Tag Archives: Africans

MAMA’S WORDS

A series of stories told to us by our mothers (aunts, grandmas and any woman who fits in this category age-wise). We all know about the oral tradition in many African cultures. This is an attempt to document the stories shared through this. These are stories that will make you laugh, cry, question, nod in agreement, pause and reflect, teach, and even nudge you towards that “aha moment” exit.

Do you have such stories dear reader? Feel free to submit them to me at thursdaysspace at gmail dotcom and I will post them on here. Let me know if you want your name included or just your initials.

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African Proverbs, Irony and Leaders

Every day BBC Africa tweets an African proverb. Today’s proverb, sent from Uganda, is “You do not punish a fish by throwing it in water.” Deep stuff – when you really think about it – as most proverbs tend to be.

Isn’t it ironic that it is an African proverb? Considering the fact that we, Africans, seem to have a knack for punishing fish by throwing it in water. What am I on about?

Well, let’s take our “leaders” for example. Every election year, they make these grand promises about how they will transform our countries and improve our lives. We gladly vote for them. Once in office, they swiftly switch to the corruption lane and take the exit to personal wealth accumulation. We spend the rest of their term waiting for them to reassure us that they still have our best interests at heart. We hope that they will make an effort to fulfill just one promise or at the very least feign interest in fulfilling even half of that promise. But nothing. They continue to busy themselves with themselves until the next election when they pound the campaign trail with reworded promises. We vote for them again and the cycle continues. We fail to hold our leaders accountable. Instead we reward them for their inaction by putting them back in to the very positions that they use for their own benefit and our detriment.

Wouldn’t we be better served by using our vote  to ensure the progress of our communities? By voting back in only those leaders who are efficient and doing a great job? By denying leaders who are enemies of progress any audience come election time? By voting in terms of performance and legitimate sustainable plans instead of ethnic relations? By realizing that the culture of accept and move on will not get us anywhere? By asking ourselves what kind of a society we would like to live in and then working to build it?

Africa and The Single Story

When many people think of Africa, they imagine this corruption-rampant, war-prone, disease-laden land mass occupied by primitive individuals who are charity cases. For a long time Africa has been portrayed in the media as the dark continent that has mastered the art of producing one tragedy after another. Many a journalists arrive in African countries to cover a story with most of the article already written. All they need to do is add a few local names and interview some sources to plug into their narrative. To them, the story of Nigeria is the story of Kenya, let’s ignore the fact that the two are in completely different parts of Africa. Africa is not perfect but neither is it this single story.

There are many stories about Africa that remain untold. Some of these include the stories of the positive strides that are being made towards the betterment of countries. The successes range from the growth of businesses, to improvement in healthcare and innovative mobile banking solutions among others. Africans are also increasingly using social media and ICT to find solutions to daily challenges. We have become active participants in and taken ownership of our own progress. Sure we have corruption, disease and conflict but those are issues that we are actively tackling.

Even in the successes it is important to remember that the model is not singular. Africa is very rich in diversity and each country follows its own development script.

I came across this documentary that shows how Africa is not and will never be a single narrative. Enjoy!

 

Chai Masala Reads

Here are the articles that this blogger enjoyed reading today. Sharing them with all the Monday readers out there…enjoy!

Taiye Selasi on discovering her pride in her African roots

The crisis began – as crises are wont to do – at my best friend’s wedding. Jamaica wasn’t the obvious choice for what Jess likes to call “the whitest wedding on Earth”. But there we sat smiling at the Rose Hall Ritz-Carlton, the hotel’s all-brown staff smiling too. The salad had been served, the bread rolls broken and buttered, and now the reception began properly with polite conversation: how do you know the happy couple, where have you flown in from? I’d been placed between Clara, fair fellow alumna of Milton Academy and Yale University, and Percy, the third and presumably final husband of Jess’s grandmum. With graceful concision, Clara told our tablemates where she came from: Brookline, prep school, Harvard Law School. Percy turned to me. Read more.

Bye-Bye Barbar

It’s moments to midnight on Thursday night at Medicine Bar in London. Zak, boy-genius DJ, is spinning a Fela Kuti remix. The little downstairs dancefloor swells with smiling, sweating men and women fusing hip-hop dance moves with a funky sort of djembe. The women show off enormous afros, tiny t-shirts, gaps in teeth; the men those incredible torsos unique to and common on African coastlines. The whole scene speaks of the Cultural Hybrid: kente cloth worn over low-waisted jeans; ‘African Lady’ over Ludacris bass lines; London meets Lagos meets Durban meets Dakar. Read more.

Ghana Must Go- extract (side note: Requested for this book from the library and can’t wait to read it.)

Dr Wei started also, his deep, bossed gong laugh. “I say this to say that I admire the culture, your culture, its respect for education above all. Every African man I have ever encountered in an academic setting excelled, barring none. I haven’t met a single lazy African student, or a fat one for that matter, in 40 years here. I know it sounds crazy, we laugh, but believe me. I teach undergraduates. I see it every day. African immigrants are the future of the academy. And the Indians.” He paused here to finish his tea. Read more.