It was in early Iraq where the largest African slave rebellions occurred. Here, well over a millennium ago, were gathered tens of thousands of East African slave laborers called Zanj. Conscious of their large numbers and oppressive working conditions, the Zanj rebelled, inflicting defeat after defeat upon the Arab armies sent to suppress their revolt.
This season we have lost two pillars of our San Francisco Bay Area community, Samuel Fredericks and Upesi Mtambuzi. Cedar Walton, pianist, also made his transition this year, along with Donald Duck Bailey, drummer, both men beautiful human beings. Upesi, Samuel, Cedar and Donald all brightened our world. Their unique hues and shapes and sounds will be missed ... that last live jam.
David Livingston, the English explorer, is given a lot of credit for halting or ending the slave trade here. My guide said Livingston’s maps made it easier for the Arabs to penetrate the “interior” and that after the British abolished slavery, the Arabs continued at the Mangapwani Caves located about “20km north of Zanzibar Town along the coast” (Lonely Planet 144).
Wanda flew from the Bay Area on June 5 and landed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, two days later. She sends these commentaries on the rather rare occasions she has internet access. Enjoy! June 13 – I am in Gondar, Ethiopia, left Lalibela this morning. It was a short flight. It is entering the rainy season, so I walked into a storm. I didn’t have my coat and got drenched to the core.
Gerald Perreira has lived and worked in Libya as an organizer and journalist and has been giving regular reports to Block Report Radio and the San Francisco Bay View newspaper. It is important to develop our own media and experts who can speak from an African perspective.