I have listened to the Malian Prime Minister’s speech again and again. Colonel Abdoulaye Maïga stated quite a few things which are not only worth restating, but also mark the beginning of a new era for relationships with Africa. For me the clear message was that, faced with the West’s insults, defamations, and aggressions, we will no longer respond with fear, we will stand up and respond in kind; we deserve respect and will be treated as such! France, the west, uses Africa to become 4th world gold producer (without a single mine), yet France walks on Africans, and insult us… the era when our backs were broken, and we held back how we felt by fear of retaliations, or by fear of the master, that era is long gone! We will respond in kind. We are human beings too, we are proud sons and descendants of long generations of great kings, we deserve respect, and we will fight to be treated respectfully. Abdoulaye Maïga honored Malians, and Africans as whole; he said openly what we have all been feeling in the depth of our bellies.
In his speech, Maïga called France’s government, a junta, which by the way is how the French government has been referring to the Malian government… but I ask you, is it not what France’s troops and allies have been doing in Mali? in the DRC? in Libya? That is nothing new for France’s behavior (and the West) in Africa. Isn’t neighboring Ivory Coast a recent example? He added, “The French junta has damaged universal values and betrayed its long tradition of humanistic thought,” … [Paris has acted] “in service of obscurantism” and engaged in “neocolonial, condescending, paternalistic and revanchist” politics.
“Move on from the colonial past and hear the anger, the frustration, the rejection that is coming up from the African cities and countryside, and understand that this movement is inexorable,” Maïga said, addressing France.
“Your intimidations and subversive actions have only swelled the ranks of Africans concerned with preserving their dignity,” he said. Why, because Africans have all had enough! How can anybody understand that Africa is funding Europe! up to 500 billion Euros per year goes to France through the FCFA, and yet France leaves abject poverty in its wake? and then France (and the West) treats Africa with the greatest condescension? We are not looking for love in these relationships… we just want what is owed us, respect and dignity!
Last week, Mali new interim Prime minister Abdoulaye Maïga gave a speech at the United Nations’ Tribune. It was an amazing speech detailing Mali’s battle for its freedom and its struggle against France and its commies. Excerpts below are fromAl-Jazeera.
Abdoulaye Maiga lashes out at the former colonial ruler, the UN as he praised the ‘exemplary’ cooperation with Russia.
Mali’s military-appointed prime minister has lashed out at France and the United Nations in a grievance-filled address over his nation’s deteriorating security situation while praising the “exemplary” cooperation with Russia.
Addressing the 77th session of the UN General Assembly on Saturday, Abdoulaye Maiga slammed what he called France’s “unilateral decision” to relocate its remaining troops to neighbouring Niger amid deteriorating relations with Mali’s two-time coup leader Assimi Goita.
… “Move on from the colonial past and hear the anger, the frustration, the rejection that is coming up from the African cities and countryside, and understand that this movement is inexorable,” Maiga, who was appointed prime minister last month, said.
“Your intimidations and subversive actions have only swelled the ranks of Africans concerned with preserving their dignity,” he added.
The Malian prime minister also offered a grim assessment of the UN peacekeeping mission, known as MINUSMA, while openly praising the “exemplary and fruitful cooperation between Mali and Russia” and the influence of mercenaries from the Wagner Group.
… “We must recognise that nearly 10 years after its establishment, the objectives for which MINUSMA was deployed in Mali have not been achieved,” Maiga said. “This is despite numerous Security Council resolutions.”
Queen Elizabeth II’s reign started in 1952, at the tail end of the ‘colonization’ era, leading into the independence or decolonization of former British colonies, and then the new era of neo-colonization. The 1960s and 1970s saw an acceleration in the decolonization of Africa and the Caribbeans. More than 20 countries gained independence from Britain as part of a planned transition to ‘self’-government. Newspapers would give the polished version, but it is clear that under her reign, major events rocked nations and particularly the third-world, as we, ‘not the West’ used to be called. She started her reign while in Kenya (i.e. learnt of the passing of her father while in visit of Kenya, and that she was to become queen). She inherited a vast empire spanning the African continent upon becoming Queen, her reign saw all 14 African British colonies gain their independence, starting with Ghana in 1957. And yet the Queen managed to maintain warm relations with them, partly through the creation of the successor organisation to the empire, the Commonwealth. One could argue that the relationship between the British monarchy and post-colonial Africa was a complicated one.
The president of Kenya where her journey as Queen started, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, mourned her passing in a statement, describing her as “a towering icon of selfless service to humanity and a key figurehead of not only the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth of Nations where Kenya is a distinguished member but the entire world“.
The traitor Mnangagwa, even though the Queen granted knighthood to President Robert Mugabe to later revoke it, and the relations between Zimbabwe and Great Britain were bad for many years, was quick to tweet that his “deepest condolences” were with the Royal Family and “the people of the United Kingdom, and the Commonwealth“. Zimbabwe held some services.
President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa has, on behalf of the government and people of South Africa, expressed his profound and sincere condolences to King Charles III on the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, saying, “Her Majesty was an extraordinary and world-renowned public figure who lived a remarkable life. Her life and legacy will be fondly remembered by many around the world. The Queen’s commitment and dedication during her 70 years on the throne remains a noble and virtuous example to the entire world.”
The leader of Nigeria, the biggest of Britain’s former colonies in Africa, President Muhammadu Buhari wrote a long tribute to her on Twitter, saying “The story of modern Nigeria will never be complete without a chapter on Queen Elizabeth ll, a towering global personality and an outstanding leader. She dedicated her life to making her nation, the Commonwealth and the entire world a better place.”
However, the younger generation of African leaders, and leaders around the world are saying they cannot mourn the passing of the Queen of England.
Uju Anya, a linguistics professor at Carnegie Mellon University on Thursday described the late queen as the monarch of a “thieving raping genocidal empire” in a series of tweets. “I heard the chief monarch of thieving raping genocidal empire is finally dying. May her pain be excruciating,” Anya said. Referring to Great Britain’s conquest of Nigeria in the 19th and 20th century, she added, “If anyone expects me to express anything but disdain for the monarch who supervised a government that sponsored the genocide that massacred and displaced half my family and the consequences of which those alive today are still trying to overcome, you can keep wishing upon a star.”
Julius Malema, of the South African Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), South Africa’s third-biggest political party, criticized the queen, who ascended to the throne in 1952, for reigning for 70 years as a head of an institution “built up, sustained, and living off a brutal legacy of dehumanization of millions of people across the world.”
Malema added “We do not mourn the death of Elizabeth, because to us her death is a reminder of a very tragic period in this country and Africa’s history,” …
“Britain, under the leadership of the royal family, took over control of this territory that would become South Africa in 1795 from Batavian control, and took permanent control of the territory in 1806.
“From that moment onwards, native people of this land have never known peace, nor have they ever enjoyed the fruits of the riches of this land, riches which were and still are utilized for the enrichment of the British royal family and those who look like them.” … the royal family’s leadership “has been one of pain and suffering, of death and dispossession, and of dehumanization of African people“.
“During her [Elizabeth II’s] 70-year reign as Queen, she never once acknowledged the atrocities that her family inflicted on native people that Britain invaded across the world. She willingly benefited from the wealth that was attained from the exploitation and murder of millions of people across the world.
“The British Royal family stands on the shoulders of millions of slaves who were shipped away from the continent to serve the interests of racist white capital accumulation, at the center of which lies the British royal family. If there is really life and justice after death, may Elizabeth and her ancestors get what they deserve,” the statement concluded.
The atmosphere I would say then is nuanced in Africa, some, particularly the heads of states mourn, while the younger generations cannot be bothered to mourn the life of a monarch whose reign caused a lot of pain, suffering, and dehumanization to millions.
Have you ever heard of Twin Rivers in Zambia? Do you know that humanity came in contact with pigments, color, 300,000 years ago in the area of Twin Rivers? In this area of Zambia, located southwest of the capital Lusaka, is where the most extensive prehistoric mineral pigment collection in the world is found.
Language is not the only way of communicating, color is also part of it. Humanity communicated using pigments and color hundreds of thousands of years ago. Africa has some of the earliest evidence of the use of earth pigments. Evidence includes engraved ochre nodules and ochre processing areas and tools at sites such as the Blombos Cave in South Africa or Porc Epic in Ethiopia; the extensive processing of ochre at sites such as Sibudu in South Africa or Twin Rivers in Zambia, and the extensive mining of shiny bright red ochre in Eswatini (subject for another day). In 2006, in Twin Rivers, Zambia, archaeologists found that early humans used paint for aesthetic purposes much earlier than previously thought. The team found pigments dated between 350,000 and 400,000 years back. As a comparison, the oldest pigments previously found were 120,000 years old (still in Africa) and the oldest known painting is about 35,000years old. Huge quantities, about 70 kg or more, were found in a cave, thus implying a systematic use of pigments indicating a purposeful and repeated activity, perhaps linked to a material expression of self-awareness, displayed in the form of body paint/body decoration. Throughout the years, different rocks were excavated, ranging from limonite, hematite, specularite, and different kinds of pigments. The work done by Pr. Barham and his team, shows that even though a variety of colors of ochre were used at Twin Rivers (such as yellow, brown, red, a dark sparkly purple shade of red (specularite), pink, and blue-black) the most predominant color at the site is red.
When we talk about Zambia these days, there is no way to avoid the elephant in the room: its debt. In 2020, Zambia became the first African country to declare bankruptcy (possibly worldwide) as the pandemic had brought it to its knees: the coffers were empty, and the country owed China, its main creditor, over $3 billion with no clear way to pay it back. This past Tuesday, the IMF announced that Zambia was seeking as much as $8.4 billion in debt relief in preparation for discussion on restructuring foreign liabilities. African debt as Thomas Sankara pointed a while back is a tricky subject… so there is already that fundamental question of debts owed to European countries (like France) which milk Africa via fake currencies such as the FCFA, and treacherous partnerships signed decades ago which benefited only the West. For today though, how did Zambia get here in the first place?
The country’s debts quadrupled between 2014 and 2019 amid a surge in infrastructure borrowing under Edgar Lungu, the former president, who lost elections last year to Hichilema. Needless to say that right before Lungu came into power, there had been a collaboration between Norway and Zambia to help the country get better hold of its revenues, via a mineral mining monitoring project aimed at boosting tax revenues. As we learned at the beginning of the week, Zambia is rich in minerals, particularly copper. However, upon arrival in power, president Lungu stopped the program (aimed at helping its country negotiate better deals for its mines), and went into an infrastructure shopping spree with no real regards for what was in his treasury’s coffers; no wonder he got the boots at the end of his first term. This, added to all previous debts, and the pandemic which hit just as the new president was getting into office, made for the perfect storm.
Excerpts below are from the Times talking about Zambia’s discussions this week, and hopefully the start of a better way to close on the debt. Let’s not veil ourselves though, since its creation has the IMF ever helped a single African country come out of problems? Hard to believe that it will – maybe the case of Zambia will be different? You can also read articles from Bloomberg, Atlantic Council, and Financial Times.
Not that long ago Chinese credit was easy to get in Zambia. A government department could contact a Beijing lender directly without needing to get it signed off by finance ministers.
Millions of dollars were squandered or used to line pockets. Ministers campaigned in helicopters and the president had a Gulfstream jet. All the while the debts were racking up. It could not last.
“We have lost an obscene amount of money on corruption — money that could have been used to feed, house, clothe and educate our children,” said Hakainde Hichilema, a man once mocked as “calculator boy” for his head for dry numbers.
Under Lungu’s administration, international debt quadrupled to more than 120 per cent of Zambia’s GDP. He failed to negotiate a lifeline from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after it became the first African state to default since the 2005 agreement to wipe clean the debts of 30 of the continent’s poorest states.
The $1.3 billion IMF bailout secured by Hichilema’s government last week was seen as a huge vote of confidence in his commitment to restraint and reform. A successful exit from default could make Zambia a model for other states in Africa, where China is the biggest lender and the threat of debt distress is high. China has overtaken the World Bank as the biggest foreign creditor to developing countries.
… Zambia’s debt of $6 billion to 18 different lenders was twice previous estimates.
… New laws on transparency and a cap on future borrowing will keep things honest, [Hichilema] said. “The only change we can probably say is that we have just raised the bar in terms of engagement.”
The Zulu people of South Africa now have a new king, Misuzulu Siqonbile ka Zwelithini who was crowned king in a traditional ceremony last Saturday. The coronation comes after 50 years of his father’s reign, King Goodwill Zwelithini ka Bhekuzulu, and a year-long family feud to determine the rightful heir. For many Zulu people, it is a rare event, the first in 51 years, and totally worthy of celebrations as it welcomes the dawn of a new king of the Zulu Kingdom.
The new king, Misuzulu ka Zwelithini, is 48 years old, and although he is the son of the previous king, some royals had argued he was not the rightful heir and that the late king’s will was in fact forged. Many believed that the feud stemmed from the fact that King Misuzulu’s mother was the late Queen Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu of royal blood given that her father was the late King Sobhuza II of Swaziland and her brother is King Mswati III of Eswatini; her marriage to the Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini came with the condition that her first-born son would be first in line for the throne in the event of his father’s death. However, for some Zulus, even though Queen Mantfombi Dlamini held the highest status among the king’s wives as a royal descendant, she was still considered an ‘outsider’ or ‘foreigner’, not a Zulu. In her husband’s will, she had been named as Queen regent – caretaker until a successor was found; however she also passed one month after becoming regent, and left a will in which her son Misuzulu ka Zwelithini was named successor. Since then, there have been a lot of contests in the family.
None of that could dampen the joyous spirit of the thousands that descended upon the KwaKhangelamankengane Palace on Saturday for the traditional coronation of the new Zulu monarch. It was a beautiful celebration. The new king will be officially installed at a public coronation on 24 September – a public holiday in South Africa previously known as Shaka‘s Day – a time when thousands of Zulus would visit his grave to honor him for uniting the Zulu nation.
Please check out images of the celebration on the BBC.
Compaoré’s apology last week raised mixed reactions [Blaise Compaore Apologizes for Thomas Sankara’s Death?]. Almost everybody could smell the trap… It turns out that Compaoré is friend with the current military ruler, and has even visited Ouagadougou, the capital, last month even though he has been found guilty by the country’s courts [Verdict Guilty: Blaise Compaoré Guilty of the Murder of Thomas Sankara]. Many think that he wants a presidential pardon! The coward! See… I always told you that Compaoré is really a coward, always has been, and always will be. After all, he is the one who has changed his citizenship to become Ivorian so as not to be extradited. Imagine that, a man who held the highest position of a nation, finishes and changes his citizenship like some common person… such a coward! Anyways, below are excerpts from AfricaNews.
Compaore’s apology, issued on Tuesday is leaving mixed reactions as Burkinabe citizens consider the manner and sincerity of the former head of state Blaise Compaoré’s request for pardon.
If they had simply put at the end of the letter, ‘I place myself at the disposal of my country’s justice system’, I would have applauded.” says one passer-by.
… Compaore seized power in the West African nation in a 1987 coup in which Sankara was gunned down by a hit squad. The violent death of his former comrade-in-arms was a taboo subject throughout his 27 years in power.
A Burkina court handed him a life term in absentia in April for his role in the assassination.
… Luc Damiba, Secretary General of the Thomas Sankara International Committee Memorial is disappointed.”You have not been condemned or punished yet nor have you recognised your acts” he says of Compaore.
”You deny justice, even defy it and at the end of the chain, when you see that there is no other way out, you come and ask for forgiveness. It’s a forced pardon! It’s as if he was forced to ask for forgiveness.” Damiba lamented. He went further and blasted the apology as “a masquerade… a kind of diversion that he is sowing in people’s minds“.
Compaore’s goal, he said, was “to be able to return to Burkina and get a presidential pardon“.
Blaise Compaore returned to Burkina Faso for several days this month, without facing arrest, after the country’s military leader Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba invited him in the name of “national reconciliation“.
The visit sparked an outcry among civil society groups and political parties, who said uniting the nation should not come at the expense of impunity.
Africa had a really good showing at the World Championships in Eugene (Oregon) in the US, this past week, with quite a few gold medals, multiple medals, broken world records, or simply reaffirmation of their domination on their disciplines.
Tobi Amusan of Nigeria broke a world record to win a Gold medal in the women’s 100m hurdles, thus giving Nigeria its first gold at a world championship. Compatriot Ese Brume (Olympic Bronze long jump) won the Silver medal in the women’s Long Jump.
Burkinabe Hugues Fabrice Zango who had won Bronze in men’s triple jump at the Tokyo Olympics, giving his country its first ever Olympic medal, went farther to win Silver at the World Championships this week.
Kenyan athletes were impressive as Mary Moraa got Bronze in the women’s 800m while EmmanuelKipkurui Korir(Olympics 800m Gold medal) won Gold in the men’s 800m. Faith Kipyegon, the Olympics Gold winner, retained her crown as the women’s 1500m queen of the distance with Gold. ConselusKipruto took Bronze in the men’s 3000m steeplechase. In the women’s 5000m, Beatrice Chebet took Silver, and Jacob Kroptook home Silver in the men’s discipline. The duo of Hellen Obiri (Olympic 5000m Silver winner) and Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi took home Silver and Bronze medals in the women’s 10,000m respectively; while compatriot Stanley Waithaka Mburu took Silver in the men’s 10,000m. Judith Jeptum Korir took home the Silver medal in the women’s marathon
Djamel Sedjati of Algeria took Silver in the men’s 800m.
Gudaf Tsegay (5000m Olympic Bronze medalist) of Ethiopia won Silver in women’s 1500m, and Gold in 5000m; while her compatriot Dawit Seyaumtook the Bronze medal on 5000m. In the 3000msteeplechase, the women Werkuha Getachew and Mekides Abebe took Silver and Bronze respectively; while Lamecha Girma (Olympic 3000m steeplechase Silver medal) took Silver for the men. LetesenbetGidey (Bronze at the Olympics 10,000m) won the Gold medal in the women’s 10,000m discipline. Gotytom Gebreslase took home the Gold medal in the women’s marathon, while her male compatriots Tamirat Tola and MosinetGeremewwon Gold and Silver in the men’s marathon.
Soufiane El Bakkali(Olympic gold 3000m steeplechase winner) of Morocco took home Gold in the men’s 3000m steeplechase.
Oscar Chelimo of Uganda won Bronze in the men’s 5000m. The duo Joshua Cheptegei (Olympic 5000m gold winner) and Jacob Kiplimo (Olympic 10,000m Bronze medalist) took home Gold and Bronze medals respectively in the men’s 10,000m.
Yes you are not dreaming, nor am I joking. Blaise Compaoré, the past president of Burkina Faso, the one who murdered his friend and comrade President Thomas Sankara, has ‘apologized’ to his family. Is it for real? What is going on? Is Compaoré dying? Why the sudden regrets? or is he hoping to come back in power with the new military ruler? Should we applaud for him? NO! We are candidly interested in your apologies… but brother Compaoré, you need to pay! Tell us how you did it! Give us details! Tell us, who helped you; tell us where our brothers, mothers, sisters, fathers bodies are, and share some of the wealth you have acquired illicitly on our backs for the many years of regression and suffering at your hand. And what about Norbert Zongo [May 3rd: World Press Day – Norbert Zongo]?And then, the message read by the speaker goes, “I hope that we can move forward from now on …” Wait a second, so you can send a letter read by someone else, and you expect us to clap and just turn the page? Oh, I am so sick of people saying words, no actions, and expecting us to just forget, and move on! Actions speak louder than words! As you read, do you think Compaoré is really sorry? Excerpts below are from the BBC.
Burkina Faso’s ex-President Blaise Compaoré has apologised to the family of Thomas Sankara, his charismatic predecessor who was shot dead during a coup in 1987.
“I ask the people of Burkina Faso to forgive me for all the acts I committed during my term of office, especially to the family of my brother and friend Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara,” Mr Compaoré said in a statement.
“I take responsibility and deplore, from the bottom of my heart, all the sufferings and dramas experienced by all the victims during my mandates at the head of the country and ask their families to forgive me. I hope that we can move forward from now on to rebuild our common destiny on the land of our ancestors.”
The message was delivered to military ruler Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, who took power in a coup in January, by an Ivorian delegation accompanied by the former president’s daughter Djamila Compaoré.
The Women’s Africa Cup of Nations took place over 3 weeks in Morocco. During these 3 weeks, the best female teams on the continent competed for the top title of champion of Africa. Compared to the men’s tournament, the Africa Cup of Nations which has been in existence for almost 7 decades, the Women’s tournament is relatively young at 28 years of age, and also usually is not vividly followed. This year brought in record following with a full stadium at 50,000 occupancy for the final, which is an amazing feat for a Women’s competition on the continent. The most titled nation in WAFCON history is Nigeria with 11 titles, followed by Equatorial Guinea with 2 titles, and now South Africa with 1 title.
South Africa had been coming 2nd for 4 tournaments taking home the silver medal in 2000, 2008, 2012, and 2018, and this year it finally took home the gold medal. Striker Hildah Magaia scored twice to lead her country to victory 2-1 against Morocco.
There were top performances and goals from the different countries participating. Some players stood out including the Moroccan captain Ghizlane Chebbak, Nigeria Rasheedat Ajibade, and South African Hildah Magaia who have been the tournament’s top scorers. Cameroon’s Ajara Nchout and Nigeria’s Sumayah Komuntale also shined by their performances.
Congratulations to the champions the Banyana Banyana of South Africa, and to all the women who proudly represented their countries at the tournament and made us happy.