“All things African”

“All things African” is the slogan for the website, Myweku, which stays true to its word by covering all aspects of the African Diaspora. The site uses all types of multimedia to tell stories while keeping an open forum for readers to contribute to the conversations. Myweku is a sort of virtual meeting place for not only Africans but also people who may possibly be interested in African culture.

The site follows current news events such as the issues that have been going on in Libya as well as features such as the impact of the chinese culture in Africa. It covered the story with a feature on a documentary done about the chinese influence in African countries. Some stories they post are features about where to go when in different countries in Africa such as a cool hotels to visit if you want to get some food and drinks. They have features on how to cook some of the popular cuisines such as Jollof Rice; which is a popular dish amongst west Africans.

The site literally covers Africa far and wide and gives their readers a lot to look through as well as a way to voice their opinions and feelings on African issues. It may be a little bit hard to understand certain things on the site if you know nothing about Africa or the culture but as an African it gives me a home away from home feeling. News organizations can definitely get great use out of this site  because they cover things from very different angles then I have seen in the news such as with their story on Christians and Muslims uniting. news sites can definitely  look to Myweku for stories about the continent and show some more positive things about the continent.

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Africa Night 2011!

On y va – Lets go was the theme for the night as Students from all different cultures and backgrounds came, last Saturday, to Northeastern’s African Student Organizations Africa night celebration. There were all kinds of African oriented entertainment from music, dance, food, and fashion. The night kicked off with traditional African dancing to drumbeats and ended with modern African dancing that showed the evolution of West African culture.

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Big Love: Polygamy

With the lovers month of February coming to an end I wanted to discuss a bit of a taboo topic that comes up in all parts of Africa. What is this topic? Well, its polygamy, when a man takes more than one wife. This trend appears mostly in Islamic societies on the continent but many tribes believe in the practice also. Many men take on multiple wives as a sign of status but sometimes for these men it backfires and they take on more then they can handle with the multiple wives and caring for them all such as in the case of Ayattu Nure and Ethiopian man who has 11 wives and 77 children who is struggling with caring for all of his family according to this BBC article,

“After seeing his fortune disappear under the competing demands of his enormous family, Ayattu Nure, 56, even urges people not to get married.”

This is becoming an issue in may different countries where men have been taking on many wives and have been ok to care for them but as the years go by their funds become depleted from all the children that are added to the family at once.

“Mr Ayattu says he used to be rich and wanted to share his wealth around, which is why he took so many wives.”

Polygamy seems to be an interesting subject where many seem to have their different opinions on the matter and even participate for their own reasons. The independent world a UK news org discussed this subject in depth.

“Polygamy is very common in the animist and Muslim communities of West Africa. In Senegal, for example, nearly 47 per cent of marriages are said to feature multiple women. It is relatively high still in many Arab nations; among the Bedouin population of Israel it stands at about 30 per cent.”

Whether you’re for polygamy or against it, it is a long-standing tradition that has been around for many years and doesn’t show any signs of ceasing.

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The REVOLUTION was televised!

Every cause seems to have an effect as the people of Egypt learned earlier today when President Mubarek stepped down after weeks of protest from Egyptians all over the country. He made the announcement this morning that he would step down and leave the country in the hands of the high officers. As I sat in my morning class I checked out CNN (while I should have been paying attention) and stumbled upon the breaking story.  Egyptians disliked the lack of economy and Mubarek’s long reign as president, among a slew of things that they were dissatisfied with. While this is a historic event sparked by Tunisia’s success a month prior, you must start to think about what will become of Egypt now that they have ousted their president. Arab countries have been scrambling to prevent revolts like Tunisians and Egypt’s as the Washington Post revealed,“Many regimes have already rushed to offer concessions to their citizens intended to appease unrest or deflect the threat of revolt.”While this is a historic event sparked by Tunisia’s success a month prior, you must start to think about what will become of Egypt now that they have ousted their president. This unexpected turn of events leaves the country without a real leader and the rest of us wondering where they will go from here. Will the Egyptians get the Democracy they so desperately sought? Only time can tell what will become of the East African country and how they will be ruled in the future, but all we can do is watch as history continues to be made.

Photo from http://www.Opinionmaker.org

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Africans can publish their own magazines?

Picture from Vogue Africa prototype

The words high fashion and Africa are rarely combined. When Conde Nast was offered to create Vogue Africa, along side their many other international affiliations, they kindly passed. Although vogue creating an African magazine would have promoted Africa in a more positive light as well as a more diverse standard of beauty (you can see for yourself here), there are many other African magazines that display high fashion in Africa and promote Africa positively. One of these magazines that you can actually find in the magazine section of Boarders is Arise. This magazine includes vibrant fashions spreads and features on things like street fashions, up and coming African musicians, as well as African super models.

Another African magazine that can be compared to the likes of cosmopolitan (except less sappy) is True Love a canadian based magazine that does interesting features on both African and American celebrities. This magazine isn’t afraid to take on the cultural issues such as polygamy (which is very common all over Africa) that occur throughout the continent. while those two magazines, just mentioned, are physical magazines that you can subscribe to similar to Vogue, one online magazine is a stand out in featuring african fashion alongside intriguing features.

Haute while its working on creating its hard copy magazine is still doing a great job of providing people with an online edition that covers all things African entertainment and fashion related. It even has video for everything from fashion shows, photo shoots, and store events. All these African magazines makes me think Conde Nast may have made a very bad choice by not taking the offer for vogue Africa but knowing that these magazines exist gives me a good feeling, we will be alright without Conde Nast’s help.

Photo by Mario Epanya rights reserved to qiv and flickr

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Djenne, Mali forced to stay in the past

The ancient mosque in Djenne, Mali

When people ask me the question, “where is your family from?” I proudly tell them Mali. However many people don’t know very much about Mali and its amazing history that goes back thousands of years. In the city of Djenne, the historic attraction is its incredible mud mosque that is well preserved. The great history and intricate architecture is some of the reasons the city of Djenne has been added to the vast list of World heritage Sites established by the Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). While its’ an honor to be one of the many countries on this list, is it worth compromising the living standards of the people? The New York Times spoke with Abba Maiga, a resident of the city about his feelings on the issue.

“When a town is put on the heritage list, it means nothing should change,” Mr. Maiga said. “But we want development, more space, new appliances — things that are much more modern. We are angry about all that.”

The people of Djenne want simple things such as screen doors and an actual floor instead of the mud floors they are forced to keep, for the sake of conserving the original landscape. Spokesperson for the Unesco explained in the New York Times some of the challenges that come about with trying to conserve an ancient city on the list while balancing the modern comforts.

“The issue in Djenné is about people getting comfort, using the right materials without compromising the architectural values,” said Lazare Eloundou Assomo, the chief of the African unit of Unesco’s World Heritage Center.”

Can providing modern amenities to people of the city really be that damaging to the surroundings? I think not. Djenne has a remarkable history and will still have its great mosque and a compromise can surely be made to protect the ancient city without leaving its people uncomfortable. The UPI sums up the problem best with this quote.

“The issue in Djenne is about people getting comfort, using the right materials without compromising the architectural values,”

Photo provided by qiv, all

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All Africa Everything

As many may know, Africa is a huge continent. I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen those maps that place other countries inside a continent to show just how big it is (if you haven’t, take a look) but Africa is huge. For such a big continent people sometimes forget about just how much goes on there, and there are a lot of great blogs that touch on different aspects of the continent.

There are interesting environmental blogs such as Urban Sprout, which is a South African; based blog that looks at not only environmental issues in that country but other parts of the world.

Not very many people know that Africa is a huge inspiration in the fashion world. Designers of all calibers have been using African print and design in their clothes. A couple of African fashion blogs do a great job of displaying the changing world of fashion,  such as BHF Digital Magazine .

A blog that covers everything Africa from entertainment to news is Myweku. It has a kind of magazine feel to it and questions things that are Africa related.

A great blog for all things African news and politics related is All Voices. It touches upon all the news topics that are covered in the mainstream news as well as others that don’t receive so much coverage.

Want to discover some great African music?  African Music Safari gives an extensive list of African from all countries and even discusses the different instruments and aspects of African music.

So if you’re interested in learning more about Africa or just want to catch up on events there, check out this blog along with the great ones listed above.

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Upheaval in Tunisia

Map of TunisiaWhen the thought of African leaders come to mind the first words may-be; dictator, corruption, abuse of power and the list goes on. Many countries in Africa have been known for their leaders and not in a very positive way. Leaders such as Idi Amin or Charles Taylor contribute to the bad rep of political figures on the continent. Many of these leaders still remain in power without a limit to their reign. In recent news the northern African country of Tunisia has been in great turmoil over the way the government was treating its citizens as well as the high unemployment rate of young Tunisians. Earlier this month a young Tunisian man committed suicide which set off a great amount of the protest as CNN says,
The event tore the lid off what appears to have been long-simmering fury at Ben Ali and his associates. Tunisians accuse the ruling circle of rampant corruption and nepotism.

Shortly after protest began President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali who had been in power since 1987 left the country on January 14, which left the government scrambling to put someone else in power in his absence and with that speaker of the parliament, Fouad Mebazaa assumed that role. Negotiations have been made to create better jobs for the citizens of this nation however some would rather the entire cabinet be removed from power even though there aren’t very many who can take on the power as written in the New York Times,

 

The protesters chanted for the ruling party to be driven out altogether. But after more than 50 years of one-party rule, there are few people outside the ruling party with the experience and expertise to steer the government.

Many in Tunisia are hoping this will be the start of a more democratic society or the beginning of a better government but only time will tell and show where this new upheaval will leave the people of Tunisia.

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