Showing posts with label immigration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label immigration. Show all posts

Friday, July 20, 2012

To Albert, Mukhtar and African Bus Drivers Everywhere...

That story of Albert from South Africa's First National Bank TV ad (above) feels inspired by the birthday story of a real African bus driver in Copenhagen called Mukhtar,  who was the very surprised subject of a flash mob back in 2009.


 Mukhtar's flash mobbed birthday was also an ad - more here

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.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Kidney Trade

A revealing piece over at the Daily Trust tells stories of Nigerians traveling to countries like Malaysia to sell off their kidneys for $10,000, which amounts to the capital many of them need to lift themselves and their loved ones out of poverty. Excerpt:
Mike, also from Edo, sold his kidney in Malaysia and returned back to the country recently. Like Eghosa, he says he was paid $10, 000.00 for his kidney. He says he was left with no choice because it was either he sells one of his kidneys or sits down to watch two of his younger sisters who just graduated from a sewing school become prostitutes because they have no money to set themselves up. He now feels a sense of justification for his action even though he now worries that he is still young and at any time in the future his remaining kidney might not be able to serve him if he falls sick. Mike says there were a lot of people in the queue in Malaysia, most of them Nigerians, who have gone to sell their kidneys. Like him, those who took the risk needed money desperately to start something that will turn their lives around. Back in the country, he now thinks of a suitable business that will keep him out of the reach of poverty forever.

Above, insightful scene from Stephen Frears' 2002 sleeper hit about organ trading, Dirty Pretty Things, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Audrey Tautou. Below, scholar Nils Gilman's 2009 lecture on the "Global Illicit Economy" or "Deviant Globalization" - @ 2:19 mins in, he lays out the global economics of illicit organ trading:

Friday, September 9, 2011

Africa: European Films Exploring African Immigration

Reuters' Silvia Aloisi on director Emanuele Crialese's "Terraferma" (Mainland), which screened at the Venice film festival. The film explores how the lives of a fisherman and his family on a remote island off the Sicilian coast are transformed when they rescue a pregnant Ethiopian woman at sea and hide her in their house. Excerpt:
...Crialese decided to make the film in 2009, after reading the story of an African woman who was one of only five survivors on a crammed boat that spent 21 days drifting at sea without assistance before running aground on Lampedusa."I was hypnotized by her face, her expression. She had just been through hell, three weeks at sea, with people who saw them, got close and threw them water and then abandoned them again. And she looked as if she had arrived in heaven," he said. Crialese offered the woman, identified only as Timnit T., the part of the pregnant Ethiopian in Terrafirma, a film which is a clear indictment of the crackdown on illegal immigration by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's government and its ill-preparedness in the face of a humanitarian emergency.
"...she looked as if she had arrived in heaven," Crialese's description of the pregnant Ethiopian migrant literally gets painted on screen in another immigration film that screened at Venice. Check out the nude beach meets garden of Eden opening scene of Belgian filmmaker Nicolas Provost's The Invader (starring Burkinabé actor Issaka Sawadogo and Italian actress Stefania Rocca). Tambay's preview - here.

More stuff: an Italian graphic novel about another Ethiopia migrant - here. More or the depiction of racism in Italian cinema - here. More immigration cinema: S&A previews + trailers for Maggie Peren's Color of the Ocean (Germany) and Aki Kaurismäki’s Le Havre (Finland). Erwin Wagenhofer's Black,Brown and White (Austria)

Friday, August 5, 2011

DRC/ Angola: Bad Neighbors

The Economist explains some of the bad blood between Angola and its northern neighbor, the Congo:
Every year since 2004 Angola has been kicking out tens of thousands of Congolese, most of them diamond diggers and their families. Angola’s GDP per person is now 24 times bigger than that of Congo at the IMF’s last count, so the Congolese keep coming over to seek a living. But the Angolans are fed up with the influx—and the loss of revenue through illegal mining, sometimes put as high as $700m. More recently they have resorted to the most vicious of measures to get rid of the Congolese (more).
Above, a still from the scene in Djo Tunda Wa Munga's Viva Riva! in which the Angolan gangster, Cesar, (played by Hoji Fortuna) utters his now famous "racist" comment about the Congo. More - here

Friday, July 29, 2011

Guinea: Israel Defense Forces' First Guinean Officer

The IDF site put up a profile Avi (Ibrahima) Bari, their first officer from Guinea as well as the “the first illegal immigrant to become an officer of the Israeli Defense Forces.” The IDF profile focuses on the travails of his crossing from Guinea and illegally into Israel, his mastering of Hebrew and his integration into Israeli society.

The Jeune Afrique profile (Google translation) goes into more detail and also adds that he is:
"...a black Muslim and proudly displaying his origins... 'I am African and I will never forget where I come from. My past resurfaces every morning on waking, when I think back to the stages of my life. This gives me my ambition,' he says."

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Revolution will be Embedded

Swedish rapper Eboi (Ibrahima Banda), born to a Swedish mother and Gambian father, gives social commentary on life in his neighborhood of Husby, Stockholm, one of Sweden’s highest populated immigrant communities. More tracks - here & here.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Africa/Italy: African Immigration and Italian Cinema

Decades of African immigration to Italy is enough time for the attitudes of the Italian society in relation to African immigrants to be absorbed and examined through its cinema. In the Grace Bullaro edited 2010 text above, Italian cinema also replays the love/hate relationships you find towards Africans in the larger society -- i.e. Italian soccer fans and African players.

Some Italian films discussed include dir. Luca D’Ascanio's Bell'amico [Some Friend (2002)], a look at the love/hate relationship between an Italian host and his house guest, an obssessive filmmaker from Angola. Trailer below. The book's breakdown of the film - here:

Or the love/hate relationship Italian men have for West African prostitutes captured as far back as Matteo Garrone's 1997 short film, Terra di Mezzo. The book breaks it down - here

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Guinea: Origins of a Chambermaid, Cont'd

NY Times' Adam Nossiter visits/reports from the village of Thiakoulle, Guinea (The Telegraph got there weeks ago) where the hotel housekeeper who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault grew up. Commenter #8 on the digging up of stuff by the press and especially DSK's lawyers, who are going after her credibility:
What I want to know is why we should care what her family, who haven't spent a significant amount of time with the alleged victim ... the past decade, have to say. What does it matter if she was a quiet, unassuming teenager? What if she had been rebellious and promiscuous? Would it have made the allegations less believable? And don't even get me started on DSK's lawyers. Unless the alleged victim has a history of accusing wealthy guests of sexual assault, anything else they bring to the fore will be irrelevant. Did she overstay her original visa? Irrelevant. Did she have a string of "boyfriends" who helped pay her rent? Irrelevant. Is he daughter a truant and a rude, backtalking teen? Irrelevant.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Guinea: Origins of a Chambermaid

Telegraph's Harriet Alexander (Ousmane Barry in Guinea and Amady Khalilou Dieme in Senegal) journey to Tchiakoulle, Guinea: to dig up the origins of the former IMF chairman's alleged victim:
Deep inside the Guinean countryside, 300 miles from the capital Conakry, the dirt track peters out before reaching the hillside village. Buses are swapped for motorbikes, and then travel by foot, climbing three miles across the rolling hills until, in a clearing in the scrub, a cluster of small mud huts come into view. And yet it is here that the story began of the African woman whose testimony could result in the jailing of one of the most powerful financiers in the world.... (more)
Above, Africa Film Library trailer for Ousmane Sembebe's La Noire (Black Girl) 1966. Story of a young Senegalese woman who moves from Senegal to France, to work for a rich French couple. Often considered the first Sub-Saharan African film by an African filmmaker to receive international attention - wiki.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Africa: IMF Doing What They Do Best

On hearing the report that the 32-year-old hotel maid accusing IMF chief, Dominique Strauss Khan, of sexual assault and rape is an African immigrant (from Guinea), the Daily Show's Jon Stewart did not miss the metaphor (cue to 3:51):
Are you kidding me.. What! That's like a live action metaphor... ...the IMF allegedly trying to fuck an African...

(lol) We recall a BigThink clip in which Raj Patel does the same for the World Bank. And with DSK gone, cartoonist Kroll in the Belgian daily, Le Soir, (via The Arabist) gives us a glimpse inside the Obama Sarkozy situation room:

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Africa: Happy "Striving Immigrant" Mother's Day

From Chinese novelist Deanna Fei's mother's day piece over at Huff Po today:
Like Chua, my mother was a Chinese mother who directed an iron will toward her daughters' success. Growing up, whenever people remarked upon my grades or awards, I almost wanted to tell them I hadn't had any choice in the matter. Because I had the kind of mother who, if I brought home a test score of 98, would demand an explanation for how those two points had escaped me. If I scored 100, she'd demand to know why I'd failed to earn extra credit. Explanation was futile. As my mother would say, "There's no Chinese word for try." I generally resist simplistic East/West dichotomies, but this is true. In Chinese, you can try something out -- as in sampling, tasting, taking a turn -- but you can't say, "I tried my best" or "But I tried." In any case, I knew better than to attempt such excuses in English. I had a duty to excel because, as the daughter of immigrants, I was privileged: privileged to grow up in a land of peace and prosperity -- with a Chinese mother. With privilege came responsibility: responsibility to validate her sacrifices and avail myself of opportunities that, by her implication, might otherwise fall to Americans who were lazier, dumber, or more self-entitled than me..... And as Chua acknowledges, the traits she attributes to Chinese mothers are also found among "Korean, Indian, Jamaican, Irish and Ghanaian parents." In fact, this parenting style would much more accurately be described as common to striving immigrants -- in other words, to those whose life trajectories are "uniquely American," as a Time article astutely observed. More
Got to give it to Huff Po - they know how to stir mother's day internet traffic. For more background and summary on Amy Chua's book and the unending debate it has caused in the U.S, you can read up Sandra Tsing Loi's longer piece in the Atlantic from a few months back.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Nigeria/ U.K : TV Peckham Catching Up with the Real Life Peckham

Sets being built last year for the Nigerian-British sitcom "Meet the Adebanjos". See S&A for more details.

Watching those sets going up, you can't help getting that feeling the Adebanjos were moving into Desmond's old digs. Feels like the passing of the immigrants-melting pot comedy baton from West Indians to Nigerians. Keeping her fingers crossed, Yoruba Girl Dancing takes a look back at the checkered history of such British sitcoms:
Meet The Adebanjos is about a Nigerian-British family in Peckham (of course), with the kids being the more British arm of the family. I am, despite myself, cautiously optimistic. I saw a couple of clips last year, and didn’t completely hate it, so there’s that. I am also hopeful that the crew and cast (Nigerians-a-go-go, not least Mr Don’t Jealous Me, Tolu Ogunmefun) will add an air of authenticity to the venture. Perhaps the Meet The Adebanjos scriptwriters were all watching and taking notes on The Adesinas on Channel 4′s fly-on-the-wall documentary, The Family last year. It’ll be interesting to see how well it handles its Nigerian-ness; Desmond’s, The Fosters, The Crouches and the Lambert family (Mixed Blessings) were all West Indian.
You'd wish Nigerian-British stand up veterans Andi Osho and Jocelyn Jee were consulting on this.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

West Africa/ New York: From Brooklyn to the Bronx

Voodoo undergoing a Haitian renaissance in Brooklyn. Quick, someone call Pat. Below, Ghanaian funerals in the Bronx are parties that go all night long  (article + slideshow).

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Kenya: Benji Goes to Hollywood

Reuters Africa Journal profiles U.S based Kenyan actor, Benjamin "Benji" Ochieng, aka Colonel Emanuel Okeze, the prince's bodyguard who faces off with Bruce Willis at his gruffest in Tears of the Sun (2003). Ochieng takes us through his rise from the ranks of the Hollywood extra to finally nailing a speaking part--hence the sought after union card--when the producers on the X Files were told he could speak Swahili.

The clip of Ochieng on the beach, helping Scully find the alien artifact, is from "The Sixth Extinction" episode of the X Files (part 2 of the Biogenesis story arc) from season 7. However, it seems he didn't tell the X Files producers that since their script called for a West Africa beach/coastline, ideally, nobody in that part of Africa should speak or understand Swahili :) [We've referred to that X File episode here and blogged about the other Africa-related X File episode "Teliko," Eps 3, Season 4 (1996), which deals with Albinism].

Anyway, the profile is a nice look at an African actor in Hollywood, struggling it out with everyone else.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cote d'Ivoire/ France: Aya de Yopongon Cache ... and Movie

Emile Crofton over at Friends of African Village Libraries (FAVL) blog reviews the 6th and final volume of Aya:
My favorite thing about the Aya series is that it covers so many controversial and taboo topics...the sixth book is no different. In the book Aya continues to find a way to denounce her teacher, who forces female students to have sex with him or else he beats them and then fails them. Filled with rage, Bonaventure chases down his son Moussa, who has stolen money from him to build schools and clinics in villages, and has him imprisoned. Innocent is now in France but must deal with the difficulties of the visa process and the French embassy. Albert decides to marry an old ugly village woman in an effort to hide his homosexuality. As usual, Aya N°6 is a must read.
Below Autochenille 16 page press kit about the forthcoming feature-length 2D animation film - the film's synopsis seems to be pulled from the first volume in the series. 

Talking at Angouleme 2011 about her book, Akiss - Attaque de chat and immigrating to France:

Google Trans:
At only 12 years, Marguerite Abouet must leave Ivory Coast and settled near Paris with her uncle. In Akiss - Attaque de chat, Marguerite Abouet tells part of her life as a little girl in Abidjan. My Boox met the author at the International Festival of Comics 2011 in Angouleme. There, she explains her prejudices about France before his arrival.
Angouleme 2011 interview with Akissi' artist, Mathieu Sapin:

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cameroon/ France: Comics Tackling African Immigration in France, Cont'd

Christophe-Ngalle Edimo and Simon-Pierre Mbumbo's 2009 graphic novel, Malamine, un africain à Paris (Éditions Les Enfants Rouges) was featured in the L'Express piece about comics tackling immigration in France.  

Words without Borders just put up a 13 page preview of Edward Gauvin's English translation .

Gauvin's intro - here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Africa: "Where Are You From, From?" - Second Generation Assimilation

Above clip is from With Wings And Roots, a feature-length documentary (still in production/ trailer) about six children of immigrants from diverse backgrounds, striving in their American and German homelands to expand their definitions of belonging.

The young lady at the opening, explaining that after answering "New York" to the initial "where are you from?" only prompts the extra "...but where are you from, from?", which in a de ja vu sorta way reminds us of another New Yorker, the author James Baldwin, who tells a "...but where are you from, from?" anecdote at the opening of Horace Ové's "Baldwin's Nigger" (below) - a recording of Baldwin's famous 1968 talk in London:

H/T: Afro-Europe blog

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ethiopia: Wishing Nejat all the Best at the Regionals

Picture Caption: Nejat Alkadir (left) of Ledford Middle School smiles after winning the Davidson County Schools 2010-11 Spelling Bee on Friday at Davis-Townsend Elementary School. Lauren Sprouse (right) of North Davidson Middle School was the runner-up.

She won in the13th round by spelling the word “nachtmusik” right. Dispatch story - here.

H/T: Nazret


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