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.

Robert Mugabe and Zimbabwe, a Short Biography

Flag of Zimbabwe
Flag of Zimbabwe

Here is a documentary about Robert Mugabe and his history, his life, and his leadership. This video talks about him, the fight for independence, the loss of his first son while imprisoned by the British in Rhodesia, and the renaming of the country from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe, after the Great Zimbabwe  Empire. I only recently found out that Mugabe had been influenced by Kwame Nkrumah: African Visionary and Ghana’s First President. He had lived and trained at the Takoradi Teacher Training College in Ghana, where he met his first wife Sally Hayfron Mugabe. It is sort of a short biography.

African Joke – 15 millions

Money3
Bag of money

A man sold his land for 15 millions. Since it was the weekend, he did not deposit the money at the bank. Not trusting his wife and kids, he decided to go to church with his 15 millions in his bag.

He stood up to go take the communion and when he returned to his seat to pray, his bag had disappeared in the midst of church.

All of a sudden he spits the communion and start screaming …

Angry face1
Angry

Thieves!! Murderers!! My mother is a witch!! You will all die!! My Fetish will kill you all!! Sakpata voodoo on you, heviesso voodoo on you, you will never see tomorrow !!! You will all go to hell, including your priest !!! Kanga bah.

Everyone is stupefied! Suddenly a little boy calls him, saying:

Papa, you are not at the right seat. Your bag is just here, two rows behind.

The original in French is found on Nouchi.com . Translated to English by Dr. Y. Afrolegends.com

“Phenomenal Woman” by Maya Angelou

Happy international Women’s Day. I am so proud to celebrate the achievements and milestones of women. I decided to reblog Dr. Maya Angelou’s poem: ‘Phenomenal Woman’.

African Heritage

Maya Angelou Maya Angelou

In celebration of the Women International Day on March 8th, I decided to post this poem by the great African American poet, Maya Angelou.  It is dedicated to all the women of the world, the gorgeous, natural, and phenomenal women who make up our lives.  Enjoy Phenomenal Woman.

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I…

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So long Buchi Emecheta

In memory of one of Africa’s great women writer, I would like to share a post I wrote a few years back dedicated entirely to her work. Buchi Emecheta was a strong woman, a strong writer, and she used her writing to get out of a difficult situation (violent marriage, divorce, single-handedly raising 5 children, work). Above all, she believed in what she was doing, and gave us some of the first feminist books in Africa

African Heritage

Buchi Emecheta

Today I would like to talk about a strong woman… a determined woman… an independent African female writer: Buchi Emecheta.  Dr. Buchi Emechetais an established Nigerian author who has published over 20 books.  She wrote such books asSlave Girl, The Joys of Motherhood, Second Class Citizen, The Bride Price, and more recentlyKehindeHer themes have always revolved around motherhood, child slavery, and women independenceBuchi got married at the tender age of 16, and by the age of 22 was the mother of five children (they had moved to London after the birth of the first child for her husband to pursue higher education).  Her marriage was unhappy and oftentimes violent.  She used writing as an escape, to keep her sanity.  The day her husband burnt her first manuscript marked Buchi’s rebirth.  As she watched him burn her novel…

View original post 257 more words

What Should Reparations for Slavery Entail?

Slavery_capture
Slave capture

In my series on Reclaiming African History, I came across this article by Ama Biney on Pambazuka about reparations for slavery, which I found very pertinent. I decided to share parts of it. I particularly liked the ending paragraph, “… in addressing the issue of reparations, we must also address transforming the system of capitalism which slavery gave birth to. A rupture with this unequal and exploitative system is fundamental in eliminating oppression that remains with us in the twenty-first century in reconfigured forms“. For the full article, go to Pambazuka.

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… what should reparations entail?

slavery2
 

Acknowledging the atrocity and enormity of this experience is necessary in an official apology. Commentators have observed how the Maoris received an apology from the British Queen in 1995. [2] In 2008 the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologized in parliament to all Aborigines for laws and policies that “inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss”. [3] It appears when it comes to Africans our lives, bodies and history do not matter. Racism will find various rationalizations (or excuses) to deny that enslavement of Africans merits an apology and reparations. Yet, we cannot erase the collective historical memory and experiences of enslavement that was wrought on people of African descent and continues with the covert and overt forms of racial discrimination that they still experience in the 21st century. …

Slavery_Ship
Slave ships

Whilst it is the case that no amount of financial compensation can address the psychological and emotional scars of enslavement of people of African descent, nor the horrors of the Middle Passage, nor those who remain buried in the Atlantic Ocean as a consequence of suicide, nor the 132 Africans deliberately thrown overboard in 1786 on the slave ship Zong — in order that the ship owners could claim the insurance — a comprehensive economic package needs to address the fact that the current economic and technological underdevelopment of Africa and the Caribbean is symptomatic of the impact of 400 years of enslavement. This enslavement was followed by the brief but no less damaging interlude of colonialism and must be recognized as central to any form of reparations.

There are those who refuse to accept the fact that the economic wealth of Europe was built on the sweat, blood and toil of African people to the detriment of Africa. Yet, let us be clear that the trans-Atlantic slave trade was not a “trade.” The meaning of “trade” supposes equal benefit to both parties. It was not “trade” but the looting of Africa in which Europe benefited at the expense of Africa as Walter Rodney graphically illustrates in his acclaimed book, “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa.” The consequence for Africa was and remains that “the African economy taken as a whole was diverted away from its previous line of development and became distorted.” [4]

Slavery_Ship1
Slaves on board a ship

Reparations is therefore a quest to repair the economic damage of underdevelopment wrought by the process of enslavement and colonialism. This economic redress will be symbolic for it may run into trillions of dollars, for one can never place an economic value on the millions of Africans whose lives were lost in the slave raids, or as they died in the long march to the forts on the coast. How many died on such journeys? Can we account for those enslaved women who secretly aborted or killed their child to prevent them from experiencing slavery? And should we not include the medical experimentations carried out on the bodies of enslaved African women graphically documented in the books From Midwives to Medicine and Medical Apartheid? [5]

… Also, it is important for us to remember that on the ending of slavery in the British colonies, the British government were able to compensate the slave owners £20 million (£20 billion in today’s money). There was no compensation for the former enslaved African men and women. In the USA there were pledges to the freed men and women of “forty acres and a mule” that never materialized across the board. [6]

What should reparations for slavery entail? It should address the following:

First, an apology to all continental Africans and people of African descent for the immorality of slavery, for merely stating “regret” — as the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair did in 2007 — is mere cant. [7]

Pendant Ivory mask representing Queen Idia, Iyoba of Benin City (16th Century)
Pendant Ivory mask representing Queen Idia, Iyoba of Benin City (16th Century)

Second, we must demand that all Western governments instruct Western museums and citizens to hand over to African countries illicitly acquired African artifacts languishing both publicly and privately in their hidden vaults. They must also provide the training and facilities for African countries to host, display and conserve these returned items. This includes thousands of artifacts, among them being the more famous and well known 400 Ethiopian treasures looted by British soldiers during the 1868 Magdala expedition. [9] There are also the Benin bronzes looted in the British invasion of the Nigerian kingdom of Benin in 1896. [10]

Third, as mentioned above, the brain drain of African and African Caribbean professionals should be halted by offering these professionals the same salaries to voluntarily return to Africa and the Caribbean in order to assist in the building of new schools, universities, hospitals and clinics that would be set up and financed by a comprehensive reparations economic program.

Debt cancellation would free up these critical funds to address the real needs of African citizens.

capitalism2Fourth, cancellation of all debt incurred by the Caribbean and African nations on the grounds that they are odious and were not incurred by the ordinary citizens of Africa and the Caribbean but rather their ruling classes. … In short, aid is simply a paltry and ineffective band aid that keeps African economies in a continued process of economic subordination to neoliberal capitalism under the illusion that there will be “trickle down growth.” …

… Ultimately, in addressing the issue of reparations, we must also address transforming the system of capitalism which slavery gave birth to. A rupture with this unequal and exploitative system is fundamental in eliminating oppression that remains with us in the twenty-first century in reconfigured forms.

St Mary of Zion: Africa’s Oldest Church

africa-oldest-churst-st-mary-of-zion
St Mary of Zion church (sacred-destinations.com)

The Church of St Mary of Zion with the Treasury containing the Ark of the Covenant in the background (left) is the oldest church (Christian church) on the African continent. First built in the 4th century AD in Aksum, Ethiopia. It is the most important church in Ethiopia.

In the 4th century AD, the Axumite prince Ezana, the first Christian ruler of the Kingdom of Axum (Present-day Eritrea and Ethiopia), was instructed in Christianity by two Syrian monks shipwrecked on the Red Sea coast. The prince promoted Christianity when he became King Ezana, and he is regarded as a saint in both the Ethiopian Orthodox and Catholic churches. The original church is believed to have been built during the reign of Ezana, and has been rebuilt several times since then, including during the reign of Fasilides in the 17th century. St. Mary of Zion was the traditional place where Ethiopian Emperors came to be crowned. And indeed, if an Emperor was not crowned at Axum, or did not at least have his coronation ratified by a special service at St. Mary of Zion, he could not be referred to by the title of “Atse” or Emperor of Ethiopia.

Swiss Firms poison Oil destined for Africa

oil3I had to say a few words about the latest news that Swiss firms have been refining oil destined for Africa with levels of sulfur at least 200 times higher than in Europe. Sulfur is associated with heart disease, lung cancer and respiratory problems. Astounding isn’t it? But what is astounding to me is really why do countries who produce oil choose to refine it elsewhere and then import it back? Some will say that they are too poor to refine it; then why not train your own engineers to that effect; isn’t the cost of shipping it to Europe, then importing it back from European traders not high? Do you really think that those European companies responsible for refining it will not give you back trash for a lesser price? Who/What guarantees the quality? Well, those guilty Swiss companies claim that the regulations of African countries are too lax, and so they have done nothing wrong (so basically if they know something is toxic and has been banned everywhere, but Africans don’t know it, they will sell it to them). Here are a few excerpts from articles on the BBC, and AllAfrica. The maps are from BBC via UNEP.

Swiss firms have been criticised in a report for their links to the African trade in diesel with toxin levels that are illegal in Europe.

[…] Why are regulations so lax?

The picture is changing but there are still several African countries which allow diesel to have a sulfur content of more than 2,000 parts per million (ppm), with some allowing more than 5,000ppm, whereas the European standard is less than 10ppm.

africa_sulphur_2016Rob de Jong from the UN Environment Programme (Unep) told the BBC that there was a lack of awareness among some policy makers about the significance of the sulfur content.

For a long time countries relied on colonial-era standards, which have only been revised in recent years.

Another issue is that in the countries where there are refineries, these are unable, for technical reasons, to reduce the sulphur levels to the standard acceptable in Europe. This means that the regulatory standard is kept at the level that the refineries can operate at.

Some governments are also worried that cleaner diesel would be more expensive, therefore pushing up the price of transport.

But Mr De Jong argued that the difference was minimal and oil price fluctuations were much more significant in determining the diesel price.” (Source: BBC)

Speaking with journalists in Abuja, the Executive Director, ANEEJ, Mr. David Ugolor, tasked the federal government to pay serious attention to the dangers posed to the health of citizens by these Swiss commodity trading companies, Vitol and Trafigura.

He argued that due to poor regulatory activities, foreign companies like Vitol and Trafiguratake undue advantage of weak fuel standards in Africa to produce, deliver and sell diesel, petrol and gasoline, which damage the health of the people.”

According to Ugolor, the Swiss companies’ “business model relies on an illegitimate strategy of deliberately lowering the quality of fuels for gain.

Using a common industry practice called blending, Vitol and Trafigura and their conglomerates mix cheap and toxic intermediate petroleum products to produce what the industry calls African Quality fuels.

africa_sulphur_2005These products contain higher levels of Sulphur and other harmful poisons that can never be found in Europe and the United States.”

The ANEEL Executive Director contended that byselling such fuel and diesel at the pump in Africa, the traders increase external air pollution, causing respiratory disease and premature deaths.

“We all know that poor air quality poses serious risks to public health. As air quality declines, the risk of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic and acute respiratory diseases increases for residents of cities where the people rely on diesel to power their means of production.”

Ugolor maintained that the dirty fuel shipped to West Africa by Vitol and Trafigura are known to burn very fast, equally leading to huge economic losses to vehicle owners in the African sub region.

“It is impossible to continue to remain silent about this problem, especially for the short and long term repercussions on the health and economy of our people.” (Source: AllAfrica)

 

 

The Omanhene Who Liked Riddles

omanhene
Omanhene of Akropong, Oseadeayo Addo Dankwa III (Tripdownmemorylane.blogspot.com)

THE Omanhene is the chief of a village. A certain Omanhene had three sons, who were very anxious to see the world. They went to their father and asked permission to travel. This permission he readily gave.

It was the turn of the eldest to go first. He was provided with a servant and with all he could possibly require for the journey.

After traveling for some time he came to a town where lived an Omanhene who loved riddles. Being a stranger the traveler was, according to custom, brought by the people before the chief.

The latter explained to him that they had certain laws in their village. One law was that every stranger must best the Omanhene in answering riddles or he would be beheaded. He must be prepared to begin the contest the following morning.

Next day he came to the Assembly Place, and found the Omanhene there with all his attendants. The Omanhene asked many riddles. As the young man was unable to answer any of them, he was judged to have failed and was beheaded.

After some time the second son of the Omanhene started on his travels. By a strange chance he arrived at the same town where his brother had died. He also was asked many riddles, and failed to answer them. Accordingly he too was put to death.

By and by the third brother announced his intention of traveling. His mother did all in her power to persuade him to stay at home. It was quite in vain.

kenkey
Kenkey (Foodiciary.com)

She was sure that if he also reached the town where his brothers had died, the same thing would happen to him. Rather than allow this, she thought she would prefer him to die on the way.

She prepared for him a food called kenkey—which she filled with poison. Having packed it away in his bag, he set off. Very soon he began to feel hungry. Knowing, however, that his mother had not wished him to leave home, and therefore might have put some poison in the food, he thought he would test it before eating it himself. Seeing a vulture nearby, he threw it half the cake.

The bird ate the kenkey, and immediately fell dead by the roadside. Three panthers came along and began to eat the vulture. They also fell dead.

The young man cut off some of the flesh of the panthers and roasted it. He then packed it carefully away in his bundle.

A little farther on he was attacked by seven highway robbers. They wanted to kill him at once. He told them that he had some good roast meat in his bundle and invited them to eat with him first. They agreed and divided up the food into eight parts.

While they were eating the young man carefully hid his portion. Soon all the seven robbers fell ill and died. The young man then went on his way.

At last he reached the town where his brothers had died. Like them, he was summoned to the Assembly Place to answer the riddles of the Omanhene. For two days the contest proved equal. At the end of that time, the young man said, “I have only one riddle left. If you are able to answer that, you may put me to death.” He then gave this riddle to the Omanhene:

Half kills one—
One kills three—
Three kills seven.

The ruler failed to answer it that evening, so it was postponed till the next day.

Kente cloth
Kente cloth

During the night the Omanhene disguised himself and went to the house where the stranger was staying. There he found the young man asleep in the hall.

Imagining that the man before him was the stranger’s servant, and never dreaming-that it was the stranger himself, he roused the sleeper and promised him a large reward if he would give him the solution to the riddle.

The young man replied that he would tell the answer if the Omanhene would bring him the costume which he always wore at the Assembly.

The ruler was only too pleased to go and fetch it for him. When the young man had the garments quite safely, he explained the riddle fully to the crafty, Omanhene. He said that as they were leaving home, the mother of his master made him kenkey. In order to find out if the kenkey were good, they gave half to a vulture. The latter died. Three panthers which tasted the vulture also died. A little of the panther’s roasted flesh killed seven robbers.

The Omanhene was delighted to have found out the answer. He warned the supposed servant not to tell his master what had happened.

In the morning all the villagers assembled together again. The Omanhene proudly gave the answer to the riddle as if he himself had found it out. But the young man asked him to produce his ceremonial dress, which he ought to be wearing in Assembly. This, of course, he was unable to do, as the young man had hidden it carefully away.

The stranger then told what had happened in the night, and how the ruler had got the answer to the riddle by cheating.

The Assembly declared that the Omanhene had failed to find out the riddle and must die. Accordingly he was beheaded—and the young man was appointed Omanhene in his place.

This tale comes from: West African Folk-tales by W. H. Barker and C. Sinclair. Lagos, Africa: Bookshop, 1917

 

 

Final African Tally at the Rio 2016 Olympics

Rio2016_145 medals for Africa this year. A record. Wayde Van Niekerk, the South African, being the first African to win a gold medal in sprint, and also broke the world record established by Michael Johnson in 1999 on 400 m. Ethiopian Almaz Ayana also broke the 1993 record in 10000m.  Here are the remaining medals from the tally I published before the end of the games.

Cheikh Salla Cisse gave Côte d’Ivoire its very first Gold medal (in less than 80 kg Taekwondo men)

 

Cisse1
Cheikh Salla Cisse

Caster Semenya – 800 m women (South Africa) – Gold

 

Ruth Gbagbi – Taekwondo less than 67 kg women (Côte d’Ivoire) – Bronze

Francine Niyonsaba – 800 m women (Burundi) – Silver

Margaret Nyairera Wambui – 800 m women (Kenya) – Bronze

Nigeria men Soccer team – Bronze

Semenya
Caster Semenya

Eliud Kipchoge – Men Marathon (Kenya) – Gold

Julius Yego – Men Javelin (Kenya) – Silver

Almaz Ayana – 5000 m women (Ethiopia) – Bronze

Hagos Gebrhiwet – 5000 m men (Ethiopia)- Bronze

Feyisa Lilesa – Men Marathon (Ethiopia) – Silver

Taoufik Makhloufi – 1500 m Men (Algeria) – Silver

Abdoulrazak Issoufou Alfaga – over 80kg Taekwondo men (Niger) – Silver

Oussama Oueslati – less than 80 kg Taekwondo men (Tunisia) – Bronze

Hellen Obiri – 5000 m women (Kenya) – Silver

Vivian Cheruiyot – 5000 m women (Kenya) – Gold