“Sois le Soleil / Be the Sun” by Nioussérê Kalala Omotunde

Jean-Philippe Nioussere Kalala Omotunde

Si tu sais être comme le soleil, tu pourras raviver tous les soleils éteints autour de toi; mais ça ne passera pas que par des mots, il faut y associer ton coeur et des actes.

If you know how to be like the sun, you can revive all the extinguished suns around you; but it will not happen only through words, it is necessary to associate your heart and deeds to it.

So Long to a Baobab of African Classical Humanities and Mathematics: Nioussérê Kalala Omotunde

Jean-Philippe Nioussere Kalala Omotunde

A great man has left us. Yesterday, the great teacher, researcher, Egyptologist, historian, and brother, Jean-Philippe Nioussérê Kalala Omotunde changed dimension. Kalala Omotunde was a bright light who worked tirelessly to teach us, Africans, about our true heritage. He was conscious that our souls and spirits had been so broken by colonization, slavery, wars, foreign invasions, and so many other ailments, that we had lost sight of who we truly were, descendants of the great pharaohs of Egypt, descendants of Mother Africa, the cradle of humanity and sciences.

Kalala was the founder of the Anyjart institute and satellite institutes in Canada, Guyana, Martinique, Haiti, and many more around the world. Via his institute, he worked tirelessly to empower Africans, and particularly the Black youth in the diaspora and beyond. His great work focused on the African classical humanities, and African mathematics and sciences. He was also Chargé de mission at UNESCO. He specialized in making the Black (wo) man whole again by teaching him about his history, his origin, his ancestors. You see… Africa has been under attack for centuries now, and along the way, her children have lost their conviction, the knowledge of their greatness, traditions, and have erred away from her by adopting other religions and even others’ distorted views of themselves.

Nioussere Kalala Omotunde

I have been a fan of his work for over a decade. I remember one time when we talked, I showed him the blog, and coincidentally the article of the day was, “How do We Continue the Fight when the Head has been Cut Off?” He made some comments and gave me pointers.  In that conversation I learned so much: for instance, the picture of Amilcar Cabral pointed left, and Kalala told me that this was looking to the past, and when we have lost a leader, we need to look forward, and build for future generations. He embodied the article itself, working tirelessly to teach the next generations how to continue the battle through education. He had a strong presence, was so confident, and so generous in sharing his time and knowledge. Such a baobab! Such a dedication to Mother Africa… He was so welcoming, so selfless, always ready to help, addressing many with endearing words such as “mon très cher”, or “ma très chère”. His institute focused on teaching ancient hieroglyphs, the knowledge of African history, African mathematics and sciences, teaching the link between ancient Egypt (and beyond) and Africa today, and above all restoring the dignity of Africa. He focused on scientifically proving historical findings about Africa… he will often have at least 5 documents to prove the veracity of a claim he made; he was methodical. He had so many great projects! The geothermic project in Guadeloupe which he wanted to see extend to Africa, the Wakanda project, and countless others aimed at empowering Africans to be self-sufficient energetically, financially, agriculturally, technologically, and much more. I console myself in knowing that he has written so many books, and that we can all benefit from his teachings, and rise up as he wished. 

Having been influenced by Cheikh Anta Diop, Nioussere Kalala Omotunde worked tirelessly to show the deep wealth of African cultures, and often shared the fact that the history of Black people in the Caribbeans did not start with slavery. So long brother… May your seeds bring lots of fruits. I will remember your contagious laughter, your big smile, your intelligence, and above all your teachings. I feel so privileged to have had a chance to know you, and receive some of your teachings. You always talked about African Renaissance. You showed us the way, now we have to carry on your light. May the Ancestors receive and cherish you.

Burkina Faso 35 years after Thomas Sankara’s Murder

Thomas Sankara
Thomas Sankara a Ouagadougou

The coup d’etat which just happened a little over 2 weeks ago in Burkina Faso on September 30, 2022, marks the need for Burkinabe and Africans in general to be in charge of their own destinies. We have the land, we have the resources, we should be in charge of our own destiny. We can no longer be ‘partners’ (more like slaves) to a master (France and the West) which takes all our resources while leaving us dirt poor. We deserve dignity, and are going to reclaim our territories, in the case of Burkina Faso or Mali, territories stolen by terrorists armed by foreign powers; we are going to reclaim our resources, and more importantly reclaim our lives, and our futures. As we mark the 35th anniversary since the murder of Thomas Sankara, president of the Faso, his widow Mariam Sankara gave a speech which can be found in its entirety on ThomasSankara.net. I have translated parts of it. Enjoy!

=====

Flag of Burkina Faso

The date of April 6, 2022 will remain engraved in the history of our country as an important moment during which the justice of Burkina Faso sanctioned the assassins of President Thomas Sankara and his 12 companions in misfortune (Verdict Guilty: Blaise Compaoré Guilty of the Murder of Thomas Sankara).

Once again, I would like to thank you all for your support before and during this first part of the trial. My thanks go to the family lawyers, to the organizers of the “fight against impunity, justice for Thomas Sankara” campaign, to militant Africa in general, to the associations of Burkina, to the Diaspora, to the people of Burkina Faso and to the friends from Burkina Faso.

However, we must know that our struggle is not over. …

.

Burkina Faso
Map of Burkina Faso

.. Burkina, as we all know, is going through a serious period in its history due to the destabilization imposed on it by terrorists supported by shadow forces. These forces want to wipe our country off the map of the world. This project is unacceptable.

We must all opt for the support of our security forces, the families of the victims and those displaced by war, who number in the thousands.

Admittedly, we must rely on our own strengths, but it is imperative that we call on honest and credible partners, if necessary.

May Burkinabè patriotism serve as a compass for the final victory against terrorism, for social cohesion and for the prosperity of our country.

Fatherland or death, we will win!

Mariam Sankara, Montpellier 15 October 2022

Egusi Ice Cream Anyone? Caterpillar Ice Cream? … What about African Flavors in Ice Cream?

Tapiwa Guzha, founder of Tapi Tapi (Source: sossegodaflora.blogspot.com)

Can you imagine having Egusi ice cream? or dried fish or edible clay or caterpillar or Chin Chin ice cream? … well… think no further! In 2020, Zimbabwean postdoctoral student Tapiwa Guzha who emigrated to South Africa for studies, had the idea of creating an ice cream parlor that represented African foods, flavors, and cultures. He thought of sharing his love of science, his specialty being plant biotechnology, to educate others with flavors from the continent. Thus was born Tapi Tapi, which means sweet sweet in the Shona language of Zimbabwe. Guzha mixed in typical traditional African flavors from all over the continent into his ice cream. To date, he has made over 900 different flavors from some of the most amazing African spices, nuts, seeds, fruits, flowers, clay, and even caterpillar. Tapi Tapi‘s sugar cones are made with millet, cassava, sorghum, maize, and plantain flour.. Enjoy, and if you are ever in Cape Town, don’t be shy… go and try out these amazing African flavors! Excerpts below are from the Guardian! Please also check out this very good article from TravelEssenceMag, and another from CNN.

======

Baobab ice cream (Source: Tapi Tapi)

Caterpillars, dried fish and clay are not what you would expect to find in ice-cream, but one Cape Town cafe with a mission to celebrate African foods and culture has used all three as ingredients in its frozen desserts.

Handcrafted, authentic African ice-cream,” reads a sign at the entrance to Tapi Tapi. Inside, the counter is filled with ice-creams in various shades of beige and brown. They look underwhelming, but the blackboard listing the flavours suggests differently.

Tshego Kale, a 22-year-old student and part-time worker in the cafe, explains the menu. “First up is prekese and kei-apple jam. Prekese is a spice from west Africa, sometimes used in soups,” she says. “Kei apple is a sour fruit, but the ice-cream is sweet with a bitterness coming through.” Rooibos, fermented pineapple and lime is next: “It’s sweet, not as dense; good for hot days.”

There are three ice-creams containing chin chin – a fried snack from west Africa. One is paired with African bird’s eye chilli, and has “a kick that comes towards the end”. Another one features clay as the second ingredient: “It has an earthy flavour, very mellow and smooth with a biscuity texture.”

Egusi, a combination of seeds used in west African cuisine, is mixed with pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg in another ice-cream. “People from overseas have said this one tastes like Christmas,” says Kale.

Rooibos

Tapi Tapi and its African ice-cream is the brainchild of Tapiwa Guzha, who first came to Cape Town as a student from Zimbabwe. In the two years since it opened, he has created about 900 flavours.

Each tub he makes is unique and never repeated. His aim is to use ice-cream as a vehicle for educating and inspiring people about African flavours. When making a new flavour, Guzha thinks of an ingredient and what he wants to achieve by using it.

He explains: “What point am I trying to make by creating that flavour? Am I trying to showcase something new that people don’t know about? Am I trying to teach people about a cooking technique that turns out certain dishes or flavours? Or am I looking at a cultural icon?”

The idea for Tapi Tapi came in 2018, when Guzha was doing post-doctoral research in plant biotechnology but wanted a change. “I was looking for ways of communicating about science without having to rely on the scientific process – journal publishing, conferences and keeping knowledge in academic spaces,” he says.

Guzha had been making ice-cream for 10 years with dry ice that was delivered to his research labs, after seeing how it was done on a cookery show. One day, it dawned on him that he had never made a specifically African ice-cream. “I realised there was something faulty in the system. The moment you taste a flavour that connects you to home, your culture, your land – it’s a different experience.”

King Shaka’s Warriors

Sketch of King Shaka from 1824 (found in Nathaniel Isaacs’ book ‘Travels and Adventures in Eastern Africa,’ published in 1836)

Below is a description of King Shaka’s warriors. King Shaka is known for the military and social innovations he brought to the Zulu people unifying them into a formidable empire admired by some, and feared by others. What stands out is the great discipline of his warriors.  The Zulu army or Zulu impi was the most powerful war machine the British ever faced in Southern Africa.  The Zulu combat strategy was perfected by King Shaka himself, who added great organization and discipline to the traditional qualities of courage and mobility cultivated within African armies.  During the battle, the Zulu army would organize itself as an arc facing the adversary. This arrangement was known as the “bull horn” formation. At the center (known as the chest in Zulu) were found the most seasoned regiments; on the wings (or horns) were found the regiments of younger warriors.  The latter used their speed and agility to outflank the enemy by attacking him on the flanks while trying to encircle him, while the chest warriors engaged him in the front.  Behind the chest, and with their back turned so as to keep their calm, were the veteran regiments (also known as the kidneys) who will wait as reserves, intervening only to switch the battle to victory. Every man knew his place, moves, and maneuvers with extreme precision. Shaka’s methods reached their high point during the Zulu victory at Isandhlwana against the British forces in 1879.

Zulu warrior in 1913

Although Isaacs’ account below of his visit to Shaka’s palace is a biased view from a European who saw everything African, Black, as inferior, it is still good to note the number, the order of the troops, the strength of the king (who was not just complacent, but an active member of his troops), and much more. This also gives a better idea of the dressing of the warriors and girls, as well as the living structure in the kraal. This account can be found in N. Isaacs, Travels and Adventures in Eastern Africa volume 1.

=====

Reception of the Zulus for Chaka from Isaacs’s book Travels and Adventures in Eastern Africa. Descriptive of the Zulus, their manners, customs, with a sketch of Natal.

This morning three regiments of boys arrived to be reviewed. There appeared to be nearly 6000, all having black shields. The respective corps were distinguished by the shape and ornament of their caps. One regiment had them in the shape of Malay hats, with a peak on the crown about six inches high, and a bunch of feathers at the top. Another wore a turban made of otter-skin, having a crane’s feather or two on each side ; and the third wore small bunches of feathers over the whole head, made fast by means of small ties. Thus accoutred and distinguished, they entered the gate, ran up the kraal, halted in front of the palace, and saluted the king.

Zulu kraal near Umlazi in Natal 1849

One boy stepped in front and made a long harangue. When the orator had concluded, the whole of his comrades first shouted, and then commenced running over the kraal, trying to excel each other in feats of agility and gesture, regardless of order, regularity, or discipline. After this exhibition, which lasted three hours, a regiment of men arrived with white shields, having on them one or two black spots in the center; they saluted Shaka, then retired to put away their shields, and assembled again in one body to dance. They formed a half circle; the men in the center and the boys at the two extremities. The king placed himself in the middle of the space within the circle, and about 1500 girls stood opposite to the men three deep, in a straight line, and with great regularity. His majesty then commenced dancing, the warriors followed, and the girls kept time by singing, clapping their hands, and raising their bodies on their toes. The strange attitudes of the men exceeded anything I had seen before.

Zulu warrior in full regalia 1860: carrying the large isihlangu war shield. The upper body is covered in cow tails, the kilt is of spotted cat, genet or civet skin and the shins are decorated with cowtails. The elaborate headdress consists of a browband and face-framing flaps of leopard skin with another band of otter skin above. There are multiple ostrich feather plumes and a single upright crane’s feather.

The king was remarkable for his unequaled activity, and the surprising muscular powers he exhibited. He was decorated with a profusion of green and yellow glass beads. The girls had their share of ornaments, in addition too they had each of them four brass bangles round their necks, which kept them in an erect posture, and rendered them as immovable as the neck of a statue. This ceremony was performed with considerable regularity, from the king- giving, as it were, the time for every motion. Wherever he cast his eye, there was the greatest effort made, and nothing could exceed the exertion of the whole until sunset, when Shaka, accompanied by his girls, retired within the palace, and the warriors to their respective huts. Many, however, first went to the river and performed their evening ablutions.

Nowadays We will Respond in Kind

Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga speaking at the UN General Assembly (Source: DW – South Africa)

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!

At the United Nations, Outstanding Speech by Mali PM who Slams France, Praises Russia Ties

Flag of Mali
Flag of Mali

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 from Al-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.

Map of Mali with its capital Bamako

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.”

A Praise to the Great King Shaka, the Founder of the Zulu Empire

Sketch of King Shaka from 1824 (found in Nathan Isaacs’ book ‘Travels and Adventures in Eastern Africa,’ published in 1836)

To celebrate South Africa’s Heritage Day which used to be known as ‘Shaka Day‘ before 1996, we share with you this beautiful praise for the great king. KwaZulu (“Place of the Zulu” in Zulu)-Natal is an important province of South Africa, and the birthplace of the Zulu kingdom.  It is the second-most populous province in South Africa, after Gauteng, and the land of the Zulu people. Before 1996, 24 September was known as Shaka Day, in commemoration of the Zulu King, Shaka, on the presumed date of his death in 1828. Shaka kaSenzangakhona (Shaka, son of Senzangakhona) was the Zulu King who played an important role in uniting disparate Zulu clans into a cohesive nation; he is known as the founder of the Zulu Empire. . Each year people gather at King Shaka’s grave to honor him on this day.

King Misuzulu ka Zwelithini (Source: yahoo news)

King Shaka was murdered by his two half-brothers Dingane and Mhlangana at kwaDukuza in 1828—one date given is September 24. Dingane assumed the throne after the assassination. Thus, September 24 is known as Shaka Day, and nowadays has become ‘Heritage Day’. This year’s celebration will mark the official public coronation of the new Zulu King, Misuzulu Siqonbile ka Zwelithini, who inherited from his father, King  Goodwill Zwelithini ka Bhekuzulu (Traditional Coronation of a New Zulu King).

Shaka Zulu

He is Shaka the unshakeable,
Thunderer-while-sitting, son of Menzi
He is the bird that preys on other birds,
The battle-axe that excels over other battle-axes in sharpness,
He is the long-strided pursuer, son of Ndaba,
Who pursued the sun and the moon.
He is the great hubbub like the rocks of Nkandla
Where elephants take shelter
When the heavens frown…

Traditional Zulu praise song, English translation by Ezekiel Mphahlele

Portrait of Shaka, the Great Zulu King

Sketch of King Shaka from 1824 (found in Nathaniel Isaacs’ book ‘Travels and Adventures in Eastern Africa,’ published in 1836)

King Shaka, Shaka kaSenzangakhona (Shaka son of Senzangakhona), or Shaka Zulu, is known today as the founder of the Zulu Empire or Zululand. He ruled from 1816 to 1828, and was one of the most influential monarchs of the Zulu, responsible for re-organizing the Zulu military into a formidable force via a series of wide-reaching and influential reforms; thus he was responsible for uniting small Zulu clans to form an impressive Empire which was a real threat to European advances in the region. Shaka was a master military strategist who revolutionized the Zulu military by dividing his army into components, sometimes on the basis of age and fighting strength. For example, he tasked young boys, perhaps in their early teens, with transporting military supplies. This allowed his fighting machine to move very quickly during raids or conquests. When Shaka first became king, the Zulu were a cluster of tribes of less than 2000 people; by the end of his reign, the population was 250,000 people, an impressive growth for a 12-year reign.

Nathaniel Isaacs, a British explorer met King Shaka. Below is a portrait he made of King Shaka found in N. Isaacs, Travels and Adventures in Eastern Africa Vol I, 1836.

=====

Reception of the Zulus for Chaka from Isaacs’s book Travels and Adventures in Eastern Africa. Descriptive of the Zulus, their manners, customs, with a sketch of Natal.

“In the evening, at the request of the king, we joined in their amusements, and could not … avoid singing: we commenced with ‘God save the King.’ On our explaining its literal meaning, Chaka was highly pleased; in fact, there was nothing but good humour to be observed in the countenances of every one present. The party broke up at a late hour; and, as is usual, in the morning we paid the king an early visit. We now expressed a wish to see him in his war dress; he immediately retired, and in a short time returned attired: his dress consists of monkeys’ skins, in three folds from his waist to the knee, from which two white cows’ tails are suspended, as well as from each arm; round his head is a neat band of fur stuffed, in front of which is placed a tall feather, and on each side a variegated plume. He advanced with his shield, an oval about four feet in length, and an umconto, or spear, when his warriors commenced a war song, and he began his maneuvres. Chaka is about thirty-eight years of age, upwards of six feet in height, and well proportioned: he is allowed to be the best pedestrian in his country, and, in fact, during his wonderful exercises this day he exhibited the most astonishing activity.”

Blaise Compaore Apologizes for Thomas Sankara’s Death?

Thomas Sankara
Thomas Sankara a Ouagadougou

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.

=====

Flag of Burkina Faso

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.

In April, Mr Compaoré was sentenced in absentia to life in prison for his role in the assassination. He had always described the death as an accident [Verdict Guilty: Blaise Compaoré Guilty of the Murder of Thomas Sankara].

Mr Compaoré has lived in exile in neighbouring Ivory Coast since 2014 when he was ousted in a popular uprising after 27 years in power [Who/What did we Celebrate in Africa in 2014?].

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.