Salif Keita: “The Colour of Your Skin is Not a Handicap … and it’s Not Very Important Either”
The ‘golden voice of Africa’ has just released his final album. And though he is visibly tired, he is still in love with his guitar. Mali’s most famous musical son, is going home. “I’m returning to the land,” he says. “I was a farmer’s son. I am a farmer’s son. Now, I will go back to the country and cultivate.” The musician has said his father was shocked but not entirely surprised when he was born with albinism, a condition caused by the absence of melanin pigmentation in the skin. There had been others with the condition on his mother’s side of the family. Close to Keita’s heart is an ongoing campaign to raise awareness of albinism and help sufferers. Across the continent, folklore and superstitions mean sufferers are shunned or worse. “It is true that people who are different are badly treated all around the world. It is different for me now – people hardly notice I am an albino. If you are famous, you pass unnoticed. But this work is a duty, a duty to give something back.”
SOURCES: THE GUARDIAN
These 5 Women Writers Are Ushering the New Wave of African Stories on Stage
Language is powerful and a lot of human understanding starts with the pen, the scribe, the playwright. For too long, narratives in theatre have locked African characters in positions of desolation or disease. Fortunately, writers such as Jocelyn Bioh, Ngozi Anyanwu, Tori Sampson, Danai Gurira and Aya Aziz are actively shifting this narrative. Their nuanced storytelling humanizes the ordinary experiences of extraordinary characters who happen to be African or direct descendants of African people. While African tragedies should always hold a place in the canon of great theatre, they can no longer reign supreme. Works set on or about the continent can also be hysterically funny, awe-inspiring, provocative, lustful, romantic and religious. African stories, like African people, can be absolutely everything. And if theatre, and art in general, is to continue to serve as a mirror to society it should reflect the diverse humanity of African people and be told from an African perspective.
SOURCES: OKAY AFRICA
Raised in West Africa, Brewed in D.C.
In 2012, two friends originally from West Africa and now living in Washington, D.C., noticed something about their local beer market: an absence of imported African beers. Seeing this as a challenge, Kofi Meroe and Amado Carsky started home-brewing together, incorporating techniques and the unique flavors they knew growing up. The result? Sankofa Beer Company, which looks to bring influences from the mother continent to craft beer in the U.S., via a brewing environment that reminds the pair of home. “Whether it be the ingredients or the inspiration, we want to bring West Africa to the beer conversation,” Carsky explains. The company is named after the Sankofa bird, an African symbol from the Ashanti/Akan people in Ghana that means in order to ensure a strong future you must return to collect and understand your past.
Nelson Mandela’s Personal Artefacts Go on Show in London
A major new exhibition celebrating the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela opens in London. The Official Exhibition traces the former South African president’s extraordinary life from his early years in a small farming community in the remote Transkei region, to his education and political activism, his arduous imprisonment, long-awaited release and late-in-life roles as his nation’s first post-apartheid president and global peacemaker. Among the 150 artefacts and personal items on display are the rough sisal mat on which Mandela slept during his incarceration on Robben Island, the master key to his cell, the trenchcoat he acquired on leaving prison and wore frequently after his release, and the white lion skin which was laid, with a flag of South Africa, on his coffin after he died in 2013.
West African Fine Dining Chef Returns to NYC With a Hip Harlem Restaurant
The Senegalese-born chef of Le Grand Dakar fame opens his long-anticipated new restaurant in Harlem’s Africa Center. “Stepping into Teranga will feel like taking a journey through the depth and the diversity that the continent has to offer,” Chef Pierre Thiam explains. Teranga is as much about showcasing the diversity, complexity and deliciousness of African food as it is about sharing Africa’s impact on cultural traditions all over the world. An ornate fishing boat from Senegal stands in the entrance. Nigerian-American painter Victor Ekpuk provided simple, swirly murals for the walls, which will switch out every few months from different African artists. The restaurant sits on the first floor of The Africa Center. The partnership with the Africa Center was both “an amazing coincidence” of timing and a result of a similar mission: making contemporary African culture more mainstream, Thiam says.
A Luxury Jungle Escape with Volcanoes, Gorillas and Adventure
Almost a quarter of a century after it was headline news as it was sucked into a vortex of violence and genocide that left it in ruins, the central African country has flourished, and is now regarded as one of the safest places on the continent for travelers. The main draw remains Volcanoes National Park in the northwest, home to a 480-strong population of mountain gorillas made famous by Dian Fossey, the American researcher played by Sigourney Weaver in “Gorillas in the Mist.” In the east the recently replenished Akagera National Park has luxury accommodation and the Big Five. In the southwest, One&Only Nyungwe House, which opened in October 2018, is the first five-star accommodation in Nyungwe Forest National Park. Intrepid travelers looking to reconnect with nature, can explore one of the continent’s most pristine and untouched rainforests and trek where few outsiders have gone before.
Anthony Bourdain’s Window into Africa
Anthony Bourdain might have been a celebrity chef, but viewers of his Emmy Award-winning travel show, “Parts Unknown,” didn’t tune in for curry and noodle recipes. Bourdain upended the travel show genre, telling compelling and complicated stories about people and places most Western viewers tend to view through a lens of simplistic stereotypes or caricatures. Even more remarkable, his work wasn’t relegated to obscurity. The show aired on CNN – a mainstream cable outlet with millions of viewers. Bourdain’s Africa episodes, took viewers to Congo-Kinshasa, South Africa, Tanzania, Madagascar and Ethiopia. The greatest strength of “Parts Unknown” was its comfort with unknowns remaining unknown – its resistance to arriving at singular truths about complex places. Bourdain was critical of the single story, critical of widely held stereotypes and perhaps most critical of his own position as a masterful storyteller.
Lost City in South Africa Discovered
Billions of laser scans have revealed a lost city that was once a bustling epicenter in what is now South Africa’s Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve. The newly discovered city, called Kweneng, was once a thriving capital that existed from the 1400s until it was destroyed and abandoned, likely because of civil wars, in the 1820s, said Karim Sadr, a professor of archaeology at the University of the Witwatersrand, in South Africa. Researchers have known about Kweneng since at least the 1960s, but they didn’t realize its actual size until now, Sadr said. The Tswana, a group of people who still live in Botswana, South Africa and neighboring regions, would have lived in Kweneng. And since they didn’t have a written language, findings like this one can shed light on the people’s lives and perhaps, the architecture they used and how they set up cities.
SOURCES: LIVE SCIENCE
Egypt Unveils Ancient Burial Site of 50 Mummies
Egyptian archaeologists uncovered a tomb containing 50 mummies dating to the Ptolemaic era, in Minya, south of Cairo, the Ministry of Antiquities said Saturday. Some of the mummies were found wrapped in linen while others had been placed in stone coffins or wooden sarcophagi. The archaeological finding was the first of 2019 and was unearthed through a joint mission with the Research Center for Archaeological Studies of Minya University. Photo gallery.
SOURCES: VOA NEWS
Namibia Buzz: Enticing New Luxury Lodges
Who says you need to rough it just because you’re enjoying a Namibian adventure? Relax in luxury and enjoy the scenery. From the world’s oldest sand dunes at Sossusvlei and the mist-shrouded Skeleton Coast, to the epic wildlife viewing at Etosha National Park, Namibia has captured the imagination of travelers. The best part? Enticing new luxury lodges are opening in different corners of the country, making it easier than ever to visit. Namibia is a country of enormous geographic contrasts and fly-in safaris are a convenient way of exploring vastly diverse terrain. You could easily spend weeks discovering Namibia’s extraordinary landscapes; or consider itinerary add-ons to Victoria Falls, Botswana or Cape Town.
SOURCES: LUXURY TRAVEL ADVISOR