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#Pride Month: Telling the stories of LGBTQ Africans isn’t easy. Considering anti-queer laws and homophobic and transphobic attitudes present in some of the continent’s countries, even openly identifying as anything other than straight or the sex one was assigned at birth can be a death sentence. And yet, people like Samuel, the subject of Kenyan director Peter Murimi’s feature documentary debut I Am Samuel, still want to live and love as their authentic selves even if it means making sacrifices

Samuel grew up in the Kenyan countryside, where tradition is valued above all else. He is close to his mother but his father, a local pastor, doesn’t understand why he isn’t married yet. After moving to Kenya’s capital in search of work and a new life, Samuel falls in love with Alex and finds community and belonging. Despite the threat of violence in the city and of rejection by Samuel’s family in their rural home, the couple move between their co-existing worlds, hoping to win acceptance in both. Samuel’s story is one that award winning director Pete Murimi, and well-acclaimed producer, Toni Kamau, beautifully portray in their recently released documentary, I am Samuel. The documentary was edited by Ricardo Acosta C.C.E and Phil Jandaly, two well regarded editors in the international film community.

Filmed in a vérité style over five years, the documentary was made possible through grants from Sundance, Hot Docs, IDFA Bertha, Oak Foundation, Heinrich Boll Foundation, Good Pitch, Afridocs and Docubox. Docubox, headed by award-winning Kenyan filmmaker Judy Kibinge is a documentary and fiction film fund for African filmmakers. Judy also serves as an Executive Producer on the project along with Peter Mudamba and Oscar winning director Roger Ross Williams.

On a three-way call with Murimi and Kamau, Okayafrica film columnistCiku Kimeria, discusses with the duo the inspiration and key themes of the documentary. I am Samuel recently premiered at 2020 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and will be at the upcoming Human Rights Watch Film Festival and available to US audiences most of this month.

Motivation

Murimi’s motivation for telling this story is based on his own experiences as a young man. “My own father’s expectations of me were that I would go into business, marry someone preferably from my neighbourhood or community and that we would have children. I did not fulfill any of his wishes and it made me think of African expectations of masculinity and what a man “should” do and the weight of family expectations.” Of course, his own circumstances are different from Samuel’s, a closeted gay man living in Nairobi with his partner, knowing that the revelation of his sexual orientation, will tear his family apart. However, he can understand the burden of not being able to follow the path your parents carve out for you. As a filmmaker, his work has focused on telling stories of the marginalized and especially those that make viewers question the prevailing narratives. He adds, “It is very rare for a poor, uneducated gay man to be given a platform to tell his story from his point of view, particularly in Kenya where such love is not accepted by society. Money and privilege can buy some privacy and security if you are gay, but Samuel has none of that.” In Kenya, homosexuality is still criminalized under colonial-era laws. People who identify as queer aren’t able to love or live openly, and face the threat of assault, abuse and discrimination. Kamau, on her part, uses her production company, We are not the machine, to also tell stories of outsiders. “As soon as Pete called me about this project, I knew that we had to work together,” she says.

#InspiredByHer: Ezinne Kwubiri, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at H&M North America

Conservatism and Religion

The discussion brings us to a theme that is quite dominant in I am Samuel. Samuel’s father is a pastor and therefore Samuel’s sexual orientation goes against his father’s religious beliefs and convictions. What is equally fascinating is that Samuel is also quite religious and extremely conservative. Kamau says, “This was just the reality of who he is. We are used to people being either one thing or the other, but here we have a man who is conservative, traditional, religious and gay. None of his identities obscures the other. He is not the image people have when they think of a gay man, and I think this is an important part to capture.” Reflecting on the othering that society normally has of LGBTQIA+ individuals, she adds “It’s easier for people to believe that they don’t exist or that if they do, they are completely removed from normal life. Samuel will make hopefully make Kenyan audiences question this belief.”

Coming Out and Acceptance

In the course of the five years of filming, Samuel finally does reveal his identity to his family and the expected fallout is painful to watch. Moving from having a close relationship with his family to having his father not speak to him for close to a year is difficult for him. Finally, there is a form of acceptance that comes from his family – one that they will not discuss the matter again and that they somewhat accept his partner as a friend of sorts. This element brings us to the discussion of the contextualization of coming out. “In the Western context, coming out means fully publicly declaring one’s sexual orientation. For majority of those in this community in different African countries, the most they can hope for is revealing their true identity to close family and friends. Most times this still comes with the risk of losing their family. Murimi adds, “Acceptance means different things to different people. In the context where homosexuality is criminalized in most African countries, where public sentiment against the community is generally very hostile and where violence against members of the community if they are discovered is quite common, most people can never come out in the form that people do in the West.”

Where to Watch

For updates on when the documentary will be available in your city, check out the documentary’s Facebook page.

I Am Samuel’s next confirmed screening is at the Atlanta Film Festival, which has been rescheduled for September 2020.

Source: okayafrica.com

 

Like many countries that have a history with the Transatlantic Slave Trade, Brazil has never been able to grapple the matters of race. Frankly, no other country on that side of the world with the historic significance of the Transatlantic Slave Trade has competently figured out how to navigate the matters of race.

Data shows that out of the more than 9.5 million people taken from Africa between the 16th and 19thcenturies, more than 4 million slaves landed in Rio de Janeiro.  That’s nearly 10 times more than the total number of slaves sent to North America during this time frame.

After hundreds of years of silence and denial, leaders in Brazilrecognized the contributions from those of Africa descent during the 2016 Summer Olympic Games and addressed the impact enslaved people made on the country’s history.

People of color felt it was a turning point for the country to tackle racism head-on in a place where the impact of slavery continue to manifest itself in the obstacles Afro-Brazilians face compared to their white counterparts.

You see it in Rio’s favelas, which translates to “low-income neighborhoods,” where Afro-Brazilians disproportionately dwell and in the workplace where on average, black Braziliansearn 57 percent less than white Brazilians.

You also witness the impacts of a post-slavery society in the criminal justice system where Black people make up more than 64 percent of the prisonpopulation, and black youth are killed at an alarming rate.

In 2017, the Permanent Forum Racial Equality, a Brazilian coalition that advocates on behalf of black and anti-racist movements, petitioned the UN’s Human Rights Council on the rate of targeted homicides of young black Brazilians, as reported in Face 2 Face Africa.

The report found that black youth are murdered in Brazil every 23 minutes. More than 70% of murder victims in Brazil are black and 93% of the time, they are men.

But the study gets worse.

Investigators concluded that they “came upon a cruel and undeniable reality: ‘the Brazilian state, directly or indirectly, perpetrates the genocide of the young black population.’”

The report only confirmed what anti-racists advocates and black people have known for some time.

African Women’s Legacy: From Hatshepsut to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

But one thing that sticks out in the report is that Brazilians had come to expect young black men to be killed.  Lawyer Daniel Teixeira told the Agencia Brasil that the situation in Brazil had become “neutralized.”

Read more about the study and its findings here.

 

Source: Travel Noire

Supporting black-owned businesses helps the black community to thrive, and now there are several apps and websites that make finding these businesses easier than ever. there are many ways you can take action in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and the black community. Apart from donating to organisations combatting racial injustice. you can also support and shop black-owned businesses.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has taken a toll on many people, families, and organizations around the world. It has also resulted in difficult times for many of our black owned businesses, which are incredibly vital and unique to our individual communities. Some businesses have been forced to temporarily close, and many others have had to scale back or change their operations completely. While it’s easy to feel powerless in a time like this, there are still a few things we can do to support our community.

6 Ways You Can Support Black- Owned Businessess

 

  1. Utilize Social Media – Follow, Like, Share, Comment and spread the news of your local businesses to all of your friends and followers! Did you get an incredible lunch delivered right to your door, or fantastic customer service from your local grocer? Give them a shout-out!
  2. Be Understanding – We are in unprecedented times and some businesses have either been forced to temporarily close or have made the difficult decision to do so for safety reasons. Be understanding. Know that each business is different and they are doing what’s best for them, and try to support them in any way possible. Reach out to the business owners or employees to ask how they are doing, or to simply let them know you support their decisions. It means a lot!
  3. Purchase Gift Cards – For those businesses who are unable to remain open, purchase a gift card now to use later. This will help bridge the cash-flow gap for those businesses. Buy future you a date night, shopping spree, or lunch with friends!
  4. Reschedule Your Appointments Instead of Cancelling- During times like these, everyone can use a morale boost. While we may not know what tomorrow or next week may look like, looking at this situation as if it is temporary and it is will help you and the local businesses in your area maintain positivity. One of the ways you can do this is by rescheduling any appointments you have instead of canceling. Again, we have no idea how long this situation will last, but postponing an appointment lets that small business know that they still have customers who are ready to jump back into their regular routines once this situation ends. It also allows local companies to see that they have a loyal customer base and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel for all involved.
  5. Select Black Owned Businesses for Your Needs in Quarantine – In most parts of the country, individuals are being urged to stay inside. As a result, many of us are realising that we need to restock supplies while self-quarantining. So, if you need to replenish items like activities or games for children, educational resources, books, cleaning supplies, and even non-perishable foods, see if you can order these items from a black owned  business in your area that has an e-commerce store. If no one locally is offering these items, still look for small businesses online that do.
  6. Offer your guidance- Online platforms are the saving grace for many small business owners, serving as the only channel for them to reach out to their consumers now. However, not all of them might know how to kick start their business online, especially if they aren’t aren’t from the tech-savvy generation. Now’s the time to reach out and offer your expertise – be it in web design or marketing – to assist them with the transition from a physical to online.Apart from tech guidance, sharing financial advice or simply brainstorming ideas on alternative business models could be of great help to these smaller players. You wouldn’t want to see your favourite mom-and-pop shop close down for good, would you?

    Taking Care of Your Mental Health During The Covid-19 Outbreak

 

These simple changes can go a long way in helping businesses improve cash flow, keep employees on payroll, or just to feel connected and boost morale.

 

In the current climate, health is on everyone’s minds and we are all thinking “How can I avoid catching the coronavirus?”

We are washing our hands incessantly, standing two metres away from each other and running a mile when someone coughs.

Now, more than ever, we need to pay attention to our immune health. Simple daily practices and supplements can help to strengthen your immune system and aid your body in fighting sickness. Here are a few ways to get started

Mental Health Considerations During The Covid-19 Pandemic: Human beings like certainty.  We are hard-wired to want to know what is happening when and to notice things that feel threatening to us.  When things feel uncertain or when we don’t generally feel safe, it’s normal to feel stressed.  This very reaction, while there to protect us, can cause all sorts of havoc when there is a sense of uncertainty and conflicting information around us.

A large part of anxiety comes from a sense of what we think we should be able to control, but can’t.  Right now, many of us are worried about COVID-19, known as the “Coronavirus”.  We may feel helpless about what will happen or what we can do to prevent further stress.  The uncertainty might also connect to our uncertainty about other aspects of our lives, or remind us of past times when we didn’t feel safe and the immediate future was uncertain.

Sandy Alibo spent the past few years building and promoting Surf Ghana, the very first Surf and skate crew to come from Ghana.

CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE PROJECT “SURF GHANA” AND HOW
DID IT ALL START?

Surf Ghana is a collective of surfers and skateboarders based in Ghana founded in 2016 by Sandy Alibo. The collective collects used sports equipment in Europe and the U.S and teach the youth how to skate and surf, organize numerous events during the year to promote the surf and skate culture in Ghana.

For example, The Skatetour Gh, Noise!, MASS, Skate Gal Club, are our signature events (for us and made by us). This year, we’ve just started to create a program to develop job opportunities and we team up with brands like Jameson, MTN, United Nations, etc.

It all started in March 2016 in Busua, a fishermen village in the Western Region of Ghana. We met Peter, Ben, Justice all surfers.  We started an Instagram account to showcase this beautiful area of Ghana and tell the stories of these new athletes. They received a lot of good feedback on social media about this initiative from Ghana but also from the diaspora living abroad. And with a little elbow grease, we started some surf lessons and skate lessons with the local community.

surf Ghana

WHAT IS THE GOAL BEHIND SURF GHANA?

We use the practice of extreme sports as a driver for diversity in education, social inclusion, and empowerment of the youth. Surf Ghana is a voice of diversity that pushes a narrative of freedom and self-expression creating a counter-culture, a platform for the Youth. Our collective also wants to improve physical and mental health. For example in Ghana, life expectancy is currently 63 years, and in Europe, it is 81 years. We think skateboarding and surfing can offer full-body workout and reduce major health problems in Ghana like diabetes and obesity. Also, we create a platform for local artists to promote a culture of tolerance, respect, and celebrate African young creatives.Finally, we teamed up with talented local artists like Art Soul Kojo, Ahmed Partey, David Alabo, Awo Tsegah…

Our main goal is to create a sporting ecosystem that could benefit sports athletes and Ghana as a tourist destination. Plus, our next project is to create the first skatepark in Ghana in 2020: A safe space to practice sport and to connect the youth through art.

surf Ghana

WHO ARE THOSE INVOLVED IN THE SURF GHANA PROJECT?

We can count today 25 active members based in Accra, Busua, Krokrobite, Kwahu, Kumasi. They all practice skateboarding or surfing and they also contribute as filmmakers, photographers, writers, artists, journalists, carpenter, mixologists, etc. Joshua, Justice, Kwaku, Addy, Mensah, OG, Sandy, Kuukua, Lauren, Jovita, Harmonie, Sarah, Anastasia, Ria, Ben and many more.

Moreover, we have implemented the process of design thinking in our collective (zero hierarchy, brainstorming culture, test and learn the process, WhatsApp group culture) to grow faster and try a new way to work in Ghana that can directly benefit the youth and help them to be a better entrepreneur. Spmething like a youth leadership program, maybe ?

TELL US ABOUT WOMEN AND SKATEBOARDING IN GHANA?

Skateboarding is new in Ghana. And in the past 5 years, less than 10 girls tried to practice it regularly. Despite the fact that our events were opened to everybody, girls and women didn’t seem interested.

Therefore, seeing this, in June 2019, Sandy Alibo (Founder of Surf Ghana) and Kuukua Eshun (a Ghanaian writer and filmmaker) decided to create the skate girl club, an initiative to empower women through skateboarding. The main goal is to connect creatives women and improve their wellbeing. The access to the club is free and the organization offers skateboarding lessons and also different art workshops (tye and dye tee-shirt, water painting, gardening workshop, nail art) and activities like yoga, hula hoop, soul sister circle, etc. We count now more than 60 active members who come regularly at our monthly meet-up.

This project is a success, we received so much support and positive feedback about this initiative.

 

CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE BIRTH OF SKATE TOUR GHANA?

The skate tour is our annual road trip that we plan with 20 Skateboarders, filmmakers, photographers, event managers, web developers, etc.

With the help of the tour, we get the opportunity to meet all kinds of children from different towns that have different backgrounds. We are trying to build a community that children can rely on. For our last trip, we taught up more than 1000 children how to skateboard in exactly 12 days. In the past two years, we toured in Busua, Cape Coast, Cape three points, Takoradi, Abonom, Accra, Kumasi, Peki, Ada, Akosombo, Ho, Keta, Ada, and even Lomé.

We believe, this project has a huge positive impact in the Ghanaian community and above all has encouraged the youth to practice sport to improve their mental and emotional wellbeing. Moreover, we believe traveling is the best way for Ghanaians to discover their own truth.

Surf Ghana

African Women’s Legacy: From Hatshepsut to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

HOW DO WE GET MORE WOMEN TO PRACTICE SPORTS IN
GHANA, AND IN AFRICA?

For example, the number of attendees at the Skate Gal Club keep increasing and prove than Women-only spaces are a necessity. This, because they provide an opportunity where women can talk about anything from skateboarding to mixology, from fashion to domestic violence and more, all in a “safe space”.

However, for this project, we aren’t attempting to change Ghanaian’s mind about feminism; we’re creating a space where all women can talk about whatever the subject might be.

We also noticed that in Ghana, many women find physical training in the presence of men to be intimidating. Plus, we think that creating this kind of welcoming, inclusive, safe spaces could be handily accomplished by providing exclusive places for women and girls to train.

HOW DO YOU EXPECT SURF GHANA TO IMPACT WOMEN IN
SPORTS AND IN GENERAL?

Our collective craves a space to call women, where they don’t have to feel threatened, hit on, talked over, or mansplained to. Where they can learn from each other, feel positive and get inspired.

We hope that with this project, we can create a better equal representation of women and men.

Through extreme sport, women practice being open and authentically themselves, we think that we help give them the courage to feel more comfortable in Ghana, knowing that a skate gal club is here and got their back.

 

#BlackLove: Financial talks can be uncomfortable to have in any situation, just think about how we tiptoe around discussing our salaries at work!

But when you’re dating someone you care about, money convos can be even more awkward to have with them. This is especially true if you find yourself in a situation where you need to ask your partner for money or vice versa. Yikes.

Of course, while every situation and relationship is different and there’s no right answer for how to have these kind of talks, take solace in the fact that you’re not alone if you think they’re touchy.

Dear Cousins,

Our truest desire is that you embrace your culture, your scars, your skin color, your voice, and your craft. That’s what makes us unique and strong.

 

HOW IT ALL STARTED

When 2019 began, we didn’t know we were going to create something so important and of value to you. 2019 ends but the Moyo Afrika adventure is just beginning !

We are so proud of what we brought to life and the impacts it is creating. We put in a lot of work and energy, in order to give you the best articles and stories, but also the most accurate information. 

WHAT INSPIRED US TO CREATE MOYO AFRIKA ?

  • We saw that lots of mainstream media and many of the western world still think that Africa is overrun with huts and poverty, We thought it was about time we tell our stories by ourselves by showcasing live in Africa by those who live it.
  • We wanted to inspire those in the Diaspora to visit the Motherland.
  • We wanted a platform to connect black people all around the world.

WHAT ARE WE EXPECTING FOR 2020 AND EVEN AFTER ?

The MoyoTeam, are really happy about what has been achieved this year. But one of the goals is to give back to Africa, this is why we will be launching the #GiveBackToAfrica project in 2020. This project is to help build a stronger and more prosperous community. 

  • Investing in African women by empowering them with the tools they need to accelerate and build a sustainable business. Together we can empower thousands of women to build businesses to bring themselves and families out of poverty.
  • Invest in African Children, it is saddening to know that a big number of African children still do not have access to basic education. While African governments are responsible for providing their young generations with quality education, there’s a lot that the diaspora community can do to help. For most of these kids, all they want is a simple classroom and a steady supply of basic learning materials. Together we can help provide students with school fees, Renovate Schools, Provide them with the help they need.

WHAT WE ACHIEVED SO FAR

In 6 months, we have built a community of over 6,000 followers and we have reached over 300,000 cousins in the Motherland and in the Diaspora. 

We also launched our website www.moyoafrika.com . Through this website, we have gained viewers and readers from the motherland and other continents. We have interviewed black women shattering the glass ceiling, we have interviewed creatives/ creators in the motherland and in the diaspora who are representing us in a positive light.

Our Memories and History must be kept alive.

We want to continue to showcase life in Africa through those who live it. We are reclaiming our agency by creating and distributing our own self-representations. We want to share more about our motherland until Africa becomes the land for tourists, travelers and everyone in the world. Africa is rich in Culture, Arts, Entertainment, Food and wonderful people.

Our culture is worthy of emulation.  We want to visit you to visit the beautiful destinations across the world with African history ! There will be more visuals, more interviews on the website and on our social media platforms. 

 

Finally, thank you for supporting us, for sharing our passion and our work, for following us, for loving the Motherland…

We wish you all a very Happy New Year, full of joy, happiness, success, reconnecting with the motherland, your culture and shmoneyyy ! 

 

From the MoyoTeam, with love. Happy 2020 !

 

For many people, that festive season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day represents fun, family, friends, and gifts. The holidays also revolve around food and sometimes trigger stress, both of which can create weight gain.

The good news is that eating nutrient-dense foods, fitting in time for exercising, and getting quality sleep habits you should cultivate year-round can help you maintain a healthy weight, manage stress levels, and keep your immune system operating well. With these six strategies, stress and weight gain don’t have to sabotage your health this holiday season.