Ivory Coast: Gbagbo rejects mediator Odinga

20.January.2011 · Posted in politics

Mr Gbagbo, who is defying calls to step down from power and allow his rival Alassane Ouattara to rule, accused the mediator of bias only hours after the Kenyan leader blamed him of stalling peace talks.

The international community has widely recognised Mr Ouattara as the legitimate winner of Cote d’Ivoire’s presidential elections, but Mr Gbagbo has rejected the results.

President Gbagbo said the mediator appointed by the African Union was supporting his rival.

Mr Gbagbo’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alcide Djédjé told at a Press conference on Wednesday that Mr Odinga “has failed in his mission and we are no longer ready to receive him here”.

Mr Djédjé explained that during his talks with Mr Gbagbo on Tuesday, the Kenyan Prime Minister asked for the lifting of military blockade around hotel sheltering opposition camp.

According to him, contrary to what the mediator told journalists before leaving on Wednesday, Mr Gbagbo did not make any promise on the issue. He rather recalled that he already sent a letter to President of AU Commission telling him that he is keeping the obstruction because of fear for violence from “heavily armed rebels” who are inside the resort.

Mr Djédjé said Prime Minister Odinga told them he would give a feedback from his meeting with Mr Alassane Ouattara but “against all odds, the appointment was not honoured until the departure of Mr Odinga on Wednesday morning”.

Another Mediator

Gbagbo’s minister said they were still open to discuss with another AU mediator on “substantive issues facing Côte d’Ivoire” as Mr Odinga showed he is biased in his latest declaration in Abidjan.

Earlier, the AU emissary put an end to his visit after 48-hours even though he had been expected to stay in Abidjan for a week. Mr Odinga told journalists at Abidjan’s airport that the embattled Ivorian president had reneged for the second time on his promise to lift the blockade on Mr Ouattara’s hotel.

Meanwhile, a general strike called by Mr Ouattara’s wing that started on Tuesday continued to be low key but incidents left at least one dead and dozens wounded in Abidjan.

According to eye witnesses, a man was killed and another injured Tuesday when forces loyal to Gbagbo shot to disperse youths holding barricades in Adjamé a pro-Ouattara district. Newspapers reported at least two more dead in other areas – Abobo and Attécoubé – which are Ouattara strongholds.

In New York, UN Security Council reinforced its mission to Côte d’Ivoire with the immediate deployment of an additional 2,000 troops and three armed helicopters to the 9,000-strong peacekeeping operation.

Source: nation.co.ke

Hampate Sahel Blues wins Afro Pepites Show

20.January.2011 · Posted in culture

Winner of the category AFROS PEPITES
Hampate Sahel Blues – Senegal – Fusion Jazz, Blues, Acoustic
Hampate Sahel Blues a sweetness coming from the riverbank of the river and of the local folk music of the St Louis region.

21-SAHEL-FUSION

Biography: “Inspired by the cultural crossroads of the town Dagana (st. Louis) with his ethnic mix from Northern Senegal, Hampate was soon attracted by the melodies of nocturnal jaguar (Maur music) coming from the opposite river and from other sounds: Peul, Bambara, Soninke carried through the river and disposed of close to the local folk music”; a glance at the region of St. Louis and particularly the town Dagana approximately 400 km in the North of Senegal.

The former capital Walo, town characterized by cultural diversity, but also by its great ethnic mix, was a very long meeting point for nomads-Saharan. It included among others the ethnic groups Wolof, Peul, the Landes de Berbère Arabic Soninke.

Hampaté confirms that this ethnic mix which rocked his childhood influenced his liking for music. He was very young when he got calmed down by the rhythmic diversity of melodies perfumed by poetry of a region called Sahel.

He started like most of the musicians to sing the oldies which are on the radio, like Youssou N’dour, Baba Maal, Ismaël Lo to mention some of them only. With the development of Hip Hop in Senegal, he created a band with other friends in Dagana in 1998.

2005: After five years at the Conservatory he started to play solo with his guitar in small bars and restaurants in Dakar.

In 2007: He creates his own band called “Hampâté et le SAHEL-BLUES »

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KR504Fzg0H4

All about Hampate Sahel Blues: www.myspace.com/hampate2
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2nd of the category AFROS PEPITES

Djantakan – Togo – Hip-Hop

Djantakan presents Djanta Hip, a fusion of African folk music and Rap… Are you ready to jump?

28-Djanta Kan

Biography: Hailed as the best Togolese hip hop band in 2004 and 2005, first band to regularly represent Togo in international festivals, the band DJANTA KAN created in 1996 does not stop developing and surprising.

Known for their talent, their seriousness and the quality of their lyrics, the 4 members (today 3) created their own style: Djanta Hip, fusion of African folk music and rap.

A style which, while denouncing the bad of our societies, reunites several generations thanks to music. By DJANTA KAN please understand as well other artists, singers, painters, plastic artists, computer engineers, writers whose lyrics are well determined to share their message thanks to hip hop culture during any events.

DJANTA KAN, 3 lions fully aware and committed, have set themselves the aim to represent African hip hop, their Togolese culture, their positive spirit and their will to take action outside of the borders of the Continent.

All about DJANTAKAN: www.myspace.com/djantakan
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3rd of the category AFROS PEPITES

DUMBA KULTUR – Burkina Faso – Blues fusion Afro-beat

Dumba KULTUR melodies remain, a broken and attractive voice… The prince and the hunter to seduce you…

33-DumbaKultur

Biography: In other times Alkabore Tega Wende would not have had the right to sing, his status of Burkina prince being exclusive – according to the tradition, from such a « trivial » activity.

However his mother was already singing during the ceremonies of baptism and it is known that music calms down the Ritual. As regards Sini Moulaye, belonging to the Ivory caste of Dosso it destined him for becoming a hunter, expert in medicine with plants and story teller attracted by the “palabres” (endless talk) tree.

But he met the djembé, and he started to dance when he was young, as young as the lion cub. The former shows the smile of a marvelled child, lashing like a slam and wearing dreadlocks as bushes, which are the evidence of a happy allegiance to reggae.

The latter is slim like a tree going up to the sly, his broken voice provokes vibrations.

Those two recognized each other immediately: the prince and the hunter discovered the pleasure to play together, they were joined by musicians who knew – like them – how to be all ear, and they created DUMBA KULTUR.

“Dumba”, that is to say the great depth in Malinké language. Great depth of the African roots, sang by the rhythms Mossi, by the strings of N’goni and of Kora, by subtle resonance of calebash and djembé.

Discography:
Two first albums – Le Trône (1999) and Voyage(2004) – made the band well known in Burkina scene. This one being now issued is the result full of vitamins, of many meetings.

Prepared in the studios of Ouagadougou and then recorded in the studios Bogolan in Bamako, under the supervision of the director Jean Lamoot and with the participation of the musicians of Salif Keita, the current album sets the seal on the alliance of anger coming from unfairness and inherent vitality of Southern Sahel. Making such a fusion brings closer to God: Sabab, in bambara

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mPnft39AgU

All about Dumba KULTUR: www.myspace.com/dumbakultur

Italy: The European Paradise and the Dilemma of African Migrants

19.January.2011 · Posted in out of Africa

“To say that immigration has always existed can be very witting, but saying that immigration has been understood in various ways is another thing,” Father Toffari said last month, (December 30, 2010) at St. Benedict’s parish, Limone sul Garda, south of Italy. It was during an evening gathering, organised by a group of local religious youths, the “Giovanni Passi”.

padre Mario Toffari

father Mario Toffari

Father Toffari who came from an immigrants centre in Brescia, (Ufficio pastorale dei migranti, diocesi di Brescia) was bid to share his experience about immigrants with the young Catholics, and he did not hesitate in enlightening them on the seriousness of Italian immigration situation, a rather challenging one as such.

He had followed a recent popular event in the city of Brescia, last November, when a group of migrants felt frustrated by a government decision and so took to a dangerous protest.

According to Corriere Della Sera, one of Italy’s most famous newspapers, the bone of contention was the ongoing legalisation of some domestic illegal workers in the country. At the previous year, 2009, the government made a law, allowing the employers of domestic illegal workers to apply for the legalisation of their workers.

Throughout the one-month period, (September 2009), which was granted for the exercise, the turn up was great. Thousands of applicants gladly submitted their forms along with the compulsory 500 Euros, a prerequisite for accepting the applications.

It was a sign of relief to many illegal migrant workers. Soon, they started to swing around with a basket of hope that they have finally gotten the permit, (permesso di soggiorno) to stay and work in Italy.

However, the temptation was also high for those who wanted to make money. The adage that “one man’s loss is another man’s gain” was quite valid in the case. According to some speculations, a number of Italians and the legal migrants alike started making money on their vulnerable victims, “the illegal migrants”.

Many will argue that with all the apparatus at its disposal, it will be difficult to cheat the state all the times, so the government soon smelled the foul play, especially when some employers started presenting a huge number of illegal migrants to be legalised. This definitely placed many illegal migrants at a crossroad, after they have paid a huge amount of money to come out from the darkness of illegality; the tension was only mounting.

Believe it; this is how it works most times. To be an illegal migrant in Europe is not usually a sweet tale.

The ugly situation was further worsened by the bureaucratic fantasies of the state.

It should be understood that many national parliamentarians are sometimes fanatics in making strong laws. And being who they are, they can be ever ready to defend their own laws, so Italy cannot be an exception.

With the introduction of the “Bossi-Fini law”, 2002, it eventually became a tall order in Italy that as an illegal migrant, the law enforcement agents should be on your heel. And since the law was strictly aimed at zeroing illegal migration in the country, you can only pray if you are ever caught. Among the few available options, you can be resent back to your home country or been given a paper, “foglio di via” to leave Italy.

Part of the complications was that, when the state finally decided to legalise the migrant workers, it was understood that some would not be qualified, because they were once caught as illegal migrants in Italy and they have been given the paper to leave the country.

“An earlier decree for the legalisation of illegal migrants had it clear that it was possible for migrants who already had foglio di via, for a no criminal offence to apply for the permit. However, a later ministerial notice (Circolare Manganelli) excluded this possibility. Meanwhile, a lot of migrants have already submitted their applications and have paid the compulsory 500 Euro…,” Corriere Della Sera reported of Father Toffari on November 2, 2010.

In another of its publication, the same newspaper put the number of applications to be disqualified in the Lombardy region, where Brescia is located, at about 50,000.

If you were an illegal migrant in this situation, I am very sure that you will be frustrated, while a big wound is to be slowly opened up in your mind, like a perilous nightmare.

The reason is simple. The applications that were submitted in September 2009 will soon become a warrant for the police whom in theory never knew that the migrants in question were staying in Italy, illegally. At this point, you can almost hear the heartbeats of the illegal migrants and understand why there was trouble in Brescia.

THE CRANE PROTEST IN BRESCIA

There must be many ways to voice out a serious frustration, no doubt, but one is very effective: that is to shout without reservation, as was evidenced in the Brescian crane protest, last November.

Concluding that they have nothing to lose anymore, some six illegal migrants eventually decided to climb a construction crane, some 35-meter high, and for two weeks, they did not end their protest at san Faustino, a busy street in the city.

“We’re not coming down until they give us a positive answer. We’re not afraid of anyone,” APF reported of one of the migrants on the high crane.

To sustain a high momentum, the migrants, mainly from Africans were doing shifting on the crane. Meanwhile, the inhabitants of Brescia were already summoned for the rare occasion.

Well, the migrants on a high construction crane can be symbolic and it is comprehensible.

To be legal or illegal people might not necessarily be the reason why these migrants came to Europe, but to work and make better lives. And being illegal migrants, some of them still work, illegally, with all the exploitative characteristics of illegal work.

Perhaps, then, they just wanted to “work legally” so they can have the true benefit of work and to appreciate their “dignity of labour”.

BEYOND THE NOVEMBER PROTEST

The northern cities of Italy are no longer new to immigrants’ protests. A lot has been organised this lately and more are likely to follow in the future, especially now that many labourers are beginning to summon up enough courage to demand better treatments from their employers.

This is an ageless struggle. It was what brought more than 30 million Africans to the Americas and Europe prior to the industrial revolution, when machines practically became a substitute for most of the jobs earlier done by men.

The capitalist masters of Europe wanted to make much money and dominate over other people. And they did this by cheating on their labourers, by refusing to pay them for their labour and treat them according to what they are, “human beings, workers”.

Anyway, do not lose hope; we will all learn someday.

Nigrizia is a missionary monthly magazine. It is an Italian champion on African issues. In its edition of this month, January 2011, it published a dossier on African migrants in Italy and it was sadness.

“The aim is telling a story – dreams, delusions, tragedies, failures and successes – of people whom in a journey far away from their homelands have lost their identity of being humans and have become “Bodies”. Bodies that are loaded on the boats, bodies that are lost in the sea, bodies that are rejected, bodies that become illegal, bodies that want to return to their being humans…,” page 41, Nigrizia, January 2011.

Whoever said that immigration was a simple equation could have misinterpreted it, so while the Europeans laws can hold sway on who is legal or illegal “migrant”, let the human person be given his own respect so that the rules of engagement can truly have a meaning.

Ewanfoh Obehi Peter

Artist Issa BAGAYOGO wins Afro Pepites Show

19.January.2011 · Posted in culture

WINNERS of the SHOW Music from Sahara Africa

The 2ndedition of the AFRO PEPITES SHOW: The AFROS PEPITES of AFRICA, MIXED and INSPIRED

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Winner of the category AFROS PEPITES

Issa BAGAYOGO

– Mali, France – Electrobeat from Bamako Issa BAGAYOGOa music meeting between Western Africa and Europe.

INFO for ORGANIZERS: Issa BAGAYOGO is based in Bamako (Mali).

Contact Manager: Zutique

Production: http://zutique.com/booking/issa_bagayogo

Biography:

In the mid-1990s, after making several recordings and failing to have a regional hit with any of them, Issa was making his living driving a bus. He moved to Bamako (Mali’s capital city) and meet Yves Wernert, sound engineer and artistic director of Mali K7, a record company founded by Philippe Berthier, which had an important role in the promotion of modern Malian music.

Then, Yves Wernert proposes Issa to create a highly personal sound that combined the acoustic traditions of his region with elements of electronic music, rock, and dub. Ten years and four albums later, Issa Bagayogo is a regular star attraction on stages around the continent, playing for huge and wildly enthusiastic audiences. He has become well recognized for his subtly insistent voice and his skillful talent on the kamele n’goni that is popular throughout western Africa.

His reception outside of Africa has been warm as well. Reviewing one of his pneumatic live shows, England’s Folk Roots magazine marveled at his energy, saying that he “may radically reshape West Africa’s groove… when Issa plays, only the dead stay still,” while Billboard said it was time to “add this man’s name to the growing list of Mali’s emerging world-music luminaries.

The Village Voice concurred, pronouncing Issa’s music as “the finest Afro-European rhythmic structures Mali can provide.” The critical community and fans worldwide have been waiting for over four years in anticipation of Mali Koura, Issa’s new release, which has proved to be worth the wait. Issa’s sound has matured, tightened and ripened into a fully-realized Afro-European hybrid – no longer does it sound like a fusion of two separate cultures, but rather like the fully-evolved music of a brand new culture.

Oil and Governance-London, 2nd February

18.January.2011 · Posted in culture

Date:

  • Wednesday 2nd February, 6pm

Speakers:

  • Dr Ricardo Soares de Oliveira: University Lecturer in Comparative Politics (African Politics) at the Department of Politics and International Relations, Oxford University
  • Professor Jedrzej George Fryna: Professor of CSR and Strategic Management
  • Chair: Anthony Goldman: Africa analyst, Clearwater research services

Event description:

The Royal African Society’s ‘West Africa in Focus’ seminar series is a new venture that will take a national perspective on complex regional issues.

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Oil and Governance

The Gulf of Guinea supplies fifteen per cent of America’s oil and has recently experienced an immense inflow of investment. But why are American, European, and Asian oil companies enthusiastically committing tens of billions of dollars of long-term investment to the Gulf of Guinea’s failing states, which are characterized by ruthless elites, recurrent warfare, and some of the world’s most detrimental development practices?

This meeting will investigate the relationship between oil wealth and governance (good and bad) in the region. What effect has oil had on the process of politics in the Gulf of Guinea, what have multi-national oil companies done to try and reduce the negative effects of their business on the people of the region, and do any of these shifts towards socially responsible practices actually work?

Source: RAS, Royal African Society

Dady DASTY wins Afro Pepites Show

18.January.2011 · Posted in culture

« Born West Indian and attached to Mali, Dady Dasty opens in November 2009 his label ‘one and one prod’ in Bamako.

This is in this studio that the artist produces himself his very first album solo « je représente » at the end of 2009.

The artist stayed a long time in the shadow as he likes doing that. Author, composer and director, he worked a lot for the others during the last 28 years.

He confesses « at the beginning, I did not intend to be a singer.

I did no intend to create albums. But after all these years, I finally said to myself, why not throwing myself into the adventure.

I must say I don’t regret it at all. »

Source: Afro Pepites Show artistic director, Laetitia NORMAND.

Petition against "Corrective rape"

14.January.2011 · Posted in news

“Corrective Rape” is a term used to describe when a man rapes a lesbian with the aim of ‘turning’ her heterosexual!

This heinous crime is prolific in South Africa, especially in the ‘townships.’

Most of the victims are tortured, grievously assaulted and sometimes murdered! They are also prone to getting HIV/AIDS from the assault, and many of them commit suicide as a result of the ‘corrective rape’!

The South African government and justice system are failing the victims of Corrective Rape by letting the perpetrators out on ridiculously low bail, and taking literally years to bring the court-cases to a conclusion. In the meantime the victims have to live with seeing and being harassed and threatened by their rapists every day, as do those who help the victims!

In the last 10 years:

  • 31 lesbian women have been murdered because of their sexuality
  • More than 10 lesbians a week are raped or gang raped in Cape Town alone
  • 150 women are raped every day in South Africa
  • For every 25 men accused of rape in South Africa, 24 walk free

Despite all this, hate crimes on the basis of sexual orientation are not recognised by South African law!

We call on the South African government to declare “Corrective Rape” a Hate-Crime that is punishable by the harshest sentences!

Source: change.org/petitions

Book: “Living and Dying for Cocoa in West Africa”

13.January.2011 · Posted in culture

Book Launch: Chocolate Nations: Living and Dying for Cocoa in West Africa

Date: Thursday 20th January, 6pm
Venue: Brunei Suite, SOAS, Thornhaugh St, London WC1H0XG

Speakers:

  • Orla Ryan (Author of Chocolate Nations: Living and Dying for Cocoa in West Africa, Journalist, Financial Times)

Respondent:

  • Professor Chris Cramer (Professor of the Political Economy of Development, SOAS)

Chair:

  • Adrian Hewitt (ODI)

Source: Royal African Society

Book-Fela’s Legacy: Still Suffering and Smiling?

11.January.2011 · Posted in out of Africa

Fela’s Legacy: Still Suffering and Smiling?


Date: Tuesday 18h January, 6pm

Venue: Brunei Suite, SOAS, Thornhaugh St, London WC1H0XG

Speakers:

  • Estelle Kokot (South African Jazz Musician)
  • Dr Sam Kasule (University of Derby)
  • Rikki Stein (Fela’s long-time manager)

Chair:

  • DJ Rita Ray (DJ, Producer, Founding member of The Shrine club night)

Source: Royal African Society