Robert Mugabe_4

Robert Mugabe (History.com)

One of Zimbabwe‘s great sons is no longer: Robert Mugabe, the first president of Zimbabwe has passed away. 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!

Robert Mugabe epitomized the freedom fights of then Rhodesia, a British colony ruthlessly run by a white minority. This once beautiful place had been renamed after  Cecil Rhodes a white tyrant who committed the greatest atrocities in that country in the name of the superiority of one race over the other and capitalism. It was only befitting that a freedom fighter like Robert Mugabe should come up, and fight to not only reclaim the land of his ancestors, but also appropriately reinstate it to its past glory, that of Great Zimbabwe !

Flag of Zimbabwe

Flag of Zimbabwe

Few people have sacrificed so much for a fight for freedom. After criticizing the government of Rhodesia in 1964, Robert Mugabe was imprisoned for more than a decade without trial. Mugabe lost his then only child while in prison; the colonial government did not allow him to bury him (almost 30 years later, he went on to have other children).

Robert Mugabe embodied Africa’s struggle against colonialism. He was a courageous politician, imprisoned for daring to defy white-minority rule. Later on, he was vilified by the ‘international community‘ (now we all know that this means: parts of Europe + USA) for restoring their lands to Africans, because this attacked whites’ interests in his country. I am not sure how to this day, some people believe that it is okay for less than 5% of the population to own 90% of the land in a country which is not even theirs… that is beyond me… what about those who were born there? what about those whose land it is? Will it be okay if the few Africans who have immigrated to say France, owned 90% of the land there?… Now will we all hear about injustice!

Robert Mugabe_7

Zimababwe’s President Robert Mugabe chants Zanu PF slogans with supporters gathered at the Harare International Conference Centre in Harare, Wednesday May 3, 2000. (AP Photo/Christine Nesbitt)

Learning of the passing of Robert Mugabe, many world leaders have expressed their condolences… below are just a few.

Julius Malema of South Africa said, “I’m saddened by the passing of our martyr and giant of the African revolution cde President Robert Mugabe. Let’s continue the fight and protect his legacy. 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.

Hage Geingob

Hage Geingob of Namibia (ZimbabweSituation.com)

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta said Mr Mugabe had “played a major role in shaping the interests of the African continent” and was “a man of courage who was never afraid to fight for what he believed in even when it was not popular.

Hage Geingob, president of Namibia added, “… Robert Mugabe [was] an extraordinary revolutionary and tenacious freedom fighter who contributed immensely to Africa and Namibia’s cause for freedom.

Jerry J. Rawlings, former president of Ghana said, “RIP Comrade Mugabe. You lived for the dignity of your fellow black. Your African pride, dignity and audacity were unassailable. Africa has lost a bold and noble Statesman.

Cyril Ramaphosa

Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa (AlJazeera.com)

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa called Mr Mugabe a “champion of Africa‘s cause against colonialism” who inspired our own struggle against apartheid“. And indeed Robert Mugabe supported the fight against apartheid and tremendously helped the ANC in its struggle to defeat that monster called apartheid. Ramaphosa added that under Mugabe’s leadership, “Zimbabwe’s sustained and valiant struggle against colonialism inspired our own struggle against apartheid and built in us the hope that one day South Africa too would be free”. During the decades of our own struggle, Zimbabwe’s liberation movement supported our own liberation movement to fight oppression on multiple fronts. After Zimbabwe achieved independence, the apartheid state brutalised and violated Zimbabwe as punishment for supporting our own struggle” . Many Zimbabweans paid with their lives so that we could be free. We will never forget or dishonour this sacrifice and solidarity.”

Robert Mugabe_China

Xi Jinping of China with Robert Mugabe (Source: South China Morning Post)

In his condolence message, Chinese President Xi Jinping said China had “lost an old friend and a good friend.” Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Mugabe’s death was deeply mourned in China, noting that the former president opposed foreign interference and actively promoted Beijing’s relations with Zimbabwe and Africa. China described Mugabe as an “outstanding leader of the national liberation movement and statesmanwho firmly defended the country’s sovereignty, as African leaders termed him a “liberator” and “pan-Africanist.

cowLa vache de tête se fait fouetter le plus . Se dit d’un leader. (Proverbe Zulu – South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Malawi, Mozambique).

The lead cow (the one in front) gets whipped the most . Said of a leader. (Zulu proverb – South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Malawi, Mozambique).

Posted by: Dr. Y. | September 3, 2019

Burkinabe Woman Turns Water Hyacinth Into Gold Mine

Burkina Faso - Mariama Mamane1

Mariama Mamane (Source: UNEP)

In Ouagadougou, the capital city of Burkina Faso, a young scientist, Mariama Mamane who won the Young Champion of the Earth in the year 2017, is turning water hyacinth, an invasive species, into fertilizer, bio-gas and energy.

Mariama’s pilot program prevents desertification, creates food security and converts a problem into a livelihood opportunity for people in Burkina Faso. Her project, “JACIGREEN”, offers an innovative eco-solution introducing a plant-based purification mechanism to help manage fresh water and improve access to drinking water. It simultaneously implements a system to produce organic fertilizer (via anaerobic composting) and electricity (from biogas recovered from the water hyacinth transformation process). Her goal is to “Improve living conditions of population through sustainable agriculture and renewable energy for energy deficient rural communities in West Africa.”

Lake Victoria1

Water hyacinth invasion in Lake Victoria (Source: Lilian Ochieng, The East African)

Recall that Achenyo Idachaba of Nigeria has been exploring other alternatives making arts and craft products with the Water hyacinth (Jacinthe des eaux) in Nigeria. For those who do not know what the water hyacinth is, it is a plant which has been suffocating rivers around the globe, and has proliferated in places such as Lake Victoria (Africa’s largest body of fresh water) not only depriving the lake of its oxygen thus reducing nutrients for fishes, blocking water ways, and breeding all sorts of new diseases. This plant is not native of Africa.

Please help me applaud the work of Mariama Mamane. She was featured in this UN video below turning plant to power in Burkina Faso. Enjoy!

Posted by: Dr. Y. | August 30, 2019

Amanishakheto, Warrior Queen of Nubia

Nubia_Stele of Amanishakheto from the temple of Amun in Naqa

Stele of Amanishakheto (center) from the temple of Amun in Wad ban Naqa (Wikipedia)

Amanishakheto was a great queen of Nubia and is known as a great warrior and pyramid builder; she built numerous pyramids and temples at Meroë. She is also the daughter of Amanirenas, the fearless and one-eyed queen who defeated the Romans, and the mother of Amanitore, another great queen. Today, vestiges of her palace which had been destroyed and plundered by the Italian explorer Giuseppe Ferlini can still be seen at Wad ban Naqa, and her jewelry (looted by the same Italian), are now on display at the Egyptian Museum of Berlin, and at the Egyptian Museum of Munich.

African Heritage

Candace Amanishakheto on a mural Candace Amanishakheto on a mural

Great women are often left out of history.  Rarely do we hear or read about African queens.  It is already hard enough to read about great African men and leaders in history books, but as for African women… it is more like impossible.  How many have heard of the great warrior queen of Nubia, Amanishakheto, who defeated a Roman army?  Who has heard of this great queen whose pyramid/tomb was leveled to the ground by an Italian treasure hunter, Giuseppe Ferlini, in 1832? Who has heard of this woman who led her people with a strong arm, and built pyramids in Meroë?  Who has heard of this great candace, whose daughter Amanitore, also queen of Nubia, is mentioned in the Bible (Acts 8:27) … yeah the Queen of Sheba is not the only African…

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Posted by: Dr. Y. | August 30, 2019

A Gift from the African Heritage Blog

To celebrate our 10-years anniversary, one of our contributors is offering you this amazing book on Amazon . A king, a beautiful princess, and a pot of hot chili sauce… the combination is bound to make you laugh. Enjoy this book, an African Children’s book, for young and young at heart! It is on kindle e-book in both French and English.

 

cover-image

The Hare, The Princess, and the Hot Chili Sauce

 

Posted by: Dr. Y. | August 27, 2019

‘My Name’ by Magoleng wa Selepe

Colonization in Africa

Village school in French West Africa (AOF) 1900s – French assimilationism (Louis Sonolet, Source: http://exhibitions.nypl.org)

The poem ‘My Name‘ by Magoleng wa Selepe has touched many strong chords. It is the truth, and still rings true today. During colonial times, our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents were stripped of their names and identity: to go to school, they had to have a European name, and very often their own names were distorted because the European colonizer could not spell it properly. Depending on the origin of the colonizer, whether it was France, Great Britain, Germany, or Portugal, one ended up with a French, British, German, or Portuguese name. Enjoy !!!

African Heritage

African Savanna

I just thought about what happened to our fathers, mothers, grandmothers, and grandfathers during colonial times: to go to school African children were forced by European missionaries to adopt a christian name such as John, Peter (Jean, Pierre), etc… as opposed to their good old African name Nomzimo, Makeba, Ndoumbe, Keïta, etc.  Thus many Africans who would have just worn the name ‘Ndoumbe Mpondo‘ or ‘Binlin Dadié‘ or ‘Um Nyobé‘ had to adopt a European name such as John + their own name, such that they became: John Ndoumbe Mpondo or Bernard Binlin Dadié or Ruben Um Nyobé.  To this day, the tradition has remained… most Africans would have three or four names: their family name, and their given name, plus the European first name and in some cases a European middle name as well.  The poem below entitled…

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

Scarification: an ‘Ancient’ African Tattoo Culture

Congo_Batetela woman Lualaba Kassai_1905

Tetela woman with intricate ritual scarification designs ca 1905, Lualaba – Kasai

Today, we will reblog our article on scarification, an ‘ancient’ African tattoo culture. Not too long ago, scarification, as practiced in Africa, was much more than art work on skin. For many, it was a way of identification (the ethnic group you belonged to), a right of passage (boyhood to manhood, girlhood to womanhood, …), symbols of beauty and status, protection against evil spirits, and a rich tradition passed on from generations to generations. So next time you think about tattooing yourself, remember the ancient ways and designs of yore.

African Heritage

Image of a young woman's face (agnautacouture.com) Image of a young woman’s face (agnautacouture.com)

These days, many of my fellow African brothers and sisters sport tattoos of some European or foreign symbols on their skins. These symbols are usually alien to our cultures, traditions, thinking, and history. So I thought about talking about scarification, which could be called an “ancient” African culture of tattoos.

For starters, Africa has a rich culture of scarification. Many cite HIV, and ugliness as being the reason why they would not do scarification and why the practice has been abandoned. I neither agree nor disagree with them, but I would like to give a history of scarification and why, this is something to be cherished as part of our history, even if it is no longer practiced and/or needed today.

Sculpture of a Mangbetu person, in Congo (this sculpture is exposed at the MET) Sculpture of a Mangbetu person, in Congo (exposed at the MET)

In the past, a woman or man would have scarification marks that…

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Posted by: Dr. Y. | August 20, 2019

History of African Fabrics and Textiles

As I share this other great favorite on African textiles, I am preparing to write another piece on this subject next month… so stay tuned.

African Heritage

Wax Hollandais Wax Hollandais

Very often, Africans are depicted on old pictures as naked people, walking around without any clothing.  This seems to be quite at odd with the fact that the Dutch textile company VLISCO has been installed in Africa, more precisely in Togo, since 1846.  So how could pictures from the 1800s and early 1900s only show naked Africans?  The BBC recently ran a story on VLISCO and African textile tradition actually being European.  The New York Times claimed that Africa’s fabric was entirely Dutch.  I find this quite appalling, and I call this a falsification of history.

For starters, before VLISCO, Africa had a very rich textile industry as noted by Kankan Moussa‘s entire delegation being clothed from cotton woven with golden threads in 1300s during his pilgrimage to the Mecca (this will be a story for another day), or the Kanembu clothing tradition which dates as far…

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

The 11 Components of the French Colonial Tax in Africa

10,000FCFA (BEAC-1992)

An old 10,000 FCFA from Central Africa

This is yet another favorite on the African Heritage blog.

Please take a moment to reflect on this colonial tax African countries have been made to pay for the past 70+ years, particularly in view of the new West African money ECO which is trying to come to life. We applaud the idea of a common currency in West Africa, and in Africa as a whole… remember that this was Kwame Nkrumah‘s dream and the forefathers of the African Union, but when we hear France’s puppet Alassane Ouattara of Côted’Ivoire say  that the ECO will be just another name for the FCFA, we can only scream against it, or rather against France’s scheming yet again to impoverish African countries. What France is doing to African countries, by getting over 500 billion dollars every year for free (Africa is funding Europe!), is the same thing that Nazi Germany did to France with their currency at the time of World War II: the FCFA was inspired from it. Yet… after pillaging Africa yearly and raping her daily, they do not seem to hold their economy down, dealing with unemployment, and the Yellow Vests! Free money is always like that: because you did not work for it, it always seems to run out quickly! It’s about time they think of a partnership… but then it is France, so that will probably never happen!

African Heritage

Carte des pays de la zone CFA Carte des pays de la zone CFA

African countries continue to pay colonial tax to France 50 years after their independence. This system is an abomination destined to keep African countries poor forever! Here are some excerpts from the article by Mawuna R. Koutonin. For the full article, go to France Colonial Tax , and do not forget to check out the article I wrote a while back on the Franc CFA: slave currency! Also, please read the book by Pr. Nicolas Agbohou on the subject:  ‘Le Franc CFA et l’Euro contre l’Afrique.’

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Did you know that many African countries continue to pay colonial tax to France since their independence till today?

sekou-toure-time-cover-021959-600 Sekou Toure, Cover Time Magazine, Feb. 16, 1959

Sékou Touré of Guinea decided in 1958 to get out of french colonial empire, and opted for the country’s independence, the french colonial elite in Paris got so…

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Posted by: Dr. Y. | August 13, 2019

‘Love Poem for my Country’ by Sandile Dikeni

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Mt Bamboutos in Cameroon

Reblogging this all-time favorite poem on the African Heritage Blog.

A few questions for the readers: what do you like the most about this poem by Sandile Dikeni? What is special? And what made you connect to it? What in this poem describes your country or is there something in it which describes your country?

African Heritage

An antelope at dusk An antelope at dusk in the African Savannah

In the past I have always wished that we, Africans, could be patriotic.  I came across this beautiful poem ‘Love poem for my country‘ by South African writer Sandile Dikeni.  I really enjoy the way the author describes his country, the valleys, the birds, the ancient rivers, and its beauty.  He feels the peace, the wealth, and the health his country brings.  He is one with his country.  He is at home!  His country is not just words or food, or friends, or family, it is more, it is his essence!  That is true patriotism, the bond that links us to the bone to our motherland.  Enjoy!

My country is for love
so say its valleys
where ancient rivers flow
the full circle of life
under the proud eye of birds
adorning the…

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