Kenya

My Life in Africa

#147notjustanumber: The Victims of Kenya


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As a three-day period of national mourning ends in Kenya for the massacre of nearly 150 students at a university in the country’s east, a social media campaign has coalesced around the mounting outrage and grief to commemorate the individual victims.

People are using the hashtag #147notjustanumber #theyhavenames to join the discussion on social media about the massacre in Kenya. The death toll has since risen to 148. The students were murdered when four gunman from the Islamist militant group al-Shabab, stormed Garissa University College last Thursday. They were seeking out and killing the Christian students. Here is the university’s website.

I ask myself how the world has come to this? The campaign to humanize the victims is extremely potent. It’s a powerful effort, making it all too real for those outside Kenya to relate to the horror that occurred on its soil. Looking at the photos of the victims, I feel physically sick. They were innocent, helpless + killed at the whim of a militant group.

Will Rhodes Must Fall Turn Fatal?

I’m writing from the South African banks of #RhodesMustFall, where a well-intentioned protest started turning ugly this week. My view of the “revolution” (as it has been labeled by Twitter activists) has been tainted. With a statue in Uitenhage being set on fire, a monument in Pretoria being defaced + then the horse memorial in Port Elizabeth being vandalized by rebels, I dare say a similar horror could be broadcasting out from our soil next.

#RhodesMustFall is a story I’ve been following closely. It had its roots on a university campus in Cape Town where a group of students called for the removal of a colonial statue. But it’s taking an unexpected turn – militant, criminal action by politically-charged groups on the streets of the ‘real world’ off tertiary grounds.

Who was Cecil John Rhodes?

Cecil John Rhodes was an English businessman + financier who founded the modern diamond industry + controlled the British South Africa Company, which acquired Rhodesia + Zambia as British territories. Unfortunately, he did so through the gross intimidation + oppression of black people.

History has revealed Rhodes as power-hungry and greedy, using mercenaries and gangs to evict people from their land down the barrel of a gun. If that didn’t work, there was always bribery and corruption. When he died in 1902, Rhodes was one of the world’s wealthiest men. He had a vast mining empire and had seized more than 8.8 million square kilometres of land through the annexation of present-day Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia. The students contend the statue represents everything Rhodes stood for: racism, plunder, white supremacy, colonialism, pillaging, dispossession and the oppression of black people.

I always supported the removal of the statue from the UCT grounds to a more appropriate place, such as a museum or dedicated park. But I never supported the violence. I knew it would have repurcussions for the less-educated who simply see pictures of black students rallying + defacing buildings on campus in their “campaign”, then perceive it as a purely black vs. white issue. As Steve Hofmeyer sums up, illiteracy is to blame. According to UNICEF, we have 5 million illiterate people in South Africa. We (the literate; educated) take for granted our ability to research, understand + educate ourselves with the deeper topic at hand; the reason they are protesting. We have the luxury of investigating the broader concern, reading up on history + reasonably looking at both sides of a very complex debate. But the majority walking the streets who have access to Twitter or Facebook don’t have such inclinations. They just see photos, read militant words + sum up such a complex issue to its basal form of “black vs. white”. With our already sensitive history, this hasty “revolution” was a dangerous + irresponsible call for the group who started this at UCT. Is murder on our cards next as a debate about colonialism/imperialism + *institutional racism* turns into just an ugly race war? Xolela Mangcu sums it up nicely in his article: My biggest fear is that we will find ourselves in a racial civil war.

What the conversation is looking like on Twitter

Photos of the destroyed monuments

Uitenhage Statue on fire
War memorial in Uitenhage set on fire
horse memorial port elizabeth
Horse memorial in Port Elizabeth vandalized
Paul Kruger statue
Paul Kruger monument in Pretoria defaced
Creative Inspiration, South Africa

Wise African Proverbs


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Courtesy of http://afritorial.com/
All photos courtesy of http://afritorial.com/

African proverbs on Learning

  • Learning expands great souls. ~ Namibian proverb
  • To get lost is to learn the way. ~ African proverb
  • If you close your eyes to facts, you will learn through accidents. ~ African proverb
  • By trying often, the monkey learns to jump from the tree. ~ Buganda proverb
  • You always learn a lot more when you lose than when you win. ~ African proverb
  • You learn how to cut down trees by cutting them down. ~ Bateke proverb
  • The wise create proverbs for fools to learn, not to repeat. ~ African proverb
  • By the time the fool has learned the game, the players have dispersed. ~Ashanti proverb
  • You do not teach the paths of the forest to an old gorilla. ~Congolese proverb
  • What you learn is what you die with. ~ African proverb
  • Instruction in youth is like engraving in stone. ~Moroccan Proverb
  • When you follow in the path of your father, you learn to walk like him. ~Ashanti Proverb
  • Ears that do not listen to advice, accompany the head when it is chopped off. ~African Proverb
  • Advice is a stranger; if he’s welcome he stays for the night; if not, he leaves the same day. ~Malagasy Proverb

African Jewellery

African proverbs on Peace & Leadership
  • A fight between grasshoppers is a joy to the crow. ~ Lesotho proverb
  • Milk and honey have different colors, but they share the same house peacefully. ~ African proverb
  • He who thinks he is leading and has no one following him is only taking a walk. ~ Malawian proverb
  • An army of sheep led by a lion can defeat an army of lions led by a sheep. ~ Ghanaian proverb
  • He who is destined for power does not have to fight for it. ~ Ugandan proverb
  • Do not forget what is to be a sailor because of being a captain yourself. ~ Tanzanian proverb
  • He who fears the sun will not become chief. ~Ugandan proverb
  • Because he lost his reputation, he lost a kingdom. ~ Ethiopian proverb

African Proverbs

African proverbs on Unity & Community

  • Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable. ~ Bondei proverb
  • It takes a village to raise a child. ~ African proverb
  • Cross the river in a crowd and the crocodile won’t eat you. ~ African proverb
  • Two ants do not fail to pull one grasshopper. ~ Tanzanian proverb
  • A single bracelet does not jingle. ~ Congolese proverb
  • A single stick may smoke, but it will not burn. ~ African proverb

African Proverbs

African proverbs on Family

  • If I am in harmony with my family, that’s success. ~ Ute proverb
  • Dine with a stranger but save your love for your family. ~ Ethiopian proverb
  • Home affairs are not talked about on the public square. ~ African proverb

African proverbs on Friendship
  • A friend is someone you share the path with. ~ African proverb
  • Show me your friend and I will show you your character. ~ African proverb
  • Return to old watering holes for more than water; friends and dreams are there to meet you. ~ African proverb
  • Between true friends even water drunk together is sweet enough. ~ African proverb
  • Bad friends will prevent you from having good friends.  ~ Gabon proverb

African Proverbs on Beauty

African proverbs on Beauty
  • If there is character, ugliness becomes beauty; if there is none, beauty becomes ugliness. ~Nigerian Proverb
  • The skin of the leopard is beautiful, but not his heart. ~Baluba proverb
  • Ugliness with a good character is better than beauty. ~Nigerian Proverb
  • You are beautiful, but learn to work, for you cannot eat your beauty. ~Congolese Proverb
  • The one who loves an unsightly person is the one who makes him beautiful. ~Ganda Proverb
  • Three things cause sorrow to flee; water, green trees, and a beautiful face. ~Moroccan Proverb
  • A pretty face and fine clothes do not make character. ~Congolese Proverb
  • A pretty basket does not prevent worries. ~Congolese Proverb
  • It’s those ugly caterpillars that turn into beautiful butterflies after seasons. ~African Proverb
  • The most beautiful fig may contain a worm. ~Zulu Proverb
  • It is only a stupid cow that rejoices at the prospect of being taken to a beautiful abattoir. ~African Proverb
  • A chicken with beautiful plumage does not sit in a corner. ~African Proverb
  • There is always a winner even in a monkey’s beauty contest. ~African Proverb
  • Dress up a stick and it’ll be a beautiful bride. ~Egyptian Proverb
  • Beautiful discourse is rarer than emerald ~ yet it can be found among the servant girls at the grindstones. ~Egyptian Proverb
  • When a once-beautiful piece of cloth has turned into rags, no one remembers that it was woven by Ukwa master weavers. ~Igbo Proverb
  • A woman’s polite devotion is her greatest beauty. ~African Proverb
  • If you find “Miss This Year” beautiful, then you’ll find “Miss Next Year” even more so. ~Nigerian Proverb

African Culture Photography

 African proverbs on Love & Marriage
  • A happy man marries the girl he loves, but a happier man loves the girl he marries. ~ African proverb
  • If you marry a monkey for his wealth, the money goes and the monkey remains as is. ~ Egyptian proverb
  • Marriage is like a groundnut; you have to crack it to see what is inside. ~ Ghanaian proverb
African proverbs on Patience
  • Hurry, hurry has no blessings. ~ Swahili proverb
  • Patience is the mother of a beautiful child. ~ Bantu proverb
  • To run is not necessarily to arrive. ~ Swahili proverb
  • Patience can cook a stone. ~ African proverb
  • A patient man will eat ripe fruit. ~ African proverb
  • At the bottom of patience one finds heaven. ~ African proverb
  • A patient person never misses a thing. ~ Swahili proverb
  • Patience attracts happiness; it brings near that which is far. ~ Swahili proverb
  • Always being in a hurry does not prevent death, neither does going slowly prevent living. ~ Ibo proverb
  • However long the night, the dawn will break. ~ African proverb (personal favourite!)
African proverbs on Wealth, Riches, Money & Poverty
  • The wealth which enslaves the owner isn’t wealth. ~ Yoruba
  • Having a good discussion is like having riches ~ Kenya
  • Do not let what you cannot do tear from your hands what you can. ~ Ashanti

African proverbs on Food

  • If you see a man in a gown eating with a man in rags, the food belongs to the latter. ~Fulani Proverb
  • They ate our food, and forgot our names. ~Tunisian Proverb
  • An abundance of food at your neighbour’s will not satisfy your hunger. ~Bayaka Proverb
  • Food you will not eat you do not boil. ~African Proverb
  • When your luck deserts you, even cold food burns. ~Zambian Proverb
  • Happiness is as good as food. ~Maasai Proverb
  • Good words are food, bad words poison. ~Malagasy Proverb
  • The goat says: “Where there is blood, there is plenty of food.” ~Ghanaian Proverb
  • Eat when the food is ready; speak when the time is right. ~Ethiopian Proverb
  • The forest provides food to the hunter after he is utterly exhausted. ~Zimbabwean Proverb
  • Fine words do not produce food. ~Nigerian Proverb
  • If you watch your pot, your food will not burn. ~Mauritanian, Nigerian, and Niger Proverb
  • A spider’s cobweb isn’t only its sleeping spring but also its food trap. ~African Proverb
  • Man is like a pepper, till you have chewed it you do not know how hot it is. ~Haussa Proverb
  • When the food is cooked there is no need to wait before eating it. ~Kikuyu Proverb
  • Words are sweet, but they never take the place of food. ~Ibo Proverb
  • A healthy person who begs for food is an insult to a generous farmer. ~Ghanaian Proverb
  • Don’t take another mouthful before you have swallowed what is in your mouth. ~Malagasy Proverb
  • The grasshopper which is always near its mother eats the best food. ~Ghanaian Proverb
  • The chicken that digs for food will not sleep hungry. ~Bayombe Proverb

South African Interviews

The Oscars ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ 2013


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January 10th 2013 means a lot to a lot of people. Especially to 71 countries from around the world. Mean nothing to you? Well it won’t, really, unless you’re part of the group that’s been involved in creating your country’s best film or you’ve been involved in entering it into the highly-anticipated Academy Awards next year………….. Or unless you’re a film fiend, like myself! This year a record number of entries have been accepted. 71 entrants from countries around the world, which include a first-ever entry from Kenya, a Palme d’Or-winning entry from Austria and the Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion award-winner from South Korea, all think they’ve got what it takes to win the coveted title of ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ at The Oscars  2013.

Nairobi Half Life directed by David (Tosh) Gitonga:

Amour directed by Michael Haneke:

Pieta by Kim Ki-duk:

Last year the winner was an Iranian drama about a couple considering a divorce.

It’s titled A Separation.

See its trailer here:

It examines the moral and social conflicts that arise in a Tehran family after a couple apply for a divorce, and was recently criticised as a “dirty picture” by Iranian hardliners, despite its commercial success in the country.

– http://www.guardian.co.uk

This year, though, Iran has withheld its submission. The Iranian cultural minister said his country is boycotting the 2013 Oscars to protest against the anti-Islam video Innocence of Muslims made in the U.S. The controversial film sparked riots in the middle east a few weeks ago and has been banned in many countries, such as Russia, for being extremist. The filmmaker behind it has been arrested and sent to prison for violating the terms of his probation for a prior conviction.

Under the terms of his five-year probation, he was ordered not to own or use devices with access to the internet without approval from his probation officer

The Los Angeles Times

The man, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, created a 14-minute, anti-Muslim movie trailer which was blamed for riots in Benghazi in September in which the American ambassador to Libya and three others were killed. To date, no full-length version of the film has surfaced.

Here is the  Innocence of Muslims trailer,  with over 16 million views worldwide:

Other hot entrants this year for The Oscars 2013 include France’s The Intouchables directed by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano:

Morrocco’s Death for Sale directed by Faouzi Bensaïdi:

and Denmark’s A Royal Affair directed by Nikolaj Arcel:

And as for South Africa?  Well it seems that Darrell Roodt’s latest work, Umfaan(or Little One), is our submission to the race.

The film tells the story of a child rape victim left for dead in a township near Johannesburg, and is eventually found and rescued by an older woman, who becomes very close to the little girl, and decides to launch her own investigation into the girl’s rape.

– http://blogs.indiewire.com

There’s nothing about it online, no trailer for it on YouTube and unfortunately, according to my research, there doesn’t seem to be much hope for it to be selected as a finalist. See Johannesburg’s Times Live article on it here: http://www.timeslive.co.za/thetimes/2012/10/09/little-hope-for-little-one. So now we wait to see who is chosen to be among the finalists – to be unveiled on January 10, 2013. The 85th Academy Awards telecast will follow on February 24, hosted at the Hollywood & Highland Center by Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane.

Here are some more articles on the 2013 Entrants:

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/hollyworld/oscars-receive-record-71-foreign-film-submissions

http://www.cbc.ca/news/arts/story/2012/10/09/oscar-foreign-film-submissions.html

http://www.examiner.com/article/best-foreign-language-film-oscar-nominees-released-record-number-of-entries

http://www.filmcontact.com/united-states/71-countries-vie-foreign-film-oscar