Over the course of nearly 20 centuries, millions of East Africans crossed the Indian Ocean and its several seas and adjoining bodies of water in their journey to distant lands, from Arabia and Iraq to India and Sri Lanka.
Called Kaffir, Siddi, Habshi, or Zanji, these men, women and children from Sudan in the north to Mozambique in the south Africanized the Indian Ocean world and helped shape the societies they entered and made their own.
Free or enslaved, soldiers, servants, sailors, merchants, mystics, musicians, commanders, nurses, or founders of dynasties, they contributed their cultures, talents, skills and labor to their new world, as millions of their descendants continue to do. Yet, their heroic odyssey remains little known.
The African Diaspora in the Indian Ocean World traces a truly unique and fascinating story of struggles and achievements across a variety of societies, cultures, religions, languages and times.
posted by infini
on Feb 6, 2014 -
They wash dishes in restaurants, clean toilets and look after elderly incontinent people in the West. That makes the majority of the 30 million who have emigrated from Africa. Some are much luckier, they work in subaltern management positions in corporate America or in public institution in Europe. Few are real stars, successful with high pay and social status. Regardless of their current fate, they all share one thing in common: most of them want to return to Africa.
The recent medias’ drumbeat about “Africa is Rising” is making them restless and hopeful because most of them have quite a petty life in the West. They are constantly harassed by the state police, crushed by daily racism from their neighbors and strangers, economically and politically isolated, and with very little hope for a near-future improvement.
Unfortunately their dream to return home is painfully held back by deep fears and unanswered questions. Here are the top 10 fears of the African diaspora about Africa, and also the top 10 questions most of them are confronted with.
posted by infini
on Apr 28, 2013 -
The stereotypes about Africa/Africans are too many to list here. They’re mostly negative, myopic depictions that focus on war, famine, abject poverty, disease, and corruption. In other oversimplifications, Africans are written up as model immigrants, overachieving geniuses, or displaced chiefs moonlighting as gas station attendants.
Outside of these caricatures, many Africans are going to work and school, voting in their local elections, and spending way too much time on Facebook. And they’re over the ignorance that has collectively miscast them. In response, a swelling movement of young Africans are launching concerted efforts to wrest the image of Africa from entities and interests that don’t promote a balanced understanding of the continent.
posted by infini
on Mar 3, 2013 -
Heavily influenced by samurai films from film makers such as Akira Kurosawa, French/Burkinabe filmmaker Cédric Ido
produced a short award winning film, Hasaki Ya Suda
(The Three Black Samurai) set in the future. Its synopsis reads
It is 2100. In the world engulfed in chaos and war whose residents are consumed by terrible hunger, the last fertile land became the subject of fierce battles. Three warriors: noble Wurubenba (Jacky Ido), Shandaru (Cedric Ido), who wants to avenge his father’s death, and Kapkaru (Min Man Ma) craving for power, will face one another in a fight for life and death.
Watch the full 25-minute
Hasaki Ya Suda short film (available only with French subtitles at the moment) or the 1 minute teaser
. Interview with Cedric
posted by infini
on Apr 23, 2012 -
The African Presence in India: A Photo Essay
: The questions we pose here are simply these: Who are the African people of India? What is
their significance in the annals of history? Precisely what have they done and what are they
doing now? These are extremely serious questions that warrant serious and fundamental
answers. This series of articles, "The African Presence in India: An Historical Overview," is
designed to provide some of those answers.
posted by infini
on Jul 30, 2011 -
Since the attack on the Togolese national team in Angola (previously
), soccer in Togo has descended into a freefall. In a strange turn of events, a fake national team recently represented the country in a tournament in Bahrain. The soccer loving people of Togo were outraged when the truth about the situation came out
posted by reenum
on Oct 8, 2010 -
The remains of a man from Africa who lived and died in 13th-century England
have been unearthed in Ipswich. Analysis of the skeleton shows that the individual originated in what is now Tunisia, but lived for at least a decade in England. This is not the only surprising recent information regarding African presence in pre-modern England. A paternally linked gene known from Mali, Senegal and Guinea-Bissau has been present in the male lineage
of a Yorkshire family for at least 250 years, and may reach back to the time of the Roman occupation. [more inside]
posted by Countess Elena
on May 4, 2010 -
Clips from the BBC documentary, The African Rock n' Roll Years - Part 1
l Part 2
l Part 3
l Part 4
l Part 5
l Part 6
- a six-part series mixing interviews with key artists, concert footage and news archives, the series examines and explains the "styles that make up the continent's music, and the political and social pressures that led to their development." BBC documentary details
. Found in YouTube member, Duncanzibar's
, good collection of mostly African music videos. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye
on Dec 30, 2008 -
In January of 2004, Disney shut down
their Florida animation studio, part of their decision to move away from 2D
, or cell-shaded, animation for good
. Two years later, as part of the new deal with Pixar, John Lasseter and Ed Catmull were brought in as heads of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, and promptly declared that 2-D Animation would thrive again on their watch. For their first new project, the team wanted to show support for the still-struggling New Orleans, and simultaneously introduce Disney's first Black Princess
in "The Frog Princess"
(Or The Princess and the Frog
, as it is now known), a fairy tale set in 1920's Jazz-era Louisiana, with Randy Newman providing a period-specific score
. Much response
to the project has been quite positive
, but as with all things, the devil is in the details
posted by Navelgazer
on Jul 22, 2008 -
is a Canadian singer living in Santa Monica, but her music
comes straight from Senegal. She also dances a mean sabar
posted by mike3k
on Mar 12, 2008 -
Are Africans Black? The population of African immigrants in the United States is rapidly growing. Since 1990, about 50,000 Africans have come to the United States annually, more than in any of the peak years of the international slave trade, which was abolished in 1807. They add to the steady influx of black immigrants from other continents and the Caribbean, and those who have been in the United States for generations but who don't racially and culturally define themselves as African American. These blacks feel cramped by the narrowness of American racial politics, in which "blackness" has not just defined one's skin color but has served as a code word for African American.
Maybe Not. After all, Obama's mother is of white U.S. stock. His father is a black Kenyan. Other than color, Obama did not - does not - share a heritage with the majority of black Americans, who are descendants of plantation slaves.... when black Americans refer to Obama as "one of us," I do not know what they are talking about. In his new book, "The Audacity of Hope," Obama makes it clear that, while he has experienced some light versions of typical racial stereotypes, he cannot claim those problems as his own - nor has he lived the life of a black American.
posted by jfuller
on Feb 18, 2007 -
What's your favorite watering hole?
Link to a real watering hole. In Africa. Live. With video and sound. And real animals. Best viewing times are dusk and dawn, Africa time (It's +8 hours from CST). Learn more about the feed here
; click on "Nkorho Stream" in the upper left corner.
Second link mentioned previously in a MeFi comment
First link via; second link via.
posted by Doohickie
on Nov 25, 2006 -
Mawangu Mingiedi, 72, a musician and truck driver from Kinshasa, was simply trying to allow the music of his street band, Konono No. 1
, be heard over the traffic and street noise, but when he fashioned home-made amplifiers out of junkyard parts he created something raw and distorted with a sound all its own
(quicktime). (via MonkeySARS
, where an MP3 awaits you)
posted by Robot Johnny
on Nov 22, 2005 -
The nkondi are the most powerful of the nkisi. They were used to identify and hunt down unknown
wrongdoers such as thieves, and people who were believed to cause sickness or death by occult means.
They were also used to punish people who swore false oaths and villages which broke treaties. To inspire
the nkondi to action, it was both invoked and provoked. Invocations, in bloodthirsty language, encouraged
it to punish the guilty party. It would also be provoked by having gunpowder exploded in front of it, and
having nails hammered into it.
These fantastic Congo nail fetish figures are just one small, wonderful part of the impressive collection of images you can view at the content-rich, gratifyingly obsessive Rand African Art
, a site stuffed with nice large photos, lots
of lovely, lovely links
, and all sorts of intriguing nooks and crannies inviting exploration.
posted by taz
on Nov 13, 2005 -
Olaudah Equiano, or, Gustavus Vassa, the African.
'According to his famous autobiography, written in 1789, Olaudah Equiano (c.1745-1797) was born in what is now Nigeria. Kidnapped and sold into slavery in childhood, he was taken as a slave to the New World. As a slave to a captain in the Royal Navy, and later to a Quaker merchant, he eventually earned the price of his own freedom by careful trading and saving. As a seaman, he travelled the world, from the Mediterranean to the North Pole. Coming to London, he became involved in the movement to abolish the slave trade, an involvement which led to him writing and publishing The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa the African (1789) a strongly abolitionist autobiography ... '
Of interest :- Ignatius Sancho: African Man of Letters
; Quobna Ottabah Cugoano: a Former Slave Speaks Out
; American Slave Narratives
('From 1936 to 1938, over 2,300 former slaves from across the American South were interviewed by writers and journalists under the aegis of the Works Progress Administration'); Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938
; Excerpts from Slave Narratives.
posted by plep
on Jul 17, 2003 -
For all those who spent hours in the darkness of Introduction to Western Art I staring at slides out of context perhaps you should take a look at African art. In the West, to a large degree, art hangs on walls or resides only in museums
, but most "traditional" African art needs to be understood in context. Among my favorites are the linguist staffs
of the Ashanti people
of the Akan. These staffs are used to tell parables, but they also create a nexus between culture, politics and beauty.
posted by Bag Man
on Feb 20, 2003 -