Posted by: Dr. Y. | December 28, 2019

Who / What did we say Goodbye to in Africa in 2019?

Robert Mugabe_4

Robert Mugabe (History.com)

1. President Robert Mugabe, Freedom Fighter and First President of Zimbabwe left us this year… This was a man who tirelessly fought for his country’s liberation, and for the Black race as a whole. Some have called him an icon of liberation, and indeed he was! Julius Malema of South Africa said, “We must not allow our enemies to tell us how to remember him; we know our heroes.” Joseph Kabila, former president of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) said, “We will forever remember the worthy son of Africa, who came to our rescue when our country was victim of a foreign aggressor. The continent has lost one of its pan-African leaders, a hero of independence.” Let us keep his legacy up!

2. Toni Morrison, the First Black Woman to Win a Nobel Prize in Literature moved to another plane this year. Luckily, we can still read her thoughts in her profound, heartbreaking, and conscience shakers books.

Toni Morrison_1

Toni Morrison (Source: OvationTv.com)

3. This year, in Algeria, we said ‘basta!’ to the handicapped Abdelaziz Bouteflika who was trying to run for another presidential term. Thousands of Algerians staged sit-ins every Friday for months until they led to his demise! Even though they are now fighting to remove one of his cronies from power… that was a first step toward freedom.

4. We sent our Farewell to Beji Caïd Essebsi, Tunisia’s First Democratically Elected President. This seasoned politician, unity builder, passed away on the anniversary of the republic which reminded people of the role he played in nation-building since independence.

Jean-Baptiste Sipa

Jean-Baptiste Sipa (Source: Cameroun24.net)

5. The Cameroonian journalist Jean-Baptiste Sipa also changed dimension this year. He was known as a tireless seeker of the truth, and kept the Cameroonian government on its toes. An outstanding journalist, colleague of the late Pius Njawe, and head of Njawe’s Le Messager after his [Njawe] demise. I am one of the few privileged ones to have learnt a few things about journalism from him. Cameroon’s journalism has lost a giant.

6. Cameroon shamelessly loss the organization of the African Cup of Nations 2019, which was taken from them because of exacerbated corruption and of course its shameless government which is applauded by the French.

7. The great Zimbabwean singer Oliver Mtukudzi, one of Zimbabwe’s most renowned musicians, joined his ancestors. Interviewed on Eyewitness, Tuku said that, “My music is about touching the hearts… never mind how old. If a baby is born today, she/he must be able to relate to my music.” Indeed, we are still relating and dancing to Tuku’s music.

8. This year, Bujumbura lost its title as the capital of Burundi. After almost 60 years of reign, plus the 40 years during colonial times as Usumbura, Bujumbura has now been relegated to economic capital, in favor of Gitega. Gitega was chosen to become the siege of power because of its central location, as opposed to Bujumbura which is located on the northeastern shores of Lake Tanganyika, almost on the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

9. This year, Omar al-Bashir was ousted by the people of Sudan, after a 30-year reign. The people had had enough of his government which had been marked by corruption, human rights abuses, and which also led to the division of the largest country in Africa into two: Sudan and now South Sudan. There are of course foreign interests that played a major role in this, especially with all the oil fields in South Sudan. Al-Bashir was removed from power on 11 April 2019 by the Sudanese forces after months of civil unrest.

10. Algeria observed several days of mourning right around Christmas for the passing of General Ahmed Gaid Salah. This man was dearly loved, and perceived as the de facto ruler after the power vacuum left by Bouteflika. May his soul rest in peace.

Mushroom

Champignons / Mushrooms (Source: The Columbian)

Celui qui a trouvé un champignon ne manque pas de regarder tout autour pour decouvrir d’autres (Bamiléké). – Qui a bu, boira.

Whoever has found a mushroom does not fail to look around to find others (Bamileke proverb – Cameroon). Who drank, will drink.

Posted by: Dr. Y. | December 23, 2019

Ethiopia Celebrates the Launch of its First Satellite

Ethiopia_Satellite launch Entoto

The national public broadcaster EBC broadcasts the launch of Ethiopia’s very first micro-satellite (ETRSS-1) at the Entoto Observatory on the outskirts of the capital Addis Ababa, Friday Dec. 20, 2019. Ethiopia’s first-ever satellite has been launched into space by China. The earth observatory satellite is designed to help the East African nation gather data for agricultural, mining and environmental protection. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

Ethiopia has launched its first satellite this past Friday December 20, 2019. This is an outstanding feat and we are happy to celebrate with Ethiopian scientists and all Ethiopians. Funny how all western media titled “First Ethiopian satellite launched with the help of China,” as if it was wrong to do collaborations… aren’t most of the scientists at the International Space Station from all over the world and mainly Europe and the United States? Well we celebrate Ethiopia’s achievement. Below are excerpts from the article found on PhysOrg .

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Ethiopia’s first satellite was sent into space on Friday, a landmark achievement for the ambitious country that also caps a banner year for Africa’s involvement in space.

Scores of Ethiopian and Chinese officials and scientists gathered at the Entoto Observatory and Research Centre outside the capital, Addis Ababa, early Friday to watch a live broadcast.

The 70-kilogramme (154-pound) satellite was developed by the Chinese Academy of Space Technology with the help of 21 Ethiopian scientists, according to the specialist website africanews.space .

Ethiopia_satellite launch

People attend the launch of Ethiopia’s first micro-satellite (ETRSS-1) at the Entoto Observatory on the outskirts of the capital Addis Ababa, Friday Dec. 20, 2019. Ethiopia’s first-ever satellite has been launched into space by China. The earth observatory satellite is designed to help the East African nation gather data for agricultural, mining and environmental protection. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

It [the satellite] will send back data of the environment and weather patterns in the Horn of Africa—a boon for a country dependent on agriculture and forestry and vulnerable to flood, drought and other climate perils.

This will be a foundation for our historic journey to prosperity,” Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen said in a speech.

It is the eighth launch of an African satellite this year, topping the previous record of seven in 2017, according to Temidayo Oniosun, managing director of Space in Africa, a Nigeria-based firm that tracks African space programmes.

We can say that 2019 is pretty much the best year in the history of the African space industry,” Oniosun told AFP.

The launch makes Ethiopia the eleventh African country to have a satellite into space. Egypt was the first in 1998.

All told, 41 African satellites have now been launched—38 from individual countries and three more that were multilateral efforts, Oniosun said.

None of those launches has taken place from African soil.

China covered most of the satellite’s $8 million (7.2-million-euro) cost, according to an official involved in Ethiopia’s space programme who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to disclose details of the project.

DRC_Co extraction in DRC

Cobalt extraction in DRC has been linked to child labour. Photograph: Sebastian Meyer/Corbis via Getty Images

This is a first, and hopefully not the last: Apple, Google, Microsoft, Tesla, and Dell have all been named in a US lawsuit over Congolese child labor and death in cobalt mines. These companies all have specific policies prohibiting child labor in their supply chains, yet they turn a blind eye to the abuse happening in cobalt mines. As you all know, cobalt is one of the miracle minerals charging the entire handheld device boom observed in the past decade; it is essential to the lithium batteries which charge the smartphones in our pockets, the personal computers without which most of us cannot function, and the electric vehicles which claim to be better against pollution (and yet there is cobalt, and more, and Congo is polluted…). Enjoy excerpts from the article on CNN.

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DRC_Children digging for Co near Lake Malo

 Children digging for cobalt near Lake Malo. Photograph: Siddharth Kara

An international advocacy group has accused Apple, Google, Microsoft, Dell and Tesla of “knowingly benefiting from” the use of young children to mine cobalt in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

International Rights Advocates filed a federal class action against the five companies in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, where the group is based. The complaint claims that the firms “are knowingly benefiting from and aiding and abetting the cruel and brutal use of young children” to mine cobalt in extremely dangerous conditions.
The defendants have known for a “significant period of time” that Congo’s mining sector “is dependent upon children,” the complaint said, adding that cobalt mined in the region is listed as a good produced by child labor or forced labor by the US Department of Labor.
Further, the horrors of the plight of these children has been widely reported in the media,” the complaint said, citing reports about the cobalt pipeline published by the Washington Post, the Guardian and others.
DRC_Cobalt

Heterogenite (cobalt oxyhydroxide) from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo Illustration by 731: Photos: Courtesy the Arkenstone

Cobalt is a major component of lithium-ion batteries found in virtually every rechargeable electronic gadget. Two-thirds of the world’s cobalt comes from Congo.

In 2018, a CNN investigation found that child labor and corruption was still rife there. Many companies including Tesla told CNN at the time that they were unable to fully trace out their supply chains due to what they described as the complex nature of sourcing the precious metal. But the electric carmaker also said it sourced most of its cobalt from suppliers outside Congo and was “committed to only sourcing responsibly-produced materials.” Apple was one of only a few companies to reveal their suppliers to CNN. 
The new suit was filed on behalf of more than a dozen anonymous plaintiffs, who are described as “guardians of children killed in tunnel or wall collapses” while mining, or “children who were maimed in such accidents.”
[…] International Rights Advocates claims in the lawsuit that the children were exploited and hurt in mining operations linked to the mining companies Glencore (GLCNF), Umicore and Huayou Cobalt, which the group said supply to either some or all of the defendants. 
[…] International Rights Advocates is seeking damages for the alleged victims. The group said in its complaint that it is requesting that the court order Apple, Alphabet, Dell, Microsoft and Tesla to start a fund to help the plaintiffs receive medical care.

Fleur6Le passé appartient aux ancêtres, l’avenir appartient à Dieu, seul le présent t’appartient (proverbe malgache – Madagascar).

The past belongs to the ancestors, the future belongs to God, only the present belongs to you (Malagasy proverb – Madagascar).

Posted by: Dr. Y. | December 16, 2019

French Colonial Treaty in Madagascar : 18 January 1896

Madagascar

Madagascar

The treaty below with the Queen of Madagascar marked the full possession of Madagascar by France. It also marked the end of the Kingdom of Madagascar, or Merina Kingdom, officially known as Kingdom of Imerina. In essence, Ranavalona III, the last monarch of the Kingdom of Madagascar, tried to stave off the French colonization of her land by strengthening trade and diplomatic relations with the United States and Great Britain throughout her reign; however, French attacks on coastal port towns and an assault on the capital city of Antananarivo ultimately led to the capture of the royal palace in 1895, ending the sovereignty and political autonomy of the century-old kingdom. France officially annexed Madagascar on January 1, 1896.

As you read the treaty below, you could see the beginning of the schemes for the FCFA and the 11 Components of the French Colonial Tax in Africa we talked about a while back. Note that Madagascar was banned from dealing directly economically with foreign powers: everything had to go through France… isn’t this a predecessor to the FCFA?

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Ranavalona_III_of_Madagascar

Queen Ranavalona III of Madagascar

H.E. the Queen of Madagascar, after reading the declaration of possession of the Island of Madagascar by the government of the French Republic, declares to accept the following conditions below:

Article I

The government of the French Republic will be represented to the Queen of Madagascar by a Resident General.

Article II

The government of the French Republic will represent Madagascar in all external relations.

The resident general will be in charge of relations with the agents from foreign powers. Matters of interest to foreigners pertaining to Madagascar will be dealt with by through him.

The diplomatic and consular agents of France in foreign countries will be in charge of the protection of Malagasy subjects and interests.

Article III

The government of the French Republic reserves the right to maintain in Madagascar the military forces necessary for its authority.

Article IV

Ranavalona III conceded defeat to the French in Sept 1895

Ranavalona III conceded defeat to the French in September 1895

The Resident General will control the internal administration of the Island.

H.E. the Queen of Madagascar commits herself to proceed to the reforms that the French government will judge useful for the economic development and the progress of civilization.

Article V

The government of H.E. the Queen of Madagascar is prohibited from contracting any loan without the authorization of the government of the French Republic.

Antananarivo, January 19, 1896

Hoy Ranavalomanjaka III

Mpanjakany Madagascar

10,000FCFA (BEAC-1992)

10,000FCFA (BEAC-1992)

Below is the original article published by Mawuna R. Koutounin on Mondialisation.ca on Feb 20th 2014. I had accessed it on April 17 2017. Today, this article has disappeared from the website. This article is the basis for The 11 Components of the French Colonial Tax in Africa. Enjoy and share with all!

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Le saviez-vous ? 14 pays africains contraints par la France à payer l’impôt colonial pour les « avantages » de l’esclavage et de la colonisation

Par Mawuna Remarque Koutonin

Mondialisation.ca, 20 février 2014

siliconafrica.com

Région : Afrique subsaharienne

Thème: Histoire, société et culture

francafrique-Foccart et Houphouet

Jacques Foccart et Felix Houphouet-Boigny 

Photo : Foccart & Houphouet-Boigny, les pères fondateurs de la françafrique

Le saviez-vous? Aujourd’hui encore, beaucoup de pays africains continuent de payer un impôt colonial en France, et ce malgré l’indépendance !

Lorsque Sékou Touré de Guinée décida en 1958 de sortir de l’empire colonial français, et opta alors pour l’indépendance du pays, l’élite coloniale française à Paris était s’est indignée, et dans un acte de fureur historique, demanda à son administration alors en place en Guinée de détruire, dans tout le pays, ce qui représentait, à leur yeux, les avantages de la colonisation française.

Trois mille Français quittèrent le pays, en prenant tous leurs biens et détruisant tout ce qui ne pouvait être déplacé: les écoles, les crèches, les bâtiments de l’administration publique furent détruits, les voitures, les livres, les médicaments, les instruments de l’institut de recherche, les tracteurs ont été écrasés et sabotés; les chevaux, les vaches dans les fermes ont été tués, et les nourritures entreposées furent brûlées ou empoisonnée.

sekou-toure-time-cover-021959-600

Sekou Toure, Cover Time Magazine, Feb. 16, 1959

Le but de cet acte scandaleux était bien évidemment, d’envoyer un message clair à tous les autres colonies sur les conséquences du rejet de la France.

Le fait est que peu à peu, la peur s’empara des Élites Africaines, et après ces événements aucun autre pays ne trouva jamais le courage de suivre l’exemple de Sékou Touré, dont le slogan était « Nous préférons la liberté dans la pauvreté à l’opulence dans l’esclavage ».

Pour les pays nouvellement indépendant il fallut trouver des compromis avec la France. Sylvanus Olympio, le premier président de la République du Togo, un petit pays d’ Afrique de l’Ouest, trouva une solution susceptible de calmer les Français :

Ne voulant pas continuer à subir une domination française, il refusa de signer le pacte colonisation proposé par De Gaule, mais accepta en contrepartie de payer une dette annuelle à la France pour les soi-disant avantages obtenus lors de la colonisation française.

Ce furent les seules conditions de la France pour ne pas détruire le pays avant de partir. Toutefois, le montant estimé par la France était si grand que le remboursement de la soi-disant « dette coloniale » était proche de 40 % du budget du pays en 1963. Read More…

Posted by: Dr. Y. | December 11, 2019

Proverbe Swazi Cowards Should not Interrupt Doers

sunset2

Couche du soleil / Sunset

La personne qui dit que ça ne peut pas être fait, ne devrait pas interrompre l’homme qui fait (proverbe Swazi – Eswatini).

A person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the man doing it (Swazi proverb – Eswatini).

Benin Kingdom_Okukor2

Bronze cockerel ‘Okukor’ at Jesus College in Cambridge (Source: The Guardian)

Another return of an artifact from a Western institution to an African country, which I applaud… but I remain guarded. Why am I skeptical? Well, because if over 50% of artifacts in the great museums of this world (Louvre, British Museum, MET, Tervuren, etc) which generate a lot of money, and knowledge to western schools, researchers, etc, is made up of looted treasures… will the benefactors of the loot willingly return these? And if they return these, who is to say that it is the real thing? One should not expect a thief not to cheat you again! Below are excerpts from the article in The Guardian. Enjoy!

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Rooster from Benin Kingdom (18th century)

Rooster from Benin Kingdom (18th century) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the MET)

A bronze cockerel taken by British colonial forces and donated to Jesus College Cambridge is to be returned to Nigeria in an unprecedented step that adds momentum to the growing repatriations movement.

The Okukor, described by the college as a “royal ancestral heirloom”, will be one of the first Benin bronzes to be returned to Nigeria by a major British institution since the punitive expedition in 1897 when thousands of bronzes were stolen from Benin City by British forces.

No specific date for return has been released but the college stated that the bronze cockerel “belongs with the current Oba at the Court of Benin”. The return was recommended by Jesus College’s Legacy of Slavery Working Party (LSWP), a group dedicated to looking at the institution’s connections to slavery, which confirmed the piece was donated in 1905 by the father of a student.

[…] Victor Ehikhamenor, a Nigerian artist and member of the Benin Dialogue Group, said: “No matter how small the gesture may look, it is a huge step towards the realisation of restitution of the works from the Benin Kingdom that were looted by the British. This is very important example, which I hope other Europeans, especially British institutions, will follow without any excuses or delays.”

Dan Hicks, a professor of archaeology at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford and a representative of the Benin Dialogue Group, said: … In the past, our attention on this matter was focused on national collections like the British Museum and the V&A – but in reality such loot is held in dozens of institutions across the regions: city museums, art galleries and the collections of universities.”

[…] The Jesus College announcement comes almost exactly 12 months after the release of a report commissioned by the French president, Emmanuel Macron, which recommended the return of colonial-era artefacts by France.

Queen from Benin kingdom

Queen from Benin kingdom (at the MET)

The report’s authors, the Senegalese economist Felwine Sarr and the French art historian Bénédicte Savoy, told the Guardian that the British Museum, which houses a huge collection of the Benin bronzes, was acting like “an ostrich with its head in the sand” by not acting faster on repatriations.

[…] Since the release of the report, Ivory Coast, Senegal and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have made formal requests for the return of artefacts. European countries including France and Germany have committed to handing back objects, with the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam opening talks with Sri Lanka and Indonesia and describing the Netherlands’ failure to return stolen artefacts as a “disgrace”.

The news comes a week after Open Society Foundations (OSF) announced a $15m initiative aimed at strengthening efforts to “restore cultural objects looted from the African continent”. …

Posted by: Dr. Y. | December 6, 2019

Malagasy Tale: Trimobe and the Little Girl

Madagascar conte_Trimobe-12-créatures-légendaires-qui-hantent-Madagascar-1

Trimobe (Source: La Mozeration @Tokikycity, Mada-Actus Info)

A little girl who has been abandoned in the woods by her two evil sisters, meets the monster Trimobe, who tells her, “You will be my daughter, Rafara.” He takes her home, locks her in his den and feeds her with food. His plan is to “eat her when she will be well-fed and plump.”… Days go by.

One night, a small hungry mouse asks Rafara for food. Rafara, listening only to her good heart, gives the mouse food. To thank her, the mouse gives her a staff, a rock, and one egg, while advising her to flee as quickly as possible.

Bird_1

The bird

Rafara runs away. The monster pursues the little girl and quickly catches up to her. Rafara throws her staff while saying, “Dear staff, gift of the mouse, turn into a lake,” and the staff becomes a lake. But Trimobe in a few sips drinks it all. The little girl then throws the rock while saying, “Dear rock, gift of the mouse, turn into a forest,” and instantly the rock turns into a forest. Trimobe, thanks to his powerful and sharp tail, cuts all the trees down. Rafara then throws the egg while saying, “Dear little egg, gift of the mouse, turn into a mountain!” She finds herself at the top of the mountain. The bird Vovondreo who was passing by, agrees to take her with him in exchange for colorful rocks.

Her father welcomes her with joy. He wants to punish the two evil sisters but Rafara, so kind, intercedes on their behalf in front of her father. Rafara grows up to be so beautiful that the king’s son asks for her hand in marriage.

This is a short version of the tale on Contes a Rever, translated to English by Dr. Y. Afrolegends.com

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