Wednesday, 29 April 2015

116th birthday of Duke Ellington

(Born 29 April 1899, Washington, DC, United States)
Pianist and bandleader and one of the preeminent composers of the 20th century

(1. Three masters at work: Duke Ellington Trio, “Fleurette Africaine” {“African flower”} [personnel: Ellington, piano; Charles Mingus, bass; Max Roach, drums; recorded: Sound Makers Studios, New York, 17 September 1962)])
(2. Three masters at work: Duke Ellington Trio, “Warm valley” [personnel: Ellington, piano; Mingus, bass; Roach, drums; recording and other details as in“1”  above])
(3. Three masters at work: Duke Ellington Trio, “Money jungle” [personnel: Ellington, piano; Mingus, bass; Roach, drums; recording and other details as in “1” above])

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

84th birthday of Chukwuemeka Ike

(28 April 1931, Ndikelionwu, Igboland)
Novelist, university registrar, academic, Africa west region principal pre-college qualifying examination board (WAEC) administrator, one of the leading intellectuals in defence of the people during the Igbo genocide, 29 May 1966-12 January 1970
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe 

79th birthday of John Tchicai

(Born 28 April 1936, Copenhagen, Denmark)
Ingenious alto (and tenor) saxophonist, composer, bandleader

(The New York Contemporary Five plays Bill Dixon’s composition, “Trio” – [personnel: Archie Shepp, tenor saxophone; Don Cherry, pocket trumpet;  Tchicai, alto saxophone; Don Moore, bass; JC Moses, drums [recorded: live, Jazzhus Montmarte, Copenhagen, Denmark, 15 November 1963][note particularly Tchicai’s ethereal solo - first - at this session])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe 

Sunday, 26 April 2015

98th birthday of Ella Fitzgerald

(Born 25 April 1917, Newport News, Virginia, US)
Celebrated vocalist with a phenomenal vocal range and an illustrious recording career spanning six decades
(Ella Fitzgerald and the Tee Carson Trio, “Summertime” [personnel: Fitzgerald, vocals; Carson, piano; Ketter Betts, bass; Joe Harris, drums; recorded: live, Deutschlandhalle, Berlin, Germany, 11 February 1968])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

FWD: Lovelyn Chidinma Nwadeyi on South Africa

(Lovelyn Chidinma Nwadeyi)
My name is Lovelyn Chidinma Nwadeyi. I am a Nigerian. Born in Nigeria to two Nigerian parents. Raised in Queenstown, Eastern Cape, South Africa, by those same Nigerian parents right up until I completed my Bachelor’s at Stellenbosch.

Growing up in South Africa, I was always reminded by those around me that I was different to everyone else. In primary school, I had a much darker complexion than I do now, and super white teeth – the telling marks of a foreigner that betray you even when you put on your best English accent. It is just too obvious.
I bear citizenship of both worlds. I speak fluent Xhosa, Igbo, Afrikaans and English. I can make sense of Tswana and Sotho. I enjoy a good braai, I love vetkoek and bunny-chow. I can’t get enough of Bokomo WeetBix, I love Ouma’s rusks and I can pull off my panstulas with any outfit on a lazy Saturday when I want to head to town. I am the first to break it down with the ngwaza and the dombolo at the sound of some decent house music or kwaito be it in Pick n Pay or at a party.
I can sokkie and I enjoy it (albeit with my two left feet). My darkest moments can be reversed by koeksisters and a cup of rooibos tea any day. I can jump between the high pitched and arguably annoying accents of some Constantia moms, the lank kif and apparently sophisticated English of my Hilton brothers and the heavy accents of my fellow Eastern Capers. I can attempt the fast paced, lyrical Afrikaans of my “coloured” bothers in the Cape and I can serve you the best butternut soup you have ever known. I am as South African as you need me to be.
But my ability to navigate all these spaces did not just happen. Learning to blend into all these spaces was a matter of survival for me.
You see from the day I set foot in Queenstown and started primary school, it was always made very clear to me that I was an outsider. I only had white friends from my first few years in school, because the other black girls couldn’t understand why I was black but only spoke in English. They thought I thought I was better than them. So I spent most of my breaks humbly eating my peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich, surrounded by those who had Melrose cheese and Provita Crackers with Bovril and/or marmite sandwiches in their lunchboxes. The rest of the time I spent alone, save the few brave souls of similar complexion who tried to befriend me.
Father on the road...

What nobody knew was that for the first three years of my life in South Africa, my little brother and I barely saw my dad more than twice a month. What was he doing absent from the home, other than selling pillowcases, duvets and bedsheets, from door to door on foot through the streets, villages and side roads of the old Transkei and Ciskei? My father would leave the house on Monday mornings as my mom got us ready for school and he would be gone for days and weeks selling the few pillowcases and bedsheets he had from door to door. On foot. We were never sure when he would return. But when he did, we were always more grateful for his safety and aliveness than anything else.
From Queenstown to Cala, Umtata, Qumbu, Qoqodala, Whittlesea, Mount Fletcher, King Williamstown, Mdantsane, Bhisho, Indwe, Butterworth, Aliwal North and even as far as Matatiele and Kokstad. There are so many other places he went to that I do not even know.
That is how my parents put us through school, until they saved up enough money to open their own little shop where they then started selling sewing machines, cotton and then community phones. Then sweets and chips and take-aways; and then hair products and the list goes on and on. It was on this that I was able to go through primary school, high school, and university. My parents have no tertiary education; it was only in their late 40s that both of them decided to register for part-time studies at Walter Sisulu to get their Diplomas. Note: Diplomas.
It took them four years, because they were busy trying to keep their kids in school, and keep selling their sweets and sewing machines while attempting to dignify their efforts with a degree.
My story is not unique – it is the story of most foreigners in South Africa. Very few foreigners come into SA with skills that make them employable here. Unless you are a medical doctor, an academic and maybe an engineer or well-established businessman before coming here, your chances of getting meaningful employment in SA are as limited as those of the United States letting Al-Qaeda members off the hook – almost impossible.
Most foreigners come to SA with the ability to braid hair, carve wood, or sell fruits, veggies, clothes, fizz pops, carpets and soap before they can find their feet here. Some are graduates… but what can another African degree do for you in SA? And any foreigner in SA will tell you that this is the truth. All of us started from below the bottom. Doing work that carries no dignity, no respect and very little financial gain. But when you have left or lost everything that you know and love and end up in a foreign land as unwelcoming in its laws and restrictions as South Africa, you have little choice available to you.
I can bet you that there is not up to 10% of South Africans who would be willing to do the menial and embarrassing work my parents and other foreigners did for as long as they did it, and for as little as they did it, were you to ask them today. So it annoys me, to the deepest part of my being when I see a South African open their mouth and cry “foul” against innocent foreigners. Let’s discuss this:
Arachnophobia – the fear of spiders.
Claustrophobia – the fear of small/tight/enclosed spaces.
Xenophobia – the fear of foreigners.
However individuals who are afraid of spiders do not go around killing spiders, rather they avoid spiders. Equally, individuals who are afraid of small and tight spaces do not go around trying to eliminate the existence of small spaces.
Thus xenophobia does not by definition imply the killing of foreigners. Yet, we continue to label this current wave of killings and murders in SA as xenophobic – and now the cooler term – “Afrophobic” attacks. Can we please just get real? What is happening in SA is a genocide, a genocide fuelled by a deep-seated hatred for which no single foreigner is responsible.
Before you say this is too extreme, allow me to explain:
Genocide is the systematic/targeted killing of a specific people or race. 

In South Africa’s case, this would be the senseless killings of non-South Africans, mostly those of African origin and some Pakistani, Bangladeshi and other non-African minorities.

I think the government, South African and international media are being too cowardly to call it what it is. They know what is going on in South Africa and yet they refuse to acknowledge it for fear of who knows what. Is it because their numbers are not high enough? Should we wait until a few good hundred thousand foreigners have been murdered before we speak the truth?
So now the value of human lives is being reduced to a debate on politically correct terms and phrases to protect certain interests. People are being butchered in the streets, and the country is worrying about bad PR. I hate that now, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, everyone is now trying to say, “Oh no, it’s not all South Africans that are doing this, hey. Just a few of those people there.” South Africans are trying to distance themselves from what is happening in their own backyards as though it is of any consolation to those watching their family members being sizzled in rubber rings. As if that is what matters – true South African style.
This is not the first wave of attacks of this nature in South Africa. In fact, the 2008 attacks were much worse in terms of raw numbers of casualties suffered than these have been so far. The issue of xenophobia is not a new one in SA. However, the differentiator in 2015 is that this wave is backed by a strong ideology; that somehow these attacks can be and are justified.
Jobs? Whose jobs?

An ideology that sees merit in the argument that foreigners are stealing the jobs of locals, that they are stealing their women, that these “makwerekwere” are the cause of most ills in South African society.
It is a shame how uninformed and how baseless these arguments are. Foreigners do not and CANNOT steal jobs in SA. Do you know how hard it is to get South African papers, just to get into the country – not to talk of getting a work permit and convincing any company to take on the cost of employing you as a foreigner? Unless you have some freaking scarce skills in the country – it just does not happen like that.
Secondly, just shut up and stop it. South Africans who imbibe these arguments are lazy. There is a disgusting entitlement that is attached to this notion that jobs can be stolen. This implies that there are jobs waiting for you – of which there are none.
There are no freaking jobs waiting for anyone. Pick up a bucket and start washing cars. Put on your shoes and walk through your streets, sell tomatoes, eggs and tea – anything people eat, they will buy. Or pick up a book, hustle your way into university, work for a scholarship and get yourself an education. But stop this senselessness. Nobody is stealing your jobs.
I got my first job when I was 11-years-old. I worked on the school bus in my town. I collected money for the bus driver, wrote out receipts and kept order on the bus. I didn’t get paid much, but it helped me learn first that nothing comes easy, I learnt to be responsible and accountable to someone else. Secondly it helped me pay for little extramural expenses I did at school which were not the priority for my parents at the time (and rightly so). At university, even though I had a tuition bursary, I worked two part-time jobs and one contract job for the entire three years at Stellenbosch so I could pay for my good clothes and some additional materials, etc., etc. Yes my parents supported me as best as they could but, naturally, part of growing up is that you don’t bother your parents for every Rand you need!
So people see me and my family now, several years later, driving a decent car and living in an average house and they say, “Ningama kwekwere, asinifuni apha. Niqaphele, aningobalapha” (“You are foreigners, we do not want you here. You better watch out, you are not of this place”) – unaware of and unwilling to hear of the years of struggle and hustle that came with the decent car and the average house. (which, by the way, you can never fully own as SA law now restricts ownership of property by foreigners – but that is another discussion.)
And what has been the government’s response to the worsening unemployment and crime situation in the cities and suburbs that incites this violence and dissatisfaction amongst its people? To tighten immigration laws, border controls and any little room the foreigner may have had to just maybe survive in the menacing streets of Johannesburg. As if that is where the problem began.
Is it not the way our economy is structured? That there is limited room for unskilled labour in the workforce? That those who are not vocationally trained must then settle for employment outside of their existing areas of knowledge such as artisans, plumbers and electricians – whereas these skills are equally needed in a developing economy? That we have this thing called BEE which in practice just ensures that the Black bourgeoisie gets wealthier by hook or by crook while still protecting and cushioning the impact of democracy on old, white money and big business?
Is it really the little Ethiopian man with his spaza shop that is threatening your progress na Bhuthi? Is it really the Nigerian woman who braids hair and sells Fanta that is stealing your job and place in your own land na Sisi? I can’t deal.
If none of these arguments has merit for you, then think of the fact that during apartheid, Nigeria spent thousands of dollars on the ANC protecting and moving its members across borders; Angola, Mozambique, Tanzania, Burundi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda all housed, supported and/or trained struggle heroes with open arms and with no strings attached. How dare South Africans forget how much Africans did for them during apartheid. How dare you!

South Africans, go and learn your history. When you have read your history, then please teach the correct version to your children. Let them know that Africa helped put SA where it is now. Let them know that all blacks are not Xhosa or Zulu but that is irrelevant to the amount of dignity you accord to another human being. Teach your children that they must work for everything they want to have except your love as a parent. Teach your children that they are nothing without their neighbour – stop being selective about who Ubuntu applies to and does not. Teach them the truth about you.
The greatest enemy of the black man has always been himself. Not the colonialists. Not the apartheid architects. Only himself.
And as long as you refuse to take responsibility for where you are now, you will remain there. Kill us foreigners or not, it actually makes very little difference to your fortunes in life, people of Mzansi.
Lovelyn Chidinma Nwadeyi
20 April 2015

Lest we forget – Intellectuals in defence of the people during the Igbo genocide, 29 May 1966-12 January 1970: Indefatigable

Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu     Flora Nwapa     Louis Mbanefo     Chinua Achebe     Christopher Okigbo     Michael Echeruo     Ifeagwu Eke     SJ Cookey     Sam Mbakwe     Janet Mokelu   Obiora Udechukwu     Uche Chukwumerije     Kalu Ezera     Philip Efiong    Kamene Okonjo   Ignatius Kogbara     Alvan Ikoku     Celestine Okwu     Benedict Obumselu     Donatus Nwoga     NU Akpan     Adiele Afigbo     Michael Okpara     Chukwuka Okonjo     Akanu Ibiam     CC Mojekwu     Okoko Ndem     Agwu Okpanku     Tim Onwuatuegwu     Chudi Sokei     Pol Ndu     Ben Gbulie     Chuks Ihekaibeya     Conrad Nwawo     Dennis Osadebe     Osita Osadebe   Chuba Okadigbo   Okechukwu Ikejiani       Winifred Anuku     Anthony Modebe     Alex Nwokedi   Zeal Onyia   Chukwuedo Nwokolo   Pius Okigbo     Godian Ezekwe     Felix Oragwu    Ogbogu Kalu     Kevin Echeruo     Emmanuel Obiechina   Uche Okeke     Chukwuma Azuonye     Onuora Nzekwu     Chukuemeka Ike     Eddie Okonta     Cyprian Ekwensi   Nkem Nwankwo     John Munonye     Gabriel Okara     Onwuka Dike     Eni Njoku   Okechukwu Mezu   William Achukwu

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Friday, 24 April 2015

78th birthday of Joe Henderson

(Born 24 April 1937, Lima, Ohio, US)
Prodigiously influential tenor saxophonist, one of the leading lights of the instrument in the jazz repertoire underscored so classically with his The State of the Tenor: Live at the Village Vanguard, Vols. I & II (1985)
(Joe Henderson Trio, “Serenity” [personnel: Henderson, tenor saxophone; Charlie Haden, bass; Al Foster, drums; recorded: live, Genova jazz festival, Villa Imperiale, Italy, 9 July 1987])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

87th birthday of Johnny Griffin

(Born 24 April 1928, Chicago, US)
Very distinguished tenor saxophonist, composer, bandleader

(Thelonious Monk Quartet, “In walked Bud” [personnel: Monk, piano; Griffin, tenor saxophone; Ahmed Abdul-Malik, bass; Roy Haynes, drums; recorded: live, Five Spot Café, New York, US, 7 August 1958])

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

100th anniversary of the beginning of the Armenian genocide

(“Forget-me-not” – symbol of Armenian genocide centenary)
On 24 April 1915, Ottoman Turk empire police, military forces and allied institutions embark on the genocide of the people of Armenia with the subsequent murder of 1.5 million Armenians. On this day of the centenary of the first genocide in Europe in the 20th century, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan solemnly informs guests at an official commemorating ceremony in capital Yerevan: “I am grateful to all those who are here to once again confirm your commitment to human values, to say that nothing is forgotten, that after 100 years we remember.”

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Thursday, 23 April 2015

68th birthday of Ifi Amadiume

(Born 23 April 1947, Kaduna, Nigeria)
Poet and anthropologist, one of the theorists in the early circle of scholars that embarks on the study and transformation of the epistemology of Igbo Women’s Studies inaugurated in the 1960s/1970s by novelist Flora Nwapa and sociologist Kamene Okonjo, author of Male Daughters, Female Husbands (1987), the seminal text that examines the historic dual-gender complementarity and consequential socioeconomic dynamism of pre-(British)conquest Igboland

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Thoughts at midweek: Humankind is freedom is humankind

Even if the Igbo were not subjected to the cataclysmic genocide of 29 May 1966-12 January 1970, the foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa in which Nigeria and its allies murdered 3.1 million Igbo or one-quarter of this nation’s population, they, just like any other peoples, have a right to declare themselves free from Nigeria or indeed any other states in Africa they find themselves domiciled if they so wish. Besides, the compositional aftermath of the (European) conqueror’s/conquest state of Africa (Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Central African Republic, the Sudan, the Congo-B, the Congo-K, Guinea-B, Guinea-C, Guinea-E, whatever!) cannot be the basis of the restoration-of-independence for the peoples as this historic right to freedom affirmation rests incontrovertibly on the hitherto conquered constituent African nation or people (Igbo, Bakongo, Wolof, Luo, Ibibio, Darfuri, Gĩkũyũ,Wolof, Ibibio, Bakongo, Akan, Ijo, Bamileke...) This right to freedom for a people, for all peoples, is inalienable. It is the state, any state, that is transient; definitely, not the people(s). No one, no people, therefore, has to offer a reason for being free, for freedom.
(Jackie McLean Quartet, “Melody for Melonae”, from Let Freedom Ring [personnel: McLean, alto saxophone; Walter Davis, piano; Herbie Lewis, bass; Billy Higgins, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, US, 19 March 1962])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

93rd birthday of Charles Mingus

(Born 22 April 1922, Nogales, Arizona, US)
Outstanding bassist, composer and bandleader whose music encapsulates all the critical junctures of jazz history and his Jazz Workshop a landmark conservatoire of an age

(Charles Mingus Sextet featuring Eric Dolphy plays the Billy Strayhorn classic composition, “Take the ‘A’ train” [Mingus, bass; Johnny Coles, trumpet; Dolphy, bass clarinet; Clifford Jordan, tenor saxophone; Jaki Byard, piano; Dannie Richmond, drums; recorded: live, University Aula, Oslo, 12 April 1964])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

80th birthday of Paul Chambers

(Born 22 May 1935, Pittsburgh, US)
Virtuosic bassist, composer, member of Miles Davis First Great Quintet/Sextet (1955-1963) and subject of salutary, standard compositions by varying artistic colleagues: tenor saxophonist John Coltrane, “Mr P.C.”; tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins, “Paul’s Pal”; pianist Tommy Flanagan, “Big Paul”; pianist Red Garland, “Mr P. C. Blues”; drummer Max Roach, “Five for Paul”
(Paul Chambers Quartet, “John Paul Jones” (or 
“Trane’s Blues”)  [personnel: Chambers, bass; John Coltrane, tenor saxophone; Kenny Drew, piano; Philly Joe Jones, drums; recorded: Western Recorders, Los Angeles, US, 2 March 1956])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

NEW BOOK: Terri Ochiagha, Achebe and friends at Umuahia: The making of a literary elite

This is the first in-depth scholarly study of the literary awakening of the young intellectuals who became known as Nigeria’s “first-generation” writers in the post-colonial period. Terri Ochiagha’s research focuses on Chinua Achebe, Elechi Amadi, Chike Momah, Christopher Okigbo and Chukwuemeka Ike, and also discusses the experiences of Gabriel Okara, Ken Saro-Wiwa and I.C. Aniebo, in the context of their education in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s at Government College, Umuahia. The author provides fresh perspectives on Postcolonial and World literary processes, colonial education in British Africa, literary representations of colonialism and Chinua Achebe's seminal position in African literature. She demonstrates how each of the writers used this very particular education to shape their own visions of the world in which they operated and examines the implications that this had for African literature as a whole.

About the author

Terri Ochiagha holds one of the prestigious British Academy Newton International Fellowships (2014-16) hosted by the School of English, University of Sussex. She was previously a Senior Associate Member of St Antony’s, University of Oxford.
Focusing on the emergence of an African elite at Government College Umuahia and their turn to literature as a mode of self-expression, Terri Ochiagha’s Achebe and Friends answers one of the outstanding questions in African literary history: Why did the most important group of pioneer writers emerge from one institution in Eastern Nigeria in the last decades of colonial rule? Ochiagha combines the archival skills of a cultural historian with the sensibilities of a literary critic to produce perhaps one of the most important commentaries on African literature in recent years. This is a remarkable book on the origins of African literature and an unmatched model of how to do the literary history of the postcolonial world. 
(Simon Gikandi, Robert Schirmer Professor of English, Princeton University)
First Published: 16 Apr 2015
13 Digit ISBN: 9781847011091
Pages: 216
Size: 23.4 x 15.6
Binding: Hardback
Imprint: James Currey
Series: African Articulations
Subject: African Studies
BIC Class: GTB
Price: £45.00/US$80.00 

·         1  Introduction: The Umuahian Connection
·         2  Laying the Foundation: The Fisher Days, 1929-1939
·         3  “The Eton of the East”: William Simpson and the Umuahian Renaissance
·         4  Studying the Humanities at Government College, Umuahia
·         5  Young Political Renegades: Nationalist Undercurrents at Government College, Umuahia, 1944-1945
·         6 “Something New in Ourselves”: First Literary Aspirations
·         7  The Dangerous Potency of the Crossroads: Colonial Mimicry in Ike, Momah & Okigbo's Reimaginings of the Primus Inter Pares Years
·         8  An Uncertain Legacy: I.N.C. Aniebo and Ken Saro-Wiwa in the Umuahia of the 1950s
·         9  The Will to Shine as One: Affiliation and Friendship beyond the College Walls
10  Appendices

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Monday, 20 April 2015

“Establishing and readjusting the hierarchy of dangers”

(Aimé Césaire)
Aimé Césaire, the poet and philosopher, once told interviewer Annick Thebia Melson (Unesco Courier, 2010) during one of those illuminating discourses of his on history: “History is always dangerous, the world of history is a risky world; but it is up to us at any given moment to establish and readjust the hierarchy of dangers”. It is indeed in the very course to disrupt and “readjust” this hierarchy in this age of the “cursed” Berlin-state in Africa in favour of African peoples and Africa that the constituent Africa nation or people Igbo, Darfuri, Gikuyu, Wolof, Ibibio, Bakongo, Akan, Bamileke, etc., etc – so long maligned, so long impoverished, so long brutalised, so long humiliated and dehistoricised with often unprintable epithets (t****, n****, n*****, n******, p********, b******, w**, sub-*******, sub-*****, e*****, c***, c******, m*****, d******, h*******, f******-b******, b****, m***, b********, c*******, b*********…), so long massacred, is recognised, at last, as the principal actor and agency of its being and geography.

This nation, this people, can and should create its own state if it so desires. It is its inalienable right. Freedom. It does not therefore have to explain to anyone else why it has embarked on this track of freedom. It can now decide what precepts, what aspirations, what trajectory, what goals it has set its new state to embark upon… As Césaire deftly puts it in the interview referred to, the challenges of the times become the “quest to reconquer something, our name (sic), our country … ourselves”.
(John Coltrane Quartet plays Mongo Santamaría’s composition, “Afro Blue” [personnel: Coltrane, soprano saxophone; McCoy Tyner, piano; Jimmy Garrison, bass; Elvin Jones, drums; recorded: live, Half Note, New York, US, 26 March 1965])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Sunday, 19 April 2015

94th birthday of Chike Obi

(Born 17 April 1921, Onicha, Igboland)
First mathematics doctorate in Igboland/southwestcentral Africa, rigorous academic, aptly described by theoretical physicist Alexander Obiefoka Animalu as the “foremost African mathematical genius of the 20th century”
(Max Roach and Anthony Braxton, “Birth” [personnel: Roach, drums; Braxton, alto saxophone; recorded: Ricordi Studios, Milan, Italy, 7 September 1978)
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

86th birthday of Mariama Bâ

(Born 17 April 1929, Dakar, Sénégal)
Novelist and influential intellectual, author of the seminal So Long a Letter (1981)
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Thoughts in these times

The conventional wisdom of the Tower of Babel story is that the collapse was a misfortune. That it was the distraction of the weight of many languages that precipitated the tower’s failed architecture. That one monolithic language would have expedited the building, and heaven would have been reached. Whose heaven, she wonders? And what kind? Perhaps the achievement of Paradise was premature, a little hasty if no one could take the time to understand other languages, other views, other narratives. Had they, the heaven they imagined might have been found at their feet. Complicated, demanding, yes, but a view of heaven as life; not heaven as post-life.
(Toni Morrison, The Nobel Lecture in Literature, 1993)
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe


Wednesday, 15 April 2015

African times: 2015 CE

African times: What an epoch… Rilwan Akiolu, oba or king of Lagos, Nigeria, issues a proclamation to murder Igbo people domiciled in Lagos and dump their bodies in the Lagos lagoon (a bight notorious for the dumping of murdered Igbo in the Lagos region at the beginning of the Igbo genocide in 1966) as 400 other Africans who wish to emigrate to Europe drown in the Mediterranean (latest fatality in this dreadful voyage) at a time when a number of non-South African Africans are being murdered in South Africa by their hosts and Boko Haram in north Nigeria and al-shabaab of Somalia in Kenya expand their near-decade-old killing fields as more news of the murder of yet another African male by local police in the United States breaks through…

(Andrew Hill Sextet, “Dedication” [Hill, piano; Kenny Dorham, trumpet; Eric Dolphy, bass clarinet; Joe Henderson, tenor saxophone; Richard Davis, bass; Tony Williams, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliff, NJ, US, 21 March 1964)
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

85th birthday of Richard Davis

(Born 15 April 1930, Chicago, US)
Perceptive bassist and academic, enjoys an expansive recording portfolio as leader and with other artists including, pointedly, collaborative work with multiinstrumentalist Eric Dolphy on the latter’s Out to Lunch (1964) and Iron Man (1963) and the duo’s classic interpretation of “Alone Together” (1963)
(Eric Dolphy Duo, “Alone together” [personnel: Dolphy, bass clarinet; Davis, double bass; recorded: Fuel Records, New York, US, {May?June?July?} 1963])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Monday, 13 April 2015

75th birthday of Wangari Maathai

(Born 1 April 1940, Ihithe, Kenya)
Biologist and iconic environmental and human rights activist
See also Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe, “Daughter-of-the-soil”,
re-thinkingafrica (accessed 1 April 2015)


April is Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month (6): Genocide in Africa – 1878-2015 timeline

(1)  1878-1908: King Leopold II-led Belgian monarchy/state-organised genocide of constituent peoples in the Congo basin of central Africa (2,442,240 sq km landmass, 80 times the size of Belgium) – 13 million African constituent peoples murdered (see, especially, multiple research by historian and linguist Isidore Ndaywel  è Nziem – particularly his Histoire générale du Congo: De l'héritage ancien à la République Démocratique [Paris: Duculot, 1998], p. 344)

(2)  1904-1907: German state-organised genocide of Herero people in Namibia – 65,000 out of 80,000 Herero murdered or 80 per cent of the total Herero population wiped out

(3)  1904-1907: German state-organised genocide of Nama people in Namibia – 10,000 Nama were murdered or 50 per cent of the Nama population destroyed

(4)  29 May 1966-12 January 1970 (phases I-III): Nigeria state-organised genocide of Igbo people, foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa, supported, centrally, by Britain (diplomatically, politically, militarily) – 3.1 million Igbo or one-quarter of this nation’s population murdered, highest number of genocide fatality of any single constituent nation or people on the continent

(5)  13 January 1970-Present Day (phase-IV)Nigeria state-organised genocide of Igbo people – tens of thousands of Igbo murdered

(6)  1994Rwanda state-organised genocide of Tutsi people – 800,000 Tutsi murdered

(7)  Since mid-1990sDemocratic Republic of the Congo/contiguous states/proxy states-facilitated/organised genocide of African constituent peoples in the Democratic Republic of the Congo – 5 million constituent African peoples murdered

(8)  2003-2oo6: The Sudan state-organised genocide of Darfuri people – 300,000 Darfuri murdered

(9)  Since 2006: The Sudan state-organised genocide of African constituent peoples in the south of the country (Nuba Mountains, South Kordofan, Blue Nile) – tens of thousands of African constituent peoples murdered

(The New York Contemporary Five, “Trio” – personnel: Archie Shepp, tenor saxophone; Don Cherry, pocket trumpet;  John Tchicai, alto saxophone; Don Moore, bass; JC Moses, drums [recorded: live, Jazzhus Montmarte, Copenhagen, Denmark, 15 November 1963])

93rd birthday of Julius Nyerere

(Born 13 April 1922, Butiama, Tanzania)
Teacher, head of the Tanganyika African National Union, beginning 1954, which spearheads the restoration-of-independence movement in Tanzania that successfully frees the country in 1961 from 80 years of German and British conquest and occupation, president of the freed republic, October 1964-November 1985, provides rearguard bases for education and training (in Tanzania) for numerous southern African restoration-of-independence movements (1960s-1990s), one of the very few leaders in Africa who unequivocally condemns the 29 May 1966-12 January 1970 Igbo genocide – the foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa, plays key role in the 1978 termination of the Idi Amin Dada murderous regime in neighbouring Uganda

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Sunday, 12 April 2015

75th birthday of Herbie Hancock

(Born 12 April 1940, Chicago, US)
Child prodigy, very distinguished pianist, composer and bandleader, member of the Miles Davis Second Great Quintet of the 1960s (full personnel: Davis, trumpet; Wayne Shorter, tenor saxophone; Hancock, piano; Ron Carter, bass; Tony Williams, drums), academic (Thelonious Monk Institute/Herb Alpert School of Music, University of California Los Angeles)
(Herbie Hancock Quintet, “The eye of the hurricane” [personnel: Hancock, piano; Freddie Hubbard, trumpet; George Coleman, tenor saxophone; Ron Carter, bass; Tony Williams, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Englewoods Cliffs, NJ, US, 17 March 1965])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

Thursday, 9 April 2015

117th birthday of Paul Robeson

(Born 9 April 1898, Princeton, US)
Renowned actor, lawyer, internationalist, human rights activist

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe