Happy Mother’s Day 2021

Papa Wemba
Papa Wemba

To celebrate all the mothers out there… I thought of sharing this beautiful song by the legendary Papa Wemba “Mama,” from his album Nouvelle Ecriture 1997 dedicated to his mother. I dedicate it to all the mothers out there, and future mothers. Papa Wemba was the King of Rumba and King of La SAPE, and an African Planetary Star. Of his mother who was a professional ‘wailing woman,’ he said: “My mother was my first teacher and my first public. … I grew up with my mother’s melancholic singing. … When I will sing, she will say “my son, block here, and now project your voice“… when I did well, she will clap for me“(source: Tv5 – Africanité). For his mother, he composed Mama and Maria Valencia. Enjoy! Happy Mothers’s Day.

National Museum of Ireland forges plan to return looted Benin bronzes

Queen from Benin kingdom
Queen from Benin kingdom, exposed at the MET

The National Museum of Ireland has now forged plans to return the looted Benin bronzes. I hope their plans actually take form! Wen I hear of all these museums planning to return all these African artifacts, I cannot help but notice that the loot was a general or rather an international concerted affair… remember how we always hear about the international community? As you can see the distribution of the loot, in the case at hand, that of Benin City (Benin City: the Majestic City the British burnt to the ground), was done among all those European countries! This brings shivers! Moreover, when I see this, I cannot help but wonder why these museums are now so conscientious and are all talking about repatriation of these bronzes, particularly when these looted artifacts have generated millions upon millions of euros each year to their museums as part of tourism. Why will they be so happy to forfeit millions of euros in revenues for our poor African souls who not long ago were deemed too backward to take care of our very own artifacts? Also, with 3D printing being so ‘hip’ these days, I wonder if Africans will be getting the original artifacts? How will we know? Enjoy! Excerpts below are from the Sunday Times.

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The National Museum of Ireland (NMI) intends to return 21 historical artefacts looted from Nigeria in the 1890s. The Benin bronzes, which were stolen by British soldiers, have been the subject of renewed focus in recent months, with growing pressure on cultural institutions to return them.

While there is no formal plan for when the Benin bronzes will be returned, the NMI said it was committed to progressing “a restitution process” for the artefacts.

Calls for full inventory of world artefacts held by Church of England

Pendant Ivory mask representing Queen Idia, Iyoba of Benin City (16th Century)
Pendant Ivory mask representing Queen Idia, Iyoba of Benin City (16th Century), exposed at the MET

The call for the repatriation of Benin artifacts, and African artifacts as a whole, has been gaining more attention. As you an imagine, it is news to think of churches being involved in this, or having these looted treasures. Well, as the excerpts below show, the Church of England has been urged to open up its books on all the world artifacts in its possession, after it agreed to return two Benin kingdom artifacts [Benin City: the Majestic City the British burnt to the ground, Europe’s Largest Museums to “Loan” Looted Benin (Nigerian) Artifacts back to Nigeria, Bronze Cockerel from Benin Kingdom to be returned to Nigeria]. Will the Church of England agree to it? Can you imagine the number of artifacts held in the coffers of other churches in Europe or the Vatican? Thousands! Excerpts below are from The Guardian.

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Promise to repatriate Benin bronzes comes as momentum grows at other institutions on returning works

The Church of England has been urged to open up its books on the full range of world artefacts in its possession after promising this week to repatriate two Benin bronzes.

The move came amid a gathering sense of momentum around the issue of the disputed bronzes – most of which were looted by British forces in 1897.

Rooster from Benin Kingdom (18th century)
Rooster from Benin Kingdom (18th century), exposed at the MET

While the British government has said UK institutions should “retain and explain” contested artefacts, the University of Aberdeen announced last month it would repatriate a bust of an Oba, or king of Benin, which it has had since the 1950s. The Horniman Museum in London also confirmed it was taking steps to return artefacts.

It’s clear that this is now a Nigerian-led exercise,” said Dan Hicks, the curator of world archaeology at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford and author of The Brutish Museums: the Benin Bronzes, Colonial Violence and Cultural Restitution.

Arguments put forward in the past that Nigeria was somehow unready to receive repatriated artefacts no longer held waterafter the formation of Legacy Restoration Trust, a Nigerian organisation facilitating restitution, said Hicks, describing it as a “game changing”.

It’s also no longer just about the British Museum, which holds only a fraction of these artefacts. They are increasingly marginal to this conversation, which is more and more about regional and international museums.”

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African Joke: The Beggar

A street beggar (Source: https://www.ncertbooks.guru/)

A beggar goes to complain to his donor in these terms:

My brother, 2 years ago, you were giving me 1000 F. Last year you gave me 500 F, and this year 300 F. You should tell me, what is causing this? Or did I do something to you?”

The man to respond: “No problem really… simply that 2 years ago, I was single. I got married last year, and this year, my wife gave me a beautiful big healthy baby.”

The beggar, offended, bursts out: “Seriously! So it is my money you are taking to feed your family?”

The original in French is found on Nouchi.com . Translated to English by Dr. Y. Afrolegends.com

Burkina Faso ex-president Compaoré to face trial over Thomas Sankara murder

Thomas Sankara
Thomas Sankara a Ouagadougou

I know this is like 10 days+ old news… but it is news: the ex-president of Burkina Faso Blaise Compaoré has been indicted for the murder of Thomas Sankara by a military court in the country. We cannot reiterate enough that France through her minion Blaise Compaoré (with the implication/blessing of Felix Houphouet-Boigny) killed Thomas Sankara. When Compaoré was booted out of office in 2014, he sought refuge in neighboring Cote d’Ivoire which is controlled by another one of France’s minions imposed on Ivorians via France’s bombs, Alassane Ouattara (ADO). Not only did he run to Cote d’Ivoire with his tail between his legs, but he even renounced his Burkinabe citizenship for the Ivorian one so as not be extradited. Everything about the man Compaoré screams cowardice: can you imagine a president of a country for 27 years who changes his citizenship? Such a coward! Now, a Burkina Faso military court has indicted Blaise Compaoré for the murder of Thomas Sankara. What power does this court really have? How to implement its findings? Is it just symbolic? Moreover, this is in absentia, given that Compaoré is hiding in Cote d’Ivoire. Excerpts below are from an article on the Al-Jazeera‘s website.

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Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso – A military court in Burkina Faso’s capital has indicted former President Blaise Compaore in connection to the 1987 murder of his charismatic predecessor, Thomas Sankara.

Flag of Burkina Faso

A statement issued by the court on Tuesday cited “complicity in assassination” and an “attack on state security” by Compaore, who ruled the country until 2014, when he was forced to resign in the face of mass demonstrations against an attempt to extend his 27-year rule.

Thirteen others – including Gilbert Diendere, Compaore’s right hand man, and Hyacinthe Kafando, his security chief – were also indicted on charges ranging from “assassination” to “concealment of corpses”.

Benewende Stanislas Sankara, a lawyer representing the relatives of the slain former president, described the indictment as “a victory and a step in the right direction”.

It’s with a sigh of relief the family can now go ahead with all the guarantees that surround Burkinabe justice,” he told Al Jazeera. “We can now calmly go to trial.”

… Following his re-election last year, President Roch Kabore appointed a minister for national reconciliation, Zephirin Diabre, who pledged to address the issue of justice for Sankara.

In 2015, Burkinabe courts had issued an international arrest for Compaore, but Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara has prevented his extradition back to Burkina Faso despite an extradition treaty between the two countries. …

… “The warrant can be executed at any time if Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso implement the existing agreements between the two states properly,” Benewende Sankara said. “I must specify that it can happen very quickly.”…

South African Audiometer Helps NASA Research Aboard the International Space Station

Flag of South Africa

Just saw this article on how an audiometer made in South Africa is helping NASA research hearing aboard the International Space Station, and thought to share with all. As you probably guessed, South Africa has one of the strongest and biggest space programs in Africa, with its South African National Space Agency (SANSA). For the full article go to Africanews.space. Enjoy!

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NASA has recruited the help of South African company eMoyo, in a bid to research the biological effects of noise in space and aboard the International Space Station (ISS) on the astronauts. eMoyo is a South African company that seeks to create a future where medical technology and the care it provides to humanity are merged into a ubiquitous system.

NASA had previously faced challenges in accomplishing this research due to lack of equipment, as it needed a lightweight product which was easy to operate. It is in this respect that eMoyo’s KUDUwave provides the answers to NASA’s plight.

The KUDUwave is a portable high-frequency audiometer featuring booth-free operation and high-frequency hearing testing up to 16 kHz. It has been used to test audio deficiencies, in South Africa as far back as 2009. The KUDUwave Pro combines the sound booth, audiometers, bone conductor, and extended high-frequency headset in a single, lightweight device. It includes the full battery of testing options as well as the ability to test almost anywhere.

NASA recruited the KUDUwave portable boothless audiometer and has transported it to the ISS via a commercial resupply mission known as the Northrop Grumman NG, aboard the CRS-15 Cygnus spacecraft. The audiometer, while innovative in its own right, had to be “slightly modified for self-testing in space”, according to eMoyo executive John Tidy. …

Dry Your Tears African! – Words from Bernard Dadié

Dry your tears African

I love this poem by  Bernard Dadié which I have posted earlier “Seche tes pleurs, Afrique / Dry Your Tears, Afrika“. The imagery is so clear and the words so deep: O Africa, “our senses are now opened to the splendor of your beauty, the smell of your forests, … your charms…” Africa is so rich,… and it is about time that her sons and daughters stand up to reclaim their inheritance, and feel her beauty, and enjoy her bounty-ness… Yes there is so much adversity, but dry your tears African… and rise up!

 

Sèche tes pleurs, Afrique
Ayant bu
À toutes les fontaines
d’infortune
et de gloire,
Nos sens se sont ouverts
à la splendeur de ta beauté
à la senteur de tes forêts,
à l’enchantement de tes eaux
à la limpidité de ton ciel
à la caresse de ton soleil
Et au charme de ta verdure emperlée de rosée.

Dry your tears, Africa!
We have drunk
From all the springs
of ill fortune
and of glory,
Our senses are now opened
To the splendor of your beauty
To the smell of your forests,
To the charm of your waters
To the clearness of your skies
To the cares of your sun
And to the charm of your foliage pearled by the dew.

 

The poem below is titled “Dry your Tears Afrika” or “Sèche Tes Pleurs,” published in 1967, by Bernard Binlin Dadié (So long to an African Literary Genius: Bernard Dadié).

 

Italian Space Center in Kenya?

Flag of Kenya

Do you know about the Italian-run Broglio Space Centre (previously known as the San Marco Equatorial Range) located off the coasts of Kenya? Yes… you heard me right, there is an an Italian space center in MalindiKenya. As you recall, Malindi was the first African city the most venerated Chinese maritime admiral Zheng He reached on the horn of Africa in 1418, even before Vasco da Gama? Indeed, Zheng He’s great armada rich of more than 300 ships and as many as 30,000 troops entered the coastal town of Malindi, in modern day Kenya, in 1418. If you are like me, this is quite a news: a space center off the coast of an African country (if you know of others, please let me know), and an Italian presence in Africa tends to be sparse, especially since its defeat at the hands of Ethiopia at the Battle of Adwa, and later during world war II. Can you imagine that the presence of this space center has created such a Kenyan-Italian synergy to the point that the lingua franca on Malindi is Italian? I wonder if they ever hire or train the locals to operate this space center, or to be engineers, technical workforce? From past experience, they probably don’t. Excerpts below are from the BBC. Enjoy!

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Flag of Italy

Malindi, a seaside town by the Indian Ocean that was founded in the 13th Century, is 120km (about 75 miles) north-east of Mombasa and has been known as “Little Italy” since the late 1960s.

The tourist resort is brimming with Italian restaurants, pizzerias, delis and gelato shops – billboards advertise in Italian, restaurant menus offer after-dinner liquors such as Limoncello and Amaro.

Most people speak Italian – from the Kenyan housekeeper where I stayed and the tuk-tuk drivers who ferried me around, to the waiters and the fisherman hanging around on the beach.

It is the town’s lingua franca. …

The history of the Italians in Malindi goes back to the opening of the Italian-run Broglio Space Centre off Kenya’s coast [32 km from Malindi] in the Indian Ocean. [It started as a partnership between the Italian Space Research Commission and NASA, with 2 offshore launch sites made from old oil platforms, and a mainland communications station].

Broglio Space Centre Platform (Source: NASA on BBC website)

The first Italians to arrive in the town were engineers and scientists, who loved what they found. Word soon spread about Malindi’s miles of pristine beaches, abundance of seafood and good-natured inhabitants [colonization was always like that: good-natured inhabitants who could be fooled easily, and their lands grabbed away].

By the 1970s the community began to take shape, with many settling in Malindi and pursuing opportunities in the tourism industry.

They opened hotels, restaurants, built beach villas and became economically integral in the town.

… The town had its heyday in the 1980s and 1990s when tourism boomed and estimates suggest 4,000 Italians lived in the town and 30,000 visited annually.

But a shadier side to Malindi also emerged with allegations that the underage sex trade was rampant, as was the drugs trade and even whispers of the Italian mafia’s presence.

Still the tropical paradise with its hint of noir flourished until a slump began with Italy’s financial crash of 2008.

… But it is still a blissful place to relax and enjoy if you can visit, and while tucking into a delicious plate of crab linguine, I felt transported back in time if not place.

3,000-year-old ‘Lost Golden City’ of Ancient Egypt Discovered

Archaeology experts have said discovery of Aten – called the ‘lost golden city’ – is the largest ancient city uncovered in Egypt. Photograph: Zahi Hawass Center for Egyptology/Reuters

Doing archaeology in Egypt is really a dream come true! Every day reveals new findings… it is amazing to witness the rediscoveries of this ancient African civilization… and each time as more artifacts are unearthed, we are in awe because current world civilizations seem so less advanced than the civilization of the Egyptian pharaohs! Today, in Egypt, the discovery of a 3,000 years old lost city was announced. This is not just any city, this is Aten; it dates back to the reign of Pharaoh Amenhotep III, one of Egypt’s most powerful pharaohs who ruled from 1391 to 1353 BC. Excerpts below are from the Guardian… Enjoy!

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Archaeologists have hailed the discovery of what is believed to be the largest ancient city found in Egypt, buried under sand for millennia, which experts said was one of the most important finds since the unearthing of Tutankhamun’s tomb.

The famed Egyptologist Zahi Hawass announced the discovery of the “lost golden city”, saying the site was uncovered near Luxor, home of the Valley of the Kings.

The Egyptian mission under Dr Zahi Hawass found the city that was lost under the sands,” the archeology team said. “The city is 3,000 years old, dates to the reign of Amenhotep III, and continued to be used by Tutankhamun and Ay.”

It called the find the largest ancient city, known as Aten, ever uncovered in Egypt.

The archaeologists found a large number of decorative and ritual items, including scarabs and amulets. Photograph posted by Dr. Zahi Hawass on Facebook

Betsy Bryan, Professor of Egyptian art and archaeology at Johns Hopkins University, said the find was the “second most important archeological discovery since the tomb of Tutankhamun”, according to the team’s statement.

… Items of jewellery such as rings have been unearthed, along with coloured pottery vessels, scarab beetle amulets and mud bricks bearing the seals of Amenhotep III.

… “The archaeological layers have laid untouched for thousands of years, left by the ancient residents as if it were yesterday,” the team’s statement said.