http://www.pambazuka.org/images/articles/293/africanpainters.gif - is a blog on contemporary African art. In this post he features Ugandan artist, Eria Sane Nsubuga and his latest exhibition 'A piece of Sane art'.
'The jovial Nsubuga began commercial art in 1999 at the age of 20. Nsubuga's work isn't the abstract art that is hard to understand...' He says he's inspired by nature and human activity and most of his paintings and sculptures are of flora and fauna. 'People here want to buy art pieces that are overtly explainable. It's European customers that want the complicated art work. That's why my art is plain and simple.'
The post includes a slide show of some of Nsubuga’s works which may be plain and simple but is full of the vibrancy and colours of Africa.
http://www.pambazuka.org/images/articles/293/blackhistory4schools.gifBlack History for Schools - is yes a blog about Black History but not just for schools. It mainly focuses on black British history and the Caribbean and also has a resource section and an excellent set of links related to African and black diasporan history. For those readers in London, he alongside Dr Hakim Adi will be at the Institute of Education, discussing ways in which teachers in the UK can mainstream black and Asian history.
'Some of the areas for discussion will stimulate a lot of debate:
How are empire and the struggle for emancipation and reconciliation represented in our teaching and learning about African and Caribbean history and heritage?
What is "black and Asian history" and should it be mainstreamed?
What are the resources and politics involved in moving the subject forward?
How is the legacy of slavery implicated in contemporary constructions of British identity and citizenship?'
Squatter City - has a report on the local 'fish smoking' industry in one of Lagos’s shanty towns, Makoko. Although Makoko is itself located in one of the many rivers that run through to the lagoons and Atlantic ocean, the fish that is being smoked is imported from Europe.
'50-year-old Ogun Dairo tells me that she's been smoking fish for better than 30 years. She purchases the fish from a local refrigerated warehouse that's also in Makoko, but on dry land. For all of the 30 years she's been in the business, she reports, the fish has been imported from Europe. She buys between five and seven large boxes of fish every day, then she smokes the catch.'
The question is: why is a local fishing community buying frozen imported fish from Europe, smoking it and in some cases exporting it back to the markets of London and other European cities for Nigerian consumers. One of the reasons is that small fisherman and women have been pushed out of business by the commercial fishing trawlers that scoop up huge quantities of sea life (for every 20 tons of fish, 1 ton is dumped dead back into the sea). Another reason is pollution of the rivers from oil from ships and tankers as well as garbage human and animal faeces and other waste that is dumped in the rivers.
Kenyan Blogger, Thinkers Room - who blogs anonymously under the pseudonym 'M' has a hilarious post on the reported demise of one 'M' reported in a Kenyan newspaper.
'You can imagine my acute consternation! To date no one has had the decency to tell me to my face that I had been shot dead in Athi-River! So I have been happily going around my business alive and kicking!'
He goes on to report by the Kibaki government on their achievements. Under 'women empowerment' they list that women are 'guaranteed at least a third of all public employment opportunities' and that 'mothers and children are recognised as key players in development'.
So, all women and children of Kenya in case you did not know it, you are now empowered and recognised as KEY members of society! Why because Kibaki says so and if he says so then it must be true.
http://www.pambazuka.org/images/articles/293/whatanafricanwomanthinks.gifWhat An African Women Wants - posts on the pitfalls of being a single woman traveller in Kenya and trying to get a hotel.
'Eventually, after a great deal of drama which I choose not to go into here, I found myself a decent place to stay at a price I was willing to pay. But the trials of a single woman are far from over.
At the reception, as I sign in:
Guy at the reception: Will your husband be joining you?
Me: No, just me.
Guy creases brow and thinks.
Guy: Who will be paying your bills. (seriously, he asks me this. Yes I know this is Watamum but seriously, he asks me this.)
Me: (trying to be calm. My feet are aching, the rucksack on my back feels like a sack of potatoes.) Me.
And so it continued. But all is not lost as now in 2007 women of Kenya (remember they are now empowered and a Key part of society – see above) hotels are finally beginning to take the single woman traveller seriously!
Ethiopian blog, Lela-Tensae-ETA Moonlight - celebrates Black History month by posting some “hidden facts about African Americans” – inventors amongst the community.
'They made their way over to the car, and found that it just wouldn’t go. You see, Richard Spikes, a black man, invented the automatic gearshift and Joseph Gammel invented the supercharge system for internal combustion engines. They noticed that the few cars that were moving were running into each other and having wrecks because there were no traffic signals. You see, Garrett A. Morgan, a black man invented the traffic light.'
Black Looks - comments on the difficultities for Africans wanting to get visas to visit the West.
'Queues! Waking up at the crack of dawn countless times, to get to the American embassy in the capital, to be subjected to hunger, to rain and wind and abusive Ghanaian security guards who can only bully to relieve their sense of powerlessness. But again, I always had at least one of my parents with me…they would miss work for this. And I didn’t have to hustle with public transport, we had a driver........I’m thinking about visas because I wanted to go to London this spring break. My friends are all jetting off to exotic places but I have to get a visa for many of these places. I let slip to my friend that I can’t go to London with her because the British require me to have a visa, although they didn’t need one when they were coming to colonize my country. She asked me if I was bitter. Ha! Do I sound bitter?'
A friend of mine from Nigeria recently visited me in Spain and had to go through a similar scenario with the addition of being told to produce photos of Granada and bring them back to the Spanish embassy on her return as if not she would never be allowed to enter Spain again – work that one out? Needless to say, she has not and will not be taking the photos to the embassy.
* Sokari Ekine produces the blog Black Looks, and is Online News Editor of Pambazuka News.
* Please send comments to [email protected] or comment online at pambazuka.org