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Did you know Afro-Bolivians are still around today?

Afro-Bolivians are descendants of the enslaved West Africans brought by the Spanish between the 16th and 19th Centuries to work in the mines of Potosí, a city in south-western Bolivia that was more populated than London in the early 17th Century. According to Uruguayan journalist Eduardo Galeano, the mines are notorious for claiming the lives of roughly 8 million enslaved indigenous South Americans and Africans over a 300-year period – many of whom died as a result of being overworked, underfed and suffering in the region’s extreme cold.

It is believed that the natives thought that darker skin was more attractive, which is why they were impressed with the skin of the Africans when they first began arriving to Bolivia. For this reason, it is no surprise that many of the Afro-Bolivians would intermarry with the Aymara, adopt many of their cultural elements such as their style of dressing, and even become an Aymaran speaking subculture.

Afro-Bolivian Royalty

According to the latest Bolivian census in 2012, more than 23,000 people identify as Afro-Bolivians and most of their roots and even King Pinedo are in the Yungas.

The Afro-Bolivian Royal House is referred to as a ceremonial monarchy. It wasn’t until 2007 that the tribe was officially recognized by the Bolivian state as a kingdom and Piñedo was finally acknowledged as king— despite a history that spans more than 500 years.

Piñedo discovered that he was a descendant of Bonifaz, a tribal king from Senegal. Before Bonifaz was Prince Uchicho, who is regarded as the founder of the Afro-Bolivian monarchy.

The trajectory of Prince Uchicho’s life changed after he was enslaved by the Spanish. He was a prince of the ancient Kingdom of Kongo, a kingdom that has a history from the early 1300s and survived until 1914.  When the kingdom came in contact with Portuguese traders, it became a source of African slaves.

Victoria Santa Cruz: The Afro-Peruvian Woman Who Awakened The Black Pride in Peru In The 1960s

Prince Uchicho became enslaved in Bolivia after a struggle for the throne with competing sons and chiefs. When he arrived, he was quickly recognized by other slaves because of his body decoration.  The royalty of the Kongo Kingdom was known for their royal tribal markings on their torso to set them apart from others.

Uchicho was chosen as the leader among Enslaved Africans and recognized as a king in their new home of Bolivia in 1823, which ultimately, began the lineage of the Afro-Bolivian monarchy. He was succeeded by his son, Bonifaz Pinedo: a name he took from the plantation owner. It’s the name still used by the Afro-Bolivian royalty today.

Julio Piñedo is a different kind of king. He isn’t dressed in a silk robe giving out orders. In fact, he’s a farmer and like so many others in Mururata, you will find him tending to his crops.

King Piñedo and Queen Larrea have a son, Prince Rolando—  a law student at the Universidad de Los Andes in La Paz. His major is reportedly influenced by his father’s impact and potential role as the future king.

 “I would like to keep pushing forward to make the Afro-Bolivian community more recognized and visible, the way my father has done until now,” he said in a statement.

Burkina Faso’s former president, Blaise Compaore, has reportedly been indicted by a military court in the country’s capital for the 1987 assassination of political revolutionary, Thomas Sankara. Hailed as a national hero, Sankara was assassinated alongside 12 other government officials in a coup led by Compaore before he ascended to power. In 2014, Compaore was forced to resign from his 27-year-long rule and seek exile in the Ivory Coast after continued mass demonstrations. Thirteen other people were charged in connection with the killing, including Compaore’s former right-hand man, Gen. Gilbert Diendere. Charges against Compaore include undermining state security and concealing corpses, according to military documents seen by The Associated Press

According to AFP, lawyer to the family of Sankara, Guy Hervé Kam, responded to the news saying, “The time for justice has finally come. A trial can begin. It will be up to the military prosecutor to determine a date for the hearing.”

The indictment is certainly a pivotal moment in the now 34-year-long quest for justice for not only Sankara’s family, but the entire nation. While Compaore had repeatedly denied calls to exhume Sankara’s remains during his time in office, following his resignation, Sankara’s remains were exhumed in 2015 and described by his widow, Mariam Sankara, as having been “riddled with more than a dozen bullets,” Al Jazeera reports.

Sankara, who was known as a vocal Pan-Africanist and anti-imperialist, was beloved among the Burkinabe people with his assassination at the tender age of just 37, cutting deep into the socio-political fabric of the country even till today.

In four years as president, he became the first African leader to denounce the menace of AIDS, took a stand against the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and promoted women’s rights by opposing female genital mutilation and polygamy.

 

While a date for the trial has not as yet been set or announced, Kam is optimistic that it will be soon. There have also been several attempts to extradite Compaore in the past, however, Ivory Coast has refused to hand him over.

 

Twitter announced today that they are building a team in Ghana to establish their presence on the continent. Twitter’s mission is to serve the public conversation, and the positive power of Twitter is what connects them and allows them to impact the world around us. “To truly serve the public conversation, we must be more immersed in the rich and vibrant communities that drive the conversations taking place every day across the African continent,” they wrote in a company blog post today

🇬🇭 Twitter is now present on the continent.

Thank you Ghana and @NAkufoAddo. #TwitterGhanahttps://t.co/tt7KR3kvDg

— jack (@jack) April 12, 2021

Twitter posted job openings for a variety of positions ranging from product and engineering to design, marketing, and communications. Individuals will occupy these positions remotely, though, as Twitter expects to open an office in the country later.

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo expressed delight at the news, saying, “the choice of Ghana as HQ for Twitter’s Africa operations is excellent news. Government and Ghanaians welcome very much this announcement and the confidence reposed in our country.”

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He also announced that he met with Dorsey virtually on April 7th, where the two parties may have finalized the contract.

“As I indicated to Jack in our virtual meeting on 7th April 2021, this is the start of a beautiful partnership between Twitter and Ghana, which is critical for the development of Ghana’s hugely important tech sector. These are exciting times to be in and to do business in Ghana,” he added

Twitter’s decision to begin its African expansion with Ghana is based on the country’s AfCFTA negotiations and access to the internet, according to the company.

“As a champion for democracy, Ghana is a supporter of free speech, online freedom, and the Open Internet, of which Twitter is also an advocate. Furthermore, Ghana’s recent appointment to host The Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area aligns with our overarching goal to establish a presence in the region that will support our efforts to improve and tailor our service across Africa,” the statement read.

Your parents, grandparents, or distant relatives could be your ticket to dual citizenship.

Several countries around the globe will grant citizenship if your parents, grandparents or even great-grandparents were born in said country. Not only will you become a citizen of your family’s native land, but it allows you to have a variety of opportunities such as living, working, voting, and even owning property without the need for a visa.

While a number of countries including France, Australia, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Norway, Denmark, Nigeria, Kenya, Brazil, South Korea, and the Philippines—require applicants to have at least one parent who was a citizen of the country at the time of the applicant’s birth, others are a bit looser when it comes to demonstrating jus sanguinis, or the right of blood. If you can dig up the birth certificates and other required documentation that proves your family ties are legitimate, and you are willing to pony up the administration fees, you could be looking at dual citizenship between six months to three years, which is still far more expedient than if you were to seek citizenship through naturalization.

If you’ve been looking to acquire dual citizenship, here are five countries that will issue you a secondary passport if you meet their requirements.

Brazil

Brazil was one of the most frequented destinations during enslavement. Its culture and history are deeply rooted in African and Portuguese ideology.

Requirements: Have at least one parent that is a Brazilian citizen at the time of your birth.

Ghana

When Ghana declared 2019 the Year of Return, one of the major goals of the program was to inspire members of the African diaspora—specifically Black Americans descended from victims of the transatlantic slave trade—to embark on a birthright journey to their ancestral homeland. The country granted citizenship to more than 100 interested African Americans and Afro-Caribbeans as part of the initiative. Now Ghana is following up its successful Year of Return with a decade-long project called Beyond the Return, aimed at promoting tourism, bettering economic relations between countries, and carving out a clear pathway to citizenship for people of African descent whose parents or grandparents are not Ghanaian. This expands upon the country’s pre-existing Right of Abode law passed in 2000, which allows a person of African descent to apply for the right to stay in Ghana indefinitely. Those with a Ghanaian parent can currently apply for dual citizenship by providing proof of the parent’s nationality through a birth certificate or passport, as well as the names and addresses of two relatives residing in Ghana.

Learn more here.

South Africa

South Africa extends citizenship opportunities to people born abroad who have at least one parent that was a citizen at the time of their birth. The law also applies to people whose adopted parents are or were South African citizens. South Africa also extends citizenship to children whose parents were in the service of the South African Government, an associated individual or an international organization to which South Africa is a member

6 Interesting Facts About The Swahili Language

Ireland

Ireland, also known as “The Emerald Isle” for their deep peaks and valleys of greenery, have over 32 million descendants living in the United States.

Irish descendants are mostly found in cities like Boston, New York and New Jersey.

Requirements: Must have at least one parent or grandparent with Irish citizenship.

Italy

In Italy, descendants of Italian citizens are often eligible to become citizens themselves — and there is no limit on how many generations ago your ancestors left the country as long as they maintained their own Italian citizenship until they had kids of their own, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy. You can prove this lineage through things like birth and marriage certificates.

 

British-Zimbabwean actress Thandie Newton will revert to her original name ‘Thandiwe’ in what she describes as ‘taking back’ what is rightfully hers

The British-born star announced her decision to go back to using the Zulu-inspired name her mother gave her at birth. “That’s my name. It’s always been my name. I’m taking back what’s mine,” Newton told British Vogue in an interview published over the weekend.

Thandiwe, which means “beloved” in Zulu, was given to her by her Zimbabwe-born mother. Her mother Nyasha worked as a healthcare worker for the Shona tribe with her British-born father Nick Newton working as a lab technician, IMDB reports

The Mission Impossible II star said the whitewashing of her name started when she was a young student in Catholic school. “Where the W of her name drifted inward, out of sight and earshot, in a futile hope to make her feel less different,” British Vogue notes. Up until her recent announcement, the “W” in her name remained “missed out” from her first profile on IMDB and remained that way for decades. But, as of this writing, a Google search of the For Colored Girls star lists her as “Melanie Thandiwe Newton Parker OBE, formerly credited as Thandie Newton.”

“The thing I’m most grateful for in our business right now is being in the company of others who truly see me,” she shared. “And to not be complicit in the objectification of Black people as ‘others’, which is what happens when you’re the only one.”

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Last year, Newton opened up about the blatant racism she’s experienced while working in Hollywood. “Being Black is important,” she told Vulture. “Because certainly at the beginning of my career, when it was just, like, me and Halle Berry in our age group going up for every role.” She also explained why she shares more photos of her Black mother on Instagram than she does with her white father. “Because I want Black people to feel they can trust me and feel safe with me,” she revealed. “That I’m not a representative of this Establishment that degrades people of color.”

Daniel Kaluuya made his Saturday Night Live hosting debut tonight, and his funny monologue skewered a serious topic, made fun of a Golden Globes glitch and served as a thank-you to a long-running cast member of NBC’s late-night staple.

The London-born actor started off by saying, “First of all, I know you’re hearing my accent and thinking, ‘Oh no, he’s not Black — he’s British.” After affirming that he indeed is both, he said, “Basically I’m what the royal family was worried the baby would look like.

”The joke — which elicited some of the biggest laughs of the night — was in reference to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s high-profile interview with Oprah in which they alleged that an unnamed palace official questioned them, while she was pregnant, about supposed concerns over their baby’s skin tone.

Kaluuya ran with the topic, saying people ask him what’s worse — British racism or American racism. “Let me put it this way,” he said. “British racism is so bad, white people left. They wanted to be free — free to create their own kind of racism. So that’s why they created Australia, South Africa and Boston.

Nigerian-Greek star Giannis Antetokounmpo opens up about his Nigerian upbringing

He then talked about his Oscar-nominated supporting role as Fred Hampton, chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party in Judas and the Black Messiah, and a clip was played of his Zoomed acceptance speech.

“I was muted — can you believe that? I told the best joke of my life, and I was muted. I felt like I was in a sunken place,” a reference to his other Oscar-nominated role in 2017’s Get Out.

Turning semi-serious, Kaluuya said he was grateful to be hosting and name-checked a certain 1990s Nickelodeon series.

“When I was 9 years old,” he said, “I wrote a play that got performed at Hampshire Theatre with real actors and everything. This is a true story — that play was based on Kenan & Kel. And that play led me down a path that got me to this stage tonight with Kenan [Thompson] backstage right now. And I just want to take this moment to in front of Kenan and the whole world to say: Thank you, Mom. Thank you, God. And thank you Kel.”

Aw, here it goes.

Watch Kaluuya’s monologue

Kenya has imposed a new lockdown to combat a surge in coronavirus infections.

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday announced a ban on all inland travel in the capital Nairobi and out four other counties.

Kenya’s Covid-19 positivity rate has jumped from 2% to 22% between January and March and Nairobi accounts for nearly 60% of the cases-

Kenyatta said that hospital admissions had increased 52% in the past two weeks and that at least seven people are dying every day from coronavirus.

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What do the new measures mean?

No road, rail or air transport will be permitted in Nairobi, Kajiado, Kiambu, Machakos and Nakuru.

In person, meetings will also be banned.

As for curfew, hours now start at 20:00 until 04:00 am (instead of 22:00 until 04:00 am`) in the five counties. Special passes that allowed people to travel during curfew hours have also been revoked.

Alcohol sales in the areas have also been banned and restaurants can only provide takeaway services.

The president also ordered “an immediate suspension of all face-to-face teaching, which includes universities”, with the exception of students currently taking exams.

Kenya reopened its schools and colleges in early January, which had been closed for ten months.

All sporting events are also suspended.

International travel is permitted but subject to a negative coronavirus test.

The new measures begin on Friday at midnight.

Coronavirus in Kenya

This week Kenya recorded between 1,000 and 1,500 cases per day.

“According to our health experts, our third wave started to gain strength in early March,” said Kenyatta.

The peak of this wave is expected in the next 30 days, with more than 2,500 to 3,000 cases per day,” he added.

Recognising the impact these decisions will have on the economy, Kenyatta added that these “measures are temporary and necessary to contain the spread of the disease and therefore to stop further loss of life.”

“I am convinced that the cost of inaction would be much worse,” he said.

From a Yoruba family in Lagos State, Nigeria, Babatunde Olatunji, while living in the U.S. after winning a scholarship to study at Morehouse College in Atlanta, wanted to become a diplomat. Thus, after graduating from Morehouse in 1954, he enrolled in the Graduate School of Public Administration and International Relations at New York University.

But two things later moved him towards a career in music. The first was his visit to Ghana as a delegate to the All African People’s Conference organized by Ghanaian president Kwame Nkrumah, who told him he thinks he should be a cultural ambassador. The second was his meeting with Columbia Records producer John Hammond after a concert at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. Hammond would help Olatunji produce his 1959 debut Drums of Passion album which some say may have been the first African music release recorded in a modern U.S. studio.

That album became a major hit, selling millions of copies globally and helping introduce Americans to world music. Olatunji would go on to promote African music, earning a Grammy nomination, being behind compositions for Broadway and Hollywood, as well as appearing on programs including the Tonight Show, the Mike Douglas Show and the Bell Telephone Hour.

In 1964, after performing at the New York World Fair’s African Pavilion, he used the proceeds to open his own Olatunji Center for African Culture in New York’s Harlem neighborhood, where he offered classes in African dance, music, language, folklore, and history. Soon, Olatunji became highly recognized as a pioneer in the fusion of African music and jazz. “…We were playing ‘Afro-jazz’ before anybody called it that,” the recording artiste, who grew up in a fishing village in Nigeria where drumming accompanied every celebration, recalled in an interview.

But while his contribution to music is well known, his commitment to social activism is rarely talked about. “He really deserves to be remembered more for his role as a political activist in the US civil rights movement – before it was even a movement,” Robert Atkinson, who collaborated with Olatunji on his autobiography The Beat of My Drum, was quoted by the BBC in a report.
Indeed, Olatunji’s social activism work started right from his days at Morehouse, where he debunked common myths about Africa.

“They [classmates] had no concept of Africa,” he recalled. “They asked all kinds of questions: ‘Do lions really roam the streets? Do people sleep in trees?’ They even asked me if Africans had tails! They thought Africa was like the Tarzan movies. Ignorance is bliss, but it is a dangerous bliss.
“Africa had given so much to world culture, but they didn’t know it.”

Thus, Olatunji started educating his colleagues about Africa, including its cultural traditions and music. He then went ahead to play African music at university social gatherings while organizing and performing at concerts featuring African and African-American students. These activities were during the height of Jim Crow, and soon, Olatunji was organizing students to challenge the status quo in the south.

Even before Rosa Parks would spark the Montgomery bus boycott, Olatunji was already staging protests on public buses with some of his fellow students.

As president of the Morehouse student body in the 1950s, he was able to meet scores of civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X. As a matter of fact, when King delivered his historic I Have a Dream speech in August 1963 during the March on Washington, Olatunji was among the over 200,000 people at the event. The percussionist, social activist and educator performed many times for the NAACP and King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

 

And at many civil rights rallies, Malcolm X would request him to drum. The man, who is to date described as “the father of African drumming in the U.S.”, was also on the civil rights jazz album We Insist! with playwright Oscar Brown Jr and Max Roach. Back home in Africa, Olatunji was also a part of the anti-colonial resistance movements that had risen across the continent, attending the All African People’s Conference organized by Nkrumah.

The conference, attended by delegates from African countries, prominent African Americans and liberation movements, held discussions on how to achieve continental freedom. Nkrumah had argued that Ghana’s independence would be meaningless if other African states are still colonized by the European powers, and Olatunji couldn’t agree more.

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As stated in a report, his involvement in the civil rights movement in the U.S. was largely inspired by the several forms of resistance to colonialism that was occurring in Africa. “He saw himself as a pan-Africanist who always reached out to unify Africans and African Americans,” his wife, Iyafin Ammiebelle Olatunji, told BBC in an interview.

Olatunji in his last years continued to perform while teaching others about African culture and drumming. Before he passed away in 2003 aged 76, he had become known for recordings such as “Celebrate Freedom, Justice and Peace”, “Healing Rhythms, Songs and Chants”, as well as the 1998 Grammy-nominated release, on Chesky Records of “Love Drum Talk”.

Source: Face2face Africa

African stars, Burna Boy and Wizkid both won at the 2021 Grammys which took place last night. They join Sikiru Adepoju as the only Nigerian artists to ever win a Grammy Award.

Burna Boy won the Best Global Music Album category with ‘Twice As Tall’ album. Wizkid won the Best Music Video for his song with Beyoncé; Brown Skin Girl.

Burna Boy was nominated alongside albums such as Fu Chronicles by Antibalas, Agora by Bebel Gilberto, Anoushka Shankar and Amadjarby Tinariwen,

Burna Boy had previously been a one-time nominee for his African Giant album under the Best World Album category at the 62nd edition of the Grammy which held in the last year,

“This is a big win for my generation of Africans all over the world and this should be a lesson to every African out there, no matter where you are, no matter what you plan to do, and no matter where you’re from you can achieve it because you’re a king,” Burna said in his acceptance speech.

Wizkid won the Best Music Video for his song with Beyoncé; Brown Skin Girl, from Lion King: The Gift album emerging victorious over Life Is Good by Future featuring Drake, Lockdown by Anderson Paak, and Adore You by Harry Styles & Goliath Woodkid

Burnaboy Nominated For Grammy Awards

The 63rd Grammy Awards took place in Los Angeles and was hosted by SA’s very own, Trevor Noah.

Other highlights include; Beyonce breaking the record for the most Grammy wins after picking up her 28th award  and Megan Thee Stallion won best new artist.

The ceremony had no audience, and performers were separated to maintain social distancing.

Senegalese citizens staged a widespread demonstration against Macky Sall‘s administration, which kidnapped opposition leader Ousman Sonko on his way to a court hearing two days ago .

Sonko, is a 46-year-old leader of the opposition Pastef party and a former presidential candidate who finished third in the 2019 elections. His political career was cast into doubt last month when an employee at a spa where he claimed to have gone for back massages filed rape charges against him.

Sonko’s recent arrest has triggered “the worst unrest seen in the capital of Senegal in years”. Leader of the Pastef Les Patriotes party and a former presidential candidate, Sonko is seen as a formidable opposition figure to current President Macky Sall especially with elections in three years’ time. France24 reports that there is continued uncertainty as to whether President Sall will seek a third term in office.

According to him, the accusation of rape is an “attempt at political liquidation,” as he accused President Macky Sall of fomenting a political conspiracy against him. Despite the fact that the young woman accusing Ousmane Sonko of rape testified in a closed court hearing last month, her case is yet to be resolved.

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“Ousmane Sonko was heading towards the court following a summons from the judicial authority when he was arbitrarily arrested due to the presence on his route of demonstrators and sympathizers. The charges of disturbing public order and unauthorized demonstration against him must be dropped and, as long as these are the only charges justifying his detention, he must be immediately released, along with the three individuals who were arrested in same time as him, ”said Samira Daoud, Amnesty International’s regional director for West and Central Africa.

Senegal is one of the very few stable African democracies and the country has never experienced a coup. But the ongoing protests, vocally supported by opposition political parties as well as some in civil society, are the worst in years. As of Saturday, March 6, reports say some five people have been killed with many protesters and police injured. What started as a call for the release of Sonko is now about socioeconomics, as clearly seen on placards and posters. Unemployment is high in Senegal while the strains brought about by COVID-19 have devastated the informal sector.