World’s First Set of Nonuplets is 1-year Old!

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Halima Cisse, mother of nonuplets and the medical team in Morocco (Source: Africafreedomnetwork.com)

Can you imagine trying for one baby and ending up with 9 at once? It has been one year since the birth of the world’s first set of nonuplets. Conceived naturally, a first in the world, the 5 girls and 4 boys have all survived and are healthy and growing well. The parents, Abdelkader Arby and Halima Cissé, are from Mali. The babies have been taken care of by a full medical team in a hospital in Morocco. Initially, the medical teams both in Mali and then later in Morocco thought Halima Cissé was expecting septuplets, and so they were all surprised to find 9 babies in the end. Again, I salute the wisdom of the Malian government who saw fit to have the mother transferred to Morocco for more advanced specialist care; and I salute the immense dedication of the Moroccan team and government to the well-being of the babies. Excerpts below are from an article on the BBC website.

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The nonuplets (Source: BBC)

The world’s only nonuplets – nine babies born at the same time – are “in perfect health” as they celebrate their first birthday, their father has told the BBC.

They’re all crawling now. Some are sitting up and can even walk if they hold on to something,” said Abdelkader Arby, an officer in the Malian army.

They are still in the care of the clinic in Morocco where they were born.

He said their mother Halima Cissé, 26, was also doing well.

It’s not easy but it’s great. Even if it’s tiring at times, when you look at all the babies in perfect health, [in a line] from right to left we’re relieved. We forget everything,” he told BBC Afrique.

He has just returned to Morocco for the first time in six months, along with their elder daughter, Souda, aged three.

They will just have a small birthday celebration with the nurses and a few people from their apartment building, Mr Arby said.

Nothing is better than the first year. We will remember this great moment …”

The babies broke the Guinness World Record for the most children delivered in a single birth to survive.

Mrs Cissé and the children are currently living in what their father described as a “medicalised flat” that belongs to the owners of the Ain Borja clinic in Casablanca where the babies were born.

There are nurses who are here, in addition to my wife, who help to take care of the children,” Mr Arby said.

… [The] boys are called Mohammed VI [in honor of the Moroccan king], Oumar, Elhadji, Bah [in honor of the Malian president at the time], while the girls are named Kadidia, Fatouma, Hawa, Adama and Oumou.

Each one has a unique personality, their father said.

They all have different characters. Some are quiet, while other make more noise and cry a lot. Some want to be picked up all the time. They are all very different, which is entirely normal.”

Mr Arby also thanked the Malian government for its help. The Malian state has put everything in place for the care and treatment of the nine babies and their mother. It’s not at all easy, but it’s beautiful and something that is comforting,” he said.

Everyone [in Mali] is very keen to see the babies with their own eyes – their family, friends, our home village, the whole country.”

How Africa Copes with the War in Ukraine: Clean Energy Alternatives

oil3In recent weeks, we have all felt the effects of the war in Ukraine, particularly at the gas pump. Prices keep going up everyday, forcing many to either stop driving, start biking, use public transportation, or switch to electric or hybrid vehicles when possible. The gas prices unfortunately affect almost everything else, such as the cost of food, given that it costs more to transport from the place of production to the stores. Today, we will highlight two African inventors who have been working on energy alternatives for quite a while now, but have now come to the forefront thanks to the crisis in Ukraine.

RDC_Elie Tubani
Elie Tubani (Source: Le Journal TV5 Monde)

Meet Elie Tubani, a Congolese University student in Goma, in Democratic Republic of the Congo, who has successfully powered cars with butane gas used for cooking. The city of Goma is located on the shores of Lake Kivu, which is known to be rich in methane; it is one of 3 lakes in the world, all in Africa, that undergo limnic eruptions, the African Lake with Explosive Power. Thus, Tubani’s invention is very important for Goma, the entire region, and using what the country has (natural gas) for energy production. As a side note, neighboring Rwanda has been using methane from Lake Kivu for electricity.

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Maxwell Chikumbutso presenting his hybrid helicopter (Source: GlobalBlackHistory.com)

Now comes Maxwell Chikumbutso, an inventor from Zimbabwe. Chikumbutso has created a Radio-frequency powered television: no power cable needed, and the TV is powered purely by radio waves similar to WiFi and Bluetooth. He said to The Herald, “With an RF-powered generator embedded on a TV set, it is now possible for many people to enjoy watching TV whilst they are off-grid. For me, this started off as a dream in 2003, but today it’s now a reality. We have successfully developed a solution that powers televisions, smartphones, laptop computers, fridges just to name a few.” His invention is a green energy solution, as it converts radio frequencies into clean renewable energy. Lately, he has manufactured a hybrid helicopter which runs on 6 different types of fuel, a green power generator which produces electricity with radio frequencies, cordless televisions, an electric car which does not need to be charged (watch out Elon Musk, there might be some competition in the future), and much more. Chikumbutso is the founder of Saith Holdings Inc.. Unfortunately, he has not had much support from the government; he was not able to patent his work because the authorities said that his inventions violated the laws of physics. To learn more about him and his inventions, please check out this article at the Perimeter and The Hub.News.

Now, these inventors remain underrated as our African governments still seem to think that great inventions will come from the West, or given that their agenda and development are run by foreign entities, their hands are tied. It is high time that Africans understand that in order to be competitive in the future, we need to be industrialized, and we have the manpower for it, as well as great minds that will propel us forward. Our deliverance will not come from the west or the east, as they after all look for their own interests not ours, but we have the potential to address our own problems directly with solutions that work for us. Is it not about time Africa believed in herself?

Verdict Guilty: Blaise Compaoré Guilty of the Murder of Thomas Sankara

Thomas Sankara

On Wednesday 06 April 2022, a court in Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso (Who killed Thomas Sankara? The Trial starts in Burkina Faso) has found the former president Blaise Compaoré guilty of the murder of president Thomas Sankara. In reality, it was no secret that Compaoré had killed Sankara, his former friend and companion of arms. We all knew who did it, but during Compaoré’s 27-year reign, Sankara’s demise was taboo, plus the French government’s complicity in it did not help either. Given that Compaoré is now in exile in Ivory Coast, the condemnation is in absentia, and the sentence is life imprisonment. Two of Compaoré’s former top associates, Hyacinthe Kafando and Gilbert Diendéré, were also sentenced to life imprisonment. Compaoré will probably never set foot in Burkina Faso again, especially given that as the coward that he is, he now has Ivorian nationality so as not to get extradited. It took over 34 years to begin to bring some sense of closure to the family of Thomas Sankara and to all of us. Sankara’s widow, Mariam Sankara said at the courthouse, that she was relieved, and stated, ” … the people of Burkina Faso and the public opinion know now who is Thomas Sankara, … the man, … the politician, … what he wanted and what those who assassinated him wanted too.”

Flag of Burkina Faso

This is a monumental decision not just for Burkina Faso, but for the whole of Africa. It also shows that we, Africans, do not need the Hague Court to judge our own, and that we can make correct decisions. As such the lawyer for the Sankara family, Guy Hervé Kam stated to Reuters, “Today I am very proud to see the culmination of a legal battle of almost 30 years, proud to have a country where justice works.”

Below are excerpts from the BBC.

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Blaise Compaoré

Burkina Faso’s former President Blaise Compaoré has received a life sentence in absentia for his role in the assassination of his charismatic predecessor, Thomas Sankara.

Sankara, 37, was gunned down along with 12 others during the 1987 coup d’état that brought Compaoré to power. The pair had been close friends and had jointly seized power in 1983. 

Sankara remains a hero for many across Africa because of his anti-imperialist stance and austere lifestyle. …

He was shot in the chest at least seven times, according to ballistics experts who testified during the trial.

… the verdict was greeted by applause in the courtroom following the six-month trial that came after years of campaigning for justice by his family and supporters.

However, there is little prospect that Compaoré will serve his sentence any time soon. He has lived in exile in Ivory Coast since he was removed from office following mass protests in 2014, and has taken up Ivorian nationality. He previously denounced the trial by a military court as a political sham. …

Ten others were also found guilty, including Compaoré’s security chief Haycinthe Kafando, who was accused of leading the hit squad that killed Sankara. He has been on the run for several years and was also tried in absentia. He too received a life sentence. They had both denied the charges.

Gilbert Diendéré, one of the commanders of the army during the 1987 coup and the main defendant who was actually present at the trial, was also sentenced to life. He is already serving a 20-year sentence for a coup attempt in 2015.

… Eight other defendants received sentences ranging from three to 20 years, while three defendants were acquitted.

Timbuktu Manuscripts now Available Online

Manuscripts a Tombouctou (Mali) montrant de l'astronomie et mathematique
Manuscripts a Tombouctou (Mali) montrant de l’astronomie et mathematique

I am happy to announce that the Timbuktu manuscripts are now available online. Can you imagine that? Treasures of our ancestors, writings, judgments, mathematical concepts, architectural findings, from those great scribes of ancient times. Up to 40,000 pages will now be available online, covering wide topics from biology to music to religion. 

Sankore Mosque in Timbuktu
Sankore Mosque in Timbuktu

With the Islamic attacks on Mali, Timbuktu has been under occupation since 2012 (Tensions Escalating in Mali). As you all know Timbuktu was a great center of knowledge in search for many centuries starting at least in the 12th century. It was visited by people from around the world, in search of knowledge. There were over 700,000 manuscripts at the great Sankore University in Timbuktu, and many more at other public and private libraries including the  Ahmed Baba InstituteAl-Wangari Library, and others (Lost Libraries of Timbuktu, Timbuktu under Attacks: Arise to save African Treasures). Many families smuggled the manuscripts to safety from Timbuktu to the capital of Bamako. The manuscripts contain centuries of African knowledge and scholarship on topics ranging from mathematics to astrological charts, biology, geography, laws, etc. They were written on various materials ranging from ancient paper, goat, sheep and even fish skins. Some were written in verse, poetic meter, while others in narrative styles using dialogues, stories of kings, scribes, noblemen, fables, anecdotes. They were renowned in the world for their physical beauty and outstanding wisdom.

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Dr Abdel Kader Haidara talking about the manuscripts of Timbuktu

In 2014, Dr Abdel Kader Haidara known for his work on the protection and preservation of the Timbuktu manuscripts and who smuggled over 350,000 manuscripts out of the city away from the jihadists, called on Google and invited the company to visit Mali and see the renowned manuscripts and join in the digitization of these treasures. Thus the collection Mali Magic was born as a collaboration between Google, local, and international partners. It took several years of combined efforts from Mali’s traditional leaders, historians, and digital archaeologists to digitize these ancient manuscripts, some dating back to the 11th century

Enjoy this article on the BBC website, and do not forget to visit the amazing work Mali Magic. The Library of Congress has also placed some manuscripts online. 

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Manuscript of Timbuktu (Google Arts and Culture)
 
 

Diébédo F. Kéré : First African to Win Prestigious Architecture Prize

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Diébédo Francis Kéré (Source: Azuremagazine.com)

Diébédo Francis Kéré, an architect from Burkina Faso, has just won the prestigious Pritzker prize which some call the Nobel prize of Architecture. With this, Kéré is the first African to ever win such a prestigious award. He has held professorships at the Harvard Graduate School of DesignYale School of Architecture and the Swiss Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio. In 2017 he accepted the professorship for “Architectural Design and Participation” at TU München in Germany where he has been living since 1985.

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Opera Village in Burkina Faso – Diébédo Francis Kéré’s work (Source: arquitecturaviva.com)

A lot of Kéré’s work is focused on the African continent: parliament buildings in Burkina Faso and Benin, schools and health center in Burkina Faso, and the National Park of Mali. He has also worked on projects in Germany, the United States, and Great Britain among which is the Serpentine Pavilion in London. Light is at the center of his designs because growing up in Burkina Faso, sometimes in the classroom, it was very hot from the weather (Burkina Faso has few rains due to the proximity to the Sahel) and from so many children all bunched together, but there was not much light inside; plenty sunlight outside, no light and too hot inside. Growing up Kéré thought that he could improve the designs and make the life of children in his village and beyond better.

Kéré Architecture is currently working on a new parliamentary building inspired by the palaver tree. It is, he told NPR, a West African symbol of consensus building, and he hopes the building will reflect a commitment both to tradition and democratic process. “Literally speaking, it is a tree under which people come together to make decisions, to celebrate,”…

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Interior of the Serpentine Pavilion in London – Diébédo Francis Kéré (photo by Iwan Baan – Kerearchitecture.com)

He told the Pritzker prize that, “I grew up in a community where there was no kindergarten, but where community was your family. Everyone took care of you and the entire village was your playground. My days were filled with securing food and water, but also simply being together, talking together, building houses together. I remember the room where my grandmother would sit and tell stories with a little light, while we would huddle close to each other and her voice inside the room enclosed us, summoning us to come closer and form a safe place. This was my first sense of architecture.

The Pritzker Prize website, the LA Times, BBC, and NPR all had really good articles on him. Take the time to read and enjoy!

Revisiting the Mpemba Effect … in Reverse

A while back, I told you about the Mpemba effect, a physics effect demonstrated by a Tanzanian high school student in 1963, Erasto Mpemba, whereby hot water freezes faster than cold water. This is a ‘modern’ (after the 1960s) physics law made in Africa, by an African high schooler, and named after an African (history is full of cases of ‘intellectual’ misnaming i.e. naming the work of an African or others after a European). 

Flag of Tanzania

More recently, scientists John Bechhoefer at Simon Fraser University in Canada, and colleagues, have experimentally demonstrated the Mpemba effect in reverse, also called inverse Mpemba effect, where they observed that under specific conditions a cold particle will heat up faster than a warmer counterpart. The team used optical tweezers to create a tilted double-well potential that confined a colloidal particle, and then measured the particle’s response as a function of its initial temperature. The new measurements indicate the inverse Mpemba effect is much weaker than the conventional, forward effect. The work also experimentally corroborates some of the predicted mechanisms behind both the forward and the inverse effects. The findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in January. Excerpts below are from Physics Today; check out the full article which also goes into detail about Erasto Mpemba, and explains the effect in depth. Enjoy!

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Map of Tanzania

In 1963, a 13-year-old Tanzanian student named Erasto Mpemba and his secondary school classmates were tasked with making ice cream. There was limited room in the freezers, and he found himself falling behind other students. His classmates were boiling milk for the treat, then letting the mixture cool before placing it in the freezer. To stay on track, Mpemba put his hot concoction straight into the freezer. Checking on the dessert some time later, he found it perfectly frozen, while his classmates’ remained liquid.

The idea of water freezing faster when it starts at a higher temperature was christened the Mpemba effect after he published the finding in 1969 with physicist Denis Osborne. …

Ice cream
Ice cream

… a decade ago, computational chemists simulated water molecules and observed the Mpemba effect despite the absence of the supposedly necessary mechanisms. Recently, researchers have also observed the effect in other liquids and magnetic alloys, which indicates that causes specific to water, like hydrogen bonds, cannot fully explain the effect. Further complicating the investigation of the Mpemba effect is that many water-based experiments involve a phase transition between liquid and ice, which is dependent on conditions like the container and environment; that makes measurements hard to obtain and extremely difficult to reproduce.

… Bechhoefer and his team used a simple and unambiguous definition to measure the inverse Mpemba effect: the time it takes a system that starts at one equilibrium temperature to reach another, higher temperature. By using a single colloidal particle, they avoided the unnecessary complications of phase transitions in water and other systems.

In their experiment, optical tweezers create a force and thus a potential in which the particle moves. The potential is a tilted double well, … . The particle can settle into two different local minima, the left or the right valley. The potential qualitatively mimics the states of supercooled water: One local minimum has a slightly higher free energy, representing liquid (left), and the other, representing solid ice (right), has a lower free energy because that state is favored.

… To get the same quality of results observed for the forward Mpemba effect, the team had to perform five times the number of trials—5000 rather than 1000—and they believe they know why. In the forward effect, particles fall quickly into one of the two potential wells. The fraction in the left and the fraction in the right, in general, differ from the fractions that should probabilistically be in each well in equilibrium, after the system has settled to its final temperature. That difference leads to a second, slower step, in which particles hop the barrier into the other well until the correct fractions are attained. If the barrier is tall, the process can be slow and create a sharp separation in time between the initial drop into the well and the hopping. When the Mpemba effect is working at its strongest, the hopping is minimal and the relaxation time to the final equilibrium temperature is short.

Assimi Goïta Speaks to the Malian People: No Sacrifice is too Big for this Country

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Colonel Assimi Goita

Colonel Assimi Goïta, the president of Mali, recently addressed his people, the Malian people. I was moved by his humility, and depth. We should all aspire to do our part, and support our leaders, and more importantly remember that change starts with each one of us. If we want change, we each have to lend a hand, because it starts with us. We don’t have to wish for martyrs, but start one brick at a time. We are grateful for Assimi Goïta who is trying to bring back dignity to the Malian people, and pray that he can reach his goal, this goal which is ours, and blesses the entire African continent. We pray for him, and countless Malians, and citizens who are standing up. This is a fight for our freedom, our humanity, our dignity… Enjoy! The original is on Afrik-plus. Translated to English by Dr. Y., Afrolegends.com

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Flag of Mali
Flag of Mali

“I am a mortal, I am not perfect. I am aware of that. History will judge me one day, but in the meantime I just ask for your support. I did not choose this destiny. It imposed itself to me. God knows what He is doing.

I will go all the way but if I die before reaching our ideal, continue the project without me and lay the groundwork for change with my blood and my flesh.

No sacrifice is huge for this country.

Thomas Sankara
Thomas Sankara a Ouagadougou

I am not Thomas Sankara, or Jerry Rawlings, I am Assimi Goïta. Remember me as a reformer not a revolutionary.

Remember me as the bringer of hope to the people, the one who came when your blood was shed because of your desire for change.

I will go to the end of my mission. I will never betray it, I will not betray your trust.

Death does not scare me, I saw it every day on the battlefield, it is failure that scares me.

Black power fist_1If death marries me on the way to this ideal, do not mourn me.

Do not make my grave a sanctuary.

I did what I thought right for my country. I did it for me but I did it for you too.

I am Assimi, the man who smiles every day with death, his fist closed.

Assimi Goïta

Thomas Sankara’s Murder Trial on Hold

Thomas Sankara
Thomas Sankara a Ouagadougou

The trial to find Thomas Sankara‘s murderers (Who killed Thomas Sankara? The Trial starts in Burkina Faso) has been halted because of last week’s coup in Burkina Faso which saw the removal of president Roch Kaboré (2022 Burkinabé coup d’état). This adds to the fragility of the entire region, where the métropole (France) is impoverishing and destroying the countries it claims to be helping. As always, the ghostly/nonsensical organization that is ECOWAS (CEDEAO) with its nonsensical rules that only favor the old colonial powers came out with some ‘sanctions’. Below are excerpts from the article on ABC News.

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Flag of Burkina Faso

The trial has been paused until the constitution is reestablished, a lawyer for the prosecution said Monday.

The suspension comes one week after a military junta overthrew President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, suspended the constitution and dissolved the national assembly.

Prosper Farama, one of the lawyers for the Sankara family called the suspension a good thing that would respect everyone’s rights. “We have to be patient until the constitution is reestablished for things to be legal,” he said.

… Fourteen people are being charged for Sankara’s killing, including former President Blaise Compaore, who ousted Sankara in a 1987 coup. Compaore is charged with complicity, undermining state security and concealing corpses, according to military documents seen by The Associated Press. He’s being tried in absentia, as he has been in exile in Ivory Coast since he was toppled in 2014.

… “As young Sankarists, we are very worried about the suspension of the trial,” said Passamde Occean Sawadogo a singer and activist. “We remain vigilant so that nothing can jeoparidze the trial’,” he said.

Portrait of a “Mai” (King) of Bornu in the 17th century

Kanem-Bornu court in the 1700s
Kanem-Bornu court in the 1700s

We can retain without great risk of anachronism the detailed description that a Frenchman – probably a surgeon by the name of Girard held in slavery for a few years in Tripoli – gives in 1685 of the sovereign according to the testimonies he collected in this city.

It is in this case the grandson and fourth successor of Idris Alooma, designated under the name of “Mahi-Hagi-Hali”, that is Mai (Hajj) Ali b. Umar b. Idris, who had reigned, according to D. Lange, from 1639 to 1677.

Idris Alooma

“Those who have seen this prince agree that he is nice looking well-built, and of rich stature, but he is black : his ordinary clothes are a robe of white or blue linen, with long sleeves, very fine and untied : he wears the white turban like the Turks, and his face is always more than half covered, because the Bornu people are ashamed (take shame) to show their mouths, and which covers their face from the tip of the nose to the bottom of the chin.”

Chronology of the Bornu Kings from 1512 to 1671. – Extract from manuscript number 12220 (Nouvelles acquisitions. Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris) – Reproduced by le Bulletin de la Société de Géographie de Paris, 1849

It is good to note that, two centuries later, the European travelers who visited Bornu described the robe of the king in identical terms. Such permanence clearly indicates that this is not an occasional outfit, but one of the ritual and traditional insignia of power.

Les Africains, vol. 3, Editions J.A., 1977, p. 53. Translated to English by Dr. Y., Afrolegends.com

Africans making Strides in the World of Wine

Tinashe Nyamudoka and barrels (Source: jancisrobinson.com)

Have you ever heard of Africans making it into the world of wine? I don’t mean South Africans who have a good history of wine-making, but other countries on the continent? Well, a while back, I had heard about an Ivorian making wines and actually having a vineyard, and now Zimbabweans. As a side story, one of my uncles was once a very pro-eminent wine-taster… I always wondered where he had acquired the taste (given that this is not a tradition for us), but he used to be called upon by the best wineries in France to taste and judge on the quality of their wines. The Guardian had a story about Tinashe Nyamudoka and a new generation of Zimbabweans getting into the wine business. Below are excerpts from that article. Enjoy!

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A bottle of Kumusha Wine, Cabernet Sauvignon

… When he left [Zimbabwe] in 2008, [Tinashe] Nyamudoka had never tasted wine. Now, he ranks among southern Africa’s top sommeliers and has his own wine label with international sales.

We have a lot going against us as Zimbabweans, and you might think there is nothing good coming out of the country,” says the 36-year-old. “So, for me to be recognised as the [top] sommeliers in the world, being African and Zimbabwean, instils a sense of hope and pride.”

Nyamudoka began his career as a waiter in a Cape Town restaurant, where he learned about the different varieties and tastes of the wines his customers drank. He moved on to become a hotel wine waiter, working alongside some of the city’s leading sommeliers.

After studying his trade [he also has a certificate in wine business management from the University of Cape Town], he won the best wine steward award in a competition for luxury hotels in the Western Cape in 2013.

… His wine label, Kumusha – “home” or “roots” in Zimbabwe’s Shona language – has benefited from his celebrity, producing 200,000 bottles a year, up from 1,200 when it was launched four years ago. “People started embracing it,” he says.

Kumusha wines, Shiraz and Merlot

… The eight Kumusha wines – three reds, four whites and a rosé – are all produced in South Africa. They are sold in the US, the Netherlands, Kenya and Zimbabwe – “my exciting market”, he says. This month, he is starting to export his wines to the UK.

I started this brand from scratch with no aid or financial handouts. It has been pure grit, passion and dedication,” he says. “I want people to understand that you can make it without prejudice.

…. “There’s been an emergence of black sommeliers in the world as the industry becomes more diverse. We see the hospitality offering in Zimbabwe improving and there will be a need for sommeliers.