Archive for Africa

Call For Independent Investigation of Congo Activist’s Murder

Posted in Mother Africa, NEWS with tags , , on June 8, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other groups made an appeal for an independent investigation into the death of Floribert  Chebeya. a well-known human rights activist in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Chebeya was found dead Wednesday in a car in the outskirts of Congo’s capital, Kinshasa.  His driver is missing.

Philip Alston, a United Nations special investigator on extra-judicial executions told reporters,

“There is no reason at all to think there will be a meaningful investigation of that killing. [the circumstances of his death] make it look very likely that there was government involvement.”

Chebeya was head of Voice of the Voiceless human rights organization. Amnesty International says Chebeya reported several occasions where he believed he had been under surveillance  by security forces.

VOA News.com

UN Calls DR Congo “Rape Capital of the World”

Posted in Awareness, Mother Africa, NEWS with tags , , , on April 30, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

UN Calls DR Congo “Rape Capital of the World”
Margo Wallstrong, UN representative, said that more than 8000 women were raped in 2009, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She called the DR Congo the rape capital of the world. Wallstrong went on to say . . .

“Women have no rights, if those who violate their rights go unpunished . . . If women continue to suffer sexual violence, it is not because the law is inadequate to protect them, but it is inadequately enforced.”

The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative reported 60% of rape victims in South Kivu, (eastern DR Congo) were gang raped by armed men.

The UN has been:

• Escorting women to the market
• Working with local officials
• Developing early warning systems

Rebels from the 1994 Rwanda genocide are now in eastern DR Congo. Monuc troops are fighting them.

Australian Aborigines

Posted in HISTORY, Oceania with tags , , , , on April 15, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Aborigines are the original inhabits of the Australian continent. They are one of the world’s oldest surviving cultures. Aborigines’ ancestors migrated from Africa more than 50,000 years ago. Theory suggests that they went to the foot of Eurasia and then crossed into Australia and New Guinea. Some say that Aborigines migrated from Asia, although DNA evidence disputes that possibility. For more details read what the National Geographic News had to say.

These migrants formed nomadic tribes with over 300 different languages. They lived as hunters and gathers for thousands of years. Some also fished along the coasts. Their religion is called Dreaming. Dreaming is used to a set of beliefs, such as Kangaroo Dreaming, Honey Ant Dreaming, or Snake Dreaming. The term Dreamtime refers to an era before time.

In the 1700’s British colonist came to Australia and life for Aborigines drastically changed. Epidemic diseases such as influenza, measles, smallpox, chickenpox, and venereal diseases spread throughout the population.  These diseases killed an estimated 90 percent of the population. Today Aborigines make up only 2 percent of the Australian population. To this day Aborigines have a low tolerance to these diseases.

Land was lost during this time also. Aborigines did not have status has full Australian citizens until recent years. In 1976 the Aboriginal Land Rights Act gave almost 36 percent of the Northern Territory back to them. The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission conducted a national inquiry into segregation and other wrongs inflicted onto the Aborigine population.  The results of the inquiry revealed that between 1910 and 1970 up to 1/3 of all indigenous children were removed from their homes and placed into racist foster care and schools. These children were the victims of sexual and physical abuse.

Bridge for Africa

Posted in Awareness, CULTURE with tags , , on April 15, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Bridge for Africa started as an idea between a Zimbabwean and an American who met in South Africa. The idea was to form a partnership between Africa and America to promote the work of artisans from Africa. The mission of this partnership would be to support the efforts of African artisans to be self sufficient by promoting the dignity of their work.

Bridge for Africa work with artisans from Botswana, Rwanda, Namibia, South Africa, Kenya, Zambia, and Uganda in designing, producing, and marketing handmade products.

At least 50% of the proceeds go to the artisan group; the other half goes to community development, job creation, and training initiatives.

Get involved by making a donation, shopping online, or joining Bridge for Africa.

Slavery of Puerto Rico

Posted in HISTORY, Latin America with tags , , on March 22, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Unlike the slave trade in other parts of the world, Puerto Rico did not take part in the importation of captured Africans for forced labor until the eighteenth century. Other parts of the world began as early as the fourteenth century.  At the time the Puerto Rican economy suffered due to restrictions set during the colonization by Spain.

Puerto Rico became a colony of Spain in 1508. Under the Spanish rule they were prohibited from trading with other nations. In 1513, Portuguese traders brought enslaved Africans to the island. The society was poor and in 1530 Spain attempted to export slaves to subsidize the agricultural economy but could not afford the price to develop a sizeable slave population. In the seventeenth century San Juan became a military post. This change coupled with reoccurring revolts by the Africans, caused the effort to support the economy through agriculture to be abandoned.

In 1765, Puerto Rico was made into the main distribution port for African slaves being brought into the Caribbean Islands. Puerto Rico saw a second chance to develop a slave population to build an agricultural economy.

In 1773, the distribution port was moved to Havana, Cuba.  Puerto Rico had already begun to see increased production in coffee, tobacco, and sugar. Spain allowed trade and opened the slave labor dependency in which Puerto Rico used to develop a successful coffee, sugar industry during the early nineteenth century.

In 1808, Great Britain began an international movement to end the slave trade. Puerto Rico continued slave labor for 150 years before abolishing slavery on March 22, 1873. Today in Puerto Rico, March 22nd is “Abolition Day”. Puerto Rican culture is strongly influenced by African descendants. Spanish spoken in Puerto Rico has many words from the Bozal language that was spoken by the Africans. Bozal is a mixture of Portuguese, Spanish, and a language spoken in the Congo.