In a coup on Monday morning, the armed forces detained the prime minister and other top civilian officials. Soldiers killed at least three protesters and wounded more than 80 as demonstrations broke out across the country.
A Gauteng woman has given birth to 10 babies, and has now set a new record in the book of Guinness World Record.
The South African woman, Gosiame Thamara Sithole, 37, who underwent a caesarian operation to birth three girls and seven boys at 29 weeks, now holds the record for the woman who birthed the most children at once.
According to reports, Sithole and her husband, Teboho Tsotetsi had expected eight babies when they had their scan but the scan missed two of the babies.
She takes the record which was held by Malian Halima Cissé who gave birth to nine children in Morocco last month.
“I am shocked by my pregnancy. It was tough at the beginning. I was sick. It was hard for me.It’s still tough but I am used to it now. I don’t feel the pain anymore, but it’s still a bit tough. I just pray for God to help me deliver all my children in a healthy condition, and for me and my children to come out alive. I would be pleased about it,” Sithole said told local media.
Speaking to the Pretoria News, Tsotetsi said Sithole gave birth to their bundles of joy 29 weeks into her pregnancy and that her pregnancy was natural as she was not on any fertility treatment.
Reports show that only two other sets of nonuplets have been recorded since the 1970s, but the babies all died within days.
A Mississippi school district is facing criticism after a class assignment asked middle schoolers to put themselves in the shoes of an enslaved person, and write letters to friends and family.
The assignment given to eighth-graders at Purvis Middle School told students to “pretend like you are a slave working on a Mississippi plantation,” according to a screenshot of the assignment that Black Lives Matter Mississippi posted to Twitter.
Other tasks in the assignment included: “You may discuss the journey to America, as well as the day-to-day tasks you perform [as a slave]” and “You may also want to tell about the family you live with/work for [as a slave] and how you pass your time when you aren’t working.”
More than 12 million enslaved Africans were shipped to the Americas and the Caribbean during the Middle Passage – what the assignment supposedly refers to as the “journey.” Over two million of the enslaved Africans who were forcefully packed into the ships for that arduous and dangerous journey lost their lives.
Following the backlash after the details of the assignment were made public, Lamar County School District Superintendent Dr. Steven Hampton claimed the aim of the exercise was to “show our students just how horrible slavery was and to gain empathy for what it was like to be a slave,” KCRG-TV reported. “We do not discriminate against race. We want to be sensitive to what happened in the past,” Hampton added
The principal of the middle school, Frank Bunnell, also sent an email to parents apologizing for an assignment of such nature to happen under his watch. In his apology, however, Bunnell claimed the assignment was taken out of context as the slide in question was part of a PowerPoint presentation, according to the Daily Beast.
“A person could read just the assignment and draw a very unrealistic view of the true tragedies that occurred. That was not intended,” Bunnell wrote. “However, intent does not excuse anything. There is no excuse to downplay a practice that (even after abolished) spurs unjust laws, unfair economic practices, inhumane treatment, and suppression of a people.”
Activists who spoke to the news outlet expressed their dismay behind the assignment and questioned the logic behind it. “I don’t know how a logical person teaches this,” Jeremy Marquell Bridges, the social media manager for Black Lives Matter Mississippi said. “Like someone who went to school to teach children could think this exercise was helpful in any way. It’s not helpful, it’s hurtful.”
Jarrius Adams, the president of Young Democrats Mississippi, also referred to the assignment as “extremely tone deaf”, adding that it was also “inappropriate to have Middle Schoolers put themselves in the shoes of slaves without proper context.”
“It does not matter what the intention was, the impact is the only thing that matters,” Adams continued. “If I were a parent of a student in the classroom, I would be pissed. There are proper ways to educate students about the history of this nation—this was not one of them.”
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
#AfricanCreativeSeries: Affen Oluwasegun Ojo is a Nigerian-based contemporary artist more popularly known as Ojayartworksng. His works have become very popular on social media where he has a large following who appreciate his unique black portraits of African women.
Can you tell us more about your background and when you first started painting?
I’m a Native of bayesla state, Nigeria, I was brought up in Lagos, I started painting at a very young age, I discovered my talent of painting while I was in primary school, then I was later enrolled in roadside local art shop where I got to know about the basics of art.
How did you came to pursue a creative path?
Well, it all started when I discovered that I could draw, it all started by me recreating comic characters and a couple of pictures, then I was able to grow into it, I knew art was a part of me and something I loved doing then I decided take it as career path and create a niche for myself.
Do you have a favourite piece that you’ve created?
My favorite piece has to be The Bantu Knots Piece, the piece has an interesting history, it is a piece that speaks about the African culture especially the women, Many people aren’t aware of the history behind the popular bantu knots hairstyle. The hairstyle features lovely small, coiled buns sprinkled throughout the hair. The style has been worn traditionally for centuries by countless women of African descent.
What are the central themes of your work?
The central theme of my works is majorly the Black culture, which relates to African culture – This is one thing my paintings talk about from the colours used to the fabric used too, which is the Ankara fabric that signifies the African culture.
If you could sit down and have a meal with one artist/designer/musician in the world, who would it be and why?
It has to be Benny Bing because he is my favourite artist and he’s someone that really inspires me a lot, so an opportunity to meet with him is something I’d really cherish because he is one person whose works has contributed to my growth.
Tell us a bit about where you were born and where you are living now. Are all these places important to your identity and to your artwork?
Well like I said earlier, I was born and brought up in Lagos, Nigeria which like they say is the business capital of the country. It is the state with the highest combined ratio of all the tribes in Nigeria and one of the most populated city in Africa, and I still stay in Lagos. The environment and culture of the people made me carve out my niche as an artist that focuses on the Black culture.
Africa is a new economic frontier where young people are shaping Africa’s future. What do they want to see, hear and read that will inspire them to embrace African arts and culture?
For me, contemporary art can play a major role in this age, because based on the experiences it is something most people can relate to, also we can see that this new generation of youths in Africa are working on new ideas to transform the economic landscape of the continent, this same group are increasingly focusing on the creative aspect of the economy, also how culture develops at the local level. For example, we see a lot of entrepreneurs that want to see local cultural scene prosper and how it connects with their brands and personal interests.
It can be argued that Africa’s time is now. How do we prepare to take full advantage of the opportunities that are constantly unfolding in front of us? More importantly how does the African contemporary art establishment position itself to emerge as a ‘global player’ whose voice can be heard and respected?
From my perspective as an independent artist, I’ve seen that there are couple of obstacles to overcome as contemporary art transcends to a global stage, Firstly, there is not yet a fully established infrastructure for the art market, most of the independent artists like me have to simultaneously produce work also work as their own agents. So, there is a need for a stronger institutional base for contemporary art in Africa, one of the key elements to making this possible is working together. This idea brings up a strong and thriving art community that has a voice of its own rather than it being dictated to.
When you are not painting, What other interests do you have?
Apart from painting, traveling is one other that really interests me, I’ll really love to tour the world to also learn about other culture and the people there, who knows – I might get inspired by a few sightings.
Malawi is to start the commercial production of cannabis for medical and industrial use, according to Reuters, which cited Lilongwe’s new Cannabis Regulatory Authority. The head of the regulatory authority, Boniface Kadzamira, said more than 100 applications have been received for licensing and they are currently under consideration for approval
Malawi’s parliament passed a bill in February to allow legal cultivation and processing of cannabis for medicine and hemp fibre used in the industry but the bill stops short of decriminalising recreational use.
Fees for licensing marijuana for medical and industrial use in Malawi will range from $100 to $10,000 a year. Licensing will cover the cultivation, selling, storage, distribution of either class of industrial and medicinal hemp, said the county’s agriculture ministry.
Malawi will also allow public hospitals to pay $100 as well as $200 for private hospitals as licence fees to dispense cannabis medicines.
“We have received an overwhelming response in terms of applications for licenses, but applicants must appreciate that we’ll not give everyone a license at once,” Kadzamira said, according to Reuters.
Kadzamira added hemp has the potential to surpass earnings from tobacco, currently the country’s main export crop.
“Our view as regulator is that if we get honest investors, the hemp industry can supplement export revenues from tobacco, and in some cases, surpass it. But it will not immediately replace tobacco,” he added.
Malawi’s earnings from tobacco have fallen dramatically over the years in part due to declining demand and poor weather.
The fall has drastically affected the country’s tobacco auctioneer, Auction Holdings Ltd, which has failed to pay salaries for the last two months.
A growing number of countries around the world are either legalizing or relaxing laws on cannabis as attitudes towards the drug change. They include several in southern Africa, including Zambia, Lesotho and Zimbabwe.
Netflix has reportedly cited filming challenges that have been brought on by the pandemic as the reason for their decision to cancel the second season of the spy-thriller series, ‘Queen Sono’
According to The Citizen, Netflix has decided that Africa’s first Original Series, Queen Sono, will not go ahead for a second season. This comes after initial reports in April of this year that Queen Sono had been given the thumbs-up for a second season. Speculations on the possible reasons for halting the show vary, according to IOL. However, Netflix cited difficulties in filming due to challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Queen Sono lead, Pearl Thusi, released a bittersweet statement to The Citizen in response to the news.
“It’s so incredible that we as a team got a lifetime opportunity to make history together as there will never be another ‘first’ African Netflix original series. I’m proud of the work we did, but everything happens for a reason. I am excited about what the future holds.”