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“For the boys who will never be known

And the girls who become numbers”

– Stars without a Name

            If you have been wondering how the recent happenings in the north-eastern part of the country are going to turn out, you might as well stop wondering and pick up Elnathan John’s Born on a Tuesday to check if it fits into what you thought they would look like. Not only has Elnathan John ventured into the murky waters of insurgency in the North-East, he has tried as best as he can to explain some of the things happening in the North-east so that those who have never been there nor know next to nothing about what operates in the north-eastern part of Nigeria can understand to a certain extent what the Boko Haram insurgency is all about without having to grapple with details. Elnathan brings to bear the situation in this part of the country through an engrossing story told by a young boy, Dantala, whose growth we witness, from boyhood to manhood.

Divided into four parts with 263 pages, is a book that chronicles the coming of age of Dantala from an innocent Almajiri who learns at the feet of Mallam Jinadu, to a street urchin under the tutelage of Banda, to a mosque boy taken in and groomed by Sheikh Jamal and finally a black spirit, resolute even in the face of death.

The book Born on a Tuesday takes its title from the name of the protagonist Dantala which means someone born on a Tuesday (P.33).  It is narrated in the first person point of view which makes it more personal to the reader. It starts in Bayan Layi, in 2003 where we are introduced to the life of street urchins in the northern part of Nigeria as told by Dantala, a young Almajiri who ends up under the Kuka tree because of circumstances beyond his control. Who sends a child off to a Quaranic school under the instructions of a stranger for 12 years without checking on him and expects the child to turn out okay and return as a perfect man in the sight of Allah and his people?

Elnathan John touches on how politics is a tool that fuels the crisis in the north-eastern part of Nigeria. Although according to the book, the crisis between the Shia and Shiites has been in existence as far back as when Islam started, the elections were what opened the door to insurgency. Crisis are fueled by the politicians who give money to religious leaders to gain their supports causing division between ‘brothers’ who are supposed to have each other’s back.

Religion is supposed to bring equality among all but thanks to Born on a Tuesday, we now know that bigotry also exists in the religious circle. Mallam Abdul-Nur’s betrayal was alluded to him being a Yoruba man and according to Sheikh Jamal,

A Yoruba man is a Yoruba man.

No matter how Muslim they become.

They stab you in the back.

That is how they are. Hypocrites. (p.210)

            Elnathan John does not just leave it at politics, religion and insurgency; he delves into issues like homosexuality, masturbation, adultery and prostitution which are usually not talked about whenever religion is discussed. Dantala’s inability to confront Abdulkareem and Bilal about what he sees and the Sheikh’s decision to ignore Dantala’s masturbation to talk about marriage shows the hypocrisy in the religious circle concerning issues like this.

Worthy of note is Dantala’s journal entries which started when Jibril starts to teach him English. These entries though in simple English which sometimes are wrongly made and cancelled reflects Dantala’s inner thoughts. They are deep and although they are sometimes serious, there are times when you can’t keep yourself from smiling at the humour presented in the narrations.

Born on a Tuesday is such a good read and until you have read it, you just might not understand what it really is about when they say ‘every king was once a crying baby’. We are first humans before religion, culture and tribe separates us.

Thanks Elnathan for bringing to mind the Burni Yadi boys who were murdered in their sleep at Federal Government College Burni Yadi, Yobe on the 25th of February 2014 and the 276 Chibok girls kidnapped from their dormitory at Government College Chibok, Borno State on 14th of April same year.

 

 

kampala city                            Evening view of Kampala city (credits: Joel Nsadha Isababi)

Uganda is commonly referred to as the Pearl of Africa which is not far from the truth considering her natural resources combined with a very hospitable population. Here are some crazy facts about her;

  1. Caesarian sections were being performed in Uganda way before 1879 when R.W. Felkin observed his first successful operation by indigenous healers in Kahura. (reference: Notes on Labour in Central Africa” published in the Edinburgh Medical Journal, volume 20, April 1884, pages 922-930.)
  1. There are about 880 mountain gorillas in the whole world and half of them are found in Uganda.
  1. Ranked as the world’s most entrepreneurial country with a rate of 28.1%. This means that 28.1% of Uganda’s population own or co-own a business that has paid salaries for more than 3 months but less than 42.
  1. Lakes and rivers cover 26% of Uganda which is 91,136 mi² (241,038 km²) making her the 81st largest country in the world by area. You could say Uganda and Oregon are roughly the same sizes.
  1. The preservation of the umbilical cord and the jawbone among the Ganda and Nyoro ethnicities is similar to the customs of the ancient Egyptian kings.
  1. Mountain Rwenzori (Margherita peak) is the 4th highest in Africa and reaches 5109m (16, 761ft). Interesting to note is it’s covered by snow throughout the year!
  1. Uganda is among the top ten coffee growers/ producers in the world as well as the world’s 4th largest exporter of Robusta coffee (2015).
  1. Grasshoppers are an important and popular seasonal delicacy!
    grasshoppers
                                             Pan fried grasshoppers (credits: Pinterest)
  1. Ranked as the world’s most ethnically diverse country (2013), in other words, if you randomly picked any two people from any part of Uganda, they would be of different ethnicities.
  1. Uganda is among the top 16 holiday destinations for 2016 by CNN. Also ranked as a top tourist destination for 2012 by lonely planet.
  1. Unbelievably true is the fact that Ugandans enjoy their alcohol (2013 study). Uganda ranks as number 1 in Africa and number 8 in the world.
  1. Lake Nalubaale (a.k.a Lake Victoria) found in Uganda is the source of the Nile and is the largest tropical lake in the world. The lake is also considered the second largest freshwater lake.
  1. The British christened Uganda its name, which is a Swahili word meaning land of the Ganda. (1900 Buganda agreement.)
  1. The Batwa, one of the endangered ethnicities, is believed to have lived for close to 60,000 years in the forests of southwest Uganda.
  1. Uganda is UNESCO’s sole representative of Barkcloth. It used to be common in Indonesia, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. Important to note is, Uganda’s one of the countries that have preserved the custom of bark cloth making.
  1. Is home to rare earth minerals (REE- aluminous clays, yttrium, gallium & scandium) valued to be as much as 300 million tonnages. These minerals can be used in the manufacture of cars, airplane parts, and electronics. Other deposits can be found in China and Canada.
  1. The Luzira head that was discovered at the prisons in Luzira dates back to AD 1000. It is one of the oldest Sub-saharan sculptures yet discovered in Africa. It has been part of the British Museum’s ethnographic collection since 1931.
    luzira head
                                              The Luzira head (credits: britishmuseum.org)
  1. Mutesa II, the first president of independent Uganda, was instrumental in funding the Mau-Mau rebellion against the British rule in Kenya.
  1. The story of the Uganda martyrs and their shrine built at Namugongo is a fascinating one. Thousands of people from East and Central Africa flock the shrine on 3rd June every year to honor the martyrs.
  1. Uganda is known as Africa’s premier birding destination. There are over 1000 bird species recorded in Uganda. It is even believed that some of the birds living in Uganda’s forests may not be classified as yet.
  1. The Kasubi tombs, in the central region, are a classic site of 13th-century architecture in Africa.
    kasubi tombs
    Kasubi tombs (credits:http://www.buganda.com)
  1. There are about 150,000 chimpanzees in Africa and a third of them are found in Uganda. In fact, a significant number of chimpazees across Africa are found in only 4 countries.
  1. The Nile perch is not indigenous to Uganda and was introduced into Lake Naluubale (a.k.a Lake Victoria) round about the 1950s.
  1. Uganda has huge deposits of over 50 precious minerals and most of them have not even been mined or refined.
  1. Uganda is one of the few countries in Africa to design her own car, the Kiira that was unveiled in 2011. The prototype was first designed by students at Makerere University and has since then undergone a couple of improvements and modifications.
    kiira ev
                                        The Kiira (credits: evbud.com)
  1. Misaki Wayengera, a Ugandan, developed a 5-minute Ebola test kit. This fantastic breakthrough is expected to reduce the Ebola death rate through quicker diagnosis.
  2. Uganda is the second youngest country in the world with about 70% of the population below the age of 25.
  3. Bazilio Olara Okello was Uganda’s president (de facto head of state) for two days from 27th July to 29th July 1985.
Flag 3d map of Uganda, physical outside.
                            Flag 3d map of Uganda, physical outside. (credits: map hill)

Courtesy: Oneafricangirl.com

In the beginning, the whole earth was of one language and of one speech. This gave mankind the opportunity to think with oneness of mind. They decided to build a tower that will reach unto Heaven. God saw no reason for this and He confused the source of their agreement – language. As it happened in the beginning, it is happening now. The world has started speaking one language and that language is English.
In this era of globalization and technology, English dominates the world as no language ever has and it appears that it may never be dethroned as the king of languages. Some linguists still insist that linguistic evolution will continue to take its course over the centuries and that English could eventually die as a common language as Latin did, or Phoenician or Sanskrit or Sogdian before it.
The factors that underscore the grip English has on the world are disasters like war or climate change that causes people to migrate or the eventual perfection of translation machine that would make a common language necessary. The current migration of Syrians to Europe especially Britain, America and other English speaking countries will increase the number of English speakers in the world as these migrants would have to learn the language of their new host and use less their native languages (Arabic and Kurdish).

Lingua
Exploring some of the opinions of these linguists, mostly American, the scepticism that the future of English is very bright seems to be a minority view. Experts on the English language like David Cristal, author of “English as a Global Language” said that the world has changed so drastically that history is no longer a guide. He pointed out that this is the first time we actually have a language spoken genuinely globally by every country in the world, and that there are no precedents to help us see what will happen.
John McWhorter, a linguist at the Manhattan Institute, a research group in New York and the author of a history of language called “The Power of Babel”, was more unequivocal. He said that English is dominant in a way that no language has ever been before. It is vastly unclear to him what actual mechanism could uproot English given conditions as they are.
In this new millennium, about one fourth of the world’s population can communicate to some degree in English. It is the common language in almost every endeavour, from science to air traffic control to the global Jihad, where it is apparently the means of communication between speakers of Arabic and other languages. It has consolidated its dominance as the language of the internet, where 80 percent of the world’s electronically stored information is in English. The world is currently experiencing a dominance of English language in technological inventions. For example, most mobile phones and tablets that are being used in the world today have their preinstalled applications in English though provision for a change of language is made available in the settings. According to David Graddol, a linguist and researcher, English is spoken across cultures and it is mostly language of instructions at schools. Children are taught the language to help them become citizens of an increasingly intertwined world. At telephone call centres around the world, the emblem of a globalized workplace, the language spoken is naturally English. In countries where English is used as the second language, broadcasting stations cast their news in English language before their native languages. English has become the second language of everybody, it has gotten to the point where almost in any part of the world to be educated means to communicate in English.
As English continue to spread, the linguists say, it is fragmenting as Latin did, into a family of dialects – and perhaps, eventually fully fledged languages – known as Englishes. A full fledge fragmentation of English may see to the end of the real English we know. New vernaculars have emerged in such places as Singapore, Nigeria and the Caribbean, although widespread literacy and mass communication may be slowing the natural process of diversification. The pidgin of Papua New Guinea already has its own literature and translations of Shakespeare. On the other hand, unlike Latin and other former common languages, English seems to be too widespread and too deeply entrenched to die out instead, it is likely to survive in some simplified international form – sometimes called Globish or World Standard Spoken English – side by side with its offspring.
“You have too many words in English,” said Jean – Paul Nerriere, a retired Vice President of IBM, USA who is French. He has proposed his own version of Globish that would have just 15,000 simple words for use by non-native speakers. “We are a majority,” Nerriere said, “so our way of speaking English should be the official way of speaking English”. While Paul proposed Globish for diverse use especially among non-native speakers, Robert McCrum, the literary editor of the London Observer saw it as an economic phenomenon.
As a simplified form of global English emerges, the diverging forms spoken in Britain and America could become no more than local dialects – two more Englishes alongside the Singlish spoken in Singapore or the Taglish spoken in the Philipines. A native speaker of English might need to become bilingual in his own language to converse with other speakers of global English. Crystal wrote that we may well be approaching a critical moment in human linguistic history and that it is possible that a global language will emerge only once.
The dominance English has on the world today is as a result of successive English – speaking empires; British and American, and continues with the new virtual empire of the internet.
The teaching of English has become a multibillion – dollar industry, and according to Graddol, nearly one-third of the world’s population will soon be studying English. In fact, to enter higher institution in Nigeria and some other countries of the world, at least a pass at credit level in English is required. Most overseas higher institutions require a test of English for an international student who doesn’t speak English as a native language before he/she can gain admission.
By the most common estimates, 400million people speak English as first language, another 300million to 500 million as a fluent second language and perhaps 750million as foreign language. The largest English – speaking nation in the world, the United States, has only about 20 percent of the world’s English speakers. In Asia alone, an estimated 350 million people speak English, about the same as the combined English – speaking populations of Britain, the United States and Canada. In Africa, about 200million people speak the language. David Crystal puts the current estimates of English speakers in the world at 1.5 billion. Thus, the English language no longer belongs to its native speakers but to the world.

A non-native English speaker Yilin Sun, a Chinese, is the current president of the International Association of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages known as TESOL. Even if English were somehow to collapse as the language of its birthplace, England, Crystal said, it would continue its worldwide dominance unperturbed.
The people who were once colonized by the language are now rapidly remaking it, domesticating it, becoming more and more relaxed about the way they use it, creating pidgins and creoles. The advance of technology that helped push English into its dominance position could pull it down again. Though it still sounds like science fiction, it seems likely that some time, many decades from now a machine will be perfected that can produce Yoruba when it hears someone speaking German. The sociolinguistic fact remains that the dominance of a language endangers and forces other languages into extinction. This has prompted organisation like the Living Tongues in the United States to promote the documentation, maintenance, preservation and revitalization of endangered languages all over the world. Tertiary institutions in Africa especially in Nigeria where at least 512 languages are currently being spoken are gathering word list of these languages for the purpose of research and documentation. Whether English language fragments into Englishes and a standard form like Globish as proposed emerges or it continues its dominance as the king of languages the fact is that the world has started speaking one language.

Many sub-Saharan African countries are experiencing an economic boom thanks to vast natural resources. But the region has another untapped asset that will help its growth outpace counterparts around the world — its young people.

 

The demographics of the world’s biggest cities are shifting toward younger people. And according to a new report from Ernst & Young, African hubs will have an advantage, as its cities become dominated by younger people while other major hubs watch their populations’ age.

 

Researchers note that cities such as Nigeria’s capital of Lagos, Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and the Angolan capital of Luanda will experience “extremely rapid growth of their young populations.” Ernst & Young predicts that by the year 2030, 90 percent of the world’s young urban population will live in large cities in some of Africa’s fastest-growing economies.

 

“Young populations can help to create large and productive labor forces,” the report says, but also drive unrest in countries with underemployment and other social ills.”

 

However, a growing youth population is still an advantage over cities with mostly older residents, where aging citizens leave the workforce without a skilled younger workers to replace them. The phenomenon is happening in 122 of the 750 top cities around Europe, Asia and South America.

 

The stark contrast can provide a much-needed boost to the developing world.

 

“Recent shifts in the age structure towards younger populations present an unprecedented opportunity to catapult developing economies forward,” reads a recent United Nations report. “The ‘economic miracle’ experienced by East Asian economies could become a reality for many of today’s poorer countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.”

 

Nigeria became Africa’s largest economy just last year, and the World Bank recently upgraded its forecast for economic growth in Kenya this year from 4.7 percent to 6 percent. And economists at Standard Bank are expecting a boom in middle-class households across the region.

 

According to the U.N., policymakers must work to capitalize on the younger population to keep growth sustainable.

 

“Policies that empower young people, coupled with efforts to actively engage them in decisions that affect their lives and shape their future can mean the difference between a demographic trend that weighs economies down and one that buoys them,” the report says, with hopes that these countries will be able to benefit from the burgeoning “demographic dividend.”

If you love nature and wildlife then you shouldn’t be a stranger in the world of natural parks and game reserves in Africa. They are also fun places you should consider when planning your vacation and visit. We are going to be exploring the very best nature and wildlife reserves in Africa. Starting with West Africa, we going to explore various and top best national parks and game reserves in North, East and South Africa.
The West African coast from Dakar Senegal to Yaounde Cameroon have a lot to offer when it comes to natural parks and game reserves. Have you heard of Mole, Pendjari and Waza? These wildlife reserves are some of the finest in West Africa – they may not be as famous but the wildlife is just as diverse, safaris cost a fraction of those in eastern and southern Africa and you’re unlikely to be bothered by crowds. Here are our top blissfully low-key West African wildlife parks.

 

 

Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary, Sierra Leone
This small island on the Moa River in Sierra Leone is unlike any other reserve or park in West Africa: with 11 species of primate present in the sanctuary (www.tiwaiisland.org ), it is one of the very few places in West Africa where you are virtually guaranteed to see chimpanzees and other endangered primates such as the beautiful Colobus and Diana monkeys. There are other rare species such as the endemic pygmy hippopotamus, river otters and more than 130 species of bird. There are guided excursions on the islands and nearby villages, and you can stay the night on a simple, covered platform. The sanctuary is easily reached by taxi from Bo or Kenema but do stay the night in Tiwai if you are using public transport.

 

 

Mole National Park, Ghana
The most amazing thing about Mole (www.molemotelgh.com ) is how cheap and accessible it is: independent travellers can easily get here by public transport from Tamale, admission fees are under US$10 and walking safaris are standard (although if you did want to go on a game drive, the park has a 4×4 for hire). And then of course there is the Mole Motel, in an unbeatable location overlooking the park plains, with premium views of what the animals – elephants, warthogs, baboons, antelope and birds – are up to. There is even a swimming pool for a refreshing dip in between outings.

Two elephant bulls in an aggressive confrontation in Mole National Park.

 

 

Cross River National Park, Nigeria.
The largest rain forest in Nigeria and the oldest surviving one in Africa is located in Cross River National Park. Sharing its name with the state, Cross River, it has the highest tropical biodiversity in Africa. Twenty percent of the world’s total known species of butterflies reside in Cross River. This wildlife park is a top tourist attraction. It’s known for its naturally preserved inhabitants that offers so many activities to get the visitors engaged. The park has many localised species of plants and animals such as gorilla, drill chimpanzee, Gwantibo or golden potto forest elephant, Saleginella etc.

 

 

Parc National de la Pendjari, Benin

 

Surrounded by the beautiful Atakora Mountains, the Pendjari (www.pendjari.net ) is probably the best park in West Africa. It has ‘big-ticket’ wildlife – lions, elephants, cheetahs, baboons – and plenty more for those with the patience to seek it. The infrastructure is fantastic too, with sensational guides and accommodation right at the heart of the park to enjoy drives at sunrise and sunset, when wildlife is at its best. Stay at the lovely eco-lodge Pendjari Lodge (www.pendjari-lodge.com), or the more old-fashioned Hôtel de la Pendjari.

 

 

Kakum National Park, Ghana.
Located just 20 kilometres from Cape Coast, the Kakum National Park is home to elephants, monkeys and elusive bongo antelopes which roam among over 800 rare species of birds, butterflies, reptiles and amphibians. But beside its vast natural endowment of plant and animal species, the presence at Kakum Park of world class receptive facilities for visitors such as the 333 metre long tree-top walkway and a multi-purpose visitor centre, have accounted for the park’s status as an irresistible destination for eco-tourism.

 
Niokolo Koba Park, Senegal.
Niokolo-Koba, at 900 sq km, is Senegal’s largest national park. Principally covered by dry forests and savannahs littered with limber and bush, the National park of Niokolo Park, counts nearly 1500 different sorts of vegetation. This allows it to home 30 different species of mammals, 36 different reptiles, 20 different amphibians and 60 sorts of fish. Of the more than 830 different species of birds recorded in the park, 109 are protected by the Bonn convention and Bern convention.

 
W National Park; Benin, Niger and Burkina Faso.
The W National Park is one park with three sections and each of the three sections is in a different country. The three countries of Niger, Benin and Burkina Faso each governed their respective part of this national park. The wildlife found in the W National Park, includes the lion, the leopard, the serval, the caracal, the cheetah, the Cape buffalo, the African elephant, the hippopotamus, the roan antelope, the aardvark, and the warthog. The W National Park contains a small population (less than 30 individuals) of the rare Northwest African cheetah and more than 350 species of bird.

 
Boucle du Baoule Park, Mali.
Boucle du Baoule National Park is located near the town of Bamako in the western region of Mali, Africa. The park is largely covered in West African savannah although the vegetation is divided into two bio-geographic regions of Sudan Guinea in the south and Sahelian zone for the north. Other parts of the park are combretum shrub, savannah woodlands and a dense rain forest on the banks of Baoule River. Pristine rock art, ancient tombs and varied wildlife make this Boucle du Baoule National Park, an attractive place of visit for the tourists of Mali.

 
Yankari Game Reserves, Nigeria.
The Yankari Game Reserve located in Bauchi State is arguably West Africa’s best known wildlife area… Its prominence as a wildlife destination of choice dates back to the 60s, and since then Yankari has gained global recognition as a great destination for classic West African wildlife (www.yankarigamereserves.com). Yankari is the premier reserve and it is a top destination for wildlife and eco-tourism. It boasts the largest population of elephants in West Africa as well as several endangered species like the leopard. In addition to the wildlife, there are several crystal-clear and infection-free natural warm springs at Yankari, most prominent of which is the Wikki Warm springs. The Wikki Warm Spring is very popular amongst visitors, and is a good place to relax after a long safari. Yankari is an ideal place for bird watchers, because the variety of birds here is astounding.

                                                      Crystal clear Wikki Spring

 
Waza National Park, Cameroon.
The Waza National Park covers an area of 170,000 hectares. It is the most famous park in Cameroon and one of the most spectacular in French-speaking Africa. The Waza National Park in Cameroon is one of the most visited places in this far north side of Africa. The animal population is so great that it also houses endangered species with the likes of the giraffe family, antelopes, bird species and jackals among others. It’s the most important wildlife park in the city of Cameroon and one of the most significant in the country of Africa. This is the only park where you can see animals in danger of extinction. This park is an absolute must to discover.

 

 

The best time to see wildlife in West Africa is December to April, when the grass has been burnt (which improves visibility) and the dry season forces animals to congregate around water holes. Tracks are generally impassable in the rainy season (July-September) and parks are often close.

The Africa Utopia is back for a third year celebrating the act and culture of one of the world’s most beautiful, dynamic and fast-growing continent. The festival looks at how Africa can lead the way in think about culture, community, business and technology and includes topics ranging from fashion, gender and power to politics, sustainability and activism.

 
This year’s festival features some of Africa’s greatest artistes across music, dance, literature and art. The three day event held at London’s Southbank centre features fascinating and exciting events that reflect the richness of African culture and heritage and in some cases, what to expect from African creatives’ based at home and in the diaspora.
The Festival features also interrogate key themes attributed to the narratives of the continent such as migration, and displacement through visual art and theatre.

 
There were lots of events lined up at Africa Utopia. Some of the features from the 3 day festival:
Through Dance, music, art and literature the festival showcased appearances from Tavaziva Dance-when king Gogo met the chameleon,

legendary drummer Tony Allen, one of the acknowledged co-founders of Afrobeat,

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Senegalese super group Orchestra Baobab;

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Phoebe Boswell’s Transit Terminal,

Photo: Africa Utopia

Funmi Adewole,

Diene 'waaw waaw' Sagna, one of the performers at the opening of Africa Utopia, Southbank Centre, 11 September 2014. event. Photo: Carole Edrich

Maia Von Lekow,

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powerfully soulful West African(Mali) singer Kassé Mady Diabaté;

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Europe’s first Black and Minority Ethnic classical symphony orchestra, Chineke! and lots of others.

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Fashion and food lovers were not left out as there was an African-inspired fashion, a buzzing marketplace and delicious African street food to enjoy.

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Eritrean Food

Africa Utopia Friday Day Pass was an opportunity for people to participate in panel discussion, exploring African politics, technology, education and trade. Everything from disruptive innovation to the power and politics of data in Africa were discussed. A panel of writers with African roots explores migrations real and imagined, asking if we inevitably circle back to where we came from.

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It was a great and colorful festival.

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy: AfricaUtopia

What makes me African?
What makes you African?
What makes us Africans?
What have we become?

 
Many questions yet few answers
We crave for much yet less is worked for.
We talk more than we act
We have become enemies of work.
We have become copy cats
We are about to die
For;
“Curiosity killed the cat.”

 
We have grown a hopeless desire
For things from the west
We claim to be modern
Yet the ways of modernization don’t depict ours.

 
Did our great grand fathers and mothers fight for nothing?
Did our ancestors pray to their gods for nothing
What of the manners they instilled and so much preached,
They would strike us if they had a chance.

 
We are a shame to our own kind,
We fight each other instead of creating bonds,
We have become hurtless monsters,
Not different from the lion that hunts other animals.

 
Our values are diminishing,
Just like our dishes,
Just like our ancient hobbies,
Hide and seek and Omweso.

 
We live by stereotypes,
They define us completely,
And we fight men,
Instead of ideas.
Greed defines our path,
Africans and greed,
We are one.
Our ancestors are all together angry.

 
The lovely night bonfire’s
The awesome beer parties,
The games and hunting of game,
The energy that flowed all day long.

 
We have become servants,
Of western interests.
We are still slaves
Neo-colonialism does that.

 
We have forgotten our music
Our lovely beats,
Even our dances that many pay for to watch,
We call all of it ATS.

 
We have become prisoners
We have imprisoned ourselves,
We believe in the white man,
More than in our selves.

 
We are Africans
Behaving like slaves and servants.
We are Africans
That have forgotten their roots.

 
We teach our children western ways
We teach them how to use these instruments
Of mass destruction and hate.
Socializing avoided.

 
Social media and laziness,
Unemployment and poverty,
If only we knew our worth,
The whites would want to know our secrets.

 

#IAmAfrican

This article was first featured on TravelStart Kenya.

Africa is well known for its raw beauty and exotic scenery. If it is not the gorgeous tropical weather, it is the lush greenery that makes up most of the continent, or it is the unspeakably breath taking sand dunes that take hold of our deserts; or maybe it is the rough terrain and high mountains that touch the sky? Or the pristine white sand on our beaches being lapped up by salty, turquoise colored sea water. Whatever the reason, more and more film producers from all over the world have started seeing this continent as the next best location for shooting big blockbuster movies.
Just recently, Netflix shot one of its best performing series’ so far (Sense 8) on location in Nairobi, Kenya. That is not all, ‘Homeland‘, one of the best shows ever to grace our TV’s had a street scene shot in Cape Town CBD. So did ‘Black Sails’ and a host of other popular TV shows. Thanks to the beautiful climate, exceptionally friendly people and gorgeous landscapes that will have you gasping for air, Africa has become a prime location for movies and big budget series. Our beautiful Motherland is set to grace our silver screens more frequently now as more and more producers realize that we have that ‘picture perfect’ kind of land. That being said, here are 10 of the famous movies you didn’t know were filmed in Africa:

Out of Africa: 1985 (Kenya)

Out of Africa
Photo Source: wwwcinemastyle blog

Arguably the one film that portrays Kenya’s awe-inspiring beauty the way it should be portrayed. Shot on location in Karen and the Maasai Mara, Out of Africa is a film based on the life of Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep) and the exploits she had on her coffee plantation and colonial Kenya. Meryl Streep and Robert Redford bring the best out of this film that is teaming with love, conflict, colonial politics and betrayal. As good as the story is, it is the beautiful shots of the spectacular Kenyan plains that will get you!

Mad Max: Fury Road: 2015 (Namibia)

Mad Max Fury Road 001
Photo Source: Collider.com

Currently in Cinemas, Mad Max: Fury Road is set to be one of the most popular movies this year. Fury Road is the 4th installment of Mad Max and it stars Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron. Based on a post-apocalyptic world, Mad Max: Fury Road was shot on location in Namibia after the original Australian location became too lush and flower filled to suit the kind of dystopian sand filled carnage that goes on in the film.

Lord of War: 2005 (South Africa)

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Photo Source: Schaap.st.st

Lord of War tells the story of Yuri Orlov, played by Nicholas Cage, an infamous arms dealer who thrived in the most war tone and conflict ridden parts of the world. It was shot in Cape Town and it captures a side of Africa that many have come to know (War, corruption and dictators). That, notwithstanding, the picturesque shots of South Africa in this film will drive you wild with awe.

Blood Diamond: 2006 (Mozambique/ South Africa)

Blood Diamond
Photo Source: highdefdiscnews.com

Leonardo Dicaprio plays a rogue mercenary in this film set in war tone Sierra Leone in 1999. He teams up with Solomon Vandy, played by Djimon Hounsou, who plays a Mende fisherman, to recover a huge pink diamond that will set them both free from their different sets of problems. There is war, love for family, moral gray areas and conflict in this film. It portrays an ugly side of Africa and humanity as whole, it does however portrays exceptionally beautiful terrain in Mozambique and South Africa.

The Last King of Scotland: 2006 (Uganda)

Last_King-movie
Photo Source: Stephenharen.com

Forest Whitaker plays ‘Idi Amin’, Uganda’s most infamous dictator. The story is told by Dr. Nicholas Garrigan, played by James McAvoy, who was hired as the dictator’s physician. He leads us through Amin’s life and through most of rural and urban Uganda as it were in 1971. Of course, the lush terrain and beautiful African weather does not disappoint.

African Queen: 1951 (Uganda and Congo)

African-Queen
Photo Source: welovemoviesmorethanyou.com

An amusing adventure between a riverboat captain, played by Humphrey Bogart and a missionary spinster, Katharine Hepburn. The bunter, the scenery and the thrilling adventure that ensures here is nothing short of classically entertaining. So, if you are a fan of classic films, you might want to look this up and enjoy.

Cry Freetown: 1999 (Sierra Leone)

cry freetown

Not to be confused with Cry Freedom (set in Zimbabwe), Cry Freetown tells the story of the civil war in Sierra Leone in 1999. Told by local journalist, Sorious Samura, this is a film that will yank your heart out of your chest and make you doubt the good in humanity. It does however, showcase a beautiful, albeit, war tone Sierra Leone.

The Constant Gardener: 2005 (Kenya)

constant-gardner

Shot in Nairobi, this is the story of Justin Quayle, played by Ralph Fiennes. Quayle was a UK diplomat trying to explain his wife’s murder. His wife, played by Rachael Weisz, was an amnesty activists who was investigating a dangerous drug trial that would have implicated and exposed the torrid malpractices of a huge pharmaceutical company. The film feature Kibera, Kenya’s hugest slam and beautiful shots of Nairobi, Kenya’s Capital.

Invictus: 2009 (South Africa)

invictus-
Photo Source: Hbo.com

You probably knew this one was shot in South Africa. It is a story surrounding the events that led to South Africa’s 1996 Rugby World Cup victory. Morgan Freeman portrays a charismatic Nelson Mandela who motivates the South African ‘Springbok’ rugby team and all but demands that they win the Rugby World Cup in the name of the national pride and unity. Matt Damon plays Francois Pienaar, the team Captain. It is shot on location in beautiful Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Robben Island.

Hotel Rwanda: 2004 (Rwanda and South Africa)

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Photo Source: Canadianchristianity.com

This heart wrenching film will restore your faith in humanity as a Don Cheadle plays Paul Rusesabinga, a humanitarian hotel manager in Kigali who saved hundreds of Tutsi and Hutu refugees from certain death during the genocide. Born a Hutu father and a Tutsi mother, Paul put his own life in danger to save his fellow countrymen from marauding militia members who looked to tear the country apart. This film was shot on location in Kigali, Rwanda and South Africa.
The physical beauty and amazing climate in Africa makes it the perfect continent for many movie sets. Adventure films like Tomb Raider II had scenes from Kenya’s very own Hell’s Gate National Park as well as Amboseli. More and more film producers, both local and international, are realizing that these beautiful scenes make for picture perfect silver screen moments and are heading to Africa for gorgeous footage for their big blockbuster movies.
If you have seen a wonderful film, both locally or internationally produced and shot on location in Africa, do not hesitate to share that with us in the comment section below. Also tell us your favorite scene from a big blockbuster film shot in your country.

 

 

 

 

      Maybe like me, we have at a time quizzed ourselves: what will happen? If a lion so tender and young could be termed a cub is placed with a likewise contemporary calf; what will happen? Well I’m sure that answer is right too, if you did provide any that is. But whatever it is, I hope it’s good enough to point out the fact that we need not associate ourselves with a seemingly unending battle of the strong. Is survival hence tarnished? Certainly not! In fact survival becomes the basis for a united front and maybe biology gets to revise its course of evolution all over again.
Dwelling in the past, sometimes makes us focus majorly on the not so good moments, a critical case of wrong decision and a subsequent course of action. Invariably we tend to revive questions that do not get the right answers which is not based on our ineptitude but that we have rightly placed ourselves with the wrong audience, hence, what we get instead of answers are just platitudes, the perfect reason for a continued battle of the strong – News Flash: We endured, We survived, We’re moving forward. This is only true when we are ready to let our past be our past, when it no longer precede our actions, when we let the actions of our most respected figures remain their actions, when we take to our future en masse, when we no longer do what we can but what we should, when we allow ourselves be rid of corrupt practices frowning at acts in the same vein and doing what we should to curb it, when we are ready to work and walk in tandem which should be subject to oneness of spirit and above all when we are ready to love our fellow citizens just like ourselves. Then, would we have learned from wanting to survive and amassed for ourselves enough strength needed to rewrite the course of evolution and strength they say is in large numbers.
The jungle as we know it is big enough for the survival of the cub and the calf but it is going to take unity and open mindedness to tough the poison of hatred. If we must survive, we must see ourselves not just as citizens but also as equals working in tandem toward our survival and this is substantial enough to eliminate our fears of the thicker jungle (future). When we have survived, what we leave behind is our legacy, which in turn fosters a new, and a sustained way of life.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. You playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlighten about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Yes! We are powerful beyond measure to climb the tallest of trees, swim the deepest of rivers, and survive the most violent of storms, powerful enough to tough whatever the jungle terms hardship. Powerful enough to be whatever we want!
Go out there and live your dream.

faith

imagesIt’s quite sad to read and hear some journalist sound so ignorant when they make reports about Africa. Tired of reading articles and write ups that showcase Africa to the world like a continent 80% filled with hungry people. Poor living condition, famine, epidemics and political unrest seem to be the major news about Africa. In a bid, embarking on a journey of thoughts wondering how to connect Africans to share and tell their stories themselves and how every beautiful nook and cranny of Africa can be shown to everyone in the world, the idea behind 54Africa came to life and it led to the establishment of this platform called 54Africa.

54Africa is a platform that represents a voyage that is meant to bring young, goal-oriented, skilful, enterprising and result achieving Africans together, who are willing to interact their ideas, showcase their beautiful country and share their opinions on issues concerning happenings in Africa as well as their glorious experience in different African communities.
A place for everyone to tell and share beautiful stories about their various beautiful countries ranging from culture, lifestyles, literature, business, arts, inspirations, developing economics, music and more
54Africa is open to everyone. You don’t have to be a professional writer before you can share your view about anything African. Let us all show our beautiful, rich and greatly diverse continent to the world in ways and forms never seen before.
You can be part of this huge base by sending in your beautiful stories and articles you got for everyone to info@54africa.com. You can also check out our Facebook page www.facebook.com/The54africa, Instagram: the54africa and also twitter www.twitter.com/The54Africa.

It’s Africa by Africans.

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