Francis Bebey introducing us to the Communication System of Pygmy People

Francis Bebey_1
Francis Bebey

As we saw on Monday, Francis Bebey’s poem ‘Je suis venu chercher du travail’ / ‘I Came to Look for Work’ is the story of many immigrants, living their homes, families, friends and countries, to journey to far-away lands in search of a better living.

More than a writer, Francis Bebey was also a musician. Below is a video where Francis Bebey introduces the viewer to the one-note flute, and the communication system invented by the pygmy peoples of Central Africa to converse with each other using that instrument. As I told you earlier, Francis Bebey headed the music department at the UNESCO‘s office in Paris, where he focused on researching and documenting African traditional music. Enjoy a lesson from the maestro!

 

Happy 2020!

Fireworks
Fireworks

Dear readers, wishing you all an AMAZING HAPPY new year. May the year 2020 mark the beginning of a decade of joy, the fulfillment of old and new dreams that will last a lifetime, and the completion of past endeavors. We, at Afrolegends, would like to express our profound gratitude for your constant support, as your readership has carried us forward. Thank you to all those who visited the blog, reblogged articles, commented, and to all future visitors. 2019 was a full year: Afrolegends.com had lots of views, subscribers, and many articles reblogged on multiple sites. In August, we celebrated 2 Million Views and 10-years Anniversary on the African Heritage Blog !!! We most importantly celebrated your continued presence on our blog, and as always African achievements.

20170318_125331.jpg
Happy 2020

The top 6 posts of 2019 are listed below. For this new year, 2020, we will bring you even more amazing, fun, enlightening, and rich articles. We will also take you on a journey to new places. Keep trusting, reading, sharing, reblogging, and liking. We wish you a beautiful, full, and amazing new year, rich in blessings, and rich in greatness. May 2020 be the year of greatness! Keep your heads up, and may your year be as beautiful as the petals of this flower! As you can see, everything about this flower marks the beginning of something beautiful: a new start, a new life, and a new joy! As always, like Agostinho Neto said, “A luta continua … a vitória é certa!

1. The 11 Components of the French Colonial Tax in Africa

2. Bride Price Practices in Africa

3. Adinkra Symbols and the Rich Akan Culture

4. Scarification: an ‘Ancient’ African Tattoo Culture

5. Sarah Baartman: The Black Venus

6. Samori Touré: African Leader and Resistant to French Imperialism!

South African Woman wins Prize for Water-Saving Toilet

Toilet
Toilet bowl

I always wondered why the toilet design used today in almost all bathrooms around the world is 400 years old. So many things have gone through innovation, reinvention, re-design, etc, yet the toilet design has survived 400 years! In the end, I thought it was because the subject was not particularly attractive: I mean who wants to look into toilet bowls, or even think about it, or talk about it? Yuck…! Just do the business and be gone, right? Well, one young lady from South Africa came up with a toilet design which uses 400 milliliters (0.4 L – 0.11 gallons) instead of the usual 13 litres (13 L – 3.4 gallons) consumed in regular toilets. People, this is more than a 300% reduction in water… think about your water bills savings or drought areas! Please help me applaud the work of Monni Mokwena. Her invention is appropriately called the Swallowing Toilet. The excerpt below is from Briefly where the full article is found.

Just a note on July 30, 2019: Monni Mokwena emphasized in the comment section below that her design uses a flexible S-shape design which not only reduces water consumption, but also takes care of the smell: “My toilet have a flexible s- shape compared to the traditional toilet…So when it’s inoperative it has that S shape that help to prevent water for flowing and also to prevent the smell to come back into the bowl…

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South Africa_Monni Mokwena
Monni Mokwena (Source: Sowetan Live)

Monni Mokwena is the epitome of black excellence. The 25-year-old designed a toilet that does not only save underprivileged people money, but it also preserves water. Mokwena pitched her idea at the Engen Pitch and Polish competition and she was crowed the regional winner.The young inventor was inspired by her upbringing in Bakenberg village in Mokopane, Limpopo. Mokwena was one among many living in rural areas who did not have the pleasure of flushing toilets. According to The Sowetan, Mokwena also saw her gogo spend a lot of money to pay someone to fetch water.

I am a rural girl. Toilets are a serious problems in our community. My grandmother still spends a substantial amount of money of her pension to pay people who get her water from far,” she said. 

She started doing research and found that the everyday toilet was invented over 400 years ago. Briefly.co.za gathered she came up with plans and her invention uses less than a litre of water.

I realised that the mountain of the s-shaped pipe at the back of the toilet is the one that makes the toilet to use a lot of water. This was created to prevent the smell from coming back to the house. We’ve cut that ‘mountain’,” Mokwena said.

Mokwena’s new “swallowing toilet” uses a flexible pipe instead of the s-shaped one and because it swallows the waste, the toilet only requires 400 millilitres of water – opposed to the 13 litres of water a normal toilet uses. Taking to social media, Mokwena gushed about the competition where she pitched her idea before walking away the winner.

Just imagine, a poor girl like me with my poor English, from the village pitching and competing with/to the most sophisticated people. And, I made to the top. Bafowethu – Let’s keep pushing but never forget to pray hey…. the competition is too much there,” she wrote on Facebook. 

“Independencia Total” by Alda Neves da Graça do Espírito Santo

500 Fcfa_BEAO
1000 Fcfa_BEAO

I recently read the national anthem of São Tomé and Príncipe, and thought of how much it represents the aspirations of the entire African continent, especially for French speaking countries which are still under that awful nazi currency system called FCFA through which France has been siphoning over 500 billion dollars every year for free! What do I mean by free? Well, because the FCFA (France’s Colonial Tax on Africa) is a currency of servitude and is a colonial tax paid by African countries to France (Africa is funding Europe!). 14 african countries (15 if you count also the Comoros whose currency is not called the same, but is nonetheless pegged to France) are obliged by France, through a colonial pact, to put 50% (it used to be 85%, then 65%, …) of their foreign reserves into France’s central bank under the French minister of Finance control. As we speak today in 2019, Senegal and about 13 other African countries still have to pay colonial debt to France. African leaders who refuse are killed or victim of a coup. To learn more, also read The 11 Components of the French Colonial Tax in Africa.

Sao Tome Flag
Flag of Sao Tome and Principe

The national anthem of São Tomé and Príncipe, rightfully titled Independência total (Total Independence), was written by Alda Neves da Graça do Espírito Santo, the celebrated Sao Tomean poet and writer who was a minister on several occasions and also the president of the national Assembly. Her poem for the national anthem was adopted in 1975. As you read it, wherever you see Sao Tome and Principe, replace by Africa, African continent and claim the total independence: “Warriors in the war without weapons, Live flame in the soul of the people, Congregating the sons of [Africa], Around the immortal Fatherland, Total independence, total and complete.” Enjoy!

Chorus:

Independência total,

Glorioso canto do povo,

Independência total,

Hino sagrado de combate.

 

Dinamismo

Na luta nacional,

Juramento eterno

No país soberano de São Tomé e Príncipe.

Guerrilheiro da guerra sem armas na mão,

Chama viva na alma do povo,

Congregando os filhos das ilhas

Em redor da Pátria Imortal.

Independência total, total e completa,

Construindo, no progresso e na paz,

A nação mais ditosa da Terra,

Com os braços heroicos do povo.

 

Chorus

Trabalhando, lutando, presente em vencendo,

Caminhamos a passos gigantes

Na cruzada dos povos africanos,

Hasteando a bandeira nacional.

Voz do povo, presente, presente em conjunto,

Vibra rijo no coro da esperança

Ser herói no hora do perigo,

Ser herói no ressurgir do País.

Chorus

Dinamismo

Na luta nacional,

Juramento eterno

No pais soberano de São Tomé e Príncipe.

Chorus:

Total independence,

Glorious song of the people,

Total independence,

Sacred hymn of combat.

 

Dynamism

In the national struggle,

Eternal oath

To the sovereign country of São Tomé and Príncipe.

Warriors in the war without weapons,

Live flame in the soul of the people,

Congregating the sons of the islands

Around the Immortal Fatherland.

Total independence, total and complete,

Building, in progress and peace,

The happiest nation on earth,

With the heroic arms of the people.

 

Chorus

Working, struggling, struggling and conquering,

We go ahead with giant steps

In the crusade of the African peoples,

Raising the national flag.

Voice of the people, present, present and united,

Strong beat in the heart of hope

To be a hero in the hour of peril,

A hero of the Nation’s resurgence.

Chorus

Dynamism

In the national struggle,

Eternal oath

To the sovereign country of São Tomé and Príncipe.

Queen Amina of Zazzau: Woman As Capable as a Man

Queen Amina_1
Queen Amina of Zazzau

A few years ago, I wrote about Queen Amina of Zazzau: the Great Hausa Warrior born to Rule, the woman remembered today in Nigeria as  ‘Amina, rana de Yar Bakwa ta San’ (Amina, daughter of Nikatau, woman as capable as a man). Crowned queen of Zazzau in 1576, Amina expanded her kingdom’s boundaries down to the Atlantic coast; she founded several cities, and personally led an army of 20,000 soldiers to numerous battles. During her 34-year reign, she commanded the construction of a defensive mural around each military camp that she established.  Later, those camps evolved into prosperous cities within those walls, and some can still be seen today in northern Nigeria.  Those cities are known as walls ‘ganuwar of Amina’ or ‘Amina’s walls‘.

Queen Amina’s achievement was the closest that any ruler had come in bringing the region now known as Nigeria under a single authority. Enjoy this trailer for the movie Amina by Izu Ojukwu and the website for it: AminaQueenOfZazzau.com; the BBC also made a cartoon about her. With Hollywood’s recent lack of imagination and appropriation of other people’s culture, I would not be surprised that they copy her story to bring it onto big screen. However, Africans should put forward their own stories and value them… not wait for some imagination-hungry entity to come grab it, to all of a sudden value their own history (Black Panther).

Why the Warthog goes about on his knees

Jackal
Jackal

Oh, Gogo,” little Sipho asked one evening, “could you tell us the story of clever Jackal again?” Sipho, whose nickname was Mpungushe “jackal,” never tired of hearing tales of his beloved namesake.
Hawu, Sipho,” moaned several of his siblings, “Not again, little Jackal! You will wear out our ears with stories of Mpungushe!

Gogo laughed her deep, round laugh. Soon each of her grandchildren were laughing along with her.

I, too, love the stories of the Jackal!” Gogo looked at Sipho. “But we do not want to cause your brothers and sisters to become deaf. I think there is another tale that I can tell you of an animal who tried to be as clever as Jackal!

Kwasuka sukela …

Warthog_1
Warthog

WartHog had made himself a lovely, spacious home in an old termite mound that an aardvark had cleared out. He had built it up and made a wide entrance. He thought it was the most magnificent home in Africa and would often stand at the entrance of his dwelling with his snout in the air as the giraffe, wildebeest and zebra passed on their way to the watering hole. “Hah,” he thought to himself, “no one has such a fine home!

One day as he looked out from the entrance of his cave he was horrified to see a huge lion stealthily stalking toward him. He started to back away, but because he had made the entrance to his place so grand, the lion would have no difficulty in following WartHog right in. “Ahhhh,” panicked WartHog, “Bhubesi will eat me in my own lounge! What will I do?

WartHog decided to use an old trick he’d heard Jackal bragging about. WartHog pretended to be supporting the roof of his hole with his strong back, pushing up with his tusks. “Help!” he cried to the lion, “I am going to be crushed! The roof is caving in! Flee, oh, mighty Bhubesi, before you are crushed along with me!

Now Lion is no fool. He recognized Jackal’s old ploy straight away (“Do you remember that story, children?”), and he wasn’t going to be caught out again. He roared so fiercely that WartHog dropped to his knees, trembling. WartHog begged for mercy. Luckily for him, Lion was not too hungry. So he pardoned WartHog and left, saying,

Lion
Lion

Stay on your knees, you foolish beast!

Lion laughed to himself and shook his shaggy head as he walked away. Imagine, slow-witted WartHog trying to copy Jackal’s trick! WartHog took Lion’s order to heart. That is why, to this day, you will see Wart Hog feeding on his knees, in a very undignified position, with his bottom up in the air and his snout snuffling in the dust.

A Traditional Zulu Story

Fossi Jacob and the French Genocide in Cameroon: Testimony

Cameroun_Chutes de la Metche_1Below is the testimony of one of Fossi Jacob ‘s daughters. If you ever get a chance, you should read “My Dad was Fossi Jacob: Itinerary of a martyr of the Cameroonian Independence” written by Fossi Jacob’s first son, Abraham Sighoko Fossi (“Papa s’appelait Fossi Jacob: Itinéraire d’un martyr de l’indépendance du Cameroun“). To learn more about France’s genocide in Cameroon, the books ‘Kamerun. La guerre cachee de la France en Afrique noire‘ (Kamerun. France’s Hidden War in Black Africa) and Mongo Beti ‘s ‘Main Basse sur le Cameroun, autopsie d’une décolonisation (Cruel hand on Cameroon, autopsy of a decolonization).

12 September should be commemorated in Cameroon in memory of Fossi Jacob, a man who, by his selfless act, saved countless lives, and in memory of all the victims of the French genocide.

French Colonial Treaties in Africa: 7 February 1869 in Petit Bassam in Cote d’Ivoire

Map of Cote d'Ivoire
Map of Cote d’Ivoire

Since we were talking about Côte d’Ivoire, I thought about taking us down memory lane with this 1869 treaty between France and the King of Petit Bassam in modern-day Côte d’Ivoire. Today, on the island of Petit Bassam are neighborhoods such as TreichvilleKoumassi, and Marcory; these are all parts of the city of Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire‘s most populous city. The treaty below was signed between the French navy lieutenant Vernet and King Bogny of Petit Bassam.

The English translation of the treaty is by Dr. Y., Afrolegends.com. For the French original click here: Cote d’Ivoire_Traite relatif a la souverainete de la France sur le territoire de Petit Bassam 7 Fev 1869.

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Cote dIvoire_Abidjan map
The city of Abidjan and its neighborhoods, from colonial times to now

Treaty between M. VERNET, navy lieutenant, Knight of the Legion of Honor, Senior Commander of the Gold Coast trading posts, on behalf of the M. the Counter-Admiral, Commander in Chief of the navy of the western coast of Africa, Gabon, Gold Coast and BOGNY, King of the country of Petit-Bassam.

Article 1

The king and chiefs of Petit-Bassam, desiring to place their country under the protection of France, concede the full and entire sovereignty of their territory to H.E. Napoleon III, Emperor of the French.

Article 2

The French flag will be on all points where the Admiral Commander-in-Chief will deem necessary as a mark of sovereignty.

Article 3

The king and chiefs give up in full ownership to the French the lands which will be necessary to  them [the French] to build a fortification or commercial establishment that they [the French] will judge suitable.

Article 4

In the event of the sinking of a ship, to whatever nation it belongs, they must lend their hands to the rescue; one-third of the cargo will be conceded to the rescuers.

La ville d'Abidjan
La ville d’Abidjan (source RFI)

Article 5

In the event that disputes arise between the locals and Frenchmen or foreigners, if the matter cannot be arranged amicably, it will be brought to the court of the Senior Commander of Grand-Bassam who will judge in the last resort, unless approved by the admiral commander chief.

Article 6

Any ship, from whatever nation it belongs to, may deal with the villages of Petit-Bassam, in accordance with the orders of the admiral commander-in-chief and subject to a customs duty of 4% on exported goods, fixed by the decree of September 12th 1868. This right will be levied by the French agents from May 1st 1869.

Article 7

In exchange for these concessions, it will be granted to the king, chiefs, and inhabitants of the villages of Petit-Bassam protection of the colonial outpost and French warships.

 

The said treaty, read and re-read in the French language and the language of the country, will start its course today.

Cote dIvoire_Port Bouet le phare de Petit Bassam_2
The lighthouse of Petit Bassam, Port Bouet

It was made double and in good faith between us, and a copy was issued to each of the parties.

In the village of Petit-Bassam, the seven of February one thousand eight hundred and sixty nine.

The Senior Commander of the Outposts of the Gold Coast

            Signed: VERNET.

Signature of BOGNY.

Mark made by the King

+

Certified True:

            Signed: VERNET

                        Signature of DÉDÉ, translator.

                        The doctor of 2nd class of Grand-Bassam

                                    Signed: Le BUNETEL

 

Approved:

The Counter-Admiral, Commander-in-chief of the naval division of the Western coasts of Africa and Senior Commander of the trading posts of the Gold Coast and Gabon.

Signed: A. Dauriac

 

“Dawn in the Heart of Africa” by Patrice Lumumba

Patrice Emery Lumumba
Patrice Emery Lumumba

Here is a poem by Patrice Lumumba (19251961), published on Pambazuka NewsPatrice Lumumba was elected the first prime minister of the  Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Assassinated by Belgian colonialists and the CIA, Lumumba was a founder member of the Movement National Congolais (MNC), which led the Congo to independence. Patrice Lumumba is the symbol of aspirations of an entire continent, and he continues to serve as an inspiration to contemporary Congolese and African politicians. His spirit lives on, and his pride is ours!

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Dawn in the Heart of Africa

For a thousand years, you, African, suffered like beast,
Your ashes strewn to the wind that roams the desert.
Your tyrants built the lustrous, magic temples
To preserve your soul, reserve your suffering.
Barbaric right of fist and the white right to a whip,
You had the right to die, you also could weep.
On your totem they carved endless hunger, endless bonds,
And even in the cover of the woods a ghastly cruel death
Was watching, snaky, crawling to you
Like branches from the holes and heads of trees
Embraced your body and your ailing soul.
Then they put a treacherous big viper on your chest:
On your neck they laid the yoke of fire-water,
They took your sweet wife for glitter of cheap pearls,
Your incredible riches that nobody could measure.
From your hut, the tom-toms sounded into dark of night
Carrying cruel laments up mighty black rivers
About abused girls, streams of tears and blood,
About ships that sailed to countries where the little man
Wallows in an ant hill and the dollar is king,
To that damned land which they called a motherland.
There your child, your wife were ground, day and night
In a frightful, merciless mill, crushing them in dreadful pain.
You are a man like others. They preach you to believe
That good white God will reconcile all men at last.
By fire you grieved and sang the moaning songs
Of a homeless beggar that sinks at strangers’ doors.
And when a craze possessed you
And your blood boiled through he night
You danced, you moaned, obsessed by father’s passion.
Like furry of a storm to lyrics of a manly tune
From a thousand years of misery a strength burst out of you
In metallic voice of jazz, in uncovered outcry
That thunders through the continent like gigantic surf.
The whole world surprised , wakes up in panic
To the violent rhythm of blood, to the violent rhythm of jazz,
The white man turning pallid over this new song
That carries torch of purple through the dark of night.

The dawn is here, my brother! Dawn! Look in our faces,
A new morning breaks in our old Africa.
Ours alone will now be the land, the water, mighty rivers
Poor African surrendered for a thousand years.
Hard torches of the sun will shine for us again
They’ll dry the tears in eyes and spittle on your face.
The moment when you break the chains, the heavy fetters,
The evil cruel times will go never to come again.
A free and gallant Congo will rise from black soil,
A free and gallant Congo-black blossom from black seed!

Patrice Lumumba

Proverbe sur la patience et la discrétion / Proverb on Patience and discretion

haircut5On ne conduit pas chez le coiffeur un enfant qui n’est pas encore né (Proverbe Dogon – Mali). – Ne vendez pas la peau de l’ours avant de l’avoir tué.

We do not take a child who is not yet born to the hairdresser (Dogon proverb – Mali).- Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.