From Wakanda to reality: Building mutual prosperity between African-Americans and Africa

 

By Landry Signé and Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield

This year’s Black History Month is being celebrated with a higher sense of African pride, given the unprecedented enthusiasm generated by Marvel’s “Black Panther” last year and increased conversations about a better representation of minority groups.

“Wakanda”—a fictitious, prosperous, “futuristic, powerful, and proud African nation”—salutes black culture by “shedding light on black excellence.” After the movie’s release, many in black America—and across ethnicities—and around the world are wondering how to turn this fiction into reality.

During the hype of “Black Panther,” we both were giving talks on how to unlock Africa’s potential to African-American professionals, community, and business leaders. Many of them asked us how they could help make Africa as successful as the imaginary Wakanda. In other words, where are the opportunities to develop mutually beneficial relations between Africa, African Americans, and the United States?

We propose strategies focused on three themes: tourism in Africa; trade and investment in and with Africa; and knowledge, innovation, and technology sharing to improve U.S.-Africa relations.

Continue reading “From Wakanda to reality: Building mutual prosperity between African-Americans and Africa”

How Jumia’s planned listing on New York Stock Exchange is strategic for MTN, Rocket Internet

Nigeria headquartered online retail giant, Jumia is mulling a listing in America. It appears the efforts of Rocket Internet to cash out on Jumia will finally pay off as the eCommerce giant is planning to launch its Initial Public Offering (IPO) this year on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

As reported by Bloomberg, the planned listing could value the company at $1.5 billion. The move to have the company listed on the NYSE raises a couple of questions, one of which is about the choice of New York and not any of the African countries Jumia operates in.

MTN Group — the major stakeholder of the company — is looking forward to raising $600 million from the offering, having revealed plans to sell its 40% stake in the company last year.

Continue reading “How Jumia’s planned listing on New York Stock Exchange is strategic for MTN, Rocket Internet”

Meet the Nigerian couple who are Bringing the foods and flavours of Africa to Ontaria, Canada

African communities pride themselves on preparing traditional fare with vegetables, meats and spices from their home countries, something a local food market in London, Ont. supplies.

Payless African and Caribbean Food Market opened its doors at 875 Hamilton Rd. nearly two years ago, answering the call from local friends and family for ingredients from home. At the time, the couple was living in Caledon, Ontario.

“We saw a need here and I began to persuade my husband to drop his construction work and open an African market,” said Ade Taiwo, co-owner of Payless African and Caribbean Food Market.

Continue reading “Meet the Nigerian couple who are Bringing the foods and flavours of Africa to Ontaria, Canada”

It isn’t easy migrating to America. Three refugees’ stories

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky — Sudanese refugee Kuol Deng sits in his Louisville apartment next to a stack of old black and white Western films that his daughter and son will watch from South Sudan using FaceTime.

It has been more than three years since Kuol has seen his kids in person. They often ask him when they will get to come to America — a difficult question to which he doesn’t know the answer.

On the other side of town, fellow Sudanese refugee Rizik Lado sits outside his apartment tightening his shoes in preparation for a run. This time, the run is for leisure, but he can still remember running while bullets whizzed past his body as he fled his village in South Sudan.

Continue reading “It isn’t easy migrating to America. Three refugees’ stories”

Lupita Nyong’o, A Gracious Role Model for Our Times

Photography– Willy Vanderperre   Styling-Olivier Rizzo     Text-Lynette Nylander

It’s been just six years since her Oscar-winning turn as Patsey in 12 Years a Slave but Lupita Nyong’o has already redefined what screen actresses might be, what they might achieve, what they might represent, and how they might inspire others. In fiction, she has inhabited different worlds, told different stories. In reality, she has affirmed the beauty of millions of black women across the globe, reaching way beyond the limitations of cinema.

Last year, as special-forces operative Nakia in Ryan Coogler’s Oscar-nominated Black Panther, Lupita Nyong’o and her accompanying all-black lead cast – unprecedented in the superhero-movie genre – caused a seismic shift.

Marrying the black experience, which in Hollywood is rarely seen through the African lens, with fantasy fiction, the resultant epic carries an enormous cultural significance that will be its legacy. It was wildly popular:

Black Panther was the ninth-highest-grossing film of all time. 2018 also saw Nyong’o reprise her performance as Maz Kanata in the Star Wars franchise, due for release later this year. Both roles – pivotal to megawatt, mega-buck productions – transcend any vague notion of Nyong’o as an ingenue, a rising star.

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Former South African President, De Klerk speaks on “Globalization Without Isolation” at Illinois State University

Former South African President and Nobel Peace Prize winner F.W. De Klerk stopped by Illinois State University on Tuesday to talk to students on the topic “Bridging the Gap: Globalization Without Isolation.”

In 1994, De Klerk and the late Nelson Mandela collaborated to end apartheid, or institutional racial segregation, in South Africa.

De Klerk said though many call him “the last president of apartheid” he did not support it, and worked to change the country once he was elected. When it comes to America, he said the country used to be a leader in racial equality.

“I think America should go back to its good history of eradicating discrimination and fighting racism,” De Klerk said.

He came to the university to be a part of their Speaker Series, bringing history to life. Continue reading “Former South African President, De Klerk speaks on “Globalization Without Isolation” at Illinois State University”

Otrude Moyo, Zimbabwean academic at University of Michigan awarded Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship

By Ashley Schafer

Otrude Moyo, chair of the Department of Social Work at the University of Michigan-Flint has been named a Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship from the Institute of International Education.

She joins a prestigious group of 385 scholars who have been awarded African Diaspora Fellowships to travel to Africa since the program’s inception in 2013.

Moyo received the fellowship for her project, “Internationalizing the Social Work Curriculum: Breathing Life into New Possibilities, Integrating Local-Global Thinking about Social Problems to Rebuild Healthy and Vibrant Communities.” Moyo will collaborate with faculty at the University of Fort Hare in South Africa on the project.

Moyo, an assistant professor, specializes in social welfare, critical multiculturalism, diversity and social justice, understanding quality of life, and inequality issues. She currently teaches social policy, diversity and social justice courses at University of Michigan-Flint.

Continue reading “Otrude Moyo, Zimbabwean academic at University of Michigan awarded Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship”

The Congolese-American activist who scaled the Statue of Liberty isn’t backing down from taking on Trump

By Chidinma Irene Nwoye

As a child in the Congo-Brazzaville, Therese Patricia Okoumou loved climbing things, particularly houses. No one else, not even her brothers, joined her in these escapades; feats that decades later came in handy as she scaled New York City’s revered Statue of Liberty on July 4, 2018, in protest of President Donald Trump’s zero-tolerance immigration policy.

By doing this, Okoumou became the first woman in history to successfully climb Lady Liberty’s pedestal but she could spend up to 18 months behind bars for doing so.Last December, a federal district court in Manhattan found Okoumou guilty of three misdemeanors: disorderly conduct, trespassing, and interfering with government agency functions.

Each charge carries a sentence of up to six months in prison. Ruling in The United States of America v. Therese Okoumou, Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein asserted that Okoumou’s political motivations did not override the law.

Continue reading “The Congolese-American activist who scaled the Statue of Liberty isn’t backing down from taking on Trump”

Nigeria Expects $3 Billion in Diaspora Investment Funding

Nigeria expects $3 billion in investment funding from citizens living mainly in the U.S. to support the agriculture, power, mining and transportation sectors, a senior presidential adviser said.

The government will support “a diaspora investment fund,” Abike Dabiri-Erewa, President Muhammadu Buhari’s adviser on diaspora affairs, said in an interview in Abuja, the capital. “They’re planning a $3 billion investment in Nigeria. The fund will be driven by Nigerians in America.”

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President Akufo-Addo leads fund-raiser in Washington to build National Cathedral in Ghana

Ghanaian President Akufo-Addo has called for support to construct the National Cathedral of Ghana.

He made the call on Friday, February 8, 2019, at the Museum of the Bible in Washington DC.

Prior to the launch of fundraising for the National Cathedral of Ghana, on December 28, 2018, the President made a personal donation of $100,000, a demonstration of his commitment towards the building of the Cathedral.

The National Cathedral of Ghana when constructed will have an auditorium with a seating capacity of 5,000 and with its chapels and baptistery.

Continue reading “President Akufo-Addo leads fund-raiser in Washington to build National Cathedral in Ghana”

Soweto Gospel Choir take home 2019 World Music Awards at Grammys

Johannesburg – Multiple award-winning Soweto Gospel Choir have won the Best World Music Album Grammy for their collection of songs titled Freedom.

The awards took place on Sunday night in Los Angeles and were hosted by Alicia Keys.
This was the group`s fifth nomination in this category and they have now won the prestigious award a total of three times.

Receiving the award on behalf of Soweto Gospel Choir were album producer Diniloxolo Ndlakuse Shimmy Jiyane, Mary Mulovhedzi and Mulalo Mulovhedzi whose late father David Mulovhedzi co-founded the group with producer/director Beverly Bryer 17 years ago.

Continue reading “Soweto Gospel Choir take home 2019 World Music Awards at Grammys”

Meet Ibra Ake, the Nigerian-American who produced Childish Gambino’s “This is America”

BY AMARACHI NWOSU

Ibra Ake is a Nigerian-American visual artist, creative director and writer based in Los Angeles, California. Living in cities around the world from Lagos to New York has played a major role in his unique approach to visual art.

From shooting covers of magazines to being the creative director for artist’s like Childish Gambino as well as writing on the hit show Atlanta, Ake is no stranger to expressing himself through different mediums.

Having been introduced to art through animation and drawing, he later picked up photography through a class in art school before he decided to leave, and go into creating full time.

Continue reading “Meet Ibra Ake, the Nigerian-American who produced Childish Gambino’s “This is America””

Nigerian-American, Ibra Ake grabs first Grammy for producing Gambino’s ‘This is America’

Nigerian-American producer, writer and filmmaker, Ibra Ake snagged his first Grammy Award at the 61st ceremony. He won the award for Best Music Video for producing Childish Gambino’s critically acclaimed visuals for ‘This is America’.

Reacting to the win, Ake excitedly tweeted @ibralikezebra, “I can’t believe I just won a Grammy. Where’s the catch? Royalty forever.”

The visual artist, creative director and writer based in Los Angeles, California and shuttles between cities around the world from Lagos to New York.

While he has spent most of his life in America, he constantly credits his Nigerian upbringing for allowing him to understand the value of documentation and storytelling.

Ake, who grew up in Nigeria and New Jersey, is also a writer for hit TV show, ‘Atlanta’ which also features Childish Gambino.

Childish Gambino’s ‘This is America’ won a total of four Grammy awards on Sunday night.

US community donates relief materials to internally displaced persons in Nigeria

The Town of Lincoln in Massachusetts, a community in the United States has donated tonnes of relief items to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Nigeria through the Peace Institute.

Founder of the Institute, and also a Nigerian Human rights lawyer, Hauwa Ibrahim said the materials include clothes, bicycles, a car, tents, beddings mosquito nets amongst. Professor Hauwa who is a lawyer at Harvard University and the winner of  the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize  for Human Rights in 2005  said the need to assist the less privileged stemmed from the need to assist the Chibok Girls and with the situation surrounding their abduction and the communities displacement and others.

While distributing some of the relief materials, Professor Hauwa said the aim was to put smiles on the faces of the less privileged and assist them in what little way she can. Continue reading “US community donates relief materials to internally displaced persons in Nigeria”

Refugee, teacher, turnaround agent, he’s the first Somali-American on St. Paul’s city council

By Frederick Melo

Shortly before being sworn into office, the newest member of the St. Paul City Council received an unhappy social media message from “Mike from Facebook.” The topic: trash.
What could be done, said Mike, about the refuse accumulating at Minnehaha Avenue and Duluth Street?

Kassim Busuri and his legislative aide, Scott Renstrom, immediately contacted a store owner at the corner to discuss the situation, and then Metro Transit to determine who owns a bench at the location. By the end of the day, the likelihood of getting a trash receptacle installed seemed high.

“We’re going to make sure it’s going to be fixed,” said Busuri on Wednesday, minutes after being seated at his first council meeting. His first project as council member may not be one for the record books, but Busuri’s arrival at City Hall holds special meaning for the city’s growing Somali-American population.

Continue reading “Refugee, teacher, turnaround agent, he’s the first Somali-American on St. Paul’s city council”