Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category

Update: The Cambridge police just dropped the charges! Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., best known for his work in African-American ancestral research, was arrested last week by Cambridge, Mass., police on his own front porch. Gates had just returned from China and found his front door jammed. He went to the backdoor of the […]


James Brown, Bill Withers, B.B. King, Miriam Makeba, the Spinners, Celia Cruz, the Crusaders, and more are featured in the  new documentary Soul Power, capturing Zaire ’74, a three-day soul music festival that was originally scheduled to take place the same week as Muhammad Ali’s Rumble in the Jungle championship fight against George Foreman in Kinshasa, […]


The U.S. Senate passed a non-binding resolution on June 18 apologizing for American slavery (1619 – 1865) and “Jim Crow” laws following slavery through the 1960s that continued to deprive Black people of basic human rights. The resolution concludes:  Whereas it is important for the people of the United States, who legally recognized slavery through the Constitution and the […]


The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, in Tanzania, convicted former interior minister Callixte Kalimanzira, 56, of two counts of genocide and direct and public incitement to commit genocide during the 1994 slaughter of 800,000 people–mainly Tutsis–in Rwanda. The African holocaust shocked the world. Kalimanzira, who instructed thousands of Tutsi civilians to take refuge at Kabuye Hill in Ndora commune, promising food […]


The New York Times calls him the “Senegalese superstar,” but most African-Americans have never heard of him. A new movie, “Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Love,” about his life and music, just opened in Manhattan last Friday and could change things. Combining Senegalese lyrical expressions with Egyptian arrangements, his 2004 album, Egypt, earned Youssou N’Dour, 49, […]


  AIDS health activist Thembi Ngubane was just 19 when she began documenting her battle with AIDS for a radio diary that aired on NPR, here in the U.S., in April 2006, and later aired in the UK, Canada, and Australia, touching nearly 50 million people. A mother of a four-year-old daughter, she died last […]


The BBC is reporting that Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to pay $15.5 million as an out-of-court settlement in a case brought by the families of nine Nigerian executed anti-oil activists, accusing the company of human rights abuses, including murder and torture. The activists, who were protesting the pollution caused by the oil industry and also […]


In his first state of the nation address, President Jacob Zuma promised to create 500,000 new jobs in South Africa before December 2009. Roughly 40% of South Africans live in poverty, so this initiative is sorely needed. However, can Zuma really pull it off during the country’s worst recession in nearly 20 years? During the […]


Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe’s prime minister, who entered into a power-sharing agreement with President Robert Mugabe more than 100 days ago, spoke at his political party’s annual convention last week, stating his party, Movement for Democratic Change, has not yet moved democracy forward in the country that was once one of Africa’s most prosperous. Many citizens […]


Liberia, an African country founded by freed American slaves in the early 19th century, is defined by deep racial and social complexities. A 1980 military coup ended the rule of the American-Liberian elite class and led to a 13-year civil war. The current president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first female president in Africa, has written […]


According to the BBC: The military in Nigeria has been accused of killing 1,000 civilians during an upsurge in operations against militants in the oil-rich Niger Delta. ‘They…bombard entire communities from the air, sea and land,’ said the Ijaw National Congress which represents the region’s largest ethnic group. A Nigerian military spokesman dismissed the allegations […]


Update 5/7/09: Jacob Zuma was elected South Africa’s president on Wednesday by parliament and will be inaugurated on Saturday. He’s expected to name his new government on Sunday. Speak your peace. (4/27/09) Although the African National Congress, the ruling political party in South Africa since Nelson Mandela’s presidential election in 1994, didn’t win the symbolically significant […]


We have the New York Times to thank for exposing the everyday challenges faced by impoverished Senegalese people, who use garbage to “fortify” their homes and streets. In the Médina Gounass neighborhood of Guédiawaye, “people use it [garbage] to shore up their flood-prone houses and streets in this low-lying area near the Atlantic coast; they have no choice. […]


This week’s issue of Science magazine include’s a research paper, authored by a University of Pennsylvania team of scientists, led by Sarah Tishkoff, that offers the largest and newest genetic survey of people in Africa. Based on the authors’ findings, the southwest area of the African continent where Angola and Namibia meet is the likely origin of modern humans and, […]


Ida Odinga Lucy Kibaki   Key women’s organizations in Kenya, including the Women’s Development Organization, Federation of Women Lawyers, Caucus for Women’s Leadership, and Maendeleo ya Wanawake (a network of rural women’s groups), have launched a campaign to ban sex in the country for one week — they’re even willing to pay commercial sex workers to […]


According to the New York Times: The off-again-on-again civil war in Burundi that killed more than 200,000 people officially came to an end on Wednesday as the last of its rebel groups formally became a political party. According to the African Union, which has led peace efforts, 3,500 members of the rebel group, the National […]


Staff Benda Bilili, a Congolese band of street musicians who live near or in the zoo in Kinshasa, are on the verge of success. Due to a polio outbreak, most of the band members are paraplegics — roughly translated, Benda Bilili means “look beyond appearances” — and, together, they create stirringly rhythmic music with lyrical insights about […]


The African National Congress, South Africa’s leading political party, staged a rally on Sunday in Johannesburg’s largest rugby stadium to solidify support for 67-year-old presidential candidate Jacob Zuma, just three days before the election. There are 40 different national and provincial parties competing in the elections. Former President Nelson Mandela, 90, appeared with Zuma at the […]


Now that Abdiwali Abdiqadir Muse’s age has been determined — he’s supposedly 18, not 15, as previously reported by his legal team — the young Somali “pirate” faces life in prison. He appeared in a federal court in Manhattan yesterday and according to official reports, Muse was the first to board the Maersk Alabama on April 8, armed […]


In the 113th running of the Boston Marathon today, Ethiopian Deriba Merga (bottom), 28, won the men’s race in 2:08:43. Kenyan runner Salina Kosgei (top), 33, won the women’s race with the closest finish in that race’s history. Her final time of 2:32:16 was only one second ahead of defending champion Dire Tune of Ethiopia. […]