AFRO beat film project of the filmmaker Ne Kunda Nlaba
Ne Kunda Nlaba, Congolese filmmaker, talks to me about his journey producing films during a coffee break in Brixton Lounge
While his passion for art has been evolving from young, it is in 2007 that Ne Kunda Nlaba chooses to focus on cinematography. According to him, filmmaking is the fusion of all the arts such as music, dance, photography, acting and others. Yet, his experience in Kinshasa, Congo, was that " creativity was there but resources were scarce". Creative Africans were confronted with the fact that although rich in ideas, investors did not support them financially. Ne Kunda observes that there is a work of valorization of the African cinema which is necessary in order for African investors to understand the value of producing films as an art and industry which could, in turn, encourage its development. According to him, the old paradigm needs to change. Since cinema has existed in Africa, the sources of funding almost came exclusively from Europe and filmmakers solely relied on foreign grants to carry out a project. This culture must change and we must apply different economic models to attract local investments..
Therefore, it is a year after his arrival in London that Ne Kunda Nlaba would have the opportunity to achieve his first short film. See below for the complete filmography of Ne Kunda Nlaba:
1. "The next" (2009), short film
2. "The Steel Pan" (2010) documentary
3. "Living without living" (2011) Documentary of 16 min
4. " Honey Bondowe" (2012), his first long-fiction film
5. "Abeti Masikini: The Battle of a woman" (2015) Documentary film
6. "Kimpa Vita: the Mother of the African revolution" (2016) documentary film
A committed artist, Ne Kunda Nlaba is often inspired by his own experiences and environment; as for example the documentary Living without living, which speaks of Congolese refugees waiting for regularization of their stay in England; or Kimpa Vita, the mother of the Kongo resistance to the western invasion and colonialism, yet occulted by history. He would say "Through this documentary, I wanted to trace the life of the mother of the African revolution" Kimpa Vita" her fight for freedom, against slavery and the massacre and deportations of the people of the Kongo, as well as the restoration of the Kongo kingdom …" Ne Kunda Nlaba is a filmmaker who wants to use art for change.
For more info on the project Afro Beat, please continue to read below:
Ne Kunda Nlaba's new project "Afro Beat" is a long-fiction film in pre-production in which he is the producer, director and screenwriter. With Afro Beat, Ne Kunda wanted to work on a project representative of the African diasporas in England. Afrobeat is a musical genre that is increasingly gaining fame and notoriety and which is in phase with a younger public. Through Afro Beat, Ne Kunda brings a message tackling racism, discrimination, the difficulties that the minority communities may face in order to find a job at the height of their qualifications or ambitions, which often lead them to pursue other professional activities to make a living. And such is the plot of the film. Mala, a law graduate is destined for a career as a lawyer but chooses dance and choreography after failed attempts to find a job in Law firms. By borrowing money to Cahsman to start his business, he will confront impossible situations orchestrated by the latter in order to compel him to sell drugs for him. His only way out: win a great competition of Afrobeat to reimburse Cashman.
Ne Kunda Nlaba invites us to take part and contribute to this project through crowdfunding. Afrobeat is a movie of positive representation of the Afro Community and which puts to contribution a young talented cast. The objective of the campaign of Crowdfunding is to raise £30,000, which represents less than a quarter of the budget of the film amounting to £100,000.
For more info, see the link below:
Raising money in support of our London based Afrobeat dance feature film project "AFRO BEAT" | Check out 'AFRO BEAT DANCE FEATURE FILM' on Indiegogo.
Stunning and mesmerising Angelique Kidjo launching Remain in Light at the Royal Festival Hall
Just back from Angelique Kidjo's Live performance at the Royal Albert Hall. Angelique Kidjo is a firecracker and so are her musicians. She has such a mesmerising energy and stage presence, it's breathtaking!!!! She is an amazing and powerful singer, entertainer and she has some unique sharp dance moves ..... my friend and colleague Noel McKoy and I looked at each other and smiled when Angelique Kidjo hit the stage with some MJ moves like the King himself!!!
Angelique Kidjo's interpretation of Talking Heads- Remain in Light is a complete success. It has so much more rhythm and I love the horns of the album. I particularly loved Angelique Kidjo's performance of "The Great Curve" and her emphasis on our need to take care of Mother Earth and women, the givers of life. It was electric, got us all out of our seats dancing. In fact, Angelique Kidjo was totally in control and we would sway from "seat down" to "get off of your seats", "seat down", "get up"....She was so luminous and energetic ..so much so that she invited her audience to join her on stage. Did I go? Oh yes, I did and there we were about 40 of us on stage jamming with the musicians and the Diva herself. These moments of sheer joy are just unforgettable. It was Angelique Kidjo's aim that we all leave the concert boosted and uplifted and she totally succeeded in doing so.
Her legendary interpretation of Mama Africa for which the public became the backup vocals was top notch.
continue to read below about the after show and Angelique Kidjo's foundation Batonga
Angelique Kidjo performing Mama Africa at Grenada Festival 2016
Now Angelique Kidjo to me is a legend; my father is from Benin too and when I see her, she is nothing short of an auntie in my eyes. In my days growing up, we had many Afro Americans that stood out as talented people but we didn’t have many proud Africans. Angelique Kidjo always stood tall. I totally respect the fact that most of her repertoire is in Fon and Yoruba, as well as including European languages such as French, English and Portuguese. In her video clip, African symbols and imagery are ever present and underlie whatever she does. She presents Africa as her major source of inspiration and then fusion its rhythm with other genres of music.
Angelique Kidjo is a key ambassador for Africa. An African woman showing us how to carry ourselves with dignity and love for our motherland. I desperately wanted to interview her to relay her advice to our young artists on the continent who are aspiring to an artistic career and I was really privileged to attend her aftershow and private talk about the work of her foundation.
First of all, I had the opportunity to meet her musicians backstage, amazing drummers, saxophonists and trumpetists. They got talking with Noel McKoy, who was part of the James Taylor Quartet in the 90s and is a well-known British Soul singer who toured in France and all over the world.
Continue to read below for more on the work of Angelique Kidjo's foundation Batonga
Angelique Kidjo’s contribution to this world is more than music, although she often concedes that « music is my weapon for peace ». She is also a voice to the voiceless. Her Grammy nominated award Eve in 2015 is an album dedicated to the women of Africa, to their resilience and their beauty featuring 100 African women who sing in their native African languages.
Therefore, after such a powerful performance, Angelique Kidjo naturally chooses to center her talk on the work of her foundation Batonga. On stage, she urges us to do good. Backstage, she speaks of the young African girls she tirelessly supports and empowers in different parts of Africa such as Mali, Benin, Sierra Leone and more...Her foundation tag line is "transforming Africa one girl at a time"
See link below for more info. on the Batonga Foundation. Continue to read below for more info on Angelique Kidjo's work as a goodwill ambassador
Transforming Africa, one girl at a time. The Batonga Foundation equips the hardest-to-reach girls and women with the knowledge and skills they need to be agents of change in their own lives and ...
Angelique Kidjo will recall how she started her work in 2007. Despite all the opposition she faced, she was determined to succeed. Acknowledging the scale of the challenge, she would respond "if it's easy why bother".
She decided to give a scholarship to girls to access secondary education and worked with grassroot organisations to tackle the causes of early drop outs. Angelique Kidjo sees secondary education as the greatest weapon to ensure that these young girls do not fall prey to child marriage, early pregnancies nor being subjected to female genital mutiliation. She empowers these girls to be "game changers in the community, the country and globally" and she also wants men and boys to be part of changing mindsets in Africa to ensure girls are not objectified. As a goodwill ambassador for Unicef, she would only support the song project "Say no to children's marriages" if both men and women artists were involved and singing in all the local languages of Benin so that the message of the song could reach grassroot people.
Angelique Kidjo is determined to see these young women know dignity and be empowered to choose their fate so that in turn they can support men in the making to play their role in society, investing in their family, their community and raise the GDP of the country and of Africa globally.
As Angelique Kidjo reinvents 'Remain in LIght", she definitely brings us hope, shines bright and inspires us to be a light too in whatever we set out to do for Africa.
Boubacar Kafando and the Zaama Nooma at Focus Africa 2018
See Boubacar Kafando the Zaamam Nooma band playing Live
As Boubacar Kafando, a virtuose of the N'goni and the Kora, singer, songwriter, composer and the leader of the great Zaama Nooma band, is finishing off the balance for the concert "Focus Africa" starting in a hour time, I am introduced to Joel Kabore, one of the five main musicians of the band. Joel plays Djembe and Tama and is also from Burkina Faso as is Boubacar. His friendship and musical relationship with Boubacar goes back a long way, over 20 years. The actual band came together in 2010. Joel Kabore tells me that the meaning of the band's name is "united we are stronger" in the Mossi Language, which is the dominant language of Burkina Faso, which counts approximately 70 languages and makes it a multicultural country, as many African nations. Boubacar Kafando and the band's love for people and unity really translate in their love for music; and the expression of their music is to call people to leave in harmony and love each other. They equally address the need for social justice and inequalities or injustice they see around them. It naturally makes perfect sense that the latest album of Boubacar Kafando, released in 2016, is called "faut pas se diviser", we must not be divided.
For more info about Zaama Nooma, Afrobeat band, check the link below:
Continue to read below for info on their charitable work
Their musical project is, however, far beyond the music industry alone. Zaama Nooma is also the name of the charitable organisation Boubacar Kafando founded in 2007 with the aim to pass on the musical heritage of Burkina Faso and sub-Saharan Africa to the youth. It accomplishes its goal through different actions such as musical workshops (Djembe, Kora), concerts, educational activities such as the repair and manufacture of instruments and research and preservation of endangered instruments. A cultural centre "le centre culturel Zounoogo" also opened its doors in 2009 in the town of Saponé, Burkina Faso.
For more info, https://www.boubacarkafando.com/association-zaama-nooma
Later on, speaking to Boubacar Kafando, it is evident that his passion and commitment for music is integral, touring throughout the world and raising funds for the work of his charity and he is actively working at promoting the band so that they can comfortably make a living from the art and their craft. That is one of the reason Boubacar Kafando loves performing in London which he considers to be a multicultural city, very open to African Culture and music.
For my part, I have loved seeing Boubacar Kafando and the Zaama Nooma band perform. I loved the energy, the fusion of rock and the traditional rhythmic of the Kora and other traditional instruments.
For Boubacar Kafando's and the Zaama Nooma's Band next concerts, find all the dates on https://www.boubacarkafando.com/
Click to see the work of the charitable organisation founded by Boubacar Kafando in Burkina Faso
Kishem, entrepreneurship at its best!!
Kemi and Kiisha, aged 8 and 6 years olds, are just so cool! It's Saturday 2nd June and the girls' brand Kishem (a blend of both of their names) holds a stall at Camden market. On the table, there are numerous gorgeous items so very girly: badges, keyrings, lucky dip sachets, cookies, colouring books.... Kemi is pointing at the illustration of their lead character dressed Wakanda style. I ask her if she watched Black Panther and naturally this 8 year old Tycoon has. Moreover, she has her own tag line for it "Wakanda rock". I proceed looking at all the items and I am totally in love with them and Kishem's concept.
There is no doubt in my mind that being a little girl again, I would simply love rocking "Kishem style". In fact, all of us ladies present, secretly love all of the characters of Kishem's world and would happily get colouring the pages of the story book there and then. Kishem's oldest sister's favorite is Afia because this character loves science. Unsurprisingly, Kishem's sister loves science herself. And that is the point, that's what we call Positive Representation. These characters in Kishem's storybooks are neither princesses, nor ballerinas. They are powerful, talented, creative, entrepreneurial girls.
- Zhen is a photographer and you get to see her editing in her studio
- Mya is good at cooking
- Kishem loves karate and sports
- Eve is a great swimmer
- Ruby makes jewellery
- Amor loves technology
..... and so on and so forth!!!
These two little girls totally achieved what they set out to do one day of Summer 2016.
"We got the idea to create the Kishem colouring book after asking our mum and dad why there weren't colouring books with all types of children who look like us or our friends in school. Our Dad said "girls problems are meant for solving" (he says that all the time), so we decided to make our own" .... "We wanted the book to have different types of children who are all talented and unique. It was also important to make it more than just a colouring book so after creating and naming each character, we added short stories about them and what they enjoy doing. We think all children have something special about them and we hope this book helps them to realise that they are really cool and that they can do anything".
Two years down the line, Kishem has been able to show their books in UK schools, shipped their books to America, had requests from Africa. I have no doubt Kishem will continue to go from strength to strength. Their multicultural characters offer representation for every girl and ethnic group they represent in our schools nowadays, especially in the UK.
For more info about Kishem or to invite them for a talk at your local school, check their website below....
I wish all the very best to these two precious stars on their Kishem's Journey and have been delighted to meet them. They are greatly inspiring!
Angelique Kidjo at the Royal Festival Hall on the launch of Remain in Light
At age 23, when Angelique Kidjo left Benin for France, she was once again able to listen to all the rock bands she had discovered on the radio in the pre-communist regime. such as The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. In Paris, of all the music she loved, one record was particularly unique to her: Remain in Light by Talking Heads in 1980.
"I remember vividly every time the music came in, I said, 'There's something African to it,'"
Interestingly at the time, some of her peers at the jazz school she attended, would try to talk her out of it, not sparing condescending comments such as "This is not African. It's too sophisticated for you.' to which she would respond "OK, whatever you say.'" 'It might be rock & roll, but there's something African to it.'
Ok, maybe in the 80s, we didn't have such easy access to the web but anybody would know today that Angelique Kidjo was totally spot on.
In 1980, in his interview to the Rolling Stone, David Byrne, the lead singer and guitarist of Talking Heads explained "We wanted to develop an understanding of the African musical concept of interlocking, interdependent parts and rhythms that combine to make a coherent whole,". Drawing on the influence of Nigerian musician Fela Kuti, the group experimented with African polyrhythms, funk and electronics recording instrumental tracks as a series of looping grooves.
Almost 40 years later, Angelique Kidjo has now recorded her own interpretation of Remain in Light, which she has been performing Live at various concerts over the past year. The album, due out on the day of her performance at the Royal Festival Hall, South Bank Centre on Friday 8th June 2018 on Kravenworks Records, is a perfect counterpart to Talking Heads' record. With explosive percussion, bubbling horns, tribal harmonies and a multilingual approach. David Byrne, himself, has enthusiastically endorsed the project, skilfully directed by Jeff Bhasker.
"Music has always been my way to teach people on how connected we are and to try to find a common ground to build the bridge where we can walk together in respect of one another". And this album - Remain in Light is a pure demonstration of it and possibly the pinnacle of the artist's fusion and creativity, continually building bridges with others, musically and in her political activism. Angelique Kidjo is eternally African and yet in unison with the rest of the world. It is inspiring.
Angelique Kidjo's version of Remain in Light has a greater emphasis on rhythm and horns than the original, as well as instrumentation by members of her band, Fela Kuti drummer Tony Allen, bassist Pino Palladino, Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig, former Paul Simon's bassist Abe Laboriel, Sr., Blood Orange and others. Kidjo's powerful vocals, along with new vocals in African languages such as Fon respond to Byrne's lyrics. On "Crosseyed and Painless," she addresses the negative perception of Africa in the media; the mistreatment of Mother Earth on "The Great Curve," the after effects of slavery on "Listening Wind" and people's basic right to live on "Once in a Lifetime."
"The classic Talking Head Album came out right in the era of Reagan. It was a moment of anxiety and fear existed at that time, war on drugs, abuse of power, so for me it’s just to reply to it because we’ve gone full circle and we are there again. I want music to tell us it’s about time we fight, we have the power". True to herself, Angelique Kidjo always reminds us that « music is my weapon for peace ».
She would conclude her interview at Ace Theatre earlier on this month by saying "As an artist, how do I be the voice of the voiceless, how do I generate a platform for everyone to come together. I want people to come to the concert and have fun and listen, and to come out of the concert to feel energised to do things, I am passing you the light.. Be fully the human being that you are!"
And all in all, this remains Angelique Kidjo's message, especially to Africans. She wants them to write their own narrative and tell their own story, one that speaks of the beauty and the legacy of Africa, the mother of humanity.
To get your ticket now:
Next Tour Dates
June 8 - London @ Royal Festival Hall
June 9 - Cardiff @ Wales Millenium Centre
July 11 – Arles, Fr @ Theatre Antique
July 26 – Vic-Fezensac, Fr @ Tempo Latino
July 28 – Katonah, NY @ Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
August 6 – Highland Park, IL @ Ravinia
August 7 – Vienna, VA @ Wolf Trap
August 9 – Denver, CO @ Denver Botanic Gardens
Gitas Portal in Hackney for one more week
Situated at 99 Morning Lane, close to the Burberry outlet in Hackney, the Hackney Shop is featuring the Modern African Inspired brand "GITAS PORTAL" until Sunday 27th May 2018. The shop is open everyday from 11 to 8pm with unique pieces to boast and a personal shopping experience.
Established in 2011, GITAS PORTAL embodies confidence and sophistication and caters to women from all walks of life. In keeping with its social responsibility promise, Gitas Portal garments are produced locally to ensure that the working conditions and quality can regularly be monitored.
Gitas Portal's boutique is currently based in Deptford Bridge. Known for its clever use of beautiful Ankara /African wax prints and vibrant colors, reflected in their tagline "Be Bold, Win, Wear Colour", Gitas Portal create pieces that transition well from casual day wear to event wear and has secured a clientele all over London and further afield.
By choosing Hackney as a location for their pop-up store, Mariatu, the brand owner, aimed to come a little closer to their East London customers and to give the brand more exposure. The response has been amazing, her designs and Summer dresses displayed in the shop window have attracted many residents passing by on foot or by car, such as a local dad of a 14 and 16 year old teenage girls who came in to search for sophisticated African attires with a view to encourage his two princesses to embrace their African culture.
In addition, Gitas Portal fans and brand ambassadors, such as Sarah Eckert, close to have practically purchased every single piece of Gitas Portal collections, have been coming in to support and purchase their new Summer pieces:
- The Lauren, in tropical colors, Green Ankara print ( a sell out last year) and a beautiful Red and Black vintage
- The Kelai, in Burgundy and Grey, Pink and Turquoise
- The Lady Seray in bold flower prints, Orange and Blue, earth tones and freedom print
Mariatu talks of these dresses as if they were her babies and she does admit to it jokingly.... "these dresses are named after the daughters I would have had...." - a bold statement as Mariatu is a mother of 5. Traditional names from Sierra Leone, her country of origin, inspire her too.
Summer dresses' prices range from £65 to £100 so you know what to do next .....get your unique piece from Gitas Portal before the sell out!!!
What's next for Gitas Portal?
Gitas Portal is always on the lookout for pop-up stores locations to meet new customers so feel free to get in touch if you have any suggestions!!!! Gitas Portal will also be travelling this Summer!! Another conquest of the US Market, after Atlanta, it will be New Orleans and New York...
I will be wearing myself their Summer Bomber in the next coming days..... Watch this space!!!
For more 2018 Afro Culture News, www.afroculture.co.uk and check us on Social Media Afro Culture 2018
Modern African Inspired Dress & Designs | Attire Ankara Fashion clothing & Prints | Formal & evening Dresses & cloths| African Designer styles online | Gitas Portal
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Why is this Royal Wedding such a game changer?
From the get go, it was a delight to hear that Harry was dating a beautiful young lady who happened to be an accomplished actress. We all remember these two fair headed boys left motherless after the loss they suffered when Princess Diana passed away on the 31st August 1997. Any mother could only wish that they would both be comforted one day by finding true love.
However, what then became quite central to the story was the fact that this beautiful lady was of mixed parentage (Caucasian dad and Afro American mother). To those in doubt as Meghan is very fair and has long straight hair, a quick search on the internet would bring up pictures of Meghan’s mother who is undoubtedly black in every possible way. The question then became: Would Meghan ever be able to marry into the British Royal family knowing that she was from African descent?
As Harry and Meghan’s story unfolded and the proposal took place…. It looked that after all, in addition to welcoming a commoner in the Royal family in the person of Catherine Middleton, now the Duchess of Cambridge and the spouse of Prince William on 29th April 2011, the British Monarchy would once again break convention.
And it was quite understandable, Meghan is a stunningly beautiful and graceful woman. Harry and her seemed madly in love and totally compatible. Somehow, Meghan would fit in….
Now, today was another story… and this Royal Wedding surely was like no other…
What was phenomenal in what we all witnessed is how much Meghan Markle assumed her blackness and became a black symbol; hence, the representation of both English and Afro-American cultures displayed through the preaching and the music repertoire.
In St George's Chapel, at the heart of Windsor Castle and within the sanctuary of the British Monarchy, the oldest establishment of the United Kingdom, Whites and Blacks were both actors and witnesses of the coming together of two worlds. For lack of words, the wedding was described as modern and this was justified in saying that monarchy has a duty to be a link between the past and the present.
Modern!! What an understatement…
This wedding was nothing short of a political statement ……and a radical take on what the world should be like!!
After slavery resurfaced its ugly head in the news last year, The Trump era and his contempt towards Africa and Africans, The Rise of Far Right groups in Europe, The windrush scandal…… how refreshing to witness the respectful and celebrated joining of two worlds…
We take our hat off to Harry but we also acknowledge the endorsement of the Royal family….
Time will tell the impact that this union can have ….. but one thing is absolutely sure…. From today on, any little mixed-raced or black girls, anywhere in Europe and beyond, that will be judged by her looks or insulted because of her ethnicity… to those they will proudly say: Harry married Meghan and she is beautiful…..
Black Representation at the Royal Wedding
Reverend Bishop Michael Curry
Rose Hudson Wilkin - First black female Chaplain to the Queen
Sheku Kanneh Mason
Rose Lokissim - An outstanding soldier, a tragic destiny
Rose Lokissim (1955-1986) was one of the first women to become an elite soldier in Chad.
Rose was born around 1955 in a small and remote village in Chad, to one of her father’s wives. Not much is known about her childhood, other than that she was a calm and peaceful child with a strong will. By the time she was twelve, she was able to hold back her father in a fit of fury. Hardworking and ambitious, she refused to let her gender hold her back and by the time she was around 23, she joined the Chadian Army and went on to become one its first female elite soldiers.
When she joined the army, there was a civil war in full swing. The former President had been killed ca. three years prior and around one year later, in 1979, rebel forces led by Hissène Habré took the capital, collapsing any kind of authority structure in the country. Now there were armed groups contending for power, the French colonialists (who just had to give up Chad as a colony in 1960 when it gained independence) rapidly lost influence and the whole country was in chaos. In 1982, Hissène Habré officially became President of Chad. Violently crushing his opposition he quickly turned his reign into a dictatorship. Soon everyone who dared speak against him was persecuted and the people lived in fear of denunciation. Around 40.000 people were killed during his eight years in power. By 1984, Rose realized she could no longer be a part of this army and had joined by then the opposition.
She began to smuggle information to rebel forces and to speak out against the regime, hoping to gain international attention to remove Habré from office. However on December 14th of the same year, Rose and several others were arrested by the DDS, Habré’s secret police. The arrest was painful, involving electro shocks and a fair deal of violence. They were brought to La Piscine, an underground swimming pool that had been turned into a windowless prison. Rose was seen as a real threat by the DDS as only a day later she was taken to Les Locaux in N’Djamena, a prison for notorious criminals (mostly political prisoners), and instead of a women’s cell was taken to a cell to share with 60 men. Its real name was Cell C but it was known as the Cell of Death as few prisoners made it out of there alive.
Rose survived. After eight months she was transferred to a women’s cell. She would be the one to unite her fellow prisoners, keeping their hopes for a better future alive. They had friends in the prison too: there were officers who were willing to pass on messages to their families, letting them know they were still alive – or how and when they died. Rose was instrumental in smuggling out those messages.
At some point, the prisoners were given soap by one of those officers and Rose had an idea. She asked her friends to keep the soap boxes intact and give them to her, 15 boxes in total. She started to write on them about her experiences in prison in excruciating detail. She chronicled death, burials and torture. She recounted the officers who came to see the prisoners. And she described the abuse, the torture, the beatings, the sexual assault and the deprivation of food. After running out of soap boxes, she continued to write on scraps of cigarette paper and anything else she could find. Despite all warnings of the consequences these notes would yield not only for her but for all the women in her cell, she was determined to leave evidence of the inhumane treatment she and her fellow prisoners had to endure. For one year she kept on writing in secret, hiding even from her friends.
In 1986 Rose was due to be released but word about her documentation reached Habré. Her writings were immediately confiscated and she was transferred back to Cell C. She was executed on May 15th at the age of 33 years old, and buried in a mass grave known as Plain of the Dead.
In 1990, Habré was overthrown by the former President, Idriss Déby, but it wasn’t until 2016 that he was sentenced to life in prison for the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during his rule in a charge led by the victims of his regime. Among the documents that sealed his conviction, found in the abandoned DDS headquarters, were files on Rose Lokissim. There was proof that in the two years she was imprisoned, Rose had never faltered, never given in on her position, instead she was vocal about it and considered a true threat by the secret police, even as she was in prison. The files also contained her final words:
“If I die, it will be for my country and family.History will talk about me and I will be thanked for my services to the Chadian nation.”
Omoyele Sowore – A New Dawn for Nigeria? #TakeItBack2019
Fearless, a fighter … recurrent words used to describe Omoyele Sowore, the owner of founder of Sahara Reporters, by the hundreds of Nigerians based in the UK, that came to the University of East London, Water Lane, London on Saturday 12th May to see and hear the Presidential Aspirant for the Nigerian Presidential Election that will take place on 16th February 2019, incidentally on Omoyele Sowore’s birthday. Representatives of the Nigerian Diaspora in the UK at the townhall meeting in London are thirsty for a total turnaround of Nigerian politics and see in him their best candidate and a just man.
Omoyele Sowore started his campaign just over 10 weeks ago and has already completed a 23 day tour of Nigeria, namely #takeitbacktour.
As he arrived in Lagos on 3rd April, he would also be welcomed at the airport by thousands of Nigerians who see him as the incontestable hope to take Nigeria into a new era. It is not surprising when the 2019 line up is, to name but a few, Muhammadu Buhari, incumbent president now aged 76 or Atiku Abubakar, 71 years old.
Nigeria has 40 million youths aspiring for change, opportunities and justice and Omoyele Sowore has a proven trackrecord as a human rights activist.
For more info, see http://www.informationng.com/2015/10/meet-omoyele-sowore-the-founder-of-sahara-reporters-photos
Dr. Gbenga Oduntan, reader in International Commercial Law, at the University of Kent, stated in his address at the Town Hall Meeting:
- 62 % of Nigerians live in absolute poverty, that is over 100 million
- According to Transparency International, 96% of Nigerians mistrust the police and 46% its education system
Omoyele Sowore, in his speech, would refer to Nigeria as “The Federal Republic of all kinds of injustice”
His manifesto is ambitious and would require fresh blood and a change in culture, especially to tackle corruption at the highest level in office for which he proposed to remove immunity for all elected civil servants. Reforming the Civil Service will be key by incentivizing current civil servants close to retirement to leave and be replaced by younger ones accustomed to new technologies.
Switching to Nigeria being an oil and passive economy soon extinct is also paramount to him by reforming agriculture, developing renewable energies sources, especially solar energy. Education and Healthcare would also see the creation of 360,000 jobs, 200 000 posts created for the recruitment of teachers and 160 000 for healthcare practitioners which would absorb the current unemployment of graduates (300,000 are jobless). Raising the minimum wage of the average worker to increase their spending power and boost the local economy are also on the agenda as well as enforcing current legislation to tackle capital flights due to the abuse of expats quota being brought in to work in Nigeria.
Restructuration is on the table as long as the process is consultative and representative of what Nigerians want. In terms of gender equality, Omoyele Sowore is committed to a fair representation of both men and women in the political life of Nigeria and wants a 50/50 cabinet. He also dares to say that if only women are found competent while constituting the cabinet, he will have a 100% female cabinet ministers.
From a panafrican stance, I was happy to hear that Omoyele Sowore is in favor of the ECOWAS currency and economic integration.
When it comes to his political platform, Omoyele Sowore has promised that he will make no alliance with the current parties tarnished by alleged claims of corruption. He wants to totally breakaway from former politics and the current political culture forcing political aspirants to have a Godfather to enter politics.
This explains the GoFund Campaign he has launched to finance his campaign:
How can Omoyele Sowore win the 2019 election?
Living in the U.S himself, it is clear that Omoyele Sowore sees the Nigerian Diaspora has a powerful ally. In fact, his first act as a president, he wants it to be diaspora voting in their country of residence and no visas required to travel back to their homeland.
To counter attack "the cash for votes" mentality at grassroots level in Nigeria where voters would actually be bribed to vote for a candidate, Omoyole Sowore recognises the influence that the UK diaspora and others have back home as they send their remittance on a monthly basis to support their families. It is key that those on the ground register to vote and hold a PVC card (permanent Voter’s Card). Click the link below for more info:
The solution, as suggested too by Citizen AY, Ayo Ogundimu, one of the organiser for the TownHall meeting in London yesterday “Get your PVC!!!”. Omoyole Sowore, ups it, he suggests that to their next remittance, be attached a request to see their family members PVC card.
There is no doubt that Omoyele Sowore has the support of the majority of the Nigerian diasporas who want a Nigeria where they can invest and retire. He now has 9 months to convince those back home that he is the candidate of the future, of a new dawn for Nigeria.
Louis Delgrès, hero of the fight against the restoration of slavery in Guadeloupe
Louis Delgrès was of mixed heritage and was named after his father Louis Delgrès, who was the director of the French King's estates in Tobago. Louis lived with his parents in Martinique and then in Tobago. He then began his military career on 10 November 1783. He is soon appointed sergeant, stationed in Martinique. Inspired by revolutionary movements in American colonies, he will assert his anti-slavery and abolitionist opinions throughout his military career.
Delgres left Martinique island after its conquest by the Royalists in 1791 and moved to the island of Dominique, where he participated to local Republican elections. During the last decade of the 18th century, he dedicated his life to the service of the French Republic. He fully supported the abolition of slavery by the French National Assembly in 1794 and supported the Republic twice, firstly by defending Guadeloupe against a British invasion in 1794, and secondly by participating to the Garifuna riots in Saint-Vincent in 1795 where the black population of this island rose up against British rule. His involvement in these conflicts led to his participation in major battles against England. He was captured and imprisoned twice in three years between 1794 and 1797. His reputation in the French army grew and he was promoted to Captain and became a major adviser to French Admiral Jean-Baptiste Raymond de Lacrosse.
In 1801, after the death of the General Antoine de Bethencourt, Admiral Lacrosse appointed himself Governor of Guadeloupe while much of the officer corps wanted mixed-race Magloire Pelage to be the next governor of the island. Lacrosse was removed by the French government and deported on 1st November 1801. Louis Delgres then joined the rebellion against French rule. Magloire Pelage, now Governor of Guadeloupe, appointed Delgres as Chief of the Basse Terre Distric, a jurisdictional entity of Guadeloupe. During the months of January and February 1802, immediately following his appointment, Delgres dismissed white French civil servants and officers, accusing them of communicating with Lacrosse or attempting to restore slavery to the island under the rulership of Napoleon Bonaparte. On 6th May 1802, Napoleonian General Antoine Richepance arrived in Guadeloupe with a French Army to reestablish slavery. Whilst Governor Magloire Pelage quickly surrendered, Delgres and his men decided toto fight Napoleon’s troops. On 10th May 1802, Delgres signed a call to insurrection written by his secretary, citizen Monnereau, titled “The Last Cry of Innocence and Despair.” This revolutionary document called on the people of Guadeloupe to rise up against the invading French forces “who just want Black men (…) in the chains of Slavery.”. This call inspired many local people from Guadeloupe to embrace the motto, “Live free or die”.
Louis Delgres and his followers resisted the much larger French Army for 18 days. On 20 May 1802, Delgrès and his troops were forced to retreat to the fort of basse-Terre which they then had to abandon on 22nd May 1802 (escaping secretly with his men) to take refuge at the foot of la Soufrière in Matouba, towards Saint-Claude.
On 28 May 1802, when it became clear that they would be defeated, Louis Delgrès and his 300 companions committed suicide by exploding their reserves of munitions. By doing so, they took their own lives and those of some of the many French soldiers arrayed against them under the revolutionary motto "Live free or die".