This week in the review of African blogs, I am going to focus solely on blogs by African women. The number of women blogging has quadrupled over the past year and each week more and more African women in the homeland and the Diaspora are blogging. The majority could be described as journals – postings on thoughts and daily experiences - but there are also a number of blogs that, for example, specifically deal with politics, social justice, sexuality and literature.
'Adaure' - Adaure *href="http://according2adaure.blogspot.com/2006/11/celebrating-nigerian-women-...) guest posts on Bella Naija - Bella Naija (http://bellanaija.blogspot.com/2006/11/pen-ladies-by-adaure.html) in which she “celebrates Nigerian women writers” from Flora Nwapa through to today’s gifted writers such as Sefi Atta.
“Nigerian women have proven themselves to be great story tellers. You see and hear them in action every day. From the kitchen to the office and school, the market place to the river bank, the beer parlor-canteen to the hair and nail salon. They are telling all sorts of stories be it about love, money, sex, religion or tradition. It is no wonder there are more Nigerian women blogging, and that number keeps growing daily. We have even coined a distinctly Nigerian hobby called gisting, not to be confused with gossiping. While men have dominated the literary and publishing field, some women have certainly made their mark, both in the past and present. The 21 century has also seen a new wave of Nigerian women writers many of whom are young, possess a freshness that had been lacking and are fearless in the approach.”
This is an excellent post. The only disappointment is that Diane Evans who wrote 26a was not included and in that respect a particular comment stood out.
“Diane is half Nigerian so she might be worth adding to your list”. I take issue with the statement as I don’t see people as being half this or half that. Particularly offensive is the “she MIGHT BE WORTH adding to the list” – or maybe she might not! Who is to decide? I do not know Ms Evans but I do know she has visited Nigeria recently and has arranged with Nigerian publishers to have her book published locally. Her father is Nigerian so as far as I am concerned there is no problem about her being included in a list of Nigerian women writers. She is one.
'Kameelah Writes' Kameelah Writes (http://kameelahwrites.blogspot.com/2006/11/mugabe-and-ahmadinejad-oh-my-...) comments on the emerging alliance between Robert Mugabe and his Iranian counterpart, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Kameelah, although definitely no apologist for Mugabe, sees the economic sanctions on Zimbabwe by the West as influencing Mugabe’s search for alternative alliances such as China and now Iran.
“Mugabe’s land reform program (seizing white-owned farms for redistribution to new black farmers), matched with allegations of election fraud in 2000 & 2002 (which without being an apologist for Mugabe, America has no moral upper hand in critiquing) and political repression have earned Zimbabwe coveted membership in Condoleezza rice’s illustrious ‘outpost of the tyranny’ club.
Joining such stars as Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Belarus and Myanmar, Zimbabwe became officially ‘evil’ and has been subject to a the host of diplomatic pressures to surgically remove Mugabe from office. It seems as if this club has the ability to bring together kindred spirits as Zimbabwe and Iran are joining forces to challenge Western hegemony. During Mugabe’s four day visit to Iran this week, Iran and Zimbabwe signed five memoranda of understanding to boost agricultural, energy, development aid, economic, technical and education cooperation.”
The truth is that Mugabe has lost all credibility and whilst he looks to the East for economic and moral support whilst condemning the West, he is destroying the lives of his own people and his country.
'Kenyan blogger and poet Mshairi' - Mshairi - (http://www.mshairi.com/blog/2006/11/26/a-change-is-gonna-come/) pays tribute to her sister, Dr. Wanjiru Kihoro who passed away on October 12th after nearly 4 years in a coma.
“A distinguished economist, Dr. Wanjiru Kihoro graduated from Columbia University and went on to earn an MA in Development Studies and a PhD at Leeds University. Over the years she gained the respect and admiration of many for her dedication to matters of gender, equality, justice and democracy.
“A long time London resident, Dr. Kihoro was one of the founders of the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners in Kenya formed in 1982. The Committee fought to highlight the plight of university lecturers, students and other so-called “dissidents” incarcerated in various Kenyan maximum security prisons. Largely as a result of the Committee’s pressure, most of the prisoners were adopted by Amnesty International and other international human rights organisations as prisoners of conscience.”
'Rosemary Ekosso' - Rosemary Ekosso (http://www.ekosso.com/2006/11/dr_george_ayitt.html) points to an article by Dr George Ayittey on China (France) and Africa. Ayittey discusses what China wants in Africa and how Africans should view this new pragmatic "friendship".
"The real problem was the retinue of clueless African clods, who attended Chopsticks Conference at Beijing in October. ‘Clueless’ because that was no Berlin Conference for sure. No European powers were present; only one Asian power, China. And no Maxim gun was needed. But lying prostrate at China's feet were 40 African heads of state, offering themselves for voluntary economic enslavement. Disgusting.
“Elementary principles of demand and supply suggest that that was a buyer's market. When 40 desperate suppliers are competing for one buyer's attention, the buyer calls the shots. With chopsticks dexterity, China can pick platinum from Zimbabwe; oil from Angola, Nigeria and Sudan; cocoa from Ghana; diamonds from Sierra Leone; etc. – all on its own terms because of its strong bargaining position. Few radical intellectuals and African heads of state see nothing wrong with this huge imbalance because China is perceived to be a ‘friend of Africa’ since it is ‘anti-West.’
"'The enemy of my enemy is my friend' has been the seductive fallacy. Those who don't learn from history are bound to repeat it."
What a breath of fresh air to hear someone actually look both East and West in the face and speak the truth of their interest in Africa in the past, now and in the future.
'Nigerian blogger', Reflections 2 - Reflections 2 (http://bettyboopu.blogspot.com/2006/11/repost-made-in-nigeria.html) has a hilarious post commenting on the Nigerian government’s drive to improve exports. The blog renames a host of Nigeria’s favourite foods so we end up with these (just a selection and am sorry the names just don’t hold up for me):
“Kilishi - Beef Crackers; Roasted Corn - Corn Aflame; Ogi/Akamu - Corn Caramel; Garri - Grain O Fibers; Ikokore -Continental Yam Casserole; Kunnu - Grain Alive.”
'Freedom for Egyptians' - Freedom For Egyptians (http://freedomforegyptians.blogspot.com/2006/11/cairo-international-film...) comments on the Cairo International Film Festival where this year’s guests of honour are Latin American films.
“Believe it or not, Cairo Film Festival is hosting for the first time movies from Saudi Arabia and Oman. Yes, Saudi Arabia... It is the first movie production for Oman. And, the Saudi movie is starring Saudi actors and actresses and is written by Egyptian script writer Belal Fadel…Late Egyptian Writer Naguib Mahfouz will be honored in the 30th round for the festival. Mahfouz passed away this year at the age of 95.”
'Black Looks' - Black Looks (http://www.blacklooks.org/2006/11/1189.html) has expanded by inviting three African women to contribute to Black Looks as often as possible, a move she hopes will broaden the base of the blog. This week, she comments on the response from various African governments and media to the passing of the “Same Sex Marriage Bill” in South Africa earlier this month. A number of countries that had never previously discussed the issue of homosexuality in public are now doing so, such as Burkina Faso and Mozambique. The Kenyan Times came out publicly stating that:
“I am not sure that homosexuality has a European lineage otherwise the holy book would not have mentioned and discussed about it. I think it is very true and probably so that homosexuality is practiced (but not spoken openly about) in Africa by African peoples. I stand to be corrected to the contrary with empirical evidence.”
Other countries such as Nigeria and Uganda remain intransigent in their views, refusing even to discuss the matter as a human rights issue.
• Sokari Ekine produces the blog Black Looks,