Wednesday, 29 January 2014

60th birthday of Oprah Winfrey

(Born 29 January 1954, Kosciusko, MS, US)

Actress, presenter, The Oprah Winfrey Show popular television interviewing series, 1986-2011, entrepreneur, philanthropist 

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Sunday, 26 January 2014

FWD: Celebrating Chinua Achebe’s legacy

We are organising a conference to commemorate Chinua Achebe’s work and influence, and to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Arrow of God, which many consider Achebe’s greatest novel.  The conference will be held at the University of London Senate House, October 24-25, 2014, and will consist of keynotes and readings by leading writers, alongside a round table discussion featuring Professor Simon Gikandi and other distinguished academics. 

We also envisage several carefully selected panel discussions, one or more focussing on Arrow of God, and one or more considering Achebe’s legacy and influence. We invite proposals for 20 minute panel presentations, and are particularly interested in papers which offer new and innovative approaches to Arrow of God or which examine contemporary writing. 

Please send abstracts of not more than 200 words to Professor Lyn Innes ( no later than April 16, 2014. Those chosen to participate in the panels will be notified by the end of May.

Conference Organizing Committee: Dr Alastair Niven (Chair); Professor Lyn Innes; Dr Mark Mathuray (Royal Holloway, London);  Dr Zoe Norridge (Kings College London); Dr Ranka Primorac (Southampton)

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79th birthday of Ivan Van Sertima

(Born 26 January 1935, Karina, Guyana)

 Poet, linguist, journalist, historian, academic and author of the seminal They Came Before Columbus (1976) which explores thousands of years of African relationship with the peoples of the Americas, prior to the European invasion of these west continents beginning in the 15th century

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Friday, 24 January 2014

140th birthday of Arthur Schomburg

(Born 24 January 1874, Santurce, Puerto Rico)
Historian, writer, activist archivist on sources and resources on African history in the Americas and Europe, 1900-1938, and seminal contributor to the Harlem Renaissance, beginning in 1919, with New York public library’s Schomburg Center for research in African American culture named in his honour

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African World History Month season and Rethinking Africa

In another couple of weeks or so, Africans in varying regions of the African World outside continental Africa, particularly those in the Americas and later on in Europe and Australasia, embark on the annual African World History Month of teaching, discussion, debating, exhibition and the multifaceted stream of cultural activity to celebrate 6000 years of African history: from Kemet (“ancient Egypt”) to Biafra, from ancient Ghana (contemporary Sénégal, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, part of west Mali) to Gĩkũyũland and Ethiopia of east Africa, from the Atlas Mountains of the north to South Africa, from Canada and the United States to Uruguay and Brazil, from Panama/Jamaica/Haiti/Cuba  across the Caribbean to Trinidad/St Lucia/St Kitts & Nevis/Barbados, from Colombia/Venezuela to Guyana/Surinam, from Britain/Europe to Australasia… 

Subject, agency, history

Organisers, teachers and students of the programme are warmly reminded of Rethinking Africa, the rigorously studious reference and dependable companion as ever. In Rethinking Africa, African World history is live, continuous, daily, now – not just seasonal, as Carter G Woodson, himself, would approve. Visit Rethinking Africa daily, all year round, and explore its vast archive which includes commentaries, essays, reports/reviews of publications, conferences, seminars, debates, lectures, concerts, festivals...  and snap biographical sketches on persons and anniversaries of occurrences across the African World that are at once succinct profiles and earmarked opportunities for further reading, analysis, and research. Here, Africa, Africans, wherever they are in the world, are subjects and agencies of history. Find out, for instance, why the survival of the Igbo people from the Igbo genocide of 29 May 1966-12 January 1970, the foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa, executed by Nigeria, is one of the most extraordinarily emancipatory developments of recent history. Why are Nelson Mandela and Chinua Achebe the dual-colossi of 20th century African renaissance? As director Steve McQueen and actor Chiwetel Ejiofor currently remind the world of the saliency of African resistance in the enslaved emplacements of the United States, what does CLR James’s classic, Black Jacobins (1938), tell us about that historic African uprising in the west Caribbean of the late 18th century/early19th century? What are the lessons of San Domingo today? What is the title of another classic on African enslavement in the Americas published in 1944 by the African Trinidadian historian, Eric Williams? What are James Baldwin’s and Toni Morrison’s contributions to African American letters and history? Why is Kenneth Onwuka Dike’s reconstructionary scholarship on African history so seminal? What does “civil war” really mean ( and why is “sub-Sahara Africa” such a repugnant racist epithet? ( Who employs “sub-Sahara Africa”? Why? 

What epistemology does Flora Nwapa inaugurate in 1966 when she publishes the novel, Efuru? Who are marching along her illustrious path presently? What identical every day-used, important personal product does 20th century/21st century philosopher Cornel West share with men and women of Kemet, 5000 years ago? Why is the role of Cheikh Anta Diop’s near-40 years of scholarship on Kemet of such vital importance? How has agriculture played a crucial role in the development of African civilisations across the continent’s regions and epochs? What is the extent of the research and inventions of George Washington Carver to contemporary society, worldwide? What business does 20th continental African entrepreneur Louis-Philip Ojukwu share with 19th century African American entrepreneur Paul Cuffee? What is the “Berlin-state” in Africa? Who are its beneficiaries? Why does the “Berlin-state” have no future for African peoples? What are the alternatives to this state?

Intellectuals: Freedom

In a word, what is it about the African that is the central preoccupation in the lives and work of the following intellectuals? Olaudah Equiano, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Chinua Achebe, Ida B Wells, CLR James, Christopher Okigbo, Toni Morrison, Malcolm X, Léopold Sédar Senghor, James Baldwin, Louis Mbanefo, Alain Locke, Kenneth Onwuka Dike, Arthur Schomburg, WEB Du Bois, Duke Ellington, Sojourner Truth, Ignatius Sancho, Charlotte Gardens, Claude McKay, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Frederick Douglass, Mary Seacole, Daniel Hale Williams, Carter G Woodson, Patrice Lumumba, Edward Kamau Brathwaite, Eubie Blake, Maulana Karenga, Cheikh Anta Diop, Akanu Ibiam, Louis Armstrong, Flora Nwapa, Thelonious Monk, Théophile Obenga, Paul Robeson, Ann Petry, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Edward Wilmot Blyden, Amilcar Cabral, Langston Hughes, Tchicaya U Tam’si, Palmer Hayden, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Mordecai Wyatt Johnson, Horace Pipping, Nicolás Guillén, Aimé Césaire, Kwame Nkrumah, Margaret Danner, Ladipo Solanke, Frantz Fanon, Martin Delaney, Chike Obi, Dean Dixon, Ossie Davis, Julius Nyerere, Noble Lee Sissle, Felix Oragwu, Agostinho Neto, Charlie Parker, Bessie Head, Pius Okigbo, Ruby Dee, Maurice Bishop, Nikki Giovanni, Emmanuel Obiechina, Kofi Awoonor, Chancellor Williams, Léon-Gontran Damas, Gwendolyn Brooks, Percy Lavon Julian, Eric Williams, Mbonu Ojike, Mahaila Jackson, Charles Drew, Okot p’Bitek, Billie Holiday, George Lamming, Sterling Brown, Adiele Afigbo, George Russell, Arna Bontemps, Sydney Poitier, Margaret Walker, John Coltrane, Steve Biko, Era Bell Thomson, E Franklin Frazier, Alexander Animalu, Charles Mingus, Alioune Diop, George Bridgetower, Michael Echeruo, Ornette Coleman, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Don Cherry,  Constance Baker Motley, Stevie Wonder, Benedict Obumselu, Grace Ogot, Molefi Kete Asante, Ivan Van Sertima, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, Countee Cullen, James Brown, Paul Revere Williams, Ifeanyi Menkiti, Harriet Tubman, Ray Charles, Sonia Sanchez, Théophile Obenga, George Washington Carver, Walter Rodney, Mariama Bâ, Paul Chambers, Cornel West, Miles Davis, George James, Max Roach, John Henrik Clarke, Elvin Jones, Amiri Baraka, Ama Ata Aidoo, JC Moses,  McCoy Tyner, Peter Tosh,  Sonny Simmons, Andrew Hill, Ousmane Sembéne, Paule Marshall, Wynton Kelly, Adu Bohen, Eric Dolphy, John Tchicai, Clifford Jordan, Jewel Plummer Cobb, Jaki Byard, Prince Lasha, Mal Waldron, Abbey Lincoln, Danny Glover, Bob Marley, Horace Silver, Oscar Peterson, Mariamba Ani, Dannie Richmond, Uzo Egonu, Eddie Khan, Gani Fawehinmi, Johnny Coles, Ayi Kwei Armah, Archie Shepp, Ifeanyi Menkiti, Richard Williams, Faye Harrison, Ihechukwu Madubuike, Ray Brown, Archie Mafeje, Ishmael Reed, Dudu Pukwana, Obiora Udechukwu, Mĩcere Gĩthae Mũgo, Valentine Mudimbe, Wangari Maathai, Bob Marley, Simon Gikandi, Herbie Hancock, Jimmy Garrison, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Ed Thigpen, Carole Boyce Davies, Spike Lee, Zeal Onyia, Denzel Washington, Hilary Beckles, David Murray,  Esiaba Irobi, Thomas Sankara, Rita Dove, Tony Medina: Freedom

(Max Roach Quintet, featuring Abbey Lincoln, “All Africa” [personnel: Roach, drums; Lincoln, vocals; Clifford Jordan, tenor saxophone; Coleridge Perkinson, piano; Eddie Khan, bass; recorded: Belgian television, January{?}1964])
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Monday, 20 January 2014

187th birthday of Hiram Rhodes Revels

(Born 20 January 1827, Fayetteville, NC, US)
Theologian, educator, Republican party politician, elected first African American senator in the US senate, February 1870, representing Mississippi 

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Sunday, 19 January 2014

96th birthday of John Harold Johnson

(Born 19 January 1918, Arkansas City, US)
Publisher (including the influential title, Ebony) and versatile entrepreneur

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Saturday, 18 January 2014

158th birthday of Daniel Hale Williams

(Born 18 January 1856, Holidaysbury, Penn, US)
Influential surgeon, one of the pioneers of open-heart surgery, founder of Chicago’s Provident Hospital in1891 that plays a crucial role in African American health provision and care in the region during the epoch

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Friday, 17 January 2014

90th birthday of Jewel Plummer Cobb

(Born 17 January 1924, Chicago, US)
Renowned biologist specialising in cancer research, academic, and president (vice-chancellor) of California State University, Fullerton, 1981-1990

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83rd birthday of Douglas Wilder

(Born 17 January 1931, Richmond, VA, US)
Lawyer, Democratic party politician, becomes first African American governor in the US when he wins the governor’s election contest in the state of Virginia, 8 November 1989 

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255th birthday of Paul Cufee

(Born 17 January 1759, Cuttyhunk Is, Mass, US)
Leading abolitionist of African enslavement, sailor, successful and expansive businessperson, owner of a shipping conglomerate, founder of schools and promoter of educational opportunities for African Americans as well as others, actively involved in the early 19th century’s African American and African British return-to-Sierra Leone projects 

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Wednesday, 15 January 2014

85th birthday of Martin Luther King

(Born 15 January 1929, Atlanta, US)
One of the most outstanding human rights activists in history

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Monday, 13 January 2014

83rd birthday of Flora Nwapa

(Born 13 January 1931, Ugwuta, Igboland)
First continental African woman published novelist (Efuru, 1966, and, soon after, Idu, which she begins to work on at the onset of the Igbo genocide and later publishes in 1970) whose landmark work as well as that of sociologist Kamene Okonjo’s open up the expanse of possibilities in Igbo Women/African World Studies within which the subsequent scholarship, practice, artistry and writings of especially the following have richly flourished: Adaora Lily Ulasi, Felicia Ekejiuba, Zulu Sofola, Helen Chukwuma, Phanuel Egejuru, Buchi Emecheta, Osonye Tess Onwueme, Obioma Nnaemeka, Onyeka Onwenu, Ada Udechukwu, Genevieve Onyuike,  Chinyere Kalu, Felicia Eke, Anthonia Kalu, Joy Ogwu, Ifi Amadiume, Nkiru Nzegwu, Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo, Catherine Acholonu, Ama Ogan, Gloria Chuku, Stella Chinyelu Okoli, Ijeoma Uchegbu, Irene Iroche, Evelyn Oputu, Ifeoma Okoye, Chi-Chi Nwanoku, Rose Adaure Njoku, Chris Anyanwu, Obiageli Ezekwesili, Bianca Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Arunma Oteh, Viola Onwuliri, Francisca Okeke, Stella Oduah, Amaka Igwe, Juliana Onwumere, Eucharia Nwaichi, Maureen Ngozi Eke, Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, Ada Uzoamaka Azodo, Okwuonicha Nzegwu, Carole Ijeoma Njoku, Ngozi Onwurah, Chinelo Achebe-Ejueyitche, Adaeze Ifezulike, Unoma Azuah, Nnenna Okore, Chinasa Ogbuagu, Obiageli Okigbo, Chi Onwurah, Nwando Achebe, Gloria Ernest-Samuel, Joanna Chikwe, Amara Okereke, Chinelo Okparanta, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Amaka Osakwe, Amara Enyia, Chioma Okereke, Chinwe Ozoegwu, Adaora Udoji, Uzoamaka Maduka, Ogo Offodile, Chinyelu “ChiChi” Offodile

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44th anniversary of Nigeria’s launch of phase-IV of the Igbo genocide

On 13 January 1970, Nigeria launches phase-IV of the Igbo genocide, foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa, which now  focuses on the degrading/dismantling of the surviving frames of the economy of Igboland, pulverised during phases-I-III of the previous 44 months, intertwined, gruesomely, by spates and stretches of pogroms that have continued unabated, as catalogued in the following link, especially from sub-title phase-IV:

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Sunday, 12 January 2014

124th birthday of Mordecai Wyatt Johnson

(Born 12 January 1890, Paris, TN, US)
Economist and theologian, first African American president (vice-chancellor) of Howard University (1926-1960) during which the university attracted a range of luminaries to teaching positions including the philosopher Alain Locke, poet Sterling Brown, surgeon Charles Drew, political scientist Ralph Bunche and chemist Percy Lavon Julian

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Friday, 10 January 2014

“MINT” and all that…

One should take these fair-weather, illusory, “just-feel-good-about-yourself-despite-the-obvious”-brand of socioeconomic projections and typologisations ( with a pinch of salt: the previous day it was called NEPAD, yesterday it was BRICS, today it is “MINT”, tomorrow it could be “CLICK”, and following day, “ZYBTV” and on and on it goes... Essentially, the brand is a variation on the theme of the cargo-mentality amnesia but this is quite factitious and more pernicious than the prototype (

 One cardinal feature of development/societal transformation never posed in these projections is the internally-operationalising logic of the process. The engine of such an enterprise is anchored within the internal environment of focusDevelopment couldn’t, really, be anything except it is understood in the context of the internal defining frames and goals of the communitarian or societal space in question: Britain characterises and determines its development; Igboland characterises and determines its development; China characterises and determines its development; Malaysia characterises and determines its development... South Korea characterises and determines its development… the United States characterises and determines its development... Following from this, “outsiders” often recognise that such a societal space of reference is undergoing this historic, phenomenal transformation well after this process has very much steamed ahead. Not before!

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99th birthday of Dean Dixon

(Born 10 January 1915, Harlem, New York, US)
Versatile conductor in a career stretching for 45 years, beginning in 1931, he occupies both principal and guest orchestral conducting positions at home and abroad – Sweden, Germany, Austria, Britain, Israel, Australia, Mexico

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90th birthday of Max Roach

(Born 10 January 1924, Newland, NC, US)
 Drummer, one of the influential innovators of the be-bop jazz revolution of the 1940s-1950s with fellow-drummer Kenny Clarke and lead proponents Charlie Parker (alto saxophone), Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet), Thelonious Monk (piano) and Bud Powell (piano) and later Charles Mingus (bass) and Miles Davis (trumpet), influential band leader, composer, academic

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Tuesday, 7 January 2014

124th anniversary of the patenting of William B Purvis’s fountain pen

William Purvis (Philadelphia, US) patents his fountain pen invention, 7 January 1890, and reflects, quite perceptibly: “[T]he object of my invention is to provide a simple, durable and inexpensive construction of the fountain pen adapted to general use and which may be carried in the pocket”

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Sunday, 5 January 2014

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe, “França: A invasäo como politica externa”, O Povo,* Fortaleza, 5 January 2014

In Portuguese:

English version:

France: Invasion as foreign policy

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe**

Since the 1960s, there has been a persistent populist myth in North World-South World international politics and relations that the country that retains the “accolade” as the North World’s most interventionist power in the South is the United States. Interestingly, this remains the case as a myth! In reality, though, this unenviable “accolade” in global politics is in fact not held by the United States but France. And the South’s geographical focus where France appears not to have anything else but invasion as its own definitive credo in foreign policy is Africa.

France is into its second week of the invasion of the Central African Republic (CAR) currently. It is its second invasion of the CAR in 11 years. More importantly, this is the 52nd French invasion of the so-called francophonie Africa countries since 1960. In early 2013, it invaded Mali (invasion no. 51); in 2011, it spearheaded the invasion of Libya (no. 50) which also involved Britain and the United States; in 2010, it invaded Côte d’Ivoire, its no. 49 since 1960.

“Francophonie” Africa constitutes a total of 22 countries, mostly in west, northeast, central and southeast Africa (Indian Ocean) that France conquered and occupied in Africa during the course of the pan-European invasion of Africa during the 15th-19th centuries. Despite presumed restoration of independence, since the 1960s, France, right from the post-World War II leadership of Charles de Gaulle to the current François Hollande’s,  has such glaring contempt for the notion of “sovereignty” in these “francophonie” Africa. Indeed, in practice, the “Brezhnev Doctrine” of the Cold War Soviet Union that had constricted the sovereignty of the contiguous east European alliance-states, within the strict ambience of the Warsaw Treaty universe, is a far more progressive relationship.

For France, the CAR and the rest of “francophonie” Africa are France’s personal property in perpetuity. Keeping a stranglehold on these countries enables France, with an astonishingly fragile, struggling economy, to scoop gargantuan levels of capital, mineralogical and agricultural resources that it couldn’t ever generate in its own homeland. Furthermore, so brutally a double-jeopardy, Africans, themselves, pay for these invasions of Africa by France as the political economist Gary Busch shows in his 2011 excellent research on the subject with the stunning title “Africans pay for the bullets the French use to kill them”. Busch draws the world’s attention to the key “settlement documents” mapped out by France, back in 1960, that marks its envisaged future relations with “francophonie” Africa:
France is holding billions of dollars owned by African [“francophonie”] states in its own accounts and invested in the French bourse … [“Francophonie”] African states deposit the equivalent of 85% of their annual reserves in [dedicated Paris] accounts as a matter of post-[conquest] agreements and have never been given an accounting on how much the French are holding on their behalf, in what these funds been invested, and what profit or loss there have been.
It is precisely because of this French blanket control of the critical finances of “francophonie” Africa that no French president (from de Gaulle to Hollande) has found it necessary to go to the national assembly and seek authorisation in any of the 52 invasions of Africa in 54 years not to mention seek a franc or euro to fund the escapade! In essence, France appropriates crucial African financial resources reserved and controlled in Paris to invade Africa and secure even more African resources…

In March 1998, socialist French President François Mitterand told an interviewer that “Without Africa, France will have no history in the 21st century”. This sentiment is underscored by Jacques Godfrain, former head, French foreign ministry, also in the same interview, who frames his own response in vivid geostrategic terms: “A little country, with a small amount of strength, we can move a planet because [of our] … relations with 15 or 20 African countries”. Ten years later, in 2008, President Chirac still indulges in this French obsession to control Africa in perpetuity when he intones: “[W]ithout Africa, France will slide down into the rank of a third (world) power”.  Following from these declarations, it is evident that Africa is at once the opportunity and the limit of French foreign policy impact in the contemporary world.

Inevitably, the dual prime questions of the age must be: When will the Africans involved in this staggering 21st century subjugation bring it to an end? Isn’t it now obvious that “francophonie” CAR, Mali, Niger, Congo Democratic Republic, Congo Republic, Burundi, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, whatever, cannot hold?

*Brazilian daily
**Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe is a specialist on the state and on genocides and wars in Africa and visiting professor, Universidade de Fortaleza

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76th birthday of Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o

(Born 5 January 1938, Kamĩrĩĩthũ, Kenya)
Novelist, playwright, essayist, conscience and treasured dissident voice in these turbulent times in the African World, indefatigable promoter of publishing in African languages as he, himself, has done consistently in the Gĩkũyũ beginning in the late 1970s when he publishes Caitaani Mũtharabainĩ which he later translates into English as Devil on the Cross (1980)

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150th birthday of George Washington Carver

(B ?Jan 1864, Diamond, Mo, US; d 5 Jan 1943, Tuskegee, US)
Botanist/multidisciplinary scientist, multifaceted inventor, educator
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Saturday, 4 January 2014

113th birthday of CLR James

(Born 4 January 1901, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago)
Revolutionary marxist theorist and philosopher, author of the classic, The Black Jacobins (1938), on the enslaved African historic uprising in Frances conquered and occupied San Domingo, the Caribbean, in the 1790s, in which the Africans defeat the French and its pan-European naval and land forces’ allies and proclaim the Republic of Haiti, 1804, a victory whose profound consequences are etched indelibly in the psyche of the French Establishment as it relates to Africans and the African World

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Friday, 3 January 2014

Rotimi Amaechi reveals!

Thursday 2 January 2014 – Rotimi Amaechi, speaking on AIT television: “… Jonathan has developed Abia, and Imo but he refused to develop Rivers. Are we Biafrans?” (  In a swoop, albeit unwittingly, Rotimi Amaechi, head of regime of the Rivers administrative region, alludes to a critical plank of phase-IV of the Igbo genocide by Nigeria, beginning on 13 January 1970, which focuses on the non-development/dismantling of the economy of Igboland – Africa’s most resourceful and enterprising, prio to the genocide. Extraordinary! To underscore the historic significance of Amaechi’s declaration, readers are invited to click on the follow-up link and note, particularly, material under subtitle “Phase-IV..”
Whoever says history isn’t so incorrigibly fascinating?!

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Wednesday, 1 January 2014

84th birthday of Victor Uchendu

(Born 1 January 1930, Nsirimo, Igboland)
Sociologist and one of the leading scholars on Igbo civilisation

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91st birthday of Ousmane Sembéne

(Born 1 January 1923, Ziguinchor, Sénégal)
Father of African Cinema

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