28 September 2007

MANDELA returns to SOWETO ,open's huge MAPONYA Mall

I am not a south African but i grew up being one after the soweto student uprising in 1976."SOWETO 1976",i was still a small lad and i remember my father's narations about what was happening down south Africa,about heroic men and women who fought and resisted among all odds for freedom,justice and equality.The picture of this story and many more others has always accompanied my life.In secondary school though a science student ,i decided to study African history and the stories of these great people has contributed to my way of life and thinking today as a man.Africa will always be my prime and my pride.
Last year, Soweto marked the 30th anniversary of the 1976 uprising when students rebelled against the white apartheid state in a protest over the use of Afrikaans as the medium of instruction in schools.
This post is a message of hope to all those who are suffering,to all who are in difficulties,persecuted and discriminated.The examples shown by great men like MANDELA and MAPONYA are evidences to everyone that "if there's the will,there must be a way."

Former South African President Nelson Mandela has opened the largest shopping centre in southern Africa in Soweto.

The Maponya Mall marks a transformation for the Johannesburg township, once an impoverished centre in the struggle against apartheid. CLICK THE LINK BELLOW FOR EXCERPTS;

Nelson Mandela returns to open huge mall - Times Online

27 September 2007


I'm coming back to this african and european trade imbroglio which is seeming continuosly bleak for the africans,due to the vehemence of their european counterparts to allow africa to have it's merited share in world trade.This perplexes me a lot and we'll soon see them coming to give"aids" and "loans" and "charity" and what have you.I think we should be all pissed up with such hypocrisy!Come and see them pretending they want to make poverty history!!! Read on and leave a comment:
SPAIN: Rock Stars Collect 600,000 Signatures for Fair Trade with Africa
By Tito Drago.

MADRID, Sep 25 (IPS) - Several popular Spanish rock groups helped collect 600,000 signatures and delivered them to the government Tuesday in support of an international campaign calling for the Spanish government to modify its trade policy towards Africa and eliminate restrictions on imports from that region.

Singers Miguel Bosé and Shuarma, members of the Dover rock band, and Ariana Arpa, the head of Intermón Oxfam -- Oxfam International’s Spanish affiliate -- were received in the seat of government where they presented a statement titled: "100 Days: Trade Negotiations Threaten Europe’s Commitment to Africa".

Because Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, they were met by the government’s top spokesman, José Moraleda, and cabinet chief José Enrique Serrano.

The majority of the signatures came from people attending the concerts of Bosé, Shuarma, Dover, Amaral, a pop/rock duo, and the La Oreja de Van Gogh pop/rock band this year as part of Oxfam’s Make Trade Fair campaign (known as "Comercio con Justicia" in Spain).

The statement urges Zapatero’s socialist government to reconsider its position with respect to the negotiations between the European Union and 78 former colonies in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) on the Cotonou Agreement that was signed in 2000 in the capital of Benin and expires on Dec. 31. (Cuba is the 79th member, but it joined after the Agreement was adopted).

The Cotonou Agreement establishes trade conditions between the ACP and the EU that are not overly favourable to developing nations.

But the European Commission (the EU executive) now wants ACP countries to sign market-opening deals known as Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) with it by the end of this year.

Arpa told IPS that in the entire history of Europe, there have never been more unequal trade negotiations than the ones currently underway, "in which the EU countries are negotiating as equals with a region that has the highest poverty rates in the world."

She added that "Spain is defending the most hard-line position…which runs counter to the achievement of a coherent development policy for poor countries."

"Not one European politician would last a single day in their post if they tried to apply in their own countries the draconian deregulation that they are attempting to impose on the economies of the poorest countries on the planet," she said.

The document presented by Intermón Oxfam says that if the trade liberalisation that the EU is pressing for wins out in the negotiations, the ACP countries would have to eliminate most of their import tariffs on farm products, "while the EU dedicates about 50 billion euros (70 billion dollars) a year to subsidising its agricultural production and exports."

Carlos Galián, who coordinated the Intermón Oxfam report, said "the inflexibility of the Spanish government’s position is surprising, given that this country’s trade with the ACP is very insignificant."

Spain’s exports to the ACP countries represent a mere 1.91 percent of the country’s total exports, and its sales to the 78 ACP countries are equivalent to what it exports to the Netherlands alone.

Arpa said the European Commission, "with Spain’s support," is threatening to impose conditions on the ACP that would lead to one billion euros (1.4 billion dollars) in annual losses for West Africa alone.

In other ACP regions the situation is similar. One example of what that means, said Arpa, is what would happen in Namibia if the EU gets its way in the negotiations. "In the first year alone, that country would lose some 45 million euros (63 million dollars), equivalent to nearly one-third of its annual health budget."

Another illustration is Kenya, where the dairy sector would be hit so hard that 650,000 families that depend on livestock raising would see their incomes drastically reduced, and around 400,000 direct jobs would be lost.

"The future of 750 million people living in poverty depends partly on the EU and the ACP reaching an agreement that puts trade at the service of development, and the solution is not to impose a system that could trigger an economic crisis in Africa, starting on Jan. 1, 2008," she said.

Bosé told IPS that "a right that is not contained in any constitution, but which is clear and real, must be upheld: doing what is fair, and if we're talking about justice, then we have to make trade fair."

The world-renowned singer acknowledged that the Spanish government dedicates a significant percentage of its budget to development aid, a proportion that has grown under the current administration. "But its position is not consistent; it's as if we were throwing that money into the garbage if the country’s stance on trade is not modified," he argued.

That is why, he said, "we, the citizens, those who pay the taxes that feed the government budget, are demanding a position in foreign trade that is neither counterproductive nor negative to the development of the countries of Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean."

"There are 100 days left to do that," before the Cotonou Agreement expires, he said, adding that in the negotiations, Spain should play a positive role in leading the EU towards a more progressive position.

One of the most harshly criticised stances taken by Spain is its protectionist tariffs that protect bananas from its own Canary Islands, located off the northwest coast of Africa.

Intermón Oxfam is calling for the elimination of that protection, to make it possible for producers from countries of the South to compete on an equal footing.

But sources with Spain’s Ministry of Industry and Trade told IPS that the initiatives it is discussing do not include support for free trade in that sector. (END/2007)

20 September 2007

Ya Ma'Afrika (TV-DRAMA)-NEW!!

Whenever i come across these beautiful things from Africa or her diaspora,i always have palpitations tintillating al over my body.This is "YA MA'AFRICA",a fictional drama show that will be on air shortly on 3A TELESUD and AFROVISION.TV.The cast is not just beautiful but also rich in talent and curriculum.C'est magnifique!
SOUNDVIEW AFRICA brings you the ultimate entertainment with this TV Drama Series that fuses the lives of 4 African women living in New York City.Yetunde (Nigeria), Kui (Kenya), Chipo (Zimbabwe) and Welisane (Cameroon) are housemates from all corners of Africa with different backgrounds.

These women confront issues ranging from relationships to employment and immigration. The show is glamorous with a level of sophistication and at the same time it is raw, and touching on real issues.
For those who can access 3A TELESUD,watch out for the scedule on "MAAFRICA.TV " while the rest can watch it on "AROVISION.TV"(find the link in my top links section).
Follow the link bellow for details of the movie and the cast,buona visione!!!!:-


africa's malady!

I decided to publish this comment from our anonimous contributor who commented on my last post "good news for africa,but who gets these resources?".I was particularly impressed with his critical view of what really happens with most governments in Africa.I thus thought it wise to publish his words in the post section.Read and comment!

Africa has also suffered particularly because the proceeds of corruption tend to
be banked or spent outside of the continent. Capital flight is possibly Africa’s
biggest financial problem. The African Union estimates that $148 billion a year
leaves the continent because of corruption28. This represents a quarter of the
continent’s GDP29. Other estimates of the amount of total illicit proceeds coming
out of Africa (including corrupt, commercial and criminal proceeds) are in the
order of $100-200 billion30. This dwarfs the aid and debt relief Africa is receiving:
“We have been putting some $25 billion a year of foreign aid into Africa in the most recent years.
Compare that with my estimate of the amount of money that goes illegally out of Africa and
ultimately into Western coffers, $100-200 billion. In other words, for every $1 of foreign aid that
we are generously handing out across the top of the table, we are taking back some $4-8 in dirty
money under the table.”31
Furthermore, in Africa’s case the outflow of illicit money tends to be permanent ----
From a report by the Africa All Party Parliamentary Group (UL) 2006.

18 September 2007

good news for africa, but who gets these resources?

I have always dreamt of real humans taking care of the affairs of their fellow humans who for one reason or the other are not opportuned to handle certain issues concerning their immediate communities.In this i mean our"beloved" leaders who always think about their well-being and that of their western godfathers who protect this persistent "chop a chop", forgetting the people they represent;what does this mean?Oh,waiting for your comments!!!
September 17, 2007
Countries to Get Help Recovering Stolen Assets

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 17 — The World Bank and the United Nations announced this afternoon that they were setting up a system to help developing nations recover assets stolen and sent abroad by corrupt leaders that amount to an estimated $40 billion a year.

“There should be no safe haven for those who steal from the poor,” Robert B. Zoellick, the bank’s president, said in unveiling the plan with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Mr. Zoellick estimated that the overall cross-border flow of global proceeds from criminal activities, corruption and tax evasion totaled $1 trillion to $1.6 trillion a year and said even a small portion of that could finance a significant level of social programs.

He said that every $100 million recovered could pay for immunizations for four million children, provide water connections for 250,000 households or finance treatment for more than 600,000 people with HIV/AIDS a year.

The problem of stolen assets is widespread but most acute in Africa, where an estimated 25 percent of the gross national product of states is lost to corruption, he said.

The new system will work to build the capacity of developing countries to track stolen money going overseas and to emphasize ways that financial centers can better detect and deter money-laundering.

“This is not just a developing-country issue because the funds inevitably end up in developed countries,” said Danny Leipziger, the bank’s vice president for poverty reduction and economic management.

In addition, the bank intends to assist countries in devoting recovered money to proper development use “to make sure it is not stolen twice,” Mr. Leipziger said.

The program is being developed in partnership with the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, whose executive director, Antonio Maria Costa, said the initiative came at a time when the sophistication of financial transactions made recovery an increasingly complex process requiring expert assistance.

“Once stolen assets leave the victim country, they are broken up so cleverly, into so many different bundles and hidden in so many financial vehicles that they are hard to identify,” he said.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the former finance minister of Nigeria, who oversaw the return of $505 million to her country from Switzerland, said the new plan would help countries like hers by denying corrupt officials a foreign place to hide the money.

“It means that people who are corrupt will know that any money sent out will be sent back to the countries from which they came,” she said.

Ms. Okonjo-Iweala said that at the time she was working to repatriate Nigerian money in 2005, the campaign had to be conducted on a bilateral basis and did not produce timely results. “There are some countries — I don’t want to name them — whose legislation only allows them to freeze the assets if they are discovered, and there is nothing that says they should repatriate them,” she said.

That has changed since the United Nations Convention Against Corruption came into effect in December 2005 that obliges countries that ratified it to cooperate.

However, there are 98 countries that have not ratified it, including Canada, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan and Switzerland. “Part of our advocacy role will be to urge countries that are not parties to become parties,” Ms. Okonjo-Iweala said.

Mr. Leipziger said the bank was setting up contact points so that interested countries could report suspicions about stolen money leaving their countries in a prompt and confidential manner.

He said that there had been cases where countries would make the sensitive political decision to go after the money but then had no way of pursuing it.

“Even if you took the police side of it and said, ‘We know where it is,’ in order to get your hands on it, you have to go through a number of very laborious steps, and we think we can help in that process,” he said.

17 September 2007

first "white lady "mayor in cameroon!

I had a chat over phone with my friend in cameroon and he told me about this nice story and decided to find out about this "white lady,Marie Helène Ngoa" who has penetrated the hearts of many cameroonians,amongst all odds.Read this interview i succeeded to track from IPS news.

YAOUNDE, Aug 23 (IPS) - It's a long way from the north of France to West Africa -- and from studying mathematics at the University of Lille to becoming a mayor in central Cameroon. But Marie-Hélène Ngoa has successfully undertaken both these journeys.

This 66-year-old, originally from the region of Nogent-sur-marne, was recently elected mayor of Akono district in a poll that challenged taboos about race and gender (the area had previously been the preserve of men). Before entering politics, Ngoa -- who obtained a doctorate in applied mathematics in 1967 -- taught at the University of Yaoundé in the Cameroonian capital of the same name, and at the Catholic University of Central Africa, also in Yaoundé.

IPS correspondent Raphaël Mvogo sat down with the new mayor recently to find out more about her life story.

IPS: Tell us something about yourself...

Marie-Hélène Ngoa (MHN): My maiden name was Marie-Hélène Guislain -- a very French name. I am originally from the north of France, where I did my secondary and tertiary studies. I met Henri Ngoa, a Cameroonian student in sociology, at the University of Lille. Very quickly, we decided to get married and live in Cameroon, to have a family and to devote ourselves to tertiary education.

IPS: What motivated you to remain in Cameroon after the death of your husband, 32 years ago?

MHN: Having arrived in Cameroon in 1968, we lived very happily for seven years and had several children (five). Unfortunately, Henri died in 1975. But, I was already well established in Cameroon, happy, surrounded by family and by my colleagues at the Faculty of Science at the University of Yaoundé. In addition, it must be said, you really have more assistance in Cameroon with bringing up children...So, I decided to stay in Cameroon. At any rate, I'm also a woman of commitment and loyalty (and) I had undertaken to work in and give my best to Cameroon.

IPS: When did your involvement in politics start?

MHN: It came a lot later. From the 1970s to the 1990s, I was preoccupied with educating my children and with my work. I gave a lot of myself (to education); I trained several generations of students. The first students that I trained, from 1968 to 1970, became my colleagues, who in their turn trained students who (also) became colleagues. I was the very first in Cameroon to give courses in techniques of computation and programming. Actually this was computer science, even if it wasn't called that at the time.

IPS: And, how did you come to politics?

MHN: In 1996 I was asked to join the Municipal Council of the Akono district, and I was elected as the second assistant to the former mayor. I have always been concerned with development in Akono. I took part voluntarily in development committees...under the auspices of the Association of Elites of Akono.

IPS: Was your election to the post of mayor easy?

MHN: Ah no, it was not at all easy! There were elites that opposed it fiercely. But ultimately the team that I led, made up of young people, (managed to have me) elected...by consensus.

IPS: Did the difficulties come because people saw you as a foreigner?

MHN: Yes, indeed. During the campaign, the word "Ntangan" (white) was thrown at me several times. But, I must say this: people at the grass roots had wanted me (in office) for several years. After the primaries in the party, the RDPC (the ruling Democratic Rally of the Cameroonian People -- Rassemblement démocratique du peuple camerounais), the elections of July the 22nd confirmed this. (Both municipal and legislative polls were held Jul. 22).

IPS: What are your plans for Akono, as mayor?

MHN: Since 1996, I have regularly worked in education, health projects...I have ideas for things that need to be done in all social sectors. Year after year, communities repeatedly complain about access to potable water, village electrification (and) the construction of roads. There is a problem of inaccessibility. During the campaign, there were certain villages where we went on foot because there were no roads to get there. While we are just 50 minutes from Yaoundé as the bird flies, there are some villages where there is unbelievable hardship -- people who are completely isolated. Our priorities for action are there. Our goal is to create income generating activities and micro enterprises...In Akono, there is no bakery, carpentry workshop, car mechanic (or) brickworks.

11 September 2007

watch BIG MANU in "onguele mba"

Caricato da doumah


I'm presently working on my new blog which will focus cameroonian musicians on the international scene.The cultural baggage is fabulous and you won't imagine there are artists of this calibre in Africa.I'll start by presenting to you the"BIG" Manu Dibango the father of soul makossa.
It is almost impossible to find a fitting description for a musician such as Manu Dibango who has made such an enormous contribution to African music as a whole. He is a saxophonist, nicknamed 'The lion of Cameroon', from a track on The Very Best of African Soul album. Originally trained in classical piano, his musical career began in Brussels and Paris in the 1950s. 1960 finds him in Congo as a member of African Jazz led by Joseph Kabasele (Le Grand Kalle)! He formed his own band in Cameroon in 1963, moving to Paris in 1965. His international breakthrough came in 1972 with Soul Makossa.
Manu Dibango is extraordinarily versatile, having played almost every style of music you care to mention: soul, reggae, jazz, spirituals, blues... Dibango features on albums by Angelique Kidjo, Anne-Marie Nzié, Meiway and Kékélé (Kinavana, 2006) and, on his Wakafrika album of 1994, many top African and international musicians contribute (see CDs), In 1985 Manu raised funds for famine-striken Ethiopia through his successful 'Tam-Tams for Ethiopia' project with Mory Kante and others.
Manu's first album was recorded in 1969 and in 1970 he accompanied Franklin Boukaka on a classic 12-track album (see CDs). In 2000 two were released: Anthology, a boxed set of 3 CDs (see CDs) and Mboa' Su (see CDs) which includes a new arrangement of Franklin Boukaka's track 'Aye Africa' (Le Bucheron), made for the millennium celebrations on Robben Island in the presence of Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki. Listening to the Anthology CDs you will find some amazing contrasts from one track to the next. An album with a difference was released in 2002: entitled B Sides, most of the tracks are remastered from recordings in the 1970s where Manu plays, not sax, but the marimba and vibraphone. There are Rough Guides tothe music of whole countries but Manu warrants one all to himself: the 13-track album The Rough Guide to Manu Dibango (2004) has the full range of his songs, classics and rarities (see CDs).
Manu's autobiography was originally published in French in 1989 with the English translation,Three Kilos of Coffee, published in 1994 (see Reading). The book makes fascinating reading as Manu describes his experiences personally. In 1984 he originated the word 'negropolitain'.
Manu performed alongside Cuban Clave Y Guaguanco at the Barbican in London in 1999 and played there again in April 2001 with the spectacular Afro-Funk Big Band including Richard Bona, Claude Deppa and Tony Allen. In 2003 he was on stage with Ray Lema at WOMAD Reading (see photo above)! In September that same year Manu was in London, where he had a brand new collaboration with the Soweto String Quartet for an evening of songs of struggle and liberation. To celebrate his 70th birthday Manu had a unique concert with special guests at London's Barbican in October 2004.
A major event for 2007 is Manu's celebration of his 50 years in music, coinciding with the release of a CD/DVD 'The Lion of Africa'.

3 September 2007

what a sad story!

Dad Tries to Avoid Deportation After Family Dies in Fire

August 8, 2007 - 2:09pm

Associated Press Writer

BURTONSVILLE, Md. - Of all the horrors Ignatius Foncham suffered from a June fire that killed his three young girls, one that haunts him is a photograph that fire officials showed him of his 4-year-old's body. One eye was open, her mouth agape, as if she was still trying to speak.

"I believe she was trying to say, 'Daddy, daddy, help me,'" Foncham said.

But Foncham wasn't there to know for sure. He was in jail, awaiting deportation back to his native Cameroon for immigration violations, when the fire sparked by an unattended bottle sterilizer ate through his Burtonsville apartment early June 28, killing the girls and their mother. Had he been there, Foncham is convinced he could have saved his family.

Foncham and leaders of the Washington area Cameroonian community are now asking the federal government to allow him to remain in the country on humanitarian grounds. Foncham is currently out on a short-term release to settle his family affairs.

Those included burying the three children; 4-month-old Makenzie Foncham, 2-year-old Megan and 4-year-old Chanelle. He was able to see their mother, Elsie Nuka, 30, but she never came out of a coma before she died July 11. Her body was flown back to Cameroon for burial. Foncham said he and Nuka lived together and planned to marry.

Foncham visits his daughters at least three times a week at the Suitland cemetery where they are buried. And he doesn't want to leave his family again.

"If they take him to Cameroon, he is totally separated from any close memory of his children," said Christmas Ebini, a board member of the All Cameroonian Cultural Festival Foundation, which is trying to help him stay in the country.

Leaders of the group circulated a petition last month to Maryland's delegation in Congress and local politicians calling on Immigration and Customers Enforcement to reopen the case. His attorney, Ronald Richey, planned to meet this week with ICE officials. If the case is reopened, Richey hopes to seek a green card for Foncham. Such a move would be unusual, the lawyer said, but the bid could succeed because of the extraordinary nature of the case.

Ernestine Fobbs, an ICE spokeswoman, said Foncham is under a removal order, meaning he is ready for deportation. He is under close supervision during the temporary release, and after it expires, "a decision will be made regarding the court order," Fobbs said, noting it will be up to a judge to make the final call.

Foncham, 39, came to the United States in late 1999. He worked as a carpenter, first for a builder, later on his own. He applied for political asylum, based on his membership in an English-speaking separatist party in the largely French Cameroon. Foncham said some of his friends were arrested because of their ties to the movement, prompting him to leave.

His sister, Alice Ashu, said Foncham's lawyers bungled his asylum case, missing deadlines. A removal order was first filed in 2001, according to ICE, and Foncham appealed. He eventually ran out of money for appeals, Ashu said. Foncham was detained May 31 as his family moved to the apartment where the fire later occurred.

Foncham was sent to a detention center on the Eastern Shore to await deportation. His family visited him, but could only speak to him through a glass partition.

The morning of the fire, investigators believe Nuka placed a plastic device used to sterilize baby bottles near the stove, then went to sleep. Awoken by the fire alarm, she threw the burning materials into a bathtub in an attempt to douse the flames, but was overcome by smoke. When firefighters arrived, the three children were not breathing and Nuka was in critical condition.

News of their deaths crippled Foncham, Richey said. He collapsed when shown the photos to identify his children, screaming on the floor.

He was deeply involved in their care and the girls were devoted to him, Foncham said. He took them swimming and to the zoo. The eldest girl loved to dance. He took care of their basic needs, like bathing and feeding. It would have been him who prepared the bottles for the children the morning that they died.

"If I was there, it could not have happened," Foncham said. "I could have smelled the smoke."

Returning to Cameroon would expose him to persecution, Foncham said, a major reason that he left. And most importantly, it would cut him off from his children. He said he wants to be near them to make up for the fact he wasn't there when they needed him most.

"I want to be close to my girls," Foncham said. "I wasn't there before they died. But I am still here to put down flowers for them and pray for them."

(Copyright 2007 The Associated Press)