Monthly Archives: February 2015
Crowning the last week of the Black History Month in the USA and Canada, I have come up with a selection of novels/autobiography that focuses on slavery, passages, crossings, displacements; but also treating the reinvention of identity from the mixed heritage of the Black Atlantic. – Fred D’Aguiar, Condé, Levy, Phillips and more.
In his seminal study “The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness” (1992), Paul Gilroy postulated that personal identities, histories, and cultures are constituted by processes of exchange rather than by the allegiance to a single place of origin. Gilroy shifts the focus from land to sea, from single nations to the Atlantic as a space of transition – initially the enforced transportation of African slaves, via European sea ports like Liverpool, to the slave markets of the Caribbean, later the reflux of the West Indian workforce into the European job market. These processes of deportation, then, more positively, of cross-cultural exchange, travel, and communication produced the heterogeneous cultural space of the Black Atlantic, encompassing African, European, Caribbean, and American culture, literature, music, and art.
This collection of texts covers everything from the Black Atlantic to life in the Africa diaspora. Reading them calls up emotions of anger, hurt, hatred, revenge but also of forgiveness, letting go, love and above all Healing. If you want to learn more of slavery, its effects and the Black Atlantic without necessarily reading history books, then these books will help you get an insight – some of them though fiction, are based on real life stories.
Based on a true story, this is the fate of Nneka and others, who leave home for beyond, hoping for greener pastures. To some like her, the green comes with a price tag. Names and places were changed to protect the identity of the protagonists.
My name is Nneka and I am a prostitute. Don’t look at me with those eyes, don’t pity me, don’t feel sorry for me, don’t hate me. I have lived a hard life, thorns and rocks filled my path. You see, I was 20 when my parents managed to scratch the money to send me to Switzerland. My friend Amaka who was already in Zürich, made all the connections and arrangements with the guy who processed my migrating. Oh, how excited I was. Finally, I was going to Europe. My mother was a petty market trader and my dad was working as a driver to a very rich chief, a kind man. Yes, we were poor. Europe was something I could only dream of, never expecting to see it. So when Amaka wrote that she had arranged everything, that this guy was coming to see me for my passport and other documentation to travel to Switzerland, I couldn’t believe my luck. But there was a catch; I had to come up with the flight ticket myself. When I talked to mama and papa, they were devastated. Where were they going to come up with that kind of money. Papa talked to his boss and he promised to give us the ticket money, on condition that I paid back within six months of my stay in Europe. Done deal. Two months later, I was on the plane, heading to meet my best friend Amaka. She was the sister I never had. You see, I was the first of six children and the only girl. I had always been the one to look after my junior brothers when mama went to the market and papa to work. I started being a mother and father to them at the tender age of nine. I even had to stop regular school to attend evening school so that I could take care of my junior ones after my parents went to work. Coming to Europe was going to relieve our poverty. I was going to build my parents a house. I was going to expand mama’s business, possibly buy her a shop, so she can stop the back wrenching trade in dry fish and palm oil she was doing. As for papa, I was going to buy him his own car, and buses, so he can have them on the road and be his own boss. All my brothers would go to school without problem. I was going to lift up my family. All these plans and more I made in the air while crossing the Atlantic to Switzerland.
50 Shades of Grey is a love story. But it goes beyond that. It is a story about two characters with different sexual desires. A story of a man who got introduced into a sexual habit he became a victim of. A story of a woman who falls in love and tries to come to terms with her man’s sexuality. 50 Shades is about desire, erotic and the will to love or not to love. It is about daring to embrace the other and leaving your comfort zone. A roller coaster of emotions, decisions, compromises and how to find a common ground, with both characters not completely willing to give in to the other. The movie is funny and witty, yes the first scene starts with a laugh and you laugh your way through.
I do not see any form of abuse on the female protagonist in 50 Shades nor understand why people call it an anti-feminist movie. From the beginning both the protagonist know exactly what they were getting into, and agreed to it. All the women mentioned were neither lied to nor forced into DSMS.
I now intend to read all the books and yes I will definitely watch the sequel to Fifty Shades of Grey!
Meet George Mel, the 23-year-old South Sudanese who built a plane in his back yard, amidst fighting and shooting close to his home. Mel, who is now employed by the South Sudan Air Force dreams of studying Aeronautical Engineering, aiming to one day develop a farming drone to spray crops as well as design and build full-size planes.
For more on this story, please click here
On today’s issue, we will talk about two vigorous Cameroonians, Louis Nforbelie Ngwa and Nicoline Neh Tamufor Epse Ngwa, who having partly lived, travelled and worked abroad, decided it was time to invest and give back to the community some of the knowledge and experiences gained in the foreign. Nicoline had the privilege of living abroad as a child and teenager, as her parents were diplomats. Louis, a university of Yaounde 1 graduate and a construction environmentalist, is currently working on the SCPX pipeline project in Azerbaijan. He has worked in several countries on various pipeline projects including the Chad Cameroon Pipleline project in 2001, BTC/SCP Pipeline project in Georgia, Sakhalin Pipeline project in Russia, WREP project in Azerbaijan, Ambatovy Slurry pipeline project in Madagascar and the PNG-LNG pipelines project in Papua New Guinea.