Sunday, 29 September 2013

80th birthday of Samora Machel

(Born 29 September 1933, Madragoa, Mozambique)
Nurse, brilliant and highly accomplished commander of Frente de Libertação de Moçambique, Mozambique Liberation Front, which frees Mozambique from nearly 500 years of the Portuguese conquest and occupation, June 1975, and he becomes first African president of the victorious republic

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FWD – Urgent question on Kemet: Who uses a comb not fit for their hair texture?

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Our Kofi Awoonor

Kofi Awoonor – poet, linguist, diplomat 

Olu Oguibe

Wake for Awoonor

We salute Awoonor's body
Salute the Great Spirit
Great Spirit, we salute

The poets salute Awoonor's body
Salute the Great Spirit
Great Spirit, we salute

The linguists salute Awoonor's body
Guardian of the sacred word
Great Spirit, we salute

The drummers salute Awoonor's body
Master of the giant drum
Great Spirit, we salute

May his murderers die a thousand deaths
A thousand deaths to his murderers
World without end

May their memory be wiped from the land of the living
A thousand deaths to his murderers
World without end

May their memory be wiped from the land of the dead
A thousand and one deaths
To his murderers' souls
World without end

Oguibe salutes Awoonor's body
As long as the waters of the Great Volta
So may his voice survive

Africa salutes Awoonor's body
Great Spirit, we salute
Great Spirit, we salute
Everlasting Element
Without beginning
Without end
We salute.

© Oguibe, 2013

Uzor Maxim Uzoatu

To Kofi Awoonor (1935-2013)

An ancestor 
In the future tense
Past tense is not your forte
Son of Awoonor
Abiding in spirit
Between capitals
And periods
Beyond the death sentence 
Of mullahs of terror.

I sing of you
In the present tense
Songs sans sorrow
Out of the lofts
Bearing legends
Of the weaverbird 
Bestriding Kenya and Ghana
In the hug of harmony
Named immortality
Across the globe of love.

© Uzor Maxim Uzoatu, 2013

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Friday, 27 September 2013

1st anniversary of the publication of Chinua Achebe’s There was a Country

(Published 27 September 2012, Penguin, London, Britain)
Father of African Literature’s incomparable memoirs on the Igbo genocide, the foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa, 29 May 1966-12 January 1970, when the Nigeria state murders 3.1 million Igbo people or one-quarter of this nation’s population

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Wednesday, 25 September 2013

102nd birthday of Eric Williams

(Born 25 September 1911, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago)
One of the most outstanding African Caribbean intellectuals of all time, author of Capitalism and Slavery (1944), classic on African enslavement, from his 1938 Oxford University doctoral thesis, and first prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, 31 August 1962, after centuries of  the British/European World conquest, enslaving and occupation

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Monday, 23 September 2013

87th birthday of John Coltrane

(Born 23 September 1926, Hamlet, NC, United States)
Iconoclastic tenor (and soprano) saxophonist and composer who, arguably, has had the most profound impact on the development of jazz, African American classical music, in the past 50 years

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Saturday, 21 September 2013

104th birthday of Kwame Nkrumah

(Born 21 September 1909, Nkroful, Ghana)
Influential philosopher and theorist of an encompassing African World consciousness and first president of contemporary Ghana, July 1960, following the 6 March 1957 restoration-of-independence after a century of the British conquest and occupation

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Friday, 20 September 2013

80th birthday of Emmanuel Obiechina

(Born 20 September 1933, Nkpo, Igboland)
Pioneering scholar of the historic Onicha (Oshimiri/Niger Delta) market literature genre and versatile literary critic and author

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Tuesday, 17 September 2013

91st birthday of Agostinho Neto

(Born 17 September 1922, ĺcolo e Bengo, Angola)

Physician, poet, co-founder of Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola) and first African president of Angola, November 1975, after the people’s victory terminating 400 years of the Portuguese conquest and occupation 

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Thursday, 12 September 2013

89th birthday of Amilcar Cabral

(Born 12 September 1924, Bafatá, Guinea-Bissau)
 Agricultural engineer, outstanding theorist and philosopher of the national liberation resistance (see, particularly, Amilcar CabralRevolution in Guinea [New York: Monthly Review, 1970], Cabral, Return to the Source [New York: Monthly Review, 1973]) and founder of  Partido Africano da Independência da Guiné e CaboVerde (African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde) that frees Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde in 1974 from 500 years of the Portuguese conquest and occupation

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Monday, 9 September 2013

86th birthday of Elvin Jones

(Born 9 September 1927, Pontiac, Mich, United States)
Renowned drummer and member of the 1960s John Coltrane classic quartet (Coltrane, tenor and soprano saxophones; McCoy Tyner, piano; Jimmy Garrison, bass; Jones, drums), providing the polyrhythmic anchor for the group’s restless stretch of creativity, and whose duet passages with Coltrane in many a performance of compositions, during the period, are opportunities for profound commentaries and analyses on pertinent subjects of both domestic and international affairs

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Monday, 2 September 2013

What is “civil war”?

The oxymoron “civil war” is a strange beast indeed. It neither describes what, by any imagination, is “civil” about it nor does it elucidate on the salient features of the nature or character and range of its being. All that “civil war” connotes is that it is an “internal war” – occurring within a seemingly sovereign state, which, in the Africa case, would be a reference to its “Berlin state(s)”. Its opposite, supposedly, is the “inter-state war”.

Since the beginning of the presumed restoration-of-African independence epoch in the Sudan in January 1956, “inter-state wars” in Africa are in fact an exception – just a handful, not more than five! Even here, the genesis of the Ethiopia-Eritrea War (May 1998-June 2000), one of the five, is located in the “internal” wars of old Ethiopia. If one were therefore to follow this “internal war”/“external war” dichotomy-characterisation of armed conflicts in Africa during this epoch, the overwhelming majority of the 15 million Africans who have lost their lives, since the 1966-1970 Igbo genocide, the foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa, would be designated as having died in “internal wars”.


Scholars and others who promote the “civil war” tag particularly in Africa have often done so merely to privilege the extant  “Berlin-state” configuration and its principal or “dominant” protagonist in the conflict (“state”, “government”, “central government”, “federal government”, etc., etc.) over oppositional or insurgent protagonists often cast as “regionalists”, “secessionists”, “rebels” or worse. The trend is to be restricted or trapped in a quaint juridical fidelity of discourse under the overarching, essentially sanitising banner of “civil war” without confronting the much more expansive turbulence of underlying history emplaced. 

If most of the 15 million Africans already referred to died in “internal wars”, then “civil war” proponents’ primary quest to preserve the “Berlin-state” status quo ironically problematises the latter’s existence as this “Berlin-state”, in Africa, is a murder-machine… The salutary lesson from this is obvious:  Rather than try to obfuscate or sanitise a human-made catastrophe, call it by its instantly, recognisable name!

Besides a reference to a territoriality and its constituent peoples in Africa, there is nothing else internal about “internal wars” in Africa. As the Igbo genocide demonstrates, this crime against humanity would probably not have occurred without the central role played by Britain, an external power – right from its conceptualisation to execution (

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