stone1Une pierre de chez soi vaut dix fois mieux que celle de la rivière. (Proverbe Berbère Tachelhit – Maroc).

A stone from home is worth ten from the riverbed. (Southern Tashlhiyt Berber – Morocco)

 

 

Ethiopia_Abiy Ahmed

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (Source: sa.breakingnews.co.za)

A year after the Congolese doctor, Denis Mukwege shared the  Nobel Peace Prize 2018, another African has won it again: Abiy Ahmed Ali, Ethiopia’s prime minister was awarded the  Nobel Peace Prize last week for his work in ending the 20-year post-war territorial stalemate between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Abiy Ahmed became prime minister of Ethiopia at a time of profound strife, and through a serious of deft political gestures, including the release of thousands of political prisoners and overturning highly repressive restrictions on civil society and political groups, he probably averted a civil war. Last year, he was the first Ethiopian leader to meet with his Eritrean counterpart in over 2 decades , and both countries signed a “Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship.”

Nobel prize

Nobel Prize medal (Wikipedia)

Berit Reiss-Andersen, the chairwoman of the five-member committee that made the decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize, credited Abiy with a peace initiative aimed at ending two decades of conflict between the two east-African neighbors that began over border disputes in 1998 only a few years after Eritrea gained independence.

When Abiy Ahmed became prime minster in April 2018, he made it clear he wishes to resume pace talks with Eritrea,” she said. “In close cooperation with the president of Eritrea, Abiy Ahmed quickly worked out the principles for a peace agreement to end the long no peace stalemate between the two countries.”

When Abiy took office, he freed political prisoners and managed in the same year to sign a peace deal with the Eritrean leader, Isaias Afwerki — agreeing in the process to cede disputed land to his country’s erstwhile enemy.

Peace does not arise from the actions of one party alone,” Reiss-Andersen said. “When Prime Minister Abiy reached out his hand, President Afwerki grasped it, and helped to formalize the peace process between the two countries.

Map of Ethiopia

Map of Ethiopia

Additionally, Abiy Ahmed has sought to mediate between Kenya and Somalia in their protracted conflict over rights to a disputed marine area. There is now hope for a resolution to this conflict,” she said.

In Sudan, the military regime and the opposition have returned to the negotiating table. On the 17th of August, they released a joint draft of a new constitution intended to secure a peaceful transition to civil rule in the country. Prime Minister Abiy played a key role in the process that led to the agreement,” Reiss-Andersen added.

Ethiopia Eritrea

Map of Ethiopia and Eritrea, the two sisters

Although it is quite early in his career – after all, it has only been one year since he became prime minister – I think his is more justified than the one given to Obama for his speeches. Ever since I have grown to understand politics, I am always skeptical of these prizes anyway. However, this prize should encourage African and world leaders to work towards peace for their people at all times. We congratulate prime minister Abiy Ahmed, and wish him well in continuing to lead Ethiopia with a steady head.

Kipchoge_INEOS 2019

Eliud Kipchoge after crossing the sub-2hour marathon line (Source: Standard.co.uk)

This past weekend was a weekend of firsts in sports, firsts set by African and Afro-descendant athletes. It was also a strong weekend for Black female athletes, with dominant, outstanding, and even historic performances by world record marathoner Brigid Kosgei, tennis champion Coco Gauff and Simone Biles, the greatest gymnast in the history of the sport. We watched with great joy when:

 

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. On 12 October 2019, Kipchoge ran the marathon distance on a special course in Vienna, Austria, achieving a time of 1:59:40 in the Ineos 1:59 Challenge. However, his record will not go down as a world record, because this technical feat required unprecedented planning and support, and was heavily engineered. We nonetheless celebrate the history and meaning for mankind.

 

Simone Biles became the most decorated gymnast of all times. The four-time Olympic gold medalist, at 22, broke a world championships record with her medals on Sunday. Winning gold medals for both her floor routine and the balance beam, Biles became the most-decorated gymnast at the world championship amassing 25 medals, breaking the long-held record of 23, which was set by male gymnast Vitaly Scherbo back in the 1990s. She is not only the most decorated in history, but the highest and fastest champion the sport has ever seen.

 

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Brigid Kosgei at the Chicago Marathon showing her record (Source: Reuters)

Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei set a jaw-dropping new women’s world record in Chicago over the weekend with a time of 2:14:04, breaking the record set by British runner Paula Radcliffe in 2003, 16 years ago. Unlike Kipchoge’s record, whose effort employed rotating pacers and just one “racer,” this one will count as a world record. Kosgei removed 81 seconds from the previous record, an unprecedented feat!

 

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Coco Gauff after winning her first WTA title (Source: cbc.ca)

Tennis player Coco Gauff  became the youngest singles champion, at 15, in 15 years and the youngest American to win a singles title on the tour since 1991. She became the youngest woman to win Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) title since 2004 (and the youngest American to do so in 28 years) by winning Austria’s Linz Open on Sunday. I love the advice her dad who is her coach gave her: “Just relax, you’re not going to sprint to the finish line,… We’re going to walk to the finish line, OK?” And relaxed she got, in order to cruise to victory.

 

It was truly a weekend of Firsts, unprecedented, and of course Outstanding performances!!!

 

Posted by: Dr. Y. | October 14, 2019

Proverbe sur les menteurs / Proverb on Liars

LiarEvitez la compagnie d’un menteur. Et si vous ne pouvez pas l’éviter, ne le croyez pas. (Proverbe Maure – Algeria, Libya Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia).

Avoid the company of a liar. And if you can’t avoid him, don’t believe him. (Moor proverb – Algeria, Libya Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia).

Posted by: Dr. Y. | October 9, 2019

Why the Name: Annaba ?

Annaba_Ancient city of Hippo Regius

Ruins of the Ancient city of Hippo Regius, modern-day Annaba (Source: Wikipedia)

I always loved the name of the city Annaba in Algeria. From the name, one could think that we are talking about a city in subsaharan Africa. I used to think that the origin of its name would be Berber or from somewhere in sub-Saharan Africa.

Annaba is the 4th largest city of Algeria, after AlgiersOran, and Constantine. It is a coastal city which has grown tremendously, like most cities around the globe, in the 20th century. Present-day Annaba grew up on the site of Aphrodisium, the seaport of the Roman city Hippo Regius. The modern city has since expanded south over Hippo’s ruins as well. Its former names Bône and Bona derived from “Ubbo“, a local form of the name Hippo. Its informal name “Land of the Jujubes” derives from that abundance of that fruit in the region.

Algeria_Annaba

Bona, Algeria in 1899 (modern-day Annaba)

Annaba, as one of the most ancient cities of Algeria, founded in 1295 BC, has had different names during her life: Ubbo, Hippo Regius, Hippone, Bona, Bled El Aneb, Bône, and nowadays Annaba. It was known as Balad al-Unnab or the “Land of the jujubes” from which the name Annaba is derived, because of the abundance of that fruit in the region.

During the rule of France (empire and republics), the city was called Bône. It was one of the main French settlements, and it still has a sizeable minority of the “Pied-Noir” to this day. During World War II in 1943, Bône was a crucial highway and sea location for the invasion of Tunisia, and thence the driving of the Axis Powers (Germany and Italy) out of Africa in May 1943. Bône remained in Allied hands until the end of the war in 1945, and then it remained a part of French Algeria until the independence of Algeria in 1962.

Annaba_Bone Hotel de ville epoque coloniale

Bone, Hotel de Ville during the colonial period

The city is an important hub of the world steel industry with the steel complex of El Hadjar, eight kilometres south of the city. It is the largest in Africa. Phosphate and metal industries are also prominent in the area. Other industrial sectors, private, focus on agri-food, metal processing, wood products, and construction.

Annaba is an important centre for tourism, and is one of the major tourist attractions in the western Mediterranean. It is located in the north east of the country, at 536 km east of Algiers and 105 km from the Tunisian border.

Annaba_panorama sea front

Panoramic view of Annaba’s sea front (Source: Wikipedia)

The downtown district of Annaba is on the sea-front, and includes the promenade called the Concours de la Revolution (previously called Le Cours Bertagna) which is a lively area, brimming with arcades and all kinds of covered restaurants, terraced cafes and kiosks. If you visit Annaba, remember to taste the Jujubes and enjoy the sea!!!

 

Ethiopian Crown 18th Century

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

This was a good news and had to be shared. Enjoy! It is from the BBC.

 

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An 18th Century Ethiopian crown will finally be returned home after being hidden in a Dutch flat for 21 years.

Ethiopian Sirak Asfaw, who fled to the Netherlands in the late 1970s, discovered the crown in the suitcase of a visitor and realised it was stolen.

The management consultant has protected it until he felt safe to send it back.

Finally it is the right time to bring back the crown to its owners – and the owners of the crown are all Ethiopians,” he told the BBC.

Ethiopian crown netherlands

18th Century Ethiopian crown with depictions of Jesus Christ (Source: SkyNews)

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.

It is currently being stored at a high security facility until it can be safely returned.

… “I want this crown to be a symbol of unity and togetherness,” Mr Sirak said. “The crown will be celebrated by all of us Ethiopians, even Africans.”

Posted by: Dr. Y. | October 1, 2019

Quote by Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison_1

Toni Morrison (Source: OvationTV.com)

You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.” Toni Morrison in Song of Solomon

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

Madagascar’s First Locally Owned Sea-cucumber Farm

Sea Cucumbers_1

Sea cucumbers (Source: Tommy Trenchard – BBC)

Honestly, I had never heard of Sea Cucumbers before, and at first when I heard about it, I thought “cucumbers grow in the sea?” Later I found out that sea cucumbers are actually a marine species belonging to the same family as that of the starfish… and so I had to highlight this photo-journal article on the BBC website, especially as it pertains to Madagascar, the big Isle. Enjoy some excerpts below.

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In much of the Far East, sea cucumbers are a delicacy, fetching a high price for their purported health benefits.

In Tampolove, a tiny windswept village of mud huts and sandy paths squeezed between the coast and the forest in south-west Madagascar, they have provided a major boost to the local economy and environment. The delicacy is transforming the lives of people who have typically earned no more than a dollar a day, while at the same time helping to alleviate the pressure on marine species.

Sea Cucumbers

Sea cucumbers as they are being harvested at night in Tampolove, Madagascar (Source: Tommy Trenchard – BBC)

Sea cucumbers belong to the echinoderm family, along with starfish and urchins, and come in all shapes and sizes. They spend their days buried in silt, emerging at night to feed, sifting through the sediment for particles, a practice that provides an essential filtration service that benefits the wider ecosystem. Yet in recent decades rampant overfishing to feed demand in Asia has left wild sea-cucumber stocks declining around the world.

The sea-cucumber farms in Tampolove are part of a scheme to protect the environment and improve lives in this neglected part of the country. In 2004 the local community, with the support of a British NGO, Blue Ventures, came together to decide what to do about the rapid decline in fish and octopus stocks in their coastal waters. They set up an association, comprising representatives from several villages on this stretch of coast, whose responsibility it would be to manage fishing and the environment. They called the protected area Velondriake, which translates from the Vezo language as “to live with the sea”.

 

Posted by: Dr. Y. | September 25, 2019

Proverbe sur Trop Parler / Proverb on Talking Too Much

Parler_1La parole est comme l’eau qui coule, elle ne se ramasse pas avec les doigts (proverbe Toucouleur – Sénégal, Mali, Guinée, Mauritanie).

The word is like running water, it cannot be picked up with fingers (Toucouleur proverb – Senegal, Mali, Guinea, Mauritania).

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

At the Almamy Samori Touré’s Court

Samori Toure holding the Coran

Samori Toure

What happens when a colonizer visits the court of an African King in the 19th century? How do the two cultures collide? Below is a description of an audience at the court of the great king Samori Touré, by the French commander Marie Étienne Péroz who even wrote a book later “Au Soudan français : souvenirs de guerre et de mission,” C. Lévy, 1889.  As you can see, the European man is in awe at what he sees in court, the arrangement, and most importantly the calm confidence and simplicity emanating from  Samori Touré. Also note the importance of Samori’s griot, Ansoumana, “without whom no decision is taken.” Enjoy! The original in French can be found on p. 281 of Les Africains, Vol.1, Editions du Jaguar, 1977. The English translation is brought to you by Dr. Y., Afrolegends.com.

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The number of important personalities who had been summoned to it [the meeting], the riches and the pomp of the occasion, indicated the importance the almamy attached to it.

We were, ourselves, very impressed by the skill of the décor of which the original setting of the mosque, dungeon, high huts and ramparts of the palace had been done to enhance its brilliance (beauty). We slowly get closer, guided by Karamoko, towards the large canopy which shelters the Almamy and its court.

The Almamy is half lying on an elevated tara where blankets with bright patterns are piled up. He is simply dressed: Moorish boots, a black turban, a dark-colored caftan under which can be seen a white boubou. His headgear, a kind of diadem in finely chiseled gold and a necklace of the same metal deliciously crafted are the only insignia revealing his rank. His entourage, on the contrary, sitting on very low armchairs, brings out the severity of this costume by means of garments in showy colors in which they are clothed: this variegation of colors gives a warm tone to the entire scene. On his left, squatting on the ground and against his tara, Ansoumana, his family griot, without whom no decision is taken: he is wearing a blue boubou, and a black smock. Then, on the same side, Kissi, the head of treasury, whose green boubou constellated with grigris, throws the first happy note.

Samory does not get up when we dismount [from the horse]. We stop in front of him after greeting him and he extends his hand in a very affable way. From all sides explode the raucous accents of the horns, adding into the hum of the tam-tams, and the rumbling of the Almamy’s war drum. […]

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Vivid reception at the Almamy’s court (Les Africains, Vol.1 , P. 281, editions Jaguar)

The dreadful noise of instruments of all kinds greeting our arrival prevents at the beginning of all conversation, and covers the words of welcome he addresses us in a veiled tone; thus do we take this reprieve to admire in all sincerity the striking spectacle taking place in front of us.

What strikes us at first sight is the form he affects as a whole: the crescent. Just as his entourage is arranged in such a way which may appear to be the results of chance, but which, in reality, is very skillfully calculated so as to form a happy harmony of colors and forms, just as the security escorts of the different leaders who accompany him form in front of his dais a perfect half-oval, which leaves between him and them a vast place covered with white sands brought in from the river.  

Commandant Péroz

French Sudan

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