PirogueLe rameur ne craint pas les vagues (Proverbe Badjoue – Cameroun).- Bien faire et laisser dire.

The rower does not fear waves (Badjoue proverb – Cameroon).- Do well and let others talk.

Everybody on the blog loved this video of Timbuktu about its great university, one of the world’s oldest universities. I loved these centuries’ old manuscripts on medicine, art, literature, astronomy, and other subjects. The idea that my ancestors knew all these things, and that even today people are still trying to decipher these, make me so proud. The great historian Ibn Battuta talked about Timbuktu’s great universities, scientists, and scribes, and the beauty and wealth of the place when he visited in the 1300s. Enjoy the video below.

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

Plus de Peur / No more Fear Proverb

Fire.jpgLe charbon ne craint pas le feu (proverbe Dogon – Mali). – Vous en avez bien vu d’autres.

The coal does not fear the fire (Dogon proverb – Mali). – You’ve seen worse.

Posted by: Dr. Y. | March 16, 2017

The Story of Three Friends

Vulture1

Vulture

A long long time ago, yes it was at the beginning of the world, there were three friends: the vulture, the hornbill, and the hen who became sick. The first one was suffering from baldness, the second from an anomaly on the beak, and the third from cramps on its legs. To make themselves heard, they started singing.

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Hornbill feeding another

Adaunia Nomba
Dauni Nomba yôyé
Dauni Nomba
Inden sanga nomba kôyé
Life here
what life here !
Life is in auction !

God did not answer, so they decided to go see Him directly so that He would heal them. The hen challenged:

poule

Hen

My friends let’s not go beyond protocol, God will not delay. By acting as you intend to, we will make Him angry. Why the hurry?

The vulture and the hornbill did not listen to the hen and went up the sky flying as hard as possible. As they rose higher and higher, God arrived and healed the hen. Since then, the vulture has remained bald, and the hornbill has a crooked beak. To this day, they keep hovering in the air in search of God.

The French original can be found on Ouologuem Blog. Translated to English by Dr. Y., Afrolegends.com

pied

Feet / Pied / Pe

Envoyez un autre à votre place, vos pieds auront du repos, mais pas votre coeur (Proverbe Bornu – Tchad).

Send someone in your stead, your feet will rest, but not your heart (Bornu proverb – Chad).

Posted by: Dr. Y. | March 8, 2017

“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…

View original post 163 more words

 

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African blacksmiths during Stanley’s expedition 1800s

Le forgeron n’emploie pas deux marteaux à la fois (Proverbe Sukuma – Tanzania).

 

The blacksmith does not use two hammers at the same time (Sukuma proverb – Tanzania).

Posted by: Dr. Y. | March 3, 2017

Saving Zanzibar’s Heritage

Yesterday, just as I published my article “Why the name: Zanzibar?” the BBC published a photo-journal on “ Saving Zanzibar’s Heritage.” This made for a happy surprise, and showed the effort taken by locals to save and restore Stone Town (Mji Mkongwe in Swahili)’s architecture. So please check out the article on BBC HERE. Enjoy!

zanzibar_stone-town-showing-the-old-fort-and-palace-from-1871-to-1875

Sultan Palace in Old Stone Town in Zanzibar (1871 – 1875)

Posted by: Dr. Y. | March 2, 2017

Why the name Zanzibar?

zanzibar2

Map of Tanzania including Zanzibar (Wikipedia)

Zanzibar is one of the main archipelago of Tanzania, and actually the name Tanzania comes from combining the names Tanganyika and Zanzibar. It is situated on the Swahili Coast, adjacent to Tanganyika (mainland Tanzania). Located in the Indian Ocean, Zanzibar consists of many small islands and two large ones: Unguja (the main island, referred to informally as Zanzibar) and Pemba. The capital is Zanzibar City, located on the island of Unguja. Its historic center, Stone Town, is a World Heritage Site. So why the name Zanzibar?

The name Zanzibar comes from the Arabic Zanjibār (زنجبار), which in turn comes from the Persian Zang-bār (زنگبار), a compound of Zang (زنگ, “Black“) + bār (بار, “coast, land, country“), name given by Persian navigators when they visited the area in the middle ages. So, in essence, Zanzibar means the “land of the Blacks” or “the land of the Black people,” or “the coast where Black people live.”

Cloves1

Cloves

Traders from the Arabian Peninsula, the Persian Gulf region of modern-day Iran (especially Shiraz), and west India probably visited Zanzibar as early as the 1st century. Zanzibar was used as a base for voyages between the Middle East, India, and Africa. In the olden days, the archipelago was known as Spice islands, and was world famous for its cloves (see the article I wrote So much for that clove in your food!) and other spices.

Vasco da Gama‘s visit in 1498 marked the beginning of European influence. In 1503 or 1504, Zanzibar became part of the Portuguese Empire. Zanzibar remained a possession of Portugal for almost two centuries. In 1698, Zanzibar fell under the control of the Sultanate of Oman. In 1832, or 1840, Said bin Sultan moved his capital from Muscat, Oman to Stone Town in Zanzibar City.

zanzibar-slave-market

Zanzibar slave market

Malindi in Zanzibar City was the Swahili Coast’s main port for the slave trade with the Middle East. In the mid-19th century, as many as 50,000 slaves passed annually through the port. Many became rich through the slave trade, such as the notorious Arab slave trader and ivory merchant, Tippu Tib. Today, there are still vestiges of old slave forts in Stone Town.

Until around 1890, the sultans of Zanzibar controlled a substantial portion of the Swahili Coast, known as Zanj, which included Mombasa and Dar es Salaam. Beginning in 1886, Great Britain and Germany plotted to obtain parts of the Zanzibar sultanate for their own empires. Over the next few years, however, almost all of these mainland possessions were lost to European imperial powers.

zanzibar-sultan_sayyid-abd-allah-ibn-khalifa-1910-1963

Sultan Sayyid Abd Allah ibn Khalifa

In 1890 Zanzibar became a protectorate (not a colony) of Britain. This status meant it continued to be under the sovereignty of the Sultan of Zanzibar. From 1890 to 1913, traditional viziers were in charge; they were supervised by advisors appointed by the Colonial Office. However, in 1913 a switch was made to a system of direct rule through British governors. The death of the pro-British Sultan Hamad bin Thuwaini on 25 August 1896 and the succession of Sultan Khalid bin Barghash, whom the British did not approve of, led to the Anglo-Zanzibar War, known as the shortest war in history lasting 38 minutes.

zanzibar_the_harem_and_tower_harbour_of_zanzibar_1890

The Harem and tower harbor of Zanzibar ca 1890

On 10 December 1963, the Protectorate that had existed over Zanzibar since 1890 was terminated by the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom did not grant Zanzibar independence, as such, because the UK had never had sovereignty over Zanzibar. Rather, by the Zanzibar Act 1963 of the United Kingdom, the UK ended the Protectorate and made provision for full self-government in Zanzibar as an independent country within the Commonwealth. Upon the Protectorate being abolished, Zanzibar became a constitutional monarchy under the Sultan. However, just a month later, on 12 January 1964 Sultan Jamshid bin Abdullah was deposed during the Zanzibar Revolution. The Sultan fled into exile, and the Sultanate was replaced by the People’s Republic of Zanzibar and Pemba. In April 1964, the republic merged with mainland Tanganyika. This United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar was soon renamed, blending the two names, as the United Republic of Tanzania, within which Zanzibar remains a semi-autonomous region.

zanzibar1

Beach of Zanzibar (Zanzibar.net)

Today, Zanzibar is world-renowned for its great tourism, with Stone town showing remnants of the ancient Swahili kingdom, and the melting pot of cultures (Persian, Arabic, Bantus, European), and its cloves. Enjoy the video below, and whenever you visit Zanzibar, remember that it is the Land of the Black people!

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Ecureuil / Squirrel

Quand on se promène avec un écureuil, on apprend à grimper à l’arbre mais aussi à voler (Proverbe Solongo – Angola). – Mauvaise compagnie.

When walking with a squirrel, you learn to climb a tree, but also to steal (Solongo Proverb – Angola). – Poor company.

Quando se anda por aí com um esquilo, você aprende a subir na árvore, mas também para voar (provérbio Solongo – Angola). – Diz-me com quem andas dir-te-ei quem és.

 

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