Leaders and Representatives of 57 Islamic countries (one exception is Mr. M. of Pakistan) and other dignitaries (including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon are meeting in Dakar, Senegal from March 8th-14th (link to flash video) for the 11th summit of the organization of the Islamic Conference. The OIC "combine their efforts and speak with one voice to safeguard the interests and secure the progress and well-being of their peoples and of all Muslims in the world." Topics to be discussed at the summit also include brokering a peace deal between Chad and Sudan . Some of Dakar's residents1 (2, both in French) are not happy about the summit. [more inside]
Bob Geldof in Rwanda gives Bush his props.. Bob Geldof, who has worked tirelessly to ease the suffering in Africa, has praised President Bush on his policies and efforts in that country. The singer was annoyed that the press had mostly ignored the exuberant reception that Mr. Bush has consistently received during his five-nation tour this week
Soukous Radio is an online radio station that plays/streams this energizing, joyous, African fusion music, known for its bright guitar sound and rumba/salsa beat. The name, Soukous, is derived from the French word secouer, to shake. A popular, recent Soukous video by two Ivory Coast singers, DJ Eloh and DJ Mix, The Bobaraba (which means “big bottom” in the local Djoula language), celebrates booty shaking. [more inside]
witness the strangest customs of the red, white, brown, black and yellow races ... attend their startling rites, their mysterious practices ... all assembled for you
The Secret Museum of Mankind :: "Published in 1935, the Secret Museum is a mystery book. It has no author or credits, no copyright, no date, no page numbers, no index ... The tone of the commentary is dated, and uniformly racist in the extreme, often hilariously so. It reads like the patter of a carnival sideshow barker, from a time when the world was divided between "modern" Europeans and "savages" ... Presented here is the Secret Museum in its entirety, all 564 pages scanned and transcribed-- nothing is omitted or censored ... Treat it as entertainment instead of education (don't take it seriously and don't believe a word it says!), adjust for the blatant racial bias of the time, and enjoy."
Oh, I say old chap--do you mind not going all "immigrant" on me, and spitting all over the place? Thank you very much. (how Britain proposes to solve the problem of integrating its migrant population)
Jewelers, engine parts manufacturers, and most of all, investors are watching as platinum hits an all time high, topping $1800 per ounce. An electic supply crisis in South Africa is to blame/thank for this unprecedented rise as mines are facing limits to the amount of electricity they can use. A mining analyst said it could eventually top $2000/oz.
The rock art of the Tassili culture is found throughout North African mountains, the Tassili n'Ajjer. The rock art of Europe is well known around the world. Lesser known but just as amazing and less well-understood is the rock art of North Africa. (prev.,prev.) This tradition is thought to have developed independently of European rock art although researchers agree about very little else about it. This art hearkens back to a time when the Sahara's climate was milder and more wet. This rock art has often been compared to the pre-Nguni San rock art of Southern Africa. There are of course people who believe that aliens did it. The more research that is done about this area and its archaeology, the more we may have to rethink our ideas about the Sahara. . Sadly enough, like many archaeological sites it is becoming endangered.
Reading the news, the violence in Kenya can feel distant. For Mission in Action/Nakuru Baby Orphanage, located in the heart of the Rift Valley, the violence is all to near, and extremely troubling. (the last link contains images that may be very disturbing) [more inside]
Barefootin'! Ron Hunter, men's basketball coach of IUPUI, decides to raise awareness for Samaritan's Feet, a charity that collects shoes for needy children, by coaching barefoot. Initially, he hoped to collect 40,000 pairs in honor of the 40th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King Jr. - 110,000 pairs of shoes were collected by tip-off. [more inside]
The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), is the largest church in the world1. Completed in 1990 for about $300 million by President Félix Houphouët-Boigny - with profits skimmed from the slave labor best cocoa (chocolate) industry - in the small rural town of his birth, it sits today in the bush a vast empty palace of marble and crystal gawked at by the occasional backpacker. Among other trappings it has the only airport big enough in Africa to take the Concorde, a presidential palace with a lake stocked with scores of Sacred Caymans (crocodiles,) and a mansion next to the Basilica reserved exclusively for the Pope on visits from Rome (used once). The President enjoyed his complex for less than 3 years before dieing in 1993.
Teff, a native Ethiopian grain, has been cultivated there for at least 4,000 years. Its seeds are smaller than pinheads, and can be easily scattered. Many Ethiopians eat it two to three times a day in injera bread, porridge or, of course, alcohol (pages 3-4). The grain is gluten-free and is full of essential amino acids, calcium, and other vitamins and minerals. It has a short growing season and tolerance for marginal soils and drought or flood conditions, but its low comparative yield optimal sunlight conditions, and labor intensive harvest may limit the spread of the grain.
Serigne Saliou (article in French) Mbacké, the leader of the Mourides (academic link), a prominent Islamic brotherhood in Senegal (and Harlem, NY , died a week ago today. Arguably the most influential person in Senegal, he had been the the last living son of the Mouride founder Chiekh Amadou Bamba. Thousands of peoplehave traveled Touba, the Mouride capital, to pay their respects. [more inside]
#1 African Music Website. Africa Hit offers an extensive and varied selection of great music videos from West Africa. [more inside]
"It will no doubt be deemed a strange circumstance that an African negro should attempt to write a book, and that he should presume to offer his production to the enlightened people of Great Britain."
The Life and Adventures of Zamba, an African Negro King; and His Experience of Slavery in South Carolina. Written by Himself.
The Life and Adventures of Zamba, an African Negro King; and His Experience of Slavery in South Carolina. Written by Himself.
"The really disturbing thing about Lagos’s pickers and venders is that their lives have essentially nothing to do with ours. They scavenge an existence beyond the margins of macroeconomics. They are, in the harsh terms of globalization, superfluous." The Megacity, George Packer in Lagos.
Doris Lessing's Nobel Prize for Literature acceptance speech. "The storyteller is deep inside everyone of us. The story-maker is always with us. Let us suppose our world is attacked by war, by the horrors that we all of us easily imagine. Let us suppose floods wash through our cities, the seas rise . . . but the storyteller will be there, for it is our imaginations which shape us, keep us, create us - for good and for ill. It is our stories that will recreate us, when we are torn, hurt, even destroyed."
Afrigator. An Africa Aggregator.
Austin Gutwein first became aware of the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS from a pen pal in Africa.“‘My pen pal [2006 video - 2:48]*...was the first one to open my eyes to the world outside of my own backyard,’ Austin says. One of the harsh realities that struck a chord with Austin was the fact that many kids become orphaned as a result of a parent contracting HIV. ‘I started to think about what it would be like if I lost my parents,’ says Austin. ‘I just felt called to help.’...On World AIDS Day [December 1] 2004, at age 10, Austin shot 2,057 free throws to represent the number of children who would be orphaned because of AIDS during that school day....Austin approached individuals in his community to sponsor his endeavor. That year [he] raised $3,000, which he gave to World Vision to be used to help eight orphans in Africa.” Three years later his non-profit, Hoops of Hope, raised $100,000 [2007 video - 2:32] which was used to build a residential school in Zambia for those orphaned -- and many infected -- by HIV/AIDS. Next year's goal -- to build a hospital. [more inside]
Wife thief - the Wodaabe of Nigeria are one of the world's few remaining Nomadic peoples, retaining age-old customs and ways. Physical beauty and charm are highly prized, qualities much in evidence at the annual Gerewol ceremonies. After donning elaborate makeup and clothing, men engage in stylized dance and preening to win the favor of a desired woman - often one who is already married. [more inside]
How to dance at a rave. People dancing to house music. The Detroit Jit vs. Chicago Juke. The history of the Detroit Jit on popular dance show The Scene from the 80's. 80's legends the Funkateers doing their thing to Wordy Rappinghood. Compare them to the New York City Breakers. [more inside]
Learn about the powerful, complex Batá drumming and dance tradition of the Yoruba people of Nigeria. Check these 6-to-8 year old Batá drummers laying down the groove. Then theres the Egungun action going on over in Ibadan, to the accompaniment of Batá drums, of course. [more inside]
The Hyena Men, seen a couple of years ago and now updated: Pieter Hugo's gallery of photographs of people with hyenas and baboons as pets in Abuja, Nigeria.Text. [more inside]
A day in the life of Abdullah Ibrahim, South-African composer and performer who creates hypnotic and softly singing grooves. To me, his recent piano trios are the highlights of his work, because they are both swinging and soulful. But his compositions do not sound bad in a big band setting -(or in an arrangement for guitar). His music is quiet and meditative but powerful, and has sometimes been used as a banner for freedom and equality. Now he likes to withdraw once in a while to the smallest scenes (french commentary with some english underneath), putting strong emphasis on necessary simplicity. Written portrait.
The Young Gallery has an exceptional collection of photographs by both renowned and recently discovered photographers. The feast of visuals includes elegantly haunting images of African wildlife by Nick Brandt, Night Views of cities by Floriane de Lassée, salad vegetables by Viktor Polson, nudes and portraits by Patrick Demarchelier and images of Tibet, Mongolians and Tibetans by Richard Gere.
Voodoo Funk - 11 African funk mixes from a vinyl archaeologist in Guinea
The full-on, amped-up sanza sounds of Konono No. 1 have been celebrated here at MeFi not once but twice, and they are indeed wonderful. Björk's been working with them a bit lately, too. But let's go back a few decades, and take a listen to the unplugged version of this type of music: mesdames et messiurs, Papa Kourand, the grand old man of the sanza! [more inside]
There is time, and there is "African time". The Ivory Coast is fighting chronic lateness with a contest that offered a $60,000 villa as its grand prize. The winner, legal adviser Narcisse Aka, is known by his colleagues as "Mr. White Man's Time" and said that his punctuality makes him feel like "an extra-terrestrial."
Are Zebras black with white stripes, or white with black stripes? Find the answer to this, plus many other fun zebra facts and many great zebra pictures and photos for your desktop at the appropriately titled Fun Zebra Pictures & Facts website. [more inside]
Giraffe mating battles can be brutal but they are generally gentle giants. Man's fascination with these exotic creatures can be tracked from 9,000 year old rock art to the quest for exotics that brought them to the courts of Medici-era Florence, Restoration Paris, and Imperial China, spawning much curiosity and fanciful illustration. Today, giraffe-o-philes can get up close and personal in Kenya's Giraffe Manor. [more inside]
Indian company to outsource its outsourcing. Outsourcing in Ghana, where the government takes English very seriously indeed. Finally, Native American outsourcing.
Let's pay a visit to Zimbabwe's Oliver Mtukudzi, or Tuku, as he's affectionately known to his fans. His voice has a touch of that sweet soul gravel reminiscent of Georgia's Otis Redding, or Jamaica's Toots Hibberts, but his mellow fingerpicking guitar style and relaxed, loping grooves are African all the way. His earlier stuff is certainly worth going back to as well! And, hey, it's unlikely you'll hear too many other pop stars who sing lines like "Call the mother of my childfren. I am hurt. I was injured while training the ox." [more inside]
China to withdraw support for the Mugabe regime. China's extensive and growing engagement in Africa will no longer include propping up the failed Zimbabwean regime. Recently on MeFi
The YouTubes have the African balafon you need. Alya Dioubate. Coulibaly Samadou. Kanazoé. Epizo Bangoura. Koeta Hakiri. Bala. Man and child. Danse Moderne Balafon!
Joan Root, who spent most of her life in Kenya, was a noted naturalist and filmmaker (along with her (former) husband. She was murdered by gunmen at point-blank range in January, 2006 in her home on Lake Naivasha. Lake Naivasha is the only fresh water source in the Great Rift Valley, and has become increasingly endangered by pollution and overuse for irrigation, and Root spent considerable time fighting to protect it. Today, a Kenyan magistrate acquitted the four suspects in her murder, calling the testimony of 13 witnesses "defective".
The lengths some people will go to get high. Jenkem or jekem is a drug made from raw human sewage, apparently most prevalent in Africa. (Mildly NSFW.)
"Thanks to tremendous progress achieved by the General Packet Radio System (GPRS), the wireless communication protocol, it is now possible for Africans to send articles and images (still and moving) about events taking place in their countries without using a computer and without having internet connection. Under those circumstances, the bigger the number of people expressing their opinions through that technology, the stronger becomes democracy, and the more valuable is the contribution to good governance efforts in Africa" - Voices of Africa, Mobile stories and videos from Africa. Quote above from article Mobile Reporters in Africa.
Four endangered gorillas were found shot dead in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a conservation group announced today. For all the evil bastards that do this, there are many, many more good people fighting the good fight to help keep gorillas healthy. One, even has a blog.
In the past, various possible treatments and methods have been suspected of helping combat AIDS, which have later been proven correct. Other, less reputable treatments have also been claimed to work, the likes of which descend towards malpractice, pseudoscience and criminal negligence. But in a turnabout, the olive oil element of South Africa's controversial treatment, deemed to be "Africa's Solution", actually helps as well.
William Kamkwamba decided to build a windmill to power lights in his home: "For many years we had only paraffin candles to light my home at night. They are expensive, smoky, smelly and have to be purchased about 8 km from home."
Northwestern University hosts a fine collection of historic East African photographs, viewable as sample sets or in their original photo-albums (requires flash). But the real prize is their wonderful collection of 113 historic maps of Africa, which are zoomable to incredible detail, also 1, 2, 3. via
"50,000 Years of Resilience May Not Save Tribe." A deal to provide a member of the UAE royal family with a personal Tanzanian playground may be the final nail in the coffin for the remaining 1,500 members of the ancient Hadzabe people and their unique language. Read a Westerner's account of living among the Hadzabe here.
David Oluwale arrived in Britain in 1949, one of many African immigrants. By the close of 1969, he was dead. Two years later, two police officers were charged with his murder, although they got away almost scot-free despite a massive amount of evidence against them. Although it caused a national scandal at the time, more because of police malpractice than racism, Oluwale's sad story has been forgotten since (apart from a play, written by Jeremy Sandford, a few years later). However, it deserves to be remembered not just because of a tragic and unnecessary death, but because it was the first recorded death of a British black person as a result of police racism. A new book, Nationality: Wog, The Hounding of David Oluwale is helping bring Oluwale's plight back into public consciousness. Via the BBC's Thinking Allowed.
Ready or Not. "South Africa is a great place to have a party, and people are incredibly generous of spirit. What we should be doing is trying to make the World Cup experience uniquely African: where the bus comes 10 minutes late but nobody gives a toss because they are having such a good time. Instead, the organisers seem to want to try to run the World Cup as efficiently as the Germans did. What a load of bull. The Germans could invade Poland in three days. We could not invade Swaziland in three months." Article in today's Observer about preparations in South Africa for the soccer World Cup in 2010.
A band of Congolese rebels is threatening to kill all of the Virunga mountain gorillas. Two-hundred Mai-Mai fighters attacked conservation posts in the violence-prone Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in response to government efforts to protect Virunga National Park from settling and poaching. Virunga is home to roughly half the world's 700 remaining mountain gorillas (and was the workplace of Diane Fossey). Last year, Mai-Mai fighters killed nearly half of the park's hippos, eating the meat and selling the teeth as ivory, and in January they killed and ate two silverbacks. The increased violence is part of a trend that has accompanied attempts to integrate the area's independent militias- mostly remnants of groups that fought in the Congo civil war, then refused to disband- into the national army, and some observers believe that the war, which already killed 4 million, may reignite.
Where's the money? [YouTube] In a short interview with the BBC, Bob Geldof and Bono discuss ongoing efforts to get G8 members to fulfil commitments made at the Gleneagles summit, their own credibility or lack of, and whether or not the current focus on climate change is taking attention away from the situation in Africa. This Guardian article has more details.