Posted by: Dr. Y. | January 17, 2018

Ernest Ouandié: People tell the story of his last days

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Ernest Ouandie, a few minutes before his execution in Bafoussam

On 15 January 1971, Ernest Ouandié, the leader of the UPC, was publicly executed in the capital of the Western region, Bafoussam, his natal province.

In reality, three people had been executed. Those 3 were: Gabriel Tabeu, aka “Wambo, the electricity“, Raphaël Fotsing, and Ernest Ouandié. The three were tied to a pole, facing a firing squad. The first two fell first. Ernest Ouandié, who had been accused of attempting to create a revolution, the organization of an armed bands, assassinations and other things, refused to be blindfolded. This led to a dispute between the authorities and him. Finally, they granted him his final wish, and as he was falling through the weight of the bullets, he shouted “Others will continue the struggle” staring death in the eye.

Up until the last minute, we did not think that the government was going to execute Ernest Ouandié and his comrades. People thought that they could be condemned for life. It was for us a big surprise. They made us get out of school to go watch the execution of the nationalists. In the crowd, we disapproved of what was going to happen, even kids like us. There was in reality, a strong current of sympathy for the rebels. That is why as soon as Ernest Ouandié and his companions were shot, it was as if I had been wounded in the depths of my heart.  The gust had wounded the head of a person who was at the parish of the evangelical church,”  says Wanko Tchonla, a trader in Bafoussam. On the day of the event, he was a student at the Saint Joseph school of the cathedral.  He still keeps in memory that sad day of 15 January 1971.” [“Jusqu’à la dernière minute, nous ne croyions pas que le gouvernement allait faire exécuter Ernest Ouandié et ses camarades. Les gens pensaient qu’on pouvait les condamner à vie. C’était pour nous une grande surprise. On nous a fait sortir de l’école pour voir l’exécution des nationalistes. Dans la foule, on désapprouvait ce qui allait se passer, même les enfants comme nous. Il y avait en réalité un fort courant de sympathie pour les rebelles. C’est pour cela que dès que l’on a tiré sur Ernest Ouandié et ses compagnons, c’est comme si j’avais reçu une blessure au fond de mon cœur. La rafale avait blessé la tête d’une personne qui se trouvait au niveau de la paroisse du plateau de l’église évangélique ”, raconte Wanko Tchonla, commerçant à Bafoussam. Au moment des faits, il est élève à l’école Saint Joseph de la cathédrale. Il garde en souvenir la triste journée du 15 janvier 1971.]

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Ernest Ouandie, on his way to his execution

It is no coincidence that the government of Ahmadou Ahidjo had decided to execute Ernest Ouandié in Bafoussam even though his conviction had been pronounced by the military court of Yaoundé. It is was important to create a collective psychosis in the minds. That is why people are always afraid to demonstrate for their rights. People are even afraid to join a political party by fear of being killed.” [“Ce n’est pas par simple hasard que le gouvernement d’Ahmadou Ahidjo avait décidé de faire exécuter Ernest Ouandié à Bafoussam alors que sa condamnation avait été prononcé par le tribunal militaire de Yaoundé. Il fallait créer une psychose collective dans les esprits. C’est pour cela que vous voyez que les gens ici ont peur de manifester pour revendiquer leurs droits. Les gens ont même peur de s’engager dans un parti politique parce qu’ils craignent d’être tués.”] Jean Michel Tékam, candidate for the Cameroonian Social Democratic Party (Parti social démocrate camerounais) in 1996.

Map of Cameroon from 1919 to 1960, including both Cameroons (French in Blue, and British in red)

Map of Cameroon from 1919 to 1960, including both Cameroons (French in Blue, and British in red) – Ouandie was fighting for One Cameroon and its freedom from colonial powers

Martin Kapnang, retired communal agent, remembers the staging around Ouandié’s execution. “ We knew that they had arrested the rebel chiefs. The administration had brought people, even from surrounding villages, to watch the execution of rebels. But the conditions under which their trial had unfolded always seemed very confusing. Because as soon as the arrest of Ernest Ouandié and others had been announced, we knew that they will be executed even if the greatest attorneys in the world intervened in their favor.” [“Nous savions que l’on avait arrêté les chefs maquisards. L’administration avait fait venir les gens même des villages environnants pour voir comment on devait tuer les maquisards. Mais les conditions dans lesquelles leur procès s’était déroulé semblaient toujours floues. Car dès que l’on avait annoncé l’arrestation de Ernest Ouandié et autres on savait qu’ils devaient être exécutés même si les plus grands avocats du monde intervenaient en leur faveur.”]

As soon as the first salvo is fired, he shouts: “Long live Cameroon” and then falls to the ground. A European officer detaches himself from the group of spectators, walks toward the dying man, puts his hand on his holster, leans forward and shoots…
[cited in Jean Ziegler, Les Rebelles: Contre l´Ordre du Monde: Mouvements Armes de Liberation Nationale du Tiers Monde, Published 1983, Editions du Seuil ]

UPC Leaders (L. to R.) front row: Castor Osende Afana, Abel Kingué, Ruben Um Nyobé, Felix Moumié, and Ernest Ouandié

UPC Leaders (L. to R.) front row: Castor Osende Afana, Abel Kingué, Ruben Um Nyobé, Felix Moumié, and Ernest Ouandié

15 January 1971 marks the day of the execution of a Cameroonian and African hero: Ernest Ouandié! Outspoken, and brilliant, Ernest Ouandié is considered by many in Cameroon as a national hero. However, he has never been celebrated the way a hero should. He was a martyr! Ouandié was the last leader of the Union des Populations du Cameroun (UPC). The other renowned leaders of the UPC were Ruben Um NyobéFelix-Roland Moumié, Abel Kingué , and Castor Osendé Afana who, except Abel Kingué, were all assassinated by France or its puppets.  Like those three, Ernest Ouandié was also assassinated, and paid with his life for his passion for the freedom of Cameroon, and Africa, from colonialism.  So who was Ernest Ouandié?

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Ernest Ouandie, during an interview, talking about the assassination of Felix Moumie in 1961

Ernest Ouandié was born in 1924 in Badoumla, Bana district in the Haut-Nkam region of the Western province of Cameroon . He attended public school in Bafoussam, and then l’Ecole Primaire Supérieure de Yaoundé where he obtained a Diplôme des Moniteurs Indigènes (DMI) in November 1943 and began work as a teacher. In 1944 he joined the Union of Confederate Trade-Unions of Cameroon, affiliated with the French General Confederation of Labour (CGT). From 1944 to 1948, Ernest Ouandié taught in Edéa. On 7 October 1948, he was posted to Dschang. A month later, he was posted to Douala as director of the New-Bell Bamiléké public school.

Flag of the UPC

Flag of the UPC

In 1948 Ouandié became a member of the Union of the Peoples of Cameroon (Union des Populations du Cameroun – UPC), and 4 years later, was elected vice-president of the UPC. In September 1953 he was assigned to Doumé and Yoko in Mbam-et-Kim. In December 1954 he was posted to Batouri, then Bertoua. Finally, in January 1955 he was assigned to Douala again. He attended the World Congress of Democratic Youth in China in December 1954, and also traveled to Paris and Moscow.

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Les leaders de l’UPC: Ruben Um Nyobe, Felix Moumie, et Ernest Ouandie

In April and May 1955 the UPC held a series of militant meetings, circulated pamphlets and organised strikes. On 20 June 1955 the UPC leader, Ruben Um Nyobé, was sentenced in absentia to six months in prison and a large fine. On 13 July 1955 the French government dissolved the UPC by decree. Most of the UPC leaders moved to Kumba in the British-administered Southern Cameroons to avoid being jailed by the colonial power. Armed revolution broke out in Cameroon. The UPC nationalist rebels conducted a fierce struggle against the French, who fought back equally ruthlessly. The insurgents were forced to take refuge in the swamps and forests. Ruben Um Nyobé was cornered in the Sanaga-Maritime area and killed on 13 September 1958.

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Ahmadou Ahidjo, first president of Cameroon

Ouandié had taken refuge in Kumba in 1956. In July 1957, under pressure from the French, the British authorities in western Cameroon deported Ernest Ouandié and other leaders of the UPC to Khartoum, Sudan. Ouandié then moved in turn to Cairo, Egypt, to Conakry, Guinea and finally to Accra, Ghana. After Cameroon gained independence in 1960, UPC rebels who had been fighting the French colonial government continued to fight the government of President Ahmadou Ahidjo, whom they considered to be a puppet of the French. Ahidjo had asked the French to lend troops to keep peace during and after the transition to democracy. What followed is a campaign of pacification of the Bamiléké territory, and some regions in the Centre and Littoral provinces; this is one of the greatest genocides committed by France, with the death toll in the hundreds of thousands (French President Acknowledges French Genocide in Cameroon)!

Ernest Ouandié, Marthe Moumié, and Abel Kingue in Geneva after Felix Moumié's death

Ernest Ouandié, Marthe Moumié, and Abel Kingue in Geneva after Felix Moumié’s death

In 1960 Ouandié, Félix-Roland Moumié, Abel Kingué and other UPC leaders were exiled, isolated and desperate. Moumié was poisoned by French agents using thallium on 13 October 1960 and died on 4 November 1960, leaving Ouandié as head of the UPC. On 1 May 1961 the military tribunal in Yaoundé condemned Ouandié and Abel Kingué (in absentia) to deportation. That year, Ouandié secretly returned from Accra to Cameroon to work towards the overthrow of the Ahidjo regime. The Southern Cameroons (now the Southwest and Northwest regions) gained independence from the British and joined a loose federation with East Cameroon on 1 October 1961. Abel Kingué died in Cairo on 16 June 1964, leaving Ouandié the last member of the original leadership. President Ahidjo then declared Ouandié public enemy number one.

A post-colonial struggle by UPC rebels opposing the new Cameroon army (trained and armed by France) continued until August 1970 when the last battalion of the UPC, commanded by Ernest Ouandié, was arrested.  Ouandié was sentenced to death and was shot by a death squad in the market on 15 January 1971, in Bafoussam.  That day was a historic day in Bafoussam, as the populations were forced to witness the execution of their leader: my mother witnessed the event, she was just a child. The civil war, resulting in the destruction of villages and use of napalm is estimated to have resulted in at least 30,000 to 500,000 deaths.  It has been conveniently removed from official history, both in Cameroon and in France (French President Acknowledges French Genocide in Cameroon).

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Ernest Ouandie, on the day of his execution

On that fateful day, 15 January 1971, three people were executed in Bafoussam, the capital of the Western region. The three were Gabriel Tabeu, alias “Wambo, the electricity“, Raphael Fotsing (condemned to capital punishment 10 days prior, by a military tribunal) and Ernest Ouandié. The three were tied to a pole, facing a firing squad. The first two fell first. Ernest Ouandié, who had been accused of attempting to create a revolution, the organization of armed bands, assassinations and other things, refused to be blindfolded. This led to a dispute between the authorities and him. Finally, they granted him his final wish, and as he was falling through the weight of the bullets, he shouted “Others will continue the struggle” staring death in the eye.

Check out the website Grioo.com where there is a good biography on Ernest Ouandie’s life. Don’t forget to check out the website of Dibussi Tande. The great Cameroonian writer Mongo Béti wrote the book Main basse sur le Cameroun, autopsie d’une décolonisation (about the Cameroonian resistance led by the UPC) which was banned in France in the 70s, which led to him to write Remember Ruben in honor of Ruben Um Nyobé’s memory, in which he describes the firing squad to Ouandié’s execution.

 

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Jamais perdu / Never lost (source: gpstravelmap.com)

Celui qui croit en Dieu ne se perd pas (proverbe Comorien). – Celui qui a confiance en Dieu n’est jamais perdant.

The one who believes in God does not get lost (Comorian proverb). – The one who trusts in God is never defeated.

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Sultan Said Mohamed of Anjouan in 1928

The Comoros  was a French colony until 1975. Below is a treaty signed between a representative of the French Republic and the Sultan of Anjouan on 21 April 1886. As you can see from this treaty, France did not just get the rights to almost everything, but it also got the right to judge Anjouan citizens, but most importantly, it also got the right to choose the successor to the throne of the sultanate, in cases when the Sultan’s first choice could not take over. So this way of France meddling into local politics and choosing local kings that could be their puppets instead of the ones chosen by the people or traditions, is not new!

The English translation of the treaty, below, is by Dr. Y., Afrolegends.com. For the French original click here: Comores_Traite de protectorat avec sultan d’Anjouan 21 Avril 1886.

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18th century map of Anjouan

The government of the French Republic, rightfully represented by Mr Gerville-REACHE, Commandant of Mayotte and His Highness ABDALLAH BEN SULTAN SALIME, Sultan of Anjouan, intervening directly, concerned by the development of the prosperity of the Anjouan Sultanate, have decided to consecrate by the following conventions the friendship relations existing between us for a long time and to ensure the preponderance of France in Anjouan.

Article I

His Highness assisted by the council of ministers places the Island of Anjouan under the protection of France. She commits herself, and thereby commits her successors to never deal with any other nation and to never grant any privilege to foreigners without the consent of France.

Article II

The subjects of His Highness will be able, in all freedom, to enter, reside, circulate, and trade in France or in French colonies in the same conditions as the French settlers, on one part, the French will enjoy the same freedom in the states of His Highness.

Article III

The Sultan hereby makes the commitment to provide French industrials who would want to settle in Anjouan the lands that they will need for their exploitations, within the bounds of his domain.

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Map of the Comoros with the Anjouan island

Article IV

Disputes that could arise between the French citizens and people of Anjouan will be judged in French courts.

Article V

The rights of the foreigners actually established on the island remain reserved such that in no case the French government will be responsible for the execution of former facts and conventions. If there were any dispute about those facts and conventions, the Government of the Republic will be referee.

Article VI

Anjouan buildings will be treated in French ports as French ships. The same advantages will be given to the Republic’s ships which will enter in a port tributary to the states of His Highness.

Article VII

In order to ensure peace in Anjouan and to allow the regular succession on the throne, according to the customs of the country, the sultan makes his choice of his successor as SALIM BEN ABDALLAH, his eldest son, and in case of the later’s decease, before the advent on the throne of ABDALLAH ben SALIM, oldest son of SALIME. The French government will have to settle the throne’s succession in cases where the dispositions taken by His Highness would have no effect and in cases when there will be no direct and immediate heir in his family.

Article VIII

The Sultan promises to provide each of his brothers with means of livelihood.

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Image of Anjouan (Source: BBC)

Article IX

To end the civil wars that have plagued ANJOUAN for many years, the French Government and His Highness declare that any person who would have taken arms against a constituted government will be considered a rebel and judged according to the laws of the country.

Article X

The Government of the Republic is committed to not grant asylum to any Anjouan person who, found to be a rebel, would seek refuge in France, in Mayotte, and in any other French possessions.

Article XI

His Highness commits not to take arms in any of the islands of the Comoros and not to lend his support to any party and assistance without the consent of the Commandant in Mayotte.

Article XII

The Sultan declares that there does not exist between his kingdom and any other power an act that could invalidate the current convention.

Article XIII

 The Sultan commits to take all necessary disposition for the abolition of slavery in all his states.

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Mutsamudu, capital of Anjouan, today (Nationsonline.org)

Article XIV

The present contract which will be final after the approval of the Government of the Republic has been signed in the presence of, on one part, MM. BRICH, lieutenant of the vessel, commandant of the “CHACAL” DE LESTRAC, deputy commissioner of the Marine, GAUTHIER and LESQUIVIT, sailors, DESLANDES, Medical doctor of the 2nd class in the Marine; on the other part, of SALIME BEN SULTAN ABDALLAH, MOHAMED ben sultan SALIME, SAID ATTOUMASI ben sultan SALIME, SAID ALI ben sultan SALIM, ABDALLAH MOHAMED or DIAMOND prime minister, SAID JAFFAR minister of Foreign Affairs, SAID ALI ben SAID MOCOU, MAUOME ALLASSE BEN SAID ABDERHAMA, MASAILA, …*

          Made in 3 expeditions in MOUSSA MOUDOU (ANJOUAN) the 21st April 1886 (Is Radjabou 1303 era of the hegire)

          Signed: GERVILLE-REACHE, DESLANDES, BRICH, LESQUIVIT, de LESTRAC, GAUTHIER, Sultan ABDALLAS, King of Anjoua, H.H. Prince SALIME, interpreter of the Government

(* the list continues)

Posted by: Dr. Y. | January 8, 2018

Why the Name: Comoros?

Comoros_flag

Flag of the Comoros

How many people know the country of Comoros? Have you ever heard about it? Have you ever wondered where the name Comoros come from? Well, I have… At first I wondered if it was like Cameroon, whose name comes from Rio dos Camarões, and so since Comoros seems to rime with Camarões, will Comoros mean Shrimp?

Well, my previous assumption was forgetting the fact that the Comoros, or rather the Union of the Comoros, had once seen the influence of Arabic sailors. So, the name Comoros comes from the Arabic word qamar, meaning moon! He he he… Comoros essentially means Moon.

Comoros_Map of the Comores 1747

Map of the Comoros, 1747

The Comoros is a sovereign archipelago island nation in the Indian Ocean located at the northern end of the Mozambique Channel off the eastern coast of Africa between northeastern Mozambique and northwestern Madagascar. Other countries near the Comoros are Tanzania to the northwest and the Seychelles to the northeast. Its capital is Moroni, on Grande Comore. The Union of the Comoros has three official languagesShikomori (Comorian), Arabic and French. The religion of the majority of the population is Islam.

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The Comoros with the map of Africa (Countryreports.org)

Comoros is a nation formed at the crossroads of different civilizations; it is almost like Madagascar in its cultural diversity: it was first inhabited by Bantu speakers from East Africa, and later its population was supplemented by Arab and Austronesian immigration. Islam was introduced around after the 650s AD. It was a major hub of trade and an important location in a network of trading towns that included Kilwa, in present-day Tanzania, Sofala (an outlet for Zimbabwean gold), in Mozambique, and Mombasa in Kenya. The country became part of the French colonial empire in the 19th century before becoming independent in 1975.

Comoros_Port of Moroni 1908

Port of Moroni, Comoros (1908)

The Comoros is formed by Ngazidja (Grande Comore), Mwali (Mohéli) and Nzwani (Anjouan), three major islands in the Comoros Archipelago, as well as many minor islets. The capital and largest city, Moroni, is located on Ngazidja. The archipelago is situated in the Indian Ocean, in the Mozambique Channel, between the African coast (nearest to Mozambique and Tanzania) and Madagascar, with no land borders.  In addition, the country has a claim on a fourth major island, southeastern-most Mayotte (Maore), though Mayotte voted against independence from France in 1974, has never been administered by an independent Comoros government, and continues to be administered by France (currently as an overseas department). France has vetoed United Nations Security Council resolutions that would affirm Comorian sovereignty over the island.

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Cloves

The main export of the islands are vanilla, ylang-ylang, and clove. The Comoros are the world’s largest producer of ylang-ylang.

So, if you ever visit the Comoros, imagine the moon! Enjoy its sandy beaches, and its lovely people!

Posted by: Dr. Y. | January 5, 2018

Bride Price Practices in Africa

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Traditional Ghanaian wedding (Source: Nairaland.com)

A few years back, I was privy to a traditional wedding ceremony where the groom and bride families came together and the groom paid the bride price. This is considered symbolic, and marks the union of the two families.

Before the arrival of Europeans and their church (white wedding), the bride price was the way to go, to get married. This is a practice as old as the world. It is a custom widely practiced across Africa. It plays a very important role in our traditions and cultures. It marks the coming together of two families. I loved the comment one of my friends made: “I found giving bride price to my wife’s family an enriching experience. Going to work and saving money gave me a sense of how precious she was to me. The contention I often hear against bride price often cite the greedy few who have spoken the loudest. There are millions who still respect the practice.” Yes… many still respect and value the practice.

It is a cultural practice which makes for stronger family relationships, and do help with arranging conflicts when they arise in marriage.

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Traditional Nigerian wedding (Source: VozAfrica)

The bride price also known as bride token, is an amount of money or property which is paid by a groom and his family to the family of the bride. In many parts of Africa, the bride price confirms the validity of a traditional marriage and conditions the permission to marry in church or in a civil ceremony. Its power supersedes all other sorts of marriages. The marriage is considered invalid if the bride price has not been paid, and this actually affects the marriage, and the offspring from that couple as it is then considered that the groom and his family have despised and dishonored the bride’s family. The children from that union do not belong to the husband’s family, but rather to the woman’s, as he never paid the bride price, and thus has no right over them.

Last year, a friend of mine returned the bride price which had been paid for his sister’s hand to the groom’s family, as he (the groom) had dishonored the wife, almost beaten her to death, and cheated. In this instance, this was to mark a divorce. Now what will happen if the woman wanted the divorce and could not afford to reimburse the bride price? What if rupture was the only way out of this marriage, what should she do? Divorce is still highly frowned upon in African societies, and the stigma of it affects the woman deeply.

Although the bride price is a symbolic token, it has been described in many African countries as a license to own a family or to purchase a wife from a family often leading the man to receiving the “permission” to exercise economic control over his wife. It has also been criticized for being an “enrichment scheme” for the bride’s family. There are two serious questions that have arisen with the evolution of the bride price: has it truly become a source of income for families and does it have a negative impact on women?Does the practice of the bride price hinder the work of women’s rights and empowerment activists? Does the bride price create more bad than good by leaving newlywed couples with unfortunate financial problems which strip them of the joys of being newly married? Has the bride price truly become a source of enrichment for families and demeaning to women?

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Senegalese Wedding (Source: Bade, 1996)

This is a tradition truly African which should be upheld… and it varies from country to country, and maybe should be checked to avoid excesses from the bride’s families… and to stop the groom’s families from depriving the bride of her rights once in the marriage.

Below are comments by African BBC correspondents about Bride Price practices across Africa. For the full article, check Bride price practices in Africa:

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Pumza Fihlani, South Africa:

A bride price here is known as “lobola“, where the groom’s family presents either money or cows or both to the bride’s family as a gesture of his willingness to marry her.

The payment of lobola is a sign of the man’s commitment to take care of his wife and is seen as a symbolic act and a necessary part of upholding culture, rather than a purchase.

South_Africa_traditional_wedding

Traditional South African wedding (Source: Wikimedia)

Kim Chakanetsa, Zimbabwe:

The term “lobola” is also used in southern Zimbabwe, but in Shona communities it is known as “roora” and while the tradition is to give cattle, this is now often replaced by cash – the amount is subject to negotiation.

There are several stages to the tradition and it is seen as a way of thanking the bride’s family for bringing her up, but there is no sense that the bride is being bought.

Abdourahmane Dia, Senegal:

The payment of bride price is customary in Senegal but largely symbolic.

A small amount of money and a kola nut is given to the bride’s family at the mosque, after that the sum handed over can be anywhere from less than $100 to tens of thousands.

Angela Ngendo, Kenya:

The Kenyan constitution outlaws the obligation to pay a bride price but it is widely understood that it will be paid.

Pastoral communities insist that it is paid in cattle and it has been cited as a cause of cattle rustling, whereas families in other communities will accept cash.

There is a sense that a transaction has taken place over the bride.

African wedding_Nigerian

African Wedding – Nigerian (Source: Naija.nj)

Leone Ouedraogo, Burkina Faso:

The bride price is commonly paid in Burkinabe culture and is largely a symbolic act.

There is no set amount and a little money is given, but it is mainly in goods such as Kola nuts, drinks, cigarettes – and some ethnic groups may give a goat.

However, a bride’s family is not normally too demanding.

Aichatou Moussa, Niger:

In Niger, there is an official maximum rate for a bride price of 50,000 CFA francs ($83, £54) but many pay much more than this.

The price is agreed between the families, but it is seen as a symbolic act rather than about buying the wife as Nigeriens say not matter how much is paid you cannot buy a human being.

Posted by: Dr. Y. | January 4, 2018

Proverbe sur le bien / Proverb on Doing Good

Giving1

Donner / Give

Prête du bien, on te le rendra (proverbe Maure – Mauritanie, Algerie, Niger, Mali, Tunisie, Maroc, Sahara Occidental).

Lend good, and it will be returned to you (Moor proverb – Mauritania, Algeria, Niger, Mali, Tunisia, Morocco, Western Sahara).

Posted by: Dr. Y. | January 2, 2018

Happy 2018!

20170920_1Million viewsDear readers, we wish you all an AMAZING new year. May the year 2018 mark the fulfillment of old and new dreams that will last a lifetime. We would like to express our profound gratitude for your constant support, as your readership has carried us forward. Thank you to all those who visited the blog, reblogged articles, commented, and to all future visitors. 2017 was a beautiful year: Afrolegends.com had lots of views, subscribers, and many articles reblogged on multiple sites. On September 19, 2017, we passed the cap of the 1 Million Views on the African Heritage Blog!!!

The top 6 posts of 2017 are listed below. For this new year, 2018, we will bring you even more amazing, fun, and rich articles. Keep trusting, reading, sharing, reblogging, and liking. We wish you a beautiful, full, and amazing new year, rich in blessings, and rich in greatness. May 2018 be the year of greatness! Keep your heads up, and may your year be as beautiful as the petals of this flower! As you can see, everything about this flower marks the beginning of something beautiful: a new start, a new life, and a new joy! As always, like Agostinho Neto said, “A luta continua … a vitória é certa!

Happy 2018_3

Happy 2018

1. History of African Fabrics and Textiles

2.  Samori Toure: African leader and Resistant to French Imperialism

3. ‘Love Poem for My Country’ by Sandile Dikeni

4.  Timbuktu, one of the world’s first and oldest university

5.  Adinkra Symbols and the Rich Akan Culture

6. Amanishakheto, Warrior Queen of Nubia

George Weah3

George Weah, president-elect of Liberia

This is a happy day, for George Weah is now president-elect of Liberia! Thinking about how long it took to get there, I am so proud of him. His consistency, his determination to serve Liberia at the highest office, and his love for his country are commendable. As a flashback, remember the Liberian presidential elections of 2005, when he had gone through the second turn of the presidential elections, and amidst election frauds many believed that he had won the election in lieu of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. People told him that he was too young, he should let Mama run the country; that he was just a football (soccer) player, albeit a great one, but a baby in politics, an uneducated man, and should let those who knew it, run the country. After a month of deliberation, and a lot of strength and patriotism, Weah agreed to let Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf claim the victory. He could have said ‘NO’ and gone into protests which could have led Liberia into civil unrest, but he loved his country deeply, and chose peace! In subsequent years, he learned politics, learned how to serve the people better, even unsuccessfully ran as a VP candidate in the 2011 presidential elections, became a Senator of Montserrado County in 2014, and got a graduate degree. Today, he has won the presidential elections. Talk about perseverance, love, and determination!

George Weah4

George Weah won Ballon d’Or while playing for AC Milan

George Weah developed great football abilities early on, and after playing in the Liberian football domestic league at the beginning of his successful career, and winning several national honors (including the Liberian Premier League and the Liberian Cup), Weah went on to play in the Tonnerre of Yaoundé (one of the greatest football clubs of Cameroon) in Cameroon where he was discovered, and then took off for a very successful career in Europe. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest African players of all time, and in 1995 he was named FIFA World Player of the Year and won the Ballon d’Or, becoming the first and only African player to date to win these awards. In 1989, 1994 and 1995, he was named the African Footballer of the Year, and in 1996, he was named African Player of the Century. Known for his acceleration, speed, and dribbling ability, in addition to his goalscoring and finishing, Weah was described by FIFA as “the precursor of the multi-functional strikers of today”.  In 2004, he was named by Pelé in the FIFA 100 list of the world’s greatest living players.

Liberia_flag

Flag of Liberia

As you can see, it took him over 12 years from those failed elections of 2005, but he made it. He successfully went from an outstanding football player to the president of a nation. His story is that of perseverance, and particularly of excellence: Do what you are called for, whatever it is, with excellence, … you never know you could be called for greatness through that excellence! We salute his uncompromising, unflinching courage and determination, and we are happy for Liberia

haircut5Même si on ne t’aime pas, tu trouveras toujours quelqu’un pour couper tes cheveux (Proverbe Kikuyu – Kenya). – Dans le malheur on n’est jamais seul!

haircut4aEven if no one likes you, you will always find someone to cut your hair (Kikuyu proverb – Kenya). – In misfortune, we are never alone!

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