A Pan African Human Rights Organisation challenging the misrepresentation of African people, culture and history in the British media.
Mon 25 June 2012
Nubiart Diary - Re-Thinking Development in Africa
A different perspective on the Afrikan world
Submitted By: Kubara Zamani
~ ‘RE-THINKING DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA: AN ORAL HISTORY APPROACH FROM BOTOKU, RURAL GHANA’ - KOMLA TSEY [Langaa. ISBN: 9956-726-50-8]
By Yeno Thorli
As a companion piece to the review of Wangari Maathai’s ‘The Challenge for Africa: A New Vision’ in the previous Nubiart Diary we review Komla Tsey’s ‘Re-thinking Development in Africa: An Oral History Approach from Botoku, Rural Ghana’ which had its UK launch last week at the Africa Centre in London. The book explores and reconsiders what we mean by development from the perspective of a community in rural Ghana. He points out that there is something about the processes of development, which have been overlooked - ‘afemenunya’, wisdom that comes from traditions.
Tsey highlights the ‘staggering’ number of books, literature, reports and academic papers, written about Afrika and Afrikans but he feels only a handful reflect the true voices and perspectives of ordinary Afrikans themselves. ‘Others’ have told the Afrikan stories. His findings are not opinions, they come out of longitudinal studies, over 20 years in Botoku, Ghana. Using an ‘oral history’ approach, He uses their ‘stories’ to illustrate what one rural group in Ghana understood development to be, how they define development and how through their experiences they learnt the lessons of what are the important attributes for effective development.
Komla Tsey argues that for social, public policies and development initiatives to be truly effective, there must be a greater listening to the voices of ordinary Afrikans. He says to view development in Afrika from a ‘problem saturated’ perspective, is a lost opportunity, that the starting blocks should be a focus on the strengths, hope and resilience of ordinary folks, as they forge ahead seeking improvements to material, social, cultural and spiritual living conditions. Komla Tsey hopes, the stories told in the book, and the wisdoms that emerge from the stories, will motivate other Afrikans to document and share their local stories.
~ RODNEY GLEN KING (April 2 1965–June 17 2012), victim of US police brutality and racism. Rodney King’s fiancee, Cynthia Kelly, discovered his body at the bottom of his swimming pool in Rialto, a city just west of Los Angeles.
Rodney King was one of five children of Ronald and Odessa King. In Nov 1989, he robbed a store in Monterey Park, California, of $200 and was sentenced to two years of in prison. On 3 Mar 1991 he was stopped for speeding by the LAPD. The officers who pulled him over hit him 56 times with their batons, kicked him and repeatedly tasered him. A bystander, George Holliday, videotaped much of the incident. The footage showed seven officers surrounding the solitary King, with several officers repeatedly striking a helpless King with their batons while other officers stood alongside watching the incident without taking any noticeable action to stop the beating. The video was aired around the world causing public outrage over police brutality, racism and other social inequalities in Los Angeles. Tested after the incident, King’s blood-alcohol level was found to be just under the legal limit. The officers’ paranoia and psychological profiling of Afrikan–Americans led them to believe King was under the influence of the drug phencyclidine (PCP) for which King tested negative.
The officer in charge, Sergeant Koon, acknowledged that he ordered the baton blows, directing Powell and Wind to hit King with power strokes. The video shows Officer Powell hitting King on the head with his baton, knocking him to the ground immediately. Powell and Officer Wind continue to beat King with their batons while he is on the ground. Koon orders the officers to “hit his joints, hit the wrists, hit his elbows, hit his knees, hit his ankles.” In a negligence claim filed with the city, King alleged he had suffered 11 skull fractures, permanent brain damage, broken [bones and teeth], kidney damage [and] emotional and physical trauma and won $3.8m in compensation.
The announcement of the police officers’ acquittals sparked protests over six days leading to 53 deaths, 2,383 injuries, more than 7,000 fires, damages to 3,100 businesses, and nearly $1bn in financial losses. Smaller riots occurred in other cities such as San Francisco, Las Vegas in neighboring Nevada and as far east as Atlanta, Georgia. King went on television three days into the uprising to call for calm, pleading ‘Can we all get along?’ In the week leading up to Rodney King’s passing we had been watching the DVD and extras of ‘Notorious B.I.G.’, about the life and shooting of Biggie Smalls, and that quote featured heavily in a skit Junior Mafia did during their live shows.
After the acquittal of the four officers, the US federal government, through the US District Court for the Central District of California, stepped in and held a federal trial for civil rights violations, ending with two of the officers being found guilty and jailed and the other two officers acquitted.
Rodney King got engaged to one of the jurors from his trial and published a book earlier this year entitled ‘The Riot Within: My Journey From Rebellion to Redemption’. On Apr 12, 2012, he released a statement to the media regarding the Trayvon Martin shooting where he said the scream on the audio of George Zimmerman’s 911 call reminded him of his own screaming during his beating by the LAPD.
Rodney King struggled with drug and alcohol abuse and had several brushes with the law over the years. He lost all his compensation money through various investments. Rodney King had three daughters, one by Carmen Simpson when he was a teenager and one by each wife. Both King’s marriages, to Crystal Waters and Danetta, ended in divorce.
~ MAKO TABUNI (-June 14, 2012), Deputy Chairman, National Committee for West Papua.
Representatives of the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence, who interviewed people who witnessed the assassination of Mako Tabuni said he was shot at least six times by Indonesian police and officers from the Australian-funded and trained Detachment 88 counter-terrorism troops as he walked alone near a housing complex in Jayapura. Many claim he was unarmed at the time - a violation of the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.
In 1961, Tabuni and other activist leaders set up the National Committee for West Papua (KNPB), a Papuan group campaigning for independence of Papua and West Papua. He repeatedly called for the Indonesian government to hold a referendum in the province. At the time of his killing Tabuni was wanted by the Indonesian authorities for ‘causing unrest in the province’. National Police chief Gen Timur Pradopo said that according to testimony given by three arrested suspects Tabuni was involved in recent shooting and arson attacks in the country’s easternmost province and the June 5 shooting of an Indonesian soldier in Entrop, near Jayapura city. After Tabuni’s assassination a senior KNPB activist said: “In this case our nation is pleading for UN intervention to be done now, because Indonesia is planning to kill all us Papuans.”
FORTHCOMING NUBIART PROFILES
NUBIART: Focus on arts, business, education, health, political developments and the media.
~ ‘SUMMERTIME’ – Black Umfolosi [ARC Music – Released 25 June] Founded in 1982 Zimbabwe’s Black Umfolosi here present a 12-track collection of their most beautiful and inspiring traditional songs from the last three decades. The album features arrangements of well-known ‘standards’ such as ‘Nkosi Sikelela’ and ‘Imbube’ (‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’), the ‘Malaika’ lullaby dedicated to the most beautiful woman who looks like an angel as well as their most recent hit ‘Summertime’ which is full of positive imagery and good time vibes. All the tracks here are imbued with a gentleness of spirit, beautiful intricate rhythms. ‘Shosholoza’ imitates the sound the steam trains make as they carry people both away and back to their homelands. ‘Uma Sithethela’ says that when we consult our ancestral spirits we believe they can solve all our problems. ‘Mama’ invokes the memories and love for and of a mother. ‘Ngikukhulisile’ tells of parents disappointment at a well-brought up child brought now behaving in a disloyal and rude manner. ’Ikhaya Elihle’ reminds people to keep in touch with their roots as there is no place like home. Black Umfolosi are committed to putting back resources into their community and developing a new generation of artists by operating the Enkundleni Centre for the Arts in Bulawayo which is co-ordinated by members Thomeki Dube and Sotsha Moyo and Taurai Tichareva.
NUBIART LIBRARY – JUNE MEDIA
We will only review books we have read and DVDs we have seen and that are available at reasonable prices online or in shops or libraries. However, given the nature and current state of Afrikan publishing and production there may be books and films on this list that are worth the extra effort to track down.
~ THE CHALLENGE FOR AFRICA: A NEW VISION’ – Wangari Maathai. [William Heinemann. ISBN: 978-0-434-01981-6] The late Wangari Maathai’s ‘The Challenge for Africa: A New Vision’ should be compulsory reading for any politician, activist, scholar or environmentalist who is concerned with Afrikan - nay, world - affairs. It is as essential as the writings by Cheikh Anta Diop and Walter Rodney’s ‘How Europe Underdeveloped Africa’ for an understanding of geopolitical dynamics. The book is divided into five sections: the contemporary cultural and historical background of the challenges; the economic, political and international context and dimension of these challenges; the challenge of leadership and good governance at the top of society and at the grassroots; the complex and problematic relationship of ethnic identity to the nation-state in modern Africa; and the centrality of the environment to Africa’s development challenges and solutions to them, followed by a final chapter on the challenges before individual Africans, at home and abroad.
~ JOINT ENTERPRISE: NOT GUILTY BY ASSOCIATION. Meeting and fundraiser for JENGbA, a grassroots campaign supporting prisoners who have been convicted under joint enterprise but who are not guilty of the index offence. With: Paddy Hill, wrongly convicted as one of the Birmingham Six; Janet Cunliffe, mother of Jordan Cunliffe who was jailed under joint enterprise for a crime he didn’t even see as he is blind; and music by Alabama 3 and Goddaz.
JENGbA are all volunteers who have a loved one in prison for something they did not do. They are campaigning to highlight the abuse of the joint enterprise doctrine to convict innocent people; men, women and sadly children who are serving mandatory life sentences for something they did not do, did not encourage, did not foresee was going to happen and did not intend to happen.
JENGbA have cases of physically and mentally disabled children serving Iife sentences. Cases where the CPS and police clearly knew who the guilty person was but chose to maliciously prosecute large numbers of individuals who happen to be there. This doctrine confuses juries into making assumptions, rather than base a verdict on evidence. Joint Enterprise means the evidential bar against a defendant is so low that the police and prosecutors do not need to provide concrete evidence to prove guilt. It is convictions by design – that of the police and the courts. Joint Enterprise it is a lazy law allowing lazy prosecutions. On Tues 26 Jun at The Tabernacle, Powis Square, London, W11 2AY. Adm: £12 /£10. Web: www.jointenterprise.co.uk
~ PREMIERE SCREENING: ‘HARLEM USA’. When you tell almost anybody from almost anywhere that Harlem USA will soon be no more you are met with disbelief. But even harder to believe is the dignity with which the black folk who have called it their home for almost a hundred years bear their loss and the wisdom with which they express their sorrow. ‘Harlem USA’ is a testament to the amazing African-American oral tradition still alive and well in the midst of institutionalised America. ‘Harlem USA’ is the collective production that this community has created. Screening will be followed by an open discussion with Kim Powell a key member of the ‘Harlem USA’ collective. On Wed 27t June at 6.30pm at The Ritzy, Brixton Oval, London SW9. Adm: £10. Web: www.harlemusa.ca
~ CENTERPRISE MID-SUMMER LITERARY FESTIVAL 2012.
- Sat 30 June at 11am-5pm. Adm: £110 / £85 (concs) (incl. refreshments and lunch). One day play writing workshop with Ade Solanke. How does a play work? Join playwright and Spora Stories theatre producer Ade Solanke for this one-day course looking at some of the key ingredients of audience-centred dramatic writing. Her recent hit play, ‘Pandora’s Box’ was loved by audiences and nominated for Best New Play by Off West End Theatre Awards.
- Fri 6 July at 8pm-2am. Adm: £9 / £7. The Dark Sea Scrolls with El Crisis and friends. A night of Words, Power and Sounds
- Sat 7 July at 3-6pm. Adm: Free. ‘Paving the Empire Road: BBC Television and Black Britons’ Book Launch. A Media history book by Dr Darrell Newton, Chair and Associate Professor, The Department of Communication Arts, Salisbury University, Maryland, USA. Host: Arthur Torrington
- Sun 8 July at 3.30-6pm. Adm: £7.50. Dr Franz Fanon explained how oppressors shape the mind of the oppressed. If we can understand this, we can undermine the slave and colonial mentalities that shackle the minds of our people today. Robin Walker will explain the content of Fanon’s book ‘Black Skins White Masks’ and show why the content is still relevant today, 60 years after it was first written.
All events take place at Centerprise, 136-138 Kingsland High Street, London, E8 2NS. Tel: 020 7254 9632. E-mail: email@example.com Web: www.centerprisetrust.org.uk
~ BLACK HISTORY WALKS on Tues 26 June at 6.30pm in St Pauls / Bank, London. Web: www.blackhistorywalks.co.uk
~ BLACK HISTORY WALKS PRESENTS ‘SYMBOLIC VIOLENCE AND IMAGES OF BLACK WOMEN’. This event is about female representation and the Afrikan female identity. Dr Nathalie Montlouis shares her doctoral thesis and highlights Afrikan women as ‘Anansy’ in the promotion and diffusion of their own interests by content sharing websites. She will cover: ‘The African Queen’; The ‘sketel’; The label of domestic violence; The diktat of the ‘strong black woman’; Religion, make up and long sleeve; and it’s not raining men. This event is a preview of a major conference on Afrikan women titled ‘Rebellion and Compliance of Womanhood within the African Diaspora’ taking place in Mar 2013. On Thurs 28 June at 7pm at Pimlico Academy, Lupus Street, London, SW1V 3AT. Adm: £6. Web: www.blackhistorywalks.co.uk
~ THE NOMMO SESSIONS: ‘RELATIONSHIPS & GOOD SEX’. Facilitated by Bro Twilight Bey of Social Solutions. Pt1: The Black / Afrikan Family; Culture; Male & Female Relations; Courtship; and Social Contract (Marriage). Pt2: Sex; Brain Sex; Sexual Desires & Needs; Inter-Action; Timing; Connections; and The Family & Nation Building. Pt3: Polygamy - a Lifestyle Choice or a Requirement for Survival? On Fri 29 June at 7-10.30pm at Mama Afrika Kulcha Shap, 282 High Road Leyton, London, E10 5PW. Adm: £3 / U-21’s – Free. Tel: 020 8539 2154 / 07908 814 152. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
~ MORE THAN XY - A VISUAL TRIBUTE TO BLACK FATHERS & POSITIVE MALE ROLE MODELS
Curated by Thenublack and the forFATHERS project this exhibition celebrates the role of Fathers and positive role models in the Afrikan community. The organisers are mounting this show to increase the awareness of the fathers who are active parents in their children’s lives and to provide exposure for the artists expressing their views of fatherhood through visuals. The show is their way to challenge the often imbalanced portrayal of black men being absent fathers and negative role models. Until 30 June at Darnley Gallery, London, E9 6QH. E-mail: email@example.com
~ THE SOUTHBANK CENTRE AND THE ROYAL AFRICA SOCIETY PRESENT ‘WORD FROM AFRICA’. The finale of the Poetry Parnassus festival and a celebration of the spoken, and written word, through poetry, song and storytelling with performance, music and literature. Taking its lead from the successful 2007 and 2008 events produced by Africa Beyond at The British Museum, Word From Africa brings to London diverse talent in the literary and music fields from across the African continent. On Sun 1 July at 6pm at Southbank Centre, The Clore Ballroom, Belvedere Rd, London, SE1 8XX. Adm: Free.
~ BRITISH BLACK MUSIC MONTH
- July 3 & 10 at 10.30am-4.30pm (Edgware Road): Music Biz Empowerment Half-Day Courses (Master Classes £10). Web: http://bbmm2012courses.eventbrite.com
- July 3 at 6-7.30pm (Finsbury Park): Income Streams And Careers Within The Music Industry (Workshop). Web: http://bbmm2012incomestreams.eventbrite.com
- July 5 at 6.30-8.30pm (Clapham Common): Remembering Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (15 Aug 1875 - 1 Sept 1912) (Audio-visual presentation). Web: http://bbmm2012sctlambeth.eventbrite.com
- July 7 at 2-3pm (St Raphael’s / Stonebridge): The Brent & British Black Music Quiz (Quiz). Web: www.BBM,eventbrite.com
- July 12 at 6-8.30pm (Willesden Green): WHO I AM & WHAT I DO VI (Networking £10). Web: http://bbmm2012networking.eventbrite.com
- July 14 at 1-9pm (Willesden Green): BBM FILMS ALL-DAYER (Screening/Q&A). Web: http://bbmm2012films.eventbrite.com
- July 14 at 1-9pm (Willesden Green): BLACK MUSIC RECORDS & AFRICAN CRAFTS FAIR XI (Fair. Stalls £10). Web: http://bbmm2012fair.eventbrite.com
- July 15 at 3-7pm (Clapham Common) British Reggae & Lovers’ Rock: A Product of Migration (£4 / £2 fundraiser for West Indian Service Personnel). Web: http://bbmm2012wasp.eventbrite.com
- July 21 at 1-6pm (Plaistow) Making Sense of How the Music Industry Works & Preparing A Music Business Plan Workshop (workshop £50/£20): http://bbmm2012musicbizplan.eventbrite.com
~ BLACK HISTORY STUDIES OLYMPIC DOUBLE BILL
- 9 July: ‘History of Black Olympics: The History of Black Olympians from 1904’. The early African athlete is rarely acknowledged and most people are unaware of the contributions of early Olympians such as George C Poage, Len Taunyane and Jan Mashiani. We will examine the contributions of Black Olympians from Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas in the Olympic and the Paralympic Games.
On Mon 9 July at 6.45-9.30pm at the PCS Headquarters, 160 Falcon Road, Clapham Junction, London, SW11 2LN. Adm: £5. Tel / Fax: 0208 881 0660. Mob: 07951 234233. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: http://www.blackhistorystudies.com
- 15 July: ‘Black Power Salute’ and ‘The Athlete’. ‘Black Power Salute’ is a documentary about one of the most iconic images of the 20th century when two African-American men - Tommie Smith and John Carlos - made a courageous gesture at the 1968 Mexico Olympics that reverberated round the world and changed their lives forever. After receiving Gold and Bronze medals for their wins in the 200m race they raised their gloved clenched fists on the podium during the US national anthem. They were subsequently banned from the Games for life. What inspired them to make their protest? Why did it carry such a powerful message? And what happened to the unlikely revolutionaries following the Games? ‘Black Power Salute’ reveals the untold story behind one of the most controversial moments in Olympic history.
‘The Athlete (Atletu)’ tells the story of Ethiopian marathon runner Abebe Bikila who took the world by surprise when he won at the 1960 Rome Olympics, becoming the first Afrikan to win an Olympic gold medal. He then became the first man to win the Olympic marathon twice in a row with a second gold at the 1964 Olympics. However in 1969, a car accident left him paralysed from the waist down and his story took an unexpected turn as he fought to compete again. The double bill will be followed by a Q&A with Geoff Small, Director of Black Power Salute.
On Sun 15 July at 1.30pm at the Phoenix Cinema, 52 High Street, East Finchley, London, N2 9PJ. Adm:
£6. Box Office: 020 8444 6789. Web: www.phoenixcinema.co.uk
~ ‘JOURNEYS AND KINSHIP’ EXHIBITION. Is the face not currency enough? This display of face casts responds to the irony that members of the African Diaspora must pay to visit sites from which their ancestors were transported into enslavement. ‘Journeys and Kinship’ explores further the themes of the London, Sugar & Slavery gallery at the Museum of London Docklands through a project between the visual artist Jean Joseph and a group of young Londoners working together with Calypsonian, Alexander D Great, and Yvonne Wilson from Equi-Vison. Until 4 Nov 2012 at Museum of London, Docklands 1 Warehouse, West India Quay, London, E14 4AL. Tel: 020 7001 9844. Adm: Free. Web: http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/Docklands/Whats-on/Exhibitions-Displays/JourneysandKinship.htm
Contact: Kubara Zamani, Afrikan Quest International, PO Box 35165, London, SE5 8WU. Tel: 07811 494 969.
E-mail: email@example.com Web: www.southwark.tv/quest/aqhome.asp
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