Posted by: Dr. Y. | July 26, 2019

Proverbe sur l’Etranger / Proverb on the Outsider

poule5

Poule blanche / White hen

L’étranger est comme une poule blanche: on le reconnaît immédiatement (Proverbe Tumbuka – Malawi, Tanzanie, Zambie).

A stranger is like a white hen: he stands out (Tumbuka proverb – Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia).

Cape to Cairo_Alvin Zhakata_1

Alvin Zhakata in Khartoum, Sudan (Source: Alvin Zhakata)

What would you do for the love of football? How far would you go for a chance to watch the biggest continental football event of the year? Will you cross mountains, rivers, plains, and valleys? Well, Alvin Zhakata, a Zimbabwean man, trekked 10,000 km to cheer for the Zimbabwean warriors at the Africa Cup of Nations 2019 in Cairo this past month. He traveled from Cape Town to Cairo by road enduring visa delays, internet blackouts and revolutionary protests all for the love of football. It took him a total of 44 days; he missed his team who were eliminated in the first round, but the CAF president gave him a VVIP ticket to the final between Algeria and Senegal last Friday.

Cecil Rhodes with his transafrican train project from Cairo to Cape Town - the most imperialist ever

Cecil Rhodes with his transafrican train project from Cairo to Cape Town – the most imperialist ever

What Zhakata did, is no simple feat. He did what even the infamous Cecil Rhodes could not achieve: go from Cape Town at the tip of Africa, to Cairo at the very top of the continent. For those who do not know: the words Cape to Cairo immediately bring to mind the European Scramble for AfricaCecil Rhodes and his ambition for Great Britain to control the whole of Africa from Cape to Cairo, and of course to link all British colonies via the Cape to Cairo Railway crossing Africa from south to north by rail. The Cape to Cairo Road was also planned to roughly connect the same countries; however, it is not praticable today, and has remained more of a dream or rather a possibility, which needs revamping.

What Zhakata did is not just a show of undying love of a fan for football, but also a political statement to all African leaders: we need roads to connect each other; we need better visa system, or rather a borderless Africa for better and safer travel, increased trade among each other: we need a united Africa. Zhakata’s statement is one of Unity,… African Unity. Enjoy the excerpt below from BBC.

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CAN 2019

Africa Cup of Nations 2019 in Cairo, Egypt

A Zimbabwean nurse travelled from Cape Town to Cairo by road enduring visa delays, internet blackouts and revolutionary protests all for the love of football.

Alvin “Aluvah” Zhakata had intended to make it to Egypt for the opening match of the Africa Cup of Nations on 21 June, when Zimbabwe’s Warriors took on the hosts.

But he missed the match because his epic journey took much longer than expected.

Yet thanks to those following his adventures on Twitter, he has now become a celebrity – and the African football boss has presented him with a ticket to this Friday’s final between Algeria and Senegal.

When the 32-year-old arrived in the Egyptian capital last week, completing his 44-day 10,000km (6,200-mile) trip, he said it was well worth it despite some nerve-wracking experiences.

Cape to Cairo_Alvin Zhakata_4

Cape to Cairo (Source: BBC)

His other more sobering discovery was that “Africa is not friendly to Africans” – in terms of visas and borders. “And some of the visa fees for African countries, they are actually more expensive than visa fees when you want to go to Europe – and the waiting period takes too long. “I believe we need a borderless Africa.”

The journey began on 27 May on a route passing through South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.

Cape to Cairo_Alvin Zhakata_2

CAF president recognizing Alvin Zhakata for his feat, and presenting him with a VVIP ticket to the AFCON 2019 final

[…] His one disappointment has been the performance of the Warriors, who crashed out in the first round – amidst rows over pay.

But he says his achievement – which has become one of the biggest stories of this Africa Cup of Nations tournament – shows it pays to “dare to dream“.

If you have a passion for something, go for it. Pursue it until you get it. It may be delayed, but delay is not denial – be patient and be strong, because the harder the battle, the sweeter the victory,” he says.

CAN 2019_Algeria

The Fennecs of Algeria celebrate winning AFCON 2019 (The Guardian)

This past Friday, the Fennecs of Algeria defeated the Lions of Teranga of Senegal 1-0 to become Africa’s new champions. This was their second title since 1990.  Even though the final was not the desert foxes’s best game, they clearly were the best team of the tournament. Baghdad Bounedjah‘s early goal propelled Algeria to a first Africa Cup of Nations title in 29 years with a fiery 1-0 victory over Senegal in Friday’s final in Cairo.

 

CAN2019_4

Algeria’s coach Djamel Belmadi and Senegal’s coach Aliou Cisse

I would like to salute both coaches.  The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations was the first time in over 20 years when both finalists were led by African coaches: Algeria by Djamel Belmadi and Senegal by Aliou Cissé. This should be the norm, rather than the exception. Coincidentally, both coaches grew up in the same suburb of Paris, are the same age only separated by one day, and played against each other at youth level. They came head-to-head in a league game between Marseille and Paris Saint-Germain in February 2001, and then with their national teams two months later. Again African teams should be led by Africans… No wonder Egypt performed so poorly at the AFCON 2019 (this is the first time, they were not led by a local).

Madagascar

Flag of Madagascar

The revelation of this tournament was the Barea of Madagascar which for their first participation ever to the African Cup of Nations, performed extremely well, and went as far as the quarter finals. For their successful performance, their country’s president knighted the whole team.

Overall, AFCON 2019 brought us a lot of joy and tears, and we applaud the winners of this year’s tournament Algeria.

Posted by: Dr. Y. | July 17, 2019

Un proverbe sur la Tortue / A Turtle Proverb

Turtle

Une tortue / A Turtle

La tortue ne quitte pas sa carapace (Proverbe Sotho – Lesotho, South Africa, Botswana)

The turtle does not leave its shell (Sotho proverb – Lesotho, South Africa, Botswana).

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. 

Nubia_Pyramids of Meroe

Pyramids at Meroe (Wikipedia)

As I stated before, Sudan has more pyramids than Egypt, and at one point its pharaohs ruled Egypt for over a century. Only in recent years, has Nubia (Africa’s Forbidden Pyramids: Meroe, Nubia, and Sudan) attracted the attention of more archaeologists. One archaeologist used scuba diving to explore one of the pyramids at the ancient royal burial site of Nuri; making it the first time it is used in Sudan. He unearthed some amazing pottery figurines and gold leaves. The expert below is from the BBC; for the full article, follow the link.

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Nubia_Nuri archaeological expedition 1

Nuri Archaeological expedition / Pearce Paul Creasman (Source: BBC)

An underwater archaeologist has told the BBC of the extraordinary lengths he went to to access a pharaoh’s tomb underneath a pyramid.

Pearce Paul Creasman and his team were the first people to go into the tomb for 100 years and, in that time, it has become harder to access because of the rising water level. Mr Creasman told BBC Newsday that this was the first time underwater archaeology had been carried out in Sudan, the location of the ancient royal burial site of Nuri.

He found pottery figurines and gold leaf.

The gold offerings were still sitting there – these small glass-type statues had been leafed in gold. And while the water destroyed the glass underneath, the little gold flake was still there,” he told Newsday.

He believes these offerings were for Nastasen, a minor pharaoh who ruled the Kush kingdom from 335 BC to 315 BC.

This gold leaf would have been taken by thieves if it weren’t for the rising water level making the tomb inaccessible to most, underwater archaeologist Kristin Romey writes in the National Geographic.

Mr Creasman told the BBC that the team “dug as far as we could” down a 65-step stairway which led to the tomb entry. …

Nubia_Nuri archaeological expedition

Nuri archaeological expedition / Pearce Paul Creasman (Source: BBC)

He described what he found as “remarkable“:

There are three chambers, with these beautiful arched ceilings, about the size of a small bus, you go in one chamber into the next, it’s pitch black, you know you’re in a tomb if your flash lights aren’t on. And it starts revealing the secrets that are held within.

The tomb is part of the ancient site of Nuri which is spread across more than 170 acres in northern Sudan.

These pyramids mark the burials of Kushite royals who are sometimes referred to as “black pharaohs“. The Kush kingdom lasted for many hundreds of years and, in the 8th Century BC, it conquered Egypt which it ruled for almost a century.

Posted by: Dr. Y. | July 10, 2019

Nigeria signs African Free Trade Area Agreement

AfCFTA-africa-trade

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA; source: African Union (A.U.))

This is a big news for the African continent as it will now allow for free trade across the continent, increasing trade among countries which should have always traded between themselves. This is what was envisioned by Kwame Nkrumah, all the independence fathers, and more recently by Muammar Kadhafi (Africans and the Trap of Democracy) at the AU: so it is high time it took place. I just pray that this actually works, and that it is not just a way for European goods which already go through some African countries without any tax or control (French speaking Africa), to flood Africa’s biggest economies. The excerpt is from the BBC; to read the full article go to the link.

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Flag and map of Nigeria

Flag and map of Nigeria

African superpower Nigeria has signed an agreement which aims to increase trade between African countries….

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari signed the landmark agreement at the African Union (AU) summit in Niger. The first step is to cut tariffs for goods from countries within the bloc but the timeframe to do this is yet to be announced.

The AU says that the African Continental Free Trade Area – called AfCFTA – will create the world’s largest free trade area. It also estimates that implementing AfCFTA will lead to around a 60% boost in intra-African trade by 2022.

Only 16% of international trade by African countries takes place between African countries, according to research by the African Development Bank in 2014.

At the moment some of that intra-Africa trade ranges from fresh fish from the Seychelles to petrol from Angola.

20190707_AU_Summit_groupphoto_Niamey

African Union Summit group photo in Niamey, Niger on 07 July 2019 (Source: African Union (A.U.))

[…] Nigeria is Africa’s biggest economy and has long been a regional leader […]

Nigeria has a lot to gain from increasing access to its goods and services to a wider African market. But many of those consulted also feared increased regional integration would lead to unfair competition for jobs and the goods they produce.

With Nigeria signed up, AfCFTA’s dream of increasing intra-Africa trade, which currently lags behind the volume of trade the continent does with Europe, is now one step closer.

Now that AfCFTA can offer access to the enormous Nigerian market, they are in a much stronger position to negotiate with regional bodies in other parts of the world.

fireDe grands feux commençèrent par de petites étincelles (Proverbe Libyen – Libya).

Great fires erupt from tiny sparks.  (Libyan Proverb – Libya)

Patrice Emery Lumumba

Patrice Emery Lumumba

For the celebration on 30 June 1960 of the independence of Congo, we will do a trip down memory lane with this speech Patrice Lumumba addressed to the Congolese youth in August of 1960. In 1960, Patrice Lumumba was elected the first prime minister of the  Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Assassinated by Belgian colonialists and the CIA in 1961Lumumba was a founding member of the Movement National Congolais (MNC), which led Congo to independence. Today, Patrice Lumumba is the symbol of aspirations for an entire continent, and he continues to serve as an inspiration to contemporary Congolese and African politicians. His message here to the Congolese youth is really a message to the African youth. Enjoy! The full speech can be found in Patrice Lumumba: Fighter for Africa’s Freedom, Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1961, p 33-36, by Patrice Lumumba (transcribed by Thomas Schmidt) here .

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Map of the DRC

Map of the DRC

Today I am addressing the youth, the young men and women of the Republic of the Congo.

In speaking to them, I am addressing these words to future generations because the future of our beloved country belongs to them.

We are fighting our enemies in order to prepare a better and happier life for our youth.

If we had been egoists, if we had thought only about ourselves we would not have made the innumerable sacrifices we are making.

I am aware that our country can completely liberate herself from the chains of colonialism politically, economically and spiritually only at the price of a relentless and sometimes dangerous struggle. Together with the youth of the country, we have waged this struggle against foreign rule, against mercantile exploitation, against injustice and pressure. 

DRC_flag

Flag of the Democratic Republic of Congo

Young people who have been inactive and exploited for a long time have now become aware of their role of standard-bearer of the peaceful revolution.

The young people of the Congo have fought on our side in towns, villages and in the bush. Many of our young men have been struck down by the bullets of the colonialists. Many of them left their parents and friends in order to fight heroically for the cause of freedom. The resistance that the young people offered the aggressors in Leopoldville on January 4 and in Stanleyville on October 30, 1959, deserves every praise.

With deep emotion I bow in memory of these courageous patriots, these fighters for African freedom.

The time is not far distant when large numbers of young men and women were driven out of schools by their white teachers and instructors on the suspicion of having nationalist ideas. Many brilliantly gifted young people turned down the opportunity to receive a higher education for the simple reason that they no longer wished to be indoctrinated by the colonialists, who wanted to turn our young men and women into eternal servants of the colonial regime.

DRC_First_Congolese_government

Patrice Lumumba (center left) with his first government after his investiture outside the Palais de la Nation, 23 June 1960

During the heroic struggle of the Congolese nationalists, the young people, even those who were still sitting at school desks, resolutely opposed all new forms of colonialism, whether political, social, spiritual or religious.

Their only dream was national liberation. Their sole aim was immediate independence. Their only resolve was to wage an implacable struggle against the puppets and emissaries of the colonialists.

Thanks to the general mobilisation of all the democratic youth of the Congo, the Congolese nationalists won independence for the nation. We received this independence at the price of a grim struggle, at the price of all sorts of privations, at the price of tears and blood.

After independence was solemnly proclaimed on June 30, 1960, the colonialists and their black emissaries started a barbarous war in the young Republic of the Congo. They began this perfidious aggression because the nationalist Government now in power did not want them to continue exploiting our country as they did prior to June 30, the historic day when the people of our country said Adieu to the Belgian colonialists.

Not having any support whatever, particularly among the working class, who have had their fill of colonial exploitation, the colonialists and their henchmen now want to force certain sections of the youth to serve them in order to be able to propagandise the revival of colonialism. That is why a certain part of the youth, luckily not a very numerous part, have plunged into national defeatism.

Happily, the vast majority of the young people saw through this last attempt of the imperialists, who are turning into account the dissatisfaction of some malcontents, of those who failed in the elections because they did not have the confidence of the people.

This nationalist youth recently held demonstrations in various towns in the Republic to show their absolute and total opposition to imperialist intrigues.

DRC_Republic_of_the_Congo_(Léopoldville)_-_Commemoration_Independence_Stamp

Stamp commemorating the independence of Congo on 30 June 1960

Young people, I salute you, and congratulate you on your civic and patriotic spirit. Young people, specially for you I have created a Ministry for Youth Affairs and Sports under the Central Government. It is your Ministry. It is at your disposal. Many of you, without any discrimination, will be called upon to direct this Ministry, its different services and activities.

Today, in the free and independent Congo we must not have a Bangala, National Unity Party, Association of Bakongo, Mukongo, Batetela or Lokele youth but a united, Congolese, nationalist, democratic youth. This youth will serve the social and economic revolution of our great and beloved country.

You must energetically combat tribalism, which is a poison, a social scourge that is the country’s misfortune today. You must combat all the separatist manoeuvres, which some of the preachers of the policy of division are trying to pass off to young and inexperienced people under the name of federalism, federation or confederation.

In reality, young people, these names are only a new vocabulary brought by the imperialists to divide us in order the better and more conveniently to exploit us. Your entire future will be threatened if you do not oppose these manoeuvres, this new, disguised colonisation.

Lumumba on a USSR stamp in 1961

Lumumba on a USSR commemorative stamp in 1961

You must be proud that you belong to a great nation, a great country, a mighty power. This power, which the imperialists envy today, is embodied in national unity. This unity must be the heritage that you, in your turn, shall leave to your children.

The Government will soon send 300 young people to study in the U.S.A., 150 in the Soviet Union and 20 in Guinea, not to mention other countries.

The Congo is no longer a national reservation, a national park, a zoo which we could not leave. Tomorrow you shall go everywhere to study, to learn a speciality, and to get to know the world. Workers, working people will have an equal share in these study missions.

You shall go everywhere, to all the parts of the world. These contacts with the outside world, this direct confrontation with the reality of life will make you experienced people, whom the free and independent Congo needs today.

You will go there not as representatives of Association of Bakongo, National Unity Party, Congo National Movement or African Regroupment Centre youth. You will be Congolese citizens, simply Congolese. And by your behaviour, devotion, intelligence and political maturity you must be a credit to your Congolese motherland.

Patrice_Lumumba_official_portrait

Official portrait of Patrice Lumumba

Young people, the Congo belongs to you. The national Government, the people’s Government will do everything in its power to prevent the Congo from being torn away from you.

Long live the Republic of the Congo!

Long live the people’s, democratic youth!

world-robotic-competion2019

Methodist Girls’ High School at Mamfe Akuapem in the Eastern Region (Source: Africa.com)

A few weeks ago, an all-girls team from Ghana won the World Robofest 2019 Championship in the US, defeating teams from the United States, Mexico, Japan, China, Korea, South Africa, etc. The 20th edition of World Robofest championship competition took place in the state of Michigan, in the United States. I join myself in applauding this outstandingly great feat by the all-girls Ghanaian team from the Methodist Girls’ High School at Mamfe Akuapem in the Eastern region of Ghana: we are very proud of them.

Enjoy the excerpt below from Face2FaceAfrica, and join us in congratulating these girls as well as their coaching staff. For the full article, go to Face2FaceAfrica.

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world-robotic-competion2019_1

All-girls robotics team from Ghana (Team Acrobot) – Photo: Ghana Robotics Academy Foundation

Ghana presented an all-girls robotics team for the senior division of the World Robofest Championship in the United States and they won the topmost position by beating teams from the United States, Mexico, Egypt, South Korea and dozens of others.

Named Team Acrobot, the nine girls from the Methodist Girls’ High School in the Eastern Region of Ghana dominated the 10 broad and challenging categories of the championship held from May 16 to 18 at the Lawrence Technological University (LTU), Southfield, Michigan.

[…] The team from Ghana was able to build a robot that arranged boxes according to a binary number they were given during the competition. They also completed their missions successfully.

world-robotic-competion2019_2

Team Acrobot – Photo: Ghana Robotics Academy Foundation

Team Acrobot was not the only team from Ghana. The West African country also presented a team for the junior division called Team Cosmic Intellect. The team of five boys from the Mikrobot Academy in Ghana came 6th out of the overall 52 teams in the division.

[…] The Ghana Robotics Academy Foundation was founded by Dr. Ashitey Trebi-Ollennu, the Ghanaian robotics engineer at NASA and the chief engineer and technical group leader for the mobility and manipulation group at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He is one of the lead engineers behind NASA’s Mars Rover and InSight projects. […]

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