My family had never seen a Kenyan: The Chinese making a new life in Africa

Posted in Africa, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Economics, Media Archive on 2018-05-10 17:12Z by Steven

My family had never seen a Kenyan: The Chinese making a new life in Africa

BBC News
2018-05-10

Rajeev Gupta
BBC World Service, Nairobi, Kenya


Xu Jing and Henry Rotich fell in love a decade ago

“We fell in love but it was very difficult at first,” Xu Jing explains from the courtyard of the Fairmont Hotel in Nairobi.

“My family didn’t know much about Africa at all. They hadn’t even seen a Kenyan before so they were very worried.”

Henry Rotich – the Kenyan in question – was just as concerned.

The pair had fallen for each other after Henry was sent to China to learn Mandarin as part of his government job.

It took him many weeks to get his language skills good enough to meet Jing’s father over a nerve-filled lunch, at which he asked for his blessing.

“Her father didn’t say much so I was really worried about what he was thinking, whether or not he even liked the food we were serving him,” Henry recalls.

Apparently his mastery of Mandarin was enough: a decade later, the couple are living in the Kenyan capital, proud parents to two children.

Jing now teaches Mandarin at the Confucius Institute based at the University of Nairobi, one of an estimated 10,000 Chinese nationals who have moved to the East African state.

Their family provides one snapshot of the growing links between Chinese and Kenyans – propelled somewhat by China’s massive investment in the country…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Portugal confronts its slave trade past

Posted in Africa, Articles, Europe, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Slavery on 2018-04-23 23:05Z by Steven

Portugal confronts its slave trade past

Politico
2018-02-06

Paul Ames


Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa on Goree Island in April 2017 Moussa Sow/AFP via Getty Images

Planned monument in Lisbon sparks debate over race and history.

LISBON — Over five centuries after it launched the Atlantic slave trade, Portugal is preparing to build a memorial to the millions of Africans its ships carried into bondage.

Citizens of Lisbon voted in December for the monument to be built on a quayside where slave ships once unloaded. Yet although the memorial has broad support, a divisive debate has ignited over how Portugal faces up to its colonial past and multiracial present.

“Doing this will be really good for our city,” said Beatriz Gomes Dias, president of Djass, an association of Afro-Portuguese citizens that launched the memorial plan.

“People really got behind the project, there was a recognition that something like this is needed,” said Gomes Dias. “Many people told us this is important to bring justice to Portugal’s history here in Lisbon, which is a cosmopolitan and diverse capital with such a strong African presence.”…

Country of tolerance

Few Portuguese miss their imperial regime. Four decades on, no political force clings to colonial nostalgia. Yet a belief lingers that Portuguese colonialism was gentler than other European empires, marked by a tolerant interaction with other peoples and widespread racial mixing.

That tolerance, the narrative goes, is reflected in today’s Portugal.

Unlike just about everywhere else in Europe, there’s no significant far-right party spouting xenophobic populism; during Europe’s refugee crisis, a parliamentary consensus backed doubling the country’s refugee quota; in 2015, Portugal quietly voted in António Costa, whose father was Indian, as prime minister…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Voice Business presents Wirework

Posted in Africa, Arts, Forthcoming Media, South Africa, United Kingdom on 2018-04-23 02:02Z by Steven

Voice Business presents Wirework

Tristan Bates Theatre
1A Tower St, Covent Garden
London, United Kingdom WC2H 9NP
Tuesday, 2018-07-03 through Saturday, 2018-07-07, 19:30 (Thurs & Sat Matinees 14:30)

A play about the unexpected relationship between Koos Malgas, a Cape Coloured shepherd and Helen Martins, a one-time actor and teacher, in the creation of the Owl House – an extraordinary environmental piece full of animated sculptures and pulsating light montages.

Set in the isolated landscape of the South African Karoo and inspired by images from pictures and postcards, their world becomes dominated by form and colour. In her struggle to find the ‘light’, Helen looks towards Mecca as Koos faces the reality of apartheid prejudice and survival.

BRITISH PREMIERE, first performed in South Africa, 2009

Supported by Arts Council England

CAST
Helen Elaine Wallace
Koos Kurt Kansley

CREATIVE
Director Jessica Higgs
Scenographer Declan Randall

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Building new selves: identity, “Passing,” and intertextuality in Zoë Wicomb’s Playing in the Light

Posted in Africa, Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, South Africa on 2018-04-13 23:53Z by Steven

Building new selves: identity, “Passing,” and intertextuality in Zoë Wicomb’s Playing in the Light

Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies
Published online: 2018-04-03
DOI: 10.1080/17533171.2018.1453977

David Hoegberg, Associate Professor of English; Africana Studies
Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis

This article examines Zoë Wicomb’s wide-ranging use of intertextuality in the novel Playing in the Light to explore the links between identity construction and postcolonial authorship. Focusing on the characters as intertextual agents, I argue that the three coloured women on whom the novel focuses – Helen, Marion, and Brenda – use texts in distinctive ways that illuminate their struggles to position themselves in South Africa’s complex and changing racial landscape. Racial “passing” is one form of a larger pattern in the novel of the use of citation and imitation to achieve specific ends. By embedding the citations of Helen and Marion within the citation-rich narrative of Brenda, Wicomb lays bare the mechanisms of identity construction within a work that stages and highlights its own intertextual practices.

Read or purchase the article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Searching For A Motherland As A Black Latina

Posted in Africa, Articles, Autobiography, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2018-04-02 02:36Z by Steven

Searching For A Motherland As A Black Latina

The Huffington Post
2018-03-30

Maria V. Luna, Associate Lecturer
Goldsmiths University of London


Author Maria V. Luna in the Dominican Republic on her way to celebrate carnival in 2011.
Maria V. Luna

For Black Latinx in the U.S., bicultural, bilingual ― if they are lucky ― and born to immigrant parents, there is no motherland.

Though 25 percent of U.S. Latinos self-identify as Afro-Latino, we are not always made to feel at home in our own country. To be Latinx in the U.S. is to encounter xenophobic rhetoric from the top of our nation’s political leadership down to its base. To be black Latinx is to discover that xenophobia layered with anti-black rhetoric brews even among our own ethnic group.

Scholars Miriam Jiménez Román and the late Juan Flores consider W.E.B. Du Bois when describing the experience of the Afro-Latino in the U.S. as a triple consciousness — an awareness of being black, Latino and American. It is an elastic awareness, a way of moving in the world that has been woefully underexplored in America and in Spanish-language media and entertainment.

As an Afro-Latina, I often wondered: Where are my people? Where are those who crave mangú for breakfast, a Cuban sandwich for lunch and tres leches dessert? Where are those who love the “One Day at a Time” reboot with a Latin cast but winced when Lydia, played by Rita Moreno, repeats with conviction, “Cubans are white!” Didn’t abuela dance to Celia Cruz every morning as she made breakfast?

As soon as I could, I journeyed far from New Jersey to find my people. I looked for my kindred in the Dominican Republic, in Brazil, in Spain and in the maternal monolith I once imagined Africa to be.

I was looking for that mythical interstitial place where my blackness and Latinidad could peacefully coexist. This is what I found…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Africanus Princeps? The Emperor Caracalla and the Question of His African Heritage

Posted in Africa, Articles, Biography, Europe, History, Media Archive on 2018-03-20 02:25Z by Steven

Africanus Princeps? The Emperor Caracalla and the Question of His African Heritage

Journal of Black Studies
First Published 2018-03-12
DOI: 10.1177/0021934718760219

Alex Imrie
University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

This article responds to a recent publication in the Journal of Black Studies regarding the emperor Caracalla, who ruled the Roman Empire between AD 211 and 217, following the murder of his younger brother, Geta. In addition to offering an exploration of his career, the recent essay attempts to investigate the importance of Caracalla’s African heritage to the historical portrait of him that survives into modernity, claiming that both ancient sources and modern scholars have downplayed the emperor’s origin and ancestry. Unfortunately, the publication is beset by factual errors that serve to undermine its case. This article addresses these shortcomings and attempts to explain the scholarly approach to Caracalla’s ethnicity, showing that there was some recognition of Caracalla’s African roots, even in antiquity. Furthermore, this article considers the question of modern Africa’s relationship with the emperor, noting the symbolism of the Severan family within Libya under the dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Read or purchase entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Interrogating the African Roman Emperor Caracalla: Claiming and Reclaiming an African Leader

Posted in Africa, Articles, Biography, Europe, History, Media Archive on 2018-03-20 02:10Z by Steven

Interrogating the African Roman Emperor Caracalla: Claiming and Reclaiming an African Leader

Journal of Black Studies
Volume 47, Issue 1, January 2016
pages 41–52
DOI: 10.1177/0021934715611376

Molefi Kete Asante, Professor of African American Studies
Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Shaza Ismail
Helwan University, Cairo, Egypt

This essay provides an interrogation into the historical and personal contradictions in the character of the Roman Emperor Caracalla. As an emperor of African origin who once ruled the world, the nature of his rule, in its political and social dimension, has not been adequately studied. In fact, the scholarly sources that focused on Caracalla as a powerful ruler hardly mention his African origin and in some cases outright deny the fact that he was African. On the other hand, many European writers who do understand his political significance refer to his military achievements ignoring his origin. This work seeks to place Caracalla in the historical setting that befits his adventure as emperor during the time of Rome’s incessant leadership crises. While we know that Caracalla’s life was a series of bold and cruel actions as well as creative achievements, this work discusses his life in the context of his humanity more than to itemize his imperial achievements. The idea is to reveal through the literature and history as much as we can of his complex character in amid the challenging circumstances that surrounded his life and career.

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

There’s No Scientific Basis for Race—It’s a Made-Up Label

Posted in Africa, Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive on 2018-03-13 18:09Z by Steven

There’s No Scientific Basis for Race—It’s a Made-Up Label

National Geographic
April 2018 (The Race Issue)

By Elizabeth Kolbert
Photographs by Robin Hammond


The four letters of the genetic code —A, C, G, and T—are projected onto Ryan Lingarmillar, a Ugandan. DNA reveals what skin color obscures: We all have African ancestors.

It’s been used to define and separate people for millennia. But the concept of race is not grounded in genetics.

In the first half of the 19th century, one of America’s most prominent scientists was a doctor named Samuel Morton. Morton lived in Philadelphia, and he collected skulls.

He wasn’t choosy about his suppliers. He accepted skulls scavenged from battlefields and snatched from catacombs. One of his most famous craniums belonged to an Irishman who’d been sent as a convict to Tasmania (and ultimately hanged for killing and eating other convicts). With each skull Morton performed the same procedure: He stuffed it with pepper seeds—later he switched to lead shot—which he then decanted to ascertain the volume of the braincase.

Morton believed that people could be divided into five races and that these represented separate acts of creation. The races had distinct characters, which corresponded to their place in a divinely determined hierarchy. Morton’s “craniometry” showed, he claimed, that whites, or “Caucasians,” were the most intelligent of the races. East Asians—Morton used the term “Mongolian”—though “ingenious” and “susceptible of cultivation,” were one step down. Next came Southeast Asians, followed by Native Americans. Blacks, or “Ethiopians,” were at the bottom. In the decades before the Civil War, Morton’s ideas were quickly taken up by the defenders of slavery…


Skulls from the collection of Samuel Morton, the father of scientific racism, illustrate his classification of people into five races—which arose, he claimed, from separate acts of creation. From left to right: a black woman and a white man, both American; an indigenous man from Mexico; a Chinese woman; and a Malaysian man.
Photograph by Robert Clark
PHOTOGRAPHED AT PENN MUSEUM

…By analyzing the genes of present-day Africans, researchers have concluded that the Khoe-San, who now live in southern Africa, represent one of the oldest branches of the human family tree. The Pygmies of central Africa also have a very long history as a distinct group. What this means is that the deepest splits in the human family aren’t between what are usually thought of as different races—whites, say, or blacks or Asians or Native Americans. They’re between African populations such as the Khoe-San and the Pygmies, who spent tens of thousands of years separated from one another even before humans left Africa

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Lupita Nyong’o To Star In ‘Born A Crime’ Based On Trevor Noah’s Memoir

Posted in Africa, Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Media Archive, South Africa on 2018-02-22 04:47Z by Steven

Lupita Nyong’o To Star In ‘Born A Crime’ Based On Trevor Noah’s Memoir

Deadline Hollywood
2018-02-21

Amanda N’Duka


REX/Shutterstock

EXCLUSIVE: Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o, currently starring as Nakia in Disney/Marvel’s record-smashing, watershed hit Black Panther, has signed on to star in Born a Crime, the film adaptation of The Daily Show host Trevor Noah’s bestselling debut autobiography Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood.

Nyong’o will play Noah’s mom, Patricia, who served as an important figure to her son in his formative years. She was shot in the head by his stepfather while returning from a church service in 2009, but survived.

Noah is producing the project through his Ark Angel Productions alongside Norman Aladjem, Derek Van Pelt and Sanaz Yamin of Mainstay Entertainment, and Nyong’o…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

New gene variants reveal the evolution of human skin color

Posted in Africa, Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive on 2018-02-20 00:53Z by Steven

New gene variants reveal the evolution of human skin color

Science
2017-11-12

Ann Gibbons, Contributing Correspondent


Researchers have identified genes that help create diverse skin tones, such as those seen in the Agaw (left) and Surma (right) peoples of Africa.
ALESSIA RANCIARO & DR. SIMON R. THOMPSON

Most people associate Africans with dark skin. But different groups of people in Africa have almost every skin color on the planet, from deepest black in the Dinka of South Sudan to beige in the San of South Africa. Now, researchers have discovered a handful of new gene variants responsible for this palette of tones.

The study, published online this week in Science, traces the evolution of these genes and how they traveled around the world. While the dark skin of some Pacific Islanders can be traced to Africa, gene variants from Eurasia also seem to have made their way back to Africa. And surprisingly, some of the mutations responsible for lighter skin in Europeans turn out to have an ancient African origin.

“This is really a landmark study of skin color diversity,” says geneticist Greg Barsh of the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, Alabama.

Researchers agree that our early australopithecine ancestors in Africa probably had light skin beneath hairy pelts. “If you shave a chimpanzee, its skin is light,” says evolutionary geneticist Sarah Tishkoff of the University of Pennsylvania, the lead author of the new study. “If you have body hair, you don’t need dark skin to protect you from ultraviolet [UV] radiation.”

Until recently, researchers assumed that after human ancestors shed most body hair, sometime before 2 million years ago, they quickly evolved dark skin for protection from skin cancer and other harmful effects of UV radiation. Then, when humans migrated out of Africa and headed to the far north, they evolved lighter skin as an adaptation to limited sunlight. (Pale skin synthesizes more vitamin D when light is scarce.)…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , ,