Archive for the ‘BLACKS IN CUBA’ Category

Jesus is Black, See! (If you know history, Black people are the first race so ofcourse you know Jesus is Black) Pictures here!

February 26, 2009

Black Jesus

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The Black Madonna ABove, Below
Black Jesus Pictures!


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Black Jesus and the Rastafarian Disciples



February 20, 2009

from – African-American culture, news commentary, politicsHomeContactResearchFAQ’sPodcastMediaVideoLinks Subscribe Awww, come one! Black Cubans just don’t know how good they have it
Jun.21, 2007 in Uncategorized
More info you will not hear Castro sympathizers (especially the Black ones) mention.


( HAVANA — Six-foot-two, brown skinned and with semi-curly hair, Denny walked confidently into a government warehouse for a recent job interview. Sitting across from the white manager, he rattled off his qualifications: high school diploma, courses in tourism, hard worker.

They weren’t good enough: He needed his white brother-in-law to vouch for him, Denny recalled.

“Black people tend to do everything bad here,” the manager said.

After Fidel Castro’s revolution triumphed in 1959, he declared that Cuba would be a raceless society, banned separate facilities for blacks and whites and launched a string of free education and health programs for the poor — most of them blacks.

Many blacks people still support Castro, saying that without him they would still be peons in the sugar cane fields. One black Cuban diplomat said he had no hope of an education, and his grandmother no medical care for her glaucoma, until the revolution came along.


In recent years, a new attitude has been emerging quietly, almost secretly, among Afro-Cubans on what it means to be black in a communist system that maintains ‘‘No hay racismo aquí” — there’s no racism here — and tends to brand those who raise the issue of race as enemies of the revolution.

“The absence of the debate on the racial problem already threatens . . . the revolution’s social project,” wrote Esteban Morales Domínguez, a University of Havana professor who is black, in one of his several little-known papers on race since 2005.

In another paper, he noted that “much of the research that has been done on the subject in general has been put away in drawers, endlessly waiting to be published.” Black filmmaker Rigoberto López also broached the sensitive topic in a TV appearance in December, saying that while the revolution had brought about structural changes toward racial equality, “its results do not allow us to affirm that its goals have been achieved in all their dimensions.”


Castro’s own Communist Party and government fall short on the race front. Only four recognizably black faces sit on the party’s 21- member Political Bureau, and only two sit on the government’s top body, the 39- member Council of Minis- ters.


And yet, black faces populate Cuba’s political prisons. Some of the nation’s best known dissidents are black. They include independent librarian Omar Pernét Hernández, mason Orlando Zapata Tamayo and physician Oscar Elias Biscét. The latter was sentenced to 27 years for, among other things, organizing a seminar on Martin Luther King’s non–violent forms of protest.


Television programs overwhelmingly show most blacks in menial jobs, and Cubans, like other Latin Americans, still use a cutting expression for a black they admire: El es negro, pero . . . ” — He is black, but . . .



This is part of a wonderful series produced by the Miami Herald entitled “A Rising Voice: Afro-Latin Americans”. This series also includes short slide presentations complete with audio covering the African diaspora throughout Latin America. Take the time to check it out as you will find this very informative.

On a side note, the photography is probably the best that I have seen covering this topic.

No Comments on “Awww, come one! Black Cubans just don’t know how good they have it”
June 21st, 2007 at 8:40 pm
Yep…yet folks like Glover and Belafonte will never get it.
YEYE AKILIMALI FUNUA OLADE Your comment is awaiting moderation.
February 20th, 2009 at 5:53 am
Glad you are informing us of racism in Cuba. Will post and give credit and a link on my blog:


BLACK ON!-keep on tellin’ the BLACK truth!


January 14, 2009


Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Not Just A Dream: Obama Sparks Black Men To Action
NASHVILLE, Tenn — An actor turns a dilapidated, inner-city mosque into a theater in just a few days. A 20-year-old buckles down on his studies at a historically black college after his mother dies of cancer. A community organizer decides his plan to create thousands of green jobs is too modest and enlarges it twenty-fold.
Not Just A Dream: Obama Sparks Black Men To Action
NASHVILLE, Tenn — An actor turns a dilapidated, inner-city mosque into a theater in just a few days. A 20-year-old buckles down on his studies at a historically black college after his mother dies of cancer. A community organizer decides his plan to create thousands of green jobs is too modest and enlarges it twenty-fold.

Barack Obama’s election to the White House is the very realization of what so many black fathers have told their sons to aspire to for years, even if often it was just a confidence-booster, not meant to be taken literally. And long before he wrapped up the contest, his candidacy had driven these three black men and others to actions they say they might not have taken without his example.

Jeff Obafemi Carr, who had been a successful actor in New York, was debating whether to return there or stay in Nashville, where he wanted to turn a run-down mosque into Nashville’s first black theater in a century. It was an ambitious and daunting idea considering that some in the neighborhood figured the building would wind up as a liquor store or a thrift shop.

Then the 41-year-old remembered a conversation he had with Obama during an Ohio campaign stop. The then-Democratic nominee encouraged him to keep working on his project.

“He told me that we’re going to make a big change for the country with my help,” Carr recalled.

When Carr returned from that event, he put his plan in motion. With the help of community volunteers, donated time from professional builders and materials from corporations, Carr set a date for construction and built the Amun Ra Theatre. Its first major performance will be next month with “Gem of the Ocean,” by American playwright August Wilson.

Throughout the process, Carr said he and the workers repeated Obama’s slogan: “Yes we can.” Now the theater’s Web site proclaims, “Yes, We Did!”

Justin Bowers, a junior at historically black Oakwood University in Huntsville, Ala., was thinking about dropping out after his mother died of cancer two years ago at age 48.

“It was a lot of stress,” Bowers said. “I was struggling. It was really hard.”

A friend pointed out Obama’s perseverance after the president-elect lost his 53-year-old mother to cancer. Bowers said the story motivated him to stay in school and study harder to honor his mom.

“I know she would have wanted me to press on with my life regardless of what adversities might come,” said Bowers, 20, who is majoring in accounting and marketing. “That’s just how I was raised. And clearly, that’s how Barack was raised.”

Van Jones, 40, founded Green For All, a national program that seeks to create clean energy jobs. His Oakland, Calif.,-based program, which employs 25 people and has an operating budget of $4.5 million, was instrumental in passing a portion of a national energy bill, called the Green Jobs Act. It will use up to $125 million to train 30,000 people in jobs such as installing solar panels and retrofitting buildings to make them more environmentally friendly.

With Obama’s election, Jones decided to shop a $33 billion proposal before Congress that would hire about 600,000 over the next two years for similar work.

“I wouldn’t have believed in myself enough to come forward with an idea that bold,” Jones said. “But now, you’ve got somebody who’s up there, who’s telling people, ‘Let’s be bold.’

“The ceiling has come off. We can dream of … bringing new technologies and new jobs into communities that have been left behind. Yes we can.”

Obama’s historic run has provided ammunition for black fathers, too, who can point to it in motivating the next generation of black men. Will Rodgers, a communications manager at an electric company in Tampa, Fla., said he takes every opportunity to talk to his 12-year-old son about Obama and “how our nation has transformed.”

“I want him to understand the gravity of what’s happened,” said Rodgers, who boasts of having been a conservative Republican who never voted for a Democrat for president until Obama.

“He can really be anything he wants to, even president of the United States.”


November 26, 2008



Los Angeles Sentinel, 01-25-08, p. A-7
Nowhere is the profundity and beauty of African spirituality more apparent than in the Odu Ifa, the sacred text of the spiritual and ethical tradition of Ifa, which is one of the greatest sacred texts of the world and a classic of African and world literature. Its central message revolves around the teach-ings of the Goodness of and in the world; the chosen status of humans in the world; the criteria of a good world; and the re-quirements for a good world. Although these themes are throughout the Odu Ifa, nowhere are they more explicit than in Odu 78:1. The Odu (chapter) begins by declaring “Let’s do things with joy…” For it is understood that the world was created in goodness and that we are to find good in the world, embrace it, increase it, and not let any good be lost. It is obvious here that all is not well with the world, given the poverty, oppression, exploi-tation and general suffering of people. But inherent in this firm belief in the good that is found in the Odu Ifa is the faith that in the midst of the worst of situations there are good people, good will and possibilities for creating good, increasing good and thus constantly expanding the realm of good.
The chosen status of humans is a sec-ond major tenet of Ifa. Odu 78:1 says we should do things with joy “for surely hu-mans have been divinely chosen (yan) to bring good into the world” and that this is the fundamental mission and meaning of human life. And we are chosen not over and against anyone, but chosen with everyone to bring good in the world. Thus, all of us are equally chosen. In fact, the word for human being is eniyan which literally means chosen one, and we are divinely chosen without dis-tinction of nation, race, gender, special reli-gious relationship or promise. Surely this poses an ideal many other world religions are still striving to establish as a central moral doctrine.
But even as we’re chosen, we must also choose to be chosen by doing good in the world. Thus, Odu 78:1 also says that no one can reach their highest level of spiritual-ity or rest in heaven until we all achieve the good world “that Olodumare, God, has or-dained for every human being.” This estab-lishes a divinely ordained right to a good life for every human being. But joined to this human right is the obligation of shared re-sponsibility of humans to make the world good so that everyone can enjoy a good life. The important contribution this makes here to theological and social ethics is that it teaches that transcendence in the spiritual and social sense can never be individualistic, but must always include the happiness and well-being of others. The Odu Ifa says all deserve a good life and good world; ultimate transcendence is impossible without it, and it is a shared task of all humans to achieve it.
The question is, then, posed to the sage and master teacher, Orunmila, of what is a good life and the conditions for the good world. Orunmila answers by saying that the achieving of a good life or good world is de-fined by several essential things: full knowl-edge of things; happiness everywhere; free-dom from anxiety and fear of hostile others; the end of antagonism with other beings on earth, i.e., animals, reptiles and the like; well-being and the end of forces that threaten it; and finally, freedom from pov-erty and misery. Now, it is of great signifi-cance that the first criteria for good life and good world is knowledge. In fact, Orunmila also says that knowledge or rather wisdom is the first requirement for achieving the good. This points to knowledge or education as a basic human right, necessary not only for our understanding our humanity in its most
Los Angeles Sentinel, 01-25-08, p. A-7
expansive forms, but also to realize it in the most meaningful and flourishing ways.
But again the good world will not come into being by itself. Thus, five re-quirements are necessary to bring it into be-ing. The first requirement Orunmila lists for achieving a good world, as noted above is wisdom. The text says we must develop “wisdom adequate to govern the world.” This reaffirms human responsibility for the world and the need to obtain adequate wis-dom to carry out this responsibility effec-tively. The core wisdom here is of necessity moral and spiritual wisdom which conceives the world in its interrelated wholeness, re-spects its integrity and works constantly to save, renew and expand the good in it.
Orunmila also taught that humans must move beyond moralities of convenience to a morality of sacrifice, i.e., self-giving in a real, meaningful and sustained way. The Odu Ifa says that “one who makes a small sacrifice will have a small result” (Odu, 45:1). It says to us “be able to suffer without surrendering and persevere in what you do” (Odu, 150). Also, a central moral quest in the Ifa spiritual and ethical tradition is to achieve iwapele, a gentle character or iwarere, good character which are often in-terchangeable. Orunmila cites this as the third requirement to achieving a good world. “It is gentle character which enables the rope of life to remain strong in our hands” according to Odu 119:1.
Orunmila teaches that another one of the main requirements for achieving the good world is “the love of doing good for all people, especially for those who are in need and those who seek assistance from us.” This requirement seeks to create a moral community based not on cold calculation of rule and duty, but on the love of doing good and the joy and benefit it brings to the doer and the recipient of the good. Odu 141:1 says, “Ofun is giving out goodness every-where. (But) Ofun does not make noise about it.” Indeed, to do things coldly and/or loudly is to diminish the good done.
The last requirement Orunmila cites as a requirement for creating a good world re-turns us to the fundamental meaning and mission in human life. He says what is re-quired is “the eagerness and struggle to in-crease good in the world and not let any good be lost.” Again, Orunmila calls for a profound commitment to the good world, and an ongoing and intense struggle for it until it is achieved. The Odu suggests that we must stay ever-ready and engaged, for it says in the pursuit of good, “a constant sol-dier is never unready even once” (Odu, 159:1).
Dr. Maulana Karenga, Professor of Black Studies, California State University-Long Beach, Chair of The Organiza-tion Us, Creator of Kwanzaa, and author of Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture, [ and].


October 17, 2008


Blacks must slay lie of inferiority

Thursday, October 16, 2008 6:10 AM EDT
By Leah Carter

IF polls are any indication, there is a real chance Barack Obama will be elected president of the United States. On its face, this seems to suggest that America has seen the worst of its complex and painful history of racism.

A closer examination of the presidential race reveals we probably should not be patting ourselves on the back just yet. As political analyst David Gergen points out, race is still a factor and Obama’s “blackness may cost him the election.”

It is unclear which group more accurately represents contemporary America: the smiling, screaming fans proclaiming that Obama brings “change you can believe in,” or people like Bobby Lee May, the former McCain campaign chairman for Buchanan, Va., who wrote that Obama, if elected, would “hire rapper Ludacris to paint (the White House) black.”

Is the United States a country that has moved beyond racism, leaving behind a small group of reactionaries? Or are the attitudes that sanctioned slavery and Jim Crow laws still going strong and hiding beneath the surface of our society?

The answer seems to be that both are true. The United States cannot quite seem to make up its mind about race.

American blacks are making tremendous strides forward. The rest of America has progressed as well, in both attitudes and actions.

However, beneath many people’s actions and conscious thoughts lurks a deep-seated conviction that black people are inferior. They might be better at dancing, slam-dunking and avoiding skin cancer, but certainly are not as smart, hardworking or beautiful as white people.

This view may seem like a relic of ancient history, but a 2008 report on a study conducted by a Stanford University psychologist concluded that many white Americans subconsciously associate black people with apes.

The saddest part of this is that black people are not immune to this. While black Americans gain success and fortune in increasing numbers, many are simultaneously hindered by a sense of inferiority. In other words, nearly all Americans seem to believe the same lie: that black people are not as smart, valuable, capable or worthy as white people.

The lie of black inferiority was first told hundreds of years ago when Europeans decided it was profitable to colonize Africa and export its citizens for labor while declaring them less than human. It was a useful lie, and successfully instilled — so successfully that it has been propagated through generations to today.

When the U.S. Supreme Court was hearing Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 case that ended legalized segregation in the United States, psychologist Kenneth Clark demonstrated that school segregation negatively affected black children’s image of themselves. The children thought that black dolls were ugly and dirty, and white dolls were prettier, cleaner, nicer and generally more appealing.

When a similar study was conducted just a few years ago, decades after the end of legalized segregation, the majority of black children still preferred white dolls.

The lie no longer needs to be explicitly stated. We absorb it as if from the air. It is everywhere in our society, and yet seemingly undetectable in a world in which Obama may be our next president, Oprah Winfrey is the world’s most influential media personality and Tiger Woods is the world’s most popular golfer.

Part of what makes the lie so influential is its flexibility. It can coexist with the phenomena of Obama and Winfrey. They can be seen as mere aberrations from the norm.

The result is that while black people can look around and see some blacks succeeding in America, they still find it difficult to love themselves, to believe they deserve the best life has to offer.

The New Haven-based Community Healing Network ( — launched by a group led by the Rev. Victor Rogers, rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, and the Rev. Bonita Grubbs, director of Christian Community Action — has issued a “Call to Healing and Renewal,” declaring that the time has come to extinguish the lie of black inferiority. It wants to replace the lie with “the truth of black people’s beauty, worth, value and dignity.”

The group is calling on the black community to build a movement for emotional emancipation — for freedom not only in body, but also in mind and in spirit.

The group is starting annual Community Healing Days on the third weekend of every October, starting this year on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, to focus the black community on healing the lie of black inferiority.

The goal is to encourage blacks to take special care of themselves and each other on these days. The hope is that the celebration will continue past the weekend, until the day when black children everywhere believe that they are just as smart, strong, capable and worthy as other children. If the work of the Community Healing Network succeeds, as I believe it will, that wonderful day will come sooner rather than later.

Leah Carter is a volunteer with the Community Healing Network. Readers may write her in care of the Register, 40 Sargent Drive, New Haven 06511. Her e-mail address is

The following are comments from the readers. In no way do they represent the view of

Bill wrote on Oct 16, 2008 10:38 AM:

” Leah Carter is absolutely right. The democrat party is guilty of fostering the idea that somehow blacks are inferior. They insist that they cannot make it on their own, they need affirmative action, and handouts. The democrats insist that blacks need a boost up while other minorities many of them just a dark skinned or darker than American blacks come to this country and succeed in record numbers in spite of perceived racism. They don’t know that they cannot succeed so they do. ”


History wrote on Oct 16, 2008 4:24 PM:

My father grew up in a time when black folks were beaten – by uniformed police officers, in the open – on the way to the polls, and small black children had to be escorted to school by the national guard to protect them from enraged citizens. This was ONE GENERATION AGO. You think this has no historical reverberations? You think it’s reasonable for black folks to disregard the experiences of thier parents and grandparents? You think ‘the inferiority complex’ comes from Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton?

There is a reasonable difference of opinion about how to heal these wounds; niether of you contributed anything worthwhile to that debate. ”

History wrote on Oct 16, 2008 10:12 PM:

” “History is just that. History.”

Let’s talk specifically of Connecticut. This state has the unfortunate distinction of having one of the highest achievement gaps in the country, meaning that poor and minority students perform well below the levels of their wealthier collegues (for more on this, see There are lots of reasons for this, but surely we can agree that history is one of them, that there is a strong link between generations of slavery, housing discrimination, instititionalized racism, etc, and the poverty that many black families face today.

Having said that, I do believe we should ask ourselves if affirmative action is an appropriate way to attempt to right this historical wrong. Like you, I feel that a healthy debate is a good thing – it helps us flesh out our positions and fortify our thinking. But part of that debate is acknowledging the tenacious legacy of racial discrimination in this country without placing the blame solely on the Jacksons and Sharptons. If nothing else, that’s an insult to black agency and intelligence, to say that black folks can’t analyze what comes out of Al Sharpton’s mouth the same way you can, and separate the bad ideas from the good. It would be like blaming crimes committed by Italian-Americans on The Sopranos, which is absurd.

“race-baiting opportunists”

I’m surprised to see that your list of “race-baiting opportunists” includes only the Sharptons and Jacksons of the world. Would you agree with me that the Strom Thurmonds, Robert Byrds, and David Dukes of the world are also “race-baiting opportunists?” If so, do they bear no responsibility for their own negative messages?

“I’m not hearing it from the leaders of today’s black community.”

Maybe you aren’t familiar with Dr. Cornel West, or didn’t hear Senator Obama’s Father’s Day Speech – those are two outstanding examples of positive black leaders recognizing history while speaking hard truths to the African-American community. There’s lots, lots more of that out there.

“The ugly crutch of history”

Again, I’m not saying that we should use history as a crutch. I’m saying that we need to give history its due, and that any debate about affirmative action or perceptions of black ‘inferiority’ needs to start with a recognition of the lasting legacy of that history. ”

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Michael wrote on Oct 17, 2008 2:39 AM:

” “Ed” said:We need more messages like that of Dr. King.

I agree; in particular I think a lot of people need to hear what Dr King said, in particular
A society that has done something special against the Negro for hundreds of years must now do something special for him, to equip him to compete on a just and equal basis.

If a city has a 30% Negro population, then it is logical to assume that Negroes should have at least 30% of the jobs in any particular company, and jobs in all categories rather than only in menial areas.

No amount of gold could provide an adequate compensation for the exploitation and humiliation of the Negro in America down through the centuries…Yet a price can be placed on unpaid wages. The ancient common law has always provided a remedy for the appropriation of a the labor of one human being by another. This law should be made to apply for American Negroes. The payment should be in the form of a massive program by the government of special, compensatory measures which could be regarded as a settlement in accordance with the accepted practice of common law.

…and …

[…] our nation was born in genocide when it embraced the doctrine that the original American, the Indian, was an inferior race

You can either disagree with King (which is not necessarily a bad thing, because an appeal to authority is not a conclusive argument), or agree with him and cite him to get respect for your own position, but don’t cite him to oppose things he supported, to whit affirmative action, particularly using racial quotas if need be, reparations for slave descendants, and a clear-eyed view of the original sins of our nation. ”


September 18, 2008


Restoring The Dignity Of Africa

BY Sule E. Egya

Brain Gain for the African Renaissance, Edited by Okello Oculi and Yakubu Nasidi; published by Ahmadu Bello University Press, Zaria; 447 pages.

What we know of socio-cultural and scientific civilisation today, it has been established, started from Africa. Per Ankh, the house of life, in the ancient Egypt was a brain-home from where knowledge spread to other parts of the world. World-class African thinkers such as Cheik Anta Diop, Ayi Kwei Armah and Theophile Obenga have persistently forged a narrative to connect us to that glorious past. Regrettably, their narrative, what Armah calls “the way,” is countervailed by forces that have retrogressively reduced the height of Africa. The Africa that housed intellection in the past, as absurd as it sounds, is now a pitiable shadow of itself, its intellectuals driven to continental self-enslavement. During the slavery of the past, the white people came and captured Africans, but in the present slavery Africans willingly present themselves to the white people as slaves. It is the exodus to the West; it is the brain drain Africa suffers from.

To stem the tide of intellectual erosion as a result of the brain-drain phenomenon, Africa Vision 525, a non-governmental think-tank based in Kenya and Nigeria, has initiated what it calls Brain Gain book project. Part of the objective of this project, according to Okello Oculi and Yakubu Nasidi, editors of the first book in the series, is “to contribute to ameliorating [the crisis of brain drain] by drawing back into African universities intellectual products of the African Diaspora and Africanist scholars resident outside Africa” (ix). Contributions by outstanding scholars on the continent are also brought into the pool of intellectual productions the project injects into a system that is practically comatose. This first volume of the project demonstrates the feasibility and, indeed, the fruition of a concerted effort to reconstruct the canon of intellection in Africa. Here is a conscious response to a continent’s moral, ethical and intellectual failures; a measured criticism that validates the notion of inward positivism and a pragmatic approach to Africa’s solutions to Africa’s problems.

The theme of this volume is “Issues in Governance.” A crucial angle from which to begin the business of renaissance in Africa, you may say. The choice is vital. Governance is perhaps the most derailed sphere in the evolution of nationhood in Africa. It is a continental weakness—really, an insurmountable vice—that reduces one of the wealthiest continents in the world to beggardom. The choice of scholars to tackle these issues Brain Gain has made is both appealing and gratifying. The names are intimidating: Ali Mazrui, Toyin Falola, Okwudiba Nnoli, Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja, P. Anyang Nyongo’o, Okechukwu Ibeanu, Crawford Young, and others. In their diverse themes and styles, tones and tenors, these intellectuals engage the readers in profound dialogues that evaluate and define the course of governance in Africa.

Falola’s “Writing and Teaching National History in Africa in an Era of Global History” is a primal discourse. The eminent, globe-trotting scholar returns home, patriotic, having been exposed to the sophistry of globalisation. Beginning his argument from the existence of nation-states, in spite of what he refers to as the “ambiguities” surrounding them, Falola harps on the conspiracy of the globalists to undermine, and consequently nullify, national historiography. In doing this, he undresses globalisation and presents her to us in her full nakedness, with all her ugly joints. The scholar informs us that “[it] is the weak nations [in the sense we see all nations of Africa] that are being asked to adjust, to subordinate their national histories to the threatening agenda of a global world and a global history” (58). In this design, globalisation weakens weaker nations and strengthens stronger ones, insofar as the concept of globalisation is continuously fashioned and manoeuvred by the powerful nations of the world. A powerful nation, then, upstages her history to what Falola calls “metanarrative”. In this premise, the less powerful nations must evolve a history to confront the many lies and infamies of globalisation, and with resilient intellectualism and vigorous historiography. A further antidote, pragmatic in its chemistry, is offered here:

We have to keep decolonizing African historiography, to turn to indigenous creativity and ideas, to empower the marginalized voices, to shed light on the tremendous energy and success represented by popular cultures, market women, craft workers, and local cultivators, among others. Oral history should not be abandoned in the face of global history. Students and researchers must contribute to our understanding of a variety of topics: migration flows within Africa and nation-states; regional conflicts; ethnic and religious divisions; inter- and intra-national relations within Africa; development and modernization; processes of democratization and participatory practices; neoliberal reforms; cultural transformations; market and economic networks; the Cold War and its aftermath; ecological history and sustainable development; and mass communication. (Italics mine, 77-78)

It seems like a thesis that will liberate nation-states in Africa from what one may call globalism i.e. the dishonest rhetoric of globalisation. But many Africa-based students and scholars, as some of the essays in Brain Gain attest, have been engaging in the enterprise Falola proposes, except that the overall socio-political climate of Africa does not welcome—and, indeed, kills—intellectual activities meant to forge a liberated and equitable nationhood.

It is this hostile climate in Africa that Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja draws our attention to in his “Challenges to State Building in Africa”. His discourse is clear and familiar to us. His first sentence opens the wound we have been nursing for long: “After three to five decades of self-rule, the people of Africa have yet to see the fulfilment of their expectations of independence for full citizenship rights” (87). This is painfully true. The eminent scholar goes on to outline some of the factors responsible for this condition. The problems are home-based, though mostly engendered by the hypocritical posture of the West, Africa’s chief coloniser. Greed and Dishonesty, the twin sisters, are the hot-legged prostitutes cradling African leaders on their laps. They caused the disillusionment of the post-independence era, lengthened to destructive militarisation, which has begotten anaemic democracies in Africa. Nzogola-Ntalaja neatly ties this to the globalisation-syndrome Falola has expounded: “contrary to the political vision of Amilcar Cabral and other progressive founding fathers of African independence, post-colonial rulers have not transformed the inherited structures of the state and the economy to serve the deepest aspirations of their peoples instead of the interests of the dominant classes of the world system, with which these rulers tend to identify” (88). The gist is simply that African leaders, since independence, have set their visions abroad to cater for their greed and the interest of their colonial masters. Nzogola-Ntalaja believes that Africa is yet to severe its umbilical cord from the West and that is one of its greatest problems. He harks back to the early rhetoric of Pan-Africanism, reminding us of the good intentions of the fighters of independence, giving us an insight into the stupendous wealth waiting for Africa at the dawn of independence, and he regrets that Africa today is a famished continent whose children troop to the West in search of food and survival. Really, every section of Nzogola-Ntalaja’s essay echoes the ignominy that Africa Vision 525 intends to redeem with its book projects. Part of Nzogola-Ntalaja’s suggestion for a better Africa is that “a successful development strategy [for Africa] requires a radical break with the past, that is, with the authoritarian and predatory character of the colonial state, as well as the promotion of egalitarian and participatory values” (107).

Some of the essays in Brain Gain are very revealing. Okechukwu Ibeanu’s “Petroleum, Politics and Development in the Niger Delta” is an eye-opener for non-Nigerians whose knowledge of the Niger Delta conundrum is what the radio brings to them. The depth of Ibeanu’s research and the clarity of his language are such that you will see, most graphically, the situation in the Niger Delta today. “ECOMOG Operations in the Resolution of Conflicts in West Africa”, by Gani Yoroms, is another eye-opener for those who have heard much but have known less about Africa’s peace-keeping operations in Africa. Deftly expository, Yoroms’s essay is different from most others because of its tone which is less critical. Yoroms is interested in furnishing us with facts with which we can conclude that Africa, after all, can tackle its crises, although what we see of Somalia and Darfur today confounds us. But no matter what we see today, if we read Yoroms’s essay, we are likely to agree with him that “it is important to acknowledge that ECOMOG operations were indeed path breaking approaches to peace keeping in Africa” (373).

Other essays, such as Kristen Timothy’s “Defending Diversity, Sustaining Consensus: NGOs at the Beijing Women’s Conference and Beyond”; P. Anyang Nyong’o’s “Good Governance for Whom? How Presidential Authoritarianism Perpetuates Elitist Politics in Africa”; and Adagbo Ogbu Onoja’s “The Commonwealth Intervention in the Zimbabwe Land Reform Crisis: Africa’s Security in the Post Cold War Era” give us profound education on issues that are here with us and yet we know just little about them. Beyond the depth of the researches collected in this book, the spread, which is an attempt to embrace all facets of political life of Africa, is a commendable feat.

With about fifteen essays, the book is one that every scholar and thinker, irrespective of the field of specialisation, ought to possess and give it a prominent space on his/her shelf. Perhaps, those who need the service of this book most are the politicians and the policy-makers of present-day Africa who have become persistently noisy and noisome about reforms. The book will help them reform themselves, and give them a lead-way towards the evolution of a genuinely democratic norm in Africa.

Sule E. Egya, Ph.D, writer and scholar, teaches in the Department of English, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Nasarawa State.


September 16, 2008


Tuesday, 13 February 2007
Finally, after years of ambiguity and doubt, Serena Williams scored an amazing emotional victory to win this year’s Australian Open, obliterating Maria Sharapova 6-1 6-2 in the Women’s Singles final.

Her show of determination, power and passion that eclipsed anything the former world No 1 had previously achieved. Her performance proved that she still remains potentially one of the most formidable force in women tennis.

Persistent wrist problems prevented Serena’s sister, Venus, from playing in Australia, but a trip to Ghana in November last year revitalised Serena.

“I saw things there that my ancestors had been through and it couldn’t be worse than that,” she said. “I thought about that and I think it helped me a lot.”


September 10, 2008


Saturday, February 09, 2008

Cashing In On His Roots

When he came to Nigeria almost 20 years ago at the urging of his Nigerian friends living in the United States, John Marcus Cashin was enthralled by what he saw. An African-American, his childhood curiosity about the motherland had finally been satisfied but he won’t let go. He decided to stay. Now the chief executive of Metrolan Ventures, authorised resellers of Apple Super Computers, Cashin spoke to DEBO OLADIMEJI on his sojourn in Nigeria.

ALABAMA, United States-born John Marcus Cashin dramatically landed in Nigeria in the process of tracing his roots on Christmas Day in 1988. His singsong had always been: “We are all black. You should remember your brother coming home.”

Cashin recalls growing up in a segregated society, having attended a black nursery school and black kindergarten.

At the University of Alabama, he decided to study Communication and Broadcasting to liberate blacks from racism because “of the politics I grew up with. It is like you interview somebody white, they play it the same way. You interview somebody black, they edit it or only take what they want.

“So I knew the power of that when I was young and my parents complained about how the white reporter misinterpreted what Luther Martin King or Andrew Young said. They all try to confuse us,” he reminisced.

Born in 1959 to Dr. John Cashin, a dentist, now 80 and Mrs. Joan Marie, a psychologist, who passed on in 1997, Marcus, who is the first of three children, comes from an elite family. Like his father, his grandfather, Dr. John Legan Cashin, was also a dentist. His great grandfather, Hershel, one of the first black lawyers in Alabama, graduated from Cheney University in 1869.

Marcus’ sister, Sheryll Denise, graduated with Bachelor of Law from the prestigious Oxford University, England. His father owned a weekly newspaper called The Eagle Eye and a monthly magazine, The Valley Informer, published for Tennessee River Valley.

His father ran for the governorship of Alabama State in 1970 on the platform of his own predominantly black political party, the United Democratic Party of Alabama. The senior Cashin founded the party when, during the 1964 Democratic Convention, he observed that the whites wouldn’t allow the black delegates to have a say.

His father it was who introduced former President Bill Clinton as candidate of the Democrats to the Black Dental Association and the National Democratic Party of Alabama, the black community in Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia, New York and Washington DC.

Because his father was preoccupied with political activities and was always travelling for political reasons, Marcus was closer to his mother who happened to be always around to attend to his immediate needs.

She was on the board of the Community Action Agency for the whole of South East United States, an agency that helps the poor and distributes rations for the people on welfare.

His parents, he recalled, were always there to guide them. “Even though they knew something, they would tell us to go and look it up in the dictionary. We thought they were hard on us, not knowing that they were nurturing us on how to become a star in our field,” he said appreciatively.

Marcus attended Integrated University Place Elementary School in Brandon, where he was the first black to attend a white elementary school in the town. He and his brother, Carroll, were the first blacks to attend Integrated Blossom Wood Elementary School for their Second Grade.

He recalls that during his Junior High at Hartsville for his Seventh and Eighth Grade, his history teacher was the only one that gave him a B. “She did not like the way l used to answer my history questions, according to the history books l read in my father’s library. She was not comfortable that black people discovered certain things like George Washington Carver, who invented the machine that makes shoes and Lewis Latimer, who did the installation of the first electric steel lighting in New York City,” he explained.

He also remembers being a wrestler and sprinter while in his Ninth Grade at Ed White Junior High City Champ. He was indeed a state champion wrestler and a chess champion in his Fourth Grade. He attended Slammel Butler High School for his 10th to 12th Grades.

Marcus wanted to be an architect but his mother wanted him to be a doctor because her father, Dr. Marcus Carpenter, was one. However, although he was precocious and did well in the sciences at elementary school, he rebelled or was not keen to go the medical way. So he settled for Broadcasting and Film Communications at University of Alabama, which he wanted to use as a vehicle to project the black race.

“That meant that I got to find the right information and disseminated it to thousands of my people out there,” he stated.

But fortunately or unfortunately, he could not complete it. One day, while he was at the University of Alabama, he met a white lady, who introduced Geological Petroleum Engineering Technology to him, a course he ended up studying at the University of Southern Texas.

“I was riding home with a 25-year-old lady, who told me that she was studying Geology. I said, ‘what does that mean?’ She said that they had a way of getting petroleum out of the rock. I was just anxious to know more about the course,” he recounts. And that was the genesis of his final withdrawal from Alabama to Southern Texas.

While at Southern Texas, he developed more interest in Computer Science, which he did as a course. “I had to learn the computer to see how it worked. That was how I sharpened my knowledge about computer, joined a computer science club and used to go for their programmes.”

After graduation, he had a stint at Philip Petroleum Company in Texas before coming to Nigeria. But he actually started mixing with Nigerians while at Alabama. He had a girl friend, Angel John, who, though not a Nigerian, had lived next door to a Nigerian named Labu Adeleke. “Labu then asked whether I had ever heard about Fela and I said no. He said Fela Kuti, I said no. He said, ‘come over.’ So I went to his house,” Marcus recollects vividly.

Labu, he added, was the first Nigerian he ever met and who introduced him to Fela. Labu was studying Agricultural Science at Alabama University of Agriculture and “was really a cool guy” with whom he has lost contact for somet ime now.

The same Labu also introduced him to other Nigerian musicians such as Sunny Ade. “I like Fela’s music. I started listening to Fela since 1976,” he disclosed, adding that he got to know about FESTAC through Fela’s music.

“So in 1977, Labu invited me to come to FESTAC, saying Stevie Wonder would be there. But I couldn’t make it,” he said regretfully.

His performances at Southern Texas also attracted the attention of many Nigerians. “I was doing well in school and was on the Dean’s list 3.0. They had respect for me and everybody knew my name. Out of about 600 people, half of them were Nigerians. They saw my name out there and many of them became inquisitive about me,” he stated.

His Geography and Geo-Physics lecturer at Southern Texas, Dr. Ken Chinwezu, was also a Nigerian. Chinwezu told his students that the Niger Delta region in Nigeria was just like Louisiana, Mississippi Delta but that there is more oil in the Niger Delta.

“I was still in my last semester but I was working and going to school. We had two classes with him. One will start at 5pm and stop a 7pm and he will take a 30-minute break, then from 7.30 to 9pm, we had another break and everybody who went to a night school knew him,” he said with fond memories.

Marcus decided to follow four Nigerian schoolmates: Paul Ene, Joe Chuks Uzoka, Hyke (IK) Chuks and one Godwin to Nigeria in December 1988.

He retraced this journey to Nigeria: “I remember one of them saying that there was a business that we could do in Nigeria. IK told me that he would fly from New York to Lagos, then to Enugu and from there go to the village. That when I get to his village near Ozalla in Enugu State, I should ask of Chuk’s compound. He asked, ‘are you going to make it?’ and I said, ‘don’t worry, I will plan it.”

He asked IK the meaning of Enugu and was told that it stands for hilltop. “I said, ‘so I am going to the hilltop?”

His friend also gave him the name and phone number of an uncle in Enugu to call once he got to Lagos, because there was no telephone in their village. They agreed to meet on Christmas or Boxing Day of 1988. But he was reminded that if he did not go as planned, he would miss his friend, who was returning to the US after the Yuletide.

So Marcus left Miami for Germany, then to Nairobi, where he stayed for two days before going to Cameroun aboard Ethiopia Airline. He landed in Lagos on Christmas Day of 1988. Aboard the flight, he met some Nigerians as they wined, dined and chatted together.

“We all exchanged addresses. One of them warned me to beware of Nigerians. We landed safely at Murtala Mohammed Airport. N5.32 exchanged for a dollar at that time,” he recalls.

He checked into Sheraton Hotel in Ikeja and later walked down to the bar for some oranges. “I heard somebody calling my name John Cashin. His name is Kentler, a black American. He came to Nigeria too. We knew each other before. I told him that I was planning to go to Enugu to see my classmate.”

He was to go to Enugu the next day but he got to the airport and was told that the defunct Nigeria Airways, which was the national carrier, could not fly because of the harmattan. Then he remembered that if he did not get to Enugu and then his classmate’s village, he could miss him.

So he called IK’s brother office at Enugu and was able to talk to one of the nurses in his office who put him through to IK’s brother, whom he told that he was stranded in Lagos. He finally got another flight to Enugu a week after.

The passenger sitting next to him happened to be one Arthur Nwube, also a graduate of Alabama, who gave him his telephone number in Enugu and his address in Lagos, in case he had any problem.

Marcus eventually found his way to IK’s brother’s office in Enugu around 6.30pm and he sent somebody to take him to the village. They got to Chuks’ compound around 9pm.

“They were playing Prince’s music, Sign of the time in the dark. I said Sign of the time by Prince in the middle of an African jungle? No, it can’t be.””

It later dawned on him that IK brought the tape from Houston, Texas and was playing it in front of his house. “IK couldn’t believe that it was me, at that time of the night,” he recounted.

After a few days, Marcus went to buy a flight ticket back to Lagos, but again the weather was bad. So he had to stay back in the village until the weather improved for the plane to fly.

On getting to the airport, he met Godwin waiting for the same flight back to Lagos. He was on his way back to Houston. Godwin, with whom he used to discuss politics in the US, after a while, looked at him and said: “John Marcus Cashin, you are the only black American that I know that will come to Nigeria and Enugu.”

That was the beginning of Marcus’ sojourn in Nigeria. “We came back to Lagos. I stayed in Sheraton for about three to four weeks on and on. I did not want to go back. He urged me to stay back and renewed my visa for me. That was how I got hooked on Nigeria.”

He got into the computer business in the 1980s while still in school and working part-time. In Nigeria, he soon became an Apple man and a major reseller in Nigeria in 1998.

Marcus has been basically an Apple exporter, buying and reselling in the last 10 years under the auspices of Metrolan Ventures Limited.One thing that fascinated him about Nigeria is the level of freedom and the fact that there is no discrimination among the citizens.

The Apple magnate hopes that there is a drastic improvement in the supply of electricity soon. “You can imagine what the rate of development will be in Lagos with 24 hours supply of electricity,” he opined.

The last time that he visited his people in the United States was in 2001. He is in contact with his brothers and sisters via the telephone and the internet day in day out. His sister, Sheryll, a lawyer, is also into the business of Apple Computers.

He is not planning to marry yet “but it is possible for me to tie the nuptial knots in due course.”

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September 6, 2008



September 6, 2008




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