Genetic diversity of Sub-Saharan Africa revealed

Posted in Africa, Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive on 2014-12-16 02:40Z by Steven

Genetic diversity of Sub-Saharan Africa revealed

BBC News
2014-12-04

Rebecca Morelle, Science Correspondent

Scientists have completed a comprehensive study of genetic diversity in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The African Genome Variation Project analysed the DNA of 1,800 people living across the continent.

The data is helping scientists to understand how susceptibility to disease varies across the region and has provided more insight into how populations have moved within Africa.

The research is published in the journal Nature.

Until now, most studies examining genetic risk factors for disease have focused on Europe. Little has been known about Africa, the most genetically diverse region in the world.

Dr Manj Sandhu, from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the University of Cambridge, said: “We originally set out to look at chronic diseases in Africa, and one strategy to understand the causes of those diseases is to look at the underlying genetic susceptibility.

“But to do that, you need a pretty good grasp of the variation in genomes across the region, but we realised that information wasn’t available.”…

Read the entire article here.

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‘I’m proud of my African heritage’

Posted in Africa, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2014-12-16 01:15Z by Steven

‘I’m proud of my African heritage’

The Korea Times
2014-12-14

Kim Se-jeong

Top award winner Park Ji-han says taekwondo changed him

When Park Ji-han was in his first year at elementary school, his classmates called him “African shala shala” because of his background and because he spoke Arabic.

Now, a decade later, the handsome youth’s nickname is “walking statue.” The high school sophomore stands about 179 centimeters tall, and he has chiseled features that could stare down any K-pop star or actors for that matter.

The change speaks volumes about how much Park, 17, went through as a young boy and how far he has come. He attributes this to taekwondo.

A student at Daekyeong Commercial High School in Seoul, he was recently named the grand winner in the 3rd Korea Multicultural Youth Awards organized by The Korea Times and the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.

Park was born in 1997 to a Korean mother and Sudanese father. He lives with his parents and older brother in Itaewon in Seoul.

He began learning taekwondo when he was in the second grade.

“I had no friends in the first grade, but in the second grade I finally met a good friend, and I practiced taekwondo with him,” he told The Korea Times. Initially, he took up the martial art to defend himself as he was still scared of the boys who had mocked him…

Read the entire article here.

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The African Genome Variation Project shapes medical genetics in Africa

Posted in Africa, Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive on 2014-12-11 02:16Z by Steven

The African Genome Variation Project shapes medical genetics in Africa

Nature: International Weekly Journal of Science
Published online: 2014-12-03
15 pages
DOI: 10.1038/nature13997

Deepti Gurdasani
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
Genome Campus
Hinxton, Cambridge, United Kingdom

et. al.

Given the importance of Africa to studies of human origins and disease susceptibility, detailed characterization of African genetic diversity is needed. The African Genome Variation Project provides a resource with which to design, implement and interpret genomic studies in sub-Saharan Africa and worldwide. The African Genome Variation Project represents dense genotypes from 1,481 individuals and whole-genome sequences from 320 individuals across sub-Saharan Africa. Using this resource, we find novel evidence of complex, regionally distinct hunter-gatherer and Eurasian admixture across sub-Saharan Africa. We identify new loci under selection, including loci related to malaria susceptibility and hypertension. We show that modern imputation panels (sets of reference genotypes from which unobserved or missing genotypes in study sets can be inferred) can identify association signals at highly differentiated loci across populations in sub-Saharan Africa. Using whole-genome sequencing, we demonstrate further improvements in imputation accuracy, strengthening the case for large-scale sequencing efforts of diverse African haplotypes. Finally, we present an efficient genotype array design capturing common genetic variation in Africa.

Read the entire article here.

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Where the Negroes Are Masters: An African Port in the Era of the Slave Trade by Randy J. Sparks, and: Another America: The Story of Liberia and the Former Slaves Who Ruled It by James Ciment (review)

Posted in Africa, Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, Slavery on 2014-12-03 17:37Z by Steven

Where the Negroes Are Masters: An African Port in the Era of the Slave Trade by Randy J. Sparks, and: Another America: The Story of Liberia and the Former Slaves Who Ruled It by James Ciment (review)

Journal of the Early Republic
Volume 34, Number 4, Winter 2014
pages 686-690
DOI: 10.1353/jer.2014.0068

Andrew N. Wegmann
Louisiana State University

Where the Negroes Are Masters: An African Port in the Era of the Slave Trade. By Randy J. Sparks. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014. Pp. 309. Cloth $29.95)

The Atlantic slave trade stands at the center of Atlantic World studies. Indeed, the centuries-long trade in human beings from the coast of Africa to the Americas and Europe has come to define how each society bordering the Atlantic explains its cultural and racial demographics. Tales of families torn apart for the profit of a white man, of countless numbers taken across the Atlantic and forced into the fields of Jamaica, South Carolina, and Virginia, have fascinated and frustrated scholars and readers for decades. But rarely have these stories looked back to their origins, situating Africa at the center of the trade and the Atlantic community that made it possible. In Where the Negroes Are Masters, Randy Sparks does just that.

The strength of Sparks’s work lies in its uncommon approach. By placing the West African town of Annamaboe at the heart of the Atlantic slave-trading world, he shifts the academic focus of the slave trade from American fields and British trading houses to a Gold Coast trading town in which Africans call the shots, make enormous profit, and interact as commercial equals with European slavers. Sparks does not mince words, claiming that “the successful, capable, and wily merchants of Annamaboe were as integral to Atlantic commerce as those of Liverpool, London, Cádiz, Nantes, Charleston, New York, or Kingston” (3). Ruled and ‘‘owned’’ by the Fante people, Annamaboe was a place of commercial as well as cultural exchange, a site where the colonial powers of Europe entered into agreements and treaties with the reportedly ‘‘savage,’’ ‘‘barbarous’’ blacks of Africa. It was a place to which England sent its youngest, brightest captains to serve as governors before they rose in the political ranks to North America and the Caribbean. In return, the leaders (called caboceers) of Annamaboe frequently sent their sons to London and Paris for education, trading experience, and acculturation.

But, as Sparks points out, this was all a game. The caboceers at Annamaboe knew that both England and France wanted the thousands of slaves leaving the coast each year. The young men sent to London and Paris from Annamaboe, like the famous William Ansah Sessarakoo, son of the powerful caboceer John Corantee, imbibed European culture while also acquiring an intimate knowledge of the European side of the trade— profit margins, active political disputes, anything the leaders at Annamaboe could use to outwit and manipulate their European buyers.

Indeed, on a number of occasions the French and English nearly came to blows over the right of deposit at Annamaboe Road, the town’s primary port. In the end, the English muscled the French out of the region, and constructed a fort in town, for which they paid tribute, rent, and customs duties.

The relationship between Africans and Europeans did not stop at the trade itself. English merchants, traders, and governors residing in town often took ‘‘country wives’’—African women, sometimes mixed-race, who provided relief of carnal urges as well as connections in Annamaboe’s merchant elite. Richard Brew, an Irish-born trader who arrived at Annamaboe around 1745, became the wealthiest, most powerful private trader on the Gold Coast due in part to his ‘‘marriage’’ to John Corantee’s daughter. They lived together at Brew’s Annamaboe mansion (called ‘‘Castle Brew’’), and raised three mulatto children, all of whom took their father’s surname and served as interpreters and traders for Annamaboe until the early nineteenth century. As Sparks explains, the mulattoes, of which there were many along the Gold Coast, bridged the cultural and racial gap manifested in their pedigrees. Some served as soldiers for the English aboard slavers and in forts, positions strictly reserved for the mixed-race sons of European officials. Others, like the Brew children, served as interpreters, political representatives, and port traders for the caboceers. Many were Christian. Nearly all spoke both English and Fante, as well as ‘‘creole’’ (which Sparks never fully defines), and dressed in European stylings. They were the products of the cultural and racial exchange that brought Annamaboe, and the rest of the Gold Coast, into the heart of the Atlantic World.

Although central to the commercial and cultural development of the Atlantic World, Sparks’s…

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Race, sex, and colonialism

Posted in Africa, Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive on 2014-10-20 20:43Z by Steven

Race, sex, and colonialism

OUPblog: Oxford University Press’s Academic Insights for the Thinking World
2014-10-20

Carina Ray, Associate Professor of History
Fordham University


DJ/Presenter Reggie Yates and Dr. Carina Ray review historical documents

As an Africanist historian committed to reaching broader publics, I was thrilled when the research team for the BBC’s genealogy program Who Do You Think You Are? contacted me late last February about an episode they were working on that involved the subject of some of my research, mixed race relationships in colonial Ghana. I was even more pleased when I realized that their questions about shifting practices and perceptions of intimate relationships between African women and European men in the Gold Coast, as Ghana was then known, were ones I had just explored in a newly published American Historical Review article, which I readily shared with them. This led to a month-long series of lengthy email exchanges, phone conversations, Skype chats, and eventually to an invitation to come to Ghana to shoot the Who Do You Think You Are? episode.

After landing in Ghana in early April, I quickly set off for the coastal town of Sekondi where I met the production team, and the episode’s subject, Reggie Yates, a remarkable young British DJ, actor, and television presenter. Reggie had come to Ghana to find out more about his West African roots, but he discovered along the way that his great grandfather was a British mining accountant who worked in the Gold Coast for close to a decade. His great grandmother, Dorothy Lloyd, was a mixed-race Fante woman whose father — Reggie’s great-great grandfather — was rumored to be a British district commissioner at the turn of the century in the Gold Coast.

The episode explores the nature of the relationship between Dorothy and George, who were married by customary law around 1915 in the mining town of Broomassi, where George worked as the paymaster at the local mine. George and Dorothy set up house in Broomassi and raised their infant son, Harry, there for two years before George left the Gold Coast in 1917 for good. Although their marriage was relatively short lived, it appears that Dorothy’s family and the wider community that she lived in regarded it as a respectable union and no social stigma was attached to her or Harry after George’s departure from the coast…

Read the entire article here.

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Who Do You Think You Are? [with Reggie Yates]

Posted in Africa, Autobiography, Biography, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Videos on 2014-10-19 21:55Z by Steven

Who Do You Think You Are? Reggie Yates [with Reggie Yates]

Who Do You Think You Are?
BBC One
Series 11: Episode 8 of 10
Running Time: 00:59:09
First Aired: 2014-09-25

Presenter and DJ Reggie Yates grew up knowing very little about his father’s side of the family. Reggie sets out on the trail of his grandfather, Harry Philip Yates. His journey takes him to Ghana, where he unravels a complex family history where Ghanaian culture and British colonialism collide.

[Features Fordham University history professor Carina Ray.]

For more information, click here.

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Commercial music radio, race and identity in South Africa

Posted in Africa, Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, South Africa on 2014-10-08 16:45Z by Steven

Commercial music radio, race and identity in South Africa

Media Culture & Society
Volume 36, Number 7 (October 2014)
pages 901-915
DOI: 10.1177/0163443714536076

Tanja Estella Bosch
University of Cape Town, South Africa

In South Africa, listeners often believe that radio stations deliberately constitute their audiences in terms of race. This article further explores this notion using commercial music station Good Hope FM as a case study. Radio creates a textured soundscape that is experienced as part of the material culture of the home; it contributes to the creation of domestic environments and it can help maintain and establish identities. These assertions are explored further through interviews with listeners. Mediated experience has long influenced self-identity, and this study explores popular conceptualizations of GHFM as a ‘coloured’ or mixed-race radio station, through these listener interviews, conducted in the home. The article explores the possibility that the symbolic arrangement of broadcast music and talk elements in one ensemble, embody and expresses group self-consciousness; and that the cultural consumption of GHFM leads to the formulation of an imagined identity based on ethnicity. Consumption of radio station content becomes a dialectical identity-forming process played out through tuning in. While GHFM listeners re-articulate normative discourses of identity and old apartheid constructions in their reflections on their media consumption, the article shows the act of tuning in as a critical part of their dialectical identity-forming process.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Footprints of my other

Posted in Africa, Europe, Identity Development/Psychology, Videos on 2014-09-15 02:00Z by Steven

Footprints of my other

2012
52 minutes

Claude Haffner

Born to a mixed race couple in the DRC, then Zaire, in the 1970s, Claude Haffner is part Congolese, part French.

From her family home in France, Claude Haffner embarks on a journey in search of her African identity. She is of mixed race, born in 1976 to a French father and a Congolese mother in Zaïre (today’s Democratic Republic of the Congo). Pierre Haffner, her father, passed away in 2000, and having become a specialist on African art and cinema, he left behind a collection of African art together with photos and taped accounts about Congo and Africa. This is the starting point of Claude’s investigation. She delves into their shared material, intellectual and psychological heritage. She interviews her mother who still lives in France about her country, her family and her history. In the search of answers to her questions she returns, alone this time, to Mbuji-Mayi, the capital of Kasaï and the centre of the diamond trade. Michou, her cousin travels with her to the heart of the diamond fields. Despite unemployment, poverty and lack of activity the inhabitants of Mbuji-Mayi remain hopeful owing to the new governor’s development policies.

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Claude Haffner: “Black Here, White There” | “Footprints of My Other”

Posted in Africa, Arts, Autobiography, Interviews, Women on 2014-09-14 21:30Z by Steven

Claude Haffner: “Black Here, White There” | “Footprints of My Other”

African Women in Cinema Blog
2012-03-15

Beti Ellerson, Director/Directrice
Centre for the Study and Research of African Women in Cinema

Interview with Claude Haffner and translation from French by Beti Ellerson, March 2012.

An interview with Franco-Congolese filmmaker Claude Haffner by Beti Ellerson regarding her documentary film, Footprints of My Other (2012)

Beti Ellerson: Claude, a moving autobiographical story about your place “in between”—black and white as a racial signifier, Africa and Europe—their contrasting beliefs and customs, class, status and gender—what you represent as an Alsatian and its contradictions as a Congolese. I also discern your need to redefine yourself in relationship to your father and mother—a liberation, as you call it, and finally as an expectant mother, your research on the formation of identity and how you will transmit your own multiple identity to your child with the hopes that she will be able to find, as you have between black and white, her own colour. Some reflections?

Claude Haffner: Initially, I wanted to make a film that focused solely on the diamond operations and the turmoil that I discovered the first time I went to the Congo. I saw the poverty in which my mother’s family lived, and I wanted to talk about this heartbreaking reality in a different manner than that presented by the media, that is to say without the tendency to dwell on the sordid side of life, which I hate. I looked for a way to educate and at the same time not bore the viewer, but also that he or she may be able to identify with the story, whether the person is black, white or any other colour of the rainbow. I knew that to bring it to the screen, I had to enter into the story. But I did not at all imagine that I would talk about myself, my history, my bi-raciality.

Then I contacted the South African producer/director Ramadan Suleman to propose the project. Ramadan read the draft and immediately called me back to say that he liked the idea a lot and he was prepared to produce the film, however he thought that I had to be more involved in it since it was my family, my country, my feelings; that this aspect should be more pronounced. So I added my individual history to the story.

But what is wonderful about the documentary is that no matter how much one may write and rewrite the script, at the end it is the characters and the scenes that are shot that will decide the final product. The issue of culture, of being mixed-race, the place between father and mother, the transmission of identity to the child, none of these themes were written. They emerged during the filming. I had not planned to talk about skin colour with my cousins for example. It’s what is called the “magic of the documentary.” At least that’s the way I love films and how I would like to make them. Not knowing everything in advance about how the film will look, not forcing situations in order to relate the story, but rather leaving room for unanticipated situations. The film should redefine itself as the shooting unfolds in the same way that the filmmaker redefines herself in relation to her initial idea and to her subject. This is evident in the fact that in 2004 I could not foresee that I would be expecting a child after having filmed in the Congo, and that I would actually include myself, while pregnant, during the scenes in Alsace. Somehow, the film helped me to define my identity and my place between Europe and Africa and to become aware of the richness that I possess to have come from a double culture or perhaps I should say, multiple…

Read the entire article here.

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A Conversation with Dr. Yaba Blay: Saturday 30th August

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Live Events, Media Archive on 2014-08-28 19:40Z by Steven

A Conversation with Dr. Yaba Blay: Saturday 30th August

Africa Women’s Development Fund
Plot Number 78, AWDF House
Ambassadorial Enclave
East Legon, Accra, Ghana

2014-08-28

You’re invited to a conversation with Dr. Yaba Blay on Saturday 30th August from 5pm-7pm at the AWDF resource centre in East Legon, Accra.

Dr. Blay is a professor, producer, and publisher. As a researcher and ethnographer, she uses personal and social narratives to disrupt fundamental assumptions about cultures and identities. As a cultural worker and producer, she uses images to inform consciousness, incite dialogue, and inspire others into action and transformation.

This conversation with Dr. Blay will focus on her work including a discussion on (1)ne Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race which explores potential disadvantages related with having light skin, particularly among people of African descent – racial ambiguity and contested racial authenticity. As well as a focus on ‘Pretty.Period’,  a transmedia project created as a visual missive in reaction to the oh-so-popular, yet oh-so-offensive “compliment” – “You’re pretty for a dark-skinned girl.” A few copies of (1 )ne Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race will be available for sale.

For more information, click here.

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