Ghana becomes a bridge of rediscovery, reclamation and celebration of Black lives weaving the threads back together where they have been frayed.
Wanda Sabir serves it up for December 2020, from reflecting on the imposed-by-pandemic isolation and remembering time before mask-wearing, to expanded awareness of unhoused people and people passing out food, to upcoming personal care gatherings, poetry, films, and plenty of comedy to lift us into the laughter we so much need.
In an article titled “Rwanda Is a Shining Example of Good News from Africa” published in Stuff, writer Phil Quin has a line that I love: “But the truth, as always, is more nuanced and, especially over the past decade or so, Africa is in many ways coming into its own.”
While this is not the first time a White House occupant was a White supremacist, the vociferous espousing of ethnic cleansing of America has become an open debate and policy. Yet Black activists, as far as I know, are giving little attention to the prospects of being expelled from the U.S. in light of the U.S. government’s vicious expulsion of Latin Americans, or Hispanics, and others.
Rosatom – Russia’s state nuclear energy corporation – has recently signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with a number of African nations to build nuclear power plants within their borders. I spoke to David Himbara, a professor of international development and African energy activist, about the likelihood of Rosatom actually building these nuclear plants. Currently, Sub-Saharan Africa faces an extraordinary level of energy poverty.
Feb. 6 is the international day for the abolition of all kinds of female genital mutilation and cutting. The practice of FGM/C in Africa and the Middle East is a thousand-year-old tradition consisting in cutting the clitoris of baby girls, teenagers and women with a razor blade or an ugly special knife. While the exact number of girls and women worldwide who have undergone FGM/C remains unknown, at least 200 million girls and women in 30 countries have been subjected to the practice.
Filmmaker Soumyaa Behrens tells the newly discovered story of Abina Mansah, who in 1874 brought a case of illegal enslavement against her African slavemaster before the British courts in the Gold Coast, in what is now Ghana. “Abina and the Important Men” is an animated graphic depiction of what happened in this historic case. Come watch the story and discuss what you think about the controversial cartoon at the San Francisco Black Film Festival.
The protagonists of cybercrime in the western part of the African continent are teenagers or even younger, high school students, boys, girls, men and women from all social classes. The majority of them for the past decade dropped out of school to devote themselves to cybercrime so as to earn a lot of money rapidly. Their office is the internet café, where they quarrel and joke in an ambiance of noisy excitement. When they earn money – up to millions of U.S. dollars – they loudly demand respect from everyone. They rent apartments and buy new cars and laptop computers.
We lost many loved ones this past month, from photographer extraordinaire Kamau Amen Ra to community organizer, prolific writer and longshoreman Brother Cleophus Williams to my dear Sister Monica Pree, not to mention Muhammad Ali. We reflect on Independence Day, a day marked by the blood of African Ancestors of the Middle Passage – the first to die a Black man, Crispus Attucks, on March 3, 1770, in what became known as the Boston Massacre.
Why did the NBA All Star Game Weekend celebrate Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, who is known to have launched invasions that cost millions of African lives, and to brutally repress his own people? His appearance inspired indignation and headlines in the Toronto press. Ann Garrison spoke with CIUT-Toronto Taylor Report host Phil Taylor to ask what he thought of this and how it happened.
2015 was a historic political year for the African continent because one of the continent’s most radical anti-imperialist leaders chaired the African Union, and I am talking about President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. I talked with Obi Egbuna, the U.S. correspondent for the Zimbabwean national newspaper, The Herald, about what President Mugabe accomplished leading Zimbabwe and the African Union in 2015. Here is what he had to say.
Every October, Americans pause to celebrate Columbus Day. Children are taught that the Italian navigator discovered America. Parades are held in his honor and tributes tell of his skill, courage and perseverance. Historians, archeologists, anthropologists and other scientists and scholars now know that Columbus did not discover America. Of the various people who reached America before Columbus, Black Africans appear to have been the first.
Ever since I have known Elita Tewelde, she has been a Pan African organizer in one way, shape or form, teaching Africans born in the Americas about our brothas and sistas from the continent, and vice versa. She recently took a group of young Black male bucket drummers from the hood to Senegal, West Africa. She filmed the whole experience and is fundraising to get the documentary, “Drum Beat Journey,” made.
Dr. Siri Brown is a professor at Merritt College in Oakland and head of its African American Studies Department. She is an academic who understands her role in the classroom, giving young people a knowledge of self and opening fertile minds to the social realities that are oppressing their people as well. She has been an example for present day and future academics for over a decade on how to teach history in a living way.
In the centennial year of the Universal Negro Improvement Association-African Community League, we should think about making our communities economically self-sufficient, where our Black businesses could afford to hire every Black person in the Black community who wants to work. That will only happen if we spend most if not all of our money on a regular basis in our community with each other, as much as we can.
Hodari is something of a renaissance man. If you have spent time on the cultural scene, you are familiar with some of his work – the annual Life is Living Festival, the Black history oratory and poetry group Young Gifted and Black, Youth Speaks or the statewide initiative fighting Type II Diabetes called The Bigger Picture.
From now on we are going to connect each and every city and nation that has significant numbers of members of the African Diaspora. We will begin to communicate on a regular basis and plan economic projects to employ more and more workers and build more and more wealth via entrepreneurship. These dots of people of African descent will become the envy of the world. Oh, how resilient we have been. Now we will not only survive but begin to thrive.
Africa’s elite and the elite internationally have concluded the African Development Bank’s 50th anniversary celebrations and annual meeting under the theme: “The Next 50 Years: The Africa We Want.” Over 3,500 delegates, seven African heads of state, the governor of the Central Bank of China and the U.S. deputy secretary of treasury were among the dignitaries. Beneath the confident calm, Africa is on edge, and the participants in Kigali were aware.
Maya Angelou had to be the name of a poet. It is too perfect, too lyrical to fit any other personality. She blazed an incandescent streak across the heavens as the voice of memory – as poet, actress, author and activist. She taught generations of students as an honored professor of literature. As a young woman, she struck the boards as an African dancer. And she was a close friend and colleague of Malcolm X.
Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi is one of the most prolific filmmakers in the Bay Area when it comes to working with working class people in different nations, most times on different continents, and telling their stories. His films deal with music and social movements in Cuba, Colombia and Ghana. If you are not hip to what he has going on, make sure you check out this interview and check him out at the Fist Up Film Festival. Here is Eli in his own words.