Description of What Happened to Tewodros II’s Body at Maqdala 1868

From this scene I strolled away to the northern gate, to where the dead body of the late Master of Magdala lay, on his canvas stretcher. I found a mob of officers and men, rudely jostling each other in the endeavour to get possession of a small piece of Theodore’s blood-stained shirt.

No guard was placed over the body until it was naked, nor was the slightest respect shown it. Extended on its hammock, it lay subjected to the taunts and jests of the brutal-minded. An officer, seeing it in this condition, informed Sir Robert Napier of the fact, who at once gave orders that it should be dressed and prepared for interment on the morrow.—Henry M. Stanley [Henry M. Stanley, Magdala: The Story of the Abyssinian Campaign, 1866-67.  Being the Second Part of the Original Volume Entitled “Coomassie and Magdala”, Leopold Classic Library,1896, p. 156.]

UK rejects Calls to Return Ethiopian Prince’s Remains

Prince Alemayehu, son of Emperor Tewodros II, as photographed in 1868 by Julia Cameron

This is a heartbreaking news. Last week, Buckingham Palace, and the UK government refused to return the remains of Prince Alemayehu, son of Emperor Tewodros II, to Ethiopia. Prince Alemayehu’s remains are still in Great Britain 150 years after his death. How preposterous is this! Few years ago, when the Ethiopian government asked, the British said that they could not identify his bones (Ethiopians urge Britain to return bones of ‘stolen’ prince after 150 years). Today, Ethiopians thought that now that there is a new occupant in Buckingham Palace, King Charles III, Prince Alemayehu’s remains will finally return home. However, Buckingham Palace said that returning his remains will not be possible, as it will disturb the resting place of several others in the vicinity. From not being able to identify his bones a few years ago (when in this day and age the remains of King Richard III of England have been identified 500 years after his death), to disturbing others buried there, it makes us wonder if they ever even took the time to look. These are the same people who only returned the hair of Emperor Tewodros II only in 2019. It is so painful to hear… it feels like part of Emperor Tewodros II is still stuck in England. As one looks at pictures of the young orphaned prince who arrived in the UK at the age of 7, and who died at the age of 18, there is so much pain in his face.

Below are snippets of the article; for the full version, go to the BBC.


Emperor Tewodros II

Buckingham Palace has declined a request to return the remains of an Ethiopian prince who came to be buried at Windsor Castle in the 19th Century.

Prince Alemayehu was taken to the UK aged just seven and arrived an orphan after his mother died on the journey. Queen Victoria then took an interest in him and arranged for his education – and ultimately his burial when he died aged just 18.

But his family wants his remains to be sent back to Ethiopia. We want his remains back as a family and as Ethiopians because that is not the country he was born in,” one of the royal descendants Fasil Minas told the BBC. It was not right” for him to be buried in the UK, he added.

… in a statement sent to the BBC, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said removing his remains could affect others buried in the catacombs of St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. It is very unlikely that it would be possible to exhume the remains without disturbing the resting place of a substantial number of others in the vicinity,” the palace said. The statement added that the authorities at the chapel were sensitive to the need to honour Prince Alemayehu’s memory, but that they also had “the responsibility to preserve the dignity of the departed“.

How Prince Alemayehu ended up in the UK at such a young age was the result of imperial action and the failure of diplomacy. In 1862, in an effort to strengthen his empire, the prince’s father Emperor Tewodros II sought an alliance with the UK, but his letters making his case did not get a response from Queen Victoria. Angered by the silence and taking matters into his own hands, the emperor held some Europeans, among them the British consul, hostage. This precipitated a huge military expedition, involving some 13,000 British and Indian troops, to rescue them [no diplomacy, always force and violence].  

British Camp at Zoola, Abyssinia expedition 1868-9 (Source: Victoria and Albert Museum, London)

The force also included an official from the British Museum. In April 1868 they laid siege to Tewodros’ mountain fortress at Maqdala in northern Ethiopia, and in a matter of hours overwhelmed the defences. The emperor decided he would rather take his own life than be a prisoner of the British, an action that turned him into a heroic figure among his people. 

Departure of the British expeditionary forces from Maqdala with the loot – Illustrated London News 1868

After the battle, the British plundered thousands of cultural and religious artefacts. These included gold crowns, manuscripts, necklaces and dresses. Historians say dozens of elephants and hundreds of mules were needed to cart away the treasures, which are today scattered across European museums and libraries, as well as in private collections. [In the case of Maqdala in 1868, it is said that 15 elephants and 200 mules were needed to cart away all the loot from Maqdala. British forces looted the place with no restrain].

The British also took away Prince Alemayehu and his mother, Empress Tiruwork Wube. [The loot was not enough… the young prince and the Empress too].

Africa’s Space Industry is Booming

Flag of Kenya

Several African nations are launching satellites. Just last month, Kenya launched its first operational satellite to space onboard a Space X rocket, developed by nine Kenyan engineers, with the goal of collecting agricultural and environmental data, including on floods, drought and wildfires, that authorities plan to use for disaster management and to combat food insecurity.

Flag of Djibouti

At the beginning of the year, Djibouti announced the construction of the first African spaceport. Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh signed a technological cooperation agreement with the Chinese company Hong Kong Aerospace Technology to build a $1bn satellite and rocket launch site. Given Djibouti’s location near the equator, it is an attractive destination for the satellite launching while taking advantage of the Earth’s rotational speed. As Temidayo Oniosun, managing director at the consultancy Space In Africa, says, “none of the 54 satellites launched by African countries were launched from Africa,” …“Hopefully, this move will enable the launch of the first Africa-made satellite from African soil. This project, if successful, will also positively affect the industry across several countries and segments, lead to the establishment of new enterprises and new spinoffs, and would ultimately play a vital role in implementing a continentally driven space program.”

Flag of Angola
Flag of Angola

In January, Angolan President João Lourenço inaugurated the country’s first satellite control center. Its main task is to monitor the activity of the satellite “ANGOSAT 2“, launched in October with the help of Russia. The inauguration took place at Funda area within Luanda, the capital city of Angola and fully equipped with technical and technological means.

The same month, the African Union inaugurated the African Space Agency based in Cairo to highlight the importance of the space industry among all the goals for development of the continent.

Flag of Uganda

Uganda and Zimbabwe launched their satellites last November. The satellites named PearlAfricaSat-1 for Uganda, and ZimSat-1 for Zimbabwe, were launched aboard a Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply spacecraft, which lifted off from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

Africa has long been considered a latecomer in the space area. There are enormous needs across the continent, particularly in communication, education, agriculture, and science, thus reinforcing the need for Africa to quickly develop its space industry. The African space industry is expected to top $22 billion by 2026. In 2022, countries allocated a total of $539 million to their respective space programs.

Flag of Zimbabwe
Flag of Zimbabwe

The report says satellites could address agricultural challenges by measuring crop health, improve water management by monitoring drought, and track tree cover for more sustainable forest management. In a continent where less than a third of the population has access to broadband, more communication satellites could help people connect to the internet.

We applaud the amazing work, however how will the little countries in Africa benefit from these bursts from the neighboring countries? Is this a joint effort or just individual countries? We, as Africans, should unite! The enemies are too numerous for one to do it by itself. Will this not bankrupt some, and lead the projects to fail? All this brings to mind all the efforts Kadhafi had put in place to have a continental spaceport, space program and satellites to benefit the entire continent. Africa is ready: united we stand, divided we fall, and we need to unite for our efforts to have real impact the way Kwame Nkrumah and Muammar Gaddafi (Kadhafi) envisioned. 


Happy Mother’s Day 2023

Khadja Nin on the Cover of her album Sambolera

To celebrate all the mothers out there in the world, I thought of sharing this beautiful song by the Burundian singer Khadja Nin, “Mama,” from her widely acclaimed 1996 album Sambolera. Her song Mama is sung in both Kiswahili and Kirundi (for the chorus). It is very soulful, and deep. The song starts with Pygmees’ calls, which reminds us so much of the great Gabonese singer Pierre Akendengué, with whom Nin collaborated on the album. As she sings the chorus, one can imagine being transported on wings of birds, or taken off by the wind on a beach. Such a great reminder that in Africa, language can never be a barrier to stop Beautiful African Music. I dedicate it to all the mothers out there, and future mothers. Enjoy!

At Last: Senegalese Tirailleurs now allowed to receive their pension while living in Senegal

Inauguration of the Place des Tirailleurs-Sénégalais with Tirailleurs aged over 90-years-old on 10 March 2023 (Source: Sylvie Koffi, RFI)

Nine Senegalese tirailleurs, men who served for France for its liberation during the wars, have now won the right to receive their pension while living in Senegal. These men, aged 85 to 96 years, have served in the French army during the wars of Indochina and Algeria, and were forced to live in France at least 6 months per year to get their retirement pension! This meant that in essence, most of them just stayed in France, unable to afford the trips back home to Senegal. For those who do not know, the term “tirailleur” was the name given by the French Army to indigenous infantry recruited in the various French colonies. They were not all Senegalese, even though the name always said “tirailleur senegalais,” but rather came from all over Africa. They served for France in a number of wars, including World War I, World War II, Indochina, Algeria, and several others. The name “Tirailleur” is a link of two words “tir ailleurs” to laugh and denigrate the African troops by saying that the soldiers were not capable to shoot on target, more like to mean “shoot off target”; it could be translated as skirmisher. Although these soldiers fought to help free France, most of them were never recognized, and instead were insulted, laughed at and sometimes even abused or more. Find here an article on The Conversation, and more importantly on the video of the Massacre of Thiaroye [Thiaroye: A French Massacre in Senegal‘Thiaroye Massacre’ by Ousmane Sembene] showing the poor treatment and sometimes massacre of these tirailleurs by the French, when they returned home after serving France.

Senegalese Tirailleurs serving in France in 1940

So, after most of them have died, these remaining 9 Senegalese tirailleurs had to reside in France for at least 6 months every year to receive their due pension!!! Unbelievable! Who knows the atrocities they witnessed in the name of France? Who knows the blood, sweat, and trauma they lived through? Now that only 9 are remaining, France cannot even pay them their pension of 950 Euros per month! 950 Euros per month for 9 people? How difficult can it be for France who gets 500 billion Euros every year from Africa [The 11 Components of the French Colonial Tax in AfricaAfrica is funding Europe!FCFA: France’s Colonial Tax on AfricaIs France Trying to (re) Colonize Africa?]? And these men, tirailleurs Senegalais in their advanced age, had to live in France to even see a money that is due them? And people actually had to fight, and write petitions for the French government to finally agree to pay them in Senegal. See… they always wait for everybody to die, before even acknowledging them [The British Government apologizes for Mau Mau atrocities].

Enjoy the articles on RFI, France24, and AfricaNews. Excerpts below are from AfricaNews.


It is a trip they almost stopped dreaming of. Nine Senegalese veterans, aged 85 to 96, who fought for France during the XXth century, will join their families in Senegal.

After years and sometimes decades of living thousands of miles from their relatives so they could claim their French army pension, the soldiers were moved on their way to the airport Friday (Apr.28).

A few days before the journey home, AFP met with Yoro Diao [head medic during the war in Indochina, Vietnam, in charge of the stretcher bearers, carrying the wounded under enemy fire], a veteran aged 95….

It’s a victory,” the decorated veteran said on Wednesday (Apr.26) as he prepared his flight.

I’m going to live and eat well. I’ll walk around the village. It’s paradise over there,” he added, a smile lighting up his thin face.

Hundreds of thousands of African soldiers fought for their colonial master France in the two world wars and against independence movements in Indochina and Algeria. But until this year, surviving veterans among the so-called “Senegalese Infantrymen” had to live in France for half the year or lose their pension. In January, the French state dropped the condition, saying they could return home for good and continue receiving their monthly allowance of 950 euros ($1,000). It would also pay for the flight and move of any veterans wishing to leave.

… Their pensions were increased to adjust for inflation for the first time in almost five decades in 2006.

I was shocked that all these old men who had contributed to our freedom couldn’t even become French,” said [Aissata Seck, Head of the Association for the Memory and History of Senegalese Infantrymen].

… Diao said the French government’s waiver has been a long time coming — too late for some veterans who are now too frail to make the journey home. But for those who still can, “it’s better late than never,” he said.

Japan’s Prime Minister tours Africa

Flag of Japan

Amidst the news of chaos in Sudan, it is easy to forget other news happening at the same time across the continent. When it comes to Africa, the Western media have a chic to make us focus only on the worst things on the continent, and rarely the good. After all, if anybody watches the news, they would not think that there is joy and happiness, prosperity, and abundance in Africa; not everything is as portrayed in the news. This week, Japan’s Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, is touring Africa. The tour started last Sunday in Egypt, followed by Ghana, then Kenya, and Mozambique (Japanese banks are among the international banks financing the multi-billion dollar deal involving the French firm Total in Mozambique (Who/What did we say goodbye to in Africa in 2020?)). In this tour, Japan has vowed to give 500 million dollars in financial support to Africa over the next three years to promote stability and peace on the continent. The New Scramble for Africa is on… are Africans awake? Excerpts below are from AfricaNews.


Flag of Egypt
Flag of Egypt

Japan’s Prime minister is on an African tour. He arrived Monday (May. 1st) in Ghana, the day before he was in Egypt. He is set to visit Kenya and Mozambique.

The Prime Minister of Japan arrived at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra, Ghana and is expected to hold a bilateral discussion with President Nana Akufo-Addo.

Egypt’s president Abdel Fatthah al-Sissi welcomed Sunday (Apr. 30), Fumio Kishida.

After a meeting with the Secretary-General of the Arab League at the institution’s headquarters in Cairo, Kishida held talks with Egypt ‘s leader.

Map and Flag of Ghana
Map and Flag of Ghana

Al Sissi detailed the topics per the agenda during a press conference.

We reviewed the challenges the international arena is witnessing today, in particular the massive economic repercussions left by the Ukrainian crisis on developing countries that exceeded what the coronavirus pandemic caused in terms of a rise in inflation rates, energy and food prices, and expectations of a decline in the growth rate.”

The discussions came as Japan is to host the G7 Summit scheduled on 19-25 May.

We discussed many regional issues of common concern, especially the Palestinian issue and the situation in Libya. Developments in Sudan occupied an important aspect of the talks“.


Unrest in Sudan

Flag of Sudan

A few weeks ago, we talked about The New Scramble for Africa. Our hearts go out to our brothers and sisters in Sudan as unrest rises in the country. Those who think that this is a “simple” feud between two generals, or two “brothers” as portrayed in the news, must look deeper. Why are US troops getting deployed there? In the early 2000s, people around the globe were bombarded non-stop with information about the genocide in Darfur and “slavery” in Sudan; we were all told that Northern Sudanese were “white” who treated poorly their Southern Sudanese brothers who were “Black” which is a very simplistic and exaggerated way of looking at Sudan (remember Libya and Slavery: Sheep without a Shepherd in recent years?). Hollywood stars such as George Clooney came out in numbers claiming to care about the plight of the Black man, and saying that the Black people of Darfur Sudan were enslaved by their lighter skinned Sudanese brothers.To all who know the tactic of divide-and-conquer, and know social conflicts in Africa, we are always manipulated into thinking that every conflict in Africa is about this tribe vs. that tribe, this group vs. group; thus neighbors become enemies, when in reality, it is a diamond mine or oil field coveted by external forces which is at the core of the issue (Northern Mozambique today). The conflict in Sudan led to the split of Sudan, which was then Africa’s largest country, into Sudan with capital in Khartoum, and South Sudan with capital in Juba. Many forget that the southern part of then-Sudan was rich in oil fields, and that this split diminished Sudan’s oil output to the detriment of the newly created South Sudan (in passing, wasn’t the Pope in South Sudan in February? The Pope Visits the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan), thus putting a big dint on Sudan’s partnerships with China (Sudan was providing more than 10% of China’s oil needs and a Chinese presence on the horn of Africa). After the split, the world’s attention which was on Darfur moved on, Darfur which was supposedly the goal of Western interventions was never resolved, but South Sudan with the oil fields was detached from Sudan.

The New Scramble for Africa (Source: Source: Dr Jack & Curtis for City Press, National Institute African Studies (NIAS))

The cold war between the West and the East took place mostly in other countries like Angola, Mozambique, Congo, Afghanistan, Nicaragua in Africa, Asia, Latin America with many coups d’état and conflicts around the globe. Similarly today, the new kind of war has started yet again, but this time, it is on African soil with The New Scramble for Africa as the world moves toward energy-“conscious” policies.

How do we, Africans, stop from having our lands be a theater for others’ wars? How can we independently make learned decisions for our people without being dragged in others’ conflict?

Unity during Religious Holidays


Very often, our differences are emphasized, rather than our similarities. For instance, our different religions, different political views, different races, different tribes, countries, etc, more emphasis is placed on what divides us, rather than on what unites us: humanity! We are all humans and neighbors on this big planet that is called Earth. In Senegal, Christians and Muslims reinforce their unity and solidarity during the Christian holiday of Easter with the “Ngalakh” dessert. In a country that is mostly Muslim (over 95%), the people of Christian faith share Ngalakh dessert for “Good Friday” with the rest of their community. The dessert has come to symbolize unity and solidarity between Muslims and Christians in Senegal; just like during Eid al-Adha or Ramadan, Muslim families share meat and couscous with their Christian neighbors. Enjoy and learn more about ways that unite us, rather than divide us. Excerpts below are from AfricaNews.


Flag of Senegal
Flag of Senegal

… In Senegal, where approximately 4 percent of the population is Christian, the feverish preparation that started before Easter to be celebrated on 9 April continues unabated. Christian families prepare a special dessert for “Good Friday”, which represents the end of the Great Lent (Careme) fast that the Christian community keeps during the Easter period and coincides with the Friday before Easter Sunday.

Ngalakh, the first flavour that comes to mind when Easter is mentioned in Senegal, is prepared with “thiakry”, a type of semolina commonly used in West Africa, baobab tree fruit, nutmeg, milk, sugar and peanut cream. Christian families gather early on Friday at the home of a family elder and cook enough Ngalakh for almost the entire neighbourhood. Ngalakh has a liquid consistency and is served with grated coconut, banana slices and raisins.

The young people of the house make a list of Muslim neighbours and acquaintances and distribute most of the dessert to them until Friday afternoon.

Ngalakh, an Easter tradition, is considered one of the symbols of unity and solidarity between Muslims and Christians in Senegal today.

… “This solidarity is unique to Senegal

… Coly [Adama Manga] said, “In Senegal, everyone respects each other’s religion, no one is in a competition of ‘my belief is superior to yours’. This is a secular country. We live here peacefully together with Christians as well as many sects.

Vatican rejects ‘Doctrine of Discovery’ used to Justify Colonial Quest and Theft of Land

Pope Nicholas V

A few years ago when we published Dum Diversas or The Vatican’s Authorization of Slavery, many were surprised if not astounded to know that the Catholic Church had authorized and condoned the enslavement of people around the world, the conquest of their lands, the placement of indigenous populations into perpetual servitude, and the genocidal eradication of non Christian populations around the globe. There are still many Catholics today who do not know this! We received quite a few harsh inbox messages about the veracity of our work. Imagine the confirmation we got when last Thursday, March 30, 2023, after decades of indigenous calls, the Vatican itself repudiated the ‘Doctrine of Discovery’ which justified colonialism. A Vatican statement said the papal bulls, or decrees, “did not adequately reflect the equal dignity and rights of Indigenous peoples” and “therefore [the Vatican] repudiates those concepts that fail to recognize the inherent human rights of Indigenous peoples, including what has become known as the legal and political ‘doctrine of discovery.'”

It is not clear what to make out of this “rejection of the ‘Doctrine of Discovery'” by the Vatican. Are we supposed to clap? After centuries of killings, conquistadors killings of indigenous people of Americas, eradication of entire populations, enslavement of African people, land grabs across the globe, resources grab, enrichment, etc. We all know the coffers of the Vatican and European nations are filled with the spoils of these conquests and that their cities and countries were built on the back of all these. We ask again, what are we supposed to do with this “rejection”? Is the Vatican giving back what they took? Will the lands be returned? Words again and again and again… no actions!

The New Scramble for Africa (Source: Source: Dr Jack & Curtis for City Press, National Institute African Studies (NIAS))

As said before, there are no coincidences. There is no coincidence that this comes less than 2 months after the Pope’s visit to Africa, which is said to be the future of the Catholic Church. It is no coincidence that it comes just a few days before the very important Christian celebration of Easter. Could this be linked to the New Scramble for Africa? This New Scramble for Africa needs to be done as before, under the veil of good intentions, purity, and supposed forgiveness; while the impoverished people get ‘honeyed’ out with the ‘rejection’ (just words), the resources get pumped out. Some also think that it is no coincidence that it comes under history’s first Latin American Pope. And You, what do you make of this ‘rejection of the Doctrine of Discovery’ by the Vatican? Excerpts below are from Common Dreams. Please also check out the article in Al Jazeera.


In a historic shift long sought by Indigenous-led activists, the Holy See on Thursday formally repudiated the doctrine of discovery, a dubious legal theory born from a series of 15th-century papal decrees used by colonizers including the United States to legally justify the genocidal conquest of non-Christian peoples and their land.

In a joint statement, the Vatican’s departments of culture and education declared that “the church acknowledges that these papal bulls did not adequately reflectthe equal dignity and rights of Indigenous peoples” and “therefore repudiates those concepts that fail to recognize the inherent human rights of Indigenous peoples, including what has become known as the legal and political ‘doctrine of discovery.'”

Slaves on board a ship

The church is also aware that the contents of these documents were manipulated for political purposes by competing colonial powers in order to justify immoral acts against Indigenous peoples that were carried out, at times, without opposition from ecclesiastical authorities,” the statement added. “It is only just to recognize these errors, acknowledge the terrible effects of the assimilation policies and the pain experienced by Indigenous peoples, and ask for pardon.”

Indigenous leaders—who for decades demanded the Vatican rescind the discovery doctrine—welcomed the move, while expressing hope that it brings real change.

On the surface it sounds good, it looks good… but there has to be a fundamental change in attitudes, behavior, laws, and policies from that statement,” Ernie Daniels, the former chief of Long Plain First Nation in Manitoba, Canada, toldCBC Thursday.

There’s still a mentality out there—they want to assimilate, decimate, terminate, eradicate Indigenous people,” added Daniels, who was part of a delegation that met with Pope Francis last year in Rome and Canada.

… Discovery doctrine is rooted in a trio of papal decrees issued in the second half of the 15th century authorizing the Portuguese and Spanish monarchies to conquer land and enslave people in Africa and the Americas if they were non-Christians and dividing the Americas between the two burgeoning empires.

‘Ils Sont Venus’ de François Sengat-Kuo / ‘They Came’ by François Sengat-Kuo

Le partage de l'Afrique a la Conference de Berlin de 1884
Le partage de l’Afrique à la Conférence de Berlin de 1884

As we talk about neo-colonialism, and the new scramble for Africa, I thought about sharing this poem ‘They Came‘ by Cameroonian writer François Sengat-Kuo published in Fleurs de Latérite, Heures Rouges Éditions Clé, 1971. I had previously shared this poem here.  In the poem, Sengat-Kuo talks about colonization and how Africans were fooled by European missionaries who were always preceding European explorers and armies.  I particularly like the sentence: “they came, … bible on hand, guns behind.” Jomo Kenyatta, first president of Kenya, said it slightly differently, “When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.” (Nobel Peace prize Laureate, Desmond Tutu, of South Africa, is said to have popularized the quote). How true! In the days of colonization, Europeans claimed to be bringing civilization and Christianity to pagans across the globe.  Today, they bring development, globalization, and democracy…  same ol’ thing → submission and slavery to the people.  Enjoy!

Ils sont venus

au clair de lune

au rythme du tam-tam

ce soir-là comme toujours

l’on dansait

l’on riait

brillant avenir

ils sont venus


bibles sous le bras

fusils en mains

les morts se sont entassés

l’on a pleuré

et le tam-tam s’est tu

silence profond comme la mort


They came

by the light of the moon

to the rhythm of the tam-tam

that night as always

we were dancing

we were laughing

brilliant future

they came


bibles under the arm

guns in hand

the dead bodies piled up

we cried

and the tam-tam was silenced

profound silence like death