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.”
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.
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.
Jonathan Brumfield, graduate hood for the College of Ethnic Studies, will speak on behalf of all graduate students at SF State's commencement on May 22. He teaches the history of hip hop and aerosol art at Safe Passages in Oakland, using these topics as a tool to connect students to their heritage and personal identities. “Hip hop saved my life, and I am so grateful to be able to save other young people through hip hop,” he said.
It’s International Women’s History Month and in director Abderrahmane Sissako’s film “Timbuktu” (2014) we meet fierce African women who stand their ground when faced with lashings, stonings and bullets. The setting is Timbuktu, Africa’s Mecca, a sacred historic seat of knowledge and wisdom, which has been ravaged recently by warfare and plunder. Peoples’ lives, antiquities, books, Quranic texts, landmarks and buildings have been destroyed.
Happy New Year! Happy Birthday to my granddaughter Brianna, niece Wilda and friend Fred T. I am still smiling about America’s new relationship with Cuba and the freed Cuban 5. If you are in New Orleans (NOLA), don’t miss “Prospect 3: Notes for Now,” the biennial there being celebrated throughout the city through Jan. 25.
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.
Congratulations to William Rhodes on a successful trip to South Africa, where he took a quilt created by his students at Dr. Charles Drew Elementary School in San Francisco to honor the legacy of an international hero, President Nelson Mandela, and returned with art panels from workshops conducted with youth in various townships and regions from Cape Town to Johannesburg.
In Tanzania, President Obama said, “The countries surrounding the Congo, they’ve got to make a commitment to stop funding armed groups that are encroaching on the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Congo.” As the U.S. calls on its allies to cease funding armed groups in the Congo, the U.S. should cease funding of Rwanda and Uganda.
Afrikan history is world history. World history is human history. And the Black Woman Is God. “The Black Woman Is God” exhibit is a continuation of great Afrikan thought, not solely an outstanding new work of collective and individual art. The closing reception is Thursday, May 30, 6 p.m., in the Sargent Johnson Gallery, African-American Arts and Culture Complex, 762 Fulton St., San Francisco
“Africa shining” is just as potent a mirage as “India shining”; the shine is restricted to the economic and political elite on both sides of the Indian Ocean. African leaders – both elected politicians and traditional chiefs share the responsibility for allowing the pillage of their continent in the name of economic growth and development.
Judith Jamison looked regal on stage with Farai Chideya last month in The Forum Conversations at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Her message seemed to be one of preparedness and presence – being, as our sister Ayana Vanzant says, in spirit. Muslims call this the sirata-l-mustaqim or the path of the rightly guided.
This is the month we wear our Blackness with pride – so walk on, walk on. I want to thank Rhodessa Jones, Shaka Jamal, Pat Jamison, Elaine Lee, Walter Turner, Vera Nobles and Elouise Burrell for your leads and references for South Africa.
Life isn’t fair: Too many kids and not enough food, fat cats bringing in all the money and government services like free hospitals and free education is not free for those who need it because, like everywhere, bureaucracy breeds corruption, whether we are in Madagascar or the United States.
Sobonfu Somé, West African healer, says that when people die and become ancestors, they get smarter and often try to repair any damage they may have made while in this physical form. Ancestors want to be busy making our lives better. She said we can call on them to intercede on our behalf when we are troubled.
El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X), born 86 years ago on May 19, 1925, was loved by the oppressed and hated by the oppressors. Our “Black Shining Prince,” in the words of Ossie Davis, aimed to “use whatever means necessary to bring about a society in which the 22 million Afro-Americans are recognized and respected as human beings.” His influence is immeasurable - from music to foreign policy to religion. Today Islam, followed then by very few, is the second largest religion in the United States and Canada.
There has not been any concrete effort to expose the banks that collude and connive with corrupt leaders who are impoverishing the people. No effort has been made by the political elite in Europe and America to force the banks to return these stolen monies to the poorest of the poor.
The fundamental stimulus of the attack on Libya is greed, not the protection of the Libyan people. In fact, the people of Libya have suffered more during this bombardment by Western powers and their allies than during the entire 41 years of the leadership of Muammar al-Gaddafi. We must be clear that the attack on Libya is an attack on Africa. The great danger of the attacks on Libya is that they are being used by the U.S. to test the effectiveness of AFRICOM, the African Command, and this adventure will open the door to direct military intervention in Africa.