Failure of the African Leadership


I have never been as disgusted as I am with the current African leadership.  As I stunningly watch Mali descend into chaos, after Cote d’Ivoire, Libya, Sudan, and so on… I wonder what kind of people are heading our countries.  It doesn’t take a genius to see that we are being cheated, abused, and killed by imperialism and those hungry and bankrupt capitalists.  As I pondered on all that, I read this great speech by cde Kwanisai Mafa of Zimbabwe delivered in commemoration of the Sharpeville massacre in South Africa this year on March 21st 2012.  For the integral speeck, check it out on Mathaba.


“Comrades and friends,

I bring you revolutionary greetings from the landed people of Zimbabwe, north of the great Limpopo River. By landed people, I mean the people who are now sovereign, who now exercise total control and ownership of their land and the vast natural resources endowed to them by God.

Land ownership and control of mineral wealth are at the heart of Africa’s struggle for self determination. Land ownership and control of mineral wealth aptly justify the theme of today’s engagement.


Nowhere is Pan Africans being severely tested in Africa than in Zimbabwe.  The current tidal wave of global pessimism and sanction against the people of Zimbabwe has made life excruciatingly challenging for the common folk.   The government of Zimbabwe sought to unlock the value of its people in an exercise dubbed the Third Chimurenga.

Cecil Rhodes with his transafrican train project from Cairo to Cape Town - the most imperialist ever
Cecil Rhodes with his transafrican railroad project from Cairo to Cape Town - Founder of de Beers diamond company, owner of Rhodesia... - the most imperialist ever

Resistance to this exercise has been fierce as both former colonial settlers (who happen to be white) and their sympathizers sought to discredit it as, illegal and not consistent with human rights.  Ironically, where were these human rights watchdogs when our forefathers were butchered and dispossessed of their land. Where are these human rights watchdogs when Israel is daily making the lives of Palestinian a living hell? Where were they when NATO attacked a sovereign nation like Libya violating international law? ….

The United Nations has become a tool of US imperialism for decolonizing nations especially the United Nations Security Council. There is selective application of law. Our leaders are being dragged to Hague to the International Criminal Court of Justice, yet western nations who are killing innocent people in Iraq, Palestine, Libya and elsewhere go with impunity. This is hypocritical. …

Comrades and friends , the levels of mediocrity in African leadership has risen to sanctity. The revolution is now eating its own children. Surely this cannot continue unabated, battle lines must be drawn, be drawn clearly and conspicuously.

Our African leaders are sacrificing our continent and our founding values and aspirations on the altar of narrow, parochial, self serving, personal and selfish interests. Stooges and imperialist lapdogs in form of opposition parties and democracy are being bankrolled by western intelligence organizations to extinguish, purge and obliterate all liberation movements and replace them with their puppets that are prepared to surrender our God given Africa to global imperialism for thirty pieces of silver.

Flag of Zimbabwe
Flag of Zimbabwe

Our African leaders have become our contemporary Judas Iscariot. Colonel Muammar Gaddafi who gave sanctuary and military assistance to African liberation movements especially to South Africa was sold out by those whom he supported.

Who is Judas Iscariot? I don’t need your answer now South Africans?

The late legendary Reggae superstar Bob Marley, who I love so much (peace be upon him), in his song Redemption Song, he asked for how long should we stand aside while our prophets are being killed. No leader said a word against the bombardment of Libya by NATO not even the African Union yet the author and founder of the African Union was Gaddafi. The biggest question we should ask ourselves is who is next ?”

To read the full article, check out Sharpeville Commemoration Day, a Call for a United Africa.

Compère Lièvre et les Ignames


Les hommes de la savane savent tout qu’Azui, le lièvre, est le plus astucieux des animaux.  Mais ils sont si vaniteux qu’ils sont sûrs, eux, d’être plus intelligents que compère lièvre et disent tous :  Moi, homme, je ne peux pas être dupé par un animal, même par le plus rusé de tous !

Des ignames
Des ignames

Voici pourtant ce qui est arrivé un jour.  Dans la forêt, et dans la savane voisine, il n’y avait presque plus rien à manger cette année-là.  Les animaux, affamés, sortaient de la brousse et venaient rôder autour des villages, cherchant sur le sol le moindre grain de mil oublié.  Azui s’était caché dans un fourré, non loin du chemin que suivaient les paysans pour aller cultiver leurs champs.  Il a observé un homme qui tous les soirs, s’en revenait chez lui, portant de grosses ignames sur la tête.  Que faire pour s’en emparer ? Le lendemain, un peu avant le passage de l’homme sur le chemin, Compère lièvre s’y étend sans bouger, contrefaisant le mort.  L’homme arrive près de lui, voit : Voilà un lièvre qui n’est pas mort depuis bien longtemps, se dit-il.  Je vais aller déposer mes ignames près de la hutte, à la lisière de la forêt, et je vais revenir chercher cet animal.  Puis il se remet en marche.  Dès qu’il a disparu, Compère lièvre se relève et court par un raccourci, en direction de la hutte.  Quand il y arrive, il trouve les ignames que l’homme a déposées avant de revenir sur ses pas chercher le lièvre qu’il croit mort.  Azui ramasse les ignames, les charge sur son dos et file à toute vitesse vers sa maison, tout content d’avoir à manger pour plusieurs jours.  Quand à l’homme, bien entendu, il ne trouve pas le lièvre mort sur le chemin … pas plus que les ignames, quand il est de retour à la hutte.  Il comprend alors un peu tard qu’il a été dupé par le rusé animal.  Ah oui ! Vraiment, on peut dire que compère lièvre est le plus astucieux de tous les êtres vivants de la savane !

Conte tiré de “Contes des Lagunes et Savanes,” Collection ‘Fleuve et Flamme,’ édition Edicef, 1975

Abdoulaye Wade, the Negrier is gone! – Congratulations to Macky Sall

Flag of Senegal
Flag of Senegal

First of all, I would like to praise the victory of Macky Sall in Senegal against Abdoulaye Wade…  Apparently, and the foreign press does not want to give the real results, Wade received a real K.O. …  He was apparently knocked out with less than 30% of voices in the second round of the presidential elections in Senegal.  Congratulations to Macky Sall and the people of Senegal who defeated the octogenarian Abdoulaye Wade.  I am particularly joyous because Abdoulaye Wade has viciously destabilized some of the most stable countries in Africa in the past few years: Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, Libya, and recently Mali. This man totally served the western interests of stopping the formation of a United States of Africa, or rather the FMA (Fonds monetaire Africain), and the formation of a common currency. He betrayed Kadhafi, and many others.  I have no pity for somebody who was ready to transform his country into a monarchy… like Togo and Gabon… he just made the mistake of thinking that Senegal was Togo or Gabon.  He should pay for his crimes and should also be prosecuted for crimes against humanity in Cote d’Ivoire and Libya. So long Gorgui… You will not be missed!

Map of Senegal
Map of Senegal

As I said, this is a people’s win… however, history (on the continent) has shown that simple alternance of power does not mean a true system change.  Macky Sall may be good willing, full of good intentions, but how can he act if he does not even control his country’s currency? how can he act when the true power resides elsewhere, in the hexagon?  Well we wish Macky Sall the best, and all children of Africa rejoice for his victory and that of the Senegalese people.  We also hope that there could be light at the end of the tunnel, and give Macky Sall our entire support in leading his country.

U-Carmen e-Khayelitsha, a South African Rendition of Carmen of Bizet

U-Carmen e-Khayelitsha
U-Carmen e-Khayelitsha

Imagine listening to ‘Le Nozze di Figaro‘ (Mozart) or ‘La Traviata‘ (of Verdi) or ‘Madama Butterfly‘ (Puccini) in Lingala, or Douala, or Yoruba? Imagine for one second, listening to these great operas in Wolof or Shona… Isn’t the feeling precious?

All praise to the 2005 South African version of Carmen of Bizet: U-Carmen e-Khayelitsha. This operatic is set entirely in a South African township, in Cape town, Khayelitsha, and it is entirely in Xhosa, one of South Africa’s main languages! Thrilled is a word that cannot explain my joy…  In all honesty, I was amazed to see an entire opera entirely set in Africa, with African actors.  A modern-day Carmen, the film carries the energy known to belong to South African singers. These authentic voices shed a new light on opera, and bring in a full South African touch.  It brings out the dynamic heat of township life through the exciting combination of a violent gangster tale intertwined with an almost supernatural love story.  As it unfolds, it explores the issue of the position of a strong woman in a male-dominated society, the issue of wealth and fame, and abuser and victim. I am sure Georges Bizet himself would have been stunned by director Mark Dornford-May’s rendition of his work. It definitely deserved all the awards it got, among which the 2005 Golden Bear at the Berlin film festival.

Les Petits Métiers: la Braiseuse Africaine / Small Trades: the African Braiseuse

Une braiseuse camerounaise / A Cameroonian braiseuse
Une braiseuse camerounaise / A Cameroonian braiseuse

Vous êtes-vous jamais retrouvé(e) dans les rues de Douala le soir? ou les rues des capitales africaines la nuit? Vous rencontrerez certainement la braiseuse ou rôtisseuse ou vendeuse de rôti en tout genre: du plantain braisé, au poisson braisé, au maïs grillé et safous (prunes africaines) braisées… hhhhhhuuuuuuummmmmmhhhhh quel délice! Généralement, ces dames, communément appelées braiseuses, grillent du poisson, plantain, maïs, ou prunes, sur un petit ‘réchaud’ ambulant de charbon à bois.  Chaque soir vous la rencontrerez au bord de la rue occupée à soufflez sur des braises ardentes de charbon pour griller le plantain ou le poisson à soin.  En Afrique, du moins en Afrique francophone, très peu de gens fréquentent les restaurants (qui ont souvent des prix exhorbitants) pour les petits plats simples.  La braiseuse offre des petits repas rapides bon marché ou des delicatesses (tel du maïs grillé). Imaginez-vous un seul instant avec un maquereau entier (poisson le plus prise, car étant moins cher) et un ou deux doigts de plantains braisés en main….  Qu’en dites-vous?  Simplement délicieux!  Savourez avec moi cette vidéo d’une braiseuse dans une des rues de Bafoussam, une des villes majeures du Cameroun… et surtout regardez attentivement tout le processus qui permet de déguster de si bonnes choses.


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

Have you ever roamed the streets of Douala at night? or the streets of any African capital at night? You will certainly come across the braiseuse or the grill-maker or barbecue maker or sellers of grilled food of any sort: grilled plantain, grilled fish, roasted corn, or roasted safou… hhhhhhuuuuuuuuummmmmmmhhhhh delicious! Usually, these ladies, commonly called braiseuses (could be translated griller or roastmaker), grill plantains, fish, corn, or safou, on a mobile charcoal stove stall.  She can be found on street corners every evening, busy blowing on embers of charcoal to grill fish or plantain to perfection.  In Africa, or at least in French Africa, few people go to restaurants (which could be quite pricey) for a quick meal.  The braiseuse offers quick meals at affordable prices or delicacies (like grilled corn).  Just picture yourself for a second, holding an entire grilled mackerel with one or two plantains in your hands… doesn’t that taste delicious? Please enjoy this video of a braiseuse in the streets of Bafoussam, a major city of Cameroon, and carefully watch the entire process that leads to such delicious delicacies!

Celebrating a Strong Writer: Buchi Emecheta or the Joys of Motherhood

Buchi Emecheta
Buchi Emecheta

Today I would like to talk about a strong woman… a determined woman… an independent African female writer: Buchi Emecheta.  Dr. Buchi Emecheta is an established Nigerian author who has published over 20 books.  She wrote such books as Slave Girl, The Joys of Motherhood, Second Class Citizen, The Bride Price, and more recently KehindeHer themes have always revolved around motherhood, child slavery, and women independenceBuchi got married at the tender age of 16, and by the age of 22 was the mother of five children (they had moved to London after the birth of the first child for her husband to pursue higher education).  Her marriage was unhappy and oftentimes violent.  She used writing as an escape, to keep her sanity.  The day her husband burnt her first manuscript marked Buchi’s rebirth.  As she watched him burn her novel, she said ‘I am going to leave this marriage‘ and the man replied ‘what for? that stupid book?‘, and she told him, ‘I just feel you just burn my child.‘ (Source: Buchi Emecheta BBC).  That was really her turning point.  At the age of 22, she left her husband, raised her 5 children by herself, got a degree in sociology studying at night, and wrote 4 novels in the space of 5 years.  She would often rise at dawn to pursue her dream of becoming a writer.  She wore several hats: mother, student, writer, and worker.

The Joys of Motherhood
'The Joys of Motherhood' by Buchi Emecheta

Like her Nigerian ancestors, she uses storytelling to teach morals, to entertain and to instruct.  She brings to her writing the Igbo qualities of vividness, economy and directness.  She speaks for the marginalized woman.  Some of her first novels, such as In the Ditch and Second Class Citizen, were quite autobiographical.  She views her writing as the “release for all my anger, all my bitterness, my disappointments, my questions and my joy.” Please help me acclaim Buchi Emecheta, a powerful woman, a powerful writer, and a proud daughter of Africa. In her own words, Buchi advises ‘whatever you want to do with your life. “Just keep trying and trying. If you have the determination and commitment you will succeed.” (Source: ‘Just’ an Igbo Woman Interview by Julie Holmes in The Voice July 9, 1996.) Check out some of Buchi’s quotes on

March 8th: International Woman’s Day

African Venus, a sculpture by Charles-Henri Joseph Cordier 1851 (Source: Walters Art Museum)
African Venus, a sculpture by Charles-Henri Joseph Cordier 1851 (Source: Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, MD)

In honor of our mothers, sisters, daughters, and wives, and to celebrate this great day, I thought about this great poem I once read. I dedicate it to the women of Côte d’Ivoire and Libya … of all of Africa, and to all women out there who are making a change, however small it may be. This poem is entitled “WOMAN” by Gold Touch International. Enjoy!



Be tough, woman.

Be brave

Go out fearlessly and do the things

That your heart desires to do.

You will be counted in the world.

Don’t allow fear to paralyze you.

Stand up and face the challenges of life,

Squarely in the face, however great

They may be.

Forge ahead and conquer.

March on to the victory that awaits you.

No one will toss victory onto you.

You have to win it yourself.

Carve out a place for yourself in the sun, woman.

Let not fear destroy that great dream of yours.

Don’t fear to be laughed at;

Don’t fear to be criticized;

Don’t fear to fail;

Don’t fear to be thought crazy when you dare

To do the things that others fear to do.

Be tough and march on.

You will conquer, woman.

You have what it takes to

To win all the victories

That your heart desires to win.

Be tough and win.

This is a message from Gold Touch International.

Senegal/Gambian Ancient Civilization: the Senegambian Stone Circles

Senegambia Stone Circles at Sine Ngayene (source: Les Cercles Megalithiques)
Senegambian stone circles at Sine Ngayène - Senegal (source: Les Cercles Megalithiques)

Today I would like to talk about a national treasure of Senegal and Gambia: the Senegambian stone circles. The Stone Circles of Senegambia are the largest group of megalithic complexes yet recorded in any region of the world… yes… that’s right: forget Stonehenge (no offense to the Brits)… Senegambia has the largest!  There are 1,053 Stone circles and a total of 28,931 monoliths. Their quality suggests sophisticated stone working traditions.  These stones lie in The Gambia, north of the town of Janjanbureh (previously known as Georgetown), and central Senegal.  The site consists of four large groups of stone circles that represent an extraordinary concentration of over 1,000 monuments in a band 100 km wide along some 350 km of the River Gambia. The four groups, Sine Ngayène Kaolack (Senegal), Wanar Kaolack (Senegal), Wassu (Gambia) and Kerbatch (Gambia), cover 93 stone circles and numerous burial mounds, some of which were recently excavated to reveal material that suggest dates between 3rd century BC and 16th century AD. Together the stone circles of laterite pillars and their associated burial mounds present a vast sacred landscape created over more than 1,500 years.

Senegambian Stone Circles at Wassu - Gambia
Senegambian stone circles at Wassu - Gambia

Each stone circle contains about 10 to 24 standing stones.  All the stones in any given circle are usually the same height, and size, varying between 60 cm and 245 cm high and weighing up to 10 tons.  The largest stones, located at N’Jai Kunda, may weigh at least 10 tons.  These stones were all made up of laterite (soil rich in iron and aluminum), whose particular property is to harden upon exposure to air, and before exposure, they are quite easy to quarry; they were fashioned with a great degree of sophistication using iron tools.  One such stone circle has a ‘V’ shape.  According to local historians, the circles were built around mounds of kings, chiefs, and later religious muslim leaders, following royal burial traditions from the ancient empire of Ghana.  In Europe, these kinds of megalithic stones served a calendrical purpose; however in Senegambia, nothing suggests an astronomical function.  The late Islamic scholar Alhaji Kemoring Jaiteh suggests that these were burial sites where the circle represents harmony, the absolute and perfection; the circle implies heaven and eternityThis reflects a prosperous, highly organized and lasting society.

50 dalasi note, with the Senegambian stone circles on the verso
50 dalasis note, with the Senegambian stone circles on the verso

The area around Wassu and Djalloumbéré sees many visitors as it has the densest concentration of more than thousand stones erected in nearly fifty stone circles.  Check out the website Les Cercles Megalithiques which provide very good details about the stone circles of Senegambia, as well as beautiful pictures of the different sites. In 2006, the Senegambian Stone Circles were finally inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage list.  These should be in all African history textbooks, and all African children should learn about these megalithic circles, the largest concentration in the world, and a show of their ancestors’ mastery and greatness.