wreaked all sorts of havoc for the ecosystem of our planet. One such ecosystem being destroyed is the coral reef along the coasts of Africa. Below are excerpts from an article from the Guardian about Kenyan efforts to reclaim their coral reefs, and bring back the lobsters and octopuses. As the marine life is re-established, let’s hope the industrial fishermen stay away!

====

Lobster_SA

African Lobsters (From South Africa – Source: WildOceans.com.au)

Three years ago, coral reef along the Kenyan coastline was almost totally destroyed in some areas. Rising surface sea temperatures had triggered devastating bleaching episodes for the fourth time in less than two decades, and with the whitening of coral came a dwindling of marine life. Overfishing only exacerbated the problem.

For coastal communities dependent on the sea for their livelihoods, the degradation of the coral reef and its effect on the marine ecosystem threatened to overturn an entire way of life. In some areas surveyed by the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI), as much as 60-90% of coral was destroyed.

A fightback was needed and so the institute began working with local communities to rehabilitate degraded coral reefs along the country’s coastline. Among the areas targeted was Wasini Island, a tiny strip of land off Kenya’s south-east coast. The results have been startling.

Women on the island have led an initiative to restore degraded coral that has shown how coral restoration techniques can revive marine ecosystems and create sustainable livelihoods for communities that depend on fishing and eco-tourism.

Octopus

Octopus (Source: Wikipedia)

The fish have started coming back since the restoration activities began,” says Nasura Ali, of the Wasini Beach Management Unit, which has about 250 members, of whom roughly 150 are women. More than 40 people have been trained in restoration techniques.

A year-long study by the KMFRI had tested the viability of raising coral fragments from areas affected by bleaching events, explains Jelvas Mwaura at the KMFRI’s department of marine environment and ecology. Many of the corals transplanted from coral gardens to degraded reef areas for the study survived, providing new habitats for fish species including jacks, groupers, emperors and sweetlips.

This success led to funding from the Kenya Coastal Development project (KCDP). Locals on Wasini Island have since grown more than 3,000 corals.

Coral reefs provide shelter and breeding grounds for hundreds of species of marine life. Fish populations in waters around the island have increased three times as much as in other areas, says the KMFRI.

Kenya_flag

Kenyan flag

… The women of Wasini Island have also been restoring fish populations by cultivating seagrass. Overfishing of certain species, such as trigger fish, had led to the disappearance of seagrass because trigger fish fed on the sea urchins that devoured it. Using gunny bags made of sisal to protect the seedlings and prevent them from getting washed away, the women replanted seagrass seedlings on the ocean floor.

In addition to providing food, seagrass plays a key role in the overall coral reef ecosystem, providing shelter to juvenile fish after they hatch by shielding them from strong waves until they mature and move into the coral reefs.

Posted by: Dr. Y. | February 7, 2020

Malagasy Tale: Rakoto and His Bull

Madagascar_map1

Map of Madagascar (WorldAtlas)

In a village not too far from Antsirabe, lived a man named Rakoto who grew katrony (hashish) in big quantity. Since he liked the katrony too much, he smoked a lot of it every day. He also made clothes (rongony) from it, and made a lot of money that way.

He stacked the grains of katrony and ate them with rice and meat. Every day when he went to his farm to milk his cows, he first smoked 5 stems of katrony and ate a bowl of rice mixed with katrony powder. One day after he had smoked too much before milking the cow, he got the wrong cow and tied the bull. But the bull charged him and cut his left leg.

cow

Since then, all his descendants, the Antsirabe people, are prohibited from touching or smoking the katrony.

Malagasy tale translated to English by Dr. Y., Afrolegends.com

bouche2

La bouche / the mouth

Quand la bouche est pleine, la barbe reçoit les miettes (Proverbe Ewe – Ghana, Togo). – A être gourmand, on se salit.

barbe_6

Homme avec barbe / Man with beard

When the mouth is full, the beard receives the crumbs (Ewe proverb – Ghana, Togo).- Being greedy leads to getting dirty.

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

Nigerian Words in the English Dictionary

Flag and map of Nigeria

Flag and map of Nigeria

Oh yes… the Oxford English Dictionary has just selected 29 new Nigerian words to be part of its new edition. Allright people, make place for Chop (eat) Okada (Bend-Skin), Mama Put (eatery), Rub Minds(consult and work together), and Next tomorrow (the day after tomorrow), into the Queen’s English Dictionary…. Isn’t it marvelous how each culture adds to another? Even the conqueror at some points gets conquered (just jesting) by finding himself speaking words from the conquered. We, Africans, or those who have been colonized around the world, who have had to learn the language of the oppressor, should consider that language as part of our war trophies, because our ancestors had it pushed down their throats, and today we can speak the oppressor’s language and even understand them better than they do us, or ever wanted to, given their ‘superiority’ complex! Enjoy from the OED website.

====

My English-speaking is rooted in a Nigerian experience and not in a British or American or Australian one. I have taken ownership of English.

Bend Skin

‘Bend Skin’ in Cameroon = ‘Okada’ in Nigeria

This is how acclaimed Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie describes her relationship with English, the language which she uses in her writing, and which millions of her fellow Nigerians use in their daily communication. By taking ownership of English and using it as their own medium of expression, Nigerians have made, and are continuing to make, a unique and distinctive contribution to English as a global language. We highlight their contributions in this month’s update of the Oxford English Dictionary, as a number of Nigerian English words make it into the dictionary for the first time.

… One particularly interesting set of such loanwords and coinages has to do with Nigerian street food. The word buka, borrowed from Hausa and Yoruba and first attested in 1972, refers to a roadside restaurant or street stall that sells local fare at low prices. Another term for such eating places first evidenced in 1980 is bukateria, which adds to buka the –teria ending from the word cafeteria. An even more creative synonym is mama put, from 1979, which comes from the way that customers usually order food in a buka: they say ‘Mama, put…’ to the woman running the stall, and indicate the dish they want. 

Grilled fish on a charcoal stove / du poisson braise sur un rechaud a charbon

Grilled fish on a charcoal stove / du poisson braise sur un rechaud a charbon

Okadaon the other hand, is first attested twenty years later, and is the term for a motorcycle that passengers can use as a taxi service. It is a reference to Okada Air, an airline that operated in Nigeria from 1983 to 1997, and its reputation as a fast yet potentially dangerous form of transport, just like the motorcycle taxi.

… The oldest of our new additions that are originally from Nigeria is  next tomorrow, which is the Nigerian way of saying ‘the day after tomorrow’. It was first used in written English as a noun in 1953, and as an adverb in 1964. The youngest of the words in this batch is  Kannywood, first used in 2002, which is the name for the Hausa-language film industry based in the city of Kano. It is a play on Hollywood, following the model of Nollywood, the more general term for the Nigerian film industry that was added to the OED in 2018.

Nigerian Pidgin is another rich source of new words for Nigerian English. Sef, first evidenced in Nigerian author Ben Okri’s novel Flowers and Shadows, published in 1980, is an adverb borrowed from Pidgin, which itself could have been an adverbial use of either the English adjective safe or the pronoun self.

… A few other expressions in this update would require some explanation for non-Nigerians: a barbing salon (earliest quotation dated 1979) is a barber’s shop; a gist (1990) is a rumour, and to gist (1992) is to gossip; when a woman is said to have  put to bed (1973), it means that she has given birth; something described as qualitative (1976) is excellent or of high quality.

Posted by: Dr. Y. | January 30, 2020

Description of African Dressing in 1400s

Van Sertima_They came before Columbus

‘They Came Before Columbus, The African Presence in Ancient America’ by Ivan Van Sertima

As I have always said in the past, I truly despise the claim of  The New York Times that Africa’s fabric is Dutch. This is simply a case of falsification of history. As I have proven before, African Fabrics and Textiles traditions is large, existent, and real; it is not just VLISCO-based. Below is an account by a European of African dressing in the 1400s! And yes… the Africans he met wear garments.

They numbered seventeen, of considerable size. Checking their course and lifting up their oars, their crews lay gazing. … We estimated on examination that there might be about one hundred and fifty at the most; they appeared very well-built, exceedingly black, and all clothed in white cotton shirts: some of them wore small white caps on their heads, very like the German style, except that on each side they had a white wing with a feather in the middle of the cap, as though to distinguish the fighting men.

“A Negro stood in the prow of each boat, with a round shield, apparently of leather, on his arm. They made no movement towards us, nor we to them. Then they perceived the other two vessels coming up behind me and advanced towards them. On reaching them, without any other salute, they threw down their oars, and began to shoot off their arrows.

Bogolan

A piece of Bogolan

This encounter between the Portuguese and the boatmen on the Gambia occurred in 1455. It is the only account of West African riverboats documented by Europeans before the coming of Columbus.

G.R. Crone, The Voyages of Cadamosto, London, the Hakluyt Society, 1937, pp. 57-59

Ivan Van Sertima, They Came Before Columbus, The African Presence in Ancient America, Random House, 1976, p.54

Posted by: Dr. Y. | January 27, 2020

‘I am Black Mamba’ : Arrivederci Kobe Bryant

Lakers at Wizards 12/2/15

Kobe Bryant in 2015 (Source: Wikipedia)

I was too young to be in awe by the likes of Michael Jordan  or Magic Johnson. To me basketball was revealed through Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and all their pairs.

Yes… I am the generation of the Black Mamba. It is with sadness that I learnt of his passing yesterday. I became an amateur basketball lover and player thanks to the ‘Black Mamba’. As an African, I always liked his nickname ‘The Black Mamba‘ because his speed on the court was so similar to that of the animal itself which I was familiar with, and he was especially lethal to his adversaries who never saw him coming. His aura and awesomeness seemed to pervade his life, especially with that big grin of his… always ready to smile and seemingly make others comfortable. Moreover, I was sold when I learnt that he was an American who was tri-lingual, and loved soccer, and just like me was a huge fan of Barcelona and A.C. Milan. Could I ask for more? I was hooked on Basketball then! To me Kobe Bryant was one of the greatest Basketball players the game ever saw!

Kobe Bryant handling ball in 2014

Kobe Bryant handling a ball on court in 2014 (Source: Wikipedia)

Being on the world stage like Kobe, you become somewhat super-human and everyone gets an opinion of you; it is tough not to fall under the pressure. What I liked the most about Kobe Bryant, was his determination, and his drive for perfection. To me, that epitomizes what all of us should strive for: awesome work ethics, tenacity, perfection, and desire to be great. Once you have found a passion in life, you should strive to be a Black Mamba, be like Kobe Bryant: perfect your craft, and go all the way out. Arrivederci Kobe… You have inspired so many of us, given us great memories,… You have made us all ‘Black Mambas’!

Older Posts »

Categories

%d bloggers like this: