Dirty face

Charlize Theron with a dirty face

Il n’y a que vos vrais amis qui vous diront quand votre face est sale (Proverbe Seychellois).

 

Only your real friends will tell you when your face is dirty (Seychelles proverb).

Posted by: Dr. Y. | October 15, 2018

Mariam Sankara’s Declaration

Thomas Sankara and Mariam

Thomas and Mariam Sankara on their wedding day

Today, I have translated Mariam Sankara‘s declaration on the day of the 30th-year anniversary of the death of her husband, the president of the Faso, the great revolutionary Thomas Sankara.

Very often we forget women’s contributions to revolutions, history acts as if these men had been all alone. If Mariam Sankara had not been home to take care of their two children, to take care of Thomas when he got home after a hard day, do you think we would have had a revolution? If Winnie Mandela had not carried on the battle, do you think the world would have known about Nelson Mandela? Maybe not… because during those 27 years while Nelson was living a ‘somewhat’ cozy life in prison, Winnie was being jailed, attacked, harassed, beaten to death, had to run to exile several times, but she kept his name high up. Now, today, history chooses to only count his contributions, forgetting hers!

So here is the declaration from Mariam Sankara, that she made last year on 15 Oct 2017. The original on ThomasSankara.net; the text has been translated to English by Dr. Y., Afrolegends.com

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Thomas Sankara

Thomas Sankara a Ouagadougou

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

The assassination of President Sankara and his companions on October 15, 1987, interrupted an original and promising development experience in the history of contemporary Africa.

I would like to thank you for your support to the whole Sankara family and to me as well as for your loyalty to the memory of President Thomas Sankara.

Through his policy, Thomas defended, by giving the example himself, essential values such as integrity, honesty, humility, courage, will, respect and justice. By mobilizing the various components of society, he fought hard against the debt, for the well-being of all Burkinabé, the promotion of Burkinabé cultural heritage and the emancipation of women. He urged his fellow citizens to take care of themselves to live with dignity. In short, he refused submission to the diktat of the most powerful in this world, took the defense of the weakest and most disadvantaged. Impregnated with these values and ideas, you have, through the popular uprising of October 30 and 31, 2014, put an end to the dictatorial regime of Compaoré. This insurrection has allowed the people to take back the floor to demand, among other things, the end of impunity, the reopening of the justice file on the assassination of Thomas Sankara and his companions, that of Norbert Zongo and many others.

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Flag of Burkina Faso

The decision taken in Burkina Faso by the transitional authorities to finally bring justice to Thomas Sankara has generated immense hope in Burkina, in Africa in general and in the world. But we are still waiting for justice.

The request of the civil society and families is clear. We want to know as soon as possible the sponsors and the executors of this assassination and those of the other crimes.

To delay the quest for truth is to play the game of the assassins of Thomas Sankara and his companions. To do no justice is to refuse a dignified burial for Thomas Sankara and his companions, it is to prevent families from mourning.

That is why the people of Burkina Faso and their friends must remain mobilized and relaunch the campaign so that thirty years later, justice is finally done for Thomas Sankara and his companions.

Dear compatriots, our family welcomes your initiative to erect a memorial to Thomas Sankara.

Thomas Sankara family

Mariam and Thomas Sankara with their children

Like many of our compatriots, we are committed to the defense and safeguarding of Thomas Sankara’s memory. I would like to salute this initiative of the civil society, led by the association CIMTS (International Committee for the Thomas Sankara Memorial). This Memorial project enjoys popular support. A consensual and inclusive approach should allow to realize a quality work which will testify to the vitality of the ideas of Thomas and his faithful companions of the revolution of August 4, 1983. However, the family wants this memorial not to be built in the enclosure of the Council of the Entente which brings back painful memories because of the assassinations and the tortures which have marked this place.

With all these wishes for the valorization of the memory of Thomas observed around the world, one realizes with the time that Thomas Sankara was a visionary. Aware of the actions of the critics of the revolution, he knew he was misunderstood because he was ahead of his time. He said back then: “kill Sankara, thousands of Sankara will be born”. This has become a reality. Today, we see that the youth is immersed in its progressive ideas to transform society.

Thirty years after his death, Thomas’s thought remains alive and of actuality.

Once again, I congratulate you on your commitment and your loyalty to the memory of President Thomas Sankara.

30 years of resistance!

30 years of impunity!

Finally bring justice to Thomas Sankara and his companions and to all the victims of unpunished crimes!

Homeland or death, we will overcome!

I thank you.

Mariam Sankara

Montpellier, 15th October 2017

Dieu ne discute pas avec l’homme; quand Il parle, Il a raison (Proverbe Luba – RDC). – Les décrets de Dieu sont définitifs.

God does not argue with man; when He speaks, He is right (Luba proverb – DRC). – God’s decrees are final.

Elephants

Seychelles_Antoine Abel_Livre

Antoine Abel, Seychelles’ most prominent author

One of Seychelles’ most acclaimed and prolific author is the writer Antoine Abel, who had been an ambassador of the indigenous culture of the island nation. He is considered by many as the father of Seychelles’ literature, and had an extensive career writing novels, short stories, poetry and plays in FrenchEnglish, and Creole. Most of his work dealt with the folklore of the Seychelles, and the natural environment of the islands, in which he wove in colorful personalities and histories inspired from the local culture. Descending from a family of slaves, he is the first Seychellois writer to expose to wide world to the literary gems of the country.

Below is one of his poems, ‘Dances d’hier‘ translated to English by Dr. Y., Afrolegends.com. Enjoy the poem below, and also check out The Seychelles Ministry for Youth Sports and Culture which ‘remembers Antoine Abel.’

 

 

Danses d’hier

J’entends encore les staccatos
Le prolongement des sons des tam-tams
Des tam-tams du temps jadis

Alors les collines s’enflamment
Dans la nuit sèche
Les pieds des danseurs
Se baignent dans la fine poussière
De latérite
Et leurs pas scandent sauvagement
Un rythme endiablé

J’entends encore les notes rapides
La voix étouffée du « commandeur »
Se modulant dans l’air tiède du soir.

Alors les échines s’arc-boutent
Les unes aux autres
Et les hanches roulent comme des houles
Les ventres des danseuses voluptueuses
Ondulent lascivement…
Et des voix confuses s’interpellent
Impudemment.

Je perçois toujours les staccatos
Les grondements des “grosses caisses”
Par delà les années de mon enfance …
Je les porte en moi
Comme des stigmates.

Dances of Yesterday

I still hear the staccatos
The extension of the sounds of the drums
The drums from the old days

Then the hills ignite (flare)
In the dry night
The dancers’ feet
bathe in the fine dust
of laterite
And their steps wildly chant
A frenzied rhythm

I still hear the quick notes
The muffled voice of the « commander »
Modulating in the warm evening air.

Then the backs bridge
One with the other
And the hips roll like swells
The bellies of the voluptuous dancers
Wave sensually…
And confused voices call out
Impudently.

I still perceive the staccatos
The rumblings of the “big drums”
Beyond the years of my childhood…
I carry them in me
Like stigmas.

Abeille et Miel

Abeille et Miel / Bee and Honey

Celui qui cherche le miel doit avoir le courage d’affronter les abeilles (Proverbe Seychellois).

He who looks for honey must have the courage to face the bees (Seychelles proverb).

Posted by: Dr. Y. | October 1, 2018

Why the Name: Seychelles?

Seychelles_flag

Flag of Seychelles

Have you ever wondered about the meaning for the name of the country Seychelles? Somehow to me, it has always felt like it should be a derivative of ‘sea shells’, especially given that it is an island country located in the middle of the Indian ocean. I picture sandy beaches, blue waters, coconuts, and then ‘sea shells‘ seems like a perfect name for such a beautiful place. How far am I from the truth?

 

Seychelles_Victoria_1900s

Victoria, capital of Seychelles, in the 1900s

Well, it turns out that the Seychelles islands were named after Jean Moreau de Séchelles, Louis XV‘s Minister of Finance, in 1756 when the French set a Stone of Possession on the islands Mahé. Before then, it was a transit point for trade between Africa and Asia. The first visitors to the island were probably Arab traders, but the earliest recorded sighting by Europeans took place in 1502 by the Portuguese Admiral Vasco da Gama, who passed through the Amirantes and named them after himself (islands of the Admiral). The earliest recorded landing was in January 1609, by the crew of the “Ascension” under Captain Alexander Sharpeigh during the fourth voyage of the British East India Company.

 

The islands went under British control in 1814 after the Napoleonic wars. Seychelles became a crown colony separate from Mauritius in 1903. In 1976, Seychelles became independent from the United Kingdom as a republic within the Commonwealth.

Seychelles_Black parrot

Seychelles national bird: The Seychelles black parrot

Seychelles is located in the Indian Ocean, northeast of Madagascar and about 1,600 km (994 mi) east of Kenya. The capital of the 115island countryVictoria, lies 1,500 km (932 mi) east of mainland East Africa. The majority of its islands are uninhabited with many dedicated as nature reserves. With a population of roughly 94,228, it has the smallest population of any sovereign African country.  Its population is a melting pot of African, French, Indian, and Chinese, where the largest group is of African descent. The food and music duly reflect this fusion of cultures.

 

Seychelles_Victoria_1

Victoria, Seychelles, today

After proclamation of independence from the United Kingdom in 1976, Seychelles has developed from a largely agricultural society (main exports were cinnamon, vanilla, and copra) to a market-based diversified economy, with agriculture being supplanted by rapidly rising service and public sectors as well as tourism. Seychelles is among the world’s leading countries to protect lands for threatened species, allocating 42% of its territory for conservation. Seychelles today is known for success stories in protecting its flora and fauna.

 

Thus, if you visit Seychelles today, be amazed by its ‘sea shells’, sandy beaches, beautiful fauna, and flora. Enjoy!

 

Posted by: Dr. Y. | September 19, 2018

Proverbe sur l’impossibilité / Proverb on Impossibility

langue_2

La langue (the tongue)

Impossible d’oindre (lécher) votre propre dos (Proverbe Azande, RDC – Soudan du Sud  – RCA).

Impossible to anoint (lick) your own back (Azande proverb, DRC – South Sudan – CAR).

Posted by: Dr. Y. | September 14, 2018

Fossi Jacob and the French Genocide in Cameroon: Testimony

Cameroun_Chutes de la Metche_1Below is the testimony of one of Fossi Jacob ‘s daughters. If you ever get a chance, you should read “My Dad was Fossi Jacob: Itinerary of a martyr of the Cameroonian Independence” written by Fossi Jacob’s first son, Abraham Sighoko Fossi (“Papa s’appelait Fossi Jacob: Itinéraire d’un martyr de l’indépendance du Cameroun“). To learn more about France’s genocide in Cameroon, the books ‘Kamerun. La guerre cachee de la France en Afrique noire‘ (Kamerun. France’s Hidden War in Black Africa) and Mongo Beti ‘s ‘Main Basse sur le Cameroun, autopsie d’une décolonisation (Cruel hand on Cameroon, autopsy of a decolonization).

12 September should be commemorated in Cameroon in memory of Fossi Jacob, a man who, by his selfless act, saved countless lives, and in memory of all the victims of the French genocide.

Cameroun_Chutes de la Metche_1

Chutes de la Metche (Metche Waterfalls)

I have to talk about Fossi Jacob, the Chutes de la Métché (The Metché Waterfalls), and the Bamiléké genocide perpetrated by France in Cameroon (French President Acknowledges French Genocide in Cameroon). Fossi Jacob is a hero, and should be celebrated throughout Cameroon. A monument should be erected at the Chutes de la Metché to celebrate his memory and those of countless others who lost their lives there, just outside Bafoussam on the way to Mbouda, in the Western province of Cameroon.

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The top of the Chutes de la Metche

When I visited the Chutes de la Metché, I finally understood the magnitude of the entire thing. Picture this: you are forcefully pushed from a 20 m tall waterfalls, with giant sharp-edged volcanic boulders at its bottom; there is no way anybody thrown down those waterfalls can come out alive; either you die from the fall, or your head hits one of those giants sharp boulders. This is what French officials did to so-called ‘rebels’ between 1950 and 1970 in Cameroon; in reality, most of these ‘rebels’ were simple peasants. During my visit, I was speechless! It was like visiting Gorée island, or Elmina Castle, it felt so sinister, yet so beautiful! Sinister, because it was as if I could feel the souls of all those who had been pushed there. It was as if I could hear their screams, feel their pain! Beautiful because the paths were covered with salt and palm oil, and you could tell that this was a place of pilgrimage, a place where people came to commune with their ancestors, who disappeared there, without sepulchers.

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Chutes de la Metche, view from the top

Why should we celebrate Fossi Jacob? Jacob Fossi had been imprisoned like countless others in the prison of Bafoussam during the dark days of Cameroon; he was a member of the UPC. Every night, the French officers would fill trucks with ‘rebels’ (from accounts, at least 350 every night), and drive them to the edge of the Chutes de la Metché, where, with a gun in hand, they would push the ‘rebels’ one by one down the waterfalls. Those who did not die from the falls were shot!

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Chutes de la Metche, at the bottom

On that fateful day of 12 September 1959, when it was Jacob Fossi‘s turn (he was second to last), he called for the French official and told him to get close and that he would tell him where all the other ‘rebels’ were hiding. He promised to tell him everything. When the French official came close, Fossi Jacob held onto him, and jumped with him into the waterfalls. They were killed instantly. This caused the French colonial government to stop taking people to the Chutes de la Metché to be killed. The story of Fossi Jacob is known because on that fateful day, Fo Sokoudjou, the actual King of Bamendjou, who was going to be the last one to be pushed down the fall was not pushed in because of Fossi’s courageous act. Lucky one! Imagine the many lives saved because of one man’s selfless act!

Chutes de la Metche_1

Salt and palm oil offerings to commemorate the ancestors at the Chutes de la Metche waterfalls

Today, the Chutes de la Metché has become a place of pilgrimage for countless people, particularly Bamiléké people. During that dark era of the history of Cameroon, many lost their sons, husbands, fathers, relatives, and this is the only place where they can come and pray to their ancestors. Salt and palm oil strew the path as people come to make offerings to commemorate their long-gone loved ones. A monument should be erected there to celebrate the courage of Fossi Jacob who, thanks to his actions, stopped the horrendous actions of the French colonial government in those waterfalls. The Chutes de la Metché should be a place of pilgrimage for all Cameroonians, and beyond!

Cameroun_Chutes de la Metche_1.jpg

 

Rain5Personne ne peut oublier le jour où il fut bien mouillé (Proverbe Bamiléké – Cameroun). – Les souffrances sont difficilement oubliées.

Nobody can forget the day when he was well soaked (Bamileke proverb – Cameroon). – Sufferings are hardly forgotten.

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