Showing posts with label History. Show all posts
Showing posts with label History. Show all posts

Monday, January 23, 2012

Being Garifuna

An interesting pocket of Nigerian history in connection to the Garifuna of Central America; the Garinagu can be found in Honduras, Belize, Guatemala and Nicaragua. According to Wiki:
Young recorded the arrival of the African descended population as commencing with a wrecked slave ship from the Bight of Biafra in 1675. The survivors, members of the Mokko people of today's Nigeria (now known as Ibibio), reached the small island of Bequia, where the Caribs brought them to Saint Vincent and ill-used them. When the Carib masters felt that the Africans were too independent in spirit, according to Young, they planned to kill all the male children. The Africans, learning of this plan revolted, killed as many Caribs as possible and withdrew to the mountains, where they joined with other runaways who had taken refuge there. From there they raided the Caribs continually until they had greatly reduced them in numbers. There are few other accounts of the island, as it was not occupied by Europeans and visitors were rare or there unofficially, hence Young's account is the only one of the century before he wrote to provide specific details of the origins of the Garifuna.

Monday, October 10, 2011

French Political Correctness Run Amuck

Text here:
A modern French history textbook now boasts no less than 20 pages on the history of black slavery while devoting a mere six pages to the achievements of Napoleon – shown here sitting on a toilet. France's new history textbooks are enraging parents and teachers who call it political correctness gone mad.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Reverberations will be Embedded

Two looks @ Lagos, Nigeria:

More from Nneka's Soul is Heavy album. In video for "My Home," she morphs from Cele priestess to Lawma sweeper in a Lagos minute.

Another African Kickstarter documentary worth every dime - Siji's Elder's Corner:
Shot against the colorful and gritty backdrop of some of Nigeria’s urban cities particularly Lagos and through the clever use of extensive in depth interviews, archival footage and still photographs, Elder's Corner will take viewers on a musical journey through the country's turbulent and colorful history. It will chronicle and showcase the lives and work of some of the leading exponents of the various musical movements that spawned Afrobeat, Juju, Apala, Highlife and Fuji music.
And while you are pledging, the Ethiopian documentary, Merkato, still needs love.

H/T: AIAC & Soul Culture

Monday, August 15, 2011

Southern Africa: History of Punk

Six minute trailer for Punk in Africa, a documentary by Keith Jones and Deon Maas which premiered a DIFF last month. iOl's Therese Owen:
The film, which took two years to produce, focuses on the punk sub-culture within the political and social upheavals in three southern African countries – South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. In these societies, punk represented a radical political impulse, playing out against a backdrop of intense political struggle. The history of punk, particularly in South Africa, began in the late 1970s and was a multi-racial movement. Punk in Africa features interviews with musicians from bands such as Suck, Wild Youth, Powerage, National Wake and the Kalahari Surfers. It also deals with the militant anti-apartheid punk bands of the 1980s and comprehensively follows the movement to today, with bands such as 340ml, Hog Hoggidy Hog, Fruits & Veggies and Sibling Rivalry.
Luke Mason @ Mahala:
The film started out telling the amazing, untold story of resistance and music under the apartheid regime. Ageing punks stare wild eyed into the camera and reminisce about the days of vigour and angst, proud of what they did and the courage that it took to stand up for what they believed in, or rather, against what they didn’t. Well researched, well told, the pre-apartheid section of the movie, although not hell-of-a cinematic, is difficult to find fault with. But then apartheid ends and the wheels fall off...

Friday, August 5, 2011

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cape Verde: "Memories Left on the Island by Cinema"

Portuguese photographer Daniel Blaufuk's documentary, Eden, looks back at the 40s and 50s - the golden age of cinema in Cape Verde. Synopsis:
"The only two ways of leaving the island were the sea and the cinema." Blaufuks' documentary look lead us to S. Vicente (Cape Vert) and through the memories left on the island by the cinema. Based upon an interesting research work, both for the testimonies and for the images, "Eden" plunges into the contemporary imagery of a people and a place through their relation towards cinema. 

More - here.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Uganda: The Pink Revolution is Personal

New York Times' Josh Kron on why the feud between Museveni and the Besigye-led opposition is personal:
[Museveni's] critics [...] also say that the feud is personal, tied to the president’s relationship with Mr. Besigye and his wife, Winnie Byanyima, whom Mr. Museveni has known since childhood and, many say, once wanted to marry. The history may shed light on the depth of the political movement. It was the winter of 1980, after nearly a decade of Idi Amin’s brutal dictatorship, when Mr. Besigye, then a young doctor, started attending rallies for a popular and charismatic new political figure, Mr. Museveni.
Michael Mubangizi writes in Kampala's Observer how Besigye is intent on continuing the 'walk to work' protests, even against his party's wishes.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Africa: Preserving the Africa Centre

Over at African Arguments, Richard Dowden writes about the history and efforts to save the long dormant Africa Center at 38 King Street in Covent Garden, London - once the auction house for the sale of ancient Egyptian treasures in the 19th Century, it was given by the Catholic Church in perpetuity to the people of Africa in 1962.

Above, authors Ngugi wa Thiong'o & Abdilatif Abdalla back in May 2011 share fond memories about the Africa Centre.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Africa/ U.S: The Birds and the Bees... and the Slaves

From Sarah Palin's bus tour diaries:
When Piper laid the wreath at George Washington's tomb this afternoon, I wished that every American school student could be here to see and feel the spirit of our nation's first father. Even Piper was able to grasp the significance of being in the presence of our first President - who had such diverse interests - when she told me later "how hard he must have worked to keep that farm going!"
Hmmm... Okay. Over to Colbert:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Africa: The Crowd Ate My Research

Back in February, Scarlett Lion pointed out a Guardian report that the National Archive (UK) was  posting online thousands of colonial era photographs they did not have captions or any information for (like the one below) on to its Flickr account in case anyone out there had the information they were looking for.

CO 1069-2-31

Scarlett Lion on making available this kind of historical material for crowd-sourced researc:
The idea of “crowd sourcing” captions is certainly an interesting proposition in this kind of context. I’m sure many people are excited to see what bits of information and background come out of the wood work. On another level, this large trove of photos points to two interrelated points: the Africans are rarely named though the colonizers frequently are, and the photographs present a “sanitized” view of Africa.
And the question of names dovetails into another project, the African Origins Project, which is seeking help from the African Diaspora in identifying to which languages the original names of tens of thousands of African slaves belong to. These are International Court registers of slaves liberated between 1819 and 1845 from slaving vessels and their original African names taken down:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Africa: History of the Souls of Black Folk on Twitter

We already heard Magareth Atwoord's take, over at BigThink, about the older guises of twitter: as in the diary, telegraph machines, Morse code... way back to African tribal drums.

Duke University's Mark Anthony Neal in his TED talk takes the trace to the next level. He retraces the African American ability to convert various things into social media technologies so black people can always be in communication with one another - from field songs to DuBois's Souls of Black Folk--"... the first mixtape?"--to the phonograph to turntables ... and now twitter.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Africa: "Black Panther, I Am Your Father" - Lion Man

Black Panther writer, former BET president Reginald Hudlin, explains to Michel Martin, host of NPR's Tell Me More, why the Black Panther animated series never aired in the U.S and how the recently released DVD is now Marvel's fastest selling animation DVD. A great feat, considering the character doesn't have the name recognition bestowed by a big Hollywood movie.

But just as interesting, KB, over at the fabulous Out of this World, notes T'Challa/Black Panther draws a strong parallel with Lion Man and Bubba (below), a strip set in Africa and featured in the first issue of All-Negro Comics, a segregated comic book published in 1947:
Besides All-Negro Comics 1, there are three issues of Fawcett's Negro Romance in 1950, then a single issue of Charlton's Negro Romances 4 (1955), which I believe reprints the second Fawcett issue. These are all segregated comics, however. It isn't until war comics of the early 1950s and then early 1960s that actual integration begins. Finally I'm adding three pages of the Lion Man story to the post to augment Aaron's feature on the history of black superheroes over on his blog Silver Age Gold. Note the idea of Lion Man being a scientist, the treasures of his people's mountain, and the white guy coming to steal it. Besides being an obvious reference to European imperialism, there's a strong parallel with Lee/Kirby's T'Challa (Black Panther), his land Wakanda, and the valuable mineral Vibranium that the explorer Ulysses Klaw comes in search of (he becomes the villain Klaw), as told in the pages of the now legendary Fantastic Four 52-53 and 56. I haven't read the Black Panther predecessor, Waku, Prince of the Jungle, in Atlas's Jungle Tales of the 1950s, so I don't know if there's a parallel there also.

KB's blog uses comic books to look back at recent history and as a window into the social contexts and attitudes prevailing in America when the books where published. He has been posting, all through Black History month, appearances of many African American characters first in comics from the 60s and 70s.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Mali: Origins of Timbuktu's Myth

Skip through preview pages of part 1 and 2 of Abdallahi, Jean-Denis Pendanx and Christophe Dabitch 2006-7 graphic novels (Futuropolis). They pull from the diaries of René Caillé, claimed to be the first European to enter "mythical city" of Timbuktu (which was off limits to whites) and to come out alive. He then made the 4500 miles journey on foot from Senegal to Tangier.

(Goog' Translation) of Publisher's synopsis:
Part 1: Considered as ephemeral as the "Marco Polo" Africa ", he died ten years after his return, at the age of 39 years, forgotten by everyone. 1824, René Caillé who already travel in recent years on the coast of Africa, wants to explore the interior, where no white man has yet made. Without money, without any official support, René Caillé invented a method to travel. He learns in a Moorish tribe, the Braknas, whom he says he wants to convert to Islam. Then changes his name to Abdallahi (servant of God). Suspected by whites to have gone over to the natives, suspected of espionage by the Braknas, Caillé decides to make the journey on to Timbuktu, city of all fantasies. He will cross paths with Arafanba, who became his companion and his guide. For Abdallahi, now the son of Egyptians, kidnapped by whites, freed slave, to return to his homeland, he will travel on foot as a beggar. As long as we believe his new identity, he shall live.
Part 2: Nearly two centuries after the extraordinary adventures of René Caillé, Pendanx and Dabitch through the fictionalized account of this incredible journey take the opportunity to reflect on the history of relations between Europe and Africa. The two creators unveil a multicultural and multiracial Africa, crossed by many civilizations. An Africa where the implacable laws of nature concedes nothing to men.Abdallahi is the opposite of an exotic and picturesque narrative.
 Mythical Timbuktu or "lost city of Gold" forever lives on in Western imagination.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Africa: Debunking the Humanity Came "Out of Africa" Theory

With new findings giving more credence to multiregional theory of human evolution--i.e. a gradualism theory that says evolution takes place over wide areas under natural selection and whenever there is a new feature that's an advantage it spreads among the species, an alternative to the homo erectus coming out of Africa with evolutionary advantages that helped it replace other species--above, science blogger Razib Khan talks to an early skeptic of the humans came "out of Africa" hypothesis, University of Michigan paleoanthropologist Milford Wolpoff. Below is a clip from Nova's "Last Human Standing" documentary, based on the "Out of Africa" theory and provides some more backstory and illustration of the homo erectus migration out of Africa to other parts of the world:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Kenya: Obama Archeology

Veteran BBC filmmaker Peter Firstbrook traces the Obama family back to 1250 AD - interview here.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


This blog is all about sampling and remixing a certain kind of information about a certain kind of subject, thus Kirby Ferguson "Everything is a Remix" series has been dear to our heart.

Part one looked at music, which we remixed - here. Part 2 focuses on film:

Everything is a Remix Part 2 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.


Thinking of dropping money for the much hyped Yale Anthology of Rap? Don't. Support The Hip-Hop Word Count: A Searchable Rap Almanac instead:

Below, the 4 minute-long beat-boxed history of rap, delivered in one take:


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Africa: African Cinema and the New Wave

In the lastest issue of Senses of Cinema, Wes Felton clarifies the origins of African cinema to shed light on the pioneering work of Beninois director, Paulin Soumanou Vieyra...
The earliest known film made by an African, was Congolese filmmaker Albert Mongita’s The Cinema Lesson in 1951. The second is Mamadou Touré’s twenty-three minute film from Guinea titled Mouramani, about a man and his dog, produced in 1953. Additionally, in the same year Emmanuel Lubalu released his film Inflated Tires in the Congo. For quite some time most historians falsely believed that a film entitled Africa on the Seine held the honour of being the first film made by an African. Even though this is not so, Africa on the Seine, directed by Paulin Soumanou Vieyra, holds a special place in film history for being one of the first films made by an African, and more importantly, one that actively investigates the then present day situation of African immigrants living in Paris, as well as critiquing the French colonialist establishment.
...and like we've argued in past of the special debt French New Wave owes Jean Rouch's Moi Noir ('58), Felton argues the inclusion of Vieyra's film, Africa on the Seine (1955), in the New Wave cannon:
One of the fascinating things about Africa on the Seine is that it almost provides scenes, shots, and sequences that could or should have been placated within the French New Wave films. Figuratively speaking, Africa on the Seine could almost be seen as made of the ‘cut-off’ footage removed from films of the French New Wave. As if white filmmakers in France at the time cut out any evidence of an African presence and whenever there just so happened to be an African captured within the frame of a shot, they were left on the cutting room floor. It is almost like Vieyra somehow stumbled upon the pieces of film in a New Wave garbage can and brought them back as if to say, “See? We are here!”
Below, Frank Schneider (prod. Jadot Sezirahiga) discuss the origins of African and Arab cinema with Tahar Cheria, founder of the Carthage Cinema Days. It includes a profile of Paulin Vieyra and stills from Africa on the Seine:

Friday, December 17, 2010

Cote d'Ivoire: Defenders of the Indefensible, Cont'd

Picture shows an Ivorian soldier. The army is still under Gbagbo's control. The election billboard behind him translates: "..a choice between my baby or my arm, I chose my baby. For peace choose Gbagbo."

Yeah right, creepy ad. As the Ouattara-Gbagbo showdown rages, Cameron Duodu traces back in Pambazuka how the rift between both men has shaped a country:
But Cote d’Ivoire was living on borrowed time. When its first president, Felix Houphouet-Boigny, finally died in December 1993, he had ruled for over 40 years. One of his fiercest opponents had been a college lecturer called Laurent Gbagbo. He stubbornly defied Houphouet, endured persecution and stood against Houphouet in the first multiparty elections held in 1990. This doggedness endeared Gbagbo to those who aspired to live under a democracy in Cote d’Ivoire. When Houphouet-Boigny died at the age of 85, Gbagbo watched with interest as Houphouet’s party, the Democratic Party of Cote d’Ivoire (PDCI) tore itself apart in a succession race. It was the former finance minister and substantive president of the National Assembly, Henri Konan Bedie, who emerged on top. Among Houphouet’s appointees who lost out to Bedie was Alassane Dramane Ouattara, whom Houphouet had appointed prime minister after plucking him back home from the IMF (International Monetary Fund – where Ouattara was a deputy managing director) to put him in charge of the (Central) Bank of West Africa, before appointing him prime minister.
France24 Observers live-blogging yesteday's protests. Aljazeera's Yvonne Ndege already explained that because Gbagbo controls the television, outside Abidjan most don't even know what's going on.  France 24's Cyril Vanier, again, reiterates the power of the medium: 
“There are basically three levers of power here in Ivory Coast: the economy, the army and the TV,” explained Vanier. “The Ouattara camp has not managed to get a firm grasp of the economy and the army is still loyal to Gbagbo. So Ouattara and his government are trying to take control of the TV because at present they have no means of broadcasting their message. The TV station is definitely one of the country’s seats of power and it’s an important symbol.”

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Africa/USA: Humor in the Context of Black Modernity, Cont'd

Recall Louis C.K going on about some slavery revisionist history some weeks ago? The Daily Show's Larry Wilmore takes on another set of revisionist historians - those denying the American South fought the civil war over slavery :

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The South's Secession Commemoration
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire Blog</a>The Daily Show on Facebook


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