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At the age of 22, poet Amanda Gorman is an award-winning writer and cum laude graduate of Harvard University, where she studied Sociology. She is the author of the poetry book The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough (2016). Her art and activism focus on issues of oppression, feminism, race, and marginalization, as well as the African diaspora. She has a history of writing for official occasions and has been asked to read her poetry at the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

Gorman, who was born and raised in Los Angeles and studied sociology at Harvard, became America’s first-ever national youth poet laureate in 2017. According to US reports, it was president-elect Joe Biden’s wife, Jill Biden, who recommended her as his inaugural poet. Gorman will be performing on Wednesday alongside Lady Gaga, who will be singing the American national anthem, and Jennifer Lopez.“I have kind of stumbled upon this genre. It’s been something I find a lot of emotional reward in, writing something I can make people feel touched by, even if it’s just for a night,” says Gorman. The Los Angeles resident has written for everything from a July 4 celebration featuring the Boston Pops Orchestra to the inauguration at Harvard University, her alma mater, of school president Larry Bacow.

When she reads tomorrow, she will be continuing a tradition — for Democratic presidents — that includes such celebrated poets as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou. The latter’s “On the Pulse of Morning,” written for the 1993 inauguration of President Bill Clinton, went on to sell more than 1 million copies when published in book form. Recent readers include poets Elizabeth Alexander and Richard Blanco, both of whom Gorman has been in touch with.

“The three of us are together in mind, body and spirit,” she says.

Gorman is the youngest inaugural poet in memory, and she has made news before. In 2014, she was named the first Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles, and three years later she became the country’s first National Youth Poet Laureate. She has appeared on MTV; written a tribute to Black athletes for Nike; published her first book, “The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough,” as a teenager, and has a two-book deal with Viking Children’s Books. The first work, the picture book “Change Sings,” comes out later this year.

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Gorman says she was contacted late last month by the Biden inaugural committee. She has known numerous public figures, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former first lady Michelle Obama, but says she will be meeting the Bidens for the first time. The Bidens, apparently, have been aware of her: Gorman says the inaugural officials told her she had been recommended by the incoming first lady, Jill Biden.

She is calling her inaugural poem “The Hill We Climb” while otherwise declining to preview any lines. Gorman says she was not given specific instructions on what to write, but was encouraged to emphasize unity and hope over “denigrating anyone” or declaring “ding, dong, the witch is dead” over the departure of President Donald Trump.

Protesters in Tunisia have been holding anti-government demonstrations for the past four days against the worsening socio-economic crisis in the country.

Protests in Tunisia have entered their fourth consecutive day. Hundreds of Tunisians are leading protests across various regions of the country in response to the worsening economic and social crisis. Tension and frustration have grown over high unemployment rates, falling living standards, poor state services and public spending cuts mandated by an International Monetary Fund-backed loan program. The coronavirus pandemic has added to the economic and social woes, further shattering an economy highly dependent on tourism.

The army has since been called in since the protests began and at least 630 arrests have reportedly been made including that of human rights activist, Hamza Nassri Jeridi. International human rights body Amnesty International has called for Jeridi’s release in addition to condemning footage of army officials using excessive force.

Amna Guellali, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, released the following statement:

“Even when acts of vandalism and looting occur, law enforcement officers must only use force where absolutely necessary and proportionate. Nothing gives security forces permission to deploy unnecessary and excessive force including when they are responding to acts of sporadic violence.” said , Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.”

Al Jazeera reports that President Kais Saied visited Ariana, which is a city near the capital city of Tunis, and implored protesters saying, “I know the state of poverty and I also know who is exploiting your poverty,” and going on to add, “Don’t let anyone exploit your misery.” Hundreds of youths clashed with law enforcement authorities this past Monday as the former traded gasoline bombs and stones for water canons and teargas with the latter, Reuters reports.

The underlying frustrations of the current protests are linked to how many Tunisians feel that the Arab Spring revolution, which took place a decade ago, has not delivered on the promises made to citizens who are currently battling poverty and hopelessness. The revolution began in the 2010s and comprised a series of anti-governments protests calling for regime changes which began in Tunisia and then spread to several other North African countries including Egypt, Syria, Morocco and Libya.

Jan. 18 commemorates the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It’s a national holiday in the United States that serves as a time for reflection and community engagement to honor his social activism.

The day is intended to be a time for reflection and a call for social activism and community engagement.

Over the years it has become indicative of community and service, with Americans encouraged to put their time and money towards those less fortunate.

While King’s legacy is felt throughout the world, only a few other countries honor and celebrate his legacy.

We’ve compiled this list of countries that celebrate the activist’s life and the meaning behind the celebrations.

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Hiroshima, Japan

King, an anti-nuclear activist, spoke out against the nuclear bombs that devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In 1967, King expressed a great desire to visit the country and discuss his idea of nuclear disarmament in a letter addressed to the “People of Japan.” He wrote, “Japan knows the horror of war and has suffered as no other nation under the cloud of nuclear disaster. Certainly, Japan can stand strong for a world of peace.”

Dr. King never made it. Four months after he sent the letter, he was murdered.

Nearly 30 years later, a man named Tadatoshi Akiba tightened the ties to Martin Luther King, Jr. Akiba spent more than 18 years studying and teaching mathematics in the US. After moving back to Japan, he entered politics and was elected mayor of Hiroshima in 1999.

He then started an annual banquet at the mayor’s office to commemorate King and his work as an anti-nuclear activist.

Toronto, Canada

It’s not a national paid holiday but a day of reflection and service. The Ottawa municipal government in Ontario officially began observing the national holiday on Jan. 26, 2005.

There are a number of speeches and events held across the city, though the day itself will provide only a time for personal reflection on the activist’s life.

King often spoke highly of Canada in helping slaves find liberation in his Conscience for Change discussions, stating that in the struggle for freedom, Canada served as the North Star.

Wassenaar, The Netherlands

Since 1986 the Dr Martin Luther King Tribute and Dinner has been held in Wassenaar.

Although MLK is not celebrated on King’s birthday itself, but on the last Sunday in January.

The annual event features veterans of the Civil Rights Movement reading King’s iconic I Have A Dream Speech, and ends with people gathering to sing We Shall Overcome.

Source: Travel Noire

Authorities in France have opened an investigation into the sudden disappearance of Diary Sow, a 20-year-old Senegalese student who was enrolled at the prestigious Lycée Louis-le-Grand high school in Paris

She was crowned the country’s “best student” twice, once in 2018 and again in 2019. Sow excelled in literature and science, and her merit is what landed her a spot in high school Lycée Louis-Le-Grand— one of the most prestigious schools in Paris.

She made her community proud. Sow’s worrying disappearance has raised concerns both back home as well as in France.

Following her disappearance, the Senegalese community in France has been posting a missing person flyer on social media with her image and details in a bid to gather clues and information on her possible whereabouts. The Senegalese consulate in Paris also declared Sow missing on January 7, and the police subsequently opened a disappearance inquiry, France 24 reported.

“Neither her parents, nor her friends, nor her tutor, nor the embassy have had any news,” Daouda Mbaye, a member of the Senegalese community in Paris who arranged for the distribution of missing person flyers with Sow’s details, told AFP.

“She is a punctual pupil, very serious, and the alert went out quickly. No one had seen her; she wasn’t in her apartment [student residence],” Henry Sarr, a member of a Senegalese students’ association that launched a social media campaign on Sow’s disappearance, also told the news outlet.

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Back home in Senegal, the media have also been reporting Sow’s disappearance. The 20-year-old won the West African nation’s “Best Student” award in 2018 and 2019, and also published a novel last year, according to France 24.

There’s currently a hashtag circulating on various social media platforms to spread the word about Sow’s disappearance #RetrouvonsDiarySow, or Let’s Find Diary Sow.

Source: face2faceafrica.com

Ganga Zumba is remembered by historians as the warrior, Black hero and freedom fighter who was central to the history and modern-day struggle of the Brazilian Black Movement, having led an alliance of “independent settlements”– Quilombo dos Palmares. Located between the states of Alagoas and Pernambuco, in northeastern Brazil, Quilombo dos Palmares was founded by early Brazilian Africans in the late 16th century as resistance to European colonizers and enslavers.

Located in what is now Senegal and parts of Mauritania, the Waalo kingdom was one of the strongest and oldest kingdoms in Senegal existing since the 11th century. Before the invasion of the Arabs, the people practised the matrilineal system which gave women equal rights and privileges as men.

When the French arrived in Senegal in 1855 to colonize it, the first resistance force they encountered was a woman. Her name: Ndaté Yalla Mboj.Ndate Yalla Mbodj, a ultima grande rainha do Senegal | African royalty,  Black history facts, Western historical

On October 1, 1846, Princess Ndaté Yalla Mbodj became Queen of the Waalo (Wolof) Kingdom after the death of her older sister Queen Ndjeumbeut Mbodj who had ruled since she was a teenager after the death of their father King Amar Fatim Borso Mbodj.

Although her ascension to the throne was easy, her rule fast became a tireless one in her determination to preserve what was left of the kingdom while protecting her people from the Moors, French and Arabs who wanted to take their lands and totally colonize the kingdom. Despite being an overwhelming task, Queen Ndaté was able to lead her military into war.

Her first major and successful task as a Queen was in 1876 when she opposed the free passage of the Sarakolé people by sending a letter to the governor expressing her willingness to defend the respect of her sovereignty.

“The purpose of this letter is to let you know that the island of Mboyo belongs to me from my grandfather to me. Today, there is no one who can say that this country belongs to him, he is mine alone.

Ndaté therefore considered himself the sole ruler of the Kingdom of Waalo and throughout her reign she would challenge the French and wage a bitter battle against them. In 1847 she demanded the free passage of the population of the Saraokés who supplied the Island of St-Louis with cattle. In her letter to the governor, she writes:

“It is we who guarantee the passage of herds in our country; for this reason we take the tenth and we will never accept anything other than that. St Louis belongs to the Governor, Cayor to Damel and Waalo to Brack. Each of these leaders governs his country as he sees fit

Ndaté will not hesitate to plunder around St Louis and threaten verbally or by correspondence the Governor. The French will demand a refund of the damage caused by the looting and Ndatté will refuse categorically and proudly.

 

This is how it ends up making its rights to the Island of Mboyo and the Island of Sor prevail (current city of St Louis).

On November 5, 1850 Ndaté banned all trade in the backwaters of its outbuilding and pushed the French to the end of what they could bear. Faidherbe orders a battle against the Waloo troops who this time do not resist against the technological power of the enemy

In 1855, Queen Ndaté was faced with a French army of over 1500 men who planned to take over her Kingdom, dethrone her and colonize the Waalo which would make them have total control over Senegal.

Senegalese Traditional Wrestling also known as “Laamb” in Wolof

Before then, the Queen had led several successful battles against both the Moors and the French and although her army made up of both males and females was small, the Queen led them against the French. Before going to war, the Queen gave a famous speech to her army saying:

Today, we are invaded by the conquerors. Our army is in disarray. The tiedos of the Waalo, as brave warriors as they are, have almost all fallen under the enemy’s bullets. The invader is stronger than us, I know, but should we abandon the Waalo to foreign hands?” “This country is mine alone!

The Queen’s brave army was no match to the French and she lost the first battle. She led her army to sneak up on the French and defeat them thereby starting the Senegal War of Resistance which continued way into the 20th century.

Queen Ndaté was able to fight off the Arabs and her battles led to the creation of Senegambia. She was captured by the French and exiled into the north of Senegal in Ndimb where she remained until she died in 1860.

Although by the time of her exile the Kingdom was in ruins, her son, Sidya Leon Diop took over the throne and continued the war until he too was captured and exiled in Gabon in 1878.

To date, Queen Ndaté Yalla Mbodj remains a symbol of resistance in Senegal. A statue of the Queen can be found in Dagana, in north Senegal that was made in her honor.

Swahili is the most spoken language in Africa, with over 140 million speakers. Also known as Kiswahili, the language is a Bantu language believed to have originated from other languages, specifically languages not native to Africa such as Arabic and Portuguese, following historical East African interactions with speakers of those languages.

It is the lingua franca of the African Great Lakes region and other parts of eastern and south-eastern Africa, including Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi, Mozambique, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Currently, Swahili is a national language of four countries, namely Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, and the DRC.  Shikomor, an official language in Comoros and spoken in Mayotte (Shimaore), is also related to Swahili.

Here are 6 interesting facts on Swahili.

  • Different dialects of Swahili

Swahili, like many African languages, has dialects but interestingly some Swahili some dialects are so varied that other Swahili speakers cannot discern even though they may be in the same country.

  • Swahili operates on its own time

In most cultures, the clock, also the day, starts at midnight but not in Swahili. Their day starts at 6 or 7 am and this has been explained as a consequence of the equatorial placement of the countries that speak the language.

Basically, the time is measured from sunrise to sunset. This geographic phenomenon happens at the same time in all countries where Swahili is spoken in Africa.

Interestingly, Ethiopians often use the Swahili clock although it is not a Swahili-speaking country.

  • It’s easy to learn

Thinking about learning an African language? Give Swahili a try. It’s the easiest African language for English speakers to learn, as it’s one of the few Sub-Saharan African languages without lexical tone, similar to English.

  • It’s easy to read

Besides speaking, Swahili is also easier to read as Swahili words are pronounced the same way they are written

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  • It’s been around for centuries

The earliest piece of written Swahili documents dates to 1711. They were letters written in the Kilwa region. These letters were written to the Portuguese people of Mozambique and other local allies. To date, the remains of the documents are preserved in the Historical Archive of Goa in India.

  • Full of idioms and proverbs

Swahili is famous for its idioms and proverbs that take the form of Mathali. Methali is a play on words, puns and lyrical rhyming and a very dominant feature of the Swahili language. Local rappers and musicians often employ methali in their music.

Example: Wapiganapo tembo wawili ziumiazo nyasi
Literal translation: When two elephants fight it’s the grass that gets hurt
Meaning: When the rich and powerful contend with each other it is the weak and powerless who pay the price.

 

Ghana is reportedly set to open up its first official skate park this late December. According to Vogue, the skate park is expected to open in the capital of Accra in July 2021. This comes after Ghana’s decade long fledgling skate scene caught international attention. American-Ghanaian designer Virgil Abloh, who also serves as Louis Vuitton’s menswear artistic director, is part of the international project. The international collaboration also includes NGO Surf Ghana and pan-African fashion label, Daily Paper Clothing. The skate park has been aptly named “Freedom Skate Park”.

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Freedom Skatepark, as it will be known, is the manifestation of an initiative that Surf Ghana put into action when it was founded in 2016, aiming to ensure that Ghanaian youth enjoy easy access to board sports and the friendships that bloom therein. Not only will the space be an informal hang-out spot but the creatives behind its construction hope to foster Ghana’s possible participation in forthcoming Olympic skateboarding events.

“With this initiative we hope to evolve the skate culture in Ghana to the next level and give locals a platform to grow their talents within a space that will hopefully become their biggest training ground to date,” said Daily Paper co-founder Jefferson Osei in a statement. “They now have a place where they can be themselves, freely develop their skills together with likeminded people and reach their true potential. Hence the name Freedom Skatepark.”

Before Freedom Skatepark is completed look for a collaborative Surf Ghana capsule and Off-White™ T-shirt to launch at Daily Paper’s Accra, Ghana flagship store on December 21 before hitting Daily Paper’s website January 15, 2021. Daily Paper will also introduce a Tony Chocolonely chocolate bar imagined by Off-White™ in Ghana later this month.

As one would expect from an international label, Daily Paper recently put the finishing touches on a boutique within New York.

Zimbabwean billionaire Strive Masiyiwa has joined Netflix’s board of directors becoming the first African to do so.

Masiyiwa is the founder and executive chairman of Econet Global, A telecommunications company that operates across Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. Econet offers phone, broadband and satellite service, and is also a major provider of mobile payments. The global streaming company is set to increase Netflix’s marketing base in Africa and has reportedly selected Masiyiwa for his connections and historical business enterprise.

“The Greek Freak” can’t wait to go learn more about his roots.

His roots in Lagos, Nigeria.

“Obviously, a lot of people don’t know where I’m from,” Milwaukee Bucks All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo told The Undefeated. “A lot of people think my mom or my dad are from Greece, but no. Both of my parents are black. Both of my parents are Nigerian.”

Charles and Veronica Adetokunbo moved from Lagos to Greece in 1991 in hopes of a better future for themselves and their family after struggling to find employment. The Adetokunbos’ eldest son, Francis, was left behind in Lagos to be raised by his grandparents. Charles Adetokunbo worked as a handyman and wife Veronica as a baby sitter in their struggle to make ends meet for their family, which was the only black one in the area, according to The New York Times. The Adetokunbos had four more sons, all born in Greece, including Giannis on Dec. 6, 1994. (Antetokounmpo became Giannis’ surname after it was spelled that way on his Greek passport instead of his birth name of Adetokunbo.)

Antetokounmpo grew up in Greek culture learning the language, going to school and eventually starting to play basketball at age 7. But when he was home with his family, he learned and lived the Nigerian way.

“I grew up in a Nigerian home,” Antetokounmpo said. “Obviously, I was born in Greece and went to school in Greece. But at the end of the day when I go home, there is no Greek culture. It’s straight-up Nigerian culture. It’s about discipline, it’s about respecting your elders, having morals.”

Veronica Adetokunbo spoke to her sons in the Nigerian language of Igbo, which is one of the four official Nigerian languages and is spoken by about 18 million people in Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea, according to several websites

“I can understand it a little bit. I can count. It’s not like I’m fluent,” Antetokounmpo said of Igbo. “It’s not like I can go back home to Nigeria and they can understand what I am saying. It’s kind of funny.

“Both my parents are from Nigeria. But Nigeria is like 250 dialects, so my mom and my dad don’t speak the same language.”

Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon, who is arguably the greatest international basketball player of all time and one of the greatest NBA players, also has a Nigerian connection with Antetokounmpo. Olajuwon told The Undefeated that he and Antetokounmpo are Yoruba.

“I know from his last name that we are from the same tribe, the Yoruba tribe. His last name, which in Yoruba is spelled Adetokunbo, means ‘the crown has returned from overseas,’ ” Olajuwon said.

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With the Bucks owning the best record in the NBA, Antetokounmpo appears to be the front-runner for the 2019 NBA MVP award, competing against the likes of the Houston Rockets’ James Harden, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Paul George and the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant. Antetokounmpo is averaging 27.1 points, 12.6 rebounds and six assists and led the Eastern Conference in All-Star votes.

“I’m sure Nigerians are very proud of him, especially because of the way he has conducted himself and how he is dominating the league,” Olajuwon said. “He has accomplished a great deal in such a short period of time.”

Antetokounmpo wasn’t projected to be a superstar when he was selected 15th overall in the first round of the 2013 NBA draft by the Bucks. But former Warriors center Festus Ezeli, also a native of Nigeria, believed Antetokounmpo would be special after seeing him score a game-high 22 points for Team Africa in the first Africa Game in Johannesburg, on Aug. 1, 2015. The exhibition was Antetokounmpo’s first trip to Africa.

“Oh, my God, he took over for Team Africa in South Africa,” Ezeli said. “We were talking about it on the bench, ‘This kid right here. …’ I was thinking, ‘Yo, this kid is really special.’ Just the ease of how he did things and the way he was getting to the cup, the athleticism was there. And in a friendly game in Africa, the competitiveness and edge were there.”

Read More : TheUndefeated