Kalakuta Republic was the name musician & political activist Fela Anikulapo Kuti gave to the communal compound that housed his family, band members, & recording studio. The word "Kalakuta" was a caricature of a prison cell named Calcutta that Fela Kuti inhabited. The compound was burned to the ground on 1977 after an assault by a thousand armed soldiers...

the-history-of-fighting:

Dahomey’s Warrior Women

Speaking of West Africa, the Dahomey Warrior Women involves a fascinating history that spans nearly 200 years. It was during this time that the elite squad of female warriors fought and died for the border rights and inter-tribal issues in the ancient kingdom of Dahomey.

These women, who outranked their male counterparts, were given far more privileges, including the ability to  come and go from the palaces as they pleased (unlike the men). They were so revered for their warrior prowess, The Smithsonian explains, that men were taught to keep their distance:

“Recruiting women into the Dahomean army was not especially difficult, despite the requirement to climb thorn hedges and risk life and limb in battle. Most West African women lived lives of forced drudgery. Gezo’s female troops lived in his compound and were kept well supplied with tobacco, alcohol and slaves – as many as 50 to each warrior, according to the noted traveler Sir Richard Burton, who visited Dahomey in the 1860s. And “when amazons walked out of the palace,” notes Alpern, “they were preceded by a slave girl carrying a bell. The sound told every male to get out of their path, retire a certain distance, and look the other way.” To even touch these women meant death.”

Yet as colonialist ambitions grew in the region, the Dahomey female warriors eventually grew sparse. Fierce combat missions to crush the independent kingdom eventually succeeded, and in the 1940s, it is said that the last of the female warriors died.

www.care2.com

Posted at 8:01pm and tagged with: African history, African people, woman, history, black history, black consciousness, dahomean,.

the-history-of-fighting:

Dahomey’s Warrior Women

Speaking of West Africa, the Dahomey Warrior Women involves a fascinating history that spans nearly 200 years. It was during this time that the elite squad of female warriors fought and died for the border rights and inter-tribal issues in the ancient kingdom of Dahomey.
These women, who outranked their male counterparts, were given far more privileges, including the ability to  come and go from the palaces as they pleased (unlike the men). They were so revered for their warrior prowess, The Smithsonian explains, that men were taught to keep their distance:
“Recruiting women into the Dahomean army was not especially difficult, despite the requirement to climb thorn hedges and risk life and limb in battle. Most West African women lived lives of forced drudgery. Gezo’s female troops lived in his compound and were kept well supplied with tobacco, alcohol and slaves – as many as 50 to each warrior, according to the noted traveler Sir Richard Burton, who visited Dahomey in the 1860s. And “when amazons walked out of the palace,” notes Alpern, “they were preceded by a slave girl carrying a bell. The sound told every male to get out of their path, retire a certain distance, and look the other way.” To even touch these women meant death.”
Yet as colonialist ambitions grew in the region, the Dahomey female warriors eventually grew sparse. Fierce combat missions to crush the independent kingdom eventually succeeded, and in the 1940s, it is said that the last of the female warriors died.
www.care2.com

"In the years since my first involvement with Nigeria, I realised I had come to look at what has happened to the country not as sui generis, but as an emblem of parasitic and potentially cataclysmic era of human history dedicated to sort-term material gain. The more I travelled between West Africa and Europe the more I was struck not by the differences, but by the parallels of poverty among riches, institutional cruelty, and societies in which elites talked to and of themselves. Oil may have made the Nigerian canvas particularly vivid, but the portrait it depicted was instantly recognisable. Nigeria offers us a terrifying vision of the consequences for us all of tolerating inequality, profligate energy use and environmental disaster.

The Pandora’s box hope for Nigeria, an independent nation of less than 50 years, is that - if it is ever given the chance - it still has all the opportunities to change character that youth allows. There is no polish or veneer to this vast, messy country, but nor is there the same sense of secret histories and hidden hypocrisies that lie behind the swept streets, ancient institutions and grand public building of Britain and other rich nations. In oil-driven Nigeria, the exploitation, injustices and abuses of power are more open, more blatant and, in a strange way, more honest. That should make radical change more possible than in a country such as Britain, where injustices have become more entrenched and subtly concealed over many centuries. As the West declines in relative importance as a centre of political and economic power, so the opportunity is there for the peoples of others places to offer new ways of thinking and a hunger for reform. Nowhere else, among the countries I’ve seen, is this appetite for change - and the creativity to deliver it - greater than Nigeria, where the axiom that no condition is applied with brio unmatched by most western workers going about their daily grind. 

It is a measure of Nigerians’ extra ordinary vigour that they continue to drive the country on despite all the problems the age of oil has brought. Ground down but defiant, many people in this nation of huge dissipated energy and intellect seemed to have mastered the trick - the author Rohinton Mistry’s ‘fine balance’ - of combining deep short-term pessimism with a peculiar longer-term optimism. Again, just like Tennyson’s Ulysses, many Nigerians continue to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield. On one visit to Lagos, I even saw a banner near the airport that proclaimed the nation ‘the hope of the world’.”

From A Swamp Full of Dollars, Michael Peel.

Posted at 7:23pm and tagged with: Nigeria, Oil, crude oil, Injustice, politics, political blog, Western Power, nigerians, africa, history, Nigerian History,.

The scramble for Congo’s riches a climax in May and June of 2000 when Rwanda and Uganda on three occasion fought for control of Kisangani and its lucrative diamond trade. The fighting, so far from their borders, blew apart the pretence both had tried to maintain that their presence in eastern Congo was necessary to protect themselves from rebels based there. Rwanda, once seen by the international community as a victim, now looked more like a predator. Museveni, once hailed as representing a ‘new breed’ of disciplined African Leader, turned out to be just another old fashioned plunderer.

Outraged by their ill-concealed looting enterprises and the damage they inflicted on Kisangani, the UN Security Council demanded Rwanda & Uganda withdraw from the Congo forthwith. It also ordered an investigation into what it termed the ‘illegal exploitation’ of Congo’s wealth. Both Museveni and Kagame were subsequently cited as ‘accomplices’ by the UN Panel. Human rights group campaigned against the trade in coltan using the slogan, ‘No blood on my satellite’.

All efforts at negotiations failed, mainly because Kabila (President) obstructed progress. Rather than share power, he preferred to share the country. On 16 January 2001, however, Kabila was shot at close range in his palace by a young member of his bodyguard. The assassin fled the scene but was caught and executed on the spot by Colonel Eddy Kapend, Kabila’s cousin, a widely feared figure who acted as the president’s chief of staff. Kapend was subsequently convicted of playing the lead role in a palace coup attempt, killing the assassin to silence him.

Unable to agree a successor amongst themselves, Kabila’s cronies settled for his 30-year-old son, Joseph, a shy, unassuming and quietly-spoken man, quite unlike his father, who had been serving as the army chief-of-staff. A political novice with no power base, Joseph Kabila seemed destined to become a mere figure head for the corrupt ‘god-fathers’ around him, easy for them to manipulate. But he proved unexpectedly decisive, lifting the ban on political parties and supporting an ‘inter-congolese dialogue’ that his father had persistently thwarted.

After a series of tortuous negotiations, a peace deal was signed in July 2002, paving the way for the establishment of an interim coalition government headed by Kabila and including representatives from the main Congolese factions. Foreign armies from Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Angola and Zimbabwe were required to withdraw. In four years of civil war more than 3 million people died, mostly from starvation and disease, the largest toll of any conflict in African history. But in eastern Congo there was to be no respite from violence. Rival militias, some acting as proxy forces for sponsors in Rwanda and Uganda and Kinshasa, others controlled by warlords, continued their war plunders, bringing yet more years of misery to a population desperate for peace. In the words of a KiSwahili Proverb, often cited in Kivu, ‘Nyama tempo kula hawezi kumaliza’ - ‘You never finish eating the meat of an elephant’

Taken from 

Martin Meredith’s The Fate of Africa

Posted at 1:51am and tagged with: the congo, democratic republic of the congo, africa, African history, Rwanda, Uganda, joseph kabila, kinshasa, Burundi, Angola, War, political, political blog,.

diasporicroots:

Who was Thomas Sankara?

Thomas Sankara, often referred to as “Africa’s Che Guevara” was the president of Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987.  He seized power in a 1983 popularly supported coup, with the goal of eliminating corruption and the dominance of the former French colonial power.

Sankara’s  foreign policies were centered around anti-imperialism, with his government eschewing all foreign aid because, as he often said, “he who feeds you, controls you.”  He pushed for debt reduction and nationalized all land and mineral wealth,  averting the power and influence of the IMF and World Bank.

His domestic policies were focused on preventing famine with agrarian self-sufficiency and land reform, prioritizing education with a nation-wide literacy campaign, and promoting public health by vaccinating 2.5 million children.  And his was the first African government to publicly recognize the AIDS epidemic as a major threat to Africa.

Thomas Sankara was an extraordinary man.

  • He outlawed female genital mutilation, forced marriages, and polygamy and was the first African leader to appoint women to major cabinet positions and actively recruit them for the military.  A motorcyclist himself, he formed an all-woman motorcycle personal guard.
  •  He encouraged women to work outside the home and stay in school even if pregnant.
  • He launched a nation-wide public health  ‘Vaccination Commando’ a state run program that in a period of only 15 days in early November 1984, completed the immunization of 2.5 million children against meningitis (a world record), yellow fever and measles. This operation was so successful in that children in neighbouring countries like the Ivory Coast and Mali were sent to Burkina Faso for free immunization that helped curtail high rates of infant and child mortality.
  • He sold off the government fleet of Mercedes cars and made the Renault 5 (the cheapest car sold in Burkina Faso at that time) the official service car of the ministers.  He lowered his salary, as President, to only $450 a month and limited his possessions to a car, four bikes, three guitars, and a refrigerator.
  • He planted over ten million trees to halt the growing desertification of the Sahel and established an ambitious road and rail construction program to “tie the nation together.”
  • He was known for jogging unaccompanied through the capital city in his track suit and posing in his tailored military fatigues with his mother-of-pearl pistol. And when asked why he didn’t want his portrait hung in public places, as was the norm for other African leaders, he said ”there are seven million Thomas Sankaras.”

Sankara’s revolutionary policies for self-reliance and defiance against the neoliberal development strategies imposed by the West made him an icon to many supporters of African liberation. But his policies alienated and antagonized the vested interests of the small but powerful Burkinabe middle class, the tribal leaders who he stripped of the traditional right to forced labor and tribute payments, and the foreign financial interests in France and their ally Ivory Coast.

Compaore and Sankara
On October 15, 1987 Sankara was killed by an armed militia of twelve officials in a coup d’état organized by Compaore.  Sankara’s body was dismembered and buried in an unmarked grave.   Compaore immediately took power, overturning most of Sankara’s policies.  Compaore reportedly ousted Sankara because he believed that his revolutionary policies were jeopardizing Burkina Faso’s relationship with France and Ivory Coast.  Sankara and Compaore were not only colleagues, they were childhood friends.

This is why ‘Bad Karma’ should be Blaise Compaore’s middle name.  He is a ruthless man who orchestrated the brutal assassination of his best friend.

Yet he is the man routinely designated by the international community to act as a ’mediator’ to help resolve African conflicts… smdh

click here for more

Posted at 8:01pm and tagged with: burkina faso, africa, African history, african historians, african leaders, history, politics, African people, african politics, France, collonialism,.

It was no surprise when the Niger Deltans sidelined in their own homes bit back. A raiding party from Brass pulled down the Royal Niger Company’s trading post in Akassa, killing several company officials. Britain responded by launching a naval attack on Brass, causing great damage and heavy - if still disputed - causalities. It also made plain that London planned to use ruthless measures to preserve its access to the Delta.

Over time the attack would come to seem as a defining moment in the Delta’s History. The first hints of its wide repercussions are documented in the National Archives, in a report ordered by Britain itself. It was written by Sir John Kirk, a foreign official, who on May 11th, 1895 sailed from England for the Niger Coast. His mission as outlined in his later submission to the foreign secretary. The Marquess of Salisbury, was to carry out an enquiry into what he described in loaded terms as ‘the recent outrage committed by the people of Brass’.

At first glance, the report looked as if it would be little more than colonial white wash. It was steeped in the presumption of basic British honour and an off hand contempt for the local people and their ‘miserable’ surroundings. The author thanked William Wallace, agent-general for the Royal Niger Company, for giving him ‘every help and assistance’ in his investigations. The work of company officials and British Soldiers had, said Kirk, prevented him being put to ‘considerable personal inconvenience’.

But, as Kirks account contiuned, I could sense the doubts creeping into his own mind. He noted with disquiet that there was no official interpreter at the company’s operations around Brass. ‘In the whole service there is not an officer who can speak the native language,’ he observed, ‘which fully accounts for the want of knowledge possessed by the officials of what passes among the people.’

Kirk seemed equally troubled by what he saw of the trading rules the company had imposed, which were at the centre of the dispute with the people of Brass. Under its Royal Charter, the corporation was not supposed to run a monopoly, but Kirk found that in practice that was exactly what it did. Local people had to pay £150 annually to trade, terms that were, he said, ‘impossible’, because they ‘practically exclude them from their old markets on the Niger’. Kirk was further disturbed by a visit to Nembe and Fishtown. He was struck by the ‘degraded type features’ of many of those who had coma back to rebuild their ruined homes. British troops had ‘partially destroyed’ Nembe and burned Fishtown to the ground, he found. In Nembe, alone, he reckoned, 25 people were killed.

Kirk’s report of the Brass leaders’ plaintive comments to him were equally disturbing. Although it was not clear how two sides communicated, the Brass Chiefs’ testimony has a measured eloquence even when filtered through the twin barriers of language and a pen guided by a sense of British imperial superiority. They complained that the company prevented them from trading and killed many people each year. ‘We do not want, nor expect, certain markets entirely to ourselves,’ the report quoted them as saying. ‘All we now asked is only to be allowed to trade at those markets where we and our fathers used to trade before the charter was granted to the Company. We are quite ready and willing to trade alongside white men.’

The company had done the local population ‘many injuries’, Sir John reported the chiefs as saying. It had barred people from other villages from coming to Brass to pay their debts to traders thereCompany officials had threatened to burn down other communities who did business with the Brass residents. ‘We have frequently asked the Consul that have been put over us.. to tell us in what way we have offended the Queen to cause her to send this trouble on us,’ Sir John quoted the Brass leaders as saying. ‘The soil of our country is too poor to cultivate sufficient food for all our people, and so if we don’t trade and get food from other tribes we shall suffer great want and misery.

The Brass leaders went on to accuse the company of taking some of the abusive perks seized by any occupying force that has no fear of punishment. Kirk’s report contained the testimony form a woman called Akure, who said she was called up one day from her canoe to a Royal Niger Company hulk. Pregnant at the time, she obeyed the instruction out of fear. On board, she was raped by the clerk, who then offered her a present of biscuit and two heads of tobacco. She refused to take them, but was forced to take them on pain of being killed. She threw the presents over the side of her canoe. Later, she had a miscarriage.

For London, there were sufficient warnings in the report to suggest that the situation in the Niger Delta could become a big political embarrassment. Having congratulated itself for its pioneering role in ending slave trade almost a century earlier, Britain now found itself accused of holding an entire region in bondage. If the story gained wide exposure internationally, Britains commercial rivals could exploit its hypocrisy. Something had to be done.

In 1990, the British government revoked the Royal Niger Company’s charter and itself took control of the Niger Delta. It was a change London made without much enthusiasm and at a greater price. In a deal spookily echoed in the twenty-first-century bank bail-outs, the treasury immediately took on £250,000 of the company debt, for which it paid face value plus 5 percent interest. It also agreed to pay the company more than half a million pounds to cover territorial right, disruption to its business and investment in developments and equipment. In a final sting, the company was also given the potentially lucrative rights to half the royalties form mineral extraction form the Delta over the following 99 years.

The days of the charter might have ended, but the influence of the Royal Niger Company Lived on. Its operations had established the Delta as a region where a system of militarised capitalism was used to further the interests of British colonisation and commerce. Lord Salisbury, now prime minster, told the Parliament that it was impossible to mention the names of men like corporation’s Lord Aberdare and Sir George Goldie without recognising ‘their great enterprise and resource, which place the big on the list of pioneers of English civilisation in the dark places of the earth.’

From Michael Peel’s

A Swamp Full of Dollars.

Posted at 8:01pm and tagged with: Niger Delta, Nigeria, Nigerian History, African, african history, Colonial, colonialism, colonisation, racism, britain, Brass, London, royal niger company, capitalism,.

nok-ind:

Great Zimbabwe 

The first travelers to set their eyes upon the great Zimbabwe said:

Among the gold mines of the inland plains between the Limpopo and Zambezi rivers [there is a]…fortress built of stones of marvelous size, and there appears to be no mortar joining them…. This edifice is almost surrounded by hills, upon which are others resembling it in the fashioning of stone and the absence of mortar, and one of them is a tower more than 12 fathoms high. The natives of the country call these edifices Symbaoe, which according to their language signifies court.—Viçente Pegado,”. Captain, Portuguese Garrison of Sofala, 1531

Early foreign Ignorance 

When Portuguese traders first encountered the vast stone ruins of Great Zimbabwe in the sixteenth century, they believed they had found the fabled capital of the Queen of Sheba. Later travelers surmised that the site’s impressive stone structures were the work of Egyptians, Phoenicians, or even Prester John, the legendary Christian king of lands beyond the Islamic realm. Such Eurocentric misguided and romantic speculation held for nearly 400 years, until the excavations of British archaeologists David Randall-MacIver and Gertrude Caton-Thompson early in this century, which confirmed that the ruins were of African origin.

Great Zimbabwe

The largest ancient stone construction south of the Sahara, Great Zimbabwe was built between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries by the ancestors of the Shona, one of Zimbabwe’s many Bantu-speaking groups. The ruins cover nearly 1,800 acres and can be divided into three distinct architectural groupings known as the Hill Complex, the Valley Complex, and the Great Enclosure. At its apogee in the late fourteenth century, Great Zimbabwe may have had as many as 18,000 inhabitants. It was one of some 300 known stone enclosure sites on the Zimbabwe Plateau. In Bantu, zimbabwe means “sacred house” or “ritual seat of a king.” An important trading center and capital of the medieval Zimbabwe state, the city controlled much of interior southeast Africa for nearly two centuries.

Fallacies and distortion of history

In 1890, British imperialist and colonizer Cecil Rhodes (1853-1902) Who conquered a large portion of southern Africa and had the region named after himself. Northern Rhodesia (modern Zambia) and Southern Rhodesia (modern Zimbabwe) which came under British control and Rhodes argued that the Great Zimbabwe monuments were built by foreigners. To promote his goal of misrepresenting the origins of Zimbabwe, Rhodes established the Ancient Ruins Company and financed men such as James Theodore Bent, who was sent to Zimbabwe by the British Association of Science, and sponsored by Rhodes. After his investigation Bent concluded in his book, Ruined Cities of Mashonaland (1892), that items found within the Great Zimbabwe complex “proved” that the civilization was not build by local Africans. This was done irrespective of Rhodes having full knowledge of Africa’s Legacy, knowledge which he used to Gain riches from culturally sacred diamond mines in south Africa after getting the indigenous people there to show him their sacred land. This resulted in Debeers diamonds.

In 1902, the British continued with their falsification agenda as British archaeologist Richard Hall was hired to investigate the Great Zimbabwe site. Hall asserted in his work, The Ancient Ruins of Rhodesia (1902), that the civilization was built by “more civilized races” than the Africans. He argued that the last phase of Great Zimbabwe was the transitional and “decadent period,” a time when the foreign builders interbred with local Africans. Hall went out of his way to eliminate archeological evidence which would have proven an indigenous African origin of Great Zimbabwe. He removed about two meters deep of archeological remains, which effectively destroyed the evidence that would have established an indigenous African origin of the site. He condescendingly stated that his goal was to “remove the filth and decadence of Kaffir occupation.”

In 1905, soon after Hall’s destructive activity, British archeologist David Randall-MacIver studied the mud dwellings within the stone enclosures, and he became the first European researcher of the site to assert that the dwellings were “unquestionably African in every detail.” After MacIver’s assertion, which was almost equivalent to blasphemy to the British imperialists, archeologists were banned from the Zimbabwe site for almost 25 years!

Conclusion:

Ian Smith was the last major British colonial figure to falsify evidence of Great Zimbabwe’s origin. After Ian Smith became “prime minister” of Southern Rhodesia. He continued the colonial falsification of Great Zimbabwe’s origins by developing a fake history and a policy of making sure that the official guide books for tourists would show images of Africans bowing down to foreign innovators, who allegedly built Great Zimbabwe. It was not until 1980 that the native Zimbabweans overthrew Smith’s minority government and ended the colonial era. In that year, Robert Mugabe became president and the country was renamed “Zimbabwe,” in honor of the Great Zimbabwe civilization of the past.

This distortion of the history of Zimbabwe has had an enduring legacy. The colonial era (1890 - 1980) had a destructive impact on the daily lives of native Zimbabweans. Not only was their heritage stolen, but the best farmland and resources were also taken by British colonists. This 90 years of domination and oppressive colonial rule was fueled by the ideas of Cecil Rhodes, who wanted to colonize the entire African continent and “to paint the [African] map [British] red.”

This legacy has contributed to some of the modern day problems Zimbabwe faces today.

Given the sheer scale of Great Zimbabwe compared to its precursors, archaeologists have been at a loss to explain its sudden appearance on the southern African landscape. Interpretation of the site poses a particular problem because it was stripped of nearly all its in situ cultural material during the nineteenth century by treasure seekers and those who, believing the site to be of foreign construction, wished, in the words of turn-of-the-century excavator Keith M. Hall, “to free it from the filth and decadence of the Kaffir [South African] occupation.”

Mystery

The abundant grasslands atop the plateau were ideal for cattle grazing, but the poor soil would not have supported agriculture on a scale required to sustain Great Zimbabwe’s burgeoning population, necessitating imports of grain and other staples from distant tributary sites. Moreover, we now know that the plateau’s rich gold deposits, to which the city’s initial prosperity has often been attributed, were not exploited until perhaps a century after its founding. The question posed then is “Why here?” How could such an influential power develop in an area so ill-suited for large-scale human habitation? Could cattle wealth and trade alone have afforded the inhabitants of Great Zimbabwe a superior way of life, or was there something else, a political or religious ideology, that gave them a competitive edge over neighbors and enabled them to harness the manpower necessary for the construction of the site?

In summary do not let people who cannot even comprehend who you are or where you come from define you. You are soo much More, this is the same for everyone irrespective of where your origins lie.

They will not teach you your history because it is laced with things that may cause you to see them in a negative light and it is not in their best interest.

Sources:

http://www.archaeology.org/9807/abstracts/africa.html

http://www.manuampim.com/ZIMBABWE.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/africa/features/storyofafrica/10chapter1.shtml

Posted at 8:01pm and tagged with: zimbabwe, zimbabwean, history, african history, south africa, britian, British History, colonisation, colonialism, Rhodesia, great zimbabwe, black history,.

Over a period of five years, most of the one-party systems that had prevailed in Africa for a generation were dismantled. A clutch of military strongmen, like Kérékou in Benin, were swept from office. In Congo-Brazzaville, General Denis Sassou-Nguesso , a hardline Marxist, in power for twelve years, conceded in a national conference, was out manoeuvred by opposition groups and came third in a presidential election in 1992. In the Central African Republic, General André Kolinbga blocked demands for a national conference and gambled that, with control of the state media and government resources he would win an election. When preliminary results of the 1992 election indicated that he was running fourth in the field of five candidates, with as little as 2 per cent vote, he abruptly terminated the election process. The following year, however, when he tried to avoid another election defeat, France withdrew economic and military assistance and forced him to concede the presidency. Mali’s General Traoré tried to retain control of popular protests through mass arrests and repression, but when he unleashed troops to quell demonstrators demanding his resignation, resulting in scores of deaths, the army overthrew him, convened a national conference and paved the way for elections. In Chad, Hissein Habré, was ousted in December 1990 by Idris Deby, a former military commander, who, under pressure from France  and other Western powers, established a multi-party system, convened a national conference and went on to be elected as president in 1996. In Ethiopia, Mengistu was driven out of power in May 1991 by a joint army of Eritrean and Tigrayan rebels and fled into exile. A national conference of Ethiopian leaders in July agreed to hold a referendum under United Nations auspices to determine the future of Eritrea that resulted in its independence in 1993, bringing thirty years of warfare to a close. 

But while many dictatorships fell in Africa in the early 1990s, as many dictatorships survived, albeit under different circumstances. Military rulers won presidential eclectics in Guinea, Mauritania, Equatorial Guinea and Burkina Faso - ‘the land of honest men’. A new breed of dictatators emerged, adept in maintaining a facade of democracy sufficient for them to be able to obtain foreign aid. Even when the regime changes occurred, new governments soon reverted to the same systems of patronage and patrimonialism run by their predecessors; some quickly lapsed into the same autocratic means of rule. In place of Big Man Rule came Big Man Democracy, with little difference between the two.

Taken from

Martin Merediths, The Fate of Africa.

Posted at 8:30am and tagged with: africa, african history, politics, african leaders, leadership, ethiopia, guinea, mauritania, equatorial guinea, burkina faso, chad, mali, benin, congo brazzaville, central african republic, dictatorship, democracy,.

Black Consciousness

Posted at 12:57am and tagged with: Stephen Bantu, Steve Biko, black consciousness, Black, African, Activist, Truth, Quote, black history,.

Black Consciousness

thenigerianassassin:

The Wall of Benin

Created by the Edo people of the Benin Empire(1447-1897). Currently located in Benin City, Nigeria.

"They extend for some 16,000 kilometres in all, in a mosaic of more than 500 interconnected settlement boundaries. They cover 6,500 square kilometres and were all dug by the Edo people. In all, they are four times longer than the Great Wall of China, and consumed a hundred times more material than the Great Pyramid of Cheops. They took an estimated 150 million hours of digging to construct, and are perhaps the largest single archaeological phenomenon on the planet."-Fred Pearce

Yet people still maintain Africa has no significant achievements. We’ve been spoon fed bullshit all out lives.

Posted at 8:01pm and tagged with: benin, african history, nigeria, africa, history, black history,.

The Royal Niger Company’s dominance of Akassa and other tracts of the Delta was the culmination of several centuries of European plunder in the region of West Africa that became Nigeria. The first contact came via the arrival of the Portuguese in the late fifteenth century. Soon, trade in gold, other commodities & slave flourished. The Portuguese, British and Dutch fought for territory they could already see was rich in resources and ripe for exploitation. Locals chiefs proved willing suppliers for the European Hunger for human beings.

Then, in 1807, as a result of campaigning by abolitionists & religious sentiments, as well as changing commercial times, Britain outlawed slave trading by its own nationals. As part of a plan to end the practice all together - thereby, among other things, preventing its European rivals gaining a competitive advantage - London deployed patrols on the West African coast to intercept slave-trading vessels, free their cargoes and arrest their crews. In 1851, British ships attacked Lagos, then a small island-port, on the grounds that it was being used for slaving. A decade later, London formally declared that area a colony, gaining for the first time a political foothold in the land mass area that was to become Nigeria.

As Britain grappled for political control, its companies fought for commercial victory. The main rivals were French, who were eventually to take charge of many countries across the West Africa region, from Senegal to Cameroon. All the businesses wanted power over the River Niger, an invaluable trading route that rises in Guinea & snakes through the region before emptying into the was off the southern coast of Niger Delta. 

In 1886, The United Africa Company - by now a behemothic agglomeration of British manufacturing and trading Interests - found a novel way of gaining extra competitive leverage. It won a royal charter from the British government, creating a trade protectorate exclusively to the company. The idea appealed to London, which wanted to block the region to the French & other rival European governments but -like many invading powers down the years- was to overstretched to do the job properly itself. According to one history of the time, the British vice-consul of the Delta’s Oil Rivers Protectorate candidly admitted that London’s policy would ‘chiefly assume negative character. So long as we keep other European nations out, we need not to be in a hurry to go in’

The charter awarded the conglomerate almost unlimited powers. It was subject to few controls, and could effectively rule the Delta with the sanction and military support of the British government. Sir George Goldie, the UAC’s head, highlighted the business’s enhanced prestige by renaming it the Royal Niger Company. It’s political connections were evident in the appointment of Lord Aberdare, a former home secretary, as it first governor. It was one of the great imperial multinationals of an era of the East India Company and its peers held considerable sway in the world trade.

The conglomerate’s modus operandi was starkly laid out in the documents held in Britain’s National Archives. Perhaps the most striking of them was a thick Foreign Office book so old and worn that it was bound together by a cloth tie. The yellow leather cover was fraying at the corners, exposing layers of hard cardboard beneath. On the spine, written in a burgundy-coloured box, was the tittle: ‘Royal Niger Company Treaties. Part One 1891-98’. Inside, there was a covering letter by Goldie to the undersecretary of state for colonial affairs.

Writing under the ornate Royal Niger Company letterhead, Goldie introduced what he said was a full list of the treaties the company had signed. The following pages were divided by vertical red lines into three columns dedicated to the numbers, place and dates of the deals mad by this capitalist buccaneer.  The document had the air of a proud pupil seeking congratulations from his teacher for his industry: in one 20 day period in July 1889 alone, the company recorded it struck six separate deals. According to British government records the Royal Niger Company made between 340 and 500 of these agreements in total, to take spurious legal control over many territories of the River Niger.

The deeds were written in English and were mostly ‘signed’ by ‘x’ marks purported to have been placed by local chiefs. The language in Goldie’s book gave a sense of the scope of these agreements and how skewed they were in favour of him and his men. ‘With the consent of our people and with the view of bettering their conditions’  chiefs are quoted as agreeing in one deal, ‘[we] do this day cede to the company, and to their assigns, for ever, the whole of our territory’. 

Armed with these documents, the company started trying to dislodge the palm-oil traders who stood between it and the commercial monopoly it wanted. Opponents were driven out, if necessary by force. The company soon established the dominance it desired; palm oil flowed to Britain and elsewhere in Europe, where it was used to make soap, candles and the explosive nitro-glycerine. Most important of all, it a served as a lubricant, to stop the machines that were driving Europe’s industrial prosperity from wearing out. 

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from

A Swamp Full of Dollars

by Michael Peel

Posted at 8:02pm and tagged with: Nigeria, Africa, History, collonial, collonial era, collonialism, african history, Niger Delta, British History, Europe, black history,.