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Gripped by fear

So The Audacity of Hope plans it's trip to Gaza and the rest of the World watches coz we know they ain't goin' nowhere. They will be stopped, arrested, charged and their lives will change. Like sleepy zombie giants we will look, tut-tut and then go back to our very reliable wage slavery (which isn't quite as reliable as it once was - unless you're in Africa).

I applaud the efforts of anyone who stands up against oppression in all it's forms whether from an oppressive neighbor  an abusive husband or a political system. Their efforts are admirable and I cannot imagine what it takes to go out of your house, out of your comfort zone to take a bullet from a trigger happy security force (police etc) who thinks your life is not worth anything.

image credit: Angelo Gonzales
The threat never goes away though. In this day and age, it is not just about losing your life - it is about losing your livelihood. People with criminal records find it a little difficult to find employment. Agencies aren't exactly looking forward to placing someone who would "challenge the status-quo" in a position somewhere, where their "zeal for fairness" will sprout. They'll lose money and money is KING. If you are not famous or have an already established career or business engaging in activities that would be contrary to "keeping the peace" is dangerous to moving up the corporate ladder and with the newly veiled surveillance equipment from the G20 riots in Toronto last year, they'll have EVERYTHING on you. It's too risky!

In articles all over the internet you'll find voices of people, afraid and cowering and demanding that everyone else cower. Don't rock the boat, don't say anything. Shush be silent!

What are you going to do?

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Having the Patience...

I like fast things. Do you? This has not been as quick a transition as I had hoped.

I have been working on migrating my blog and allowing myself to focus on all things African and African American. In spite of the conversation carried on last week about whether African Americans should in fact call themselves that, we are one people. There are Africans all over the World, yearning for the connection to Africa and other Africans and there are Africans yearning for the connections to their brothers and sisters who live abroad.

image credit: Earls37a
The interesting part of this journey has been finding African groups on small islands in the Pacific. Almost like a half-way group between the Aboriginal groups of Australia and New Zealand and Africa and I'm scratching the place where my beard should be (if I were a man) and thinking about the continued migration of African people around the World.  Since the first group of people left, we know we've been sending people out of the homeland since.

So, to cater to the needs of those who are yearning for the connection back to the Motherland - the glorious, rich and lush continent of Africa - whether it was severed in generations past or you just moved to the West(or east) for school, I present you with the first two in a series of papers for your computers, tablets and mobile phones. 

The Connected African - connects you to news articles and personal views coming out of Africa and Black America, in the major languages of our groups, English, French, Portuguese, Arabic, Swahili and Amharic. If you download Google Chrome you can modify your settings so that the pages will always be translated for you into the language you are most comfortable with. 

Connected Africans - brings you to the news articles and blogs of the decendants of Africans around the World. Right now they are mostly in English.

Subscribe for updates or include us on your blogs and websites!

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5 It's Killing You!

Yes it is! And when you finally keel over, final breath breathed, final words gasped from ashy lips and rank breath, you'll stand up on the other side and wish you'd taken care of it sooner.

Yes most beloved Missy E, I'm talking to you.

image credit: adifansnet
The endocrine gland giving you a myriad of health problems is making your life miserable and while I know you are strong woman that can do it, you have money, great health insurance but REALLY SUCKY doctors. Fire them NOW.

Did you know that you can live a happy and healthy life WITHOUT your thyroid gland? That a very short 1 hour surgery and a small incision that you can cover with bling is all you'd have to suffer through? Did you know that with your money, power and influence you can find a doctor who will prescribe the RIGHT medicine for you to take so you can live happy healthy and whole without the fear of dipping into hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism?

I have known two people who got very successful surgeries to have their thyroids removed. One stuck to conventional methods to keep the thyroid hormone in her body afterwards and another did immense research to figure out what she needed to do for herself and is taking dessicated PIG hormones. It is a crazy schedule, but seeing the fire of life in her eyes and the general good health she enjoys she is living the life!

There are so many black women with thyroid problems, even Oprah fights it, but there are solutions, better solutions than just coping with it all the gatdamb time. Do well for yourself sistah and take care of it please.

Contact me, will ya? All info for free too! :-)

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4 Africans Punishing Children

There is no doubt that Africans have continued the migration believed to have been started approximately 160,000 years ago. In almost every country you visit in the World, there are pockets of recent descendants of African people either taken there by slavery or migrated there themselves.

image credit: McMarkLouwes
Much of the time Africans prefer to teach their traditions and cultures to their children so that it is not lost, but many children now being born on foreign soil have no connection to these traditions and cultures and sometimes view them as outdated and useless in this advanced technological age.

Part of being a teenager in the Westernized World is going through the very well sculptured "rebellious stage" which usually involves getting in with some gang of hooligans, incessant partying and general disrespect for any form of authority ~ usually parents and teachers. However, because the same kind of support is not available for African families in the West, parents are forced to get creative in order to curb their wayward children.

Many parents punish their children by sending them back to Africa to live with a relative and there is a movie out that tackles this issue.

An intimate look at the complex issues that shapes the lives of the children of black immigrants the World over, this movie takes you on a journey that challenges what you may think about African parenting and allows you to experience the World of a child, growing into a young man, allowing a punishment to become a lesson to find his roots.

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0 Did you Sabotage Yourself?


image credit: Dr.Bacchus
There go the African politics we have all come to know and sigh at. We sit around in little pseudo-political science circles arguing moot points about the politicians that have been put in power and wring our hands in frustration. And yet when election day comes again, they'll frighten you with stories about homosexuals, abortions & feminism, tribalism and all manner of other non-issues so you'll vote them in again.

Ugandan parliamentarians recently got very expensive cars and a pay rise. People posted all kinds of things on their Facebook pages, decrying the corruption and immorality of the new government that THEY voted in (shakes head) and now look what is happening in Kenya!!

According to Reuters, Kenyan parlimentarians have declared that they WILL NOT pay the back taxes they owe claiming that it would cut into their salaries making them more susceptible to bribes!!


WHAT?! Come again? So, when you were calling Mr. Opposition out, saying he was corrupt, he would not look after you, he was going to _____ (fill in the space with whatever lies they spewed) you were really talking about yourself?

Why? Why are they more susceptible to bribery? So what about the poor man who robs and steals and kills, should he be let off because he was susceptible to stealing since he needed to FEED HIMSELF?!

What duchebaggery!

So Mr. Kenyan person reading this, are you going to sit aside and let the Parliament replicate the actions of the Ugandan one? They're taking your hard earned taxes and laughing (very loudly) all the way to the bank because you voted them in!

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0 Congratulations Serena!

Wooo hooo!!

In celebration news, Serena Williams had a 3-6 6-2 6-1 victory over Simona Halep today!

image credit: Jet Magbanua
We are used to the steely strength and calm that Serena plays with on the court, and after a particularly scary time with cutting her foot on glass and suffering with blood clots, it was nice to watch her win on Tuesday over Aravane Rezai.

The powerful seventh seed is set to play against the 26th seed Maria Kirilenko in the next round. We're watching and rooting for you Ms. Williams and sending lots of good karma!

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0 You might be guilty

In the recent news, the international watchdog, Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), responsible for making sure that blood diamonds do not get sold on any market - black or otherwise - has insisted that the diamond trade out of Zimbabwe must be examined to make sure everything is up to par.

image credit: Vicious.-
If you look down at your finger, whether you sport a wedding ring with diamonds or an engagement ring or an expensive piece of jewelry, you have to ask yourself if you have contributed in some part to the disenfranchisement of the people the diamond mines belong to.

When international companies obtain mines, for whatever mineral or resource, they usually obtain something akin to a lease. The money is paid to government officials who are appointed by the people to take care of their most basic needs. As we have seen the world over, including developed nations like Canada and the USA, governments do not always look out for the interests of the people who elected them.

Corporations need to survive and reap the benefits of the investments they have put into the mines they have acquired, so on holidays like Mother's Day and Christmas, diamonds feature in TV ads every hour quite frequently. On the last count, there were 6 ads for one hour of TV watching to try and get consumers to purchase something that will "last forever". We also have the hip-hop culture to thank for the proliferation of "bling" into the hearts and minds of young people everywhere, who sometimes purchase carbon zirconium for a lot more money than they should.

The term "blood diamond" refers to diamonds that have been purchased in a war zone to finance the war. In general people are warned against buying blood diamonds and companies will, from time to time, be open about the source of the diamonds they sell. Of course we can never know, but it is important to ask whenever you make this kind of investment. Are you inadvertently financing a war?

In any case, we will be watching with increasing curiosity at the events occuring in Harare, where the Minister of Mines Obert Mpofu, has declared that since Zimbabwe met the requirements of the KPCS at the last plenary, they must be allowed to export diamonds without restriction.

Whether this is the continued ploy of the powers that be to oust President (for life apparently) Mugabe once and for all is still up for discussion.
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0 Cry for Freedom?

On Saturday in Saudi Arabia, a 54 year old maid from Indonesia was beheaded for killing her employer. According to the news coming out of Jakarta, Ruyati binti Sapubi's employer had refused to allow her to leave to visit her family and had repeatedly abused her. Because she confessed to the crime, no trial was conducted, no lawyer was provided and her family was not informed of her imprisonment and death sentence until it had been carried out.

image credit: Viofiddler
Almost 1.2 million Indonesians are living in Saudi Arabia and about 70% of them are domestic workers. Many of them have made claims of abuse and torture that are usually ruled in favor of the Saudi employers which has caused a great row between the two countries.

As a result of the beheading on Saturday multiple protests have been held outside the Saudi embassy in Jakarta and the Labour Ministry spokes woman, Dita Indah Sari, has said  that the department will begin to work on tightening all regulations concerning overseas domestic workers.

Currently the government of Indonesia has put a moratorium on all domestic workers intending to go to Saudi Arabia and is calling on all its citizens to refrain from going there on holiday. The moratorium is going to stand until the government of Saudi Arabia agreed to protect the rights of foreign domestic workers.

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6 Slavery is funny?

Is it possible that levity can be found in a movie about slavery?

Can the plot remain true to history and yet juxtapose comedic situations alongside the painful history?

Even more importantly, can you draw African Americans, who according to recent "studies" are the greatest consumers of entertainment, to the theater to watch the movie?

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A movie that is going to be released in France in July attempts to do that. Case Départ tells the stories of two brothers, half brothers who have the same father. They hardly know him. One feels that France, the country in which they live, is ultimately racist and it makes him despondent and disillusioned. His brother harbors a lot of self hate, wishing to shed the heavy slave heritage. At their father's deathbed, they receive an ancient document that they mistakenly destroy and are sent back in time by an old mysterious woman, specifically to the height of the Trans-Atlantic slave period. As they work together to return to the present day they are caught in  a series of hilarious situations.

Case Départ Trailer:

The intentions of the movie makers Thomas Ngijol and Fabrice Eboué (who are also the stars of the movie) may not be evident and until we see the movie. At first they seem innocent enough, full of lessons to teach us valuable lessons about owning our heritage, understanding it and remembering that people smiled with each other some of the time, but we will have to wait and see.

Do you think that a movie about slavery can be funny? If it airs in the US (or wherever you are) do you think you will go to see it?

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8 Breaking Free from Language

It is possible to think that everyone in the US understands each other when they speak. Those who live in the US or have visited know that the accents vary and slang varies too, according to the particular heritage of the person being spoken to. English has morphed to a unique form for American speakers and writers where words are spelled differently than they would be in the rest of the English speaking World. Although some like misunderestimate take the cake.

No matter where you go on our beautiful blue globe, English changes according to the culture and native tongue of the particular area. Sometimes understanding what the other person is saying proves to be slightly difficult, but with patience and a little creativity communication can be relatively pain free and enjoyable.

Literature has also come to reflect the differences in expression and slang in the English language. In my youth reading a copy of Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart for my literature class was as foreign as reading Ngugi wa Thiong'o's The River Between. There were things I learned about the Nigerian and Kenyan culture that opened my eyes to things I may have not otherwise known.

This kind of exposure has not only been by African authors, but by American authors and screenplays as well. A popular phrase heard around is one taken from something Madea, a character played by Tyler Perry. 

Google Translate via Chrome has allowed me to follow some passionate blogs by various people around the World. I can follow Basketball in a blog written in Portuguese from Angola, understand the issues that may lead up to another bout of civil unrest in Morocco or enjoy the beautiful descriptions of Tanzania written in Swahili  The World has fewer and fewer boundaries.
The of course, I had to happen upon the one book I am curious to read that will take a little longer for me to have access to. Masimba Musodza has written a sci-fi novel in Shona. Shona is an African language spoken by a group of people who can be found in Botswana and Zimbabwe. Musodza's book, MunaHacha Maive Nei? presents another challenge for the language challenged curious George. I want to know what is in the book. Exerpts can be found here, all written in Shona and a puzzle for those of us that do not speak it.

The novel tackles issues ranging from greed and corruption to sustainable development and corporate intrigue. Harmful checmicals are released into the ecosystem by a research station operating in secret and the animals and plants begin to mutate. After a child has been attacked, the locals believe it to be one of the custodians of their folk lore and attempt to appease it, but they soon realize the reality which is wilder and more horrifying than their minds could have imagined.

See what I'm saying? Now how am I supposed to read this one? I want to know. I'll probably phone my own Zimbabwean friend and talk her into reading it to me over the phone.

Needless to say, the World is getting smaller as language barriers continue to fall to the ground. I'm off to go rent a wrecking ball!

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0 Start-up Acceleration

A new program called New Media Entrepreneurship Accelerator Program has been started in order to advance the start-ups of minority owned and led technology companies.

image credit: Frerieke

The program promises some pretty sweet deals for the start-ups including one-on-one mentorships, dinners with some of the most respected technology giants in Silicon Valley, and the chance to demonstrate the start-up, all opportunities to showcase it and attract investors.

At this time in the US economic history, this is invaluable help for people who have always wanted out of the 9-5 rat race and innovate their way out of the vicious cycle that employment had become in the 21st Century.

Unfortunately, the program has already picked the participants for their first session for the summer, with 5 selected and 2 community voted companies, but hopefully it will not be the only session that will exist and other companies will be able to participate in this program.

For more information about the program, please visit their website at

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0 Losing the Battle

image credit: Dr. Case

In a report released last week by the Global Commission on Drug Policy revealed something we've been suspecting for years;
" we have lost the war on drugs"

In 1971 the then President Nixon of the United States of America said that drug use was the number one enemy in the US and began one of the most intensive military interventions by the US and other allied countries to counteract the production, trade and proliferation of psychoactive drugs.

This year the war on drugs turns 40 years old, and at such a significant anniversary it is important to look back and review the policies that have shaped the War on Drugs and their effectiveness in curbing its production, trade and proliferation.

According to, that produced a well laid out infograph, the war has been carried out in mostly poor neighborhoods in the US occupied by people of color. Most of the people incarcerated through the policies of the Drug War are people of color who have suffered harsh penalties for non-violent offenses like possession.

The Global Comission on Drug Policy consists of people with high credentials including a former UN secretary-general, former presidents of Mexico, Colombia and Brazil, a former US Secretary of State and a host of public intellectuals, human rights activists and politicians. Their report claims that the war on drugs has only served to increase the illegal movement of capital around the World, incredible loss of lives in trafficking and sale and the stigmatization of people who become addicted to the drugs.

In the US, the legalization of drugs is not feasible, according to DEA Dawn Dearden, a clear indication that the power brokers in the war on drugs are inflexible to the much needed change required to allow for globalized change.

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3 No McD's for Tunis!

I love my blog list. I have been able to find some jewels from around the World, putting the best of the internet into my RSS feed reader. This morning, one of the blogs I follow from Tunisia (thanking the Google geeks for Google Translate through Chrome), I came across this image.

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In recent history Tunisia is credited with the beginning of the Arab Spring, the series of protests by civilians to oust dictatorships that have stripped the countries of their wealth for their own advantage and for the advantage of Western Corporations. It began with Mohamed Bouazizi. He was tired of being harassed by corrupt officials who would not allow him to sell his tomatoes to make a living so he set himself on fire in protest in January this year. 

It is interesting that they would be one of the first countries on the Continent of Africa to stand up against McDonalds and other franchises that would seek to undermine local food markets and vendors. 

In the West, we have been exposed to the ills of McDonalds, Burger King and Taco Bell among others, who promise cheap food that ends up making people quite ill and does not live up to the advertisements they pepper the highway and television commercials with. More often than not, after purchasing a cheese burger from McDonalds, you end up with this,

image credit: Calgary Reviews
The famous movie Supersize Me, produced in 2004 and directed by Morgan Spurlock follows one man (Morgan Spurlock) as he ditches his super healthy diet for McDonald's for one month. By the end of the month all health indicators are very low, a reflection of the kind of health enjoyed by people who regularly eat food from these fast food chains. So it would call to reason that people who have a diet that is rich in nutrients and locally grown would not want the services of a company like McDonalds.

The Tunisian diet consists of a lot of fish, couscous and vegetables prepared in time honored ways that have kept them healthy and relatively free from cardiovascular disease and the complications that result from that kind of sickness. Their diet is also a reflection of their culture and heritage passed down through the ages that makes them unique and interesting, something that must continue to be honored.

The main claim for lifting the ban on franchises is to allow for job creation and increased wealth for the populations, but as many developing country nationals will attest, this does not happen. The high paying jobs are reserved for expatriates and the menial positions whose pay hovers around the poverty line are passed on to the local population. Job creation is desirable, but the cost may prove to be much more than Tunisians may be ready to pay.

Hurrah Tunisia! Keep healthy!

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0 Happy Father's Day!

image credit: commanderjaygold


I am one of those annoying women who grew up with a two parent home (both mine and still together) whose father was loving and openly affectionate with my mother and doted on his children.

He taught us to pray, gave us the courage to jump from buildings and trees, birthed a curiosity for African history, shielded us from those who wished us ill, fostered our creativity, filled in the gaps when our information was incomplete, and chats with us still when he can be online.

Once, when a gentleman with less than honorable intentions towards me came to the house, my father pulled himself to his greatest height and with his loudest evangelist preacher voice cast out all kinds of demons "in the name of Jesus!" I was mortified. Needless to say, the man and his intentions removed themselves from my sphere soon after that and were taken to a few other homes with fathers less discerning.

I am grateful that my time on Earth has not been plagued with the ills that come with a deceased father, a deadbeat dad or one that abused me. I know I did not do anything to deserve the father I have and understand that I am no better than anyone else. I'm just lucky. That is why I celebrate.

For my brothers, who now have daughters of their own, Happy Father's Day!
To my own special Dad, Happy Father's Day!

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0 No Place for Cornrows

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St. Gregory's Catholic Science College has dominated cyberspace this morning coming under fire from the High Court in London for its discriminatory practices regarding the hairstyle of one young black boy who was denied admission.

More often than their contemporaries of other races, black children are denied education in some colleges for whatever reason can be quickly used within the safety of school regulations, requirements and bylaws. This one, however was particularly interesting because the reason why 13 year old "SG" was refused a place because he wore cornrows.

In an interview on the BBC, Rob Berkley states that the school did not properly understand what it truly means to have a diverse student body if the children are supposed to all look a certain way.

This particular story echoes what has become the continuing discussion in black circles about what is acceptable professional clothing/dress and what is considered to be beautiful. In West Africa, the agbada is the choice of many professionals and they look elegant. In Somalia men would wear macawiis, a cloth wrapped around the waist that looks elegant. In Arab countries galabiya is the choice of professional men. Indians wear Saris and Chinese wear the hanfu quite successfully. The term professional in the Western World, however, seeks to exclude what other people would call professional and use the term ethnic. As though ethnic wear or ethnic looks somehow denote something less than professional

At, we would like to think that this issue is more than just about hair and what people of African Descent must do in order to make themselves acceptable in certain communities. 

If the school's ban was a statement that said all boys must have short hair, then everyone must be included and an exact measurement of what long and short is must be given. If boys are allowed to wear their hair long it means that boys of African descent would have to wear protective styles or else walk around with ridiculously large Afros. If boys must have short hair, then what about the girls? Is that discriminatory or sexist in any way? What about girls of African descent who have long hair, are they allowed to have cornrows?

It is not so much about culture, but convenience. It is about understanding (for real) what each person of whatever race, must do because of their physical characteristics (more sun for people with darker skin, more sun protection for people with light skin). If we are to truly consider ourselves to be diverse, then, like Mr. Berkely said, we have to allow that each child will come looking different (within the generally understood tenets of decency).

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0 Poachers Hate Her, Animals Love her

image credit: cambodia4kidsorg
This year, the National Geographic Annual Award is being given to Dr. Paula Kahumbu, an elephant conservationist in Kenya who has fought against poaching of elephants for their ivory in her country.

Much of Africa's wealth lies within its hills and natural resources, including the richness of its wildlife. The elephant population on the continent was on a steady decline as the World demanded more and more ivory for ever cheaper prices and poaching was on the rise. One of the moments she hails as the proudest moments in Kenyan conservation was in July of 1989 when President Moi burned 12 tonnes of ivory recaptured from poachers.

Elephants are not her only passion. Currently involved in a battle against the use of a chemical used as an insecticide called Furadan that is manufactured in the US, she claims that the poison has slowly but steadily reduced the population of other wild life in Africa including the African Lion and the vultures. This chemical has been banned from use in the US, but is currently exported to numerous developing nations all over the World.

Dr. Kahumbu received her PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Princeton University in 2002 and is the author of Owen & Mzee and Looking For Miza that can be purchased from She is also a fervent blogger from the African Environmental frontlines where you can read stories of the human-wildlife conflict essential to our existance in this delicate ecosystem.

Congratulations Dr. Kahumbu!

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2 Aminatta Forna, worth celebrating

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The winners of the Commonwealth Writer's Prize were announced earlier this week with Aminatta Forna rising to the top as one of the top two winners of this prize.

Her book The Memory of Love was written to reflect a time in Sierra Leone, when the country was torn to shreds by a violent civil war in which her father was killed.

Here is a short interview where she describes her work with Bola Mosuro

Typically, western audiences have enjoyed what has been aptly named African Poverty Pornography. When stories depict war torn villages, tyrannical dictatorships, the doe-eyed journey of a village boy to the city or the starvation of human beings and animals. This book teeters dangerously towards this genre and my fear of delving into the kinds of stories I myself have lived through does not give me the sense of urgency required to spend $17 on it.

However, only a few totems of the female descendants of Africans around the World (fancy way of saying black women, no?) get recognized for their mastery of whatever foreign language they have had to learn in order to produce a literary piece of art, or for their creativity and verve. So I will read The Memory of Love to support another sister and to enjoy a masterful work of art.

If you have read the book, please let us know by including a link to your review in the comment section. Thank you!
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0 The Protest That Never Was

image credits: ycanada_news
One of my favorite movies is V for Vendetta written by the Wachowski siblings and released in 2006. It was about a much needed revolution, at some time in the future, from a tyrannical intolerant government that was brought about by the actions of one man who wore a Guy Fawkes mask. It resonated with my sense of justice and what is wrong with the World and what can be done to fix it.

We have a modern 2011 Guy Fawkes. The indomitable Anonymous Group that has been wreaking havoc across the globe against groups, governments and companies that they believe have taken advantage of common man for their own financial gain.

Last week they released a video calling for the resignation of Ben Bernake, the chairman of the Federal Reserve. They asked the public to stand with them and occupy public space on the 14th of June in order to show solidarity and give the movement the kind of support that we all witnessed when the Egyptians occupied Tahrir Square earlier this year.

The 14th of June came and went, with no public show of support. If one or two stragglers went to a public space with signs, no media outlet covered it or showed that something was going on. It seems that the balloon that was threatening to pop lost all its air from the opening... fizzing out slowly and quietly into nothing.

Where was everyone? In their offices? Was the 14th inconvenient? Should it have been the weekend? I'm not quite sure what everyone's reasons were, but I can give you mine.

In 2010 the G20 meeting was held in Toronto in Canada, and as usual, wherever the G20 meet there will be protests. People with signs camping close by shouting slogans at the Presidents and their representatives as they gather at whatever meeting place was set up. The protests degenerated quickly into mass arrests that put the RCMP squarely in the sights of protesters and their lawyers. It was an inglorious mess.

Occupying public space only puts you in danger of being arrested and marked as a disturber of the peace. In such a time as this when there is a great struggle to find and keep jobs, to feed hungry mouths at home spending a few days in jail does not seem to be a good use of time. Shouldn't I be more concerned about the future and what could happen and what I could do to change things now?

Maybe. Maybe if I could be Anonymous too, not be able to be found or located and effect change without being caught like some news reports have suggested, maybe I would. But...

Let's just have it out. I'm a coward.
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0 The Gender Award Goes To...

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Say what?! Gender Award? What does that mean? Who represented their gender the best?

I needed more information so I went hunting and this is what I found:

Every year the PanAfrican Center for Gender, Peace and Development (PAC) gives an award to a government, private organization or civil society that shows outstanding achievement in "gender mainstreaming", which basically means they promote Women's participation in Africa.

Some of the criteria include;

  • Gender specific economic, social and legal measures on HIV/AIDS
  • Systematic prohibition of the recruitment of child soldiers
  • Systematic prohibition of the abuse of girl children as wives and sex slaves
  • Promoting gender parity principle
  • Education of women
  • Enforcement of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa

To name a few.

The first award was given in 2005 to the Presidents of Senegal and South Africa and is awarded every two years. The other winners have been the presidents of Rwanda (2007) and Mozambique(2009).

It is not a very well known award, nor is it one which we find organizations and civil society winning. It does not seem that more people would work towards receiving this award to show it off or print it on their resume. I understand what the award is meant to do, but I wonder sometimes if these kinds of awards will hold our leaders to higher standards if we do not show those who have failed dismally.

Just thinking...
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0 Obsessed with Someone Else's Sex Life

image credit: Dushan & Miae
Weinergate, Clintongate, whatever.

Why are we so obsessed with other people's sex life? Why is it important to us? Why do their morals come into question when we find that they have had sex with multiple partners?

Enter the man who clearly wants out of his marriage so he can have dalliances with girls who have been marketed to him, he is considered more virile by his peers if he is known to have had sex with many young women. And yet if he is supposed to act "his age"  he has to marry someone closer to his age and have sex with her and only her for the rest of his life.

What kind of twisted World do we live in where we expect men (and lately women too) to have sex with multiple partners in their youth, consume pornographic material and then suddenly they have to marry "the one" (which we all know to be a false premise) and if they stray, then they are unreliable and must resign.


Frankly speaking I don't care who has sex with whom. If you can make good decisions about my tax dollars, stand up for the issues I think are important, support legislation that furthers the prosperity of my community. When you enter your house, do what you need to do to get back to the issues that concern me.

However, this is not Utopia.
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0 Female or Male, Can you Tell?

image credit: Willy_ochayaus
VS Naipaul, a winner of the Nobel prize in literature, stated last week that there was no woman he would consider his literary equal. Needless to say his comments did not go down very well with female writers the World over. He had some inflammatory remarks about the role of women in homes and their narrow and very emotional view of the World. Anyway, this post is not about him, but rather about a very interesting test that came out of it.

You will need to follow this link to test your ability to figure out whether a particular author is male or female and see how you score! Post your scores!!!

I got a dismal 4 out of 10.
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0 Learning Something New

Image Credit: M.Leo_M
Learning a new language is always a little daunting. Picking up that first book, trying to say the words without understanding their significance or even the proper pronunciation, having people from a country you visit scrunching up their faces wondering what the hell you just said, and you thought you said it beautifully!

I have been trying my oh-so-feeble-hand at Arabic, mainly because I am fascinated by characters that are different from the traditional english alphabet, but also because I want to be able to delve into some of these libraries. Every faltering word I tentatively speak or sound out, and every joyful celebration at reading the signs and symbols is borne out of hard work.

Increasing the number of languages I speak has become one of my passions so imagine what happened when I came across this video below,

It is the language of some South African history greats like Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela, not that we imagine we would ever be able to be fluent enough to conduct an interview in Xhosa or even have the chance to interview these great people, but it sure is nice to dream.

Are there any languages you wish you could learn with someone online?
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1 Australia Outshines the US

Image Credit: healthmankirkland
Last year while scouring the internet for television programs to watch, after a dismal lineup by US networks, I happened upon a show, Masterchef Australia.

They took amateur cooks from everywhere in the country and had a competition to see who would emerge as the best cook. Competitions like the mystery box where all the ingredients to be used are in a box, immunity pin challenge where the amateur cook would compete with a professional cook for the chance to have immunity or even the pressure tests that would end someone's dreams of becoming the next masterchef.

The focus was entirely on the food, the skill of the cooks, creativity and accepting cooking as an art form. The Master classes held by top chefs Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris were interesting and allowed those of us sitting at home to delve into the kitchen, research farmer's markets and early morning markets where all the top restaurants go to shop, purchase some very exotic spices for dishes we wanted to try out and the best part of all, all the winning recipes along with the recipes from Master class were posted on their website for everyone to use.

Enter Masterchef US. Sigh. From the start of the first season, there was an obvious decision to favor Whitney. The dishes were often bland looking with creativity and honest cooking often taking the back seat to the over dramatization of the characters they chose - something that is obviously lacking in the Australian version of the show - which may be a function of the producers who imagine an audience that is like the Survivor or Jersey Shore audience.

Pish tosh with all this drama nonsense. If there are no good innovative cooks, then there needs to be a wider search. I want to be able to attend a Masterclass conducted by Gordon Ramsey, with all the tips and tricks and shortcuts he would be able to offer. I want to be able to see famous food bloggers/writers come up with crazy challenges, to see that the people who left the show are pursuing their dreams working in kitchens and honing their skills. I want to see members of the Daring Kitchen on the show!!! I am going to try to give season two a go, but if it turns out to be the same igg that infected last season, sorry! I'm going to stick with the very interesting Masterchef Australia that hinges on fresh locally grown produce and making it into delicious food art on my plate!!

Please Masterchef US, we know there is more out there than trumped up and edited drama. We just want food art.
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0 Jewels of African Film from MTV Awards

Have you ever wondered what a book written in another language reads like? Have you been curious about the perspective of a particular culture without the veil of prejudice from an onlooker, whatever their prejudice may be?

I have often been plagued with the knowledge that there may not be enough years in a human lifetime to learn enough languages to enjoy the stories from Africa and indeed the World. To gain sufficient proficiency to understand the complexity and subtle nuances of the language in order to relish the beauty of a people from a first person perspective. Much of it is lost in translation to one of the major languages of the UN, but unfortunately for us, in order to enjoy the stories, we get the pale xerox of it.

We may, however, be able to find a way to enjoy stories without the barrier. Through the medium of movies.

MTV introduced a new category this year that honored African films and African film makers, a surprising move for awards that have taken a backseat in the global honor, glitz, glam and media whoring that have surrounded the Oscars.

At, we have scoured the internet to bring you trailers and brief summaries of the movies that were nominated for this award so that when they become available to you through the Netflix or your local video store you would be able to see them.

Viva Riva
Riva is an operator, a man with charm and ambition in equal measure. Kinshasa is an inviting place. With petrol in short supply in DRC's capital, he and his sidekick pursue a plot to get hold of a secret cache - barrels of fuel they can sell for a huge profit. Of course they're not the only ones who want the stuff. Cesar is a ruthless, sharply dressed foreigner thriving in Kinshasa's lawless streets. A female military officer joins the fray. Even the church will betray its tenets for a piece of the action. But Riva's main nemesis is Azor, a crime boss in the classic style: big, decadent and brutal. He's not a man to mess with, but his girlfriend, Nora, may just be the most seductive woman in all of DRC. Riva catches sight of her dancing at a nightclub and it's not long before Nora matches the fuel cache as a coveted object of his lust. (

A Screaming Man
Present-day Chad. Adam, sixty something, a former swimming champion, is pool attendant at a smart N'Djamena hotel. When the hotel gets taken over by new Chinese owners, he is forced to give up his job to his son Abdel. Terribly resentful, he feels socially humiliated. The country is in the throes of a civil war. Rebel forces are attacking the government. The authorities demand that the population contribute to the "war effort", giving money or volunteers old enough to fight off the assailants. The District Chief constantly harasses Adam for his contribution. But Adam is penniless; he only has his son... (

Life Above All
A child tries to hold her family together against prejudice, disease, and ignorance in this drama from South Africa. Chanda (Khomotso Manyaka) is only 12 years old, but she's already been forced to take on many of the responsibilities of an adult in her household. Chanda's father is gone, her stepfather, Jonah (Aubrey Poolo), is an irresponsible alcoholic, and her mother, Lillian (Lerato Mvelase), has been physically and emotionally devastated by AIDS and the death of her youngest child. (

Restless City
Tells the story of an African immigrant surviving on the fringes of New York City where music is his passion, life is a hustle and falling in love is his greatest risk. (

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0 The BEST Bread EVAR!!!

Image Credit: InfoMofo

Last year, when health challenges sprung up alongside the quick desire to be free of all GMO wheat substances, decided to go gluten free.

If you have had the very uncomfortable feeling after you eat bread and end up feeling bloated and uncomfortable and probably even constipated, it may be necessary to ask your health practitioner if you may have gluten sensitivity.

Part of the black experience for many African Americans and Africans is the flatulence that follows ingestion of dairy products, being black ourselves, we decided we would go dairy free as well.

This meant that we either had to give up bread and bread products (including all those yummy pastries) or find gluten & dairy free products that we could enjoy. We happened upon Red Mill's Wonderful Bread Mix that could be used with a bread machine (or not, but since we already had one, yay!) and the success of this bread has been very high.

In the recipe shown in the video we used the entire package and got a very big loaf. If you are good with numbers and have a good scale I would suggest halving the ingredients.

The recipe for the bread can be found at the back of the package, but we found that separating the eggs was inconvenient and we ended up eating too much custard in order to use up the left over egg yolk. Here are our tweaks.

For 1/2 the package

  • 1/4 Teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 plus 1/3 cups of almond milk warmed in the microwave 
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1/2 package of flour (usually between 240 and 245 grams)
  • 1/2 packet of yeast (about 4 grams of yeast)

Red Mill Wonderful Breadmix gets our 5 star rating!
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0 From The Diva of Over-reacting

Image Credits: Queen Roly

No. Seriously.


I have a very passionate love affair with chocolate and any special person in my life understands that  and accepts it for what it is.

The desserts and sweets that can be made from are decadent, rich, sweet almost sinful. There is a chocolate cake recipe called "Better than Sex". Basically, it is generally agreed that chocolate is a versatile and delicious food group that can be used to create beautiful desserts.

So what is with the diva who hits people? Why did she take offense to the comparison between herself and chocolate? The one who accepted a handful of dirty stones from an African dictator and tried to brush it off? The one who caused so much pain to the much beloved Tyra Banks? That one? Is it a strategy for something else?

The decadent recipes that result from the proper use of this food substance are beautiful to behold and tend to begin the process of salivation in most of the human race. Here, feast your eyes.

Image Credit: katbert

Image Credit: Kirti Poddar
Image Credit: Kimberlykv

In the discussion concerning the comparison of my skin tone with a particular food, I don't find it to be distressing or distasteful. I find I am not assailed by the same feelings of anger that she has. She has also failed to properly explain WHY it is offensive to her other than claiming she did not like being compared with chocolate.

Is this similar to the derogatory name some older black people use to talk about white people? I don't understand her argument yet. Do you?
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0 No More Plastic Bags: Africa Leading the Way

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If you have ever had the experience of being in a major metropolitan city, I am sure that the experience of seeing a dirty plastic bag caught in the branches of a tree, hanging off an electric pole or flying leisurely through the air, has offended you as much as it should.

Plastic has become one of the major hazzards to our ecosystem in this age and small steps are being taken by individuals and organizations to control the spread of the use of plastics.

Leading the charge on the continent are Rwanda and Congo-Brazaville. Six years ago, the environmental minister of Rwanda announced that the use of plastic bags was illegal. As with most things, the sale of plastic bags has gone underground since the use of paper bags is vastly more expensive, but it is a step in the right direction. They have continued to have "days of cleaning" where the nation takes the day off to pick up litter in their communities. As a result Kigali, Rwanda's capital, is one of the shining examples of a clean city.

On Wednesday, June 1st, a spokesman for the government announced that a new decree had been adopted prohibiting the use of plastic bags to pack food, groceries, water and other beverages. He said,

"For some years now, particularly in urban areas, Congo has witnessed major environmental pollution caused by discarded plastic bags which block drainage systems, causing floods and landslides"

Plastic is one of the by products of oil refining and is used to create most of the packaging of products in much of the developed World. Plastic is a non degradable product, which means that it will never rot or decay to form different compounds. Little bits of plastic have been found in the bellies of fish all over the World and plastic in general is choking water bodies and streams.

This documentary was made to help understand what they have called the life cycle of plastic. Our efforts to purchase goods that have less packaging are a step in the right direction, however it is important to continue the hard work to reduce the damage that has already been done to the delicate ecosystem that has supported the evolution of our species.

Hopefully other countries will follow in the footsteps that Rwanda and Congo-Brazaville are walking. However, for now it is important for each of us to understand the hazards associated with plastics and do our part by reducing, reusing, recycling.

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