Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Africa 2015 – Freedom and restoration(s)

Freedom is human right. This right is inalienable. Freedom could, conceivably, mean different things to different people. In this epoch of febrile quest for freedom from the collapsing and collapsed “Berlin-states” of subjugation implanted in Africa, any African peoples who, for instance, wishes to chart a future based on the precepts of their forebears in the 12th century Contemporary Era (CE) or even way back, to, say, 8th century Before Contemporary Era (BCE), has the right to pursue this goal. Equally, any African peoples who believes that their aspirations lie in working through the immense challenges of the 21st century CE and projecting targets of creativity and transformations subsequently, must exercise this right.

As everyone knows, the “Berlin-states” that Europe created in Africa, in the aftermath of that infamous Berlin conference on conquest (November 1884-February 1885), cannot lead Africans to the reconstructive changes they deeply yearn for after the tragic history of centuries of occupation. Such change was and never is the mission of these states but instruments to expropriate and despoil Africa by the conquest.  As in Berlin, thankfully, states are not a gift from the gods but relationships painstakingly formulated and constructed by groups of human beings here on earth to pursue aspirations and interests envisioned by these same human beings.


To achieve the goal(s) of any of these stipulated paths does not therefore require anyone to embark on murdering someone else or have themselves murdered in the process. Since Nigeria’s launch of the Igbo genocide, 29 May 1966-12 January 1970, fifteen million Africans have been murdered in genocides and other wars in Africa.

For the future survival of the African humanity, let no more die for the path to their envisaged civilisation or, in other words, howsoever this civilisation a people chooses is construed. It, surely, can be attained and sustained without committing a crime, particularly genocide – heinous crime against humanity.

(Sonny Rollins Trio, “The freedom suite” [personnel: Rollins, tenor saxophone; Oscar Pettiford, bass; Max Roach, drums; recorded: Riverside Records, New York, US, 7 March 1958])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Monday, 29 December 2014

91st birthday of Cheikh Anta Diop

(Born 29 December 1923, Caytou, Sénégal)
Mathematician, physicist, linguist, anthropologist, philosopher, historian and Egyptologist, demonstrates, most copiously in his near-40 years of research (beginning in the 1940s) and publication of papers and books, especially Nations Nègres et Culture, 1955 (English translation: African Origin of Civilization, 1974), L’unité culturelle de l’Afrique noire, 1959 (English: The Cultural Unity of Black Africa: The Domains of Matriarchy & Patriarchy in Classical Antiquity, 1989)  and Civilisation ou barbarie, 1981 (English: Civilization or Barbarism, 1991), that Kemet, “ancient Egypt”, is an African civilisation and that African peoples are the indisputable heirs to its heritage

Cheikh Anta Diop,  African Origin of Civilization (Chicago: Chicago Review, 1989), 336 pp, US$11.30/£10.73 pbk

Cheikh Anta Diop, Civilization or Barbarism (Chicago: Lawrence Hill, 1991), 464 pp, US$15.64/£15.49 pbk

For an assessment of Cheikh Anta Diop’s  salient contribution to the scholarship of the African World, see Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe, Readings from Reading: Essays on African Politics, Genocide, Literature (Dakar & Reading: African Renaissance, 2011), pp.7-11. 

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Sunday, 28 December 2014

72nd birthday of Stanley Macebuh

(Born 28 December 1942, Aba, Igboland)
Celebrated cultural and literary critic and executive editor of The Guardian, Lagos, Nigeria, beginning February 1983, when he embarks on the  radical transformation of  the standard and range of journalism not seen in southwestcentral Africa in 50 years – since the African-centred revolution of the 1930s in the profession spearheaded by Nnamdi Azikiwe, political scientist, journalist and architect of  the restoration-of-independence movement for the peoples in Nigeria and south Cameroon from the British conquest and occupation

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Saturday, 27 December 2014

54th anniversary of French nuclear bomb “test” in Sahara Desert

(27 December 1960, explodes bomb at Regganne, west Algeria)

In flagrant disregard for the lives of African peoples and their environment, and those of future generations, France carries out an atomic bomb “test” over the Sahara Desert, the third in the year (earlier explosions had been conducted in February and April) – exploded bomb has plutonium with yield of 10,000-14,000 TNT, equivalent to one-half power of atomic bomb the United States air force dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, 6 August 1945

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Thursday, 25 December 2014

94th birthday of Michael Okpara

(Born 25 December 1920, Umuahia, Igboland)
Physician and irrepressible advocate of harnessing Africa’s vast agricultural resource potential as launch base to embark on far-reaching societal transformation, head of pre-military junta 15 January 1966 east region Nigeria government, then home to Africa’s most resourceful and dynamic economy en route to emerging as a major manufacturing and industrial power, in its own right, but for the catastrophe of the Igbo genocide, 29 May 1966-12 January, when Nigeria and its allies, principally Britain, murder 3.1 million Igbo people in this foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

83rd birthday of Uzo Egonu

(Born 25 December 1931, Onicha, Igboland)
One of the African World’s multifaceted and most distinguished painters, his evocative, landmark Exodus (1970) captures the devastating aftermath of phase-I of the Igbo genocide, perpetrated by Nigeria, 29 May 1966-4 January 1967, as nearly 2 million Igbo who survive this initial slaughter in the north region and elsewhere in the country stream home before the subsequent  phases (II & III: 5 January 1967-5 July 1967, 6 July 1967-12 January 1970 respectively) when the genocidists blockade and invade Igboland itself, Biafra, murdering a total of 3.1 million Igbo by 12 January 1970

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

70th birthday of Woody Shaw

(Born 24 December 1944, Laurinburg, North Carolina, US)
Astoundingly innovative trumpeter, fluguelhornist, clarinettist and composer, collaborates expansively in groundbreaking recordings with fellow leading innovative musicians of the age including multiinstrumentalist Eric Dolphy, trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, vibists Bobby Hutcherfield and Lionel Hampton, alto saxophonist Jackie McLean, tenor saxophonists Joe Henderson, Dexter Gordon, Hank Mobley, Charlie Rouse and Pharoah Sanders, pianists Andrew Hill, Mal Waldron and Horace Silver and drummers Max Roach, Art Blakey  and Louis Hayes
(Mal Waldron Quintet, “The seagulls of  Kristiansund” [personnel: Waldron, piano; Woody Shaw, trumpet;  Charlie Rouse, tenor saxophone;  Reggie Workman, bass; Ed Blackwell, drums; recorded: live, Village Vanguard, New York,  16 September 1986])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Monday, 22 December 2014

121st birthday of Chancellor Williams

(Born 22 December 1893, Bennettsville, South Carolina, US)
Distinguished historian and sociologist, prolific author including the authoritative tome, The Destruction of Black Civilization: The Great Issue of a Race between 4500BC and 2000AD (1974)
Chancellor Williams, The Destruction of Black Civilization: The Great Issue of a Race between 4500BC and 2000AD (Chicago: Third World, new edition, 1995), 345pp, pbk, US$12.43/£12.99
Now the shadows lengthened. The Europeans had also been busily building up and training strong African armies. Africans trained to hate, kill and conquer Africans. Blood of Africans was to sprinkle and further darken the pages of their history … Indeed, Africa was conquered for the Europeans by the Africans [themselves], and thereafter kept under [conquest] control by African police and African soldiers. Very little European blood was ever spilled. (The Destruction of Black Civilization, p. 218)
 Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Sunday, 21 December 2014

65th birthday of Thomas Sankara

(Born 21 December 1949, Yako, Burkina Faso)
Military commander, historian, and head of state of Burkina Faso, 4 August 1983-15 October 1987, when he leads an unprecedentedly transformative government in post-(European)conquest Africa which demonstrates, overwhelmingly with indelible successes, that the engine of societal development is located internally, in the people, themselves, not the prevailing and pervasive fraudulent developmentalism whose mission has the etched signature of some external agency

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Friday, 19 December 2014

FWD: Elections in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Zimbabwe... Whose choice?

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe, “Elections in Africa – the voter, the court, the outcome”, PENSAR-Revisita de Ciêcias Jurídicas, Vol. 18, Número 3, 2013, pp. 804-836.

Full paper in English available here, free, by clicking on following link:

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

139th birthday of Carter G Woodson

(Born 19 December 1875, New Canton, Va, United States)
Historian, journalist, versatile educator and inaugurator of the “African World History Month”, now a very important fixture in the annual calendar in several regions of the African World, outside Africa, and who, whilst researching the nature of the education of African Americans in the 1930s, concludes on the following consequences on someone being controlled and defined by an agency outside their own centre of being, an observation as salient as ever, 80 years on (Woodson, 2010: 48):
If you can control a [person’s] thinking, you don’t have to worry about [their] action. If you can determine what a [person] thinks you do not have to worry about what [they] will do. If you can make a [person] believe that [they are] inferior, you don’t have to compel [them] to seek an inferior status [for they] will do so without being told and if you can make a [person] believe that [they are] justly an outcast, you don’t have to order [them] to the back door. [They] will go to the back door on [their] own and if there is no back door, the very nature of the [person] will demand that you build one.
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Year 48 – Igbo genocide and its comeuppance?

(Tony Williams Quintet, “From before” [personnel: Williams, drums; Sam Rivers, tenor saxophone; Wayne Shorter, tenor saxophone; Herbie Hancock, piano; Gary Peacock, bass; recorded Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, US, 12 August 1965])
Besides all the lead-countries involved in the Igbo genocide which have apparently had or still appear to have their comeuppance as a result, as perceptive sociologist and criminologist Biko Agozino aptly reminds us (“Why Obasanjo May Be Heading To Hell”,  – accessed 18 December 2014), each lead-personage involved in perpetuating this heinous crime against humanity has had their life/life’s vital interests spectacularly collapse around them: 

1. Olusegun Obasanjo (genocidist commander, south Biafra who ordered the shooting down of an international Red Cross relief-carrying aircraft to the encircled Igbo over south Biafra on 5 June 1969; for an update on this fellow, see, for instance, daughter Iyabo Obasanjo’s December 2013 open letter to her father, – accessed 18 December 2014)

2. Murtala Muhammed (genocidist commander, northwestcentral Biafra and commander of brigade that carried out the 7 October 1967 mass execution of 700 Igbo boys and men at Asaba, west Oshimili River) 

3. Harold Wilson

4. Ibrahim Taiwo (parallel commander of brigade that carried out the 7 October 1967 mass execution of 700 Igbo boys and men at Asaba, west Oshimili River)

5. Leonid Brezhnev

6. Abdel Gamal Nasser

7. Benjamin Adekunle (genocidist commander, south Biafra)

8. Yakubu Gowon (head of genocidist-prosecuting  regime)

9. Hosni Mubarak (former commander, Egyptian air force [and later head of regime until swept away by the mass Egypt’s uprising, February 2011] whose pilots, recruited by the genocidists, engaged in the cowardly carpet bombings of Igbo markets, hospitals, city centres, churches, shrines, children’s playgrounds, villages, farms throughout the duration of the genocide)

10. Tony Enaharo (genocidist roving envoy)

11. U Thant

12. Ahmadou Ahidjo

13. Mashood Abiola (expansive weapons-contractor during the genocide who was on the verge of becoming head of regime, Nigeria, 1998)

14. Obafemi Awolowo (chief genocidist “theorist” who desperately craved to be post-genocide head of regime, Nigeria)

15. Gbadamosi King (genocidist air force pilot who shot down the international Red Cross relief-bearing aircraft over the skies of south Biafra, 5 June 1969)

16. Muhammadu Shuwa (genocidist commander, north Biafra)

17. Hafez al-Assad (head of regime, Syria)

18.  Illiya Bisalla (genocidist commander, northcentral Biafra)

19. Sekou Toure (head of regime, Guinea-Conakry)

20. Houari Boumedienne (head of regime, Algeria)

21. Ismail al-Azhari (head of regime, the Sudan)

22. Diallo Telli (OAU first secretary-general)

23. Allison Ayida (“Rise and Fall of Nigeria” [1990], co-principal secretary, genocidist-prosecuting regime)


Boko Haram insurgency incrementally ravages north Nigeria, epicentre of the planning and execution of this genocide and the preceding “dual dress rehearsals”-Igbo pogroms (1945, 1953) without letup...  But, most pointedly, all-Nigeria:  for the alu this genocide state has unleashed on Igbo people these past 48 years (29 May 1966-18 December 2014), it is spiralling in free fall as the rest of the world cogently reflects...

If ever there is any doubt, the evidence, so far, demonstrates the contrary – namely, that no one, no agency, murders 3.1 million Igbo children, women and men in this foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa and walks away free...  Apart from the 50 million Igbo survivors, the 3.1 million are individually and collectively involved in the current Igbo historic quest for justice...  

And the Igbo will get this justice. Undoubtedly.

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

68th birthday of Steve Biko

(Born 18 December 1946, King William’s Town, SA)
One of the leading figures of the African resistance to the 340 years of  pan-European conquest and occupation of South Africa, founder of the Black Consciousness Movement with that definitive, liberatory call, “[people!], you are okay as you are, begin to look upon yourself as a human being”, the spark that culminates in the mass African mobilisation of the historic 1976 Soweto Uprising, whose outcome radically transforms the balance of forces in the struggle in favour of the resistance which the occupation never overturns

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

114th birthday of Ras T Makonnen

(Born [?]1900, Buxton, Guyana; dies 18 Dec 1983, Nairobi, Kenya)

Geologist, historian and influential Africa World intellectual, co-organiser, with Kwame Nkrumah and others, of the landmark 1945 Manchester (England) conference of leading African-descent intellectuals and contributes to the work on the formation of the Organisation of African Unity, 1963 

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

97th birthday of Kenneth Onwuka Dike

(Born 17 December 1917, Oka, Igboland)
Historian, doyen of the Reconstructionary School of African Historical Studies in the aftermath of 400 years of the pan-European enslavement, conquest and occupation of the African world, lays the foundation of this restoration of the African as subject and agency in history in the 1956 publication of his classic, Trade and Politics in the Niger Delta, 1830-1885, inaugurates a stretch of an encompassing African heritage archive and becomes the first African vice-chancellor (president) of the University of Ibadan, and later, 1967-1969, travels the world as one of the envoys of eminent Biafran intellectuals who campaigns against the Igbo genocide waged by Nigeria and its allies, particularly Britain, in which 3.1 million Igbo people (one-quarter of this nation’s population) are murdered between 29 May 1966 and 12 January 1970

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Monday, 15 December 2014

83rd birthday of Dannie Richmond

(Born 15 December 1931, New York, United States)
Multifaceted drummer who, in 1957, joins the jazz workshop (often varying from a quintet, sextet, octet and dectet) of brilliant bassist, cellist and composer Charles Mingus, and both embark on one of the most enduring and resourceful artistic collaborations of recent times, recording over 30 albums in 22 years involving several influential instrumentalists in the repertoire 

Charles Mingus Sextet with Eric Dolphy Cornell 1964, “Orange was the color of her dress, then blue silk” [personnel: Mingus, bass; Johnny Coles, trumpet; Dolphy, bass clarinet; Clifford Jordan, tenor saxophone; Dannie Richmond, drums; recorded live, Cornell University, 18 March 1964])

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Friday, 12 December 2014

69th birthday of Tony Williams

(Born 12 December 1945, Chicago,US)
Brilliant drummer, composer and bandleader, child prodigy who, in 1963, just 17, joins the Miles Davis Second Great Quintet (full personnel: Davis, trumpet; Wayne Shorter, tenor saxophone; Herbie Hancock, piano; Ron Carter, bass; Williams, drums)
(Tony Williams Quartet, “Extras” [personnel: Williams, drums; Wayne Shorter, tenor saxophone; Sam Rivers, tenor saxophone; Gary Peacock, bass; recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, US, 12 August 1965])

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Thursday, 11 December 2014

76th birthday of McCoy Tyner

(Born 11 December 1938, Philadelphia, United States)
One of the most influential pianists since the 1960s, occupies the piano chair of the classic John Coltrane Quartet (full personnel: Coltrane, tenor and soprano saxophones; Tyner, piano; Jimmy Garrison, bass; Elvin Jones, drums), 1960-1965, and subsequently records own key signature albums (Real McCoyTime for TynerExtensionsTender MomentsSaharaBlues for Coltraneplays John Coltrane at The Village VanguardRemembering JohnRevelationsInfinity44th Street SuiteIlluminationsExpansionsLive in WarsawRound MidnightSoliloquyplays Duke EllingtonToday and TomorrowNights of Ballads and BluesLove and PeaceLand of the Giants) in varying group contexts such as trios, quartets, quintets, sextets, nonets, big band, solo
(McCoy Tyner Quartet,  “Contemplation” [personnel: Tyner, piano; Joe Henderson, tenor saxophoneRon Carter, bass; Elvin Jones, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, US, 21 April 1967])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Yet another “My”!

The egomaniacal Nigerian genocidist commander in south Igboland (1968-1970) who murdered hundreds of thousands of Igbo, destroyed innumerable Igbo towns and villages in the region, and ordered the shooting down of a relief-bearing international Red Cross aircraft to the besieged Igbo (June 1969), has just published another of his signature “My”-escapades!

Page after page in his first “My”, released in 1980, the génocidaire unwittingly (some would be less charitable in their choice of adverb) implicates himself, severally, in this heinous crime. His has since become one of the most predictable sources of the raw temperament of evil interpellated in the planning and execution of this foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa in which 3.1 million Igbo people or one-quarter of this nation’s population were murdered by Nigeria.

Igbo genocide scholars and researchers will surely be poring over the latest “My” to unearth any follow-up insights on the crime from this treasure trove.

(John Coltrane Quartet,  “Ogunde” [personnel: Coltrane, tenor saxophoneAlice Coltrane, piano; Jimmy Garrison, bass; Rashied Ali, drums; recorded: Van Geldar Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, US, 7 March 1967])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe 

FWD: Einstein on African Americans, 1946

Albert Einstein, “A Message to My Adopted Country”, written in 1946 by the physicist – from “Dead Sea Scrolls of physics”, The Digital Einstein Papers (The Collected papers of Albert Einstein), December 2014:

I am writing as one who has lived among you in America only a little more than ten years. And I am writing seriously and warningly. Many readers may ask:
“What right has he to speak about things which concern us alone, and which no newcomer should touch?”
I do not think such a standpoint is justified. One who has grown up in an environment takes much for granted. On the other hand, one who has come to this country as a mature person may have a keen eye for everything peculiar and characteristic. I believe he should speak out freely on what he sees and feels, for by so doing he may perhaps prove himself useful.
What soon makes the new arrival devoted to this country is the democratic trait among the people. I am not thinking here so much of the democratic political constitution of this country, however highly it must be praised. I am thinking of the relationship between individual people and of the attitude they maintain toward one another.
In the United States everyone feels assured of his worth as an individual. No one humbles himself before another person or class. Even the great difference in wealth, the superior power of a few, cannot undermine this healthy self-confidence and natural respect for the dignity of one’s fellow-man.
There is, however, a somber point in the social outlook of Americans. Their sense of equality and human dignity is mainly limited to men of white skins. Even among these there are prejudices of which I as a Jew am clearly conscious; but they are unimportant in comparison with the attitude of the “Whites” toward their fellow-citizens of darker complexion, particularly toward Negroes. The more I feel an American, the more this situation pains me. I can escape the feeling of complicity in it only by speaking out.
Many a sincere person will answer: “Our attitude towards Negroes is the result of unfavorable experiences which we have had by living side by side with Negroes in this country. They are not our equals in intelligence, sense of responsibility, reliability.”
I am firmly convinced that whoever believes this suffers from a fatal misconception. Your ancestors dragged these black people from their homes by force; and in the white man’s quest for wealth and an easy life they have been ruthlessly suppressed and exploited, degraded into slavery. The modern prejudice against Negroes is the result of the desire to maintain this unworthy condition.
The ancient Greeks also had slaves. They were not Negroes but white men who had been taken captive in war. There could be no talk of racial differences. And yet Aristotle, one of the great Greek philosophers, declared slaves inferior beings who were justly subdued and deprived of their liberty. It is clear that he was enmeshed in a traditional prejudice from which, despite his extraordinary intellect, he could not free himself.
A large part of our attitude toward things is conditioned by opinions and emotions which we unconsciously absorb as children from our environment. In other words, it is tradition—besides inherited aptitudes and qualities—which makes us what we are. We but rarely reflect how relatively small as compared with the powerful influence of tradition is the influence of our conscious thought upon our conduct and convictions.
It would be foolish to despise tradition. But with our growing self-consciousness and increasing intelligence we must begin to control tradition and assume a critical attitude toward it, if human relations are ever to change for the better. We must try to recognize what in our accepted tradition is damaging to our fate and dignity—and shape our lives accordingly.
I believe that whoever tries to think things through honestly will soon recognize how unworthy and even fatal is the traditional bias against Negroes.
What, however, can the man of good will do to combat this deeply rooted prejudice? He must have the courage to set an example by word and deed, and must watch lest his children become influenced by this racial bias.
I do not believe there is a way in which this deeply entrenched evil can be quickly healed.
But until this goal is reached there is no greater satisfaction for a just and well-meaning person than the knowledge that he has devoted his best energies to the service of the good cause.

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe 

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

FWD: John Coltrane Quintet, “To be”

One of the most salient readings on the relentless pursuance of life’s choices and purpose – John Coltrane’s composition, “To be” (1967)

– personnel: Coltrane, flute; Pharaoh Sanders, flute, piccolo, tambourine; Alice Coltrane, piano; Jimmy Garrison, bass; Rashied Ali, drums (recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, US, 15 February 1967)

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Monday, 8 December 2014

89th birthday of Jimmy Smith

(Born 8 December 1925, Norristown, Pennsylvania, US)
Celebrated inventive organist and prolific composer who significantly promotes the use of the Hammond B-3 organ as an instrument in jazz in the early 1950s and whose influence on subsequent organists in the repertoire has been immensely profound
(Jimmy Smith Trio, “The sermon” [personnel: Smith, organ; QuentinWarren, guitar; Billy Hart, drums; recorded: BBC TV, {?} 1964])

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe  

Friday, 5 December 2014

Of course they know it’s Christmas!

Net-capital exporters (exiting Africa)
For the past 33 years, i.e. since 1981, Africa has uninterruptedly been a net-exporter of capital to the West World. The thundering sum of US$400 billion is the total figure that Africa has transferred to the West in this manner to date (for background and dynamics of these transfers, see Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe, Readings from Reading: Essays on African Politics, Genocide, Literature, 2011: 41-42, 176-177). These are legitimate, accountable transfers, largely covering the ever-increasing interest payments for the “debts” the West claims African regimes owe it, beginning from the 1970s. A 2010 study by Global Financial Integrity, a Washington-based research organisation, shows that Africa may have also transferred the additional sum of US$854 billion since the 1970s (“this figure might be more than double, at [US]$1.8 trillion”, the study cautions – GFI, “Illicit financial flows from Africa: Hidden resource for development”, Washington, 2010)  through illegitimate exports by the “leaderships” of corrupt African regimes – with genocidist and kakistocratic Nigeria topping this infamous league at US$240.7 billion externalised. In effect, the typical state, in contemporary Africa, no longer pretends that it exists to serve its peoples.

Furthermore, and this might appear paradoxical,  trade figures and associated data readily obtainable indicate that these same African states have performed their utmost, year in, year out, in that key variable for which their European World creators established them in the first place: redoubts for export services of designated mineralogical/agricultural products to the European World/overseas. Despite their perfunctory “failed-state” statuses in many a study, despite their predictable dominance in  “worst- corrupt- states”’ annual league tables, despite their dreadful profiles on multiple  global quality of life surveys, there are no indications, whatsoever, that any of these African countries has found it difficult to fulfil its principal “obligations” to the world on this accord. Each and everyone succeeds, very much, to play their accorded role in “international relations” in spite of their immiseration!

The crucial African capital exports referred to, legitimate or/and illegitimate, are funds of gargantuan proportions. These funds are produced by the same humanity that many a commentator or campaign project, especially outside Africa, would be quick to categorise as “poor” and “needy” for “foreign aid”. In these past 33 years, the funds could and should easily have provided a comprehensive healthcare programme across Africa to respond robustly to particularly public health emergencies,  the establishment of schools, colleges and skills’ training, the construction of an integrative communication network, the transformation of agriculture to abolish the scourge of malnutrition, hunger and starvation, and, finally, it would have stemmed the emigration of 25 million Africans, including vital  sectors of the continent’s middle classes and intellectuals,  to the Americas, Europe, Asia and elsewhere in the world since the 1980s.

Primary capital exporters (Africa-bound)

Yet, despite these grim times of net-capital exporting  economies and failed and collapsing states in Africa, it shouldn’t ever be forgotten that those who still ensure that the situation on the ground is not much worse for the peoples than it is, are Africans – individuals, working alone, conscientiously, or working in concert with others or within a larger group to feed, clothe, house, educate and provide healthcare and some leisure to immediate and extended families, communities, neighbourhoods, villages and the like. To cap these phenomenal strides of Africans, the 25 million African émigrés mentioned earlier presently constitute the primary exporters of capital to Africa itself. Africans now dispatch more money to Africa than “West aid” to the continent, year in, year out. In 2003, according to the World Bank, these African overseas residents sent to Africa the impressive sum of US$200 billion – invested directly in their communities (World Bank, “Migrant Labor Remittances in Africa”, Africa Regional Paper Series, No. 64, Washington, November 2003: 12). This is 40 times the sum of “West aid” in real terms in the same year – i.e., when the pervasive “overheads” attendant to the latter are accounted for (cf. Fairouz El Tom, “Do NGOs practise what they preach?”, Pambazuka News, 15 May 2013).

In a sentence:  The African humanity, at home and in the diaspora, currently generates, overwhelmingly, the capital resource that at once sustains its very existence and is intriguingly exported to the West World. It is precisely the same humanity that those who benefit immeasurably from this conundrum (over several decades and are guaranteed to benefit indefinitely from it, except this is stopped by Africans themselves) have consistently portrayed, quite perversely, as a “charity case”. The notion that Africans are in any way dependent on a European World/West World or any other “handout” overseas is at best a myth or at worst an all-out lie perpetuated by a circle of academics and in the media who in fact in the not-too-distant-past would have been in the vanguard “justifying”/“rationalising” African enslavement or/and the conquest and occupation of Africa. Surely, this historic big lie of characterisation can no longer be sustained. Appositely, it is inconceivable that there could be any doubts now that it is plain gibberish to quote some African “debt” to the West.  

(Jackie McLean Sextet, “Appointment in Ghana” [personnel: McLean, alto saxophone; Blue Mitchell, trumpet; Tina Brooks, tenor saxophone; Kenny Drew, piano; Paul Chambers, bass; Art Taylor, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, US, 1 September 1960])  
Free Africa or post-“Berlin state” Africa
Africa is endowed with the human resource and capital resource (in all its calibration and manifestation) to build advanced civilisations of their choosing, provided Africans abandon the prevailing “Berlin-states” they have been forced into by pan-Europe as we now demonstrate. It is an inexplicable and inexcusable tragedy that any African child, woman, or man could go without food in the light of the staggering endowment of resources in Africa. Africa constitutes a spacious, rich and arable landmass that can support its population, which is still one of the world’s least densely populated and distributed, into the indefinite future.

The factors which have contributed to determining the very poor quality of life in Africa presently have to do with the gross misuse of the continent’s resources year in, year out. This is thanks to an asphyxiating “Berlin-state” whose strategic resources are used largely to support the West World and others and an overseer-grouping of local forces which exists solely to police the dire straits of existence that is the lot of the average African. The “Berlin-state” indeed arrests African development and transformation. It is intrinsically not dissimilar to the African-enslaved estates in the Americas established by pan-Europe in the 15th century (CE) and, during the course of 400 subsequent years, a leveraging tripod for the latter’s conquest of the world. Africans have not ceased to produce unimaginable range and levels of wealth primarily for the West, begun 500 years ago. Consequently, the broad sectors of African peoples are yet to lead, centrally, the entire process of societal reconstruction and transformation by themselves. So, this envisaged liberatory trajectory is untenable for African constituent nations with evidently distinct histories, cultures, worldviews and aspirations, encased in the agglomeration of inchoate, inorganic and alienating “Berlin-state” . In contrast, the “state-of- Berlin” serves the West most handsomely as its 21st century “leveraging tripod” of hegemony.

African peoples, constituent nations and nationalities, must now build the states of their choice, the states of their aspirations. This is their right and it is inalienable. Africa must utilise the immense resources abound for the benefit of its own peoples in new, radically decentred states

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Thursday, 4 December 2014

FWD: Call for papers for publication: Chukwuemeka Ike – 50 years as trail blazing novelist & global icon (1965-2015)

Chukwuemeka Ike’s first novel, Toads for Supper, was published in London in April 1965. 2015 marks his Golden Jubilee as a published novelist (or storyteller). During this period, Ike established himself as a “relevant novelist” as distinguished critic Ezenwa Ohaeto describes him. Ike’s novels beam the searchlight on various facets of life: child upbringing (The Potter’s Wheel, Anu Ebu Nwa – in Igbo); life in high school/secondary school (The Bottled Leopard, Expo ’77); life at college/university (Toads for Supper, The Naked Gods, Toads for Ever); the generation gap (Our Children Are Coming!); the nation/state (The Search, Conspiracy of Silence); Nigeria-Biafra War (Sunset at Dawn); a multinational organization (The Chicken Chasers). As Professor Chinua Achebe stated in Lagos at the presentation of Ike’s Expo ’77 on 28 April 1981 (Ike’s 50th birthday), “Chukwuemeka Ike has explored a wider spectrum of Nigerian life than any other novelist. Each of his six novels takes a different perspective in our story, drawing its material from a different facet of his own rich and diverse experience.” Ike published a collection of short stories (The Accra Riviera) and a fictional US-based travelogue (To My Husband, From Iowa) in which he sees the US, Latin America and South-East Asia through the eyes of a Nigerian female creative writer. His book, The Bottled Leopard was reproduced for the French as Fils De Panthere, adding a few million readers to his global audience.
As a non-fiction writer, Ike wrote a scholarly book (University Development in Africa: The Nigerian Experience) and a do-it-yourself book (How To Become A Published Writer). He co-edited University of Nigeria 1960-85: An Experiment in Higher Education, and edited six books related to book publishing and the reading culture. He also wrote four monographs. Professor Kanchana Ugbabe, in her introduction to the book, Chukwuemeka Ike: A Critical Reader (2001), writes: “Ike’s work…serves an important bridging function between serious and popular literature… Ike’s primary concern has been to communicate with his audience through the storyteller’s art… He is an engaging writer whose thematic range and innovations in style… have kept his works continually in the public eye. Though the world Ike deals with is a small one, the village… the boarding school, the university campus, Ike cannot be accused of provincialism. His insights into envy, jealousy and power struggles in this small world, leads us to an understanding of similar issues in the world at large. Ike is also one of the strong voices in urban literature in Africa.” Professor Ugbabe regrets that “a writer who has made such an impact on the reading public… has not to date received much critical acclaim.” This was in 1991.
The situation has since changed! In April 2008, the US- based African Literature Association (ALA) conferred on Ike its 2008 Fonlon-Nichols Award for Excellence in Creative Writing and Outstanding Contribution to the Struggle for Human Rights and Freedom of Expression. At home in Nigeria, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria conferred the Nigerian National Order of Merit (NNOM) Award on H.M. Eze Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike, OFR. NNOM is Nigeria’s highest and most prestigious national prize for academic and intellectual attainment. Ike became the second Novelist to receive the award since its inauguration in 1979, the first being Chinua Achebe.
The 2015 Golden Jubilee will be a golden opportunity to celebrate the elder statesman Chukwuemeka Ike’s achievements as a leading, internationally acclaimed novelist of Nigerian birth. It should also be the catalyst for establishing the infrastructure for sustainable literary creativity in Nigeria. Meanwhile, readers, critics and scholars who have indicated the intention of writing on Ike’s numerous books and his style and global impact, have been encouraged to send their contributions to the landmark book on Ike not later than 28 February 2015 to enable the editors to ensure it is published in the first quarter of 2015.
Scholars, critics, students and informed fans/readers of Ike’s books: You are all invited to send in papers written on any of Ike’s fiction AND non-fiction books for the forthcoming landmark book titled: Chukwuemeka Ike- The Leopard Unbottled: 50 Years as a Trail Blazing Novelist and Global Cultural Icon

Papers may also examine any or all of the following:

1. Moulding the Child for Responsible Citizenship: The Potter’s Wheel – the first novel on the Nigerian Child

2. Moulding the Teenager for Responsible Citizenship: The Bottled Leopard

3. Expo ’77 – the first Nigerian detective novel.

4. Moulding the Undergraduate for Responsible Citizenship: Toads for Supper, The Naked Gods, Our Children Are Coming, Toads For Ever

5. Closing the Generation Gap: Our Children Are Coming

6. War as an Instrument for National Reconciliation: Sunset at Dawn

7. Fostering Enduring National Unity and Co-existence: The Search

8. Addressing Major Societal Problems: Conspiracy of Silence, The Search

9. A glimpse of the Multinational scene: The Chicken Chasers

10. Helping Budding Writers: How To Become A Published Writer

11. Ike’s exploration of “a wider spectrum of Nigerian life than any other novelist”

12. Ike’s Short Stories: The Accra Riviera, etc., etc

13. Ike as a Non-Fiction Writer: University Development in Africa: The Nigerian Experience, How To Become A Published Writer

14. Ike’s contribution to National Book Development

15. Ike’s transformation to and commentary as a “Woman”: To My Husband From Iowa

16. Ike in the hands of Literary Scholars

17. The Man Behind the Mask: Behold Chukwuemeka Ike.

18. Ike’s style.

19. Ike’s themes.

20. Ike’s impact as an International Writer of Nigerian birth.

21. Ike’s role in developing sustainable literary creativity

22. Ike’s role in sustainable Nigerian Book Development

23. An overall assessment of Ike’s success as “relevant writer”

24. Ike as a Strong Voice in African Urban Literature

25. Ike’s art as Storyteller.

26. Chukwuemeka Ike-The Storyteller in National Development.

27. Any other area of interest to you.

*****Please email papers to The Editor, not later than midnight 28 February 2015 to: Prince Osita Ike,  phone: +2348033157657, +2348023114900

Activities will start in April 2015 (Toads For Supper’s 50th publication anniversary) and spread through the 2015

For now, activity centres will be

1. Abuja – Tuesday 21 April 2015 – Merit House, Maitama, in collaboration with NNMA Secretariat and NCAC: the National Council for Arts and Culture

2. Igbariam, Odumegwu Ojukwu University– Monday 27 April 2015

3. Lagos - Tuesday 5 May 2015, 100.00am – the Nigerian International Book Fair at the University of Lagos, in collaboration with Learn Africa Plc. and his publishers.

4. Ibadan -- Wednesday 6 May 2015 - in collaboration with his publishers- University Press Plc, HEBN &Spectrum

5. UNN (Nsukka) – Tuesday 12 MAY 2015, 11am, Princess Alexandra Auditorium

6. Government College, Umuahia – Wednesday 20 May 2015

7. University of Jos, Jos – Tuesday 16 June 2015, in the main campus auditorium

8. Accra- July 2015: a one-day event at PAWA House, in collaboration with WAEC (PAWA is the Pan African Writers’ Association)

9. Ndike/Awka (UNIZIK), 2015

10. In the US, Stanford University was a thought since he is an alumnus.

At each event, Chukwuemeka Ike’s books will be on sale and the author will autograph copies bought

International Organizing Committee
December 2014

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe