Category: Opinion

Americans taught African churches that being gay is a sin, they listened

The United Methodist Church, like the Anglican, Episcopal, Evangelical Lutheran and Presbyterian churches, proselytized Africans and taught them Christianity. For hundreds of years, these Christians taught them that women were not equal, that slavery was permitted and that being gay was a sin. Today in Africa, even as women’s rights are being expanded, members of the LGBTQ community face harsh treatment.

Here in the United States, all these churches, except one, have stopped teaching that slavery is permitted by the Bible, that women are inferior to men and that being gay is a sin.

That one is the United Methodist Church, which recently refused to remove language from its discipline that being LGBTQ is “incompatible with Christian teaching.” It has stopped denying women equal rights, and has stopped claiming that slavery is permitted.

Continue reading “Americans taught African churches that being gay is a sin, they listened”

The U.S. could end up paying dearly for Trump’s disregard for Africa

By Mark Porubcansky
As if we needed Michael Cohen’s testimony for confirmation, it has been evident for a long time that President Trump neither knows nor cares much about Africa. That could end up costing African countries and the United States dearly.

By way of explaining why he considers Trump a racist, Cohen told the House Oversight Committee last Wednesday that the president once asked him whether he “could name a country run by a black person that isn’t a ‘shithole.’” Recall that Trump also applied the “shithole” label to African and Central American countries last January. Also recall that an ill-informed presidential tweet about its land policy last year angered South Africa, and that Trump once made Africans cringe by misidentifying the country of Namibia.

Also recall that an ill-informed presidential tweet about its land policy last year angered South Africa, and that Trump once made Africans cringe by misidentifying the country of Namibia.

Continue reading “The U.S. could end up paying dearly for Trump’s disregard for Africa”

Trevor Noah’s inside joke at the Oscars was more than just a laughing matter

By Chrizelda Kekana
Over the past week someone said, “Trevor Noah went on one of the biggest stages in America and told an inside joke only South Africans would immediately understand.

In case you missed it, what had happened was:

Trevor took to the Oscar’s stage to present Black Panther as one of the Best Picture nominees and dropped one of the most legendary jokes he’s ever shared.

“Growing up as a young boy in Wakanda, I would see T’Challa flying over our village, and he would remind me of a great Xhosa phrase. He says ‘abelungu abayazi ndiyaxoka’ – which means, ‘In times like these, we are stronger when we fight together than when we try to fight apart’,” Trevor said to loud applause from Hollywood’s crème de la crème.

Meanwhile, here at home, we were rolling on the ground with laughter because what Trevor’s isiXhosa quote actually translated to was ‘White people don’t know I’m lying’.

Continue reading “Trevor Noah’s inside joke at the Oscars was more than just a laughing matter”

America needs to vote more like Senegal

By Serena Piervincenzi,

There are so many things that I miss about Senegal. I miss waking up every morning to the sounds of goats, I miss being called by my Senegalese name, Ayisha,  I miss my adopted family, but more than anything, and perhaps most surprisingly, I miss the political attitude of Senegal as a country.

Senegal is a small country in West Africa, neighboring Mali and Gambia. They gained their independence from France, peacefully, on April 4, 1960. Since then, Senegal has remained one of the most successful, West- African countries. They function as a democracy, not unlike ours and, like us, some of their most important accomplishments have been spearheaded by their youth.

Prior to Senegal’s February 2012 presidential election, Abdoulaye Wade announced his plan to run for a constitutionally questionable third term. This did not sit well with many Senegalese people who believed that instating a third term for Wade would bring them closer to the kind of authoritarian rule that the current Senegalese constitution prohibits. Wade’s candidacy led to protests, organized and attended primarily by youth.

Several of these protests led to deadly encounters between protesters and police.

After losing the election to the opposition candidate Macky Sall, Wade quickly accepted defeat, and Senegal had yet another peaceful transfer of power. Continue reading “America needs to vote more like Senegal”

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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Philadelphia’s many African students need culturally inclusive education 

By Aminata Sy

Immigrants are a force in Philadelphia, but their educational needs are neglected. As of 2016, Philadelphia’s immigrant population had increased by 69 percent since 2000, accounting for more than 232,000 residents.

by 69 percent since 2000, accounting for more than 232,000 residents.

An estimated 1 in 4 children in the city immigrated themselves or were born to immigrants, and Philadelphia’s labor force has about 1 in 5 immigrants.

Africans make up the fastest-growing segment of this immigrant population, yet belong to a marginalized group.

In the School District of Philadelphia, immigrants and native-born students of African backgrounds rarely see themselves reflected in curricula. What message does this absence of their people, their histories, their cultures send to children? “You don’t belong — Philadelphia isn’t your city, America isn’t your country.”

Students of African immigrant backgrounds endure bullying for being African, “too black,” or speaking English with an accent.

Historically in America, Africans have been viewed through a stereotypical lens of wildlife and backwardness. These perceptions persist and continue to hurt Philadelphia children.

Continue reading “Philadelphia’s many African students need culturally inclusive education “