Archive for the Mother Africa Category

Poetic Politics?

Posted in Awareness, CULTURE, HISTORY, Mother Africa, North America with tags , , , , , , on October 7, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Lyndall Beddy, a South African columnist with News Time, recently wrote an article in what she calls Poetic Politics. I could not get through the whole article before knowing I needed to respond. She wrote,

“European Colonial Doctors, not Indigenous Healers, cured Africa’s diseases: leprosy, yellow fever, bilharzia [sic], malaria, sleeping sickness et al . . . in most of Africa the faith of the people was in cannibalism (body part medicine), witchcraft and spirits. And far from understanding animals, they were afraid of most of them. My own char is too afraid still of frogs or spiders to go near them and I have to evict them from the house.”

Well, that was her opinion, and this is mine . . .

Let’s start with  actual facts. These diseases are collectively known as tropical diseases. They were so named because they thrive in warm climates. They also thrive in communities that are victims of poverty and malnutrition. Malnutrition is a result of poverty. Malnutrition leads to medical disorders and leaves you vulnerable to more diseases. Before colonists came to Africa, communities (villages)  were not victim of poverty. Do not forget Africa was a rich continent and this is what drew the colonist.

Beddy also wrote,

“As I have explained, black American descendents of slaves made up a culture and history of an Africa that was perfect until the nasty whites went to Africa and captured blacks as slaves from this perfect world (which, by the way, was monogamous in the Kwanza Cult version)”.

Kwanza is not a cult. As you should know (since you call yourself an amateur historian), Kwanza is a celebration. It originated in Africa and was adopted in America by members of the African Diaspora in an effort to regain ties with our heritage. As an amateur historian did you not know that slavery robbed the American born members of the African Diaspora of knowledge of our ancestry?

Beddy also wrote,

“The truth is that whites had no resistance to malaria, and did not even enter the interior of Africa until a cure had been found for malaria . . . It was white doctors, during the European colonial period, who found the cures for the many illnesses of Africa, often at considerable risk to their own lives.”

Beddy, the truth is, the colonists were not forcibly taken to Africa in chains. They willfully entered Africa, at their own risk, for their own benefit. I am sure they could barely wait to enter Africa’s interior and “discover” more riches.

Beddy says she is an anti-racist activist, yet she said,

“. . .  in most of Africa the faith of the people was in cannibalism (body part medicine), witchcraft and spirits. And far from understanding animals, they were afraid of most of them. My own char is too afraid still of frogs or spiders to go near them . . .”

In fact, a good lesson to learn in being an activist against racism is not to make racist statements. Have you worshipped with people who practice their traditional or indigenous faith enough to “understand” their faith? Is it not the “spirit” of Jesus that is the cornerstone of the Christian faith? Do you understand “frogs and spiders?”

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South Africa’s Millennium Development Setbacks

Posted in Mother Africa, Our Health with tags , , on September 23, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Death toll of South African children under the age of five remains unchanged according to the 2010 report by an international group known as Countdown to 2015. Countdown 2015 tracks the progress of health coverage for maternal, newborn, and child mortality in reaching Millennium Development Goals, MDGs. The MDGs are internationally agreed on goals set by the Millennium Project and adopted by experts from the United Nations, IMF, OECD, and the World Bank.

South Africa is in danger of not meeting Goal 4 and 5. Goal 4 is to reduce child mortality of children under age five by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015. Goal 5 is to improve maternal health within the same time frame. AIDS related illnesses are the highest cause of all deaths in South Africa. Statistics South Africa, a government agency, estimate there will be 410,000 new HIV infections in 2010, with 10 percent being children.

Economic disparities also hinder the progress in achieving these goals. Mortality rates are four times higher for those living in poverty than for other children. Apartheid caused high poverty rates for 80 percent of the population. South Africa is still economically divided. Solutions are needed to end discrimination and inequality of healthcare for poor South Africans.

Life in the Slums of Kibera

Posted in Awareness, Humanity, Mother Africa, Our Health with tags , on September 19, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Imagine your baby falling to the floor onto a sheet of reused plastic as he enters the world. Imagine no one is there to catch him.  No doctors, or midwives, to assure his safe arrival, only well meaning neighbors. This is how babies born poor come into the Kenyan slum of Kibera.

Families in slums often consist of mothers with no husbands; no jobs; no money. Children of these slums exists with no food; no education; no future. Husbands wonder in and out. They have lost hope of being a providing husband and father. They are the product of growing up in slums without learning productive skills. They are the sons of fathers who like them had nothing to pass on. They are the husbands of women who out of necessity have had to be the backbone of the family.

Hopelessness is the biggest threat in slums. Without hope what is there? There is the lack of opportunity and the promise of death. Without hope, people are vulnerable to crime, imprisonment, and the spread of disease.

Child Brides of East and West Africa

Posted in Awareness, Humanity, Mother Africa, Our Health with tags , , on September 16, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Why would a man marry a child? In Africa girls as young as 7 are forced to marry men age 20 and over. At this age children’s minds and bodies are still developing. Forcing children to perform as adults is abusive. As a result girls suffer both mentally and physically. At age 7 girls should be in school and at play. These functions are important in development. Because their bodies are not developed enough for sex or giving birth tears between their bladder, vagina, and rectum occur. This condition is called obstetric fistula. Obstetric fistula robs thousands of girls of urine and bowel control. She is then rejected by both her husband and community. The problem does not stop there. Left untreated it could lead to infections, kidney failure, and death. Other problems that occur are:

  • Children of child brides are at higher risk of developmental diseases.
  • Child brides are at higher risks of sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Child brides are not educated.
  • Child brides often have at least 5 children.
  • Child brides often live in poverty.
  • Child brides often endure abuse from their husbands and in-laws.
  • Child brides suffer high mortality rates.

Marrying young girls is a violation of human rights. When sex is involved it is legalized rape of a child. Even in countries where it is not legal, it is accepted, and often expected. Parents are willing to sell their daughters into marriage because girls are not valued as much as boys. In many countries this is just the start of limited rights for women. The role of women is often reduced to:

  • Providing sex
  • Giving birth
  • Performing hard labor

Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA)

Posted in Awareness, CULTURE, Europe, Latin America, Mother Africa, North America, Oceania, South America, Southeastern Asia, Spotlight with tags , , on August 15, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Do you know the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, MoCADA? It is located at 80 Hanson Place, Brooklyn, New York. It was founded in 1999 by its Executive Director, Laurie Cumbo. Originally  located in Bedford-Stuyvesant, in 2006, with the help of a cultural affairs grant from New York City and private money, it relocated.

Its mission is to ‘rewrite history’ so to give an accurate account of the historical, artistic, and cultural contributions of people of African descent to the world. Due to the arrogance of racism many of these facts were never documented or celebrated as achievements of the descendants of Africa.

‘Ain’t I a Woman’, a group exhibit featuring paintings, videos, and works of mixed media is currently on display until December 19, 2010. Featured artists include:

  • Eric Alugas
  • Andrea Chung
  • Elizabeth Colomba
  • William Mwazi
  • Kenya (Robinson)
  • Phoenix Savage
  • Damali Abrams
  • Francis Simeni

The exhibit offers an insight on African Diasporan Women as they choose to be seen. Its name was borrowed from an 1885 speech given by Sojourner Truth. The exhibit is in keeping with her work as an activist to promote taking ownership of one’s image and identity.

For more details contact MoCADA

Photo Imagery: The Progression of Traditional African Story Telling

Posted in Awareness, Mother Africa, Spotlight with tags , , on August 14, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

A continent that has been the target of oppression is choosing to motivate. Through the imagery photography, artist are showing the world the culture and traditions that serve as a source of strength and at times as a tool of deferment.

Through photography the struggles and celebrations of life in Africa are seen by the world in a new light. Sometimes dark, sometimes colorful, Africa emerges from the affects of hundreds of years of victimization.

Oral story telling has progressed into visual story telling. The African story is now told through photo imagery of men and women, soldiers and children, politicians and religious figures.

IRIN Africa | SUDAN: Thousands struggle to survive as Kalma aid cut off | East Africa | Sudan | Health & Nutrition Refugees/IDPs Water & Sanitation | News Item

Posted in Humanity, Mother Africa, NEWS on August 13, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

NAIROBI, 12 August 2010 (IRIN) – Aid agencies are still barred from Kalma, the largest settlement for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Sudan’s Southern Darfur State, 10 days after the government blocked the UN and NGOs from distributing food and medical aid to an estimated 82,000 IDPs.

IRIN Africa | SUDAN: Thousands struggle to survive as Kalma aid cut off | East Africa | Sudan | Health & Nutrition Refugees/IDPs Water & Sanitation | News Item.