ST CATHARINES, Canada – Behnaz Mirzai’s students often say her office is like a museum.
With shards of ancient pottery recovered from the mountains of Iran’s Sistan and Baluchistan province, colourful vases from Isfahan, and tribal masks from Zanzibar adorning the shelves, it is easy to see why.
Mirzai has spent nearly 20 years studying the origins of the African diaspora in Iran, including the history and eventual abolition of slavery in her native country.
It was a topic that few knew about in the late 1990s, when she began her research, and one that remains unfamiliar to many today.
“Living in Iran for all my life, we had never heard about slavery in Iran,” Mirzai told Middle East Eye from Brock University, where she now works as an associate professor of Middle Eastern history.
Discovering slavery in Iran
Mirzai held a master’s degree in Iranian and Islamic history from Azad University in Tehran when she came to Canada in 1997.
When she began graduate studies a year later at York University in Toronto, a meeting with history professor Paul Lovejoy set her on the path to discover a little-known slice of Iranian history.
“I [didn’t] know whether we had slavery because this is not a common topic or something that people know or discuss,” Mirzai said. After contacting former professors in Iran, Mirzai discovered that Iran did indeed have a history of African slavery – and Iranian archives had the documents to prove it.
“Slavery wasn’t integrated into the history of Iran… In terms of the knowledge of people, common people or even academics, [it] was very, very limited or at that time, [it] was zero,” she said. “There were no written articles or books; it was so new.”
Trade between modern-day Iran and African countries goes back several hundred years. But slavery in Iran spanned two major periods, Mirzai discovered: the Qajar dynasty (1795-1925) and the early years of the Pahlavi dynasty (1925-1979).
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Research by campaigners claims aid and loans to the continent are outweighed by financial flows to tax havens and costs of climate change mitigation. More wealth leaves Africa every year than enters it – by more than $40bn (£31bn) – according to research that challenges “misleading” perceptions of foreign aid.
Analysis by a coalition of UK and African equality and development campaigners including Global Justice Now, published on Wednesday, claims the rest of the world is profiting more than most African citizens from the continent’s wealth. It said African countries received $162bn in 2015, mainly in loans, aid and personal remittances. But in the same year, $203bn was taken from the continent, either directly through multinationals repatriating profits and illegally moving money into tax havens, or by costs imposed by the rest of the world through climate change adaptation and mitigation.
This led to an annual financial deficit of $41.3bn from the 47 African countries where many people remain trapped in poverty, according to the report, Honest Accounts 2017.
The campaigners said illicit financial flows, defined as the illegal movement of cash between countries, account for $68bn a year, three times as much as the $19bn Africa receives in aid.
The key factors contributing to this inequality include unjust debt payments and multinational companies hiding proceeds through tax avoidance and corruption, he said.
African governments received $32bn in loans in 2015, but paid more than half of that – $18bn – in debt interest, with the level of debt rising rapidly.
Source: The Guardian
It’s a mass grave that we don’t need the United Nations to verify. Every day an average of 14 migrants, the vast majority from countries in sub-Saharan Africa, die crossing the Mediterranean.
Many more see their European dream turn into a nightmare long before they’re corralled on to flimsy rubber dinghies on Libya’s beaches. They’re the victims of a silent massacre in the Sahara desert – a journey more deadly than the crossing from the coast, according to the International Organisation for Migration.
Come the spring, thousands of migrants and refugees fleeing poverty and violence will die in Libya, but I doubt you’ll hear much about it. Compassion fatigue has set in. The numbers have become too big to comprehend. It’s an old story; we feel numbed by the now familiar news images of men huddled together on boats. Maybe it’s because they’re African and have been written off as “undeserving economic migrants”. These are the people some of our political leaders have in mind when they talk of swarms, plagues and marauders. The understandable focus on Syrian refugees has taken the spotlight away from the more dangerous route to Europe through Libya.
UN migration agency says selling of people is rife in African nation that has slid into violent chaos since overthrow of Gaddafi.
est African migrants are being bought and sold openly in modern-day slave markets in Libya, survivors have told a UN agency helping them return home.
Trafficked people passing through Libya have previously reported violence, extortion and slave labour. But the new testimony from the International Organization for Migration suggests that the trade in human beings has become so normalised that people are being traded in public.
“The latest reports of ‘slave markets’ for migrants can be added to a long list of outrages [in Libya],” said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM’s head of operation and emergencies. “The situation is dire. The more IOM engages inside Libya, the more we learn that it is a vale of tears for all too many migrants.”
Source: The guardian
On March 29th 2017, Ademilola “Lola” Odujinrin a 38-year-old pilot arrived successfully from his “One Man, One Plane” expedition, completing the final leg of his historic journey, landing safely at Washington Dulles International Airport. The pilot completed the entire circumnavigation in a specially configured SR22 Cirrus 9-year-old aircraft with registration number N313CD that can fly 17-and-a-half hours before refuelling, stopping in more than 15 countries on five continents, returning to Washington DC, where his journey began back in June 2016.
The flight is part of Project Transcend, a foundation which aims to inspire young people to achieve their goals, regardless of their personal circumstances.
Source : huffingtonpost
Major Mohammed Tariq Bey (nicknamed Al Nigeri or alternately Al Ifriqi- the Nigerian or the African). Born in Libya, of Nigerian parents, of Fulani ethnicity. He commanded Troops in the Dardanelles campaign of 1915. He was later to return to battle, firstly against the Italians during the Invasion of Ethiopia and later in command of troops in the Palestine conflict of 1948. He was at one stage the Chief of the General staff of the Saudi Army, appointed in 1939. He documented his works in a number of volumes, including 'Muhammad Tariq al ifriqi Muddhakirarti fi al-harb al-habbashiyya al-italiya' and 'Muhammad Tariq al-Ifriqi al Mujahidun fi Ma'arik al Filastin' among others.
References include Bahjat al-Qaramanli's "al-Mujahidun Muhammad Tariq al-Ifriqi", (al-Shahid, Tripoli, Libya, nos. 7 and 8, 1986), also "The Making of an Egyptian Arab Nationalist: The Early Years of Azzam Pasha, 1893-1936" by Ralph Coury (which cites Al-Qaramanli). Both of these texts clearly refer to his Nigerian origins. Also useful is Anna Baldinetti's 'The Origins of the Libyan Nation: Colonial Legacy, Exile and the Emergence of a Nation State.'
This image Is from the Daily Times of Nigeria. May, 1935.
History has been made in Zambia after a 24-year-old Second Lieutenant Thokozile Muwamba became the country’s first female fighter pilot.
She becomes one of the few female pilots Africa has produced especially in the Air Force.
Muwamba joined the military in 2012 and was fortunate to be part of the Zambian Air Forces programme to train female pilots who will bridge the gender gap in the field.
“Men are not a competition but counterparts that one should work with, and hence women should begin to participate and realise their abilities. Because of this understanding, I am ready to undertake this task ahead of me,” she told local media Times of Zambia last week.
“I look at the fact that when I am in the aeroplane, the aircraft knows no sex as it depends on my input even if I am a woman. I can also give it the right steering for it to respond correctly,” Muwamba added.
According to Brigadier-General Kapungwe, who is the commander of the ZAF base in Mumbwa, having Second Lieutenant Muwamba as the first female fighter pilot is a clear illustration that women were progressing.
“We want to see more women in the country to become fighter pilots in future,” the paper quotes him.
Second Lieutenant Muwamba joined the military and pursued her dream career of being a pilot after she quit as a first year student at the Copperbelt University (CBU).
She owed her success to hardwork, determination and inspiration from her family and instructors.
“Impossibilities can be made possible as long as one was determined to attain one’s goal,” she advised other women.
Near Africa's horn on the easternmost part of the continent, a shiny new electric railway runs alongside an old abandoned track through both arid desert and green highlands.
Some 750 kilometres (466 miles) long, the $4 billion line opened in October and links landlocked Ethiopia to the coast in Djibouti.
It was partly funded and built by Chinese companies, just like the other planned lines it could soon link up with neighboring Sudan and Kenya -- where the first part of a new $13 billion Kenyan railway linking Mombasa to Nairobi is taking shape.
The sprawling network is planned to continue into South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, as part of transnational efforts to connect countries within East Africa.
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Nigeria plans to start construction this month of a railway linking its decades-delayed Ajaokuta steel plant to iron-ore mines and a port, as the government accelerates efforts to reduce the economy’s reliance on oil.
Construction of the steel plant on the banks of the Niger river started in 1979 before stalling, partly because of the absence of a railway to carry raw materials and finished product. Now authorities are seeking to revive the project, as part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts to invest in mining, agriculture and infrastructure. Government revenue from oil, which accounts for 90 percent of the nation’s export earnings, has shrunk after crude prices fell from a peak reached in 2014 and as attacks on pipelines in the Niger Delta curb production
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With prices for renewables dropping, many countries in Africa might leap past dirty forms of energy towards a cleaner future.
At the threshold of the Sahara Desert near Ouarzazate, Morocco, some 500,000 parabolic mirrors run in neat rows across a valley, moving slowly in unison as the Sun sweeps overhead. This US$660-million solar-energy facility opened in February and will soon have company. Morocco has committed to generating 42% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
Across Africa, several nations are moving aggressively to develop their solar and wind capacity. The momentum has some experts wondering whether large parts of the continent can vault into a clean future, bypassing some of the environmentally destructive practices that have plagued the United States, Europe and China, among other places.
“African nations do not have to lock into developing high-carbon old technologies,” wrote Kofi Annan, former secretary-general of the United Nations, in a report last year1. “We can expand our power generation and achieve universal access to energy by leapfrogging into new technologies that are transforming energy systems across the world.”
That's an intoxicating message, not just for Africans but for the entire world, because electricity demand on the continent is exploding. Africa's population is booming faster than anywhere in the world: it is expected to almost quadruple by 2100. More than half of the 1.2 billion people living there today lack electricity, but may get it soon. If much of that power were to come from coal, oil and natural gas, it could kill international efforts to slow the pace of global warming. But a greener path is possible because many African nations are just starting to build up much of their energy infrastructure and have not yet committed to dirtier technology.
Several factors are fuelling the push for renewables in Africa. More than one-third of the continent's nations get the bulk of their power from hydroelectric plants, and droughts in the past few years have made that supply unreliable. Countries that rely primarily on fossil fuels have been troubled by price volatility and increasing regulations. At the same time, the cost of renewable technology has been dropping dramatically. And researchers are finding that there is more potential solar and wind power on the continent than previously thought — as much as 3,700 times the current total consumption of electricity.
This has all led to a surging interest in green power. Researchers are mapping the best places for renewable-energy projects. Forward-looking companies are investing in solar and wind farms. And governments are teaming up with international-development agencies to make the arena more attractive to private firms.
Yet this may not be enough to propel Africa to a clean, electrified future. Planners need more data to find the best sites for renewable-energy projects. Developers are wary about pouring money into many countries, especially those with a history of corruption and governmental problems. And nations will need tens of billions of dollars to strengthen the energy infrastructure.
Still, green ambitions in Africa are higher now than ever before. Eddie O'Connor, chief executive of developer Mainstream Renewable Power in Dublin, sees great potential for renewable energy in Africa. His company is building solar- and wind-energy facilities there and he calls it “an unparalleled business opportunity for entrepreneurs”.
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Gambia has announced its withdrawal from the International Criminal Court, accusing the Hague-based tribunal of "persecution and humiliation of people of colour, especially Africans".
Tuesday's announcement comes after similar decisions earlier this month by South Africa and Burundi to abandon the institution, set up to try the world's worst crimes.
The ICC was set up in 2002 and is often accused of bias against Africa and has also struggled with a lack of cooperation, including from the US, which has signed the court's treaty but never ratified it.
Inside Story - Does the ICC target African states?
The court had been used "for the persecution of Africans and especially their leaders" while ignoring crimes committed by the West, Sheriff Bojang, Gambia's information minister, said on state television.
He singled out the case of Tony Blair, former British prime minister, who the ICC decided not to indict over the Iraq war.
"There are many Western countries, at least 30, that have committed heinous war crimes against independent sovereign states and their citizens since the creation of the ICC and not a single Western war criminal has been indicted," Bojang said.
The withdrawal, he said, "is warranted by the fact that the ICC, despite being called International Criminal Court, is in fact an International Caucasian Court for the persecution and humiliation of people of colour, especially Africans".
Gambia has been trying, without success, to use the ICC to punish the EU for the deaths of thousands of African refugees and migrants trying to reach its shores.
The decision will also come as a personal blow to the court's chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, a former Gambian justice minister.
Burundi had said earlier this month it would leave the court, while Namibia and Kenya have also raised the possibility.
South Africa announced it will withdraw from the International Criminal Court, whose oversight includes 124 member nations. Burundi’s parliament has also voted to leave the court, which was established in 2002 to investigate and prosecute war crimes. Andrew Meldrum, the acting Africa Editor for the Associated Press, joins Hari Sreenivasan from Johannesburg.
Ghana has said it will remove a statue of Mahatma Gandhi from a university campus in the nation’s capital where it had sparked protests over the leader’s allegedly racist attitudes.
The statue, which was unveiled by Indian President Pranab Mukherjee during his visit to Ghana in June, was meant to symbolize friendship between the two countries, according to Ghana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. But professors and students at the University of Ghana called the statue “a slap in the face” because of Gandhi’s “racist identity.” They started an online petition calling for the statue’s removal.
The petition, which had more than 1,700 supporters on Thursday, cited letters Gandhi wrote during his time in South Africa as evidence that he advocated for the superiority of Indians over black Africans. It also took issue with his use of the derogatory term kaffir to refer to native Africans and criticized the lack of statues of African heroes and heroines on campus.
In light of the petition and protests on social media, Ghana’s government wants to relocate the statue “to ensure its safety and to avoid the controversy,” the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Wednesday.
Gandhi is known for peacefully leading India’s independence movement, but a biography published last year also explored the darker side of his time in Africa.
The Nigerian government has accused western powers of being a stumbling block to Nigeria’s effort to improve its electricity output through the use of coal.
The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, made the allegation on Wednesday in Washington, U.S.A., during a discussion on the importance of addressing infrastructure gaps in developing countries at the World Bank, International Monetary Fund General Meetings.
She said improving power supply was the cornerstone of the Buhari administration, towards economic development, but said Nigeria was not getting support from western nations.
“We want to build a coal power plant because we are a country blessed with coal, yet we have power problem. So it doesn’t take a genius to work out that it will make sense to build a coal power plant,” she said.
“However, we are being blocked from doing so, because it is not green. This is not fair because they have an entire western industrialisation that was built on coal-fired energy.
“This is the competitive advantage that was used to develop Europe, yet now that Nigeria wants to do it, they say it’s not green, so we cannot.
“They suggest that we use solar and wind, which is the more expensive. So yes, Africa must invest in its infrastructure, but we must also make sure that the playing field is level,” she said.
Mrs. Adeosun said that in spite of the need for foreign borrowing to finance the country’s infrastructure gap, the strategy was to get the cheapest money.
She said Nigeria’s debt to GDP remained very low but that the cost of servicing those loans was high.
“Right now, we are being very conservative about our debt and we are trying to get the cheapest money possible from multilateral agencies,” the minister said.
“We are working very hard to make sure that we get multilateral funds first before we go to the euro bond market, which is a little bit more expensive.”
She added that the country’s strategy was to get public private investments because where Nigeria dedicated five years’ full budget to bridging infrastructure gap, it would still be insufficient.
Aliko Dangote - Africa's richest man - has stated his desire to buy Arsenal 'within three to four years'.
The 59-year-old, who is believed to be worth around £8.3billion, has spoken of his interest to take over Arsenal on a number of occasions but said that he needs to overcome 'challenging headwinds' in his other business ventures before focusing on buying the Gunners.
'Maybe three to four years. The issue is that we have more challenging headwinds. I need to get those out the way first and start having tailwinds. Then I'll focus on this.' Dangote told Bloomberg.
It's not about buying Arsenal and just continuing with business as usual.
'It's about buying Arsenal and turning it around. I've run a very successful business and I think I can also run a very successful team.
'Right now, with what we're facing, over £15billion of projects, I cannot do both.'
Dangote attempted to buy shares in Arsenal six years ago. The Nigerian tried to take over the 15 per cent owned by Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith, who eventually sold her stake to Stan Kroenke.
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Nasiru Shua’ibu, a professor in the Biochemical Parasitology Department of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, has developed a new malaria vaccine to prevent high rate of death from malaria fever.
Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Zaria, Kaduna State on Tuesday, Mr. Shu’aibu said the new malaria vaccine was different from others currently in use.
Mr. Shu’aibu, who is currently working with the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Japan, said the result of the research on the new vaccine would soon be out for Nigerians to use.
“In a simple term that a layman can understand, the content of this malaria vaccine research is difficult, but let me try if I could simplify it, it is called DNA Vaccine.
“It is a new technology for discovery and delivery of vaccine against any infectious disease that was developed in the early to mid 1990s.
“The DNA of the malaria parasite was extracted and the portion of the DNA that is tested to be a good vaccine candidate is subjected to molecular biology methods which are used to produce a lot of the DNA,” Mr. Shu’aibu said.
According to him, the amount of DNA from the malaria parasite was very minute in quantity and to expand the quantity, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) was used.
“Then a method of cloning is now used to insert the DNA into a vehicle that will carry the DNA into either animal or human body.
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The world's 6,000 or so modern languages may have all descended from a single ancestral tongue spoken by early African humans between 50,000 and 70,000 years ago, a new study suggests.
The finding, published Thursday in the journal Science, could help explain how the first spoken language emerged, spread and contributed to the evolutionary success of the human species.
Quentin Atkinson, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and author of the study, found that the first migrating populations leaving Africa laid the groundwork for all the world's cultures by taking their single language with them—the mother of all mother tongues.
"It was the catalyst that spurred the human expansion that we all are a product of," Dr. Atkinson said.
About 50,000 years ago—the exact timeline is debated—there was a sudden and marked shift in how modern humans behaved. They began to create cave art and bone artifacts and developed far more sophisticated hunting tools. Many experts argue that this unusual spurt in creative activity was likely caused by a key innovation: complex language, which enabled abstract thought. The work done by Dr. Atkinson supports this notion.
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Malawi's new president has made numerous breaks from her autocratic predecessor but few will be this popular: she has dumped his presidential jet and fleet of luxury cars.
Joyce Banda, who came to power in April after the death of Bingu wa Mutharika, has barely paused in her drive to overturn his controversial policies and lifestyle.
Her decision to sell or lease the impoverished country's £8.4m presidential jet and fleet of 60 Mercedes government cars seems likely to cement domestic goodwill – and confirm her as a darling of the west.
Britain, Malawi's biggest aid donor, announced on Friday that Andrew Mitchell, the international development secretary, had raised the issue of the Dassault Falcon 900EX jet with Banda at a private meeting with the new government. Mitchell said: "At a time of austerity in both Britain and Malawi, president Banda's decision to sell or lease the presidential jet and expensive fleet of cars sends an enormously encouraging signal to British taxpayers and the international community about the seriousness President Banda is applying to overturn bad decisions taken under the previous government.
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Facebook’s billionaire founder was after the crown jewel in East and Central Africa’s most profitable company, Safaricom: M-Pesa. Dressed characteristically nonchalantly in a grey T-shirt and blue jeans, Mr Zuckerberg laid out his intentions plainly. “I am here to learn about mobile money.” And to drive the point home to a group of star-struck journalists and start-up founders on the second floor of Nairobi’s Bishop Magua building, Zuckerberg gently alluded to Kenya’s wilful blindness. “For folks who spend a lot of time in the entrepreneurial ecosystem here [in Kenya], it may be hard to appreciate just how advanced the Kenyan system is over others, and I think there are a lot of lessons we can learn to help build services for people in the rest of the world,” he said.
Kenyans depend and spend on M-Pesa with a frequency that is often forgotten.
Last year, Sh14 billion was transacted through M-Pesa. Every day. To put this amount in context, what Kenyans transact in just three days would be more than enough to build another Thika superhighway.
This disruption of the financial and payments system is M-Pesa’s greatest selling point, and is likened to US Silicon Valley disrupters Uber (transport), Airbnb (accommodation) and Facebook (social interaction). In the last decade, Facebook has moved from a web platform that allows friends and families to keep in touch and share what is happening in their lives, to a company that seeks to exploit the future needs of social network users. Zuckerberg’s most expensive acquisitions, like Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus VR, are geared towards linking the social network platform to photo-sharing, instant messaging and virtual reality, respectively.
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Too broke to pay for costly imports of rice and palm oil, Nigeria is looking to agriculture to help lift itself out of a recession.
The once-flourishing sector was abandoned during the oil boom but has the potential to grow as Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari pushes to diversify Nigeria's economy.
In a grim recent report, the National Bureau of Statistics said the country's economy contracted in the second quarter by 2.1 percent, with the oil sector suffering a double-digit decline.
Crude-addicted Nigeria has been hit hard by the global fall in oil prices, which has reduced government revenues and driven inflation to an 11-year-high of 17.1 percent in July.
Nigeria usually gets 70 percent of its revenue from oil sales but the crash has left the government cash-strapped and struggling to pay civil servant wages.
The dire situation has spurred the Nigerian government to look for ways to encourage sustainable growth.
Agriculture seems a good place to start. With 84 million hectares of arable land spanning the jungles of the south to the Sahara desert in the north, Nigeria can produce a range of food and cash crops for local needs and exports.
Today Nigeria's food imports are estimated at over 20 billion dollars annually, according to the agriculture ministry.
A 50kg bag of rice, likely imported from Thailand, now sells for 20,000 naira ($63) compared to 8,000 naira at the beginning of the year, prompting the authorities to encourage people to farm.
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Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg had his jaunt to Africa interrupted by some pretty unfortunate news Thursday: A SpaceX rocket exploded on a Florida launchpad, destroying a satellite Facebook was planning to use to offer Internet access in parts of the continent he’s currently visiting.
“As I’m here in Africa, I’m deeply disappointed to hear that SpaceX’s launch failure destroyed our satellite that would have provided connectivity to so many entrepreneurs and everyone else across the continent,” Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook hours after the incident.
“Fortunately, we have developed other technologies like Aquila that will connect people as well. We remain committed to our mission of connecting everyone, and we will keep working until everyone has the opportunities this satellite would have provided,” he added, referencing Facebook’s massive Internet-beaming drone.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's visit to Nigeria, his first to sub-Saharan Africa, has put the country's tech businesses firmly in the world's spotlight.
Zuckerberg staged a surprise visit to the country's economic capital Lagos on Tuesday and his first stop was a local innovation center and tech hub in Yaba, an area on the mainland of Lagos known as Nigeria's Silicon Valley.
There was no fanfare amid tight security and some of those working at the Co-Creation Hub, called CcHUB, didn't even know Zuckberg was coming.
He appeared nervous, a little startled even, as he launched into an impromptu speech about why he was there.
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African American History: From Emancipation to the Present.
About this course
The purpose of this course is to examine the African American experience in the United States from 1863 to the present. Prominent themes include the end of the Civil War and the beginning of Reconstruction; African Americans’ urbanization experiences; the development of the modern civil rights movement and its aftermath; and the thought and leadership of Booker T. Washington, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcolm X.
A diver has discovered what appears to be an ancient sunken city off Mafia Island in Tanzania. Diver Alan Sutton, from Seaunseen, had originally been looking for the remains of an old fort rumoured to have been washed away to sea, but instead he came across the remains of a wall stretching almost 4km.
The discovery is detailed in a blog post by Sutton, with images showing remnants of the wall. Mafia Island is a small sand island. After flying over in a helicopter, he noticed an "unusually shaped formation in the water".
They found a series of what looked like foundations circling a large area. Large oblong blocks up to 5m by 5m stretched along the foundation. The northern and southern foundations run around 3.7km in length – although they think more could be lying undiscovered, covered by sand. It was around 1km at the widest point, while the foundations were up to 10 to 20 metres in depth.
As the site is yet to be visited by scientists or archaeologists, its age is not known. However, Sutton points out coral growth near blocks would indicate they have been underwater for at least 550 years. "The site is very large, certainly the size of a city and is definitely man-made and very old," he wrote. "It seems very old and to have been extremely well-constructed, in a fashion unlike the architecture of other ruins in Tanzania and doubtless the site will keep archaeologists busy for many years. Without a large amount of research it is impossible to say exactly what the site is. It however appears to be a very old harbour city."
Video Source: english.cctv.com
Text Source: ibtimes.co.uk
Thursday night, Simone Manuel made history when she became first black woman in Olympic history to earn an individual swimming gold medal and the first African-American woman to win an individual medal.
The groundbreaking win, in which Manuel shared the podium with Canada’s Penny Oleksiak after a tie, would be worth celebrating in the context of any sport. But the particular racist history of American swimming pools — and resulting lack of opportunity for black swimmers for decades — makes it an even more poignant victory.
swimming pools have always been spaces where social inequalities have played out. And as the University of Montana history professor Jeff Wiltse wrote for the Washington Post last year, the nation’s swimming pool history is intimately tied to racism.
When the first public pools were established in America’s northern cities at the turn of the 20th century, class prejudices fueled decisions of where municipal pools were built to keep out poor and working-class people, regardless of race. In the 1920s and ’30s, when pools were larger and men and women began swimming together, some major Northern cities used racial segregation tactics to prevent interactions between black men and white women.
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Zoologists have documented an incredible relationship between wild birds in Mozambique and the local Yao people, who team up together to hunt for honey.
Using a series of special hails and chirps the humans and birds are able to communicate - honeyguide birds lead the way to hidden beehives, where the Yao people share the spoils with their avian friends.
It's a beautiful mutualistic relationship that's been known for more than 500 years - but now, for the first time, a team of researchers from the UK and South Africa have shown that the honeyguide birds and humans are actually communicating both ways in order to get the most benefit out of their collaboration.
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Global music star Akon joined Shell to shine a light on the power of innovative options for access to smarter energy by unveiling Africa’s first human and solar powered football pitch at the Federal College of Education, Akoka, Lagos.
The new pitch is the latest initiative from Shell’s #makethefuture programme, which puts bright energy ideas into action to bring benefits to local communities around the world while inspiring future entrepreneurs to open up access to energy. Akon and DJ Hardwork debuted their new song, ‘Tell Me We’re Ok’ on the pitch, with footage filmed to be included in the official video in 2016.
The event included a Press Conference, Official Handover Ceremony, Musical Performances and a special football match with local students.
On the eve of President Barack Obama’s 55th birthday, he was greeted in song with "Happy Birthday" Wednesday by about a thousand participants at this year’s Young African Leaders summit in Washington.
Obama launched the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) six years ago to support an emerging generation of young African entrepreneurs, activists and public officials. Its flagship program, the Mandela Washington Fellowship, began two years ago with the goal of empowering young Africans through academic coursework, leadership training and networking.
"Today's Africa is a place of unprecedented prosperity and opportunities," Obama told the excited crowd, noting that he'd visited sub-Saharan Africa four times, more than any other U.S. president.
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Facebook has signed up almost half the countries in Africa – a combined population of 635 million – to its free internet service in a controversial move to corner the market in one of the world’s biggest mobile data growth regions.
Facebook’s co-founder and chairman, Mark Zuckerberg, has made it clear that he wants to connect the whole world to the internet, describing access as a basic human right. His Free Basics initiative, in which mobile users are able to access the site free of data charges, is available in 42 countries, more than half of them in Africa.
But digital campaigners and internet freedom advocates argue that Facebook’s expansion is a thinly veiled marketing ploy that could end up undermining, rather than enhancing, mass efforts to get millions more people connected.
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South Africa has a deserved reputation as a superb destination in which to spot wildlife, but another natural resource is now being put under the spotlight with the launch of the country’s (and the world’s) first diamond safari.
Launched by Cape Town’s Ellerman House hotel in conjunction with Benguela Diamonds, the R215,000 (£11,400) package will invite up to six guests to board a private jet and fly from the private terminal at Cape Town International Airport to the isolated town of Port Nolloth, set on South Africa’s western coast and close to the border with Namibia.
A copper-mining enclave in the 1800s, the town boomed anew after diamonds were detected in the locality in the 1920s, and later in the soil of the surrounding ocean floor. Though the gems aren’t quite so abundant today, the region remains mineral-rich and these treasures can still be uncovered by divers who trawl the sea bed for gems. With their base for the day a modern seafront villa, clients who book the package will follow breakfast by either diving with Benguela Diamond dive masters (a Padi Open Water 1 certificate is required) or accompanying the team by boat and watching as they scour the depths for treasure.
However clients choose to observe this stage of the process, what follows is the same: the seabed gravel retrieved by the divers is sieved via an apparatus called a classifier and the gemstones contained therein (garnets and olivines might be found alongside diamonds) are exposed. Representatives say the likelihood of finding something precious is “pretty much 100 per cent” and whatever rough diamonds emerge are sent to be cut, polished and set into jewellery at Benguela Diamond’s design studio in Stellenbosch.
African leaders have officially launch an African Union passport during the heads of state and government summit in Kigali, Rwanda. The e-passport at its summit as it prepares for a unified travel document for the continent.The union has so far managed to convince most states across continent to start producing the passport. However security fears could hamper the success of this eagerly awaited project.
Germany will finally apologize for its other genocide. In a landmark admission of historical guilt, chancellor Angela Merkel said her country will formally recognize and apologize for the systematic murder of Namibia’s Herero people more than a century ago.
The genocide is widely viewed as the first of the twentieth century, perpetrated from 1904 to 1907, but is rarely recognized. Historians believe that the atrocities perpetrated by the German troops became a precursor for those perpetrated during the Holocaust. The parallels between Germany’s two genocides are chillingly similar: the extermination order for the sake of expansion, forced labor in concentration camps and scientific experiments on prisoners.
Within three years, German troops oversaw the extermination of 85% of the Herero population, expropriated their land and seized their source of wealth, their cattle. Today, the once powerful Herero make up about 10% of Namibia’s population and live in some of the country’s most underdeveloped regions, struggling with high youth unemployment.
"I Can't Breathe" -- the last words of Eric Garner before he was suffocated by a police officer in July 2014.
Some of the game's truest hip hop artist unite for an inspiring new protest song KRS-One, Sticky Fingaz from Onyx, Talib Kweli, reggae great Mad Lion, Brother J from the X Clan, and lastly, Samuel L. Jackson.
DANIEL HALE WILLIAMS was an African-American cardiologist that performed the first successful open heart surgery. He also founded Provident Hospital, the first non-segregated hospital in the U.S. Dr. Williams was an extraordinary man of incredible talent and merit and his exceptional accomplishments are documented with great care in this inspiring program. Born to freed people of color in 1856, he attended medical school at what is now Northwestern University in Chicago to become a practicing surgeon. His observations that American Blacks were treated as second-class citizens within the medical community, both professionally and as patients, motivated him to establish and run the first hospital for Blacks in the United States; Provident Hospital. Williams set up the first nursing school for Blacks and performed one of the first open heart surgeries in the world. His encounters with institutionalized racism gave him the courage and determination to create more hospitals and educational programs like the one he had at Provident. In 1885 he co-founded the National Medical Association for Black Doctors and openly encouraged African Americans to support hospitals that would offer first-rate care to African-Americans. In 1913, he became a charter member and only African American in the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Daniel Hale Williams notable achievements as a Cardiac Surgeon helped to revolutionize the field of medicine and humanize its practices.
Ghana has commenced the issuance of visas on arrival to African nationals as announced by President John Dramani Mahama in February this year. The policy, which took effect July 1, allows citizens of African Union member states to obtain visas of up to 30 days on arrival in the country. This policy does not affect citizens of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) who can enter the country without a visa.
The AU, in its call for action, urged the abolishing of all visa requirement for Africans travelling to other African countries by 2018 and also, each citizen issued an African passport as part of its Agenda 2063 roadmap.
Black women are now the most educated group in US, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Between 2009 and 2010, black women earned 68 per cent of associate's degrees, 66 per cent of bachelor's degrees, 71 per cent of master's degrees and 65 per cent of all doctorate degrees awarded to black students.
The percentage of black students attending college has increased from 10 per cent to 15 per cent from 1976 to 2012, while the percentage of white students fell from 84 to 60 per cent.
By both race and gender, a higher percentage of black women (9.7 per cent) is enrolled in college than any other group, including Asian women (8.7 per cent), white women (7.1 per cent) and white men (6.1 per cent).
A shortage of mechanical equipment in Nigeria means that many farmers are obliged to work the land by hand. Now, one engineer in central Benue State has come up with a solution - a tractor that's 100% designed and built in Nigeria. Timothy Addigi Terfa has called his tractor 'Ijodo' which means 'labour' in his native Tiv language. Addigi explained the idea to Newsday.
(Photo: At the wheel of the new Ijodo tractor. Credit: BBC)
On June 13, two weeks before the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, the African Union announced a new “single African passport.” The lead-up discussion was much like the original debate on the European Economic Community, the E.U.’s predecessor. African passport proponents say it will boost the continent’s socioeconomic development because it will reduce trade barriers and allow people, ideas, goods, services and capital to flow more freely across borders.
But now the A.U. faces the challenge of making sure the “e-Passport” lives up to its potential – and doesn’t fulfill detractors’ fears of heightened terrorism, smuggling and illegal immigration.
The e-Passport is an electronic document that permits any A.U. passport holder to enter any of the 54 A.U. member states, without requiring a visa. It will be unveiled this month during the next A.U. Summit in Kigali, Rwanda. Initially, the e-Passport will only be available to A.U. heads of state, foreign ministers and permanent representatives based in the A.U.’s headquarters in Addis Ababa, . The plan is to roll it out to all A.U. citizens by 2018.
Source: Washington Post
Gambia has withdrawn from the Commonwealth, a collection of 54 nations made up largely of former British colonies, saying it will "never be a member of any neo-colonial institution".
In an unexpected announcement broadcast by the west African nation on state television on Wednesday it was not immediately clear what prompted the decision to leave the Commonwealth, which is headed by the Queen.
The Gambia joined the Commonwealth in 1965, when it gained independence from Britain. Although it remains a major tourist destination for British and other foreign holidaymakers, it has long had a troubled political relationship with its former colonial master.
The Gambian government did not give a reason for the decision to leave the Commonwealth. However, it comes amid a greater emphasis by Britain on human rights and increasing pressure to promote equality based on sexuality.
Source: The Guardian
Dr Kwadwo Safo Kantanka, a Star of Africa, is set to penetrate the automobile industry with his classic vehicles. The cars, with their engines and body made in Ghana by the Dr Kwadwo, are styled to give them a sleeky touch appearance.
The Kantanka branded vehicles range from talking cars that are started and controlled with a gold watch to solar and electric cars. Products which are also waiting to hit the market after the commercialisation of the Kantanka 4-wheel drives include the Kantanka Pickups, Buses, Saloon cars, Televisions, aircrafts, programmable robots etc
Watch the first trailer for the upcoming Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez on Me has arrived. Here, we see the rise of one of rap's greatest performers, from his early life on through the violent east coast-west coast hip-hop rivalry that defined his career and all the way up to his death after a drive-by shooting in 1996.
All Eyes on Me, helmed by music video and film director Benny Boom, stars Demetrius Shipp Jr. as Shakur, looking every inch the part as he takes the stage. Joining him is Jamal Woolard, stepping back into the role of the Notorious B.I.G. after portraying him in 2009's Notorious. Rounding out the cast are The Walking Dead's Danai Gurira as Afeni Shakur; Kat Graham as Shakur's lifelong friend Jada Pinkett; Stefon Washington as Puff Daddy; and The Vampire Diaries' Lauren Cohan as Leila Steinberg, Shakur's mentor and first manager. All Eyez on Me hits theaters on November 11th.
The African community that is India's hope for an Olympic medal.
The Siddis are a community that migrated from East Africa to India between the 15th and 19th century. In 1987, the Sports Authority of India set up the Special Area Games program to scout and train members of the Siddi community to perform as athletes for India on the international stage. Despite the glory they have brought to the nation, the Siddis have to battle racism on a daily basis, often being treated as outsiders in the country that they have given their everything for.
The Siddis have now settled primarily in the states of Karnataka, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. They came as merchants, sailors, slaves, and mercenaries, going on to even become rulers. Today, they are India's hope for an Olympic medal in Track and Field.
In 1990, the boxing legend traveled to Iraq to press a plea for peace and negotiate with Saddam Hussein for the release of U.S. civilians taken hostage after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. Ali risked his reputation, health and safety for the freedom of prisoners held by Hussein as "human shields" to deter U.S. military strikes. Only six weeks after Ali brought 15 hostages back home to their relieved families, Operation Desert Storm bombarded Iraq.
A dagger entombed with King Tutankhamun was made with iron from a meteorite, a new analysis on the metal composition shows.
In 1925, archaeologist Howard Carter found two daggers, one iron and one with a blade of gold, within the wrapping of the teenage king, who was mummified more than 3,300 years ago. The iron blade, which had a gold handle, rock crystal pommel and lily and jackal-decorated sheath, has puzzled researchers in the decades since Carter’s discovery: ironwork was rare in ancient Egypt, and the dagger’s metal had not rusted.
Italian and Egyptian researchers analysed the metal with an x-ray fluorescence spectrometer to determine its chemical composition, and found its high nickel content, along with its levels of cobalt, “strongly suggests an extraterrestrial origin”. They compared the composition to known meteorites within 2,000km around the Red Sea coast of Egypt, and found similar levels in one meteorite.
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Interview - Mahmud Johnson is founder and chief executive of J-Palm Liberia, an oil palm processing business he founded in 2013. He is one of a new group of young Liberians who attended university in the United States but returned to their country rather than settling abroad. Their contributions are essential elements in Liberia's attempt to regain momentum towards peace and prosperity after a quarter century of conflict and unrest, followed by the devastation of Ebola. He talked to AllAfrica.com about his work and his goal that it will be a tool to address Liberia's social problems and to create jobs.
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A Senegalese court jails Chad ex-leader Hissene Habre for life for crimes against humanity, in the first African Union-backed trial of a former ruler.
The judge convicted him of rape, sexual slavery and ordering killings during his rule from 1982 to 1990.
Victims and families of those killed cheered and embraced each other in the courtroom after the verdict was given.
The governor of Kaduna state in Nigeria, Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, told potential investors that the state has “all the data” to prove that it has more gold than South Africa.
“We’ve just confirmed that Kaduna state, indeed Birnin Gwari local government alone, has more gold than South Africa. This is proven, this is verifiable; we have all the data and we are collaborating with the federal ministry of solid minerals.”
Dear Fans and Friends, Please help VOTE for The Adventures of Nkoza and Nankya TV Series to Win a Perception Neuron Motion Capture Suit and $5000 Dollars, this will go a long way to help us complete the promotional episode and create even more stories ~ follow this link and click on the heart at the top to Vote, do please share it as well ~ http://setyourworldinmotion.hscampaigns.com/#entry-25~ Thank you :) ~ you can also support us with a donation of any amount at this link: https://www.gofundme.com/nkozaandnankya
Privately-owned tech start-ups - or 'unicorns' - are worth more than a billion dollars and Africa has its first one in the shape of the Africa Internet Group.
While many think the next one will emerge from the obvious technology centres in Nairobi, Cape Town or Lagos, it is just possible that it may come from Buea - a small town in south-west Cameroon.
Minister for Environment Amina Mohammed appointed by President Buhari has made the list for Fortune’s World’s greatest leaders list for 2016.
She was ranked at number 39 in recognition of her outstanding record and achievements in the service of humanity. Fortune magazine had this to say about her “As special adviser on post-2015 development planning to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Mohammed had to rally 193 countries to endorse the same objectives for the next 15 years. Acting as the point person for the Sustainable Development Goals, she helped bridge the divide between developing countries and First World nations, and by September all member states signed on to 17 goals related to wiping out poverty and tackling climate change. Now Nigeria’s Environment Minister, Mohammed is trying to make renewables a bigger factor in the oil-producing country’s energy strategy.”
Fortune Magazine is a multinational business publication, published by Time Inc. and headquartered in New York. It was founded by Henry Luce in 1929. The magazine is best known for the “Fortune 500,” a ranking of companies by revenue that it has published annually since 1955.
Amina Mohammed was the only Nigerian on the list of 50 and one of 13 women who included Angela Merkel, Chai Jing, Rosie Batty and others.
The 54 year old is also the founder and CEO of the Centre for Development Policy Solutions and an adjunct professor for the Master’s in Development Practice programme at Columbia University.
Source: The herald (click on image to site)
Former operative says Americans believed the leader was ‘completely under the control of the Soviet Union’, report reveals.
A tip from a CIA spy to authorities in apartheid-era South Africa led to Nelson Mandela’s arrest, beginning the leader’s 27 years behind bars, a report said on Sunday.
Donald Rickard, a former US vice-consul in Durban and CIA operative, told British film director John Irvin that he had been involved in Mandela’s arrest in 1962, which was seen as necessary because the Americans believed he was “completely under the control of the Soviet Union”, according to a report in the Sunday Times newspaper.
“He could have incited a war in South Africa, the United States would have to get involved, grudgingly, and things could have gone to hell,” Rickard said.
“We were teetering on the brink here and it had to be stopped, which meant Mandela had to be stopped. And I put a stop to it.”
Irvin’s new film Mandela’s Gun, about the months before the anti-apartheid leader’s arrest, is due to be screened at the Cannes film festival this week.
Source: The Guardian
One of the 219 missing Chibok schoolgirls is found in Nigeria, activists say, the first to be rescued since their capture two years ago.
During the 2014 attack, the gunmen arrived in Chibok late at night, then raided the school dormitories and loaded 276 girls on to trucks.
Some managed to escape within hours of their kidnapping, mostly by jumping off the lorries and running off into the bushes.
In total, 219 girls remained missing before this latest news.
Queen of Katwe is the colorful true story of a young girl selling corn on the streets of rural Uganda whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game of chess, and, as a result of the support she receives from her family and community, is instilled with the confidence and determination she needs to pursue her dream of becoming an international chess champion. Directed by Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding) from a screenplay by William Wheeler (The Hoax) based on the book by Tim Crothers, Queen of Katwe is produced by Lydia Dean Pilcher (The Darjeeling Limited) and John Carls (Where the Wild Things Are) with Will Weiske and Troy Buder serving as executive producers. The film stars Golden Globe® nominee David Oyelowo (Selma), Oscar® winner and Tony Award® nominee Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave) and newcomer Madina Nalwanga.
For 10-year-old Phiona Mutesi (Nalwanga) and her family, life in the impoverished slum of Katwe in Kampala, Uganda, is a constant struggle. Her mother, Harriet (Nyong'o), is fiercely determined to take care of her family and works tirelessly selling vegetables in the market to make sure her children are fed and have a roof over their heads. When Phiona meets Robert Katende (Oyelowo), a soccer player turned missionary who teaches local children chess, she is captivated. Chess requires a good deal of concentration, strategic thinking and risk taking, all skills which are applicable in everyday life, and Katende hopes to empower youth with the game. Phiona is impressed by the intelligence and wit the game requires and immediately shows potential. Recognizing Phiona's natural aptitude for chess and the fighting spirit she's inherited from her mother, Katende begins to mentor her, but Harriet is reluctant to provide any encouragement, not wanting to see her daughter disappointed. As Phiona begins to succeed in local chess competitions, Katende teaches her to read and write in order to pursue schooling. She quickly advances through the ranks in tournaments, but breaks away from her family to focus on her own life. Her mother eventually realizes that Phiona has a chance to excel and teams up with Katende to help her fulfill her extraordinary potential, escape a life of poverty and save her family. Disney's Queen of Katwe will open in U.S. theaters on September 23, 2016.
The earliest known celebration of mothers and Goddess Isis in ancient Egypt dates back to the third Dynasty (2650B.C.-2575B.C.) The Egyptians celebrated their goddess Isis, who was regarded as the Mother of the Pharaohs, each year with a special holiday.
Most of the dancers, musicians and singers during the festival were female. The festival was celebrated in different times and venues every tear, said Sabban, adding that the festival is related to an ancient Egyptian myth from which Isis earned her stature as the Mother of the Pharaohs.
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With growth driven by vital reforms in state service—taxation, transport services and waste management—Lagos state remains the economic hub of Nigeria twenty five years after it was replaced as the country’s official capital. The state’s potential to generate revenue has now been boosted even further by confirmation of oil production. Targeted investment is expected to follow the state’s oil production activities and under the terms of Nigeria’s resource control, as an oil-producing state, Lagos will become entitled to a 13% cut of revenues generated by Nigeria’s government through its oil and potentially earning millions of dollars.
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Inspired by Barack and Michelle Obama’s first date, SOUTHSIDE WITH YOU recounts the eventful summer day in 1989 when a young law firm associate named Barack Obama (Parker Sawyers) tried to woo lawyer Michelle Robinson (Tika Sumpter) during a daylong date that took them from the Art Institute of Chicago to a screening of Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing to the site of their first kiss outside of an ice cream parlor
Haiti may have no geographic ties to Africa but the impoverished Caribbean state is, culturally speaking, definitely attached.
From an African perspective, going to the Caribbean can be a disarming experience. On many of the islands, the people look distinctively west African, their national dishes are barely changed versions of African food (compare Nevis's "cook-up" to Ghana's "waakye" and I challenge you to spot the difference), and their Creole dialects are often almost direct translations of African languages into English or French.
So it shouldn't be surprising that cultural ties, stretched and distorted by 5,000 miles, slavery and the passage of several hundred years, are still strong enough to produce some kind of political union between Africa and the Caribbean. And sure enough, in January the African Union is poised to admit Haiti as a member, which if it happens, will be the first time any nation with no geographic connection to the continent of Africa will have joined.
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He may have sold fewer records than Prince, but he probably swung more hips.
Papa Wemba was known abroad for bringing Congo’s lilting rumbas into the global arena after blending them with frenetic guitar riffs and his own hauntingly high tenor. At home he was much more than a singer. Among other things he was the original “mikilist”. Mokili means “the world” in Lingala — which for its lyrical expressiveness is the Italian of African languages. Mikili means Europe or the west. And mikilists were the Congolese who had “arrived”, so to speak, in Paris, Brussels or London. There is a utopian element to the concept that has driven millions of young Congolese abroad in search of greener pastures and earnings to remit home. For much of the time that Papa Wemba was strutting the stage, almost anywhere could seem a greener pasture than Zaire, as Congo was formerly called.
His band, Viva la Musica, was the first to tour Europe in the early 1980s, when Zaire was on the brink of a long-drawn-out implosion that rumbles on like so many tropical thunderclouds to this day. He had made it in Kinshasa in the 1970s with his original formation, Zaiko Langa Langa. This took the languid, Cuban-inspired rumbas of the 1960s, stripped out the wind section and speeded up the rhythm, and with it the way people danced. Thus he pioneered soukous. Paris became a base and he began to make it in Europe — the king of mikilists.
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This is the story of a lost medieval city you’ve probably never heard about. Benin City, originally known as Edo, was once the capital of a pre-colonial African empire located in what is now southern Nigeria. The Benin empire was one of the oldest and most highly developed states in west Africa, dating back to the 11th century.
The Guinness Book of Records (1974 edition) described the walls of Benin City and its surrounding kingdom as the world’s largest earthworks carried out prior to the mechanical era. According to estimates by the New Scientist’s Fred Pearce, Benin City’s walls were at one point “four times longer than the Great Wall of China, and consumed a hundred times more material than the Great Pyramid of Cheops”.
Situated on a plain, Benin City was enclosed by massive walls in the south and deep ditches in the north. Beyond the city walls, numerous further walls were erected that separated the surroundings of the capital into around 500 distinct villages.
Pearce writes that these walls “extended for some 16,000 km in all, in a mosaic of more than 500 interconnected settlement boundaries. They covered 6,500 sq km and were all dug by the Edo people … They took an estimated 150 million hours of digging to construct, and are perhaps the largest single archaeological phenomenon on the planet”.
Barely any trace of these walls exist today.
View along a street in the royal quarter of Benin City, 1897. Photograph: The British Museum/Trustees of the British Museum Benin City was also one of the first cities to have a semblance of street lighting. Huge metal lamps, many feet high, were built and placed around the city, especially near the king’s palace. Fuelled by palm oil, their burning wicks were lit at night to provide illumination for traffic to and from the palace.
When the Portuguese first “discovered” the city in 1485, they were stunned to find this vast kingdom made of hundreds of interlocked cities and villages in the middle of the African jungle. They called it the “Great City of Benin”, at a time when there were hardly any other places in Africa the Europeans acknowledged as a city. Indeed, they classified Benin City as one of the most beautiful and best planned cities in the world.
In 1691, the Portuguese ship captain Lourenco Pinto observed: “Great Benin, where the king resides, is larger than Lisbon; all the streets run straight and as far as the eye can see. The houses are large, especially that of the king, which is richly decorated and has fine columns. The city is wealthy and industrious. It is so well governed that theft is unknown and the people live in such security that they have no doors to their houses.”
In contrast, London at the same time is described by Bruce Holsinger, professor of English at the University of Virginia, as being a city of “thievery, prostitution, murder, bribery and a thriving black market made the medieval city ripe for exploitation by those with a skill for the quick blade or picking a pocket”.
Benin City’s planning and design was done according to careful rules of symmetry, proportionality and repetition now known as fractal design. The mathematician Ron Eglash, author of African Fractals – which examines the patterns underpinning architecture, art and design in many parts of Africa – notes that the city and its surrounding villages were purposely laid out to form perfect fractals, with similar shapes repeated in the rooms of each house, and the house itself, and the clusters of houses in the village in mathematically predictable patterns.
As he puts it: “When Europeans first came to Africa, they considered the architecture very disorganised and thus primitive. It never occurred to them that the Africans might have been using a form of mathematics that they hadn’t even discovered yet.”
At the centre of the city stood the king’s court, from which extended 30 very straight, broad streets, each about 120-ft wide. These main streets, which ran at right angles to each other, had underground drainage made of a sunken impluvium with an outlet to carry away storm water. Many narrower side and intersecting streets extended off them. In the middle of the streets were turf on which animals fed.
“Houses are built alongside the streets in good order, the one close to the other,” writes the 17th-century Dutch visitor Olfert Dapper. “Adorned with gables and steps … they are usually broad with long galleries inside, especially so in the case of the houses of the nobility, and divided into many rooms which are separated by walls made of red clay, very well erected.”
Dapper adds that wealthy residents kept these walls “as shiny and smooth by washing and rubbing as any wall in Holland can be made with chalk, and they are like mirrors. The upper storeys are made of the same sort of clay. Moreover, every house is provided with a well for the supply of fresh water”.
Family houses were divided into three sections: the central part was the husband’s quarters, looking towards the road; to the left the wives’ quarters (oderie), and to the right the young men’s quarters (yekogbe).
Daily street life in Benin City might have consisted of large crowds going though even larger streets, with people colourfully dressed – some in white, others in yellow, blue or green – and the city captains acting as judges to resolve lawsuits, moderating debates in the numerous galleries, and arbitrating petty conflicts in the markets.
The early foreign explorers’ descriptions of Benin City portrayed it as a place free of crime and hunger, with large streets and houses kept clean; a city filled with courteous, honest people, and run by a centralised and highly sophisticated bureaucracy.
The city was split into 11 divisions, each a smaller replication of the king’s court, comprising a sprawling series of compounds containing accommodation, workshops and public buildings – interconnected by innumerable doors and passageways, all richly decorated with the art that made Benin famous. The city was literally covered in it.
The exterior walls of the courts and compounds were decorated with horizontal ridge designs (agben) and clay carvings portraying animals, warriors and other symbols of power – the carvings would create contrasting patterns in the strong sunlight. Natural objects (pebbles or pieces of mica) were also pressed into the wet clay, while in the palaces, pillars were covered with bronze plaques illustrating the victories and deeds of former kings and nobles.
At the height of its greatness in the 12th century – well before the start of the European Renaissance – the kings and nobles of Benin City patronised craftsmen and lavished them with gifts and wealth, in return for their depiction of the kings’ and dignitaries’ great exploits in intricate bronze sculptures.
“These works from Benin are equal to the very finest examples of European casting technique,” wrote Professor Felix von Luschan, formerly of the Berlin Ethnological Museum. “Benvenuto Celini could not have cast them better, nor could anyone else before or after him. Technically, these bronzes represent the very highest possible achievement.”
What impressed the first visiting Europeans most was the wealth, artistic beauty and magnificence of the city. Immediately European nations saw the opportunity to develop trade with the wealthy kingdom, importing ivory, palm oil and pepper – and exporting guns. At the beginning of the 16th century, word quickly spread around Europe about the beautiful African city, and new visitors flocked in from all parts of Europe, with ever glowing testimonies, recorded in numerous voyage notes and illustrations.
Now, however, the great Benin City is lost to history. Its decline began in the 15th century, sparked by internal conflicts linked to the increasing European intrusion and slavery trade at the borders of the Benin empire.
Then in 1897, the city was destroyed by British soldiers – looted, blown up and burnt to the ground. My great grandparents were among the many who fled following the sacking of the city; they were members of the elite corps of the king’s doctors.
Nowadays, while a modern Benin City has risen on the same plain, the ruins of its former, grander namesake are not mentioned in any tourist guidebook to the area. They have not been preserved, nor has a miniature city or touristic replica been made to keep alive the memory of this great ancient city.
A house composed of a courtyard in Obasagbon, known as Chief Enogie Aikoriogie’s house – probably built in the second half of the 19th century – is considered the only vestige that survives from Benin City. The house possesses features that match the horizontally fluted walls, pillars, central impluvium and carved decorations observed in the architecture of ancient Benin.
Curious tourists visiting Edo state in Nigeria are often shown places that might once have been part of the ancient city – but its walls and moats are nowhere to be seen. Perhaps a section of the great city wall, one of the world’s largest man-made monuments, now lies bruised and battered, neglected and forgotten in the Nigerian bush.
A discontented Nigerian puts it this way: “Imagine if this monument was in England, USA, Germany, Canada or India? It would be the most visited place on earth, and a tourist mecca for millions of the world’s people. A money-spinner worth countless billions in annual tourist revenue.”
Instead, if you wish to get a glimpse into the glorious past of the ancient Benin kingdom – and a better understanding of this groundbreaking city – you are better off visiting the Benin Bronze Sculptures section of the British Museum in central London.
India and Africa account for one third of humanity and nearly one fourth of the world’s total land mass. Both India and Africa complement each other in terms of resources and needs.
Rajya Sabha TV explores the business potential of African countries and the problems faced by Indian businesses while expanding business in Africa.
The report is done in the backdrop of the third edition of India Africa Forum Summit 2015, which is considered as one of the largest gathering of African countries outside Africa as all 54 countries are represented in the summit.
India and Africa share their struggle against oppression and colonial rule, historical cultural and trade links and the vision for a prosperous future by working together. India and Africa are natural friends and partners even beyond business and trade.
Programme includes views of: Rajya Vardhan Kanoria, CMD, Kanoria Chemicals and Industries and former president of FICCI ; Ambuj Chaturvedi, Executive Director, Overseas Infrastructure Alliance and Head of Assocham’s Africa Desk ; Ambassador Rajiv Bhatia, former head of mission at South Africa, Lesotho and Kenya ; Ambassador HHS Viswanathan, former head of mission to Nigeria, Niger, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Cameroon and Chad.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced that Harriet Tubman will replace former President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.
There’s been an ongoing push to get a woman on currency, with a nonprofit campaign called Women on 20s leading the push to put a woman on the $20 by 2020. Tubman was the winner of a 10-week poll conducted by the group in 2015, beating out Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks and others by taking 33.6 percent of the 352,431 votes cast in the final round of the poll.
Anaya Lee Willabus, 9, launched her writing career and made history at the same time when she published her first book The Day Mohan Found His Confidence.
Willabus published the book in May 2015 when she was only 8 years old, making her the youngest person in the United States to publish a chapter book.
In an interview with PIX11, she said that what she accomplished felt amazing. “It’s just so inspirational, not only for me but for younger kids and that’s good.”
The novel follows a young boy named Mohan as he overcomes challenges at home and school but he ultimately learns he can do anything with the help and support of family and friends.
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PELÉ tells the miraculous story of the Afro Brazilian legendary soccer player’s rise to glory from a young boy, to the 17 year old who scored the winning goal in Brazil’s first ever World Cup victory in 1958. From a life full of disadvantages and an impoverished youth and discrimination in Brazil, Pelé used his unorthodox yet authentic style of play and his unbeatable spirit to overcome all odds, find greatness and inspire a country that he changed forever.
Starring: Kevin de Paula, Vincent D'Onofrio, Rodrigo Santoro, Diego Boneta, Colm Meaney
Mixed & Compiled by @djdeemaks in 2012
1) Olamide - First Of All (Freestyle)
2) Iyanya - Kukere
3) Iyanya - Ur Waist
4) J. Martins - Fine Fine Love
5) Ice Prince - Aboki
6) Tunde Ednut Ft. Dr.Sid - Catching Cold Remix
7) K9 - Kokoma (Freestyle)
8) Olamide - Stupid Love Ft Samklef
9) Iceberg Slim - Ayanfe
10) JJC - African Skank
11) D'prince - Take Banana
12) Naeto Feat. D'banj - Tony Montana Remix
13) Lynxxx Ft Wizkid - Fine Lady
14) Terry G - See Groove (Part2)
15) Timaya - Sexy Ladies
16) Dammy Krane - Tell Yur Mummy
17) Davido - Ekuro
18) Eldee - Category
19) Brymo - Go Hard
20) W4 - Kontrol
21) May D - You Want 2 Know Me Ft P Square
22) May D - Gat Me High
23) P Square Feat Akon, Mayd - Chop Money Remix
24) Tosin Martin Ft Tiwa Savage - Champion Love
25) Flavour - Shake
26) Timaya - Shake Your Bum
27) Wande Coal - See Me Ri
28) Kay Switch Ft D'banj - Sister Caro
29) Eme All Stars - Ko Mo Le Ft Skales
30) D'prince - Amarachi
31) Bracket - Girl Ft Wizkid
32) Dencia - Beri Beri
33) Eme All Stars - Sun Mo Mi Ft Shaydee, Skales & Banky W
34) Sarz Ft Wizkid - Beat Of Life (Samba)
35) P Square - Alingo
36) P Square - Bunieya-Enu
37) Lkt - Alaye Mi
38) D' Banj - Oliver
39) Skepta - Punch His Face (Oliver Twist Cover)
40) Dr Sid - Chocolate Ft. Falz (Studio Magic Remix)
41) Eme All Stars - Dance For Me Ft Wizkid
42) Baba Dee - Park Well Ft.Vector
43) Bracket - Tell You Something (Dj Wal Refix)
44) Timaya - Malonogede (Feat. Terry G)
45) Sauce Kid Ft Timaya - L.O.K.O
46) Bracket - Temperature
47) Squeeze - Yanga For Me
48) Tiwa Savage - Oma Ga
49) D'prince - Goody Bag
50) Davido Ft Naeto C - Back When
51) Davido - Damiduro
52) Ajebutter22 X Studio Magic (Ft Taymib) - Senrenre
53) Wizkid - Sisi Nene
54) R2bees Ft Wizkid - Dance
55) May D - Ile Ijo
56) Wizkid - Azonto (Freestyle)
57) U-Kaus - Go Down
58) Dammy Krane - My Dear
The Muhammadu Buhari administration, through the Bank of Industry, on Thursday formally launched a N10 billion Youths Entrepreneurship Support (YES) project to empower youth with loans to start businesses.
Speaking at the launch of the project in Abuja, the Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, said his ministry would partner all agencies of government to create new jobs.
He said more than 40 per cent of Nigerian graduates had no jobs and that an average of eight million Nigerians entered the job market annually.
The President Buhari administration intends to create 3.5 million jobs in the next three years Through various programs, adding that the ‘YES’ project was one of the programs.
The film was shot in Kilamba Kiaxi, a new city built outside Luanda, Angola. The city was built by Chinese construction company CITIC and financed by Hong Kong-based China International Fund. The new city is to be home to more than 210 000 people, and is the single largest investment project by China in Africa. The film’s narrative follows a young municipal worker who lives by night in the old city center of Luanda and works by day as a groundskeeper at the new city of Kilamba Kiaxi far away.
Nigeria's NNPC 'failed to pay' $16bn in oil revenues
Nigeria's state-owned oil company has failed to pay the government $16bn (£11bn) in a suspected fraud, according to an official audit.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) provided no explanation for the missing funds, the auditor general told MPs.
Oil revenue accounts for two-thirds of the government's funding.
President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to crack down on corruption since coming to office last May.
The NNPC has not commented on the auditor general's findings.
The state oil giant has been mired in corruption allegations and losing money for many years.
Last month, the government announced that the NNPC would be broken up into seven different companies.
President Buhari has described the corruption in Nigeria's oil sector as "mind-boggling"
Nigeria's former central bank governor Lamido Sanusi, now the Emir of Kano, was dismissed by the previous administration after saying that $20bn (£12bn) in oil revenue had gone missing in 2013.
A separate audit ordered under former President Goodluck Jonathan and carried out by global accountancy firm PwC, found that the NNPC had failed to pay the government $1.48bn between January 2012 and July 2013.
It did not provide a total figure for how much revenue the NNPC should legally have handed over to the treasury. However, the company said that it could not vouch for the integrity of the information it was given when it conducted the audit. Nigeria is Africa's biggest oil producer, but the economy has suffered because of the fall in the price of oil.
Source : BBC
Ghana's new visa-on-arrival policy for citizens of African Union (AU) member states, to be introduced from July, only came to light after an announcement from the pan-African body.
Nationals from African countries complain loudly about the humiliations they go through to get visas for Europe and the United States but the process for African visas is often just as frustrating.
Anyone who has tried to cross borders on the African continent will have experienced the difficulties with travelling in Africa.
Air fares cost more than anywhere else and few roads or railways connect the countries to each other.
The immigration and police check points turn the journeys into veritable obstacle courses.
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Africa’s first homegrown platform for legal music downloads has launched in Senegal with a mission to promote African artists, pay them properly and fight internet piracy.
Internationally famous musicians such as Youssou N’Dour and Baaba Maal are among almost 200 who have signed agreements with MusikBi, along with younger rappers, jazz artists and Christian and Muslim vocalists.
Songs cost between 300 and 500 CFA francs (50-85 US cents) and users can download them using mobile phone credit in a region where few have bank cards.
“It is the first platform of its kind enabling music downloads by text or PayPal,” said a statement released by Diop’s company, Solid.
Source - theguardian.com
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(CNN) -- With only a 45 minute flight separating Lagos and Accra, you'd think I'd have been to Ghana at least once in my 22-year existence. Unfortunately until July 2013, the concepts holiday and Africa have never gone together in my head.
Holiday was Italy and structurally unsound towers; or America and discount shopping or France and baguettes. Not Ghana, longstanding "frenemy "of Nigeria, with the football team we all rooted for in the last World Cup. Yet, that's no reason to actually visit the place.
I went for a family wedding. If not for love, perhaps another 22 years would have passed before I made it to Accra. The first thing that struck me almost as soon as I stepped off the
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TWO of the largest regional trade accords in history were agreed on last year. The Trans-Pacific Partnership involves 12 countries in Asia and the Americas, and was the subject of headlines and heated debate. But most people have never heard of the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA), which covers 26 African countries. It will create the biggest free-trade area on the continent, “from Cairo to the Cape”, as its supporters boast.
Many in the developing world see global trade as rigged in favour of rich countries. But African regional integration is all the rage. The continent features 17 trade blocs. The TFTA aims to join up three of them: the East African Community (EAC), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). At a conference on African business on February 20th-21st in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, several leaders called for a united African market.
An abundance of borders has long divided the continent’s 54 countries, limiting economies of scale. Fixing common problems such as a shortage of roads takes teamwork—and in turn should lead to more integration. Average transport costs in Africa are twice the world average and are thought to harm trade on the continent more than tariffs and other barriers.
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The nation's highest federal court in recent days threw out a request by chocolate giant Nestle SA, the world's largest food maker, and a pair of other companies to reject a lawsuit that seeks to hold all three companies liable for using child slaves to harvest cacao in the African nation of Ivory Coast.
In rejecting the bid, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a December 2014 ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco that also refused to dismiss the suit against Nestle, Archer Daniels Midland Co. and Cargill Inc. that had been filed by former child slaves.
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HARARE, Zimbabwe, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on Monday ordered the expulsion of eight foreign diamond mining companies and turned over all mining operations to the newly formed, government-run Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Co.
Zimbabwe ranked ninth in total diamond output in the world with 4.7 million carats in 2014, according to the fourth annual report on the global diamond industry prepared by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre and Bain & Co. Last year, Zimbabwe's production fell by 1.6 million carats and the government received $23 million in royalties and other fees from diamond mines, down from $84 million in 2014.
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