ECONOMICS CLASS 101
Below are a few definitions of financial terms that crop up in the news. They are often contradictory measures open to manipulation, fraud and excessive profiteering by advisers and account managers. These basic definitions are mostly from Wikipedia which we used not for its veracity but to compare how one publisher defines the various terms. You can do your own research to get more in-depth content.
RETAIL PRICE INDEX
In Britain the Retail Price Index (RPI) is a measure of inflation published monthly by the Office for National Statistics. It measures the change in the cost of a representative sample of retail goods and services. As the RPI was found not to meet international statistical standards, since 2013 the Office for National Statistics no longer classifies it as a “national statistic”, emphasizing the Consumer Price Index instead. The RPI is still used by the government as a base for various purposes, such as the amounts payable on index-linked securities including index-linked gilts, and social housing rent increases. Many employers also use it as a starting point in wage negotiation. It is no longer used by the government as the basis for the indexation of the pensions of its former employees. The UK state pension (at 2012) is indexed by the higher of RPI, CPI or 2.5%.
In March 2009, the change in RPI measured over a 12-month period turned negative, indicating an overall annual reduction in prices, for the first time since 1960. The change in RPI in the 12 months ending in April 2009, at -1.2%, was the lowest since records began in 1948. Housing associations lobbied the government to allow them to freeze rents at current levels rather than reduce them in line with the RPI, but the Treasury concluded that rents should follow RPI down as far as -2%, leading to savings in housing benefit. In February 2011, the RPI jumped to 5.1% leading to the Bank of England raising interest rates despite disappointing projected GDP growth of only 1.6% in 2011. The September 2011 figure of 5.6% was the highest for 20 years.
After a review in 2012 the National Statistician’s Consumer Prices Advisory Committee (CPAC) decided that due to the use of the Carli formula in certain sub-components, the RPI is biased upwards compared to other indices by a “formula effect” of roughly one percentage point. In 2013 the National Statistician concluded that the formula used to produce the RPI does not meet international standards and recommended that a new index known as RPIJ be published.
Subsequently ONS decided to no longer classify RPI as a national statistic. However, ONS kept calculating RPI in order to have a consistent historic inflation time series.
British RPI is calculated by: Choosing a base year or starting point which becomes the standard against which price changes are measured; a list of items bought by an average family is drawn up based on the Living Costs and Food Survey; a set of weights are calculated, showing the relative importance of the items in the average family budget - the greater the share of the average household bill, the greater the weight; the price of each item is multiplied by the weight given to the item, so that the contribution of the item’s price is in proportion to its importance; The price of each item must be found in both the base year and the year of comparison (or month). The RPI includes an element of housing costs.
Variations on the RPI include the RPIX, which removes the cost of mortgage interest payments, the RPIY, which excludes indirect taxes (VAT) and local authority taxes as well as mortgage interest payments, and the RPIJ which uses the Jevons (geometric) rather than the Carli (arithmetic) method of averaging.
CONSUMER PRICE INDEX
The consumer price index (CPI) measures changes in the price level of a market basket of consumer goods and services purchased by households. Sub-indexes and sub-sub-indexes are computed for different categories and sub-categories of goods and services, being combined to produce the overall index with weights reflecting their shares in the total of the consumer expenditures covered by the index. It is one of several price indices calculated by most national statistical agencies. The annual percentage change in a CPI is used as a measure of inflation. A CPI can be used to index (i.e., adjust for the effect of inflation) the real value of wages, salaries, pensions, for regulating prices and for deflating monetary magnitudes to show changes in real values. In most countries, the CPI is, along with the population census and the USA National Income and Product Accounts, one of the most closely watched national economic statistics.
How the weights are calculated, and in how much detail, depends upon the availability of information and upon the scope of the index. In the UK the Retail Price Index (RPI) does not relate to the whole of consumption, for the reference population is all private households with the exception of a) pensioner households that derive at least three-quarters of their total income from state pensions and benefits and b) “high income households” whose total household income lies within the top four per cent of all households. The result is that it is difficult to use data sources relating to total consumption by all population groups.
For products whose price movements can differ between regions and between different types of outlet:
• The ideal, rarely realisable in practice, would consist of estimates of expenditure for each detailed consumption category, for each type of outlet, for each region.
• At the opposite extreme, with no regional data on expenditure totals but only on population (e.g. 24% in the Northern region) and only national estimates for the shares of different outlet types for broad categories of consumption (e.g. 70% of food sold in supermarkets) the weight for sliced bread sold in supermarkets in the Northern region has to be estimated as the share of sliced bread in total consumption × 0.24 × 0.7.
The increasingly widespread use of bar codes, scanners in shops has meant that detailed cash register printed receipts are provided by shops for an increasing share of retail purchases. This development makes possible improved Household Expenditure surveys. Survey respondents keeping a diary of their purchases need to record only the total of purchases when itemised receipts were given to them and keep these receipts in a special pocket in the diary. These receipts provide not only a detailed breakdown of purchases but also the name of the outlet. Thus response burden is markedly reduced, accuracy is increased, product description is more specific and point of purchase data are obtained, facilitating the estimation of outlet-type weights.
A Consumer Price Index compares how much it would cost now to do exactly what consumers did in the reference-period with what it cost then. Application of the principle thus requires that the index for our one house owner should reflect the movement of the prices of houses like hers from 2006 to 2007 and the change in interest rates. If she took out a fixed-interest rate mortgage it is the change in interest rates from 2006 to 2007 that counts; if she took out a variable interest mortgage it is the change from 2009 to 2010 that counts. Thus her current index with 1999 as reference-period will stand at more than 100 if house prices or, in the case of a fixed-interest mortgage, interest rates rose between 2006 and 2007.
The RPI includes an element of housing costs whereas the following items are not included in the CPI: Council tax, mortgage interest payments, house depreciation, buildings insurance, ground rent, solar PV feed in tariffs and other house purchase cost such as estate agents’ and conveyancing fees. A further index, CPIH, has been published which includes housing costs but CPIH does not meet current international standards.
In the United States, several different consumer price indices are routinely computed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). These include the CPI-U (for all urban consumers), CPI-W (for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers), CPI-E (for the elderly), and C-CPI-U (chained CPI for all urban consumers). These are all built in two stages. First, the BLS collects data to estimate 8,018 separate item-area indices reflecting the prices of 211 categories of consumption items in 38 geographical areas. In the second stage, weighted averages are computed of these 8,018 item-area indices. The different indices differ only in the weights applied to the different 8,018 item-area indices. The weights for CPI-U and CPI-W are held constant for 24 months, changing in January of even-numbered years.
The weights for C-CPI-U are updated each month to reflecting changes in consumption patterns in the last month. Thus, if people on average eat more chicken and less beef or more apples and fewer oranges than the previous month, that change would be reflected in next month’s C-CPI-U. However, it would not be reflected in CPI-U and CPI-W until January of the next even-numbered year. This allows the BLS to compute consumer price indices for each of the designated 38 geographical areas and for aggregates like the Midwest.
In January of each year, Social Security recipients receive a cost of living adjustment (COLA) “to ensure that the purchasing power of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits is not eroded by inflation. It is based on the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W)”. The use of CPI-W conflicts with this purpose, because the elderly consume substantially more health care goods and services than younger people. In recent years, inflation in health care has substantially exceeded inflation in the rest of the economy. Since the weight on health care in CPI-W is much less than the consumption patterns of the elderly, this COLA does not adequately compensate them for the real increases in the costs of the items they buy.
The BLS does track a consumer price index for the elderly (CPI-E). It is not used, in part because the social security trust fund is forecasted to run out of money in roughly 40 years, and using the CPI-E instead of CPI-W would shorten that by roughly 5 years. Between 1971 and 1977, the United States CPI increased 47%. In 2009, the Consumer Price Index fell for the first time since 1955.
Former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former U.S. Senator Alan K. Simpson suggested a transition to using a “chained CPI” in 2010, when they headed the White House’s deficit-reduction commission. They stated that it was a more accurate measure of inflation than the current system and switching from the current system could save the government more than $290 billion over the decade following their report. “The chained CPI is usually 0.25 to 0.30 percentage points lower each year, on average, than the standard CPI measurements”.
However, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Associations said that the chained CPI does not account for senior citizens’ health care costs. Robert Reich, former United States Secretary of Labor under President Clinton, noted that typical seniors spend 20-40% of their income on health care, far more than most Americans. Replacing the current cost-of-living adjustment calculation with the chained CPI was considered, but not adopted, as part of a deficit-reduction proposal to avert the sequestration cuts, or fiscal cliff, in January 2013, but President Obama included it in his April 2013 budget proposal.
As the above examples of Retail Price Index and Consumer Price Index and their variants show the statistics are open to any manner of manipulation. Often governments say they are changing from one measure to another for more accuracy and to reflect changing consumption patterns eg purchase of electronics such as mobile phones or multi-channel TV subscriptions compared to 20 years ago. By selecting what goes in the consumer’s basket governments can get a figure closer to which they can use to justify their policies and support any spurious argument. Inflation may be a low number but poorer people spend a larger proportion of their income on heat and lighting, food, transport to work and rent.
Another policy particularly favoured by right wing parties such as the British Tories is to have a low inflation rate but to monetise more of the economy, cut allowances to certain categories and to charge for goods and services which were previously provided free. This means that more money is needed to cover these costs but they can argue inflation is under control. The Tories have a particular hatred of the nation’s youth and have been hammering them financially for the past five years. Cutting access to housing benefit, raising the age at which it can be paid, limiting the percentage rises in benefit, increasing fees to attend education facilities to £9,000 a year whereas 30 years ago students were actually given a grant by the state to study. The financial burden of looking after under-25s falls on their parents, other family members, debt and borrowing services and increasing financial and acquisitive crime. The over-25s are facing their own challenges such as council tax benefit being cut so they have to pay a proportion from their income which was previously considered subsistence, rent and benefit caps, bedroom tax, increasing vehicle charges for residential parking, congestion charges and ‘fines’, annual above-inflation increases on trains and energy price rises of over 22%. All this when officially inflation has been below 1% for seven years.
GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT
A country’s Gross Domestic Product was the value of goods and services it produced or delivered calculated by some economists. Drawbacks with the figures include that often there was no way to measure voluntary work, care work and parental duties all of which enabled production but in an ‘invisible’ way. Much of the work was done by women often along with any formal employment.
Hence the rise of campaigns such as Women For Wages For Housework which pushed for the recognition of this valuable contribution to a nation’s wealth. Ever growing GDP does not take into account issues such as pollution, climate change, the work-life balance, technological changes, offshoring vital economic production or the nation’s health. We thank the government of Bhutan for pushing Gross Domestic Happiness onto the international agenda. GDP also does not measure the extremes of wealth and poverty within a country. When we were at primary school we were told there was enough food, money and resources in the world for everyone to work no more than 30 hours a week with high-quality leisure time for all. This would be brought about by technology and the better ordering of society. Instead we have people overworking, others unemployed or under-employed, many impoverished and ‘a privileged few’ keeping the wealth for themselves on a global scale.
The mortgage rate does not reflect the Bank of England base rate that a saver would get which has been at 0.5% for years. A mortgage is calculated as lasting 25 years and the total cost paid over the duration is approximately twice the value of the property being bought with penalties for trying to pay the mortgage off early.
Britain is rare in western Europe in the number of people who have been duped into believing they must buy their dwelling. It is a legacy of the madness of Margaret Thatcher and the 1980s deregulation boom. Many people in Britain see their home as an ‘investment’ rather than just a place to dwell, get some stability and have happy memories. In comparable countries such as Germany and France - and definitely the Scandinavian countries – there is much more social housing of a better quality and with little negativity attached to living in a home that you rent for most of your adult life.
Whereas a house was 3-4 times a joint income in Britain in the 1970s today it is often 12-20 times people’s incomes with houses and flats actually smaller in size today as builders try to fit more homes into a given area to maximise their income per sq ft. It was this housing bubble by people who couldn’t really afford to buy but were offered ridiculous mortgage deals in the 1990s and 2000s that led to the sub-prime crisis of 2007-8. People weren’t in a position to pay back and the banks had put bad debts in with good and nobody knew who was holding which debts and so they were reluctant to lend to each other or guarantee payments which is the basis of the western banking system. A bank is meant to assume that another bank in its jurisdiction or regulated by an authority it recognises is solvent and not engaged in illegal or corrupt activities. As housing is one of the biggest purchases individual customers will make and there are many thousands of such transactions each day without trust the system seizes up. The British and American government’s solution was to print money and give it to the same incompetent and corrupt bankers and advisers who had caused the crisis. It was a reward for bad behaviour to people many of whom should be serving a long sentence. To pay for this the Tories used the phrase ‘austerity’ which amounts to poor people being made poorer so they and their banker friends can gloat and continue to consider themselves ‘masters of the universe’ and ‘the smartest men in the room’ – or as we like to say about such people, ‘they think they are the first person the Creator gave a brain to.’
Another problem in the housing market was that many of the properties were being bought out of council stock at heavily discounted prices. For years councils were not allowed to build properties so this increased the housing shortage both for those waiting on council lists and those wanting to buy. This lead to a rise in both rents in the private sector and the prices that people were having to pay to secure a property. For those who did buy properties they found that when it came to repairs and service charges councils were hitting them with five figure bills out of the blue with limited time to pay. People we know also bought homes that didn’t have full structural surveys and it was only after they had bought the property they realised they couldn’t afford the repairs but now that they knew about the defects they were duty-bound to tell their solicitors and prospective buyers meaning they could only sell the property on at a further discounted price while still owing on the original mortgage price. Further problems arose when people brought homes in areas without being told there was an area development plan that involved their house being demolished. They were then badgered into accepting a low compulsory purchase price for a property they could sell on the open market as the area was ‘blighted’ by the proposed development.
EXCHANGE RATE EFFECTS ON IMPORTS / EXPORTS
A country’s exchange rate is usually measured against the dollar, pound sterling, euro or yen. They are the dominant countries and currencies on the financial markets. A country wants its currency to be strong which makes its exports of manufactured goods and services expensive to foreign purchasers and investors. This can be seen as additional income but it could also be a barrier to overseas buyers cutting off a potential revenue stream. Contrarily it makes importing goods, raw materials and services cheaper. If a country has a balanced economy then it may get by although some sectors will be adversely affected by exchange rate fluctuations but where a country becomes dependent on one sector this creates problems. Britain has cut its manufacturing base and focussed on selling financial services and consultancies for its income. This means it has to import many goods - both luxury and daily essentials – that were once produced in the country. Foreign ownership has also extended to energy provision and the transport infrastructure.
Problems arise if the producer or owner country was previously politically hostile or considered an economic competitor. Production of many goods and services have for years been off-shored to China and Taiwan, telecoms have gone to India, textiles production has gone to places like Bangladesh and Mauritius. In America much work has gone to neighbouring Mexico while in the financial world China owns America and if they ever called in the debt America would be shown for what it is – the biggest debtor and the poorest of poor relations who have spent decades living well beyond their means with an over-inflated sense of cultural, political and economic importance. The belief in instant gratification and the overconsumption of goods and services at as cheap a price as possible puts Americans on a psychological and financial collision course as they want the Chinese to make their products cheaply but they have to face the fact that their economy – products, services and finances – are beholden to the Chinese. That is before the issue of cybersecurity even arises.
For political reasons certain currencies are also dominant. Some governments will kill to maintain their currency’s position. Iraq’s Saddam Hussein wanting to switch paying for oil in dollars to euros was one of the reasons for his demise. Libya’s Col Gaddafi wanted to use oil - of which Libya had plenty - as a currency and was considering underwriting an Afrikan currency to rival the dollar, euro, pound and yen for trade between Afrikan countries when he came to a sticky end. Venezuela’s late President Hugo Chavez started an ‘oil-for-’ programme with several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. This was similar to the oil-for-sugar programmes the Soviet Union used to support Cuba until the early 1990s. The programmes are still ongoing but the economic crises since 2007-8 have meant some countries have not been able to fully stick to the terms of trade.
POLICIES AND PRODUCTS
Bankers, financial advisers and account managers like to describe the policies and services they offer as ‘products’. They instructed all staff in their branches to call policies products and push them hard as essential items even when they knew the customers and clients didn’t meet the eligibility criteria in order that they themselves would get bonuses for hitting short-term sales targets. This was so that people would view it as something they must have in the same way as a car, phone or loaf of bread. A product, for the purposes of this discussion, is a physical thing which has either been manufactured, mined or transported to a market place for which you will pay a reasonable price as it suits the purposes you require it for. Policies on a piece of paper with extra small print, in technical language and with extended sub-clauses are not products and in our opinion anyone who tries to dress up an insurance policy, banking service, rental contract or other financial transaction as a product is a charlatan, fraudster and best avoided.
Unfortunately in the current financial dispensation in order to get a pension, loan or buy a property you will be forced to swim with the sharks. In recent times there have been various financial misselling scandals that show the criminality of these people. Payment Protection Insurance was missold to millions of people who either didn’t need it or had no chance of being paid compensation for which the insurance premium was supposedly covering. The LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate) scandal was collusion among several traders at many of the big name banks to fix the lending rate for policies, mortgages, interest rates, etc, for the benefit of the traders. Many financial institutions, mortgage lenders and credit card agencies set their own rates relative to it. At least $350trn in derivatives and other financial policies are tied to the Libor. Banks are still being fined billions for this practice and despite the global nature of the fraud only a handful of bankers have been ‘sweated’ and fewer still seen the inside of a prison cell. Many have still kept the bonuses they made during years of fraudulent trading.
Below is a description of the trades that LIBOR covered -
Standard interbank products: Forward rate agreements; Interest rate futures, e.g. Eurodollar futures;
Interest rate swaps; Swaptions; Overnight indexed swaps, e.g. LIBOR–OIS spread; Interest rate options, Interest rate cap and floor.
Commercial field products: Floating rate notes; Floating rate certificates of deposits; Syndicated loans;
Variable rate mortgages; Term loans
Hybrid products: Range accrual notes; Step up callable notes; Target redemption notes; Hybrid perpetual notes; Collateralized mortgage obligations
We printed the above list for your delectation - and to fry your brains. Like you we also don’t have a clue why anyone using such arcane language should be employed as anything. The latest scandal to break is over annuities which people were forced to take out in lieu of receiving their pensions. Some analysts say the final scale of the corruption - and thus the compensation paid out - could dwarf the PPI billions.
Leaving our economies and international trade in the hands and brains of these people means that the world economies are subjected to periodic recessions, depressions, oppression and downpression. The average time between each crisis is shortening and is now around once a decade. With the speed of trade rapidly increasing because of the use of technology and mathematical algorithms and the general immorality of many bankers, traders, advisors and account managers the situation can only worsen. Customers of the Royal Bank of Scotland / NatWest / Ulster Bank group have been facing financial regular financial ‘glitches’ over the past four years that have left them unable to access their accounts for weeks. Where possible it would be wise to keep some pocket money in said place as we navigate through ‘interesting times’.
MARIEM HASSAN (May 1958 – 22 Aug 2015). Singer, lyricist and Saharawi independence activist. The Saharawi cultural activist Mariem Hassan has passed away as a result of bone cancer which was first diagnosed a decade ago. She was the Polisario Front’s best-known advocate on the international stage in an artistic career spanning more than four decades. She usually sang in Hassaniyya, an Arabic dialect spoken mostly in Western Sahara and Mauritania and occasionally in Spanish.
Mariem Hassan was born in May 1958 in the Ued Tazua, in then Spanish Sahara. She was the third of ten siblings in a nomadic family. Music and poetry was important in the family and various relatives were singers, poets or dancers. In 1975, following the Green March and the Madrid Accords which gave the territory to Morocco and Mauritania, she went with her family, first to Meharrize and finally to the Saharawi refugee camps in Tindouf in Algeria, where she worked as nurse. Three of her brothers were killed during the Western Sahara War of independence. The four big camps are named after the four wilayas (provinces) of the Western Sahara - Smara, El Aaiun, Auserd and Dajla that the refugees left behind and organised in the same way. Each wilaya is divided into dairas (districts) which are further sub-divided into quarters. In each area a group of musicians takes charge of maintaining the traditional culture.
In early 1976, she became a member of the Shahid El Hafed Buyema cultural troupe. Following the death in combat of El-Ouali Mustapha Sayed, the first president of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, the group renamed itself Shahid El Uali. Hassan travelled with the band to many countries, playing at cultural events and headlining world music festivals. They released up to five albums, the best known of which was ‘Polisario vencerá’, which was produced by Mohamed Tami, Saharawi Minister of Education from the late 1970s to the mid-1980s. It was recorded in Spain and originally released by the Spanish label Guimbarda in 1982. It was rereleased in 1998 by Madrid-based label Nubenegra.
In 1998, Shahid El Uali disbanded, and Hassan started her solo career with a pair of songs on the album ‘A pesar de las heridas (Despite the Wounds)’, released by Nubenegra. For the European tour to promote the album she was accompanied by the group Leyoad, who featured guitarist Nayim Alal. Following the success of their live performances, they recorded a collaboration album in 2000, ‘Mariem Hassan con Leyoad’. In 2004, she contributed to the album ‘Medej’, followed by extensive touring in Europe. Just before departing for her European tour, Mariem received a diagnosis of breast cancer. She began receiving treatment after returning to Spain, living there on a permanent basis due to the disease.
In 2005, her first official solo album was released. ‘Deseos (Wishes)’ was a personal interpretation of the traditional Haul music. The album featured Baba Salama on guitar and production duties, her brother Boika on guitars and percussionist Fatta, three of the finest musicians coming out of the refugee camps in Tindouf. Baba Salama passed away from leukaemia during the recording of the album.
Mariem performed at the WOMEX 2005 in Newcastle, and in several editions and locations of WOMAD festival, as WOMAD Las Palmas de Gran Canaria 2008, WOMAD Cáceres 2008, WOMAD Charlton Park 2009, WOMAD Sicily 2009, WOMADelaide 2010 and WOMAD New Zealand 2010.
In 2010, Mariem released a new album, ‘Shouka (The Thorn)’, which continued her exploration of Haul music and touched on the roots of another style, Azawan, while including enough western influences to draw in that market. The main song ‘Shouka’ is structured as a cantata, touching all the rhythms of the Saharawi traditional music, in which Mariem gives a response paragraph by paragraph to the 1976 speech given by Spanish politician Felipe González at the Saharawi refugee camps.
In March 2011, she performed for three consecutive days in Caracas, Venezuela, as part of the Sahrawi Cultural Week. In late March 2012, her third solo album titled ‘El Aaiun Egdat (El Aaiun on fire)’, inspired by the Sahrawi protests during and after the Gdeim Izik protest camp and the “Arab Spring“, was released. This work marked a musical change, including blues and jazz sounds to the traditional haul structures. Several songs had lyrics written by elderly Saharawi poets in exile, like Ali Bachir and Lamin Allal. The album reached number one in the World Music Charts Europe in July 2012. In November, Mariem was one of the headlining acts of the third edition of the ‘Festival du Sahel’, in the Lompoul desert in Senegal.
She was the subject of a 2007 documentary film, ‘Mariem Hassan, la voz del Sáhara‘. In 2010, Link TV produced a short documentary on Hassan’s music and activism, as part of the series ‘Rappers, Divas and Virtuosos: New Music from the Muslim World.’ In 2013 Mariem completed both a Saharawi oral history project, ‘Cuéntame Abuelo – Música’, and a tour to promote the ‘El Aaiun Egdat’ album. In October 2014, Calamar Edicion y Diseño published Hassan’s official biography, ‘Mariem Hassan – Soy Saharaui’, as a graphic novel written and illustrated by Italian authors Gianluca Diana, Andromalis and Federica Marzioni. The ‘Soy, Saharaui’ of the title is a direct reference to the classic Cuban liberation film, ‘Soy, Cuba’, which along with ‘The Battle of Algiers’ are the templates for revolutionary cinema.
Earlier this year Mariem released her final album ‘Baila, Sáhara, baila’, a collaboration with Vadiya Mint el Hanevi on Nubenegra, She lived in Tindouf camp until 2002, when she moved to Spain - the former colonial ruler - first to Barcelona and then to Sabadell, where she lived with her husband and sons. This was for work, family and health reasons. She returned to Western Sahara some time prior to her death passed away in Tindouf and was buried back in Smara. Her funeral was attended by the Prime Minister Mr Abd-el-Kader Taleb Omar, civil and military cadres and artists. Mariem is remembered affectionately by all her comrades, friends and family and all the people for whom her music gave endless hours of enjoyment and inspiration. She is survived by her mother, her husband Bachir Mohamed, and their children - Salem and Agalia; and by three children - Ahmed, Nina and Fatimetu - from her first marriage to Hamadi Breika which ended in divorce.
FORTHCOMING NUBIART PROFILES
NUBIART: Focus on arts, business, education, health, political developments and the media.
~ ‘LIVE IT TO KNOW IT’ – Jimmy Riley [Pressure Sounds – Out Now] A selection of top-notch roots classics self-produced by Jimmy Riley between 1975-1985. This is the period when he was also working with Gregory Isaacs, Dennis Brown, Sugar Minott, Junior Delgado and The Tamlins to set up Sly ‘n’ Robbie’s Taxi label. The tracks all come with either separate dubs or are extended versions. You know you’re in good hands when the first track, ‘Gunman of JA’, comes with a previously unreleased King Tubby’s dub plate mix. ‘Tell the Youths the Truth’, ‘Give Thanks and Praise’, ‘From the Ghetto’ and ‘Everyone Needs Money’ all make an appearance here. His best known cultural tracks from that period are also here - ‘Majority Rule’ and the album ends with the classic and ever relevant ‘Poor Immigrant’. In the accompanying book he is asked about whether he feels eclipsed by the rise of his son, Taurus, unphased Jimmy just coolly replies: “Taurus has done well. But still anytime I play a show, I will always sell out that show!” This is an essential album for all roots lovers and conscious minds.
~ ‘AFRICAN HARMONIES: SIYABONGA – WE THANK YOU’ - Insingizi [ARC Music – Released 25 Sep] This is the third album from the Zimbabwean acapella trio following on from the success of ‘Voices of Southern Africa Volumes 1 & 2’. ‘We Thank You’ or Siyabonga in the IsiNdebele language is dedicated to their friends and fans who have been there from day one. The songs are in English and Ndebele and unusually the 13 tracks are in alphabetical order which is a quirky touch. The album is full of social and political commentary and kicks off with ‘Africa’: ‘ Africa… beautiful continent… unite… beautiful nation, Africa unite, stay away from wars… we are proud of you Africa Mama, stay away from war and tribalism…’
Imilayo is a gentle plea to children to stay away from wrong influences and wrong crowds. While ‘Sugar Daddy’ is another warning for the youth this time about the dangers of AIDS: ‘Let’s teach our children to respect themselves and to take care of themselves in order for them to live a healthy life without contracting deadly diseases like HIV-AIDS.’ ‘Vuma’ is a reminder to leaders of their duty to revive and move the nation forward so that values can be guided and maintained. On ‘Umkhuleko’ the power of prayer is portrayed as having the ability to change all, no matter how hard the situation may seem.
~ ‘WE ARE IN THE WAR’ - Prince Buju [Makkum Records - Out Now] Prince Buju plays the two-string kologo and sings on this nine-track album with songs about loss, disaster, war and hate and the need for people to change their ways. Most of the tracks had a limited release on a cassette called ‘Roots and Culture’ back in 2011 but the title track was added at the end of last year after Prince Buju met a Dutch distributor who then put this out as a CD. Prince Buju plays the instrument hard and driving and it reminds me of a Gnawa style. The album opens with ‘Afashee’, ‘Festivals’ and is a plea to come together during the festivals. ‘In The War’ is the song that points out reality in the world today. “We are all in the war”, and Prince Buju is telling us we would do better if we do not fight but unite. A good coincidence is that in the Dutch language “in de war” means being confused. Prince ‘Bongo Sa-Abodaana’ means ‘I make music for everybody’. ‘Abiire Bongo Akambo-Se’ is a tribute to his mum who has passed on. The album closes with ‘Assala Bo-Lom’ which means the gift of man is in heaven.
NUBIART LIBRARY – SEP 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 film production there may be books and films on this list that are worth the extra effort to track down.
~ ‘PATRIOTISM’ – Patricia Bamurangirwa [Matador. ISBN: 978-1-78462-142-1]
Time can pass
Memories can fade
Feelings can change.
People can leave
But hearts never forget.
Pray that hard time can’t ever knock at your door.
- ‘Hard Time’, p111-113
‘Patriotism’ is a poetry book for readers of all ages, nationalities and walks of life. Touching on subjects including history, nationalism, religion, love and hate. The poems in the first half of the book are presented in both English and Kinyarwanda and are reflective of the ‘Patriotism’ that gives the overall collection its theme and title. It starts off with ‘Rwanda’, where the author is proud to extol the virtues, beauty and industriousness of the country and its people. ‘Rudahigwa’ is a tribute to the King Mutara Rudahigwa III, who was killed because of his resistance to Belgian colonial rule. This poem highlights the concept of Gutanga – sacrifices for our people. ‘Questions’ and ‘We Are One’ address further the iniquities of colonial rule. ‘Don’t Be Fearful I Didn’t Give Up To You’ is dedicated to all the survivors of the genocide who faced trauma, loss and the lasting effects of physical injuries. ‘Struggle’ praises the struggle for survival of the strong and beautiful Rwanda girls and women.
There are some powerful emotions shared here in poems such as ‘Iinkota (Sword)’, ‘I Am Who I Am’, ‘I Had A Mother’ and ‘Journey’. The role of culture are highlighted in ‘What Is Cultural Norm’, ‘Name’ about the power of knowing and holding on to your name. There is also a selection of poems that are tributes to Michael Jackson and his wider role not just as the King of Pop but also as an inspiration to people to achieve. There are topics that are right up to date such as in ‘Who To Blame’, which addresses head on the role of the internet, drugs, drink, knife crime, stress, suicide and teenage pregnancies that are a challenge to the youths of today.
The collection closes with ‘What A Shock?’, Patricia’s response to the harrowing Ebola outbreak in the Mano River region of west Afrika which killed nearly 12,000 people in less than 18 months. The words in Patricia Bamurangirwa’s poetry will show readers that it is possible to achieve your dreams, encouraging and teaching them to have hope for tomorrow. Inspirational in nature, the poems contain a message: that life doesn’t mind if you are rich or poor, that we are all the same and that sometimes people can be happy or sad in the same ways.
~ ‘RWANDA YESTERDAY’- Patricia Bamurangirwa [Matador. ISBN: 978-1-78306-041-2] This is the history book to which Patricia Bamurangirwa referred in her autobiography, ‘My Mother’s Dreams’. Born in Rwanda in 1949 her family fled as refugees to the Congo and Uganda and later to Tanzania and Kenya after the killings of 1959 and the outbreak of the civil war in the 1960s. This ended her formal education but Patricia has become interested in the reason behind the wars and violence Rwanda and its people suffered. She decided to write this book to set the record straight regarding the common myths about the history of Rwanda and its people.
The book is divided into three parts. Starting with the formation of Rwanda it shows how the Tutsi, Twa and Hutu lived together under the rule of a king. But that king was not considered a feudal overlord as there was no excess production for him to accumulate. Instead his role was seen as more ceremonial and for the purposes of dispute resolution and resource allocation. This changes under colonialism when the Belgians seeing a demarcation between cattle herders and agriculturalists devised an ethnic system that first raised the Tutsis above the Hutus then there was a switch as the Belgians and the Catholic Church feared that the Tutsis they had championed may want to throw off the colonial shackles and achieve independence. These power plays laid the groundwork for the future tensions in the country. The last part examines Rwanda as it entered the period of the 1994 genocide when over 20% of the population was killed as the world stood by.
Having grown up in Rwanda and the neighbouring countries Bamurangirwa has steeped herself in both first-hand research and the literature written about the region and the wider implications. The book does not simply narrate events in Rwanda’s history, but seeks to provide some clarity on the cause rather than the effects of the current state of affairs. It is not a book simply about the genocide, but a look at how the country’s history has shaped the events of modern times.
Early on Bamurangirwa addresses the theory that the Tutsis were a separate race, Hamites originating in Ethiopia and Egypt, who had gone to Ruanda-Urundi and colonised the ‘indigenous’ Hutu and Twa. She dismisses it as a European pseudo-scientific concoction and those who still hold on to those views are justifying the genocides and massacres in the region by implying they are engaged in a legitimate revolution against the ‘feudal’ order. What she knows of were castes – the Tutsis were cattle herders, the Hutus were agriculturalists, the Twa at 1% of the population were the earliest inhabitants of the area but not dominant in number or warfare to exercise the right of first ancestors.
Bamurangirwa doesn’t like the talk of percentages eg Tutsi were 9% or 15% because the way it was used since the Belgian colonial period was to say you could only get education in that proportion. Thus Tutsis have always been against having the classification ‘Tutsi’ or ‘Hutu’ on ID cards while many Hutus wanted the evidence and statistics to see if they were being discriminated against.
The Germans were the first colonisers of Rwanda arising out of the Berlin Conference of 1884-85 where they also took Tanganyika. Meanwhile the Belgians took the entire Congo and the British colonised the lands to the north and south, eg Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. When the Germans lost the First Imperialist World War which lasted from 1861-1919 their colonies were divided between the European victors. That is how Belgium came to inherit Ruanda-Urundi. The Belgians had proved themselves to be brutal overlords in Congo and these attitudes continued in Rwanda. They promoted the notions of Tutsi superiority and some Tutsis bought into it. They were given access to better education and increasingly played prominent roles in the Catholic Church while Hutus were only allowed to go to basic agricultural colleges and seminaries.
However, it was this that would eventually be flipped as Tutsis were seen as a feudal, oppressive class lording it over nearly 90% of the population and some church leaders expressed solidarity with the ‘downtrodden’.
As Tutsis started to agitate for more powers within the church and politics it became a big challenge to the Belgians. As the Second Imperialist World War, from 1935-94, ensued, the Tutsi push for independence increased. The Tutsi organisations and activists of the 1940s-1960s, including the puppet king installed by the Belgians, were actually moving closely with the socialist camp and other liberation movements. So there were visits to Nasser in Egypt, the east Afrikan political class based around Makerere University and Nairobi and the bloc around Nkrumah, Lumumba, Sekou Toure, etc. Many of the independence fighters of the period were trained in weapons, tactics and political ideology in China and Cuba. The colonialists, taking an anti-independence, anti-nationalist, anti-communist stance, thus increased their funding and support of Hutus and Tutsis who would not demand independence or at least not the real deal. It was against this background that a genocide against the Tutsis took place starting in 1959 leading to exile for many.
Rwanda gained independence in 1962 as part of the wave that swept through Africa at the time. The French became increasingly involved in the country and the country withdrew from not just the international but also the regional stage as Kayibanda feared the coups, socialists and other liberation movements in the neighbouring countries. For those in the English-speaking world the country was considered in the Francophone sphere of influence. Every now and then it would hit the news but not in any lasting way. The Banyarwandan king Kigeli had been hanging around with the Bugandan king so when Milton Obote first came to power in Uganda he soon found himself in exile in Nairobi. This changed after a British-backed coup brought Idi Amin Dada to power in 1971. King Kigeli was back in favour in Uganda and through the links between Somalia and Burundi, which had a Tutsi-led government, Idi Amin took a dislike to the government in Rwanda. This continued and intensified when Juvenal Habyarimana deposed Kayibanda.
The regional politics got more complicated when the Tanzanians helped depose Idi Amin in 1979 and Milton Obote and Tito Okello were trying to run the country until Yoweri Museveni’s NRM scored a victory in 1985. Museveni was a Banyankole, a nation that are not Tutsi but have a long history of alliances with the Tutsis who had lived and intermarried among the Ugandans for generations. Museveni also happened to find himself as a darling of the American and British governments and it is from this time that the anti-government forces in Rwanda started to move away from the Francophone community and towards the British to the point where Rwanda without any previous colonisation history with Britain now wants to follow the former Portuguese colony Mozambique into the British Commonwealth. The British have been most accommodating and especially in the years since the 1994 genocide and the change of government have increased their aid spending, trade and educational links with Rwanda.
The Rwanda Patriotic Front regime of Paul Kagame that has been in power since 1994 no longer trusts or wants much dealings with the French or the Belgians blaming them for setting the conditions that led to the 1994 genocide, continuing to arm and give asylum to those the RPF consider genocidaires, and to press accusations over alleged RPF atrocities and exploitation not just in Rwanda but also when they entered the mineral fields of eastern Congo to pursue the Interahamwe and other Hutu militias since the summer of 1994.
Bamurangirwa examines several of the possible theories for who was responsible for the joint assassination of Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana and Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira as they returned from the abortive talks in Burundi - the French, the Belgians, the Americans, the RPF, Hutu extremists, Uganda’s Museveni. She doesn’t accept the evidence of those RPF members she has spoken to who claimed it as one of their successful operations and instead blames Hutus such as Leo Mugesera who were angered that Habyarimana was accepting power sharing with the RPF, although Habyarimana was ‘bush-whacked’ at the conference in Burundi as he thought he was going there to stall and grandstand but Museveni, with a much stronger and better-equipped army, threatened immediate consequences if Habyarimana never agreed to implement the peace deal on the spot. Accepting the peace deal meant that any pre-planned purge of Tutsis and their Hutu allies would not take place.
The claims and counter claims over who is a ‘war criminal’ and who was ‘saving’ the country continue with the Rwanda President Paul Kagame having to fend off claims over his role in the shooting down of the Presidential plane on 6 Apr 1994. Over the summer Lieutenant-General Emmanuel Karenzi Karake, Director General of Rwanda’s National Intelligence and Security Services, was arrested in London on a European arrest warrant in relation to alleged war crimes against civilians. He was prevented from leaving the country at Heathrow Airport by the Metropolitan Police extradition unit. A Spanish judge indicted Karake in 2008 for alleged retributory war crimes in the years after the 1994 Rwandan genocide. He is accused of ordering massacres while head of Rwanda’s military intelligence between 1994 and 1997, and ordering the killing of three Spanish nationals working for the NGO Médicos del Mundo. Karake is one of 40 current or former Rwandan military officials named on the indictment.
President Paul Kagame said the arrest showed ‘absolute arrogance and contempt’ while the African Union called for Karake’s ‘unconditional and immediate’ release. Strangely he had been in and out of Britain several times over the years and he was previously the deputy commander of the UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur, Sudan, which he left in 2009. Humanitarian campaigners Human Rights Watch had protested against his appointment, accusing him of orchestrating deadly attacks against civilians when Rwandan forces were fighting Uganda in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2000.
The case against Karenzi Karake was dismissed in British jurisdictions on Mon 10 Aug. Senior District Judge Riddle discharged the case after advice from the prosecutors, said a spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service. “After careful consideration we do not believe an extradition offence can be established under UK law. The main reason is that the relevant laws on the conduct alleged in this case do not cover the acts of non-UK nationals or residents abroad.” Britain and the Rwandan government have a close relationship: the east African country is a major destination for British aid, and President Paul Kagame has a “close working relationship“ with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Karake’s defence team included Cherie Booth, Tony Blair’s wife.
We welcome feedback on any event you have attended that was listed in Nubiart Diary. It helps us with the selection of future listings and is also info we can pass on to the event organisers where appropriate.
~ BRITISH MUSEUM LECTURE: ‘80,000 YEARS OF ROCK ART PRODUCTION IN SOUTHERN AFRICA’. Benjamin Smith, from the University of Western Australia, explores the evidence for the origins of art and spirituality in southern Africa around 80,000 years ago. He follows the story of our understanding of the meaning of southern African rock art from earliest times up until the last painters less than 100 years ago. This lecture is part of the African Rock Art Image Project, supported by the Arcadia Fund. On Mon 21 Sep at 2-3pm at BP Lecture Theatre, British Museum, Great Russell Street, London. Adm: Free (booking essential). Tel: 020 7323 8181. Web: britishmuseum.org/africanrockart
~ BRITISHBLACKMUSIC.COM/BLACK MUSIC CONGRESS PRESENTS
- ‘My Boy Lollipop: From JA To UK, A Musical History‘. On Mon 21 Sep at 6.30-8.30pm at Harrow Mencap, 1st floor, 3 Jardine House, Harrovian Business Village, Bessborough Road, Harrow, HA1 3EX. E-mail: editor@BritishBlackMusic.com Web: www.BritishBlackMusic.com Web: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/my-boy-lollipop-from-ja-to-uk-a-musical-history-harrow-mencap-tickets-17915919999 Audio-visual presentation on unique relationship between UK/JA and reggae. Q&A chaired by Harrow Mencap CEO Deven Pillay.
- ‘Managing A No. 1 Artist With Former Emeli Sande Manager Adrian Sykes’. On Tues 6 Oct at 6.30-8.30pm at Harrow Mencap, 1st floor, 3 Jardine House, Harrovian Business Village, Bessborough Road, Harrow, HA1 3EX. E-mail: editor@BritishBlackMusic.com Web: www.BritishBlackMusic.com Extra-BBMM Q&A session with well-seasoned music industryite
- ‘2000 Years of British Black Music’. On Thurs 8 Oct at 5.30-7pm at Woolwich Library, London, SE18 6HQ Tel: 020 8921 5750. This audio-visual assisted presentation of black music making in the British Isles over two millennia, will also show its engagement with patronage and the music industry
- ‘2000 Years of British Black Music’. On Tues 13 Oct at 6.30-8pm at Battersea Library, London, SW11 1JB Tel: 020 7223 2334. This audio-visual assisted presentation of black music making in the British Isles over two millennia, will also show its engagement with patronage and the music industry
- ‘British History 50:70 / Is Jesus White?’ On Sat 24 Oct at 5-8pm at Clapham Common Methodist Church Hall, Nelson’s Row, London, SW4 7JR. An audio-visual presentation by history consultant Kwaku on Christian iconography which puts Jesus and Christianity into a historical context that links to the present. It covers religion, art, identity and impact of the usual portrayal of “whiteness” against the seldom portrayal of the “other” or “blackness” within Christian iconography.
- ‘Look How Far We’ve Come Community Talk - Is Jesus White?’ On Wed 28 Oct at 6.30-9pm at Croydon BME Forum, CR0 3PB. An audio-visual presentation on Christian iconography by history consultant Kwaku, which puts Jesus and Christianity into a historical context that links to the present. It covers religion, art, identity and impact of the usual portrayal of “whiteness” against the seldom portrayal of the “other” or “blackness” within Christian iconography.
- ‘Look How Far We Have Come’ Film Screening and Discussion. On Thurs 29 Oct at 5pm at Tate South Lambeth Library, London, SW8 1QP. Tel: 020 7926 0705. History consultant Kwaku examines the question of racial equality in Britain for young people 14+ (& parents/family).
Full details for any BBM/BMC events can be obtained from: e-mail: editor@BritishBlackMusic.com Web: www.BritishBlackMusic.com
~ AFRIKAN FAMILY WORKS EVENTS
- ‘The Best Jollof Rice Competition 2015’. The UK gets its first ever Jollof rice competition this autumn. Jollof rice is a much-loved staple dish in many West African and Caribbean homes. Every West African and Caribbean cooks thinks that their community’s version of Jollof rice is the best and the most authentic rice recipe. The competition producers The Afrikan Family Works wants to put this to the test and expect a strong turn out from Ghanaians, Nigerians, and Jamaicans. There is prize money of £1,000 up for grabs. Entry is free to anyone interested in Jollof rice. Closing Date: Mon 21 Sep. Competition Finals: Sun 27 Sep at 3pm at Brixton Library, Brixton Oval, London SW2 1JQ. Tel: 07783 188 100. Web: www.theafrikanfamilyworks.net
- ‘The Best Caribbean Rum Cake Competition 2015’. Now open for entries. The baking competition was initially established to spread awareness of the Caribbean rum cake baking tradition to a new generation of Londoners. The competition organisers The Afrikan Family Works expects a high level of interest as the prize money has been increased to £1,000 this year. Entry is free to anyone interested in the traditional Caribbean rum cake. Closing Date: Mon 21 Sep. Competition Finals: Sun 27 Sep at 5pm at Brixton Library, Brixton Oval, London SW2 1JQ. Tel: 07783 188 100. Web: www.theafrikanfamilyworks.net
- ‘The Big Adoption and Fostering Tea Party’. Substantial progress has been made in finding permanent homes for white children in local authority care in recent years but for Black and minority ethnic children in local authority care little has changed. The tea party producers The Afrikan Family Works believe that the best way to increase the number of minority ethnic children being adopted is to demystify the progress of adopting. The free afternoon tea party is staged for anyone interested in adopting a child to speak directly to people who have already successfully gone through the process. There will also be a foster care Q&A session at the same time. On Sun 27 Sep at 5pm at Brixton Library, Brixton Oval, London SW2 1JQ. Tel: 07783 188 100. Web: www.theafrikanfamilyworks.net
- ‘Afrikan Food Hall Health and Wellbeing Day’. The free health and well-being day returns to south London this autumn. The Afrikan Food Hall Live is an open day for the general public to take part in health and wellbeing seminars and for people to sign up as members of the not-for-profit supermarket project. The Afrikan Food Hall supermarket is being launched to help tackle the crisis of poor health facing African and Caribbean communities in the UK. The team behind the project will give any surplus profits made at the supermarket chain to good causes. Over the past 5 years many alternative food projects have sprung up to challenge the dominance of the big 4 supermarkets. We have seen the growth in urban farmers’ markets, discount stores, and veg-box home delivery services. The Afrikan Food Hall hopes its membership-discount model will prove to be a winning recipe. On Sat 26 Sep at 3pm at Brixton Library, Brixton Oval, London SW2 1JQ. Adm: Free. Tel: 07783 188 100. Web: www.theafrikanfamilyworks.net
~ TIWANI CONTEMPORARY PRESENTS THEO ESHETU.
- ‘The Mirror Ball Constellation’ exhibition launch. On Thurs 24 Sep at 6.30-8.30pm. RSVP e-mail: email@example.com Since the early 1980s, Theo Eshetu has combined the formal components of film with anthropological ideas to examine the notion of culture itself. His manipulation of time and light leads to work that draws on themes and images from the artist’s dual European and African background. As one of the first artists to work exclusively with video art, Eshetu has contributed significantly to the medium’s recognition within the context of fine art. Eshetu’s long form essay-films and multiscreen video installations have gained him international recognition at numerous film festivals and museums. Tiwani Contemporary will show Eshetu’s acclaimed 2014 work Anima Mundi, an immersive multimedia and video installation, as well as the five-screen video installation Meditation Light (2006) and works from the photographic series The Mirror Ball Constellation (2013-2015). Theo Eshetu was born in 1958 in London and grew up in Addis Ababa, Dakar and London before establishing himself in Rome. He currently lives and works in Berlin.
- ‘Art Connect Artist Talk: Theo Eshetu in Conversation with Elvira Dyangani Ose’. On Sat 26 Sep at 3pm. RSVP e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Theo Eshetu discusses his work with Elvira Dyangani Ose, Lecturer in Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London, and curator of the current edition of the Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art, GIBCA 2015.
Exhibition continues until 31 Oct on Tues-Fri at 11am-6pm and Sat at 12-5pm at Tiwani Contemporary, 16 Little Portland Street, London, E-mail: email@example.com
~ ALKEBU-LAN REVIVALIST MOVEMENT PRESENT ‘AFRIKAN CENTRED EDUCATION THE ONLY PREPARATION FOR NATION BUILDING’. A dynamic and powerful presentation exploring the need & purpose of Afrikan Centred Education for Black Children. Brother ShakaRa demonstrates the importance of clearly defining the concept, as well the vital necessity for overcoming the pitfalls of the “go to school & get a good job” mentality. He also challenges the addition of Afrikan / World History is a sufficient alternative to what Black children are given in British Education System, arguing that Afrikan Centred Education must have a greater purpose. Ultimately, this presentation aims to practicalise the development of Afrikan Centred Educational institutions by placing it firmly on the agenda of the Black community. On Fri 25 Sep at 7–10.30pm at Mama Afrika Kulcha Shap, 282 High Road Leyton, London, E10 5PW. Adm: £3 / U-21 – Free. Tel: 020 8539 2154 / 07908 814 152. Web: www.alkebulan.org
~ ‘NO COLOUR BAR’ SEPTEMBER EVENTS - CULTURAL REVOLUTIONS AND GROUNDINGS: WALTER RODNEY BOOKSHOP
- ‘Cultural Revolutions: Friday Night Fever at the Guildhall Art Gallery!’. On Fri 25 Sep 6-10pm at Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Yard, London, EC2V 5AE. Adm: £12. Mobile: 07980 269 138. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SABLELitmag.org The gallery opens its doors for an exhilarating celebration of the best of Black music, art and culture from the ‘70s and ‘80s, with Cultural Revolutions. Nikki Cislyn with Live Vybz: Singer, songwriter and vocalist with Clean Bandit, Nikki wrote one of the biggest hits of 2014, ‘Rather Be’, for which she received the Ivor Novello Award and two Grammys. DJ Hughie, from Colourful Radio. Music of the ‘70s and ‘80s: Lloyd Bradley, author of ‘Sounds Like London’ reads from his book and discusses the Black music of the period. Another Crossing: Through music and poetry, Khadijah Ibrahiim tells the stories of growing up black in Britain - of her life, family and the communities of Chapeltown and Harehills, marking Leeds as a place of cultural fusion. ‘Closure’ is the first book (of fiction) in 15 years to feature new and established Black British talent, and is edited by Jacob Ross. The evening will include readings by Monica Ali, Tariq Mehmood, Leone Ross, Fred D’Agular, Bernadine Evaristo, Sai Murray, Akila Richards, Gaylene Gould, Jacqueline Crooks, Michelle Inniss, Hana Riaz, Desiree Reynolds and Judith Bryan. a series of short films of the work by exhibiting artists will be screened throughout the evening.
- ‘Groundings: Radical Readings from the Walter Rodney Bookshop’/ On Sun 27 Sep at 12.30–4.30pm at Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Yard, London, EC2V 5AE. Adm: £5. Mobile: 07980 269 138. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SABLELitmag.org A literary afternoon in the company of Britain’s leading Afrikan publishers and writers. A live interview with Eric Huntley by Dr. Margaret Andrews, chair of the Friends of the Huntley Archives and author of the biography ‘Doing Nothing is Not an Option: The Radical Lives of Eric and Jessica Huntley’. Artist and curator Dr Michael McMillan talks about the process of recreating the multi-sensory, multi-visual Bogle-L’Ouverture / Walter Rodney Bookshop which forms the centrepiece of the ‘No Colour Bar: Black British Art in Action 1960-1990’ exhibition at the gallery; ‘Publishing then, Publishing Now’: an open discussion with leading publishers of the era, including Arif Ali (Hansib Publications), Sarah White (New Beacon Books) as well as a conversation between Dr Michael McMillan, literary activist, live artist and poet Dorothea Smartt and Kadija (George) Sesay RSA, an award-winning literary activist, publisher and poet, on the community publishing output of the Centerprise Publishing Project in East London, which was founded by Black publisher Glenn Thompson in 1971; John Lyons, one of the exhibiting artists in the ‘No Colour Bar’ exhibition, who published his first poetry collection ‘Lure of the Cascadura’ with Bogle L’Ouverture Publishing (1989) will be reading from this work and his latest books published by Peepal Tree Press and Cane Arrow Press; Dorothea Smartt will be reading from her chapbook, ‘Reader, I married him and other queer goings-on’ (published by Peepal Tree Press). She will also be sharing extracts from a new work based on archival research and a recent trip to Panama, which imagines the lives of West Indians as they moved from Barbados to work on the Panama Canal at the turn of the 20th century.
~ ‘NO COLOUR BAR: BLACK BRITISH ART IN ACTION 1960-1990’. Exhibition of the archive of the Guyanese campaigners and publishers Eric and Jessica Huntley. Until Sun 24 Jan 2016 at Mon-Sat at 10am-5pm and Sun 12-4pm at Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Yard, London, EC2V 5AE. Adm: Free. Tel: 020 7332 3700. Twitter: @NoColourBar Web: www.nocolourbar.london
~ BLACK HISTORY WALKS EVENTS
- ‘Black History in Europe Conference’. On Sat 26 Sept at 10am-6pm. Hosted by Narrative Eye and Black History Walks. Topics include: ‘The African Presence in Ancient and Modern Europe’. A brief overview including Russia, Germany, Switzerland, Italy by Tony Warner, Black History Walks; ‘African Soldiers in European Tribal Wars’. Education via exhibition. Mark McKnight; ‘Black Tudor Women in the National Curriculum’ with Tanya Thompson; ‘Apartheid Education in the UK, the Saturday School revolution’ with Philip Udeh; ‘Dissapearing education space, the racism of denied access’ with Yvonne Fields; ‘Is England the least racist place in Europe - Contributions from Africans living in Germany, Holland and Portugal’; ‘Social media to advance Black Empowerment, how we do it’ with Stella X; ‘Spoken Word Performance. Human Rights and International Education’ with David Neita.
- ‘Michael Jackson Black History Music Breakdown Part 1 of 2’. On Sun 27 Sep at 3-7pm at Karibu Education Centre, 7 Gresham Road, Brixton, London, SW9. Adm: £7 / £8 (OTD) / Children - £5. Superstar Michael Jackson was taken from us prematurely on June 25 2009. We pay tribute to him from a Black History perspective and answer the following questions (and more) while reviewing the impact of his music: Was Michael a ‘sell out’? Did he see himself as Black ? What did he do for the Civil Rights and Black Power movement? Did he respect and pay tribute to those who inspired him or just rip them off? What was his position on Afrika and Afrikan history? Was he a musical or a business genius? How did he use his money? How important was he to world history? Did he put serious African History into his videos or was it just fluff? Who was Michael Jackson? Was he a threat to the so-called ‘Illuminati’? Was he guilty as accused? Was he killed and was his doctor just a pawn in a bigger, darker plot? Exactly who is getting the money now that he’s dead ? All of these questions will be answered and much more.
- ‘The Black History of Comedy’. On Fri 2 Oct at 6.30-9pm. E-mail: ix@KCL_ACS Web: www.blackhistorywalks.co.uk Presented by Black History Walks and Kings College London African Caribbean Society. Comedians often use history as part of their material. In this interactive session we piece together a visual tapestry of the best historical comedy from great known and unknown comics from the 1960’s to now We will also place their comical observations on a historical timeline of international struggle for African equality and show how comedy can be educational. Be prepared to laugh your head off and learn about world history at the same time.
- Queen Nzingha Lecture 29: ‘Straight Outta Academia: Hip Hop, Youth and Universities’. On Sat 3 Oct at 6.30-9pm at University College London, Malet Street, London. Adm: Free. Web: www.owensstevens.org.uk Sponsored by the Race Equality Network at UCL and Owens Stevens Solicitors. The ‘youth’ are often conceptualised as a social problem with Afrikan youth being attached to further demonising stereotypes. Education in institutions and ‘on road’ can and is making a difference but pioneering and innovative youth work initiatives are not being recognised far less duplicated. Senior Lecturer / PhD candidate Veronica Mason and Senior Lecturer Asha Urbo will address some of the issues through their experiences and specialised topic areas.Exploring the meanings and use of Hip-Hop in university and ‘Road Man’ education and the transformative power of literacy with street youth. They will cover: How pop culture and music can be used to fight stereotypes; How young people conceive learning in a ‘cut and paste’ society; Life as Black female academics; What does it take to support young people in both informal and formal Higher Education?; What issues and complexities are involved?; The Straight Outta Compton / Empire effect; and Sex and Gender in the staff room and youth club.
- ‘How Jamaicans Ended Slavery: Rebellion 1832’. On Sun 4 Oct. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/blackhistorywalks/events Mainstream TV no longer addresses the month so clearly the community, as Marcus Garvey said, must ‘Do for self and invest in telling their own stories’ Sam ‘Daddy’ Sharpe is the man who inspired 60,000 Afrikans to rise up against British slavemasters in Jamaica. At a time when Afrikans were killed just for learning to read, (forget phones and facebook) and not allowed to leave their plantation this achievement is incredible! How did he do it? Who helped him. What was the effect? The rebellion started off in December 1831 as general strike but carried on into 1832 as an armed uprising. The very next year, the British rushed through legislation to end slavery. Was it for fear that..if freedom was not granted soon on British terms, then it would be taken on African terms as was done in Haiti...? This audio-visual session by historian and author Paul Crooks will cover:
Who was Sam Sharpe? Afrikan genius and strategic planning; Afrikan resistance under slavery;
Comparsions between Nelson Mandela and Sam Sharpe: Leadership, Motivation and Mobilisation while under oppression; How is he and the rebellion remembered? What can be learned from Sharpe’s organisation? Black History Walks will cover: White supremacy and its response to the Haitian revolution; Wilberforce and his racism; 15 ways in which Africans resisted slavery apart from armed uprisings.
~ ‘IMAGES FROM 42 WOMEN OF SIERRA LEONE’. Selection of images from 42 Women of Sierra Leone, by British photographer Lee Karen Stow, paying tribute to the strength and resilience of the women of Sierra Leone. The featured images were taken in 2007, five years after Sierra Leone emerged from a brutal civil war. This was a time of immense hardship, with few economic opportunities and very poor access to education and healthcare, particularly for women and girls. 42 was the average life expectancy for women at the time. Women, such as many of those depicted here, have led this agenda in the search for a better future; as activists, working professionals, community leaders, farmers, teachers, nurses and mothers. Until Sat 27 Sep at the Balcony Gallery, Horniman Museum, 100 London Rd, London, SE23 3PQ. Tel: 020 8699 1872.
~ ‘AT HOME WITH VANLEY BURKE’. Exhibition of the photographic work, archive and the hoardings of the Vanley Burke with a special focus on life around the West Midlands. Until 27 Sep at Tues–Sun at 11am-5pm at the Ikon Gallery, 1 Oozells Square, Brindley Place, Birmingham, B1 2HS. Tel: 0121 248 0708.
~ THE EQUIANO SOCIETY PRESENTS PHD STUDENT LIANA MILLER SPEAKING ABOUT THE BRITISH MUSEUM’S GALLERIES. On Mon 28 Sep at 7.30-9pm at The Claudia Jones Organisation, 103 Stoke Newington Road, London, N16 8BX.
~ NZINGHA LECTURE SERIES NO.28: ‘FIBROIDS: WHAT SISTERS NEED TO KNOW’. On Wed 30 Sep at 6.30-9pm at JZ Young Lecture theatre, Anatomy Building, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6DE. Web: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/nzingha-28-fibroids-what-sisters-need-to-know-tickets-18180558540
~ BP SPOTLIGHT EXHIBITION ‘SPACES OF BLACK MODERNISM: LONDON 1919–39’. In the inter-war period cosmopolitan networks of artists, activists, writers and artists’ models in London helped shape the cultural and political identity of the city. The studios, art colleges and social clubs of Chelsea, Bloomsbury and Soho became places of trans-national exchange. ‘Spaces of Black Modernism’ draws together paintings, sculpture, photographs and archival material from Tate’s collection with others loaned from public and private collections. It follows the interactions between artists such as John Banting, Edward Burra, Jacob Epstein, Barbara Ker-Seymer, Ronald Moody, Glyn Philpot and Matthew Smith with others including the writers Claude McKay and Una Marson, the poet and political activist Nancy Cunard, the model ‘Sunita’ (Amina Peerbhoy) and the singer Elisabeth Welch. The display is a collaboration between Tate Britain and the Equiano Centre at University College London and builds on research from the Arts & Humanities Research Council-funded project, ‘Drawing Over the Colour Line’.
Exhibition runs until 4 Oct 2015 at Tate Britain, Millbank, London, SW1. Adm: Free.
~ ‘LATE AT THE LIBRARY: FELABRATION!’ A spectacular live showcase tribute to the life and music of Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Felabration marks the birthday of Fela Anikulapo Kuti (1938-1997), the defining creator of the funk, jazz and rhythmic force that is Afrobeat, which emerged in Nigeria in the 1970s. As well as a composer and multi-instrumentalist genius, Fela was a human rights activist and defiant political and social maverick whose influence continues to reverberate throughout Africa and beyond.
The supercharged tribute to the man and his music is led by Dele Sosimi and his 16-piece Afrobeat
Orchestra. Dele Sosimi played keyboards as part of Fela’s Egypt 80 band from 1979 to 1986 and created the Positive Force band with Fela’s son, Femi Kuti, with whom he performed from 1986 to 1994.
Another Fela associate taking part is drummer Tony Allen who was instrumental in the creation of
Afrobeat. He was an original member of Fela’s Koola Lobitos highlife-jazz band and later of Fela’s Africa 70 band (1968-1979). Line-up includes: MTV, MOBO, BET and KORA awards winner 2face Idibia; Laura Mvula; Shingai Shoniwa, vocalist and bassist for the UK indie rock band Noisettes; Terri Walker; The Floacist from Floetry; Nigerian acoustic jazz-folk singer and songwriter Bumi Thomas; West African singer Audrey Gbaguidi, grime MC Afrikan Boy; and musician, historian and writer Ed Keazor. Special guests will be the Trinity College Afrobeat Ensemble, all recent graduates from Trinity College in London, Fela’s alma mater. On the decks will be London-based Japanese-born DJ Kochi Sakai.
On Fri 16 Oct at 8pm at the British Library (Entrance Hall), 96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB. Adm: £25. Tel: 01937 546 546. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: http://www.bl.uk/events/late-at-the-library-felabration Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1613604392221958/
- ‘West Africa: Word, Symbol, Song’ exhibition opens on the same day at the British Library, 96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB. (http://www.bl.uk/events/west-africa-word-symbol-song). The exhibition uses beautiful manuscripts, sound, film and more, tracing the written and oral cultural history of West Africa for the past three centuries. ‘Late at the Library: Felabration!’ includes free access (until 10pm) to the exhibition.
- ‘Talk with Nigerian artist and graphic designer Lemi Ghariokwu’. On Fri 16 Oct at 6.45-8pm at the Conference Centre, British Library, 96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB. Adm: £5. Tel: 01937 546 546. E-mail: email@example.com Web: http://www.bl.uk/events/lemi-ghariokwu-art-and-afrobeat The artist for many of Fela’s iconic sleeves for most of Fela Kuti’s albums, and their close personal and artistic relationship, which gave him an instinctive, complex and highly creative response to the music and its social and political messages.
- ‘Finding Fela’ screening of Alex Gibney’s 2014 documentary, followed by live conversations with Fela’s manager Rikki Stein, as well as Dele Sosimi, Lemi Ghariokwu, 2face Idibia and Tony Allen. On Sat 17 Oct at 2pm at the Conference Centre, British Library, 96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB. Adm: £8. Web: http://www.bl.uk/events/finding-fela-plus-qanda
~ MARIAN GOODMAN GALLERY PRESENTS WILLIAM KENTRIDGE’S ‘MORE SWEETLY PLAY THE DANCE’ includes two immersive multiscreen film installations, monumental ink-on-paper paintings, sculptures and drawings. The upper gallery is dedicated to the show title, More Sweetly Play the Dance’, an eight-screen processionary danse macabre. But, beyond the medieval notion of dancing as a means of staving off death, as this 40 metre, life-sized, circular caravan traverses around us, one senses that it’s as much a cortege of those who have been deprived of a fully realised life – yet another procession of refugees fleeing a skirmish or warlord. Most of the itinerants are filmed holding up silhouettes transcribed from enlarged Kentridge drawings as they march. Kentridge’s long-time collaborator Dada Masilo brings up the rear, dancing en pointe with a rifle to the last strains of their canticle, as if single-handedly “hold[ing] the hope and disillusion together”.
Downstairs, Kentridge presents Notes Towards a Model Opera, a three-screen film installation that grew from his research for a recent exhibition at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing. He found himself repeatedly drawn to Madame Mao’s Eight Model Revolutionary Operas, which conflated vainglorious folklore, jingoistic re-presentations of military victories, martial arts and ballet. The soundtrack for the piece, arranged by the composer Philip Miller, is based on various elaborations of the communist anthem ‘The Internationale’ ranging in style from period 1950s colonial dance bands to South African toyi-toyi chanting protest marches. Until 24 Oct on Tues-Sat at 10am-6pm at Marian Goodman Gallery, 5-8 Lower John Street, London, Tel: Charlie Dunnery McCracken on 020 7099 0088. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hula dancers from the Hālau Nā
Kipuʻupuʻu group, Kaʻauea, Hawaiʻi,
Hawaiian Islands, 2011.
Photography: Dino Morrow.
~ BRITISH MUSEUM EXHIBITIONS AND EVENTS ‘SHIFTING PATTERNS: PACIFIC BARKCLOTH CLOTHING’. A selection of textiles from the Pacific used to wrap, drape and adorn the body in a myriad of styles and designs, these garments demonstrate the long history of barkcloth, and its ongoing relevance today. In the islands of the Pacific, cloth made from the inner bark of trees is a distinctive art tradition its designs reflect the histories of each island group and the creativity of the makers. Spanning the region from New Guinea in the west to Rapa Nui (Easter Island) in the east, the exhibition will show a selection of 77 garments, headdresses, masks and body adornments from the Museum’s collection dating from the 1700s to 2014, including those worn as everyday items and ceremonial costumes linked to key life cycle events such as initiation and marriage. Barkcloth is generally made and decorated by women, but garments intended for ritual purposes may be made by men. Until Sun 6 Dec at Room 91 at the British Museum, Great Russell Street, London, WC2. Adm: Free. Tel: 020 7323 8181.
~ JENGBA MEETINGS. JENGbA campaigners can deliver lectures to Law, Criminology, Media, Sociology, Youth Studies departments as well as school children. On the second Tues of every month at 7pm at Edward Woods Community Centre, London, W11 4TX. Tel: 07709 115793 / 07725 727520 (Media Enquiries). New office: Office A, Norland House, Queensdale Cresent, London, W11 4TL. E-mail: JointEnterpriseInfo@Gmail.com / JengbaMedia@Gmail.com
~ BUNDU DIA KONGO (BDK). Afrikan cultural and spiritual group working towards the spiritual and psychological growth and development of Afrikans all over the world. Let us make a positive change now. Learn about Afrikan prophets, Afrikan history and Afrikan spiritual practices at our weekly Zikua.
- Sun at 1.30–4.30pm at PSCC, 1 Othello Close, Kennington, London, SE11 4RE. Tel: Makaba - 07951 059 853. E-mail: email@example.com
- Sun at 12.30–3.15pm at Malika House, 81 George Street, Lozells, Birmingham, B19 1Sl. Tel: Mbuta Mayala – 07404 789 329.
~ THE AUSAR AUSET SOCIETY GI GONG CLASSES. Every Monday at 7.30–9pm at Hazel Road Community Centre, Hazel Road, Kensal Green, London, NW10 5PP. Adm: £5 per class. Tel: 07951- 252-427. E-mail: Tauinetwork.firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact: Kubara Zamani, Afrikan Quest International, PO Box 35165, London, SE5 8WU. Tel: 07811 494 969. E-mail: email@example.com
External LinksAfrikan Quest International
Afrikan Quest International
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