Archive for the ‘BLACKS IN THE SCIENCES’ Category
New campaign tells Senegal’s women ‘all black’ is beautiful
By Agence France-Presse
Monday, February 18, 2013 7:20 EST
Outraged by adverts urging women to bleach their skin, a spontaneous movement has emerged in Senegal arguing that black is beautiful — and to act otherwise is to risk one’s health.
The campaign sprang up in response to advertisements that appeared in the capital Dakar last year for a cosmetic cream called “Khess Petch”, or “all white” in the local Wolof language.
The posters promised “rapid action” and “results in 15 days”. They showed before and after pictures of a young woman who started out black and ended up with fair skin through depigmentation, locally known as “kheessal” or bleaching.
“We were scandalised (by a poster) suggesting that black is not beautiful because it recommends that young women should transform themselves in a fortnight,” said Aisha Deme, who runs the cultural website Agendakar.com.
“In a spontaneous response, we wanted to elevate the black woman and we launched “Nuul Kukk”, which means “all black”, the young woman added.
So the campaigners put up their own posters in the Senegalese capital, this time showing a proud black woman. The work was done for free by fashion photographer Stephane Tourne and advertising professionals.
The Nuul Kukk campaign, which is highly active online and has its own website, Twitter feed and Facebook page, features local stars, including the rapper Keyti, the stylist Dior Lo and women’s rights activist Kine Fatim Diop.
The campaign is also backed by dermatologist Fatimata Ly, who has been fighting the “kheessal” practice for 10 years as part of the International Association for Information on Artificial Depigmentation.
For Ly, skin-bleaching is a public health concern because “in the general population, 67 in every 100 women practice artificial depigmentation.”
These products reduce the body’s ability to “defend itself against (various) infections”, and they also “have broader effects on health, such as diabetes and high blood pressure,” she added.
The skin-lightening phenomenon exists in several sub-Saharan African countries and in the black diaspora. In Senegal, “it is mainly a feminine practice, even if you find it among men in some particular groups, such as performers,” Ly said.
Whitening creams, milks and gels contain substances initially intended for therapeutic purposes, such as corticosteroids and hydroquinone, and should only be prescribed by doctors, according to Ly.
“Unfortunately, you can find them all across the Senegalese market. They are products that are very accessible,” she said.
At between one euro ($1.3) and 1.5 euros ($2) per product — five or six times cheaper than in a chemist’s shop — they are also affordable, Ly said as she showed pictures on her computer of the damage caused by bleaching products, ranging from swollen legs, bruises and open wounds to blemished skin and burns.
Women are nonetheless drawn to the products because they believe they will make them more beautiful, according to researchers and doctors, and Deme says it’s an uphill battle to convince women otherwise.
“Today’s society imposes criteria for beauty on us… Everybody promotes women with fair skin: the papers, magazines, video clips,” said Deme.
“What we recommend today is just to stop depigmentation. We should stop importing these products and selling them, so that there are no more scandalous advertisements,” she added. “It will take as much time as it takes, it will be long, but we have to fight.”
[Image via Agence France-Presse]
Connecting African Culture
Can Blacks in America Work With Blacks in Africa?
Posted by hudsonliberty on September 19, 2008 at 7:47pm in Friends
The answer is Yes. The Black Business Builders Club is demonstrating the cooperation is not only possible but necessary. For many years, there has been an artificial rift between Blacks in the Homeland and those in the Diaspora.
As Dr. John Henrick Clarke would say, “It didn’t matter where the slave ship stopped to drop you off, we all came from Africa.” The Black Business Builders Club is making a concerted effort to build the economic bridge between Blacks Globally.
The fee structure for membership made it affordable to people even in some of the most economic stressed areas. It is another wonderful step in building bridges between the East Side of the Ocean and the West Side of the Ocean.
For more information on the club the resource site for the club. To join one goes to the club entrance
Tags: africa, at, based, blacks, business, cooperation, home, job, joint, training
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Permalink Reply by yaw on September 23, 2008 at 1:42am
I am glad the “answer in yes.” Having visited the continent on several times, and i’ve been captured, immershed and captivated with the people, their culure and their humanity; from the way that i see it, with the meetings of the minds of the far streched distance among the people of the diaspora and those on the continent, would be a Godly chosen circumstance. I think with the mindset of both coming togather for a common goal is achievable.
But, let me back up. even though all things are possible, it sometimes seems that what is destined to be, seem’s a bit far fectched, “like getting it together.” we often talk about ethic and tribal turmoil, etc. Well, perhaps to some degree, it does exist. I feel that anything i hear concerning this matter was intentionally conceived and planned for much of such causes. Even so, i’ve visited 13 or14
“countries”, (only because some of the countries are so small, it would seem if we could form and have a feradated union among various states) and classed as a visitor, i’ve enjoyed my connections, and indeed, feel that i have established some good links with many people every place i’ve gone. no, not every encounter is your ideal friendship. you’ll have to weed those not so hospitable out, just as anyother place, but the culture and the people seem to me, so full of humanity you can easily let your guard. It occurs to me that many of us here in the diaspora and on the continent desire to make these links, but lack the formality to do so, that is, the united front or effort to do; to pool our resources, both human and with monetary resources. The problem seem’s to stem from the word good GOVERNANCE by the leadership in too many of the Afrikan countries. Corruption. Why not we do nor pool these resources and work for the common good of bringing ourselves in unity for the betterment of our political and enconomic situation? to achieve meaniful economic and unity for this goal will require what many of us are not ready to do; give the necessary sacrfice to achieve what we say we want. And within the diaspora, are groups not pooling themselves for the interest of the cause. I see a lack of organization.
I conclude, that what is going on is the results of colonialism and slavery, of which has been vested into the hearts and minds of Afrikan people. Even so, it would appear that we would have learned to overcome such obstacles.
i feel there is much life left, i think, that is if global warming won’t extinguish us before someone get sense and stop the human madness, which i feel we all must partake in. I imagine we will have to take the lead roll in that as well.
I hope i have not gone to far from the point of issue, but i think it is all relevant. I just hope the continent of Afrika will still have enough of its resources left to sustain the future children to come. You know like the minerals and other natural resources: the cobalt, uraniaum, iron, copper, zinc, manganese, etc. hopefully the rich soil will be left to sustain us. So please!!! someone halt self extinction of selling all the minerals and keep hope alive.
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Permalink Reply by tekono on September 24, 2008 at 3:32am
Here is an example of a successful African American Businessman in Nigeria. He arrived with no capital in NIgeria in 1988 at the invitation of his University friends and he has been representing Apple Computers in Nigeria since 15 years now.You can read more on John Cashin;s journey on one of my blog posts:
More info about Cashin’s business in Nigeria:
MetroLAN Plans State-of-the-Art Apple Systems
By Okechukwu Kanu
MetroLAN Ventures, a company which believes strongly in the radical revolutionary research & development programme of Apple Computers has set itself the target of using Apple products to provide the right basic tools to change lives. John Cashin, CEO MetroLAN Ventures made this known recently in a statement to THISDAY on the trends within MetroLAN and the computer industry.
He said MetroLAN could deliver the latest up-to-date range of Apple technology at short notice anywhere in the country. According to Cashin, “At any given time MetroLAN has several equipment in stock that are usually on the way out for delivery. The demand is such that many systems go straight from clearing to delivery. MetroLAN also offers a demonstration on its system for interested customers, on notification of their wish for this.
Cashin had more to say on the Apple range of products: “Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software and Internet offerings.”
MetroLAN also offers a complete line of high quality, high performance Internet, Intranet and Extranet solutions enabling customers to increase productivity and profitability through Internet technology. Through its comprehensive service offerings, MetroLAN meets the requirements of businesses, governments & parastatals, online service providers and telecommunications firms. Customers can choose from in-house deployment to end-to-end, fully managed Internet services, all backed by technical support. MetroLAN’s Systems & Hardware Services Group provides Information Technology services, such as systems integration and networking that allow organizations to match their IT strategy with their business objectives.
MetroLAN offers remote access options such as, ISDN and VPN, Wireless Technology. With MetroLAN Wireless Internet, customers will have access to a complete spectrum of remote connectivity options to satisfy their telecommuters, traveling road warriors and other e-workforce needs. MetroLAN is working to further enhance and extend its IP networking offerings beyond Nigeria and into the West African Regions. This will improve availability of expanded bandwidth and redundancy options and inter-operability between legacy data connections and IP VPN solutions.
MetroLan Ventures is an Apple Authorized Dealer for Nigeria which and advises, sells, supports and provides warranty for the Apple range of products.
The company has a daring list of companies for which it has done all sorts of jobs. They include: THISDAY Newspaper, National Maritime Authority HQ; Christ Embassy Ikeja, Lagos and ABG Communications, Kaduna. Others are Nigeria Minting Security & Printing Company, Victoria Island, Lagos; Continental Transfer Technique Limited, Victoria Island, Lagos; Daily Times Of Nigeria Ikeja, Lagos; Equity & Research Associates (Banking & Financial Consultants) Ikoyi, Lagos and several others.
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Permalink Reply by tekono on September 24, 2008 at 3:57am
I am just using few examples of successful African American businessmen currently operating in Africa to show that yes, Blacks in America and Blacks in Africa can work together:
Sweet success in South Africa: a wine merchant finds opportunity in Johannesburg
Black Enterprise, June, 2008 by Kelly E. Carter
E-mail Print Link [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]
ALL EYES WILL BE ON SOUTH AFRICA WHEN THE COUNTRY hosts soccer’s World Cup in 2010. But aside from the sports fanfare, fare, the capital city, Johannesburg, which will host the opening ceremony and final match, is getting significant attention because of its growth in the business sector.
Mining no longer drives the economic growth in this city of 3.9 million. Today, finance and manufacturing, which contribute 34% to the national economy and approximately 9% to the gross domestic product fuel the province of Gauteng (which includes Johansesburg) more than any other district. Information and communications technology and construction also represent growth sectors.
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Son Gault, 67, has witnessed this dramatic change. The Chicago native moved to Johannesburg in December 1996 from New York where he served as a managing director of JPMorgan, heading an infrastructure group in the public finance department. After anti-apartheid sanctions were lifted, the firm opened a South Africa office and installed Gault as managing director. The four-employee office grew to 70 before the 2000 merger with Chase Manhattan Corp. “It was a wonderful opportunity,” says Gault, who appeared on BLACK ENTERPRISE’S 2002 list of Top 50 African Americans ON Wall Street. “Several of the global banking institutions have opened offices here.” He cites Citibank, HSBC, and Merril Lynch South African. Bank of China, Barcklays, Deutsche, and State Bank of India have also set up shop there.
Moreover, 80% of approximately 600 American companies have a presence in South Africa. A little more than half of those, including Microsoft, Coca-Cola Co., Ford, DuPont, UPS, Intel, and Colgate-Palmolive, are among America’s largest companies.
Gault transitioned–a word he prefers to retired–from JPMorgan Chase in early 2006. but he and his wife, noted journalist and author Charlayne Hunter-Gault, remain permanent residents of South Africa. (They own a place in New York City and spend summers at their Martha’s Vineyard home.) Gault is now a chairman of a private investment company, an adviser for an international management consulting firm, and a producer-exporter of South African wine. His RTG Trading Co. portfolio consisted of Passages, a wine venture he started with his wife; Epicurean, which Gault launched with three South African business partners; and wines from the othe vineyards. “The thing about South Africa that is so attractive is that the vista is full of opportunities,” Gault says. “If you have an idea, pick one. If you have enough energy, enthusiasm, and financial wherewithal, pursue it.”
He points out that Johannesburg, like many large cities, has social and economic problems. “Power outages, inadequate public education facilities, a need to curb crime, unemployment, inadequate public health facilities, the full menu of problems that cities have, you’ll find them here.” Gault says. Despite those difficulties, he manages to enjoy long, leisurely lunches with friends on weekends and plays golf and tennis in his spare time.
If you’ve got a few nickels to spend, Gault recommends the Saxon Boutique Hotel and Spa (36 Saxon Road, +27-11-292-6000, http://www.saxon.co.za). He appreciates the ambience and spaciousness at this serene, 24-suite sanctuary. “It’s not a well-traveled venue, so you can go there and do pretty much what you like without a lot of interruptions.” A suite is named in honor of the nation’s favorite son, Nelson Mandela, who stayed at the hotel when he edited his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom (Back Bay Books; $17.99).
For convenience, Gault recommends that business travelers stay at the Hyatt Regency (191 Oxford Road, Rosebank, +27-11-280-1234, http://www.johannesburg.regency.hyatt.com), in the cosmopolitan suburb of Rosebank. The 259-room hotel, centrally located in the business and social district, features the Phumula Spa and Peak Health Club.
French-born chef Frederic Leloup dazzles diners with his native country’s cuisine at the chic Auberge Michel (122 Pretoria Ave. Sandown, +27-11-885-7013, http://www.aubergemichel.co.za), which boasts an extensive wine cellar. Gault suggests the escargot as a starter and duck for the main course, noting that the fish dishes are particularly tasty as well.
Another one of Gault’s favorites is The Orient (4 The High St. Melrose Arch, +27-11-684-1616), which serves contemporary Asian cuisine in a sexy, indoor setting and alfresco. Feast on Japanese sushi Vietnamese steamed fish, and Chinese dim sum
Find it all at Sandton City Shopping Centre (+27-11-217 6000. http://www.sandtoncity.com), where 300 stores are spread over three levels and offer international brands such as Hugo Boss, Diesel, Lacoste, Hiss Sixty, Dunhill, Versace Collection, and Guess. South African designers Jenni Button and Hilton Weiner can also be found there.
Gault’s must-do list includes a visit to the Apartheid Museum (Northern Parkway and Gold Reef Road, +27-11-309-4700, http://www.apartheidmuseum.org), a guided tour of Soweto, and outings to art galleries. He particularly suggests the Everard Read Gallery (6 Jellicoe Ave., Rosebank. +27-11-788-4805, http://www.everardread.co.za), South Africa’s largest and most well-known commercial gallery, which exhibits a range of national and international artists. Newtown Music Centre, +27-11-838-9145, http://www.bassline.co.za) features live South African jazz, kwaito, and hip-hop artists.
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Permalink Reply by tekono on September 24, 2008 at 4:12am
The Historical Relationship Between African Americans and South Africa
The relationships between African Americans and Africans in South Africa are especially intriguing because most African Americans trace their ancestry to societies in West and Central Africa, not southern Africa, and because there has not been a large migration of blacks from South Africa to the United States. From the late eighteenth century, the exchanges began to flower as African Americans made their way to South Africa under different guises. The earliest visitors were sailors who crewed American whalers that docked in ports such as Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban. Some of these sailors, along with West Indians, settled permanently or for extended periods. They became key intermediaries for spreading ideas from the black diaspora back to Africa.
Other African Americans moved into the South African interior, setting up small businesses or seeking work and adventure as the diamond and gold fields opened up in the late nineteenth century. A notable case was Yankee Wood, a ship steward who turned up in Port Elizabeth during the American Civil War. After building up a nest egg on the diamond fields, he opened up hotels in Kokstad and Johannesburg, and he staked out gold claims.
Yankee Wood, a former ship steward, settled in South Africa after the American Civil War. He participated in the gold rush on the Witwatersrand in the 1880s and owned hotels in Johannesburg and Kokstad.
In the arts African Americans made notable contributions to South African African music. Between 1890 and 1898, Orpheus McAdoo’s Jubilee Singers spent five years on three separate trips touring South Africa. These troupe’s performances of spirituals, folk songs, minstrel shows and dances left an indelible impression on African choirs, social clubs, and music styles as well as independent church leaders. The absorption of American jazz and ragtime, dance and recording styles in South Africa in this century has resulted in distinctive urban African music styles such as marabi, a mix of traditional and borrowed forms. In the last decade, marabi and its variants have made their way to the United States and influenced popular music.
Herbert Payne, a Baptist missionary, was stationed at Middledrift in the eastern Cape from 1917 to 1922.
The Jubilee Singers were circulating through South Africa at about the same time as African American missionaries began to arrive. The National Baptist Convention founded a mission station in 1894 in Cape Town and the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church and a lesser known body, the Church of God and Saints of Christ, followed. Motivated by a desire to redeem and uplift Africa, they attracted many African Christians into their folds who were disenchanted with European mission Christianity. They influenced black education thought through their schools and religious philanthropies. As a result of these ties, possibly as many as several hundred Africans from South Africa journeyed to the United States for higher education in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and forged close ties with African Americans. Many were sponsored by the AME, and most found places at black colleges such as Wilberforce, Tuskegee, Fisk, Hampton, and Lincoln. Alarmed at the prospect of African students being influenced by radical political ideas at black colleges in the United States, in 1916, the South African government founded Fort Hare College exclusively for black students.
Livingstone Mzimba (left) and Harry Mantenga (right), students from the eastern Cape, were ends on the Lincoln College football team in 1907 when this photograph was taken. After graduating, both returned to South Africa and became Presbyterian ministers. (Lincoln University Archive)
Booker T. Washington’s self-help and industrial education ideas also had a major impact on black (and white) educational circles in South Africa. His ideas were copied in schools such as John Dube’s Ohlange Institute at Inanda and the AME Wilberforce Institute in Evaton. Washington’s Tuskegee model of self-reliance in agriculture had special significance for African farmers who were attempting to survive on the bits of land left after European conquest in the nineteenth century.
For most of this century, the South African government tightly controlled the number of African Americans allowed into South Africa. Most were either teachers, such as Janet Jackson in Cape Town, or missionaries. On rare occasions African-American scholars secured visas and traveled around South Africa for short periods. The most notable were Eslanda Robeson, who stopped over in South Africa for three weeks in mid-1936, and Ralph Bunche, who journeyed around South Africa for three months in late 1937. In addition, black sailors in the U.S. Navy stopped off for shore leaves in port cities like Cape Town and Durban.
The journeys of Bunche and Robeson were mirrored by the ventures of Africans who traveled around the United States. Most of these travelers came to study American education, but some, such as Solomon Plaatje, had explicit political agendas. All of them sent back letters or wrote essays about the differences and similarities they observed between race relations and segregation in South Africa and the United States.
Although person-to-person ties were important, it was in the realm of ideas and images that African Americans had an effect on Africans in South Africa that far outweighed their numbers. African Americans became a potent political symbol for Africans. For instance, Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois had their own circles of educated followers in South Africa who applied the African-American experience of struggle to their own predicament.
The figure who most captured the imagination of a mass audience in South Africa was Marcus Garvey with his message of race pride, unity, and self-determination for Africa. After the First World War Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association set up branches around South Africa and the Garvey message took on a life of its own as African politicians shaped it to serve their parochial needs. For example, in the 1920s, Wellington Buthelezi, leader of a Garvey offshoot in the Transkei and a Zulu who claimed to be an African American, tapped into a wellspring of millennial fervor and recast African Americans as liberators who were coming to free South Africa from white oppression. This image of an African-American savior lingered on long after Buthelezi’s eclipse.
African Americans became a metaphor for progress and success. Africans saw them as survivors of slavery who were now advancing themselves in an industrialized and westernized society similar to their own. Though the achievements of African American professionals, politicians, and businessmen were sometimes exaggerated, Africans closely followed African American male musicians such as Paul Robeson, Fats Waller, and Duke Ellington and sports figures such as Jesse Owens, Joe Louis, and Henry Armstrong. On the other hand, male Africans regarded professional African-American women who engaged themselves in public activities with suspicion because they symbolized female autonomy and challenged male control of the household.
Finally African Americans were involved as advocates of political change in South Africa. The Council on African Affairs was founded in New York in the late 1930s to educate the American public about first segregation and then apartheid in South Africa and to influence American foreign policy. Its most prominent spokesman was Paul Robeson, who was already well known in South Africa. Max Yergan was another key figure. In 1921 the YMCA had dispatched him to Alice, the home of Fort Hare College in the Eastern Cape. During his 14-year sojourn as a missionary, Yergan became increasingly radicalized by his experiences with conditions in South Africa and he influenced Fort Hare students such as Govan Mbeki to move to the left politically. When he returned to the United States, he helped establish the Council. But his later shift to the right provoked a dramatic break and he ended up as an apologist for the South African regime.
The Council was the forerunner of the American anti-apartheid movement. As the Council on African Affairs was declining and under attack from the US government, the American Committee on Africa was founded to support the ANC’s Defiance Campaign in 1952. Other organizations such as the American Negro Leadership Council and the Organization of Afro-American Unity were also established in the same period and maintained communications with South Africa.
In the 1940s, South African political groups such as the ANC and the South African Indian Congress sent delegations to lobby at the United Nations. During the 1950s ANC leaders corresponded with African-American civil rights leaders about their respective struggles. Through the exchanges a friendship was forged between Martin Luther King, Jr. and Albert Lutuli. These two prominent advocates of non-violent tactics were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
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Permalink Reply by tekono on September 24, 2008 at 4:14am
After 27 years in prison, it took Nelson Mandela only four months after his release in February 1990 to pay a visit to the United States, He came to acknowledge those Americans, particularly members of the African American community, who had supported his battle for freedom in South Africa. For decades many tireless and patient North Americans had kept an anti-apartheid movements alive — in the churches, on campuses, in corporate boardrooms and trade union halls. When three African Americans stated a sit-in at the South African Embassy in Washington, D.C. on Thanksgiving eve 1984, their arrest provoked one of the longest-running and most effective political demonstrations in recent U.S. history. Daily marches at the Embassy took place without interruption for several years, drawing national and international attention. Pressure built up to change American foreign policy towards South Africa; and Congress responded by passing the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act in 1986. The Act was one reason why South Africa’s main opposition groups were legalized in February 1990 and Mandela released a week later.
In Mandela’s autobiography Long Walk to Freedom he recounts some of his impressions of African Americans during his first stay in New York City. “I went up to Harlem, an area that had assumed legendary proportions in my mind since the 1950s when I watched young men in Soweto emulate the fashions of Harlem dandies. Harlem, as my wife said, was the Soweto of America. I spoke to a great crowd at Yankee Stadium, telling them that an unbreakable umbilical cord connected black South Africans and black Americans, for we were together children of Africa. There was a kinship between the two, I said, that had been inspired by such great Americans as W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, and Martin Luther King, Jr….In prison, I followed the struggle of black Americans against racism, discrimination, and economic inequality.”
Emotional as it was, Mandela’s trip was by no means the first exchange between blacks of these two large, urbanized, industrialized, multiracial nations. As we enter the twenty-first century, connections between the two countries are bound to become more dynamic and productive. Therefore now is an appropriate moment to retrieve and evaluate the rich but little known history of African American involvement with South Africa. This relationship stretches back several centuries, and the diverse and surprising linkages that have developed between African Americans and Africans go beyond political and economic matters to include a wide range of social and cultural issues, such as education, religion and ethics, sports, music, literature, theater and art.
The project’s co-directors, Dr. David Anthony, a historian at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and Dr. Robert Edgar, a historian at Howard University, propose to chronicle this relationship through an edition of primary documents that illustrates the exchanges that have taken place between African Americans and black South Africans from the late eighteenth century when African American sailors began venturing to South Africa to 1965. We have made 1965 a cut-off date because of shifts in the American civil rights movement and the progression of freedom movements in South Africa from legal, above-ground protest to underground, armed resistance.
The project commenced in September 1999 and will continue for a three-year period. The project is centered on a collection of several thousand documents that the project’s co-directors have collected over the past several decades from a variety of sources — diaries, private papers, travelers’ accounts, autobiographies, speeches, songs and hymns, government documents, missionary journals, magazines, newspapers, books and interviews — in the United States, Europe, and South Africa. When taken as a whole, these documents provide eloquent testimony to a relationship that has largely been relegated to the margins in historical studies.
This project will illuminate questions raised by recent scholarship on the African diaspora and the ties that have existed for many centuries between Africans on the African continent and people of African descent around the globe. African diaspora studies have challenged scholars to move outside traditional disciplinary and geographical boundaries to examine how black communities in different parts of the world engage, interact and influence each other. For instance, Paul Gilroy has coined the term “Black Atlantic” to describe the complex of ideas and culture flowing between blacks in North America and Europe.
We believe that a “Black Atlantic” also developed between black communities in the United States and South Africa because of their shared experiences with white domination and segregation in industrializing societies and their efforts to overcome discrimination and devise strategies of mobilizing and advancing themselves. Despite their common ground, individuals and groups within these communities had different views and perspectives on a range of issues and these made the exchanges all the more fascinating. The collection’s documents include discussions between both communities over appropriate political and economic strategies for responding to and challenging segregation and white domination; their attempts to pressure the American government and the international community to oppose the apartheid system; how they assessed the similarities and differences in racism, race relations and racial identities in each other’s societies; how they created perceptions and images of each other and how these shaped their own identities; and how and for what purposes popular culture and ideas were transmitted from one society to another.
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Permalink Reply by AnNu on January 23, 2009 at 1:19am
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Permalink Reply by Eric Eyutchae on February 17, 2009 at 12:54pm
That will be the best thing the African Americans can do for themselves.Yes they can! and Yes they should! African Americans should be coming to Africa more frequently,that is where the power lies.
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Permalink Reply by Benin Mwangi on February 17, 2009 at 1:27pm
It is one of the best things that one can do in their lifetime, to make a trip to Africa. And if one can find a way to settle their permanently, then all the better.
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Permalink Reply by Eric Eyutchae on February 17, 2009 at 2:53pm
Thank you Benin,I don’t know how to get this message to African Americans,that our best bet is for them to move focus unto Africa,the closer they come to the heart of this world they will definitely see that,the power is in Africa,not in europe,nor America,or Asia.If you remember I mentioned earlier about what moves Economy – THE WILL.Without the will forget about persistence nor all the other virtues.The power is there incubating.African Americans should start waking up,enough of their slumber and whining over trivial issues,where is man without his roots?remember the whites saw this and used the opportunity to rape Africa.Look at picasso,where did all his genius come from? Africa,from the African sculptures and today no picasso painting is less than $2million.That is just one example,not to talk of the physical energy that makes construction possible.
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A BLACKamerikkkan SCHOLAR MAULANA KARENGA EXPOUNDS ON THE BEAUTY/WISDOM OF ODU IFA-FROM STATEOFTHEBLACKWORLD.ORGNovember 26, 2008
ETHICAL INSIGHTS FROM ODU IFA:
CHOOSING TO BE CHOSEN
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
ETHICAL INSIGHTS FROM ODU IFA: CHOOSING TO BE CHOSEN 2
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, [www.Us-Organization.org and http://www.OfficialKwanzaaWebsite.org].
“BRAIN GAIN FOR THE AFRICAN RENAISSANCE”,A NEW BOOK ON HOW ALL BLACKS CAN RESTORE AFRICA TO ITS ORIGINAL GREATNESS:FROM LEADERSHIPNIGERIA.COMSeptember 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.
from Brother Darrell Davis
To all of my brothers and sisters I have always sent information so that you can learn about your black heritage. This e-mail is a warning. You won’t believe this. There is a company that is making sunglasses with melanin in it. I sent the link. Question: “How are they getting the melanin by manufacturing or harvesting?”