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African woman tricked into Australian servitude
June 12, 2016 | 0 Comments

-A modern-day slave in Australia’s suburbs

"Susan" says her employers came to control every aspect of her life

“Susan” says her employers came to control every aspect of her life

The Global Slavery Index says there could be thousands of people in Australia living in conditions amounting to slavery, but that despite a tightening of laws, prosecutions are rare. The BBC’s Phil Mercer spoke to one woman about her experiences.

Susan’s (not her real name) story began when the family who employed her as a housekeeper moved back to Sydney from east Africa.

She knew the family well and trusted them. They had always been kind and generous, so it was with great anticipation that the mother-of-three travelled with them.

Crucially, there was the promise of wages that would help support her children back home.

It was hot and humid when she arrived, and at the end of an exhausting day there was an ominous sign of what lay ahead when she says she was forced to sleep under a dining room table with the family’s dogs.

“For me that was inhuman, because for them to have put me under the table that was the most disrespectful thing they ever done to my life,” she says.

But in those early days she wasn’t fully aware of the grip the family was gradually exerting on all parts of her life.

‘Suburban prison’

“At first I didn’t realise that I had been trafficked,” she told the BBC at the headquarters of the Salvation Army, the charity that has helped her to slowly repair the damage.

Susan said she was held captive in an ordinary-looking home. It was her suburban prison.

“I wanted to go out and water the plants outside and they were out that day and I tried to open the door. It is locked. The next day the same thing happened,” she explained.

There was further indignity to come when she pressed her employer for the money she was owed for many long hours of labour.

“She starts telling me, ‘You are living in our house, you are having shower in our house, you are eating our food, so there is no pay’,” Susan said.

Her two-month ordeal finally came to an end with a late-night dash to freedom after a confrontation with the family who had allegedly confiscated her passport. Escaping through an unlocked gate, Susan says she ran to a nearby house and pleaded for help.

“Immediately I press the bell for the neighbour. It was midnight. So I pressed the bell quick, quick, because I knew somebody has seen me through the window. Then the neighbour came out and she said, ‘What is it? Can I help?’ I told her to call the police.”

When officers arrived, it was the start of another uncertain chapter in a remarkable story.

‘Too scared’

She was eventually taken to Australia’s first safe house for trafficking victims run by the Salvation Army, which says there are many more people like Susan.

“The Global Slavery Index estimates about 3,000 people could be experiencing slavery in Australia,” said Laura Vidal, a project manager at the Freedom Partnership To End Modern Slavery run by the Salvation Army.

“It degrades every element of being a human being. People are reduced to property. It really is people having their vulnerability exploited.”

Proving allegations of slavery is hard and many victims are too scared to speak out. There have been only 17 successful prosecutions for slavery and related offences in Australia since 2004, and most involved women exploited in the sex industry.

New laws covering forced labour and forced marriage were brought in three years ago to help victims in various sectors, including hospitality, agriculture, construction and domestic work.

“The longer that I have worked in the area, the more I appreciate that the effects of these kinds of human rights abuses are long-term and devastating,” said Jennifer Burn, the director of Anti-Slavery Australia and professor of law at the University of Technology Sydney.

“The pattern of slavery and forced labour is clearly changing, and if we look at the statistics provided by the federal police we’ll see that there is a shift over the last couple of years and now there are more cases of forced labour outside the sex industry that are being investigated.”

Australia set up an anti-human-trafficking strategy in 2003. Specialist federal police teams investigate slavery-related cases and there are support programmes and resettlement visas for victims. Officials say Australia has been a destination for people trafficked from Asia, most notably from South Korea, Thailand and Malaysia.

Following her ordeal, Susan was granted refugee status and now lives in Sydney, although it took several years to be reunited with her children.

“It was like a resurrected kind of life to have…my kids back again,” she said.

“I remember my son shed tears in the airport and that one broke my heart because I left him when he was little and now he’s grown. And my daughter, I left her when she was young and now she’s (a) teenager.”

Her alleged abusers were never charged. Very few are. Australian authorities say slavery is a complex crime and a major violation of human rights.

Campaigners believe that forced labour legislation introduced in 2013, which broadened the scope for investigations into slavery-type offences, should result in more criminal convictions.

*BBC

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Kenyan band takes Afro-pop music worldwide
June 10, 2016 | 0 Comments

By Ilya Gridneff*

In this photo taken Wednesday, April 6, 2016, members of the Kenyan music group Sauti Sol, from left to right, Bien-Aime Baraza, Savara Mudigi, and Willis Austin Chimano, perform at an event in Nairobi, Kenya. Not many musicians can boast they’ve made President Barack Obama get up and groove to their tunes but Kenyan band Sauti Sol did just that with their mix of Afro-pop, soul and R&B, which has won a number of international awards. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press)

In this photo taken Wednesday, April 6, 2016, members of the Kenyan music group Sauti Sol, from left to right, Bien-Aime Baraza, Savara Mudigi, and Willis Austin Chimano, perform at an event in Nairobi, Kenya. Not many musicians can boast they’ve made President Barack Obama get up and groove to their tunes but Kenyan band Sauti Sol did just that with their mix of Afro-pop, soul and R&B, which has won a number of international awards. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press)

NAIROBI, Kenya — Not many musicians can boast they’ve made U.S. President Barack Obama get up and groove to their tunes. But Kenya’s Afro-pop band, Sauti Sol, did just that.

Obama, whose father hails from a village in western Kenya, put his heritage on full display at a state dinner in Kenya last July when he boogied down to the traditional Lipala dance that the band revived with their hit song “Sura Yako.”

“Singing and dancing with the world’s most powerful man was incredible,” said Bien-Aime Baraza, a vocalist for the four-man band. “He really was feeling us. It was wonderful for Kenya.”

A savvy mix of catchy tunes, appealing looks and social media promotion has brought success to Sauti Sol, Swahili for voices in the sun. The band has worked to make traditional East African music cool again, said Rand Pearson, who runs Nairobi’s hip monthly, UP Magazine.

“I first remember seeing Sauti Sol in a dingy Nairobi club 10 years ago. My first impression was that finally there it was, a modern pop version of Kenyan music,” he said, crediting the band’s growth internationally to “visionary management, styling and its ever-evolving musical talent.”

Sauti Sol’s have won a number of international awards including the All African Music Awards Best African Group in 2015 and MTV’s Best African Act.

Pop music is big in Africa, where there are more than 200 million in the 15-to-24 year age group. It is also big business. The entertainment and media industries of Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya together will grow to be worth $24 billion in 2018, according to a 2014 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The band recently toured Kenya and performed in South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique.

In November last year Sauti Sol launched their latest album “Live and Die in Afrika” free on their website, the first Kenyan album to be released online. The demand was so high that the site crashed and soon it was offered on the website of Safaricom, East Africa’s biggest mobile-phone operator with more than 25 million subscribers.

“This is testament to the fact that an increasing number of users in this market are using high speed data connectivity to access a whole new world of entertainment,” said Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom,

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta booked the band for his inauguration in 2013. “He definitely likes our music. We’ve even played at his last private birthday party,” said Savara Mudigi, drummer, vocalist and producer for the band.

The band, whose members grew up in modest conditions in Nairobi, are now gaining fame across the continent. Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama invited Sauti Sol to play at the West African country’s national holiday in March.

Social media is one of the main driving forces propelling Sauti Sol to African and worldwide audiences, according to band manager Marek Fuchs.

“Cheaper handsets and data plans have allowed the fans to be continuously in touch with the group and we strive to give them a dynamic and interactive story to follow every day,” he said.

Sauti Sol has a dedicated social media team who, along with the band members themselves, run campaigns on Twitter and Facebook, competitions on Instagram, instrument tutorials, Q&As and behind-the-scenes snippets on Snapchat and YouTube.

“We also have to adjust our strategy to fit the local context, language and time zones. It is a balancing act between posting for our traditional Kenyan base, our pan-African and worldwide fan base in different time zones,” he said.

Willis Austin Chimano, a vocalist, said this strategy is new for Africa.

“You’ve got to get with the times. More and more Africans are online, on their phones, using social media and that’s where we are,” he said.

Despite their international successes Sauti Sol remain with their feet firmly on Kenyan soil. The band members say their latest album is an ode to loving and loathing the good and bad of Kenya and the continent.

 

*Source AP/Washington Post

 

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Where is the ‘African’ in African Studies?
June 9, 2016 | 0 Comments

We need to put the ‘African’ in African Studies, not as a token gesture, but as an affirmation that Africans have always produced knowledge about their continent.

by *

Outside the University of Cape Town. Credit: Ian Barbour.

Outside the University of Cape Town. Credit: Ian Barbour.

Last week, I was invited by Eritrean masters student Miriam Siun of Leiden University’s African Studies Centre to give one of two keynote lectures on the topic, “Where Is the African in ‘African’ Studies?” I took a long-range view, declaring that Africans have always produced knowledge about Africa, even though their contributions have been “preferably unheard” in some cases and “deliberately silenced” in others.

For those who question what constitutes an ‘African’ in the heyday of multiple citizenships and transnational flows of goods, ideas, and people, an ‘African’ has birthplace or bloodline ties to Africa, in the first instance. More importantly, however, an ‘African’ has a psychological attachment to the continent and is politically committed to its transformation.

For those who might wonder about the purpose of African Studies as a field of scholarly inquiry, it is to constantly interrogate epistemological, methodological, and theoretical approaches to the study of Africa, inserting Africa and its people at the centre of that interrogation as subjects, rather than objects.

Whether or not scholars of Africa have lived up to this mandate is worth examining.

“Knowledge about Africa for purposes other than its exploitation”

It is clear that those who produce knowledge about something wield considerable power over it. In this vein, African Studies remains a colonised space rife with misrepresentation, homogenisation and essentialising about Africa.

While the early writings and teachings about Africa are based on colonial expeditions, missionary exploits and anthropological ethnographies, contemporary scholarship is dominated by some non-Africans who have strategically positioned themselves as theauthoritative voices in a 21st century scramble for influence, as if Africa were a tabula rasa with no intellectuals or knowledge production of its own. This form of erasure is not only problematic, but also dangerous.

Nevertheless, active demands to decolonise African Studies began long before the recent ‘Decolonise the University’ movement or the #RhodesMustFall campaign. As a case in point, in a 1969 meeting of the African Studies Association (ASA) in Montreal, Canada, in which Africa-based scholars were invited in large numbers for the first time, black American Africa scholars seized the platform expressing concerns that African Studies was firmly cemented on a foundation of institutional racism. Furthermore, in a 1972 lecture at the ASA in Seattle, Washington, Oyekan Owomoyela questioned whether or not African Studies had lived up to its ideal of producing and promoting “knowledge about Africa for purposes other than its exploitation”.

More recently, in a 2006 keynote lecture at the 49th annual ASA meeting in San Francisco, California, Nigerian feminist scholar Amina Mama demonstrated that producing knowledge about Africa is an ethical dilemma as much as it is an epistemological consideration, for Africans and non-Africans alike. She asked: “Can we develop the study of Africa so that it is more respectful toward the lives and struggles of African people and to their agendas?”

For Mama, Africanists in America had been complicit in advancing a colonial patriarchal order by dismissing the intellectual agendas of African scholars. She challenges the “externalisation of Africa scholarship” which uncritically relies on externally generated concepts and methods that transform highly complex processes into overly simplistic, homogenous tropes about Africa. She argues that much of the knowledge produced outside traditional academic institutions is grey matter generated by Africans, who are often shut out of the global publishing industry by editorial gate-keepers.

As Mama and others have shown, publishing about Africa is punctuated with structural inequities in which Africans are often dissed and dismissed. This has been corroborated by a recent scholarly article showing a general decline in the number of articles published by Africa-based scholars in top African Studies journals African Affairs (AA) and theJournal of Modern African Studies (JMAS) over a 21-year period (1993-2013). The authors illustrate that while article submissions from Africa-based scholars have increased for the two Europe-based journals, acceptance rates have declined significantly.

The primacy of journals published by non-Africans is being called into question, however, especially with the advent of African-led publications such as Feminist Africa, founded by Mama, the Journal of West African History, founded by Nwando Achebe, as well as the numerous platforms initiated and executed by the Dakar-based Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), which regularly publishes scholarship by African scholars in and outside the continent.

Nevertheless, an increase in alternative platforms for publishing African scholars does not exempt non-African publishers, editors and reviewers from addressing glaring citation and publication gaps in the field.

How to put the African in African Studies

In light of these developments, asking where the ‘African’ is in African Studies is timely and essential. As a Liberian who has studied Africa in North America (Howard University), Africa (University of Ghana; University of Cape Town) and Europe (Oxford University), I have discovered that the extent to which the ‘African’ in African Studies is concealed or revealed depends entirely on the politics of the knowledge producer, the ethos of the institution they represent, the pedagogy and methods they employ, and their level of commitment to the continent and its people.

As an undergraduate in African Studies at Howard University from 2000-2004, I was fed a healthy dose of radical scholarship on Africa, including works by Kenyans John Mbiti and Ali Mazrui as well as the Senegalese Egyptologist Cheikh Anta Diop. We were also exposed to the contributions of diasporic thinkers, such as Guyanese Walter Rodney ofHow Europe Underdeveloped Africa fame; naturalised Liberian Edward Wilmot Blyden; and Martinican revolutionary philosophers Aimé Césaire and Frantz Fanon.

Having established the first ever PhD programme in African Studies and now offering both BA and MA degrees concurrently, Howard gave me a firm foundation in the canon of African and diasporic scholars, and more than two thirds of my professors were African academics from Africa.

During my semester at the University of Ghana-Legon in 2002, I was reminded that knowledge about Africa constitutes more than its history, politics and processes of ‘development’. At Legon’s Institute of African Studies, I learned to appreciate Africa aesthetically, through the study of drama, fiction, visual art, and dance forms, produced and taught by Africans.

In a subsequent semester at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 2003, I took graduate courses at the Centre for African Studies, where I was instructed by a mostly African faculty whose post-colonial leanings honoured the intellectual contributions of Fanon, Diop, Edward Said and Gayatri Spivak.

Oxford’s masters in African Studies, established in 2005, was more traditional and conservative. While a third of my professors were of African descent, our canon was anthropological in nature, consisting mostly of male European scholars. Yet, as a member of the second cohort of the degree between 2006-2007, I also recognised attempts to foreground the work of some Africans, including Congo’s V.S. Mudimbe; Uganda’s Mahmood Mamdani; and Nigeria’s Oyenronke Oyewumi, whose 1997 book The Invention of Women: Making an African Sense of Western Gender Discourses is a post-colonial feminist critique of Western understandings of the role of women in pre-colonial Nigeria.

My experiences studying Africa on three continents at four very different institutions made it clear to me that the extent to which the ‘African’ in African Studies is revealed or concealed depends largely on the worldview and political commitments of those who produce and transfer knowledge. Foregrounding the discussion about where the ‘African’ is in African Studies as an ethical dilemma raises the stakes, forcing African and non-African scholars alike to remain self-reflexive, humble, and accountable to the continent and its people.

Or, as Owomoyela has suggested, perhaps a more radical approach to “getting ‘Africa’ back into African Studies is to get African Studies back to Africa.”

This can be achieved when:

  • A cannon of scholarly literature produced by Africans is established, which would be mandatory reading for all African studies courses across the globe. This canon must include male and female scholars writing in multiple languages across the social sciences, natural sciences and humanities;
  • Non-African scholars defer to authoritative voices and scholars on the continent, by citing them regularly and actively acknowledging their contributions to the field;
  • Open-access publishing on Africa is the norm rather than the exception, so that Africa-based scholars can access, engage with and critique knowledge produced about the continent;
  • More African scholars (based in Africa and elsewhere) serve on editorial boards of top-rated African Studies journals, as both editors and reviewers, in order to influence the research agendas of these publications;
  • African universities value, support, and validate good quality scholarship about Africa, through the provision of research funding for staff, living wages, sabbatical time to write and publish, and paid subscriptions to relevant journals.

These measures and more will compel us to effectively re-insert the ‘African’ in African Studies, not as a token gesture, but as an affirmation that Africans have always produced knowledge about their continent.

*African Arguments.Robtel Neajai Pailey is a Liberian academic, activist and author of the anti-corruption children’s book, Gbagba. She currently serves as a senior researcher at the University of Oxford’s International Migration Institute (IMI).

 

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Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Elected First Female Chair of ECOWAS
June 6, 2016 | 0 Comments

By CHARLES AYITEY*

(Photo: www.ibtimes.co.uk)

(Photo: www.ibtimes.co.uk)

Liberia’s president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has once again broken the gender-ceiling  by making history as the first female elected chairperson of the Economy of West African States (ECOWAS).

During the 49th ECOWAS Heads of State Meeting in Dakar, Senegal on Saturday, Madam Sirleaf  was elected by her fellow presidents and is expected to succeed Senegalese president Macky Sall, whose term in office as head of ECOWAS  2015  draws to a close.

The summit was attended by all heads of state from member countries with the exception of Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh, José Mário Vaz of Guinea Bissau, Muhammadou Buhari of Nigeria, and Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé of Togo. 

The leaders discussed important issues such as the protracted cases of political insecurity, peace and security, pre and post election violence, the border dispute between Gambia and Senegal, and terrorism.

Meanwhile, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has pledged to work towards the achievement of the regional community’s Vision 2020, which among other things includes the achievement of a single currency policy for the sub-region.

The Liberian president takes the mantle following the declaration of her country free from the deadly outbreak of Ebola which ravaged the West African economy in 2014. 

A woman of stature and power, Ellen Sirleaf is revered not just as one of the most powerful women in the world but also the  “Iron Lady” or “Ma Ellen” of Liberia, considering the strides chalked in rebuilding a broken Liberia after 14 years of civil war and also placing value on the country’s falling economy through prudent fiscal policies. 

*Face2Face Africa

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2017 Africa Cup of Nations: Guinea-Bissau, Zimbabwe and Ghana qualify
June 5, 2016 | 0 Comments
Guinea-Bissau's France-based captain Bocundji Ca will lead his side at Gabon 2017

Guinea-Bissau’s France-based captain Bocundji Ca will lead his side at Gabon 2017

Guinea-Bissau reached an Africa Cup of Nations finals for the first time in their history without kicking a ball on Sunday, as Zimbabwe and Ghana also qualified for Gabon 2017.

Kenya beat Guinea-Bissau’s closest challengers Congo Brazzaville 2-1 in Group E to secure an historic qualification for the African minnows who defeated Zambia on Saturday.

Zimbabwe were 3-0 winners over Malawi in Harare, and Ghana won 2-0 away to Mauritius.

Grp H – Mauritius 0-2 Ghana (Q) Grp J – Lesotho 1-2 Ethiopia
Grp B – Madagascar 1-6 DR Congo Grp L – Swaziland 1-0 Guinea
Grp D – Comoros 0-1 Burkina Faso Grp B – CAR 3-1 Angola
Grp E – Kenya 2-1 Congo – (Guinea-Bissau qualify from the Group) Grp C – Benin v Eq Guinea (postponed)
Grp L – Zimbabwe 3-0 Malawi Grp A – Liberia v Togo (1600)
(All times GMT from Caf website)

Guinea-Bissau bolstered their chances of a first Cup of Nations appearance after a 3-2 win over 2012 champions Zambia on Saturday in front of a packed 20,000-capacity national stadium in Bissau.

But they needed Congo Brazzaville to lose in Kenya to seal their place in Gabon, and Kenya duly obliged, coming from behind to seal a victory in Nairobi.

Congo took an early lead in the Group E match through Ismael Gonzalez who converted a 19th minute penalty.

Andre Ayew captained Ghana in the absence of injured skipper Asamoah Gyan

Andre Ayew captained Ghana in the absence of injured skipper Asamoah Gyan

But the Harambee Stars came back just five minutes later through Ayub Timbe.

Guinea-Bissau’s place in Gabon was cemented in the second half when Eric Johanna scored to give Kenya a 2-1 victory.

Guinea-Bissau, captained by France-based Bocundji Ca (pictured) have 10 points in Group E, four more than Zambia and Congo Brazzaville. Kenya are bottom, two points further adrift.

The team from the tiny former Portuguese colony in West Africa, guided by local coach Baciro Cande, were considered rank outsiders when qualifying kicked off last June.

But home and away victories over Kenya three months ago helped them upset the odds to win the group.

Ghana went into their game away to Mauritius as favourites to win Group H even without captain and leading striker Asamoah Gyan, who has a thigh injury.

The Black Stars did not disappoint despite a cagey first half which ended without any goals.

Swansea’s Andre Ayew (pictured) broke the deadlock in the 71st minute with a strike from close-range to relieve some of the tension.

Christian Atsu doubled Ghana’s score seven minutes later, finding the net following a pass from defender Baba Rahman.

The victory means that Ghana have qualified for their seventh successive Africa Cup of Nations finals since 2006.

Yannick Bolasie celebrated his recent marriage with a goal for DR Congo

Yannick Bolasie celebrated his recent marriage with a goal for DR Congo

Zimbabwe clinched a place with a 3-0 win over Malawi in Harare while their while Group L rivals Guinea fell 1-0 in Swaziland.

Knowledge Musona was fouled inside the box and converted the penalty on 16 minutes to set up the convincing home victory for the Warriors.

Recently crowned South African Footballer of the Year Khama Billiat doubled the lead on 36 minutes, firing in from close range.

Roared on by a 40,000 crowd at the national stadium, Zimbabwe struck again a minute from time through a Cuthbert Malajila header.

In Group B, the Democratic Republic of Congo moved closer to the finals with a resounding 6-1 win in Madagascar but Central African Republic’s 3-1 win over visitng Angola stopped DR Congo from qualifying.

Cedric Bakambu and Paul-José M’Poku both hit a brace for DR Congo in Madagascar, with Crystal Palace’s recently married winger Yannick Bolasie, and Jordan Rolly Botaka also scoring.

Jhon Baggio Rakotonomenjanahary did score a consolation goal for the hosts, but they remain bottom of the group with just two points.

CAR’s win meant they closed the gap on DR Congo to two points with the group now set to be decided in the final round of qualifiers in September.

It is a similar situation in Group D where Burkina Faso beat Comoros1-0 on Sunday to go joint top with Uganda ahead of the last round of qualifying.

Elsewhere, two goals from Getaneh Kebede helped Ethiopia win 2-1 away to Lesotho in Group J, to boost their hopes of finishing as one of the best runners-up.

Later, Liberia can go back to the top of Group A if they can beat visitors Togo.

Victory would set up a winner-takes-all in the final qualifier against Tunisia in September.

The Group C game between Benin and Equatorial Guinea – originally scheduled for 5 June – has been postponed until Sunday 12 June.as long as Benin fulfil conditions set out by Fifa.

These are the penultimate qualifiers, with the group winners and the best two runners-up qualifying for the finals along with hosts Gabon.

The final round of group matches will be played in September.

*BBC

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New Ghana kit represents eye-catching departure for Puma
May 31, 2016 | 0 Comments
The Black Stars' new shirt is a startling new offering from the sports manufacturer

The Black Stars’ new shirt is a startling new offering from the sports manufacturer

Puma South Africa revealed a new Ghana kit on Monday, with various South African media outlets carrying a press release introducing the new shirt.

Twitter was a abuzz as Black Stars fans and commentators caught a first glimpse of the new strip, which represents a startling departure for the West African giants.

Notably, there is significantly more black than the shirts have traditionally featured, with black sleeves and shoulders set off by a yellow hooped collar.

According to the press release—as per Kick Off—Ghana will wear the new ‘technological design’ in an as yet unspecified fixture this year, although there are conflicting reports as to whether the shirt presented in the photos is a definitive design or a trial template from Puma.

CjsqiMtWEAAkE81The kit uses the same evoKNIT technology as recent offerings for Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund, including a ‘dynamic moisture management system’, which is clearly a feature that Puma are particularly proud of.

As well as the Black Stars, Puma have also unveiled new designs for both Cameroon and the Cote d’Ivoire, with the Indomitable Lions debuting their latest kit against France on Monday evening, and the Ivorians sporting theirs against Gabon on Saturday.

*Yahoo/Goal

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Okocha, Eto’o, Kanu, Moyes honour Joseph Yobo in Port Harcourt testimonial
May 29, 2016 | 0 Comments

By Lolade Adewuyi*

The former Nigeria captain was given a befitting exit from the game on Friday evening by a coterie of stars in Port Harcourt

 joseph-yobo_hu4et8uqe16k18ui958acrdeuJoseph Yobo was given a grand exit from professional football by a stellar collection of football stars and legends during his testimonial in Port Harcourt on Friday.

Illustrious African stars Samuel Eto’o, Sulley Muntari, Stephen Appiah, Lomana Lualua and Laryea Kingston were joined by former Nigeria players Nwankwo Kanu, Austin Okocha, Mutiu Adepoju, Austin Eguavoen and Ben Iroha to celebrate the 101-cap Yobo.

A Team Nigeria composed of current footballers Vincent Enyeama, Ahmed Musa, Emmanuel Emenike, Godfrey Oboabona, Efe Ambrose, Joel Obi was coached by legendary Amodu Shaibu and Samson Siasia.

They took on Team World led by Eto’o and coached by former Everton and Manchester United manager David Moyes, who was assisted by former Nigeria youth coach Fanny Amun.

However, Chelsea duo of John Terry and John Obi Mikel were missing after it was announced that they were going to be available for the game.

Before the game, Yobo was presented with a commemorative trophy and a jersey marked ‘101’ by NFF 2nd Vice President  Shehu Dikko, who also played in the game.

After a prolonged delay to the start of the game which led to anxiety in the stands and agitated guest of honour Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers State, Yobo started in defence for Team World as they swiftly fell behind to a brace from Emenike after impressive work by Okocha in midfield.

Muntari and Eto’o would score for Team World, the Cameroonian making Enyeama grovel which led to a comic chase of the striker.

Eto’o would be involved in the other funny scene when he asked Okocha to be substituted due to the midfielder’s stunning skills which continuously prised open his side.

The first half ended 4-3 with Yobo scoring just before the break to keep the scores close.

Yobo switched sides at resumption as Kanu, funnyman Ayo Makun (AY) and former goalkeeper Ike Shorunmu all came on.

He played two penalties against Dele Ayenugba, missed the first and scored the second to make it 5-3.

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Angelle Kwemo Joins Washington Media Group as International Practice Grows
May 25, 2016 | 0 Comments
African "Olivia Pope", Angelle Kwemo is set for another exciting challenge

African “Olivia Pope”, Angelle Kwemo is set for another exciting challenge

Washington Media Group (WMG) has  announced the appointment of Angelle B. Kwemo as Director of the company’s growing Africa practice.

Ms. Kwemo worked for nearly a decade on Capitol Hill for two members of Congress and was the Founder and President of the Congressional African Staff Association. She went on to create Believe in Africa, aimed at empowering women and youth while engaging the private sector; and the AstrategiK Group, providing international trade and advisory services to corporations and government officials across Europe and Africa.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the Washington Media Group team, and to help the firm continue to expand its international client work,” said Ms. Kwemo. “Washington Media Group’s world-class communications and creative services are relied upon by clients across Washington and the country, and the word is getting out around the world as well. I’m excited to be joining the WMG team,” Ms Kwemo said.

WMG, which began more than 10 years ago as a crisis communications firm, has since grown into a full-service communications and creative services firm serving clients around the world.

“This is an exciting time for WMG as we continue to grow at home and abroad by offering proven strategies and services,” said WMG CEO and President Gregory L. Vistica. “With her deep knowledge of Africa, Angell will be a central part of our efforts throughout the continent in representing governments, corporations, non-profits and high-net worth individuals. I’m thrilled that she is joining our growing team.”

Ms. Kwemo began her career in France, at the Bestaux Law Firm. In her native Cameroon, she served as Chief of the Maritime Claims and Disputes Department, and later as General Counsel for Bollore Technology Group and Geodis Overseas. Named one of the “World’s Most Influential Africans in the Diaspora” by Paris-based Africa 24 Magazine, she earned an International Business Transactions and Human Rights Law degree from Washington College of Law at American University, in Washington, D.C.

About WMG

WMG is a full-services communications firm that has saved its clients tens of millions of dollars. With offices in China, Qatar and Africa, we’ve successfully solved high-profile crises, protected and repaired corporate and executive reputations, improved brand value and growth, and enhanced public recognition for our clients in the U.S. and overseas.

 

 

 

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New Book Highlights “The Most Influential Contemporary African Diaspora Leaders”
May 25, 2016 | 0 Comments

By Dr. Roland Holou*

bookMany books have been written about people of African descent, but so far no single volume has highlighted the lives, visions, achievements, policies, and strategies of exceptional contemporary African Diaspora leaders across the globe. To fill the gap, an International Selection Committee composed of some of the top African diaspora Leaders in the Caribbean, Europe, North America, South America, and West Africa was created to nominate and vet recipients of “The Most Influential Contemporary African Diaspora Leaders Honor.” For the first edition of this book, 30 leaders were featured in detail and out of the 50 chapters of this 336 page book, one was devoted to each. Others chapters were devoted to one hundred other nominees whose contribution warranted their inclusion in this book.

The stories of these Leaders showcase the diversity, complexity, and richness of the ongoing global African Diaspora engagement efforts. Their experiences of struggle, failure, growth and success will motivate current and future generations of people of African descent to take initiative, provide guidance to those interested in Africa’s development, and promote interest in the growing field of diaspora engagement. The featured leaders are known for their long-lasting achievements. Their bold actions contributed to important historical movements that significantly shaped and transformed the lives and history of people of African descent and removed major roadblocks preventing the prosperity of Africa and its Diaspora. They have brought about enormous and rare progress that would have been impossible without their leadership, including economic and political development of Africa and its Diaspora. To get your copy of the book, please visit www.AfricanDiasporaLeaders.com/order

Dr. Roland Holou

Dr. Roland Holou

Some of the initiatives featured in the book include the African Union African Diaspora Sixth Region Initiative, Healthcare Reform in Africa, Pan-Africanism, Global Anti-Racism Initiatives, International Decade for People of African Descent, Implementation of the UN Durban Declaration and Programme of Action; the Commission on Reparations, the Hebrew Israelites, the Initiatives of the Central American Black Organization; the World Diaspora Fund For Development; the Projects of the Institute of the Black World 21st Century; the Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe, the Pan-African Holiday Kwanzaa; the Educational Initiatives of Steve Biko Cultural Institute in Brazil, the Initiatives of DiasporaEngager concerning the Map of the Diaspora and their Stakeholders, the Diaspora Directory and the Global Diaspora Social Media Platform; the Initiatives of the African Diaspora in Australia and Asia Pacific; the AU Sixth Region Diaspora Caucus Organization in the USA; the “Taubira Law” Voted by the French Republic to Recognize that the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the Slave Trade in the Indian Ocean are a Crime Against Humanity; The Global Movement for Reparatory Justice; the Ratification of the Article 3q of the AU Constitutive Act which “invites and encourages the full participation of the African Diaspora as an important part of Africa; the Economic Development for Black Empowerment in America and Europe; the African Diaspora Contribution to Democracy and Development in Africa, the Caribbean, Central and South America; the Initiatives of the Brazilian Association of Black Researchers; the Oprah Effect; the Promotion of the Black Population in Brazil; the Palmares Cultural Foundation in Brazil; the Celebrations of Zumbi dos Palmares in Brazil; the Caribbean Community [CARICOM] Commission on Reparation and Social Justice; the Initiatives of famous Prophet Shepherd Bushiri (Major1, the World’s Sharpest Major Prophet), and many initiatives in the USA, etc.

Some of the struggles still faced by the African Diaspora and discussed in the book relate to: Afrophobia, civil rights, denial of justice and devaluation of Black lives, education with curricula full of “lies” regarding history and history of scientific discoveries, healthcare problems, high rates of unemployment and imprisonment, housing problems, institutional racism and slavery, lack of access to good education and justice, media which persistently diffuse open racist stereotypes, multiple forms of discrimination, police violence, political and economic marginalization and stigmatization, poverty, racial discrimination, vulnerability to violence, xenophobia and related intolerance and discrimination. The book also addressed some of the strategical mistakes and divisions among the Continental African Diaspora and the Historical African Diaspora.

 

If you are interested in learning the secrets, agendas, strategies and potential of these modern leaders, then this is the book for you. Since influence can at times have negative effects, this book also addresses the destructive actions of certain leaders that are pulling down both Africa and its people. To learn more about the recipients, please visit www.AfricanDiasporaLeaders.com/recipient. Join the International Diaspora Engagement Social Media Platform today by creating a free account .

About the Author

Dr. Roland Holou is a scientist, businessman, and an international consultant in Agriculture/Agribusiness, Biotechnology, Diaspora Engagement, and Africa Development. He is the Founder and CEO of DiasporaEngager, www.DiasporaEngager.com and the architect of the map of Diaspora and their stakeholders . To learn more about him and contact him www.RolandHolou.com.

 

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The Africa We Want -The Leadership We Want! Where are the eagles?
May 25, 2016 | 0 Comments

We should not allow the chickens to lead the eagles even if the chickens convince themselves that they’re actually eagles!

 Yohannes Mezgebe


Yohannes Mezgebe

From 10 – 18 July 2016, African leaders will be meeting in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda for the 27thOrdinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU). A key highlight of the forthcoming summit will be the election of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC). The winner, he or she, will lead the continental body for the next four years, renewable once.

The AU was founded, as a premier continental institution for the promotion of accelerated socio-economic and political integration of the continent; not just as the level of countries or governments, but also by forging greater bonds amongst citizens of Africa.

To give expression to the above imperatives, the African Union Commission (AUC) of the AU is tasked to serve as the crucial administrative hub for driving and achieving the numerous mandates; including the implementation of Agenda 2063, a strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years. The Commission is, in particular, envisaged to be the key organ responsible for the day-to-day management of the affairs of the Union. It represents the Union; the yearnings and aspirations of member states, and also defends the continent’s collective interests. Alongside, it is expected to articulate and give concrete expression to the African common position, determine the strategic vision, plan and future horizons of the Union.

Whatever the AU has become today builds on the pioneering efforts of prominent sons and daughters of the continent; from His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Haile Sellasie to Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, Julius Nyerere, and Seiko Toure, to name a handful. These founding fathers, without an iota of doubts, had a clear vision; they could see far where the continent was heading, almost as if they had the power to look into the future. All of them, without exception, made their mark in the struggle for freedom and liberation. When three years ago, Africans celebrated the 50thAnniversary of the Organization of African Unity/AU, it was a milestone opportunity; both to celebrate but also begin to contemplate how to translate our collective dreams into concrete results to make Africa a better place for the present and future generations. The celebration was the beginning of a new phase in the collective journey, not its end.

Clearly, the AUC has generated considerable amount of momentum around African development and Integration issues. Yet, many of the ‘teething’ challenges the continent faced at inception continue to slow the pace; just as new ones have crept in. Most of today’s problems may be attributed to the slow progress made in the quest for unity and integration. At best, these have remained aspirational despite best of efforts. If 1963 the continent’s leaders were preoccupied with colonial and post-colonial struggles, and the consolidation of independence, nowadays, there are myriad new – no less daunting – realities.

Given the many challenges Africa faces now, the continent needs to have at the helm of the AUC a leaders with proven track records in dealing with Africa’s myriad problems: poverty, resource use, economic development, wealth sharing, peace and security, democracy, human rights, neo-colonialism, environmental protection, climate change and corruption. The list is far from exhaustive. The experience of the new AUC Chair as well as his or her unshakable determination to overcome the challenges – not merely deal with them – would be critical if the continent is to realize the vision of a united, prosperous and peaceful Africa.

 In today’s knowledge-driven world, the clarion call for visionary and committed leadership at the helm of the AUC is far greater than ever. The leader needed must be capable and willing to identify and tap into the pool of amazing talent of African citizens, starting with the team of talented staff of the Union; a growing number of whom risks drudgery and disillusionment with the status quo. The men and women who work at the Commission should be more than satisfied, they should be energized and passionate in what they do not the business-as-usual attitude that is so endemic now. The leader the Commission deserves must be one that leads by example and inspires. The right leader for the AUC must have a clarity of purpose working to achieve results, hand in hand, with broad constituencies of stakeholders: from the civil society to the private sector; from women’s group to youths’ movement.

Because the AU represents the hope of Africa and its peoples, it must care about the caliber of leaders who aspire to head the Commission. So, in Kigali this July 2016, when convening to elect the incoming Chair and leadership of the Commission, all eyes will be on the Heads of States and Governments to do what is right. They must put aside petty politics and permutations to decide what is best for the AUC and the continent. We stand at a crossroads: if Africa fails to make the right decision in electing the right leader the AUC deserves, the continent risks taking several fatal steps backwards.

Because it does not pay to allow chickens to lead the eagles even if the chickens convince themselves that they’re actually eagles, African citizens must demand a move from mediocrity to excellence. The incoming chairperson must not be determined by which region the candidate comes from but rather by his or her strength of character to lead.

Africa has had its faire share of failures over the years since 1960’s. It still carries old scars and new bruises, but it must look into the future with hope. In 50 years, the architects of Agenda 2063 and those currently tasked with its implementation might no longer be around given the mean life expectancy on the continent. This means, there will not be a united, prosperous and peaceful Africa unless the youth – the very people who will still be around in 50 years – is actively engaged in the process. The message of African youth calls for a different mindset, a different way of thinking, a different way of making decisions and acting. The choice before the Kigali conclave in July will be a tall one.

As they elect the right leader, they will have no better loyal partner than African citizens. They must deliver by all means; posterity will remember and not forgive them doing otherwise. As Frantz Fanon puts it perceptibly decades ago: “Each generation discovers its mission. It either achieves it or it betrays it”.

*Founder, Ubuntu Leadership Institute

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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Gyan ‘honoured’ by Messi’s compliments
May 25, 2016 | 0 Comments
The Ghana striker is pleased to have won the admiration of the Barcelona star

The Ghana striker is pleased to have won the admiration of the Barcelona star

Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan is elated by plaudits from five-time Fifa Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi.

The Barcelona and Argentina superstar was earlier this month quoted to have revealed admiration for Gyan’s goal against Germany at the 2014 Fifa World Cup, touting the Shanghai SIPG frontman as “one of the greatest goal scorers he has ever seen”.

Gyan is currently in Ghana following an injury setback.

“I appreciate it,” Gyan told Starr FM.

“It is a good thing when sometimes you do things wholeheartedly but you may not see [that] somebody [may have been] watching you.

I was even surprised when I heard it. It is great motivation to me for a legend like Messi acknowledging my work.

“I am honoured, honestly. It will even boost my confidence to do more as a player that people look up to. I also look up to him. I appreciate.”

Currently all-time top scorer of the Black Stars with 48 goals, Gyan also stands as Africa’s highest goal scorer at the Fifa World Cup with six goals across three tournaments. He is also the historic scorer of Ghana’s first World Cup goal in Germany 2006.

*Yahoo

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UN Happy Africa’s Rapid Reaction Force About to Be Reality
May 25, 2016 | 0 Comments

By EDITH M. LEDERER*

African-Union-Standby-ForceThe U.N. peacekeeping chief said Tuesday that the United Nations — which has 80 percent of its peacekeepers deployed in Africa — is very happy that the African Union’s long-awaited rapid reaction force will become a reality in July.

Herve Ladsous told a Security Council meeting on peace and security cooperation between the U.N. and the AU that strengthening this partnership is “absolutely critical” especially because nine of the U.N.’s 16 peacekeeping missions are in Africa.

He said the African Standby Force, first proposed in 1997, is about to be declared operational at the next AU summit in July, which will mark an important step forward in Africa’s “capacity to respond to crises.”

The AU plan calls for each of the continent’s five regions — north, south, east, west and central — to provide a brigade of 5,000 troops to the force, with one always on standby to respond swiftly to crises anywhere in Africa.

Ladsous called the African Union “the most important partner of the U.N. in peacekeeping.”

He cited not only the U.N’s missions — from Congo, Central African Republic and Mali to South Sudan and it joint mission with the AU in Somalia — but the fact that almost 50 percent of the 105,000 U.N. peacekeepers worldwide come from AU member states.

The Security Council unanimously approved a statement stressing “the importance of further strengthening cooperation and developing an effective partnership” with the AU — not just in peacekeeping but in early warning of crises, preventive diplomacy, mediation and conflict resolution.

The council also welcomed “the enhanced peacekeeping role of the African Union” and regional African groups.

Haile Menkerios, the U.N. special envoy to the African Union, stressed that while much progress has been made, “threats to international peace and security in Africa remain real and numerous.”

In recent weeks, the U.N. and AU acted together to de-escalate political tensions in the island nation Comoros off the African coast, he said, and along with regional groups they are trying to get the government and opposition in Burundi to engage in an inclusive dialogue to find “a durable solution” to the current crisis.

Menkerios said the “collective challenge” of the U.N. and its member states is to support and strengthen the AU’s institutions to promote peace and security, “particularly the African Standby Force and the African Union’s preventive diplomacy and mediation capabilities.”

*AP/ABC

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