Posted by: Dr. Y. | May 4, 2020

African Joke : Toto has Changed !!!

Tree_1

A tall tree

Toto is being chased by 2 men in the forest.

Tired, he climbs up a tree to hide; The 2 bandits unable to find him anymore, one says to the other:

I know him; he is so stupid; if we call him twice he will answer.

Toto on the tree yells:

Call me even 100 times, you will see if I answer… you think that I am still that same old Toto? I have changed!

 

Originally published on Nouchi.com in French. Translated to English by Dr. Y. Afrolegends.com.

Snake - IMG_3467_1Le serpent pris au piège n’évitera pas le bâton (Proverbe Ewe – Benin, Ghana, Togo).

The snake trapped cannot avoid the stick (Ewe proverb – Benin, Ghana, Togo).

Statue of Behanzin in Abomey, Benin

Statue of King Behanzin in Abomey, Benin

Below is one of the treaties signed between the French and the King of Dahomey, Béhanzin. This treaty was signed a few months after one of Béhanzin‘s unanswered letters to the French president , and two (2) years prior to King Béhanzin‘s defeat by the French, whose kingdom then came under Protectorate of the French Republic on 3 December 1892. Translated to English by Dr. Y. on http://www.afrolegends.com

====

3 October 1890

Agreement between France and the Dahomey

In order to prevent the return of misunderstandings which have brought between France and the Dahomey a state of hostility prejudicial to the two countries’ interests, –

Us, undersigned

Dahomey_Bertrand_de_Montesquiou-Fézensac_(1837-1902)_10

Bertrand de Montesquiou-Fézensac

The king’s messengers

Aladaka

Do-De-Djé

Assisted by:

Cussugan – acting as Yeroghan* 

Zizidoque – cabécère† 

Zououhoucon – cabecere†

Aïnadou – Treasurer of Gore

Designated by his Majesty the King Béhanzin Ahy Djéré

And

Ship Captain de Montesquiou Fezensac [Bertrand de Montesquiou-Fézensac] commanding the cruiser Le Roland – artillery Captain Decoeur, designated by Rear Admiral Cavelier de Cuverville [>Jules de Cuverville] Commander-in-chief of the land and sea forces acting as governor of the gulf of Benin, acting on behalf of the French government.

                Have jointly agreed on the following arrangement which leaves intact all past treaties or conventions agreed upon between France and the Dahomey.

I

The King of Dahomey agrees to respect the French Protectorate of the Kingdom of Porto Novo, and to abstain from all incursions on the territories forming part of that Protectorate.

Dahomey_Jules Marie Armand de Cavelier de Cuverville

Jules de Cuverville

He recognizes the right of France to occupy Kotonou indefinitely.

II

France engages to take such action, on the King of Porto Novo, as to prevent any legitimate cause of complaint being made in future by the King of Dahomey.

By way of compensation for the occupation of Kotonou, France will pay an annual sum, which will in no case exceed 20,000 francs (in gold or silver).

The blockade will be lifted and the present arrangement will take effect from the day of the exchange of signatures. However this arrangement will become final only after it has been submitted for ratification to the French government.

Made in Whydah on the third of October eighteen hundred and ninety.

*someone who governs a city on behalf of the King – a governor

† a sort of nobleman from court

Posted by: Dr. Y. | April 27, 2020

Description of King Behanzin’s Army on 13 March 1890

Behanzin, king of Dahomey

Behanzin, king of Dahomey

Below is a description of the army of King Béhanzin by a French prisoner made on 13 March 1890. This Frenchman is stunned by the number of warriors in Behanzin’s army, by their discipline, strength and muscular stature. More importantly, he also describes the Dahomey Amazons (locally known as Mino), the Fon all-female military regiment of the Kingdom of Dahomey (in present-day Republic of Benin) who formed the king’s special bodyguard unit, and his secret weapon! Remember that in Behanzin’s Farewell Speech in Dahomey, the king had sung praises of his beloved Mino. Here the narriator is amazed by their sight and confirms, “Old or young, ugly or beautiful, they are wonderful to contemplate. Just as muscular as the Black warriors, their attitude is just as disciplined and correct, …”  Translated to English by Dr. Y. Afrolegends.com.

====

Dahomey_Amazones a 1890

Dahomey Amazons ca 1890

We are right in the Dahomean camp!

At least 15000 men are in front of us, arranged in order of battle in front of their tents made up of palm leaves, immobile, in such a deep silence that at 100 meters from our prison, in the same courtyard, separated by a simple wall, we could not have imagined their existence.

It is really a painting of a sublime horror and which painfully squeezes our heart. Fifteen thousand men, armed with guns and machetes! There is nothing to say, they are beautiful robust and muscular warriors under their white loincloths, which brings out the ebony of their stature even more. Not a cry, not a single movement, not a noise.

Quiet ourselves and deeply moved, we cross the hay that they form, lined up like the long rows of ears on a wheat field. Black and human harvest of which the one who is there can freely pick or mow heads.

Seh-Dong Hong-Beh, leader of Dahomey Amazons (painted by Frederick Forbes in 1851)

Seh-Dong Hong-Beh, leader of Dahomey Amazons (painted by Frederick Forbes in 1851)

The main officers of the army came to surround us. Our group starts to walk, it takes us more than a quarter of an hour to cross the first rows, given that their battle ranks are so deep. Then we cross an empty space, on the other side of which the Black army continues. Here it is no longer just warriors. The second line, in fact, consists of amazons in three tight ranks, surrounding in a huge circle the very throne of the king whom we cannot yet see.

They are there the four thousand female warriors, the four thousand Black virgins of Dahomey, bodyguards of the monarch, immobile under their war shirts, gun and knife in the fist, ready to pounce on a signal from the master.

Old or young, ugly or beautiful, they are wonderful to contemplate. Just as muscular as the Black warriors, their attitude is just as disciplined and correct, lined up like them in ranks.

An Amazon warrior ca 1890

An Amazon warrior ca 1890

The chiefs are in rows, at the head of the columns, recognizable by the richness of their shirts, by their proud and resolute air. Such are the amazons at rest with their arms. There is a long way from this discipline, this order, to the savage and barbaric hordes that we imagine. His Majesty Behanzin can be calm, these viragos will not let him be taken away easily. The triple circle that they form is immense, without a void, gap, or hole.

E. Chaudoin, extract from the Illustration of 26 July 1890, Les Africains Tome X, Editions J.A., 1978, P. 250

 

 

 

Goat2

Une Chevre / A Goat

Une chèvre galeuse infecte les autres (Proverbe Sotho – Lesotho, Afrique du Sud).

A scabby goat infects others (Sotho Proverb – Lesotho, South Africa).

Ibis

Ibises near a lake on the African continent

Did you know that ancient Egyptians did not only mummify humans, but animals also? Animals such as cats, crocodiles, mongooses, and ibises have been found in Egyptian pyramids. In ancient Egypt, the ibis was a special bird who represented the god Thoth, god of wisdom, magic,  writing, hieroglyphs, science, art, judgment, and the dead. For the longest times, scientists could not understand where millions of ibises which had been mummified came from. Now, they seemingly have cracked this mystery.

Excerpts below are from the The Guardian.

=====

DNA analysis helps work out origin of nearly 6 million mummified ibises

An ancient Egyptian mystery has been solved, according to researchers, who say they have cracked the conundrum of where millions of mummified birds came from.

Pharaohs and members of the nobility were often mummified, but the practice was not reserved for humans – cats, crocodiles, mice and mongooses are among the mummified animals that have been found.

While some have been discovered alongside human burials, others – most notably the sacred ibis bird – were mummified as part of rituals designed to curry favour with the gods.

More than 4 million sacred ibis mummies have been found in the catacombs of Tuna el-Gebel and 1.75 million have been discovered in the ancient burial ground of Saqqara. The vast majority were votive offerings to the god Thoth, a practice that had its heyday between 450BC and 250BC.

The ibis was considered [to represent] the god Thoth, the god of wisdom, the god of magic, the god of judgment, writing all sorts of things,” said Sally Wasef, a research fellow at Griffith University in Australia and first author of the research.

If you had a boss that annoys you and you don’t feel like you are getting a good judgment from him or you want fairness and justice, you go and ask Thoth to interfere and in return you promise to offer him an ibis, a mummified ibis, in his annual feast.

But the sheer quantity of mummified ibises left experts scratching their heads – where did all these birds come from?

One suggestion is that they were reared on an industrial scale in hatcheries. That idea appears to have some support in ancient texts, such as the writings of Hor of Sebennytos, a priest and scribe in the second century BC, who wrote about feeding tens of thousands of sacred ibis with bread and clover.

Ibis_The god Thoth

The god Thoth

To explore the possibility, Wasef and colleagues analysed DNA from 14 mummified sacred ibises found in ancient Egypt and 26 modern samples from across Africa.

… The results, published in the journal Plos One, reveal the level of diversity in the mitochondrial DNA among the ancient birds is similar to that among modern wild birds, and have similar levels of potentially harmful mutations. However, the team says if the ancient Egyptians farmed sacred ibises, the genetic diversity in ancient birds would probably be lower due to high levels of inbreeding.

Wasef said this suggested that, rather than being bred in a mass-farming situation, sacred ibises were tempted to local areas and kept in a natural habitat – or perhaps captured and kept in farms for a short time, ready for sacrifice.
[The most likely thing is ] next to each temple there was like a lake or a wetland – it is a natural habitat for the ibis to live in and if you are giving them food they will keep coming,” she said. Indeed, she notes, there was a swamp near Tuna el-Gebel and the Lake of the Pharaoh near Saqqara. …

Posted by: Dr. Y. | April 17, 2020

Tranquility …

The image of this lion made me think so much of peace and serenity that I had to share with you all. In these uncertain times, there is not so much we can do… fretting might not add much… but some tranquility, calm, peace, and quiet might do us all some good.

Lion2

Eyes shut_1Sur l’oeil on gratte doucement (Proverbe Burundais – Burundi).

On the eye, scratch gently (Burundian proverb – Burundi).

Posted by: Dr. Y. | April 13, 2020

“A ma Patrie / To my Homeland” by Huda Sha’arawi

HudaShaarawi1

Huda Sha’arawi

Today I am sharing a poem by the great Egyptian feminist Huda Sha’arawi. As we saw earlier, Sha’arawi’s work was immense in redefining the place of the woman in Egyptian society, and led to a new dawn for Egyptian women. This woman who influenced millions of Egyptian and Arabic women was also a poet with a great love for her country and its people. She dedicated her life for the betterment of women in the Egyptian society, and immensely loved the land of her forefathers.

The poem “A ma Patrie” was published in  L’Égyptienne number 69, Mai 1931. Translated to English by Dr. Y. Afrolegends.com.

 

A ma Patrie

J’ai fait voeu de t’offrir tout ce qui m’appartient

                O ma belle Patrie,

Mon bras, mon coeur, mon âme ainsi que tous mes biens

                Sans excepter ma vie.

J’ai fait voeu de peiner, de lutter, de souffrir,

                De braver l’infamie.

Sans froncer le sourcil, sans poser au martyre,

                Sans même une aide amie.

J’ai juré de franchir les frontières des mers

                Si ton honneur l’exige,

Afin de rehausser, aux yeux de l’univers,

                Ton nom et ton prestige.

J’ai juré d’oublier les affronts des déments

                Et la haine et l’insulte

Que l’envie incita, contre mon dévouement

                A ta cause et ton culte.

Peu m’importe l’exil, leur courroux, la prison,

                J’accepte la mort même.

Puisque leurs vils exploits n’auront jamais raison

                De l’humble coeur qui t’aime.

To my Homeland

I made a wish to offer you all that I have

                O my beautiful homeland,

My arm, my heart, my soul, as well as all my belongings

                Not excepting my life.

I vowed to struggle, to fight, to suffer,

                To brave infamy.

Without frowning, without asking for martyrdom,

                Without even a friend’s help.

I have sworn to cross the borders of the seas

                If your honor depends on it,

To enhance, in the eyes of the universe,

                Your name and your prestige.

I have sworn to forget the offenses of the demented

                And the hatred and insult

Which prompted envy, against my dedication

                To your cause and your worship. 

I do not care about exile, their anger, the prison,

                I will accept even death.

Because their vile deeds will never win over

                The humble heart that loves you.

 

Bird wing

A bird and its wings (Source: Phys.org)

Le mensonge a des ailes (Proverbe Ngbandi – République Centrafricaine (RCA) et République Démocratique du Congo (RDC)).

The lie has wings (Ngbandi proverb – Central African Republic (CAR) and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)).

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