Posted by: Dr. Y. | February 20, 2017

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…

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path_cheminLe chemin qui conduit vers des êtres chers, n’a pas d’épines (Proverbe Douala – Cameroun).

The path which takes to loved ones, does not have thorns (Duala Proverb – Cameroon).

Posted by: Dr. Y. | February 14, 2017

African Love Anthem: ‘Malaika’

A box of Valentine's day chocolate

A box of Valentine’s day chocolate

Who has not heard of the famous African love song ‘Malaika?’ The best known version of this song is the one sung by Mama Africa, Miriam Makeba. It is a Swahili song written by Tanzanian Adam Salim in 1945, who composed “Malaika” for his very beautiful girlfriend Halima Ramadhani Maruwa. Their parents disapproved of their relationship, and Halima was forced by her parents to marry an Asian tajir (wealthy man). The song is sung by a poor young man who wishes to marry his beloved ″Angel″ or ″Little bird″ but is defeated by the bride price.

A true African beauty: Mama Africa, Miriam Makeba

A true African beauty: Mama Africa, Miriam Makeba

This song is the most famous of all Swahili love songs in Tanzania, Kenya and the entire East Africa, as well as being one of the most widely known of all Swahili songs in the world; again, it was made popular around the globe by Miriam Makeba. Malaika means “angel” in Swahili, and this word has always been used by the Swahili speakers to refer to a beautiful girl. So this is to all the angels out there for this Valentine day.

 

 

 

Malaika

Malaika, nakupenda Malaika

Malaika, nakupenda Malaika

Nami nifanyeje, kijana mwenzio

Nashindwa na mali sina, we,

Ningekuoa Malaika

Nashindwa na mali sina, we,
Ningekuoa Malaika

Kidege, hukuwaza kidege

Kidege, hukuwaza kidege

Nami nifanyeje, kijana mwenzio

Nashindwa na mali sina, we,

Ningekuoa Malaika

Nashindwa na mali sina, we,
Ningekuoa Malaika

Pesa zasumbua roho yangu

Pesa zasumbua roho yangu

Nami nifanyeje, kijana mwenzio

Ningekuoa Malaika

Nashindwa na mali sina, we,
Ningekuoa Malaika

Angel

Angel, I love you angel

Angel, I love you angel

and I, what should I do, your young friend

I am defeated by the bride price that I don’t have

I would marry you, angel

I am defeated by the bride price that I don’t have
I would marry you, angel

Little bird, I think of you little bird

Little bird, I think of you little bird

and I, what should I do, your young friend

I am defeated by the bride price that I don’t have

I would marry you, angel
I am defeated by the bride price that I don’t have
I would marry you, angel

The money (which I do not have) depresses my soul
The money (which I do not have) depresses my soul
and I, what should I do, your young friend

I would marry you, angel

I am defeated by the bride price that I don’t have
I would marry you, angel

PirogueLe fond de la pirogue ne dit pas ce qu’il y a au fond de l’eau (Proverbe Douala – Cameroun). – Ne racontez pas les secrets de vos amis.

The bottom of the boat does not say what is at the bottom of the water (Duala Proverb – Cameroon). – Don’t tell your friends’ secrets.

Lion

Lion

Last night, the Pharaohs of Egypt took a stroll in the savanna and were eaten by the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon. Oh yes… the Egyptians, 7th time African champions, finally bowed down to the Cameroonians, who last night became 5th time African champions. The Cameroonian team broke the curse to defeat the Egyptians… who on all previous meets had always beaten Cameroon.

Cameroon_flag

Flag of Cameroon

So last night, Cameroon won its 5th African Cup of Nations to become, after Egypt, the most titled African country in soccer. Needless to say that this relatively young Cameroonian squad surprised everybody to first make it through the qualifying turn, and then defeat countries such as Senegal in quarter-finals, and Ghana in semi-finals, to make it into the final against Egypt.

Egyptian Mummy_ NG2

Stylized face of Shesepamuntayesher depicted on her coffin (Source: National Geographic)

Flag of Egypt

Flag of Egypt

The final score of the Cameroon-Egypt game was 2-1 in favor of Cameroon, even though the Egyptians were ahead 1-0 at the end of the first half, they could not stop the Cameroonian turbo machine, which came back to win 2-1. I raise a special hat to the Indomitable Lions’ goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoa, who to me, is truly the reason Cameroon made it that far in the competition. And to think that he doesn’t even have an official club, shows how determined and hard-working this young player is. At the end of the game, the players all wore the number 17, in honor of Marc-Vivien Foé, who had passed on on the field several years back. The last time Cameroon had won the African Cup of Nations was in 2002. Special salutes to this young squad of Cameroon, and our wishes is that they truly work hard to make it further, and always make us proud, and make it back as a great nation of soccer.

Here is the text of the 15 July 1884 treaty signed between the Chiefs of Jibarret (Djebale) and Sorrokow (Sodiko) and the German merchants of the Adolph Woermann and Jantzen & Thormählen firms in Cameroons. It basically does not show the entire text, but rather cites the treaty signed on 12 July 1884 between Kings Bell and Akwa and the Germans. It is pictured here:

We the undersigned chiefs of Jibarret and Sorrokow, under King Bell’s juridiction declare herewith that we are perfectly agreeing with the treaty made by Mr. Edouard Schmidt acting for the company C. Woermann and Mr. John VoK acting for Misters Jantzen & Thormählen both of Hamburg, with the said King Bell.

The treaty has been properly explained to us and we have signed this paper as follows.

Cameroons the fifteenth day of July one thousand eight hundred and eighty four.

Source: Abretungs-Urkunde Jibarret und Sorrokow, 15-7-1884 DZA-potsdam 4204 f.192.

Cameroon_Traite Germano Douala.jpg

15 July 1884 treaty between the Chiefs of Jibarret (Djebale) and Sorrokow (Sodiko), and the German merchants

Cameroon_Kamerun 12 Juillet 1884.jpg

German flag on the Joss plateau in Cameroons Town (Douala) on 14 July 1884

Here is the text to the Pre-treaty approved by King Ndumbé Lobé Bell and King Akwa of Cameroons River (Wouri River, Douala) before agreeing to signing the 12th July 1884 Germano-Duala treaty. It is called the “Wünsche der Kamerun” (or the Cameroonians’ wishes) and was signed by the German consul. Note that only the German consul signed to engage his country into this pre-treaty; and no Cameroonian party signed it.  It is only once this was done, that the Kings Bell, and Akwa signed the treaty of sovereignty. Here is the text of the pre-treaty.

Cameroons River, July 12th, 1884

Our wish is that white men should not go up and trade with the Bushmen, nothing to do with our markets; they must stay here in this River, and then give us trust so that we will trade with our Bushmen.

We need no protection; we should like our country to annex with the government of any European Power.

We need no alteration about our marriages, we shall marry as we are doing now.

Our cultivated ground must not be taken from us, for we are not able to buy and sell as other countries.

We need no Duty or Custom House in our country.

We shall keep bullocks, pigs, goats, fowls as it is now and also no duty on them.

No man should take another man’s wife by force or else a heavy fine.

We need no fighting and beating without fault and no imprisonment on paying the trust without notice and no man should be put to Iron for the trust.

We are the Chiefs of Cameroons.

The Imperial German Consul

Emil Schulze

Source: L’Afrique s’annonce au rendez-vous, la tête haute! Du Pr. Kum’a Ndumbe III, P. 145-146, Ed. AfricAvenir/Exchange & Dialogue 2012

cameroon_flag_of_deutsch-kamerun-1914

Flag of Kamerun, German colony

A few years back, I met some German colleagues who did not know that Germany had African colonies. I was astounded, especially given that some of these colonies (territories, people, cultures) were broken into two as a result of Germany’s loss of World War I: Great Britain and France divided Kamerun (Cameroons) and Togoland. Belgium gained Ruanda-Urundi (Rwanda and Burundi) in northwestern German East Africa, while Great Britain obtained the greater land mass of German East Africa (Tanzania), Portugal received the Kionga Triangle, a sliver of German East Africa, and South Africa gained German South-West Africa (Namibia). It is like getting punished for someone else’s sins: Africans had no say in it! Here is one of those treacherous colonial treaties Africans had to sign, and then overnight became a ‘COLONY‘, in this case a German colony. On 12 July 1884, King Ndumbé Lobé Bell and King Akwa of Cameroons River (Wouri River, Douala) signed a treaty in which they assigned sovereign rights, legislation and administration of their country in full to the German firms of Adolph Woermann and Jantzen & Thormählen. The treaty included conditions that existing contracts and property rights be maintained, existing customs respected and the German administration continue to make “comey”, or trading tax, payments to the kings as before.

cameroon_king_bell_later-life

King Bell in later life

Prior to signing this ‘famous’ Germano-Duala treaty of 12th July 1884, the Duala kings had the German consul sign a pre-treaty in which their rights were preserved. Little did they know that none of these clauses will be respected by the German party afterwards. The original text is found below; for more information, check out the amazing work of the Pr. Kum’a Ndumbe III of the Afric’Avenir foundation, who has done a marvelous job researching these German treaties and impact in Cameroon.

We, the undersigned independent Kings and Chiefs of the country called Cameroons situated on the Cameroons River, between the River Bimbia on the North Side, the River Qua-Qua on the South Side and up to 4°10’ North Lat. have in a meeting held today in the German factory on King Aqua’s Beach, voluntarily concluded as follows:

We give this day our rights of Sovereignty, the Legislation and Management of this our country entirely to Mr. Edouard Schmidt acting for the C. Woermann and Mr. Johannes Voss acting for Misters Jantzen & Thormahlen, both in Hamburg, and for many years trading in this River.

We have conveyed our rights of Sovereignty, the Legislation and Management of this our country to the firms mentioned under the following reservation:

Cameroon-Wouri_estuary_1850.png

Wouri estuary in 1850s

  1. Under reservation of rights of third persons
  2. Reserving that all friendship and commercial treaties made before with other foreign governments shall have full power
  3. That the land cultivated by us now and the places, the towns are built on shall be property of present owners and their successors
  4. That the Coumie shall be paid annually as it has been paid to the Kings and Chiefs before
  5. That during the first time of establishing an administration here, our country fashions will be respected.

Cameroons the twelfth day of July thousand eight hundred and eighty four.

Source: L’Afrique s’annonce au rendez-vous, la tête haute! Du Pr. Kum’a Ndumbe III, P. 147-148, Ed. AfricAvenir/Exchange & Dialogue 2012

cameroon_traite-germano-douala

Pictured here is the treaty signed on 15 July 1884 by the chiefs of Jibarret (Djebale) and Sorrokow (Sodiko), Cameroons

Posted by: Dr. Y. | January 26, 2017

Blague Africaine: Les Jumeaux / African Joke: The Twins

Beer1

Beer

Deux hommes discutent dans un bar.
T’es né où toi ?
A Paris
C’est marrant ça ! Moi aussi, et en quelle année ?
En 1973
C’est drôle ça ! Moi aussi, et quel mois ?
Janvier
Ça alors ! Moi aussi, et quel jour ?
Le 28
INCROYABLE ! Moi aussi !!...
Et là, un troisième homme entre dans le bar et s’adresse au patron
Salut patron, quoi de neuf ?
Oh pas grand chose, juste les jumeaux qui sont encore bourrés…

=========
twin-boys1Two men are talking at a bar.
Where were you born?
Paris
That’s funny! Me too, and what year?
In 1973
That’s funny! Me too, and what month?
January
Wow! Me too, and what day?
The 28th
Unbelievable! Me too!! …
A third man then enters a bar and talks to the owner,
Hello boss, what’s up?
Not much, just the twins who are drunk again …
Kola nut

Kola nut

Une noix de Kola dans la bouche du voisin ne vous semble pas amère (Proverbe Ekonda – République Démocratique du Congo (RDC)).

Kola nut in the neighbor’s mouth does not seem bitter (Ekonda Proverb – Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)).

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