Day: February 23, 2019

ANCESTRY.COM releases new data for African diaspora to unearth their lineage

By Samara Lynn

Genealogical website Ancestry.com, has released 94 new and updated communities so that African Americans and Afro-Caribbeans can learn more about their roots.

Communities are part of the AncestryDNA test, which lets people from the African diaspora explore their heritage and how their ancestors migrated.

One of the new communities focuses on Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina African Americans. As per Ancestry:

“Members with this community may have ancestors that were enslaved and working on rice plantations in South Carolina and Georgia. When cotton fields came to the area in the late 1700s, many enslaved African Americans were brought to work those fields. Following the Civil War, the Great Depression, and World War II, many South Carolinians followed rail lines up North to New York and Philadelphia. This group was one of many communities that were part of the Great Migration–which was the movement of millions of African Americans during the 1900s from the South to cities in the North and West.”

Another new AncestryDNA community centers on Louisiana Creoles and African Americans. Interestingly, Ancestry’s research finds that by 1940 more than 18% of African Americans in the Bay Area were from Louisiana.

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UC Berkeley needs to support African language programs

By Martha Saavedra and Leonardo Arriola

Every semester, UC Berkeley offers many new courses. The Amharic language course offered this spring is especially noteworthy. Except for a brief pilot program in 2006, this is the first semester students are able to take a course in Amharic, one of the languages of Ethiopia, which is spoken by nearly 26 million people worldwide. The course, which only opened for enrollment the week before the spring semester, was nearly full by the end of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, just before classes started.

Clearly, there was a pent-up demand for this language. Student motivations include plans for research, study, travel and work, as well as deepening cultural and familial connections. Amharic stands out as a new course at UC Berkeley with many motivated students.

Students studying African languages at UC Berkeley — currently, Arabic, Amharic, Chichewa and Swahili — are poised to participate in one of the most significant global developments unfolding in the 21st century: the increasing importance of Africa demographically, economically, socially and culturally.

Africa currently constitutes about 17 percent of the world’s population. It is the youngest continent in the world, and the youth population is only increasing. Significantly, this means that the world’s working age population will be largely African. Economically, overall growth rates on the continent are relatively high, with the International Monetary Fund reporting 3.76 percent real GDP growth. Ethiopia’s rate is an extraordinary 8.49 percent.

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I’m a prince’: An American pastor shocked to find he has African royal ties

It was about 4am when his phone buzzed with a message from far away. He read it once, twice, three times before he woke his wife to tell her the news.

“I’m a prince,” he whispered as she blinked herself awake. “A prince.”

Jay Speights, an interfaith pastor from Maryland, US, could hardly believe the words as he formed them in his mouth. Him? A prince? He grew up in New Jersey. He lives in an apartment. He does not even own a car.

Speights, 66, had spent much of his life wondering about his forebears, probing public records until the trail went cold. Like many black Americans who are descendants of slaves, Speights could find little written evidence of his family’s history. In April, he turned to a DNA test from Ancestry in the hope that something, somewhere might turn up.

He was identified as the distant cousin of a man named Houanlokonon Deka – a descendant of a royal line in Benin, a small nation that once housed West Africa’s biggest slave port. At the urging of a friend, he ran his DNA data through another database that looks for matches between African Americans and Africans who have taken such tests.
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Ten African companies to feature at New York’s COTERIE

By Kennedy kanethe

Ten women-owned businesses from Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya will next week attend COTERIE, one of the United States’ top fashion trade shows, with support from the International Trade Centre’s SheTrades initiative.

Taking place at the Javits Center, New York City, on 25 – 27 February, COTERIE provides an opportunity for the brands to showcase their collections and connect with international buyers.

All ten companies are part of SheTrades in the Commonwealth Programme, funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID).

In 2018, SheTrades sponsored a delegation of 9 brands from Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria to attend the fall edition of COTERIE, which led to meetings with 100 buyers and secured US $495,000 USD in trade leads.

One of the participating companies was Afrodesiac, a Ghanaian company that has seen tremendous success following its attendance at COTERIE.

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US places Visa Restrictions on multiple Congolese officials

The United States of America has placed travel ban on some top government officials of the Democratic Republic of Congo over alleged electoral fraud.

The restrictions was announced in a statement released in Washington DC

According to the statement, those sanctioned by the US Government include President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s National Independent Electoral Commission,  Mr Corneille Nangaa; Vice President of CENI, Mr Norbert Basengezi Katintima; Advisor to the President of CENI, Mr Marcellin Mukolo Basengezi; President of the DRC’s National Assembly, Mr Aubin Minaku Ndjalandjoko; and President of DRC’s Constitutional Court, Mr Benoit Lwamba Bindu.

The statement read, “The United States stands with the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo following that country’s historic transfer of power.

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Nigeria’s first supermodel, Yemi Fawaz, dies at 64 in New York

Nigeria’s first supermodel, Yemi Fawaz is dead at the age of 64.

Fawaz who pioneered professional modelling in Nigeria and became Nigeria’s first supermodel died, February 20th at New York’s Lenox Hill Hospital.

Fawaz’s daughter, Magadelene Oluwatosin, broke the news on Facebook.

Ms Fawaz became a model in the late 70s. She also established a modeling school and did a lot for the fashion industry in Nigeria. She left Nigeria in 1997 and did not return until 2016.

Fawaz was born in Nigeria to a Lebanese father and a Nigerian mother.

For over 30 years, she had a successful career as a fashion and photographic model, beauty promoter/consultant, fashion designer, trade show organizer, chef and a restaurateur.

She opened the first modeling school and professional modeling agency in Nigeria and in West Africa.

She was diagnosed with enlarged heart, also known as congestive heart failure in 1999.

Fawaz is survived by her 33-year-old daughter.