Afro Culture collaborated with a number of organisations in order to support the evacuation of all African civilians from the war zone in Ukraine. As organizations and members of civil society realize the magnitude of the problem, many Africans in the diaspora and neighboring countries decide to use their own funds to help survivors who manage to cross the border. Unfortunately, the order of priority to cross the border, confirmed by the African nationals and humanitarian organisations with whom we are in direct contact, is first of all for Ukrainian children, Ukrainian women, Ukrainian men and then all the others. Blacks are at the bottom of the list and we have had sources confirming that even with a Ukrainian passport, the treatment is different and blacks (children, women and men alike) are simply not given priority.
A particularly alarming situation is that of Sumy students, a town of Ukraine nearer the Russian border, where nearly 1000 African students are stranded in the university because the city has been under siege for 10 days and under bombardment. Diplomatic assistance is lagging behind, and students and parents are increasingly frustrated by the lack of proactivity of their respective governments and are losing confidence in their ability to intervene. Andy, the president of the Ghanaian students' union in Sumy, told us, "I think the world wants to see us all dead before they understand our situation." Through the coalition, we were able to identify and report African students from the following countries: Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Namibia, Zambia, South Africa and Angola. It is therefore essential that the respective governments and the African Union intervene urgently.
The city of Sumy is bombed every day. Many students, who are by now undernourished and exhausted with no or limited access to water and electricity, have decided to try to evacuate of their own accord, being bribed for passage and asked to pay exorbitant taxi fares (more than 1000 dollars per person) to go to cities where access to stations and buses is easier, in the absence of an official statement guaranteeing a humanitarian corridor. This situation must be resolved as soon as possible and our students safely escorted out of the war zone. Click below to hear their testimonies.
Melanin Lunchbox Volunteer sorting out boxes that will be handed out to families receiving free school meals
Lindon (see pic below) has also been running (free) Health and Wellbeing sessions, fitness classes and most recently organised community events in collaboration with other community groups, and mental health and wellness programmes, providing opportunities to local people in order to help them to engage and improve both themselves, their lives and their community at large.
Lindon’s aspiration is to empower people, to come together, celebrate diversity, and for all of us to participate in building a more robust community.
“I always seek the opportunity to work with others and I have learnt by pulling together, we achieve together”, says Lindon.
He is pleased to highlight the support received from Berkeley Foundation in partnership with some of their present projects.
Described as the UK's leading "Super Manny", Joss Simmons grew up in a town called Hackney in London, UK and is taking modern childcare to the next level, defying the odds to give back to the next generation.
As a child, witnessing his mother suffer domestic violence had a profound effect on Joss and he knows only to well where many children, who have odds stacked against them, end up. That led him to create his own childcare service, Jossy Care.
His positive approach is what is gaining him the attention of parents, practitioners, the media and as a childcare practitioner, Joss is also keen to address stereotypes in the childcare industry. Hence, Joss has spoken out on the topic of male nannies being refused jobs on the basis of their gender and the difficulty they face.
In 2017, Joss gave his first public talk about his experience and hasn't looked back ever since. Multi talented Joss is now frequently invited to deliver motivational talks on topics such as depression, domestic violence, children and the future.
Joss recently featured in Time out, Hackney Gazette and East London Radio. He has also won the National Diversity Award 2019 and is currently up for Best Social Media Nanny with Nanny UK Nanny.
Click on link below to vote for Joss Cambridge-Simmons as Best Social Media Nanny:
The Turkana are found in the Northern part of Kenya. Turkana tribe is part of the Nilotic tribes and constitutes the second largest pastoralist community after the Maasai
Like the Maasai, the Turkana have maintained a traditional lifestyle.
The community is clustered in over 20 clans. The two dominant are the Ngirisai referring to the Leopard and Ngimor referring to the Stones. In this system, successive generation of males alternate between being part of the Ngirisai or the Ngimor groups.
Wives of the Ngimor put on a Black wedding ring around their neck whilst the wives from the Ngirisai clan put on a silver ring around their neck. It is the official symbol of marriage. A middle finger ring is also worn. Women automatically belong to the age set of their fathers until they marry and then take their husbands grouping. The quantity of the Jewellery around a woman’s neck determine her social status.
The turkana males do not practise male circumcision.
A Turkana boy looks after young goats. At the age of 11, he starts looking after mature goats and as he grows, he is entrusted with cows, camels and sheep. Between 16 to 20 years old, he is allowed to attend the night dance with his friends and look out for a suitable girl to start a family.
The woman remains the pillar in Turkana family. She’s responsible for building the house, tendering to the animals and provide food for her husband.
The bride price is very high in Turkana society. When a man is ready to marry, his parents visit the bride’s parents with gifts such as sheep, sugar and tobacco. Once the marriage is consented, the number of animals to be brought is agreed upon. Bride price could amount from 10 to 30 cows if the man is wealthy. Goats could amount up to 100 heads or more. A bull is later slaughtered to seal the marriage.
Polygamy is acceptable in Turkana culture and a man can marry as many wives as long as he can afford to pay the bride’s price and sustain them. The more the livestock, the more cumbersome it is for one wife to tend them so the husband has to look for another or other wives to delegate duties. The first wife is consulted and has to approve.
The youngest wife will be looked after by the husband’s eldest son. She cannot leave the homestead because she may be exploited for her wealth. It is the duty of the eldest wife to instruct her firstborn son to marry the younges wife.
Divorce doesn’t exist in Turkana’s vocabulary as it is considered a curse. It is forbidden because no family will trust a divorcee with their daughter. Divorce is only allowed if the woman is proved to be adulterous or has bad manners that dispute the norms of the community.
Men flirting with other men’s wives will also suffer the full wrath of the Council of Elders. For instance, his animals can be confiscated or he can be fined by the Council of Elders. A bull will be slaughtered as a cleansing ritual. One may be asked to repay the dowry price.
Once a married woman becomes a widow, she shaves her hair and removes all of her jewellery. This signifies that she burries her husband’s tradition to be allowed to remarry.
Source : KTN News Kenya
We're holding a press conference outside the Mayor's Office
The Queen's Walk
at 10am on Monday 24th February 2020
to read a letter officially drafted by ADPAC (African Diaspora Political Action Committee) to demand the resources for Sankofa Day in Trafalgar Square in order to observe our ancestors.
We are representing 2 Million African Diasporan Londoners and our right to our equal share of London resources as tax payers and as so demand the allotted resources to observe the African holocaust and celebrate our ancestors.
We are inviting African Caribbean press outlets going across TV, online, print and radio.
This is an issue for the entire London African Caribbean community to get behind. We will represent our case based on the African Caribbean economic and civil contribution that we make towards London and on that basis demand our proportional share of resources.
#SankofaDay #ADPAC #DemandParity
How impressive!!! Ten men of African and Caribbean descent, embark on a 3 day bike ride London to Paris, led by Captain Adisa Stephen-Ezeocha, with the participation of Tokunbo Ajasa-Oluwa and Pablo Reid who are the co- founding members of Origin and 7 Origin facilitators and volunteers, departing from London in the early hours of the morning on Friday 31st May to reach Paris on Sunday morning.
continue reading on for more info
In addition to fundraising for the program « Origin », they will also pay tribute to the late American professional cyclist Martial Walter know as « Major » Taylor, who won the sprint event at the 1899 world track championships to become the first African American to achieve the level of cycling world champion and the second black athlete to win a world championship in any sport. He raced in the U.S., Europe and Australasia between 1901 and 1904, beating the world's best riders and competed several times in the « Parc des Princes », Paris. Taylor fought racial prejudice he encountered on and off the track and became a pioneering role model for other athletes facing racial discrimination.
continue reading on for more info
« When the idea of London to Paris on a bike first came-up, I remember thinking... “damn crazy” but what I actually said was “...how about Brighton?” shared Pablo Reid on his Facebook account. Pablo Reid has got many « strings to his bow » and an impressive resume as the founder of British Cultural Archives in Brixton and as co-founder of the project Origin for which the bike ride aims to raise £6,000 and, to this day, has already exceeded its target.
But as Pablo explains « The whole cycling initiative started to become much more than a fundraiser […..] I started to see an opportunity to journey with the ORIGIN men, through a seriously challenging ordeal. Then I saw the question of ‘talking the talk’ or ‘walking the walk’? You know, we often say that we want young people to broaden their horizons and to come out of their comfort zones but how often do we demonstrate this in our own lives? »
And these men have consistently aimed to be a source of inspiration and strength to the younger generation through the Origin Project which came into being in 1999. Last year, for instance, they also succeeded in raising £13,000 against the initial target of £6,000 as they fought in « a white collar boxing » competition for which they trained for 6 months, all for the benefit of the many young men’s lives they are empowering through Origin, a Pan-Afrikan « Rites of Passage » program to take young African and Caribbean boys from childhood into manhood.
continue reading on for more info
As these courageous and connected men engage with the young people as mentors, older brothers, fathers, they create an ecosystem involving parents and communities. The program is holistic and aim to create a nurturing, stimulating and safe environnement where both children and parents feel supported through life challenges. Origin promotes African ancestry and heritage consciousness, identity formation and community belonging. Origin doesn’t want to plug into the whole « Black youth in deficit » narrative but encourages both youth and parents to embrace personal development, explore themselves, their aspirations, lives and roles.
Boys preparing to pass into manhood and below Origin co-founders Tokunbo Ajasa-Oluwa on the left, Pablo Reid in the middle and Adisa Stephen-Ezeocha on the right
To play your part and support Origin now, click the link below:
To follow their progress and itinerary, suscribe to their blog.
‘AMANI’ is a short inspirational film, starring Joivan Wade, Leroy Logan MBE and Duayne Boachie, based on the true inner reflections of Amani Simpson, producer and co-writer, after he was stabbed 7 times. This powerful autobiographical piece takes the the audience on a rollercoaster journey of faith and self-discovery.
AMANI SIMPSON has already been featured on BBC London News, ITV News, London Live & in the Evening Standard. After battling PTSD, he has rebuilt his life through social enterprise and personal development over the last 7 years. He is on a mission to EMPOWER 2 MILLION YOUNG PEOPLE to make positive choices and aspire higher before it’s too late. He plans to take the film and empowerment workshops into schools, prisons, YOS and PRU’s from March 2019.
AMANI was released online on Sunday 13th January 2019 and reached over 1 million views in less than a month.
What the press is saying:
As well as raising awareness of the project, Amani & Aviard Inspires are also seeking public donations towards their £35K GofundMe Campaign: see link below
Starring: Joivan Wade (The First Purge, Shiro’s Story), Leroy Logan MBE (Former Superintendent of the Police) & Duayne Boachie (Hollyoaks)
Directed by: Richard Kattah of Little Drops Productions (Timelin3, To The Power Of Ten)
To join the movement and more info www.iamnot4sale.org
#iamnot4sale is a platform for raising awareness of the plight of African migrants being sold as slaves in Libya, which was launched in January 2018. Fundraising events are staged and Tshirts are on sale to raise money for those who have been directly affected. Artists are encouraged to join the movement and sing against slavery with initiatives like the #iamnot4sale Song Challenge.
#iamnot4sale also proactively works to prevent migrants from using the illegal route to Libya known as the “backway”, by supporting initiatives on the ground. The first initiatives are in Gambia, where they have partnered with organisations preventing young people from undertaking this journey to Hell and supporting returnees’ reintegration into their communities.
To support the campaign and buy your #iamnot4sale Tshirt, click website link below:
Read on for more info and pics!!
The Founder of Slavery Remembrance - Shezal Laing
Shezal Laing is a trailblazer. She’s just the type of person that would make things happen if she has set her mind on it.
She would say of herself that she wants to be happy with the world as it is but with the current knowledge she has, it has been impossible for her…Nevertheless, she sets out to do something about it …. Not just for her but as a mother of 2 sons of Caribbean and African origins, she wants to set « a path as clear and easy as possible for them and fight as many battles as possible while alive so they don't have to ».
In 2016, what Shezal qualified as being in a horrible place near a breakdown, was actually in hindsight, her springboard into championning the Slavery Remembrance Day in London. While spending time in Jamaica to recuperate from a very stressful work situation, it was while discussing with her children’s grandmother about the lack of visibility and initiatives around the International Slavery Remembrance Day promoted by the UNESCO that the spark came on and she simply decided to do something about it. She observed that the Jewish Holocaust Day was widely accepted while the International Slavery Remembrance Day was receiving very little or no recognition whatsoever.
« I will do something. I will hold a memorial to recognise this day » she decided from then on
And so after incorporating Slavery Remembrance as a company, immediately upon her return from Jamaica, she birthed the African Holocaust Day the very same year and made history by holding the first ever memorial in Trafalgar Square London. She still remembers, baby on her back, welcoming contractors by herself in the morning as they started putting out the barriers. She litterately started on her own.
Slavery Remembrance Day, now African Holocaust Day
The first memorial was a resounding success centered around « educating, celebrating and inspiring » all from African, Caribbean descents and beyond to learn from the past and be empowered to have a common vision for change and success !! The Sankofa Badge, which is also the logo of Slavery Remembrance, embodies our past and heritage as the African diasporas, and represents the foundation to lay down and the stepping stone it provides on our way to achieving in the world we live in as a cultural entity, an economic force and a united people.
And fostering unity, celebrating black history and black culture is at the heart of the initiative which is self-sustained. Slavery Remembrance is more than just a memorial and much more happens throughout the year, also through its sister’s company « My Tribe » which aims at connecting diasporas and supporting black businesses, entrepreneurs and organisations. Shezal also observes that the memorial triggers many different responses within the afro-caribbean communities from anger, guilt, denial. « the memorial has really changed my understanding of where our biggest battle is….. It has opened my eyes to so many mindsets and the need for a collective understanding of what happened. Some are still traumatised by it. Honoring and remembering our ancestors is like a counselling session. People are coming to terms with it, it is a gradual process ».
The Sankofa, which is also the logo of Slavery Remembrance, embodies our past and heritage as the African diasporas, and represents the foundation to lay down and the stepping stone it provides on our way to achieving in the world we live in as a cultural entity, an economic force and a united people.
The next African Holocaust memorial will be held on Saturday 18th August 2018 in Trafalgar Square.
As a small grass root organisation community leader and director, Shezal Laing encourages all of us to step up and share the load. Every job description is needed from admin, bid writing, web content, PR, marketing and more. You can support and contribute in many ways from volunteering on the day and throughout a year, as well as financially by buying a badge or more.
Shezal’s last word « come and enjoy the day, share the event, share the news. »
See Teaser and link of the event below to share extensively!
Trevor Noah, South African Comedian and Political commentator, faced the wrath of French nationals and government following his remark that "Africa won the world cup". Serge Araud, French Ambassador to the U.S., argued that all of the French National players, except for two, were all from French descent (that is ... they were born in France, schooled in France, etc...) and were not Africans... He claimed that France was a diverse country considering all its citizens regardless of their origins alike.
Well, let's hear how French institutions regard some of their Afro-descendants nationals from the horse's mouth itself?
The Carnaval of Dunkerque in the North of France in March 2018, supported by the Mayor of the town, dismissed the request of many black organisations who felt that the representation of "the ball of the blacks" using black faces was offensive to Afro descendants, and didn't want this parade and tradition to be upheld by French institutions.
How does the French Federation of Football deal with offensive behaviours from French footballers on the question of race? That was Antoine Griezmann, by the way, who did apologize realizing that it was inappropriate..
Is French Police treating Black youth alike or was this an isolated incident?