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usa today

November 19, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

Racial gap in

U.S. arrest rates:

‘Staggering disparity’

 

 

When it comes to racially lopsided arrests, the most remarkable thing about Ferguson, Mo., might be just how ordinary it is.

Police in Ferguson — which erupted into days of racially charged unrest after a white officer killed an unarmed black teen — arrest black people at a rate nearly three times higher than people of other races.

At least 1,581 other police departments across the USA arrest black people at rates even more skewed than in Ferguson, a USA TODAY analysis of arrest records shows. That includes departments in cities as large and diverse as Chicago and San Francisco and in the suburbs that encircle St. Louis, New York and Detroit.

Those disparities are easier to measure than they are to explain. They could be a reflection of biased policing; they could just as easily be a byproduct of the vast economic and educational gaps that persist across much of the USA — factors closely tied to crime rates. In other words, experts said, the fact that such disparities exist does little to explain their causes.

“That does not mean police are discriminating. But it does mean it’s worth looking at. It means you might have a problem, and you need to pay attention,” said University of Pittsburgh law professor David Harris, a leading expert on racial profiling.

Whatever the reasons, the results are the same: Blacks are far more likely to be arrested than any other racial group in the USA. In some places, dramatically so.

MORE: Full-screen interactive of arrests in the USA

At least 70 departments scattered from Connecticut to California arrested black people at a rate 10 times higher than people who are not black, USA TODAY found.

“Something needs to be done about that,” said Ezekiel Edwards, the head of the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project, which has raised concerns about such disparate arrest rates. “In 2014, we shouldn’t continue to see this kind of staggering disparity wherever we look.”

The unrest in Ferguson was stoked by mistrust among black residents who complained that the city’s police department had singled them out for years. For example, every year, traffic stop data compiled by Missouri’s attorney general showed Ferguson police stopped and searched black drivers at rates markedly higher than whites.

A grand jury is considering whether Officer Darren Wilson should face criminal charges for shooting a teen, Michael Brown. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency Monday as authorities braced for more unrest after the grand jury’s decision is announced.

Such tensions are not new. Nationwide, blacks are stopped, searched, arrested and imprisoned at rates higher than people of other races. USA TODAY’s analysis, using arrests reported to the federal government in 2011 and 2012, found that those inequities are far wider in many cities across the country, from St. Louis to Atlanta to suburban Dearborn, Mich.

SUSPICION IN DEARBORN

A dozen people stood or slumped on benches before sunrise in Dearborn on a recent morning, waiting for officers to unlock the doors of the 19th District Court, where they had been summoned to answer traffic citations and petty criminal charges. Almost everyone who lives in Dearborn is white (including a large population of Arabs). Almost everyone waiting in the morning dim was black.

“You can see who’s going in there. I guarantee they don’t live here,” Lawrence Wynn, who is black, said, looking at the line outside the courthouse door. Most days, Wynn said, he detours around Dearborn on his way home from his job at a suburban auto plant. It makes the journey half again as long, “but I’d rather do that than have to come through Dearborn at night.”

He leaned in close. “I think they’re targeting people.”

Dearborn police officers and officials say that’s not true. The city’s police chief, Ronald Haddad, said the arrest rates are skewed because many of the people his officers arrest don’t live in the city. They’re picked up at the shopping mall, on their way to work or simply when they’re driving through. Some are detained by private security officers before police ever arrive, meaning police would have no chance to single them out.

Haddad said it is unfair to measure his officers’ work against the city’s demographics. “We treat everyone the same,” he said.

More than half of the people Dearborn police arrested in 2011 and 2012 were black, according to reports they submitted to the FBI. By comparison, about 4% of the city’s residents are black, as are about a quarter of the people who live in Metropolitan Detroit. Over those two years, the department reported arresting 4,500 black people – 500 more than lived in the city. As a result, the arrest rate for blacks, compared with the city’s population, was 26 times higher than for people of other races.

 

“There is a disparity. We feel like it’s racial in a lot of cases,” said Bryan Allen, who said he’s planning to move his family out of neighboring Dearborn Heights as soon as his youngest daughter graduates from a Dearborn high school.

Allen and his wife, Shelly, said they have their own reasons to be mistrusting: Seven years ago, after Dearborn police shut down a party at a local banquet hall that got out of hand, officers brought their daughter and three other black teens to the police station. A white friend came with them because she had planned to ride home with the girls.

What happened next became the subject of a federal lawsuit: The girls charged that officers took the white teen to the lobby to call her parents but brought three of the black teens to the back of the station, where they were locked up and searched. When one of the girls asked why they were being brought in the back doors, one of the officers replied, “trash in and trash out,” according to court records. None of the girls was charged with a crime. The suit was settled out of court.

LARGE GAPS, NO EASY ANSWERS

To measure the breadth of arrest disparities, USA TODAY examined data that police departments report to the FBI each year. For each agency, USA TODAY compared the number of black people arrested during 2011 and 2012 with the number who lived in the area the department protects. (The FBI tracks arrests by race; it does not track arrests of Hispanics.)

The review did not include thousands of smaller departments or agencies that serve areas with only a small black population. It also did not include police agencies in most parts of Alabama, Florida and Illinois because those states had not reported complete arrest data to the FBI.

The review showed:

• Blacks are more likely than others to be arrested in almost every city for almost every type of crime. Nationwide, black people are arrested at higher rates for crimes as serious as murder and assault, and as minor as loitering and marijuana possession.

• Arrest rates are particularly lopsided in some pockets of the country, including St. Louis’ Missouri suburbs near Ferguson. In St. Louis County alone, more than two dozen police departments had arrest rates more lopsided than Ferguson’s. In nearby Clayton, Mo., for example, only about 8% of residents are black, compared with about 57% of people the police arrested, according to the city’s FBI reports. Clayton’s police chief, Kevin Murphy, said in a prepared statement that “Ferguson has laid bare the fact that everyone in law enforcement needs to take a hard look at how we can better serve our communities and address any disparities that have existed in our departments for too long.”

• Deep disparities show up even in progressive university towns. USA TODAY found police in Berkeley, Calif., and Madison, Wis., arrested black people at a rate more than nine times higher than members of other racial groups. Madison Police Chief Michael Koval said most of the arrests happen in the poorest sections of the city, which are disproportionately black, and where some residents have pleaded for even more police presence. Still, he said, “I think it would be remiss to suggest the police get out of this whole thing with a free pass. We have to constantly be doing the introspective look at who we are hiring and how we are training.”

• Arrest rates are lopsided almost everywhere. Only 173 of the 3,538 police departments USA TODAY examined arrested black people at a rate equal to or lower than other racial groups.

Phillip Goff, president of the University of California Los Angeles’ Center for Policing Equity, said such comparisons are “seductively misleading” because they say more about how racial inequities play out than about what causes them. Those disparities are closely tied to other social and economic inequities, he said, and like most things that involve race, they defy simple explanations.

“There is no doubt a significant degree of law enforcement bias that is the engine for this. But there’s also no controversy that educational quality and employment discrimination lead to this,” he said. “It’s not an indicator of how big a problem there is with a police department. It’s an aggregator of what’s going on in the community.”

Still, he said, “there’s some level of disparity that is a warning sign.”

Whatever the causes, Harris said such pronounced disparities have consequences. “Believe me, the people who are subject to this are noticing it and they’re noticing it not just individually but as a group. It gets talked about, handed down, and it sows distrust of the whole system,” he said.

‘THEY WERE BEATING HIM UP’

In Dearborn, distrust was sown years ago.

Dearborn is the birthplace of the modern auto industry, a mostly white and Arab suburb snugged into the southwest corner of Detroit, the poorest and blackest of America’s major cities. Its border was long a stark racial divide. Until 1978, the city was presided over by a mayor, Orville Hubbard, who said he favored segregation and boasted to newspapers that he would use the instruments of government to keep blacks from moving in. He had “Keep Dearborn Clean” emblazoned on the city’s police cars.

“Our history is not always something we can be proud of. But we’ve learned from our mistakes,” Haddad, Dearborn’s police chief, said. “It’s unfair that we have to keep fighting that ghost.”

Dearborn today is different, he said. The police force has worked to build ties with the city’s large community of Arab immigrants. Its officers have cameras in their cars and microphones on their uniforms. Soon, some will start wearing body cameras, too. Their use of force has plummeted in recent years, and so have civilian complaints.

Haddad said most of his department’s arrests come after traffic stops on the city’s busy arteries, or at the mall, one of the large shopping centers closest to Detroit. Many of the people his officers arrest live in Detroit – a city beset by poverty, violent crime and a faltering school system – and are passing through to work or shop.

Still, allegations of discrimination have persisted there for decades. The local NAACP branch accused Dearborn police of singling out blacks for traffic stops in 1997. Civil rights lawsuits – alleging excessive force and officers using racial epithets – have piled up, too, though the number of such complaints has fallen sharply in recent years.

“There’s a lot of storied history, but I think a lot of that is either false or times have changed,” said Gregg Algier, who retired from Dearborn’s police department this summer after 22 years. “There’s no one really getting targeted for their race.”

But in suburban Detroit, there is also little doubt that blacks are far more likely to face arrest than people of other races. For example, police in Livonia, another Detroit suburb, arrested blacks at a rate 16 times higher than others. In neighboring Allen Park, it’s 20 times higher.

“Our numbers are what our numbers are. Our officers aren’t being told to look for any particular demographic. We come across what we come across,” Allen Park Police Chief James Wilkewitz said. Allen Park has two interstate highways and a large retail complex not far from the edge of Detroit, and many of the people the city’s police arrest live somewhere else.

In some ways, Dearborn has become an odd place to hear such complaints. Its police department won a civil rights award this year. Haddad is the state’s first Arab-American police chief. And among the most significant lawsuits over policing there is a complaint that county sheriff’s deputies didn’t do enough to protect a group of white Christians who were protesting at an Arab festival in Dearborn.

Still, Haddad acknowledges the accumulated mistrust. “There are people who feel that way, and they have cause to feel that way,” he said. “We shouldn’t be defined by one bad episode.”

Dearborn has a history of those, too.

On Father’s Day in 2008, for example, two Dearborn officers arrested a diabetic man who had been pulled over by the side of a freeway. The man, Ernest Griglen, 59, was on disability from Detroit’s school system after he hurt his ankle helping a special education student off the bus.

An Allen Park police officer stopped Griglen, who was black, after seeing him climb out of his car in the middle of the road. She wrote in a report that she thought he was upset; doctors later concluded he was having a diabetic episode, a sudden drop in blood sugar that relatives said could make him seem dazed or drunk.

Two Dearborn officers arrived moments later. One, Richard Michalski, wrote that officers were afraid Griglen might have a gun in his waistband, so they “guided him to the ground,” and wrestled him into handcuffs. The gun turned out to be an insulin pump.

Witnesses remembered it differently. One, Yolanda Lipsey, testified in a deposition that the Dearborn officers threw Griglen to the ground and “just started hitting him, hitting him and kicking him. … They were beating him up.”

When she saw her husband, Pam Griglen thought he had been in a car accident. “His clothes were all torn and dirty and looked scuffed. He had a large knot on his forehead, it was like the size of a golf ball, and he had what looked like boot prints on his face,” she said. “I just couldn’t believe it. And he said ‘They beat me, Pam.'”

Griglen complained that his head hurt. Then he said he could not see. “That was the last time my husband spoke to me,” Pam Griglen said. He spent the next 11 months in a coma and finally died in 2009. The medical examiner listed his cause of death as bleeding in his brain, caused by “blunt force head trauma.”

Dearborn settled a lawsuit brought by Griglen’s family. The department reprimanded both officers for turning in their use of force reports late. (Michalski later resigned after he was charged with assault and brandishing a firearm during an off-duty traffic incident. He declined to comment.)

“The Dearborn policemen seem like they’re kind of a little rougher with the black community,” Pam Griglen said. “My husband was a good man, a hard worker. He took care of his family. He had a diabetic episode and they thought the worst. Thought he was drunk. Thought he had a gun. Black man in a Cadillac. They thought the worst.”

Follow investigative reporter Brad Heath on Twitter @bradheath.

MORE LOCAL REPORTING FROM ACROSS THE USA TODAY NETWORK

Who gets arrested more in Delmarva region?

Some of highest black arrest rates in USA in Jersey shore counties

Across Wisconsin, black arrest rates dwarf Ferguson

Blacks more likely to be arrested across Palm Springs region

Black arrest rates high in Rochester, N.Y. area

Black arrest rates higher across Louisville region

Most Poughkeepsie area police departments arrest blacks at a higher ratio

Arrest rates higher for central Georgia blacks

Virginia shore cops: “We’re arresting folks based on who’s committing the crime”

Michigan local police say non-resident arrests skew figures

Video: Local Sheriff’s leadership discusses race and arrest statistics

Dozens of Iowa communities’ arrest rates questioned

Video: Experts look at one arrest at NJ community college

Racial disparities in Minnesota arrests

Video: Md. police chief on how she uses race data in policing

In Green Bay, blacks arrested about 9 times the rate of non-blacks

 

>via: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/11/18/ferguson-black-arrest-rates/19043207/?utm_source=The+Marshall+Project+Newsletter&utm_campaign=72c7d941dc-opening-statement&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5e02cdad9d-72c7d941dc-170763281

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

addicting info

NOVEMBER 12, 2014

 

 

 

Harvard Students Take

1964 Literacy Test

Black Voters

Had To Pass

Before Voting

— They All Failed

 

 

AUTHOR 

Recently, a group of Harvard students were asked to take the 1964 Louisiana Literacy Test — one of the extreme efforts to stop African Americans from voting that eventually led to the passing of the Voting Rights Act. Since racism is no longer a thing in America, according to the Supreme Court, and the Voting Rights Act has been effectively gutted, it might be time for a lesson from the past.

The test required those who took it to correctly answer 30 questions in 10 minutes — something even a group of Harvard students could not do today. The students were recorded struggling with the vaguely-worded questions. Under Louisiana law at the time these students would each require a 100% score on the test to be able to vote.

Carl Miller, a resident tutor at Harvard who administered the test, says that the purpose of the students’ participation was to teach them how unjust the electoral process was toward African Americans.

“Exactly 50 years ago, states in the American South issued this exact test to any voter who could not ‘prove a fifth grade education,’” said Miller. “Unsurprisingly, the only people who ever saw this test were blacks and, to a lesser extent, poor whites trying to vote in the South.”

Miller said he hoped to “see if some of the ‘brightest young minds in the world” could pass a test that was intended to “prove” someone had at least a fifth-grade education, according to the Daily Mail.

“Louisiana’s literacy test was designed to be failed. Just like all the other literacy tests issued in the South at the time, this test was not about testing literacy at all. It was a legitimate sounding, but devious measure that the State of Louisiana used to disenfranchise people that had the wrong skin tone or belonged to the wrong social class,” Miller said. “And just like that, countless black and poor white voters in the South were disenfranchised.”

Because the test was designed to allow officials to conveniently interpret any and all answers as wrong, not a single student passed.

Since the Voting Rights Act was gutted, we have seen a wave of voter ID legislation across red states. While these laws are purportedly intended to prevent fraud, the effects are the same as the literacy tests in the south. For the midterm elections, the state of Texas passed some of the most restrictive identification legislation in the country’s history. While this was initially blocked because a federal judge deemed it to be a poll tax, the law was later reinstated.

The result? According to MSNBC, no one knows how many voters the law disenfranchised. However, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the law had a very negative impact.

For starters, turnout dropped to 33.6%, down from 37.5% in 2010 — a decline of 271,000 voters. That happened despite a high-profile governor’s race, and an increase of 700,000 in the number of registered voters.

And even though turnout was lower, the number of provisional ballots doubled. That might be attributable to voters who lacked acceptable ID, since the law allows such voters to cast a provisional ballot. (In order to make those ballots count, the voter needs to return soon with valid ID, something few would be likely to do.)

MSNBC does note, however, that “turnout declined everywhere. The national drop — from 40.9% in 2010 to 36.4% this year — wasn’t much different from Texas’ decline.”

No matter what, some people were definitely affected. At least some instances of voters — including those who have voted successfully their entire lives — being turned away at the polls have been widely publicized. One notable example was a 93-year-old veteran whose driver’s license had expired, and who had not gotten a veteran’s identification card. He was able to vote without any issues until the midterm election.

“What’s clear now, though, is that the law deprived some voters — very plausibly a number in the tens of thousands, if not more — of their most basic democratic right,” MSNBC said. “That’s a reason for enormous concern, no matter how many people, or election results, were affected.”

Take the Louisiana Literacy Test for yourself, and see how well you do:

via DailyMail

via DailyMail

via DailyMail

Help us get the word out!

 

>via: http://www.addictinginfo.org/2014/11/12/harvard-students-take-1964-literacy-test-black-voters-had-to-pass-before-voting-they-all-failed/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

silicon africa

Saturday, November 1st, 2014

 

 

 

 

100 African Cities

Destroyed By Europeans:

WHY there are seldom

historical buildings

and monuments

in sub-Saharian Africa!

 

When tourists visit sub-Saharan Africa, they often wonder “Why there are no historical buildings or monuments?”

The reason is simple. Europeans have destroyed most of them. We have only left drawings and descriptions by travelers who have visited the places before the destructions. In some places, ruins are still visible. Many cities have been abandoned into ruin when Europeans brought exotic diseases (smallpox and influenza) which started spreading and killing people. The ruins of those cities are still hidden. In fact the biggest part of Africa history is still under the ground.

In this post, I’ll share pieces of informations about Africa before the arrival of Europeans, the destroyed cities and lessons we could learn as africans for the future.

The collection of facts regarding the state of african cities before their destruction is done by Robin Walker, a distinguished panafricanist and historian who has written the book ‘When We Ruled’, and by PD Lawton, another great panafricanist, who has an upcoming book titled “African Agenda”.

All quotes and excerpts below are from the books of Robin Walker and PD Lawton. I highly recommend you to buy Walker’s book ‘When We Ruled’ to get a full account of the beauty of the continent before its destruction. You can get more info about PD Lawton work by visiting her blog: AfricanAgenda.net

Robin Walter and PD Lawton have quoted quite heavily another great panafricanist Walter Rodney who wrote the book ‘How Europe Underdeveloped Africa‘. Additional information came from YouTube channel ‘dogons2k12 : African Historical Ruins’, and Ta Neter Foundation work.

Many drawings are from the book African Cities and Towns Before the European Conquest by Richard W. Hull, published in 1976. That book alone dispels the stereotypical view of Africans living in simple, primitive, look-alike agglomerations, scattered without any appreciation for planning and design.

In fact, at the end of the 13th century, when a european traveler encountered the great Benin City in West Africa (present Nigeria, Edo State), he wrote as follows:

“The town seems to be very great. When you enter into it, you go into a great broad street, not paved, which seems to be seven or eight times broader than the Warmoes street in Amsterdam…The Kings palace is a collection of buildings which occupy as much space as the town of Harlem, and which is enclosed with walls. There are numerous apartments for the Prince`s ministers and fine galleries, most of which are as big as those on the Exchange at Amsterdam. They are supported by wooden pillars encased with copper, where their victories are depicted, and which are carefully kept very clean. The town is composed of thirty main streets, very straight and 120 feet wide, apart from an infinity of small intersecting streets. The houses are close to one another, arranged in good order. These people are in no way inferior to the Dutch as regards cleanliness; they wash and scrub their houses so well that they are polished and shining like a looking glass.” (Source: Walter Rodney, ‘How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, pg. 69)

Sadly, in 1897, Benin City was destroyed by British forces under Admiral Harry Rawson. The city was looted, blown up and burnt to the ground. A collection of the famous Benin Bronzes are now in the British Museum in London. Part of the 700 stolen bronzes by the British troops were sold back to Nigeria in 1972.

Here is another account of the great Benin City regarding the city walls “They extend for some 16 000 kilometres in all, in a mosaic of more than 500 interconnected settlement boundaries. They cover 6500 square kilometres and were all dug by the Edo people. In all, they are four times longer than the Great Wall of China, and consumed a hundred times more material than the Great Pyramid of Cheops. They took an estimated 150 million hours of digging to construct, and are perhaps the largest single archaeological phenomenon on the planet.” Source: Wikipedia, Architecture of Africa.” Fred Pearce the New Scientist 11/09/99.

Here is a view of Benin city in 1891 before the British conquest. H. Ling Roth, Great Benin, Barnes and Noble reprint. 1968.

2benin2beninpicture_op_800x650

Did you know that in the 14th century the city of Timbuktu in West Africa was five times bigger than the city of London, and was the richest city in the world?

Today, Timbuktu is 236 times smaller than London. It has nothing of a modern city. Its population is two times less than 5 centuries ago, impoverished with beggars and dirty street sellers. The town itself is incapable of conserving its past ruined monuments and archives.

Back to the 14 century, the 3 richest places on earth was China, Iran/Irak, and the Mali empire in West Africa. From all 3 the only one which was still independent and prosperous was the Mali Empire. China and the whole Middle East were conquered by Genghis Kan Mongol troops which ravaged, pillaged, and raped the places.

The richest man ever in the history of Humanity, Mansa Musa, was the emperor of the 14th century Mali Empire which covered modern day Mali, Senegal, Gambia, and Guinea.

At the time of his death in 1331, Mansa Musa was worth the equivalent of 400 billion dollars. At that time Mali Empire was producing more than half the world’s supply of salt and gold.

Here below are some depictions of emperor Mansa Musa, the richest man in human history

Mansa-Musa-2Mansa Musa

When Mansa Musa went on a pilgrimage to Mecca in 1324, he carried so much gold, and spent them so lavishly that the price of gold fell for ten years. 60 000 people accompanied him.

He founded the library of Timbuktu, and the famous manuscripts of Timbuktu which cover all areas of world knowledge were written during his reign.

Witnesses of the greatness of the Mali empire came from all part of the world. “Sergio Domian, an Italian art and architecture scholar, wrote the following about this period: ‘Thus was laid the foundation of an urban civilisation. At the height of its power, Mali had at least 400 cities, and the interior of the Niger Delta was very densely populated.’

The Malian city of Timbuktu had a 14th century population of 115,000 – 5 times larger than mediaeval London.

National Geographic recently described Timbuktu as the Paris of the mediaeval world, on account of its intellectual culture. According to Professor Henry Louis Gates, 25,000 university students studied there.

“Many old West African families have private library collections that go back hundreds of years. The Mauritanian cities of Chinguetti and Oudane have a total of 3,450 hand written mediaeval books. There may be another 6,000 books still surviving in the other city of Walata. Some date back to the 8th century AD. There are 11,000 books in private collections in Niger.

Finally, in Timbuktu, Mali, there are about 700,000 surviving books. They are written in Mande, Suqi, Fulani, Timbuctu, and Sudani. The contents of the manuscripts include math, medicine, poetry, law and astronomy. This work was the first encyclopedia in the 14th century before the Europeans got the idea later in the 18th century, 4 centuries later.

A collection of one thousand six hundred books was considered a small library for a West African scholar of the 16th century. Professor Ahmed Baba of Timbuktu is recorded as saying that he had the smallest library of any of his friends – he had only 1600 volumes.

Concerning these old manuscripts, Michael Palin, in his TV series Sahara, said the imam of Timbuktu “has a collection of scientific texts that clearly show the planets circling the sun. They date back hundreds of years . . . Its convincing evidence that the scholars of Timbuktu knew a lot more than their counterparts in Europe. In the fifteenth century in Timbuktu the mathematicians knew about the rotation of the planets, knew about the details of the eclipse, they knew things which we had to wait for 150 almost 200 years to know in Europe when Galileo and Copernicus came up with these same calculations and were given a very hard time for it.

The old Malian capital of Niani had a 14th century building called the Hall of Audience. It was an surmounted by a dome, adorned with arabesques of striking colours. The windows of an upper floor were plated with wood and framed in silver; those of a lower floor were plated with wood, framed in gold.

Malian sailors got to America in 1311 AD, 181 years before Columbus. An Egyptian scholar, Ibn Fadl Al-Umari, published on this sometime around 1342. In the tenth chapter of his book, there is an account of two large maritime voyages ordered by the predecessor of Mansa Musa, a king who inherited the Malian throne in 1312. This mariner king is not named by Al-Umari, but modern writers identify him as Mansa Abubakari II.” Excerpt from Robin Walker’s book, ‘WHEN WE RULED’

Those event were happening at the same period when Europe as a continent was plunged into the Dark Age, ravaged by plague and famine, its people killing one another for religious and ethnic reasons.

Here below are some depiction of the city of Timbuktu in the 19th century. 

757px-Caillie_1830_Timbuktu_view800px-Barthtimbuktu

Kumasi was the capital of the Asante Kingdom, 10th century-20th century. Drawings of life in Kumasi show homes, often of 2 stories, square buildings with thatched roofs, with family compounds arranged around a courtyard. The Manhyia Palace complex drawn in another sketch was similar to a Norman castle, only more elegant in its architecture.

“These 2 story thatched homes of the Ashanti Kingdom were timber framed and the walls were of lath and plaster construction. A tree always stood in the courtyard which was the central point of a family compound. The Tree of Life was the altar for family offerings to God, Nyame. A brass pan sat in the branches of the tree into which offerings were placed. This was the same in every courtyard of every household, temple and palace. The King`s representatives, officials, worked in open-sided buildings. The purpose being that everyone was welcome to see what they were up to.

“The townhouses of Kumase had upstairs toilets in 1817.This city in the 1800s is documented in drawings and photographs. Promenades and public squares, cosmopolitan lives, exquisite architecture and everywhere spotless and ordered, a wealth of architecture, history, prosperity and extremely modern living” – PD Lawton, AfricanAgenda.net 

Winwood Reade described his visit to the Ashanti Royal Palace of Kumasi in 1874: “We went to the king’s palace, which consists of many courtyards, each surrounded with alcoves and verandahs, and having two gates or doors, so that each yard was a thoroughfare . . . But the part of the palace fronting the street was a stone house, Moorish in its style . . . with a flat roof and a parapet, and suites of apartments on the first floor. It was built by Fanti masons many years ago. The rooms upstairs remind me of Wardour Street. Each was a perfect Old Curiosity Shop. Books in many languages, Bohemian glass, clocks, silver plate, old furniture, Persian rugs, Kidderminster carpets, pictures and engravings, numberless chests and coffers. A sword bearing the inscription From Queen Victoria to the King of Ashantee. A copy of the Times, 17 October 1843. With these were many specimens of Moorish and Ashanti handicraft.” – Robin Walter

The beautiful city of Kumasi  was blown up, destroyed by fire, and looted by the British at the end of the 19th century.

Here below are few depictions of the city.

Geopolitical-Africa-Kumasi-the-Capital-of-Ashanti-1024x628

 

iz51247a57

In 1331, Ibn Battouta, described the Tanzanian city of Kilwa, of the Zanj, Swahili speaking people, as follows ” one of the most beautiful and well-constructed cities in the world, the whole of it is elegantly built”. The ruins are complete with `gothic` arches and intricate stonework, examples of exquisite architecture. Kilwa dates back to the 9th century and was at its peak in the 13th and 14th centuries. This international African port minted its own currency in the 11th -14th centuries. Remains of artefacts link it to Spain, China, Arabia and India. The inhabitants, architects and founders of this city were not Arabs and the only influence the Europeans had in the form of the Portuguese was to mark the start of decline, most likely through smallpox and influenza.” – Source: UNESCO World Heritage Centre, excerpt from “African Agenda” by PD Lawton

In 1505 Portuguese forces destroyed and burned down the Swahili cities of Kilwa and Mombasa.

The picture below shows an artist’s reconstruction of the sultan’s palace in Kilwa in the 1400’s, followed by other ruins photographs.

kilwa-palace

 

Kilwa277332452Songo Mnara

“A Moorish nobleman who lived in Spain by the name of Al-Bakri questioned merchants who visited the Ghana Empire in the 11th century and wrote this about the king: “He sits in audience or to hear grievances against officials in a domed pavilion around which stand ten horses covered with gold-embroidered materials. Behind the king stand ten pages holding shields and swords decorated with gold, and on his right are the sons of the kings of his country wearing splendid garments and their hair plaited with gold. The governor of the city sits on the ground before the king and around him are ministers seated likewise. At the door of the pavilion are dogs of excellent pedigree that hardly ever leave the place where the king is, guarding him. Around their necks they wear collars of gold and silver studded with a number of balls of the same metals.” - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghana_Empire#Government – the source of the quote is given on wikipedia as p.80 of Corpus of Early Arabic Sources for West Africa by Nehemia Levtzion and John F.P. Hopkins)

Here below are few depictions of Ghana Empire.

mauritania-ancient-cities-2mauritania-ancient-cities316619943_f4bf539b121175093587_g_0tichitt

In 15th when the Portuguese, the first europeans who sailed the atlantic coasts of Africa “arrived in the coast of Guinea and landed at Vaida in West Africa, the captains were astonished to find streets well laid out, bordered on either side for several leagues by two rows of trees, for days thet travelled through a country of magnificant fields, inhabited by men clad in richly coloured garments of their own weaving! Further south in the Kingdom of the Kongo(sic), a swarming crowd dressed in fine silks’ and velvet; great states well ordered, down to the most minute detail; powerful rulers, flourishing industries-civilised to the marrow of their bones. And the condition of the countries of the eastern coast-mozambique, for example-was quite the same.”

For example the Kingdom of Congo in the 15th Century was the epitome of political organization. It “was a flourishing state in the 15th century. It was situated in the region of Northern Angola and West Kongo. Its population was conservatively estimated at 2 or 3 million people. The country was fivided into 6 administrative provinces and a number of dependancies. The provinces were Mbamba, Mbata, Mpangu, Mpemba, Nsundi, and Soyo. The dependancies included Matari, Wamdo, Wembo and the province of Mbundu. All in turn were subject to the authority of The Mani Kongo (King). The capital of the country(Mbanza Kongo), was in the Mpemba province. From the province of Mbamba, the military stronghold. It was possible to put 400,000 in the field.” – Excerpt from “African Agenda” by PD Lawton

Below is an depiction by Olfert Dapper, a Dutch physician and writer, of the 17th century city of Loango (present Congo/Angola) based on descriptions of the place by those who had actually seen it.

loango-africa-kongo-kingdom

Depiction of the City of Mbanza in the Kongo Kingdom

AngolaCityofMbanzaKongo

King of Kongo Receiving Dutch Ambassadors, 1642 DO Dapper, Description de lAfrique  Traduite du Flamand (1686)

King of Kongo Receiving Dutch Ambassadors, 1642   DO Dapper, Description de lAfrique  Traduite du Flamand (1686)

Portuguese Emissaries Received by the King of Kongo, late 16th cent Duarte Lopes, Regnum Congo hoc est warhaffte und eigentliche , Congo in Africa (Franckfort am Mayn, 1609)

Portuguese Emissaries Received by the King of Kongo, late 16th cent Duarte Lopes, Regnum Congo hoc est warhaffte und eigentliche , Congo in Africa (Franckfort am Mayn, 1609)

Until the end of 16 century, Africa was far more advanced than Europe in term of political organization, science, technology, culture. That prosperity continued, despite the european slavery ravages, till the 17th and 18th century.

The continent was crowded with tens of great and prosperous cities, empires and kingdoms with King Askia Toure of Songhay, King Behanzin Hossu Bowelle of Benin, Emperor Menelik of Ethiopia, King Shaka ka Sezangakhona of South Africa, Queen Nzinga of Angola, Queen Yaa Asantewaa of Ghana, Queen Amina of Nigeria.

We are talking here about Empires, Kingdoms, Queendoms, Kings, emperors, the richest man in the history of humanity in Africa.

Were these Kings and Queens sleeping on banana trees in the bushes? Were they dressed with tree leaves, with no shoes?

If they were not sleeping in trees, covered with leaves, where are the remainder of their palaces, their art work?

The mediaeval Nigerian city of Benin was built to “a scale comparable with the Great Wall of China”. There was a vast system of defensive walling totalling 10,000 miles in all. Even before the full extent of the city walling had become apparent the Guinness Book of Records carried an entry in the 1974 edition that described the city as: “The largest earthworks in the world carried out prior to the mechanical era.” – Excerpt from “The Invisible Empire”, PD Lawton, Source-YouTube, uploader-dogons2k12 `African Historical Ruins`

“Benin art of the Middle Ages was of the highest quality. An official of the Berlin Museum für Völkerkunde once stated that: “These works from Benin are equal to the very finest examples of European casting technique. Benvenuto Cellini could not have cast them better, nor could anyone else before or after him . . . Technically, these bronzes represent the very highest possible achievement.”

In the mid-nineteenth century, William Clarke, an English visitor to Nigeria, remarked that: “As good an article of cloth can be woven by the Yoruba weavers as by any people . . . in durability, their cloths far excel the prints and home-spuns of Manchester.”

The recently discovered 9th century Nigerian city of Eredo was found to be surrounded by a wall that was 100 miles long and seventy feet high in places. The internal area was a staggering 400 square miles.” Robin Walter

Loango City in the Congo/Angola area is depicted in another drawing from the mid 1600`s. Yet again, a vast planned city of linear layout, stretching across several miles and entirely surrounded by city walls, bustling with trade. The king`s complex alone was a mile and a half enclosure with courtyards and gardens. The people of Loango had used maths not just for arithmetic purposes but for astrological calculations. They used advanced maths, linear algebra. The Ishango Bone from the Congo is a calculator that is 25 000 years old. “The so-called Ishango bone`s inscriptions consist of two columns of odd numbers that add up to 60,with the left column containing prime numbers between 10 and 20, and the right column containing both added and subtracted numbers.” Source: Ta Neter Foundation. It is on view in a museum in Belgium. – Excerpt from “African Agenda” by PD Lawton

The beautiful city of Loango was destroyed by European fortune hunters, pseudo-missionaries and other kinds of free-booters.

“On the subject of cloth, Kongolese textiles were also distinguished. Various European writers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries wrote of the delicate crafts of the peoples living in eastern Kongo and adjacent regions who manufactured damasks, sarcenets, satins, taffeta, cloth of tissue and velvet. Professor DeGraft-Johnson made the curious observation that: “Their brocades, both high and low, were far more valuable than the Italian.”

On Kongolese metallurgy of the Middle Ages, one modern scholar wrote that: “There is no doubting . . . the existence of an expert metallurgical art in the ancient Kongo . . . The Bakongo were aware of the toxicity of lead vapours. They devised preventative and curative methods, both pharmacological (massive doses of pawpaw and palm oil) and mechanical (exerting of pressure to free the digestive tract), for combating lead poisoning.”

In Nigeria, the royal palace in the city of Kano dates back to the fifteenth century. Begun by Muhammad Rumfa (ruled 1463-99) it has gradually evolved over generations into a very imposing complex. A colonial report of the city from 1902, described it as “a network of buildings covering an area of 33 acres and surrounded by a wall 20 to 30 feet high outside and 15 feet inside . . . in itself no mean citadel”.

A sixteenth century traveller visited the central African civilisation of Kanem-Borno and commented that the emperor’s cavalry had golden “stirrups, spurs, bits and buckles.” Even the ruler’s dogs had “chains of the finest gold”.

One of the government positions in mediaeval Kanem-Borno was Astronomer Royal.

Ngazargamu, the capital city of Kanem-Borno, became one of the largest cities in the seventeenth century world. By 1658 AD, the metropolis, according to an architectural scholar housed “about quarter of a million people”. It had 660 streets. Many were wide and unbending, reflective of town planning.

The Nigerian city of Surame flourished in the sixteenth century. Even in ruin it was an impressive sight, built on a horizontal vertical grid. A modern scholar describes it thus: “The walls of Surame are about 10 miles in circumference and include many large bastions or walled suburbs running out at right angles to the main wall. The large compound at Kanta is still visible in the centre, with ruins of many buildings, one of which is said to have been two-storied. The striking feature of the walls and whole ruins is the extensive use of stone and tsokuwa (laterite gravel) or very hard red building mud, evidently brought from a distance. There is a big mound of this near the north gate about 8 feet in height. The walls show regular courses of masonry to a height of 20 feet and more in several places. The best preserved portion is that known as sirati (the bridge) a little north of the eastern gate . . . The main city walls here appear to have provided a very strongly guarded entrance about 30 feet wide.”

The Nigerian city of Kano in 1851 produced an estimated 10 million pairs of sandals and 5 million hides each year for export.

In 1246 AD Dunama II of Kanem-Borno exchanged embassies with Al-Mustansir, the king of Tunis. He sent the North African court a costly present, which apparently included a giraffe. An old chronicle noted that the rare animal “created a sensation in Tunis”.

In Southern Africa, there are at least 600 stone built ruins in the regions of Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa. These ruins are called Mazimbabwe in Shona, the Bantu language of the builders, and means great revered house and “signifies court”.

The Great Zimbabwe was the largest of these ruins. It consists of 12 clusters of buildings, spread over 3 square miles. Its outer walls were made from 100,000 tons of granite bricks. In the fourteenth century, the city housed 18,000 people, comparable in size to that of London of the same period.

Bling culture existed in this region. At the time of our last visit, the Horniman Museum in London had exhibits of headrests with the caption: “Headrests have been used in Africa since the time of the Egyptian pharaohs. Remains of some headrests, once covered in gold foil, have been found in the ruins of Great Zimbabwe and burial sites like Mapungubwe dating to the twelfth century after Christ.”

On bling culture, one seventeenth century visitor to southern African empire of Monomotapa, that ruled over this vast region, wrote that: “The people dress in various ways: at court of the Kings their grandees wear cloths of rich silk, damask, satin, gold and silk cloth; these are three widths of satin, each width four covados [2.64m], each sewn to the next, sometimes with gold lace in between, trimmed on two sides, like a carpet, with a gold and silk fringe, sewn in place with a two fingers’ wide ribbon, woven with gold roses on silk.”

Apparently the Monomotapan royal palace at Mount Fura had chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. An eighteenth century geography book provided the following data: “The inside consists of a great variety of sumptuous apartments, spacious and lofty halls, all adorned with a magnificent cotton tapestry, the manufacture of the country. The floors, cielings [sic], beams and rafters are all either gilt or plated with gold curiously wrought, as are also the chairs of state, tables, benches &c. The candle-sticks and branches are made of ivory inlaid with gold, and hang from the cieling by chains of the same metal, or of silver gilt.”

Monomotapa had a social welfare system. Antonio Bocarro, a Portuguese contemporary, informs us that the Emperor: “shows great charity to the blind and maimed, for these are called the king’s poor, and have land and revenues for their subsistence, and when they wish to pass through the kingdoms, wherever they come food and drinks are given to them at the public cost as long as they remain there, and when they leave that place to go to another they are provided with what is necessary for their journey, and a guide, and some one to carry their wallet to the next village. In every place where they come there is the same obligation.”

In, 1571 Portuguese forces invade Munhumutapa, and started the destruction of the place. In 1629, Emperor Mavhura becomes puppet ruler of Munhumutapa on behalf of the Portuguese.

Chinese records of the fifteenth century AD note that Mogadishu had houses of “four or five stories high”.

“Gedi, near the coast of Kenya, is one of the East African ghost towns. Its ruins, dating from the fourteenth or fifteenth centuries, include the city walls, the palace, private houses, the Great Mosque, seven smaller mosques, and three pillar tombs.

The ruined mosque in the Kenyan city of Gedi had a water purifier made of limestone for recycling water.

The palace in the Kenyan city of Gedi contains evidence of piped water controlled by taps. In addition it had bathrooms and indoor toilets.

A visitor in 1331 AD considered the Tanzanian city of Kilwa to be of world class. He wrote that it was the “principal city on the coast the greater part of whose inhabitants are Zanj of very black complexion.” Later on he says that: “Kilwa is one of the most beautiful and well-constructed cities in the world. The whole of it is elegantly built.”

Bling culture existed in early Tanzania. A Portuguese chronicler of the sixteenth century wrote that: “[T]hey are finely clad in many rich garments of gold and silk and cotton, and the women as well; also with much gold and silver chains and bracelets, which they wear on their legs and arms, and many jewelled earrings in their ears”.

In 1961 a British archaeologist, found the ruins of Husuni Kubwa, the royal palace of the Tanzanian city of Kilwa. It had over a hundred rooms, including a reception hall, galleries, courtyards, terraces and an octagonal swimming pool.

The Bamilike structures of the Cameroon are of mind-blowing architectural delicateness and beauty. The Bamum and Shomum scripts of the Cameroon are similar to those of Ethiopia. There are over 7000 ancient Bamum manuscripts and the Bamum Palace is still perfectly preserved.”  – When we Ruled, by Robin Walter

As historical sources described above the continent was full of monuments. Where are they?

The sad truth is that Europeans invaders have destroyed most of them either as punitive actions or under the scramble for Africa ‘Terra Nullius’ law.

During the scramble for Africa by Europeans, the main way to prove that a land was qualified for colonization or take over was ‘Terra Nullius”, a Latin expression deriving from Roman law meaning “land belonging to no one”, which is used in international law to describe territory which has never been subject to the sovereignty of any state, or over which any prior sovereign has expressly or implicitly relinquished sovereignty. Sovereignty over territory which is terra nullius may be acquired through occupation” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terra_nullius

Many islands were acquired that way when it was possible to slaughter the small population and easily prove that the land was empty before the arrival of colonial powers.

But very soon, the colonial powers were in difficulty to find “land belonging to no one”. Africa was not a Terra Nullius. Consequently,  the terra nullius law was altered to include land inhabited by savages and uncivilized people.

Again, very quickly the colonial power found it difficult to prove that Africa was a land of savages and uncivilized people. Instead they found, as demonstrated above, queendoms and kingdoms with great palaces and highly developed political and social norms.

At this stage, the colonial power have to destroy any sign of civilization.

From then on, the colonial power spent a lot of energy to destroy and burn african historical building and monuments, slaughtered the african elite of engineers, scientists, craftsmen, writers, philosophers, etc.

There is a museum in Paris with 18 000 human heads of people killed by the french colonial troops and missionaries. It’s called “Musée d’Histoire Naturelle de Paris”.

Colonial-troops-with-african-heads

Among the heads are the ones of African kings, kings’ families, african engineers, writers, army officers, spiritual leaders, but also ordinary men, women, children that the french found unusual, exotic enough or interesting to kill to enrich their Museum of natural history where they display mainly animals skulls to represent bio-diversity and evolution.

France was not alone in the european competition to behead the maximum of variety of exotic people. The skulls and heads of many africans still could be  found in museums and unusual places around Europe.

Another consequence of the Terra Nullius law defined as a land inhabited by savages, lead to the capture of Africans to display in zoos and public events around Europe, in primitive conditions, to demonstrate the inferiority and barbarism of the African people.

From that moment till now, most europeans still think Africans are savages, inferior, grotesque, unintelligent people. They more an african would display features that would fit that stigma, the more he or she would be liked by them.

Stupid Africans are the best companion of Europeans. A smart and assertive African is something most europeans are still not used to, and would do anything to reject or ostracize.

For example in Paris, the Soninke people from Mali play a lot on that stigma. They will go to the french public administration and play the most stupid African, speaking broken french, displaying sign of unintelligence and dumbness. Suddenly, the public servant would found a long awaited or dormant humanitarian mission to help an uncivilized African to sort out his papers and get his head around even simple things.

In this way, the Soninke often get most of the things they want from the public servants. They represent over 50% of the sub-sahararian africans living in France. An African who will go to the French administration with the posture of a person who is smart and affluent will face lot hurdles, because the instinctive reaction of the servants would be “You want to show us that you are intelligent, we will show you!”.

Reason why you’d see most Africans in Europe weaken themselves voluntary to be accepted. With white people they will act docile, submissive, take-order-and-obey, but would strangely turn angry, aggressive and pedantic with their fellow black people.

Sadly, nothing is left of our ancestors. When Europeans invaded Africa they applied the 4 basic principles of any occupant forces:

1. First, Kill the strong and loot the place

2. Second, Breed the weak

3. Third, Kill, Deport or Exile the smartest and the skilled ones

4. Fourth, Impose the golden colonial rule “My way or the Highway”.

The Kings and their descendants were all killed. Additionally, 3 centuries of transatlantic slavery exported over 12 millions of the finest men and women from Africa to America, tens of millions have died in the process.

Imagine what would happen to any country or civilization when almost all writers, storytellers, engineers, craftsmen, artists, leaders are killed or exiled? And, Any sign of heir past glory and ingenuity destroyed or burned? Their books and records of knowledge stolen or destroyed.

Who will transmit the century accumulated knowledge to the ordinary men and women?

It’s that broken link to knowledge and leadership for the last 3 centuries which has plunged the whole continent into a dark age, its people left without guidance.

Our fearless Warriors and Civilization builders are gone. Our global traders, pyramid, Kingdom and Empire builders are extinct.

Unsurprisingly none of these generations have being nurtured in creating empire, and waging wars, defending their territory, protecting their children and women.

Reason why we don’t have anymore the modern version of the fearless African Warriors and Civilization builders.

When some people ask why are they so poor, we answer they are not poor, they have been made poor.

Jacques-Chirac-africa-destruction

Today, If you want to see the glory of Africa, you have to go to Europe, where thousands and thousands of stolen arts objects, civilization artifacts are in public museums and private collection (in UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Germany, etc.). If you want to see the wealth of Africa, you have also to go to Europe where they are stored in private and public accounts. 5 centuries of plundering and destruction brought the continent to its knees.

African-art-pieces-in-Europe

As PD Lawton put it “From Egypt to the Sudan, from Mali to Tanzania, from Zimbabwe to Mozambique, Africa is full of the testimony to her past. In many cases the complete destruction of structures has not been through natural elements but deliberate acts, most notably of the British Empire. The museums of Britain and Europe are full of the results of` pillage and plunder`. There are numerous ancient structures that are in a state of good preservation but in the case of many of Africa`s cities, palaces, temples and trading ports of old we are left with nothing other than the written reports and drawings of traders and travellers from medieval times to the final days of complete destruction in the late 1800s.In terms of beauty and even on occasion scale the architecture of Egypt`s pyramids pale in comparison to other African historical structures. The diversity of architecture from this continent is staggering. The use traditionally of what is termed fractal scaling in building highlights a religious tradition practiced throughout the continent. Fractal scaling is the `Mandelbrot` idea of architecture where the smallest parts of a structure resemble the largest parts. This cultural/religious tradition was/is practised in all aspects of life from weaving, to grinding cereals to the building of homes and palaces and is the incorporation of `history` and explanation of the Universe and our place within it, into everyday lives, lest we forget.” – “Africa Before The 20Th Century” in “Invisible Empire”.

We need to invest time and resources to unearth ourselves the ruins of our old cities to strengthen the faith of a young generation in our ability to rebound.

It’s time we revive in the mind of a new generation of Africans the true nature of their ancestors, the past glory of their empires, the pride of its warriors, conquerors and civilization builders, and clearly make them understand that the 5 “Centuries of Shame” under European occupation shall end with a new generation of Leaders and Builders!

5 century ago, when europeans arrived into africa they found the people were so advanced, wealthier, and were impressed by the abundance of nature and civility of its people. European became so jealous, and bitter, and knew they could conquer the people because the people were so kind, so welcoming, and have no gun or mounted mechanized armies as their.

Africans were exactly like what Christopher Columbus wrote about the Amerindians “They are artless and generous with what they have, to such a degree as no one would believe but him who had seen it. Of anything they have, if it be asked for, they never say no, but do rather invite the person to accept it, and show as much lovingness as though they would give their hearts.”

Therefore, Columbus later wrote what he would do to those good Indians “we shall powerfully enter into your country, and shall make war against you in all ways and manners that we can, and shall subject you to the yoke and obedience of the Church and of their highnesses; we shall take you, and your wives, and your children, and shall make slaves of them, and as such shall sell and dispose of them as their highnesses may command; and we shall take away your goods, and shall do you all the mischief and damage that we can, as to vassals who do not obey, and refuse to receive their lord, and resist and contradict him; and we protest that the deaths and losses which shall accrue from this are your fault, and not that of their highnesses, or ours, nor of these cavaliers who come with us…”

The fate of Africa from then on has been sealed in the evilness of the Devil with blue eyes. They looted what they found worthy, destroy and burned down anything that has worth but couldn’t be taken away.

As we have seen above, at “the apex of Afrikan Civilization, they mastered development of a stable high culture where the arts, sciences and human dignity flourished for thousands of years. BUT they did not develop a solution to the problem of the violent ravenous invading european. Neither did other parts of Afrika or Native America. We and our descendants will have to solve that problem or continue to suffer never ending recyclings of slavery, massacre, second classness, slavery, massacre, second classiness.” Muai-Aakhu Meskheniten

A story said,
When Europeans started killing African writers, craftsmen, philosophers, nobles and kings, a group of young apprentices and courtesans decided to find a place where to hide the books, and manuscripts.
In many part of the continent the europeans have already killed many writers and philosophers, and the few left have to flee. While Europeans were burning the books and manuscripts, a sage passed some sacred manuscripts to two brothers to hide from the invaders.

Before the two brothers was caught and killed by the savages, they succeeded to hide the manuscripts, split them in few parts, gave them to a dozen couriers to bring to sages of other kingdoms on the continent.

The story said that the person who will find these manuscripts will uncover the secret that will finally give the clues for africa renaissance. They contain a coded message, embedded in their lines, which upon reading it will open and enlighten the minds of the African people, connect them to an ancestral power uniquely African.

These manuscripts are reported to contain the secret for Africa to become all powerful once again, and dominate the world. People will come from Europe, Asia, America to bow before African kings. Black people as the original human beings will be first among all nations. People will travel the world seeking their protection and knowledge.

Till, now no one has succeeded to find those manuscripts, but the time has come to try again, and I’m ready to commit my life in search of those documents. I’ve already spent the last 15 years asking around about these documents.

It’s certain these manuscripts exist, and my mission is to find them. I’ll uncover the name of the two brothers, follow their fleeing path, travel the roads of the dozen couriers who carried the dozen chapters, uncover the places the manuscripts have been hidden, and decrypt the message, expose it to every african children as necessary to recover our ancestral glory and build our path to millennial glory and greatness.

I don’t know how long this search will take, but my determination is total and unwavering.

 

>via: http://www.siliconafrica.com/terra-nullius/

 

photo by Alex Lear

photo by Alex Lear

 

 

 

Open Skies

/for Ua/

 

even though every body has a nut to crack

some of us are exceptional souls, indigo-shaded fragrant

diaphanous flower petals rather than violet machete fingers

 

what carnivorous capitalists call weakness is instead the quiet

honor of our refusal to carry their shit inside our smiles

 

for some of us rejection of the status quo is not a choice

but a necessity by any means necessary

 

even if we have to flow out the window leaving pre-measured

medication untouched as our silent bodies stay behind

swaying in front of a perplexed battery of physicians

vainly trying to ascertain where to do escaped black minds go

 

they’ll never know the healthy stealth of an  ex-slave

fleeing hell on earth by hurling her spirit straight

into the welcoming blue warmness of open skies

 

—kalamu ya salaam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

nneka 01

NNEKA 

at TEDxIkoyi

nneka 04

Critically acclaimed singer/song-writer Nneka’s voice strikes an eerie balance between rage and pain as she offers commentary on key social issues. To share her personal story, she performs “Suffri” and “My Home”, which were inspired by “life’s big questions” she explains.

 

afropunk

November 12, 2014

 

TALIB KWELI

PUTS THE SPOTLIGHT ON

 “TOMORROW’S

ARTISTS”

WITH NEW MIXTAPE,

‘THE CATHEDRAL’

Listen to Talib Kweli’s latest release, ‘The Cathedral’ mixtape. The project, hosted by actor Affion Crockett, is released from the rapper’s new media company, Javotti Media; and as you would expect, it’s fire – with features from the likes of Pharoahe Monch as well as Kweli himself. Regarding the project, Talib Kweli states, “J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West are just a few artists supported by Talib Kweli early in their careers. It is with this spirit that Talib launches Javotti Media, an entity designed to develop, promote, and release content from tomorrow’s artists today.”

By Alexander Aplerku, AFROPUNK Contributor

www.talibkweli.com

 

 

Rilke

Now accepting submissions. Must be postmarked by November 30, 2014.

The prize is named after the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926), a writer whose work embodies the qualities of ambition, intellectual and imaginative scope, and technical mastery we seek to recognize.

Description

An annual award of a $10,000 award recognizing a book that demonstrates exceptional artistry and vision written by a mid-career poet and published in the preceding year.

Guidelines

  • Entrants must have published at least two previous books of poetry and be U.S. citizens or legal resident aliens of the United States.
  • Work must be original poetry written in English.
  • Books may be submitted by presses or by writers themselves and must be postmarked by November 30, 2014.
  • Eligible books must have been published between November 1, 2013 and October 31, 2014.
  • Each submission must include 2 copies of the book and a completed entry form.
  • Self-published books will not be considered.
  • Finalists may be asked to submit further copies.
  • Books will not be returned.

The winner will travel to Texas to give readings at UNT and in the DFW Metroplex on April 15th and 16th, 2015. UNT will pay for travel expenses. The author must also allow portions of the winning work to be reproduced for promoting the award. Poets who enter the prize must agree to these terms in order to accept the prize.

Results will be announced in January.

Judging

The prize will be judged by UNT’s poetry faculty. 

Submission Requirements

Authors or publishers will include a copy of the entry form with the two copies of the book submission.

Entry form (found here). Please “save as” to your desktop and complete the form.

Mail submissions and entry form to:

The UNT Rilke Prize
Department of English
University of North Texas
1155 Union Circle #311307
Denton, TX 76203-5017

 

>via: http://english.unt.edu/creative-writing/poetryprize

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$20,000 for a 100-Word Story:

The Museum of Words

Flash Fiction Contest

Museum of Words Flash Fiction Contest

The Cesar Egido Serrano Foundation’s fourth ‘Museum of Words’ international flash fiction contest is now accepting entries. The competition is for very short fiction pieces of up to a maximum of 100 words. The winner will receive a prize of $20,000, with three runners-up each receiving $2000.

This contest is open to writers from all countries and entries are accepted in four languages: English, Spanish, Arabic and Hebrew. The slogan for the 2014 contest is  ‘Mandela: Words and Concord’ but there are no subject or genre restrictions. All stories entered must be original and unpublished.

With such a generous prize on offer, the contest is extremely competitive. The last Museum of Words contest attracted 22,571 entries from writers in 119 countries.

The Cesar Egido Serrano Foundation is based in Spain and is a private, not-for-profit foundation. The foundation’s aim is to encourage dialogue between different cultures, ideas, religions and sensibilities. 

Entries for the Museum of Words flash fiction contest close on 23 November 2014. Entries must be submitted via an online form. The contest rules limit the number of entries per writer to two. There is no entry fee.

For further details and updates visit the competition’s homepage.

Armando Macchia’s winning entry, ‘The Sniper’, from the last Museum of Words contest can be read here.

 

>via: http://www.aerogrammestudio.com/2014/08/11/museum-of-words-flash-fiction-contest/

 

 

 

 

cider-press

Cider Press Review Book Award

Deadline: 
November 30, 2014 

Entry Fee: 
$25

E-mail address: 

 editor@ciderpressreview.com

 

A prize of $1,500, publication by Cider Press, and 25 author copies is given annually for a poetry collection. Jeffrey Harrison will judge. Submit a manuscript of 48 to 80 pages with a $25 entry fee, which includes a copy of the winning book, by November 30. Send an SASE, e-mail, or visit the website for complete guidelines.

Cider Press Review, Book Award, P.O. Box 33384, San Diego, CA 92163. (717) 417-8596. Caron Andregg, Editor in Chief.

 

>via: http://www.pw.org/writing_contests/book_award