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.
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 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”.
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.
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. […]
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.
Namibia’s Founding President Sam Nujoma has described the late Zimbabwean President Robert Gabriel Mugabe as one of the continent’s most iconic leaders who fought for the liberation of his countryand that of Africa at large. “He will be remembered as one who stood firm when others wavered. He was an iconic Pan-Africanist,” Nujoma said.
Robert Mugabe’s contribution to the freedom of Namibia, and all of Southern Africa and Central Africa is so immense that there are streets named after him throughout the region; for instance, an avenue bears his name in downtown Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. He worked tirelessly for the liberation of most of Southern Africa, including his very own country of Zimbabwe. Many countries such as Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa (with the fall of the Apartheid regime), Angola, owe their freedom to his unwavering support. Even in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, (DRC), his support, sending troops there, helped avert total chaos. Joseph Kabila, former president of the DRC said, “We will forever remember the worthy son of Africa, who came to our rescue when our country was victim of a foreign aggressor. The continent has lost one of its pan-African leaders, a hero of independence.”
Don’t agree with everything you read online, in the Western newspapers. When an African leader stands for his people and is fighting for their freedom, the western press calls him a dictator, a heretic: Laurent Gbagbo, Muammar Kadhafi, Kwame Nkrumah at the end of his life, Sekou Touré, Patrice Lumumba, … When he serves western interests in pillaging his country, he is a democrat and a friend: Paul Biya, Omar Bongo, Alassane Ouattara, Mobutu Sese Seko, and countless others. Pay attention and you will see… and since the media are controlled by the west, we get a different version, very far from reality.
Everybody is stricken by some amnesia and forgets that the economic problems of Zimbabwe stemmed from economic sanctions imposed on them by Western powers such as the UK, US, and Europe. Before Mugabe fought for land restoration, he was knighted by the Queen of England, when he asked for the land of his forefathers to be returned to their rightful owners, he became a dictator. Go figure!
No wonder, Julius Malema of the EFF said “We must not allow our enemies to tell us how to remember [Robert Mugabe]; we know our heroes.”
Last August, Ethiopia broke a world record for… not in long distance running, people… but for the most trees planted in a single day in the world. The goal was to plant 200 million trees to fight against deforestation and droughts in Ethiopia. Kudos to the prime minister Abiy Ahmed and to the strong people of Ethiopia.
Enjoy the excerpt below below from Borkena; you will find the full article there.
Prime minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration has been mobilizing for months for what it called “Green Legacy” project which aimed at planting over 200 million trees in a single day.
Government affiliated media, Fana Broadcasting Corporation (FBC), cited the coordinating committee of the project to report that 353,633,660trees have been planted across the country.
Religious leaders, workers, business people, actors, members of the Ethiopian Defense force, senior government officials, students, among others, have participated in the campaign.
[…] Over the last decades, Ethiopia lost much of forest coverage across the country due to deforestation. Currently, the forest coverage is said to be below 3 percent.
Organizers of the green legacy campaign and Abiy Ahmed’s administration pride itself by claiming world record with the 200 million trees in a day campaign.
According to Guinness World Records, the record for individuals was registered in 2001 in Canada. Ken Chaplain planted 15,170 trees in one day in Saskatchewan.
“Africa must revert to what it was before the imperialists divided it. These are artificial divisions which we, in our pan-African concept, will seek to remove.” – Speech at Salisbury, 1962
“Was it not enough punishment and suffering in history that we were uprooted and made helpless slaves not only in new colonial outposts but also domestically.” 1960s
“We of Africa protest that, in this day and age, we should be treated as lesser human beings than other races.” 2003
“If the choice were made, one for us to lose our sovereignty and become a member of the Commonwealth or remain with our sovereignty and lose the membership of the Commonwealth, I would say let the Commonwealth go. What is it to us? Our people are overjoyed, the land is ours. We are now the rulers and owners of Zimbabwe.” – Speech at ZANU-PF Congress December 2003 . This is somewhat reminiscent of when Sekou Touré said ‘NO’ to France in 1958, “It is better to be poor and free, than to live in opulence and be a slave.”
“We have fought for our land, we have fought for our sovereignty, small as we are we have won our independence and we are prepared to shed our blood … So, Blair keep your England, and let me keep my Zimbabwe.” – Earth Summit, South Africa, 2002
“We don’t mind having sanctions banning us from Europe. We are not Europeans.” 2000s
“Our small and peaceful country is threatened daily by covetous and bigoted big powers whose hunger for domination and control of other nations and their resources knows no bounds.” 2000s – Isn’t this true for Africa as a whole today since the Berlin conference of 1884?
“The white man is not indigenous to Africa. Africa is for Africans. Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans.” ZANU-PF Congress December 2000.
“The land is ours. It’s not European and we have taken it, we have given it to the rightful people … Those of white extraction who happen to be in the country and are farming are welcome to do so, but they must do so on the basis of equality.” 2000s
“Mr Bush, Mr. Blair and now Mr Brown’s sense of human rights precludes our people’s right to their God-given resources, which in their view must be controlled by their kith and kin. I am termed dictator because I have rejected this supremacist view and frustrated the neo-colonialists.” UN General Assembly 2007.
“African resources belong to Africa. Others may come to assist as our friends and allies, but no longer as colonisers or oppressors, no longer as racists.” 2015
“We have said we will never collapse, never ever. We may have our droughts, our poverty, but as a people, we shall never collapse, never ever.”
One of Zimbabwe‘s great sons is no longer: Robert Mugabe, the first president of Zimbabwe has passed away. This was a man who tirelessly fought for his country’s liberation, and for the Black race as a whole. Some have called him an icon of liberation, and indeed he was!
Robert Mugabe epitomized the freedom fights of then Rhodesia, a British colony ruthlessly run by a white minority. This once beautiful place had been renamed after Cecil Rhodes a white tyrant who committed the greatest atrocities in that country in the name of the superiority of one race over the other and capitalism. It was only befitting that a freedom fighter like Robert Mugabe should come up, and fight to not only reclaim the land of his ancestors, but also appropriately reinstate it to its past glory, that of Great Zimbabwe !
Few people have sacrificed so much for a fight for freedom. After criticizing the government of Rhodesia in 1964, Robert Mugabe was imprisoned for more than a decade without trial. Mugabe lost his then only child while in prison; the colonial government did not allow him to bury him (almost 30 years later, he went on to have other children).
Robert Mugabe embodied Africa’s struggle against colonialism. He was a courageous politician, imprisoned for daring to defy white-minority rule. Later on, he was vilified by the ‘international community‘ (now we all know that this means: parts of Europe + USA) for restoring their lands to Africans, because this attacked whites’ interests in his country. I am not sure how to this day, some people believe that it is okay for less than 5% of the population to own 90% of the land in a country which is not even theirs… that is beyond me… what about those who were born there? what about those whose land it is? Will it be okay if the few Africans who have immigrated to say France, owned 90% of the land there?… Now will we all hear about injustice!
Learning of the passing of Robert Mugabe, many world leaders have expressed their condolences… below are just a few.
Julius Malema of South Africa said, “I’m saddened by the passing of our martyr and giant of the African revolution cde President Robert Mugabe. Let’s continue the fight and protect his legacy. We must not allow our enemies to tell us how to remember him; we know our heroes.”
Joseph Kabila, former president of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) said, “We will forever remember the worthy son of Africa, who came to our rescue when our country was victim of a foreign aggressor. The continent has lost one of its pan-African leaders, a hero of independence.”
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta said Mr Mugabe had “played a major role in shaping the interests of the African continent” and was “a man of courage who was never afraid to fight for what he believed in even when it was not popular.”
Hage Geingob, president of Namibia added, “… Robert Mugabe [was] an extraordinary revolutionary and tenacious freedom fighter who contributed immensely to Africa and Namibia’s cause for freedom.”
Jerry J. Rawlings, former president of Ghana said, “RIP Comrade Mugabe. You lived for the dignity of your fellow black. Your African pride, dignity and audacity were unassailable.Africa has lost a bold and noble Statesman.”
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa called Mr Mugabe a “champion of Africa‘s cause against colonialism” who inspired our own struggle against apartheid“. And indeed Robert Mugabe supported the fight against apartheid and tremendously helped the ANC in its struggle to defeat that monster called apartheid. Ramaphosa added that under Mugabe’s leadership, “Zimbabwe’s sustained and valiant struggle against colonialism inspired our own struggle against apartheid and built in us the hope that one day South Africa too would be free”. “During the decades of our own struggle, Zimbabwe’s liberation movement supported our own liberation movement to fight oppression on multiple fronts. After Zimbabwe achieved independence, the apartheid state brutalised and violated Zimbabwe as punishment for supporting our own struggle” . “Many Zimbabweans paid with their lives so that we could be free. We will never forget or dishonour this sacrifice and solidarity.”
In his condolence message, Chinese President Xi Jinping said China had “lost an old friend and a good friend.” Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Mugabe’s death was deeply mourned in China, noting that the former president opposed foreign interference and actively promoted Beijing’s relations with Zimbabwe and Africa. China described Mugabe as an “outstanding leader of the national liberation movement and statesman” who firmly defended the country’s sovereignty, as African leaders termed him a “liberator” and “pan-Africanist.”
In Ouagadougou, the capital city of Burkina Faso, a young scientist, Mariama Mamane who won the Young Champion of the Earth in the year 2017, is turning water hyacinth, an invasive species, into fertilizer, bio-gas and energy.
Mariama’s pilot program prevents desertification, creates food security and converts a problem into a livelihood opportunity for people in Burkina Faso. Her project, “JACIGREEN”, offers an innovative eco-solution introducing a plant-based purification mechanism to help manage fresh water and improve access to drinking water. It simultaneously implements a system to produce organic fertilizer (via anaerobic composting) and electricity (from biogas recovered from the water hyacinth transformation process). Her goal is to “Improve living conditions of population through sustainable agriculture and renewable energy for energy deficient rural communities in West Africa.”
Recall that Achenyo Idachaba of Nigeria has been exploring other alternatives making arts and craft products with the Water hyacinth (Jacinthe des eaux) in Nigeria. For those who do not know what the water hyacinth is, it is a plant which has been suffocating rivers around the globe, and has proliferated in places such as Lake Victoria (Africa’s largest body of fresh water) not only depriving the lake of its oxygen thus reducing nutrients for fishes, blocking water ways, and breeding all sorts of new diseases. This plant is not native of Africa.
Please help me applaud the work of Mariama Mamane. She was featured in this UN video below turning plant to power in Burkina Faso. Enjoy!