Forum Posts

The gamer
Aug 31, 2018
In West African History
In my opinion Thomas Sankara is Africa's greatest President. When people usually talk about Africa's great leaders Nelson Mandela usually comes to most people mind, But I think he is a bit overrated and I know a lot of people are gonna get mad but that's just my opinion. I am not saying he didn't do great things for South Africa he did obviously. So who was Thomas Sankara? Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara (21 December 1949 – 15 October 1987) was a Burkinabé military captain, Marxist revolutionary, pan-Africanist theorist, and President of Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987. Viewed by supporters as a charismatic and iconic figure of revolution, he is commonly referred to as “Africa’s Che Guevara” He wanted the resources of Burkina Faso to benefit majority of his fellow countrymen and women. After his assassination, Burkina Faso has never been the same. A captain in the Upper Volta Air Force, he was trained as a pilot. He was a very popular figure in the capital of Ouagadougou. The fact that was he was a decent guitarist and liked motorbikes may have contributed to his charisma. Sankara was appointed Secretary of State for Information in 1981 and became Prime minister in 1983. He was jailed the same year after a visit by Jean-Christophe Mitterrand ; this caused a popular uprising. A coup d'Etat organized by Blaise Compaore made Sankara President on August 4, 1983, at the age of 33. The coup d'Etat was supported by Libya which was, at the time, on the verge of war with France in Chad . Sankara saw himself as a revolutionary and was inspired by Cuba and Ghana's military leader, Flight Lt. Jerry Rawlings. As president, he promoted the "Democratic and Popular Revolution". As a President he achieved the following: 1. He renamed his country which was formally named as ''upper volta'' by France into "Burkina Faso" which means "Land of the upright people" in More' and Djula, the two major languages of the country. 2. He vaccinated 2.5 million children against meningitis, yellow fever and measles in a matter of less than 2 weeks. 3. He planted over 10 million trees to prevent desertification 4. He built roads and a railway to tie the nation together, without foreign aid 5. Uncommon at the time he lived, Sankara stressed women empowerment and campaigned for the dignity of women in a traditional patriarchal society. He employed women in several government positions and declared a day of solidarity with housewives by mandating their husbands to take on their roles for 24 hours. 6. He sold off the government fleet of Mercedes cars and made the Renault 5 (the cheapest car sold in Burkina Faso at that time) the official service car of the ministers. 7. He reduced the salaries of all public servants, including his own, and forbade the use of government chauffeurs and 1st class airline tickets. 8. He redistributed land from the feudal landlords and gave it directly to the peasants. Wheat production rose in three years from 1700 kg per hectare to 3800 kg per hectare, making Burkina Faso which was at that time one of the poorest countries in the world food self-sufficient. 9. He opposed foreign aid, saying that “he who feeds you, controls you.” 10. An accomplished guitarist, he wrote the new national anthem himself 11. Sankara preached self reliance, he banned the importation of several items into Burkina Faso, and encouraged the growth of the local industry. 12. In Ouagadougou, Sankara converted the army’s provisioning store into a state-owned supermarket open to everyone (the first supermarket in the country). 13. He increased Burkina Faso's literacy rate from 13% in 1983 to 73% in 1987. Here are some of his quotes 1. “While revolutionaries as individuals can be murdered, you cannot kill ideas”. 2. “I want people to remember me as someone whose life has been helpful to humanity”. 3. “Our country produces enough to feed us all. Alas, for lack of organization, we are forced to beg for food aid. It’s this aid that instills in our spirits the attitude of beggars”. 4. “We are not against progress, but we do not want progress that is anarchic and criminally neglects the rights of others”. 5. "We have to work at decolonizing our mentality and achieving happiness within the limits of sacrifice we should be willing to make. We have to recondition our people to accept themselves as they are, to not be ashamed of their real situation, to be satisfied with it, to glory in it, even" 6. "The enemies of a people are those who keep them ignorance" 7. "When the people stand up, imperialism trembles" On 15 October 1987, Sankara was killed by an armed group with twelve other officials in a coup d'état organised by his former colleague Blaise Compaoré(Some people belive he was assisted by France). When asked Compaoré stated that Sankara jeopardised foreign relations with former colonial power France. Compaoré immediately became president and removed policies made by sankara. He also rejoined the IMF and World Bank and ruled burkina faso for 27 years until he was removed in 2014 by the military and charged with the assassination of Thomas sankara.
Thomas Sankara: Africa's Greatest President content media
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The gamer
Aug 30, 2018
In West African History
Ghana originally consisted of many different tribes and ethnic groups. Their traditional architecture was influenced by factors as available materials and technological limitations, economic, social relationship within the community and religious beliefs That makes all the tribes different in many ways, above all in architectural style. One of the most important Ghanaian ethnic groups in the central and south of Ghana is the Akan people who live in the Ashanti area. As their territory extended to cover a greater part of today’s Ghana, their design became an example on what we can define as a traditional Ghanaian architecture. The traditional Asante buildings are listed as World Heritage property by UNESCO, and are described as impressing in terms of construction, design, cleanliness and comfort. The architecture of the Asante people is characterized by the courtyard house, a building type that became a base for all the different types of buildings. The construction of the courtyard house was of timber framework covered in mud and a steeply pitched thatch roof. They painted the upper part of the building white, and the lower part red. The ground floor was raised, sometime up to two meters. An example of the typical traditional courtyard house is the “shrine” house, which consists of four buildings enclosing a central courtyard. The courtyard is a place for music, cooking and religion. The courtyard houses were well adapted to the climatic conditions in the area with ventilated ornamented screen walls, and partially roofed outdoor space as shelter for sun and rain. The Asante Kingdom had its golden age in the 18th century, fell during the British occupation of the area from 1806 to 1901, and most Asante buildings of the period were destroyed during the area. Among other buildings, the royal mausoleum was destroyed by Baden-Powell in 1895. The houses are constructed of timber, bamboo and mud plaster and thatched roofs. The unique decorative bas-reliefs that adorn the walls are bold and depict a wide variety of motifs. Common forms include spiral and arabesque details with representations of animals, birds and plants, linked to traditional “Adinkra” symbols. As with other traditional art forms of the Ashanti, these designs are not merely ornamental, they also have symbolic meanings, associated with the ideas and beliefs of the Ashanti people, and have been handed down from generation to generation. The buildings, their rich colour, and the skill and diversity of their decorations are the last surviving examples of a significant traditional style of architecture that epitomized the influential, powerful and wealthy Ashanti Kingdom of the late 18th to late 19th centuries. Ashanti Traditional Buildings reflect and reinforce a complex and intricate technical, religious and spiritual heritage. Below are some images of surviving buildings built during the time of the ashanti kingdom Their design and construction, consisting of a timber framework filled up with clay and thatched with sheaves of leaves, is rare nowadays. All designated sites are shrines, but there have been many other buildings in the past in the same architectural style. They have been best preserved in the villages, away from modern construction and warfare. The WHS consists of a number of buildings (10, 12 or 13?) around Kumasi in central Ghana. Kumasi was once the capital of the great Ashanti Empire. The buildings consist of four rooms around a quadrangular courtyard. Three of the rooms (those for drumming, singing and cooking) are open, while the fourth (the actual shrine) is closed to all but the priest and his assistants. The inner courtyards are usually littered with fetishes. The buildings traditionally have steep thatched roofs. Their lower walls are painted orange/red, and the upper walls are whitewashed. The walls hold symbolic murals, like those on the adinkra cloth.
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The gamer
Aug 26, 2018
In West African History
It may not be as famous as the Great Wall of China, but it was at one time in history the largest man-made structure in the world. Constructed over a period of 600 years, the Great Walls of Benin was located at the southern border of the defunct Benin Kingdom, which was one of the oldest and most highly developed states in West Africa. For the over 400 years the Walls existed, it protected the inhabitants of the kingdom, particularly, the traditions and civilisations of the Edo people, until it was ravaged in 1897 by the British. The walls, which are four times longer than the Great Wall of China, are a combination of strong materials like ramparts and moats, which predated the use of modern earth-moving equipment and technology, and were used for defensive purposes. Construction work on the wall began around 800 AD and ended mid-1400. Archaeologists say it took an estimated 150 million hours of digging by local people to construct the wall and the structure is considered as the largest single archaeological phenomenon on earth. The Great Walls of Benin was estimated to extend for about 16,000 km in length; both the exterior and interior walls. It occupied a land mass of 6,500 km2, which is about 37 percent of the present land mass of Edo State. Less than 500 years after the completion of the Great Wall, the British ravaged the walls in what has come to be known as the Punitive Expedition. This expedition was said to have destroyed more than a thousand years of Benin history and one of the earliest evidence of African civilization. Currently, scattered pieces of the structure remain in Edo, with locals using some of these pieces for building purposes. Parts of the walls are also being torn down for real estate developments. In 1995, the historical structure was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List in the cultural category. Though in ruins now, its existence continues to evoke memories of the once wealthy, powerful and industrious kingdoms that ever lived in African history.
The Great Walls of Benin content media
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The gamer
Aug 24, 2018
In West African History
John Augustus Abayomi Cole was born in Abeokuta, Nigeria, in 1848 to parents originally from Sierra Leone. His exposure to many African cultures made him identify himself as a proud West African. He lived in Liberia for a while where he developed a strong devotion and love for Pan-Africanism. Much of his works are hidden in-depth academic records which need to be exposed to the everyday African and African American. Nothing extensive is written about this intelligent African herbalist, farmer, politician and doctor who later worked as an affiliate of the National Association of Medical Herbalists in the United Kingdom playing a significant role in the Malaria epidemic that broke out in the 19th century. When he was four years old, John’s parents moved back to Freetown, Sierra Leone, for unknown reasons. He was educated in Freetown until he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Medicine from the Fourah Bay College in Freetown. Shortly after his graduation, John taught for a while until moving to U.S.A in his mid-20s. In the U.S.A, John played a significant role in helping freed West African slaves to return to Sierra Leone through a petition he sent to the Wesleyan Methodist Church. The West Africans successfully arrived in 1889. Soon after, John would leave the church due to the various problems he had with Christianity and Religion. He continued his medical education in the U.S.A. where he became a medical doctor and a Fellow of the Society of Apothecaries (F.S.A.) After many readings in theology and philosophy, John moved back to Sierra Leone where he set up his own religious movement in 1905. The church was known as the African Chruch called the Gospel Mission Hall where many traditional Africans started to worship. While practising medicine, John became interested in indigenous healing techniques using African herbs and would later become a famous farmer growing various herbs and plants for medicinal purposes. John Cole became the most sought-after doctor and herbalist in West Africa appointed as a medical and scientific advisor to the Governor Sir Leslie Probyn, the administrator of the British Empire sent to work in West Africa. He also worked as an affiliate with the National Association of Medical Herbalists in the United Kingdom travelling there and when he was physically needed. John Cole found a way to combine is knowledge of traditional healing practices and modern medicine to find cures for skin and eye diseases and rheumatic pain. Whites and Blacks from all over West Africa travelled to Sierra Leone to see the great herbalist. One of his most significant works will be the invention of the ‘tea-bush’ made of camphor, lime and spirit used to cure the flu during the 1918 flu pandemic in West Africa. Dr Cole also prepared a popular antidote for poison known as ‘Ekpe’ which is still used in Sierra Leone. Dr John Augustus Abayomi Cole was appointed by the Colonial Government to help find a cure for Malaria when it became a drastic taker of lives, mainly the Whites living in West Africa. The successful herbalist managed to prepare a herb mixture which he gave to his patients who would later return after a few weeks with the same symptoms. Worried about the Malaria epidemic, he set up an organisation to work with volunteers who became known as the “mosquito missionaries”. The volunteers were sent to the houses of the locals and Whites across West Africa with the help of the colonial government. The research indicated that Malaria was as a result of poor sanitation and mosquitos breeding in stagnant waters in the houses. The volunteers were then sent back to advise the people on how to live, a move that reduced people dying from Malaria drastically. Impressed by his work, the Colonial Government paid all the volunteers per the number of months they worked. Aside his extensive work in medicine, Dr Cole produced various academic writings on traditional African practices, his most read paper was the “Philosophy of Paganism,” which he wrote in 1904. He was also very popular in the Political scene and inspired the establishment of many pressure groups in Sierra Leone. For his great work, John Cole was decorated with the insignia of Knight Commander of the Liberian Order of African Redemption in 1914 and awarded an honorary doctorate by the College of Liberia 1926. He is described as a talented man with a forever young look. He died at the age of 93 in 1942.
Nigerian-born herbalist who cured Malaria in the early 1900s content media
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The gamer
Aug 24, 2018
In African History
It’s no surprise to find ancient African monuments decorating the stands of museums all over Europe instead of Africa. During the raid of Africa by the west, many treasurable artefacts made of gold, iron and bronze were looted and not returned. Today, many African countries are calling out the West to return what rightfully belongs to them. One such story making the headlines is Emmanual Macron’s recent promise to see to it that Africa gets its monuments back from French museums. While all that is interesting to note, what is more intriguing is the fact that faces of Africans can be found on the monuments that belonged to the Thracian ancient group that is now part of Greece and modern Turkey. A close look at the images on the monuments cannot be mistaken. Roundheads with the afro hair and thick features are definitely the depiction of Africans(Please note, Africa is a diverse continent with around 3000 tribes or ethnic groups and 54 countries so don't espect every African to have these features which unfortunately many people don't recognized) by the west in ancient times. The Thracians are described as an ancient people that inhabited Turkey and Greece around the 4th -5th century. They were a mysterious group of people popular for their winemaking, jewellery and ornaments and their notorious war-waging. Throughout the documented history of the Thracians, there are no traces or mention of their contact with Africans to explain the faces of Africans that appear on their monuments. Perhaps, the Thracians were intrigued by the African image during one of their escapades or travel expeditions. The Thracians were also known to be travellers and explorers but did not have an interest in controlling findings from their explorations. Any theory to explain this, Please comment below
The mystery behind treasures of an ancient European kingdom found with African faces on them content media
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The gamer
Aug 24, 2018
In African History
Ancient Africa practised slavery long before the coming of the Europeans. The practice was not called ‘slavery’ but many people at the time owned people for several reasons. These slaves had to work for a period or until they were old enough to be set free. Slaves in ancient African societies were the lowest on the social class ladder but had the opportunity to climb up the social ladder and live normal lives. They were allowed to marry from well-to-do families, trade or own property of their own. Slaves also lived very close to their masters or lived with their family and went over to their master’s house to work depending on the agreed arrangement. The transatlantic slave trade introduced what is known as Chattel Slavery, where slave became full property of the owner who then chooses to treat the slave anyhow they want to. In Chattel Slavery, slaves were not respected as humans but rather as a beneficial property that could be sold for income. It was also mainly based on race, and many accounts show that they were treated worse than even animals. Here are five kinds of slavery that existed in ancient Africa. 1. Captives and slaves of war This was possibly the most famous form of slavery in ancient Africa especially during the reign of powerful kingdoms such as Dahomey, Ghana, Benin and the Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom. Armies often raided smaller settlements to expand their kingdoms. In the process, the old were killed and the young captured as slaves. The captives were shared among royalty and the military, some were then given to families who in one way or the other pleased the king, and the rest were sold to wealthy traders. These captives served their new owners who in turn gave them good living conditions. Slaves had every right to complain to the royal house and owners were sanctioned if found guilty. Many of such slaves were free to go after a while and others become part of their new families. 2. Slaves as punishment for a crime When a member of society was found guilty of a crime, he or she was made to serve a designated family for a stated period. Prison systems did not exist in ancient Africa, so this form of slavery was also prevalent. The number of months or years that a criminal was made to serve depended on the crime committed. Families of criminals were sometimes given the option to buy back the freedom of their family member, and in the case where they were not able to pay, the criminal was kept as a slave. On rare occasions, criminals were asked to pay a fine, serve as a slave before being exiled. Criminals serving as slaves could gain back their freedom on good behaviour or at the death of their master 3. Domestic slavery For many families who could not make ends meet, domestic slavery was a means of survival. These slaves were often bought but did not solely belong to their owners. As part of the agreement, domestic slaves were given a piece of land, a place to stay and food to eat. If they worked for wealthy merchants, they were given a small percentage of profit, but this money was only available after the agreed time of servitude had elapsed. The system was prevalent and ensured good behaviour as almost everyone in the kingdom was kept busy and making a living. 4. Military slaves In many kingdoms, the army was made up of well-selected young men and women who possessed the potential of strength. When troops went on military conquests, they often brought back with them a selected group of youth. With approval from the King and military leader, these young men and women were put in the care of an army patron and trained as a separate military unit that served the kingdom. With time, many of the slave military men and women could rise in the ranks and marry royalty or join the prestigious military. Their duty was mainly to serve the first military and run errands for royalty. They were also made to protect the kingdom by living close to the barriers to ward off anything that was a threat. Those that served well were rewarded with freedom, land and property such as gold. 5. Pawning This was a somewhat rare form of slavery but very popular in West Africa. People were offered as pawns to secure an agreement, make payment or erase a debt that could not be paid. People kept as pawns were restricted and often kept under protection until the other party completed their end of the bargain. Pawns were set free after a while or after the death of someone involved in the agreement. In very rare cases, pawns were stuck with their new owners for life but were treated well. They were often children who would grow to become a part of the family. At their own will, a pawn could leave for his or her original home once he or she was an adult.
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The gamer
Aug 24, 2018
In African History
Many flourishing empires existed in Africa dating as far back as 700AD. These empires were established by indigenous Africans who lived centuries before those who came into contact with the Europeans through trade and later colonisation. Ancient African civilizations, even though rejected by several western scholars have existed. The pre-advanced states are known for their captivating architecture, trade and governance systems. Empires like the Songhai, Mali, Ashanti, Ghana and Dahomey Empires are among the most mentioned Empires from Africa. Here are seven less known Empires that existed in Ancient African Societies 1. Kanem-Bornu Empire This empire was established soon after the collapse of the Assyrian Empire around 700 AD by the nomadic Tebu-speaking Kanembu who were forced down south in search of more fertile grounds. The empire existed between the modern day Libya, Chad, Niger and Nigeria and was known as one the longest lasting dynasties in African history existing from 700AD to about 1893. The empire first existed as the Kanem Empire from 700- 1380 and later as the independent Bornu Empire from 1380-1893. The kingdom officially became the Kaname- Bornu empire in 1571 when king Idris Alum embarked on what is now known as one of the greatest political expansions. The kingdom replaced the Shongai empire as the leading power. The kingdom started to decline by the 17the century and saw a further decline by the 18th century as a result of political and administrative disorganisation and attacks by the Ouaddai Empire. 2. Luba Empire The Luba empire also known as the Kingdom of Luba existed in modern-day Republic of Congo that existed between 1585 to 1889. The kingdom rose from the Nkongolo dynasty in the Upemba depression, a mashy bowl area in Congo. According to the Mdubye traditional state, the kingdom was established by King Nkongolo in 1585 and his nephew Kalala Ilunga, who conquered the cruel Nkongolo ruler and expanded the empire. Kalala Ilunga is also said to have introduced advanced iron forging techniques to the Luba people. Luba kings were turned into deities after their death and their huts residences were turned into shrines. The Luba empire had close to 1 million people during its peak. The empire has a successful governing system which was later adopted by the Lunda Empire. The government was a great balance between strong and flexible and one of the main reasons why the kingdom lasted. The kingdom was blessed with farmers, hunters, fishermen and was very rich trading its natural resources like oil and copper but the trade led to the decline of the kingdom in the 1880’s when Europen colonies raided the empire in search of slaves and ivory. 3. The Kingdom of Mapungubwe Existing between modern-day Botswana and Zimbabwe, this kingdom was the first and largest kingdom established in southern Africa and existed between 1075 to 1220. The kingdom had a population of about 5000 people and thrived as a gold trading centre attracting traders from China and India. The Kingdom is said to be the early development of the later Kingdom of Zimbabwe. It was also popular for its stone masonry and class-based social system. Today, the kingdom has been transformed into a park and tourist site. Their government has been described as a sacred kingship. 4. The Ajuran Empire This Somalia empire dominated the Indian Ocean trade and ruled Northeast of Africa in the medieval period. The empire is noted for its extensive architecture. The empire was established in the 9th century and was a very strong and powerful empire trading with traders all over the world. The kingdom had its own currency and was an Islam state under the Sharia law. It was ruled mainly by the aristocrats but declined in the late 17th century due to poor governance. 5. The Sao Civilisation This civilisation was established in the 6th century and existed in Middle Africa until the 16th century. They are known as the earliest people whose traces can be located in modern-day Cameroon. The kingdom became an Islamic state before its decline. Due to its ancient existence, there are no written sources of the civilization, however, archaeologists have recovered various artefacts that link to the civilisation. 6. Wadai Empire Also known as the Ouaddai Empire was a kingdom located to the east of Lake Chad in present-day Chad and in the Central African Republic, the Wadai empire existed under the shadows of the Kanem Bornu empire from 1635 till 1912. In 1804, the empire expanded through profits from trade under the reign of Muhammad Suban. The Empire is known for its fight against French domination until 1909 when the Empire declined. 7. Shilluk Kingdom The ancient Nilotic inhabitants of this Kingdom were great warriors. The Shilluk kingdom was founded during the 15th century by King Nyikang, and its history is told through the folk tales of Sudan. The kingdom existed along the White Nile River in what is now modern South Sudan and was well known for its monopoly of economic resources and trade. The health and wealth of the kings were closely linked to that of the kingdom, thus if a king was not well, the kingdom would decline in trade and standard. In the 19th century, the kingdom suffered as from the invasion of the Ottoman Empire and later the British in Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. The kingdom still exists today but its ruler is now a chief under within the Sundanese government.
7 less-known ancient African civilisations  content media
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The gamer
Aug 24, 2018
In West African History
Abdulrahman Ibrahim Ibn Sori was born in 1762 in Timbo, modern-day Guinea. Sori was of noble blood more specifically, of the Torodbe Fulani Muslim tribe and also held the title of commander (Emir). Afforded the chance to obtain a quality education, Sori studied in Timbo – which was consolidated under the Islamic confederation of Futa Jallon by his father, Almami Ibrahim Sori. He was also able to study abroad in Timbuktu. Sori was adept at six languages, including English and Arabic. He became knowledgeable in Islamic sciences. In 1788 at the age of 26, his father bestowed upon him the title of Emir. He was in charge of a 2000-man army. During one of their military operations, he was defeated and captured and enslaved, eventually being sold to the British. The British subsequently sold him to Thomas Foster, a slave master located in Natchez, Mississippi. Sori was enslaved and owned by Foster for 40 years. Foster eventually nicknamed Sori “Prince,” a name that would stay with him for a lifetime and beyond. Having first-hand expertise at growing cotton in Timbo, Sori leveraged his knowledge to earn the position of lead foreman. He then grew his own produce and sold it at the local marketplace. In 1794, Sori married a woman named Isabel, also a slave of Foster’s. The couple had five daughters and four sons. Sori appealed to Dr. John Cox, an Irish surgeon who served on an English ship, to help him return home. Cox was able to reach Timbo after he was abandoned by his shipmates. Cox stayed there for six months where Sori’s family helped him. Cox, in turn, attempted to convince Foster to sell Sori so he could return to Africa. However, Foster would not budge, since he viewed Abdul-Rahman as indispensable to the Foster farm. Dr. Cox continued, until his death in 1829, to seek Ibrahim's freedom, to no avail. After Cox died, his son continued the cause to free Abdul-Rahman. In 1826, Sori sent a letter to his family members in Africa. The letter was intercepted by a Dutch newspaper printer named Andrew Marschalk. Marschalk sent the letter to U.S. senator Thomas Reed, who was from Mississippi. Reed forwarded the mail to the U.S. Consulate in Morocco. The Sultan of Morocco, Abderrahmane read the letter and asked then-President John Adams and Secretary of State Henry Clay to release Sori. In 1829, Foster agreed to the release of Sori for no payment in return. The caveat was that Sori had to leave the U.S. immediately and return to Africa. Attempting to raise money for his return home, Sori and his wife traveled to several states; they were also able to meet with President Adams. Through lobbied donations by politicians, appearances, The American Colonization Society, and the press, Sori collected funds in hopes of freeing his remaining relatives in Mississippi. Sori’s actions were considered a breach of contract which made his return home even more imperative. Unfortunately, Sori was only able to raise half of the money needed to free his children. He embarked for Monrovia, Liberia. After living in Liberia for four months, Sori contracted a fever and died at the age of 67. He wasn’t able to return to Timbo nor see his children before his death. Thankfully the money Sori raised freed two of his sons and their families. They were able to travel to Monrovia, Liberia where their mother resided. After the death of Foster, the descendants of Sori emigrated to other parts of Mississippi and the Southern states. His extended family members still reside in Monrovia and Natchez. Documentation of Sori’s life was formulated into a book authored by historian Dr. Terry Alford named, “A Prince Among Slaves.” In 2007, the film adaptation of the book was released. Sori penned two autobiographies before his death.
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The gamer
Aug 23, 2018
In Modern Events
The story follows a young college graduate named Amanuel who, after much efforts trying to solidify his career, finds disappointment in his non-success. His attempted quest to make a life for himself by pursuing the ticket that will grant him the opportunity to pursue the facade of the American dream, in connection to his American girlfriend, comes to a halt. His initial quest brings him face to face with decisions that involve sacrifice, and leads him down the road of finding self-worth, power, responsibility and hope. "Amanuel's story shows that a hero is not defined by where he/she comes from, or what he/she has accomplished, or his/her (super) abilities. Heroes are defined by the choices they make, their will and desire to do what is right, despite the difficulty of circumstances and irrespective of the recognition they might get," says creator and writer, Beserat Debebe. Etan Comics' founder Debebe created an entertainment platform for innovative African superhero stories. He, along with line and color artist Stanley Obende, line artist Brian Ibeh, color artists Akanni Akorede and Waliu Edu, and letterer Rebecca Asah, brought Jember to life. Instead of coming up with a completely fabricated backdrop for his story, Debebe cleverly interweaves Africa's ancient history and mythology. The history of the East African civilization known as the Kingdom of Punt is a big part of the creation of Jember's rich story. We asked Debebe about the artistic decisions he made with Jember, and his mission with Etan Comics: Our mission with Etan Comics is to entertain, empower, and educate our fans. We hope to entertain our audiences with fresh fantasy stories based on African history and mythology, and set in present day African countries. We want to empower the current and future generation of Africans and challenge them to expand their imagination by showing them we strive to portray superheroes that rise from African cities and stand as the symbol for justice, peace, equality, hope and love for their community and the world. We aim to broaden our readers perspectives about Africa by depicting a narrative that encourages everyone to learn more about the continents rich history, culture, and innovative day to day life. Available in both Amharic and English translations, you can obtain your own copy Jember here, and immerse yourself in its compelling story.
Check Out 'Jember,' the First Ethiopian Comic Book Super Hero  content media
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The gamer
Aug 23, 2018
In Modern Events
Image Credit: Masseka Game Studio The game developer-focused conference Devcom debuted at last year’s Gamescom (one of the largest gaming shows in the world) in Cologne, Germany. It’s back again this month from August 19 to Auguest 23, running presentations on topics like game design and publishing, as well as a show floor. This year it will have more diverse games on display thanks to Paradise game. The Ivory Coast-based company is bringing five developers from all over Africa to demo their work. CEO Sidick Bakayoko started Paradise Game a year-and-a-half ago with the idea of creating “the biggest gaming community in Africa.” It’s approaching this from a couple of different angles, one of which is to support developers from all over the continent. “If we can build that community, then we’ll need to support that community with various types of things. They’ll want games,” said Bakayoko in a phone call with GamesBeat. “You need to be able to provide them, whether it’s international games or local games. That’s what sent us in the direction of, you know what, African game developers, we’re going to try to help you get to an international level. If you improve the kinds of games you do, it’ll be easier for our game community to play those games. They’ll be the kinds of games people like.” In addition to its initiatives to help African developers, it also launched the games festival FEJA (Festival de l’Electronique et du Jeu video d’Abidjan), which drew 50,000 attendees and viewers on its livestream in its first year. It will be back again this fall from November 23 to 25. Bakayoko says that Paradise is also trying to provide some education around games. He started the TV program Paradise Game Show, which is about 26 minutes long and airs on a national channel in Ivory Coast every Saturday. It features basic lessons around topics like virtual reality and esports, but it also provides interviews with developers. One of the challenges that African developers face is that the local community doesn’t necessarily see the potential for a career in games. Bakayoko says that you’ll often run into the sentiment that it’s “something for kids,” which makes it hard to get funding and support. “If you build a game, of course you can be a great developer, sit in your house and develop your game, but if you need to do it over a year of time, you need to eat,” said Bakayoko. “You need to either get money from an investor or your game needs to generate revenue so you can live off that and continue, especially if you have to recruit people and so on. So one of the main hurdles is the fact that people don’t understand games, and don’t really want to help or push them. They don’t see the potential.” Another hurdle is the price of consoles and home PCs, which can be expensive. Folks also don’t always have access to electricity and internet, which limits their capability to play games. To that end, Paradise Game is launching its first gaming and e-learning center in Ivory Coast in September. It will be about 1,000 square meters and have around 50 different PCs and consoles for people to use, as well as a large screen for remote learning videos. Bakayoko envisions it as a place where people can learn about games and developers can network or participate in events like Global Game Jam. He’s tapped around 25 local studios to give talks about what projects they’re working on. “When people think about gaming centers, they only think about people coming to sit down and play. Whereas I see it bigger,” said Bakayoko. “I see it more as an area where we take kids that would not have anything to do on the streets, who could be there [instead of] just spending their time doing bad things—you take them and bring them in the center where they can have fun and learn. There’s going to be sessions and all kinds of activities. Getting families, parents and kids, together and trying to learn what game development is about. The important thing is going to be the experience.” Above: Mog Media Design’s Totem is based on African mythology. For Devcom, Bakayoko originally wanted to bring 20 studios but they ended up having to pare back to five. He says that the visa process has fortunately been fairly smooth, which he attributes to their track record of hosting events. The trickier part has been finding the developers to bring with him, because it’s hard to grasp what’s happening in all the different countries on the continent without the help of, for example, a larger organization that oversees everything. “We had to go individually, each country, every time we were going for the festival, every time we were talking to somebody,” said Bakayoko. “Who are the developers? Who’s doing what? Looking online for articles. It’s very difficult, because a lot of them are doing small things in their home towns and they don’t have funds to promote. If you’re not there, you don’t know about it. It took us a long time, about a year. It was an ongoing process to find some of these developers. In our minds, we really needed to make sure we understand and know everyone that’s in the ecosystem if we’re going to make an impact on the entire business.” The developers who will be showcasing at Devcom include Masseka Game Studio from Central African Republic with its digital board game Kissoro Tribal Game; Madagascar’s Studio Lomay, which created the racing game Gazkar; Nigerian studio Mog Media Design with its action platformer Totem; Kenya’s Weza Interactive, which developed the platformer Mzito; and Algerian studio Frontfire, which is developing the narrative beat-’em-up game Onizumu. African cultures infuse many of the games that Paradise are bringing to Devcom, and Bakayoko thinks that’s crucial to success for developers from the continent. “Regardless of whether your games come from Africa or China or anywhere else, the main aspects of gaming, one, is the story compelling? Two, does it get people engaged? And three, are you able to provide the kind of graphics and technical solutions that are in line with the highest standards?” said Bakayoko. “Games coming from Africa can have the same things, but they’ll have something additional because they come from a different culture, something people don’t know about. That’s why, from our perspective, we’re trying to get developers to understand that, you know what, we think that promoting African culture is key.” Paradise Game’s Africa Corner isn’t the first time African countries have made it to Germany. South Africa’s trade association Interactive Entertainment South Africa (IESA) has brought a few of its developers to Gamescom in years past. However, the Ivory Coast doesn’t have an organization like IESA to help boost its local studios or to support Paradise’s mission. Bakayoko secured a partnership that helped him launch the festival and build the gaming centers, but aside from that, everything Paradise does is self-funded. In the next 12 months, Bakayoko is thinking of raising funds. But he also has a lot of other big plans. The first gaming center will open in September. And he wants to build out FEJA even more, bringing international developers, publishers, and other industry folks to Abidjan. “Last year we had people coming in from France. We’re going to try to get people from Japan who are big players, people who are active in the industry, try to get people from the U.S., try to attract people who you normally wouldn’t see in Africa, playing or doing things around gaming,” said Bakayoko. “We think that if we bring them here, they’ll see the potential and help us get the ecosystem to another level.” Paradise Game’s efforts are creating events and spaces in Ivory Coast that will provide local devs with a place to show off their talent as well as grow their knowledge base. As it expands, hopefully it will also convince skeptics as well.
Paradise Game wants to create a thriving community for African devs content media
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The gamer
Aug 21, 2018
In Modern Events
Archaeologists in Kenya have discovered a 5,000-year-old cemetery containing at least 580 bodies. Built by Africa’s earliest herders, the ancient cemetery contains virtually no signs of social stratification, pointing to a surprisingly egalitarian society. Eastern Africa’s earliest monumental cemetery—as in, a cemetery containing monuments, such as pillars, cairns, and other landmarks—was built by the region’s first herders some 5,000 years ago, according to new research published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Typically, archaeological sites containing monuments are the product of large, complex societies; it typically takes a lot of people to build large structures that are designed to convey a shared set of beliefs or values. But this monumental cemetery, intentionally built by early pastoralists during the middle Holocene, suggests this isn’t always the case. View of Lothagam North, Kenya. Megaliths, stone circles, and cairns can be seen behind the platform mound. It’s called the Lothagam North Pillar Site, and it’s now the largest and oldest known monumental cemetery in eastern Africa. The communal cemetery was used continuously from about 5,000 years ago to 4,300 years ago by early herders who were living around Lake Turkana in what is now Kenya. This was happening during a time of significant environmental change, as rainfall in the area gradually decreased, and as water levels in the lake began to drop. Team leader Elisabeth A. Hildebrand from Stony Brook University, along with colleagues from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and several other institutions, explored the site through excavations and ground-penetrating radar. The ancient cemetery included a large stone-encircled platform measuring 100 feet (30 meters) in diameter above a large pit that was used to bury the dead. The pit, or mortuary cavity, was nearly 4,240 cubic feet (120 cubic meters) in size, and it contained at least 580 individuals (it’s possible that more bodies are contained within, as the pit was too deep to fully probe with the ground-penetrating radar). An engraving of a cow-like creature found at the site. “Data from excavations,” write the researchers in the study, “reveal a construction plan that envisioned the platform’s dimensions from the outset. People first removed beach sands from a [1,300-square-foot, or 120-square-meter] area down to sandstone bedrock, creating a large cavity shored up with sandstone slabs. They capped surrounding beach sands with a stone pavement ringed by boulders. Within the cavity, people dug closely spaced burial pits into the soft bedrock.” Corpses were tightly placed into this area in a series of individual burials. The mortuary cavity gradually filled up over the course of several centuries, and it was eventually filled with rubble and capped with stones. Large stone pillars were placed on top from materials sourced well over a kilometer away. Stone circles and cairns were also added nearby. Excavation work done on bodies found within the pit shows that both males and females were buried at the site, ranging from infants through to the elderly. None of the burials exhibited conspicuous signs of hierarchies or social inequalities. The bodies were buried tightly alongside each other, and in an arrangement not suggestive of rank or social status. What’s more, virtually every corpse was associated with some kind of personal adornment, which weren’t restricted to any particular age, sex, or other criteria. “Many individuals had ostrich eggshell or stone beads around the necks, hips, and/or ankles,” write the researchers. “Others had hippo ivory finger rings or forearm bangles. Two burials had disintegrated headpieces with intricate latticed arrangements of mammal incisors...Another individual was buried with 12 perforated hippo tusks that may have been strung together and worn in life.” Stone pendants and earrings from the communal cemetery. In addition, more than 300 “vibrantly colored” stone and mineral beads were found, many of which would have required great time and effort to create. The communal grave, in addition to providing a shared place to inter the dead, was a place to congregate, share information, and renew social ties, the researchers say. Indeed, by building permanent monuments, these early herders were helping to forge a community identity, with the cemetery reminding them of their shared history, ideals, and culture. The presence of this cemetery also means that dispersed, mobile, and egalitarian societies without strong social hierarchies were capable of constructing monuments—a finding that goes against conventional thinking. “This discovery challenges earlier ideas about monumentality,” explained Sawchuk in a statement. “Absent other evidence, Lothagam North provides an example of monumentality that is not demonstrably linked to the emergence of hierarchy, forcing us to consider other narratives of social change.” Those “other narratives,” aren’t immediately obvious, but “additional investigation and careful comparison, to see whether (or how) similar socioeconomic circumstances may have prompted the emergence of monumentality in different parts of the continent,” are now warranted, the researchers write in the study. As a final note, it’s important to point out the limitations of inferring social dynamics through the study of a mass grave, albeit a very organized one with seemingly egalitarian characteristics. The researchers say none of the buried individuals exhibited signs of social stratification, but we can’t know, for example, who was not included in the grave (i.e. there may have been a selectional effect at play here). What’s more, there’s no such thing as a perfectly egalitarian society, as discrepancies in power, influence, and privilege exist along multiple domains, such as sex, age, or other lines of social delineation. The dead don’t speak, so we may never know the ways in which these individuals may have been marginalized or otherwise set apart.
Bodies in 5,000-Year-Old Kenyan Cemetery Reveal Ancient Egalitarian Society content media
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The gamer
Aug 21, 2018
In African History
Though we may think of Timbuktu as the pre-eminent site of pre-colonial West African scholarship, we must remember that there were other places spanning across the Western and Central Sudan that were renowned for their tradition of teaching. One such place was the capital city of the Kanem Bornu state, Birni Gazargamu. This first great centre of Islamic learning in Central Sudan produced such outstanding figures as Idris Alooma, the pioneering 16th century mai (King) who improved governance and infrastructure. A scholar himself, he funded scholarship and the copying of sacred books. An earlier product of this stimulating aura was Ibrahim al-Kanemi, the first known Sub-Saharan writer (12th century) to have written in Arabic. If we venture west from Chad into Nigeria we can enter the cities of Kano and Katsina, two of the original Hausa city-states. It was around the environs of Gobarau Mosque built during the reign of Sarkin (King) Muhammed Korau (1463-1495), the first Muslim ruler of Katsina, that this metropolis became a centre of learning. Ibn Sabbag known as Dan Marina, an acclaimed scholar of the 17th century, who the Sokoto Caliphate ruler Muhammed Bello, often referred to as ''the corridor to knowledge,'' was educated there. Muhammed al-Fulani al-Kishnawi, who became a noted figure, in the celebrated al-Jabarti circle, based at Al-Azhar University, also studied there. He passed away in Cairo in 1741 CE. In an article by Dr Musa Ahmad Karkaru we are informed that there are copies of his works in the Egyptian National Library, as well as in some Moroccan and Nigerian archives. The Kano Chronicle tells us that it was the Wangara teachers and traders that popularised Islam in Kano during the 14th century. Amid the reign of Sarkin Kano Muhammed Rumfa (1463-1699) and after his return from Mecca, the city became a centre of learning; attracting scholars and students from near and far - such as the jurist Muhammed al-Maghli, from Tlemcen, Algeria. Continuing westward, into Burkina Faso, there is the village of Darsalamy, founded by Wangara scholars. Since the 18th century they have been resident in the major city of Bobo-Dioulasso. During the mid-19th century, in the western part of the country, they founded Darsalamy, translated as “abode of peace” or “house of peace” in Arabic, as a village of study and prayer in. Inspired by the teachings and life of the Malian scholar, al-Hajj Salim Suwari, these teachers followed his tradition. Going south from Burkina Faso, we enter Ghana. Salaga, in the north of the country, was sometimes referred to as the 'Timbuktu of the South,' due to the twin attributes both towns shared – trade and scholarship. One of the outstanding figures of the 19th century in Salaga, was a scholar of Nigerian descent, al-Hajj Umar, who was a founder of the schools there. Thought to have had advanced knowledge in Greek philosophy as well as Arabic poetry, he later relocated to Kete Krachi; becoming a paramount figure in the establishment of that town as a centre of learning. The Ivory Coast, which shares a border with Ghana, was also home to hubs of studying such as Bondouku and Kong, both founded in the early 18th century. The learning in these towns was generated by the teachings of Mande lineages in for example Kamagahte, Saganago and Timate. As well as being trading emporiums specialising in gold and kola nuts, they were well-known centres of learning, known for their teaching of Maliki law. Of the four recognised schools of Islamic law, the majority of Islamic West Africa follows the Maliki branch. Staying on a westerly path, we find ourselves in the Sierra Leonean hinterland. In 1831, in a town called Gbile, in northern Sierra Leone, Fode Ibrahim Tarawali founded a school of higher learning. In an article by David E. Skinner, we are informed that the esteemed Pan African pioneer Edward Blyden, when passing through the area in 1872, said of the school, that: 'Billeh is a sort of University town – the Oxford of this region... The president of this institution is Fode Tarawally, celebrated throughout the country for his learning...” Going north of Sierra Leone, passing through Guinea, we make a stop in the Senegambian region. In 1611, Khaly Amar Fall founded the widely honoured Pir Saniokhor University in Senegal. Senegalese notables such as Omar ibn Said, Malik Sy (founder of Bundu) and El Hajj Umar Tall studied at Pir, as well as the Gambian mystic Mass Kah, who founded his own settlement and school in his homeland, which he called Medina. East of Senegal is Mali. The country that produced centres of learning, such as Jenne, where the Bagayogo lineage hails from and Kabura. Kabura is celebrated for being the hometown of the Fulani teacher Moddibo al-Kaburi, a pioneering figure of the Timbuktu scholarship, which produced alumni such as Ahmed Baba, the eminent scholar of 16th century Timbuktu. Some referring this period to its “Golden Age.” Thus if Timbuktu was the bright star, the central phenomenon in the teaching constellation, the other centres of learning we have briefly visited were complimentary satellites of often equal brilliance.
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The gamer
Aug 21, 2018
In West African History
Sankore's achievement in higher education is important to Islamic and African civilisation even though it was less known in comparison to Al-Azhar, Al-Qayrawan, Al-Qarawiyyin and Qurtuba Universities. It is also said to be a source of pride amongst African-Carribean communities worldwide, as it was a great intellectual institution dating back to civilisations in Mali, Ghana and Songhay - particularly during the 12th to 16th centuries. The University of Timbuktu is often referred to as the ‘University of Sankore', as there are two other universities in Timbuktu, 'Jingaray Ber' and 'Sidi Yahya'. The University of Sankore is located in the North East district of Timbuktu and housed within the Sankore Mosque. The Sankore Mosque was founded in 989 CE by the erudite chief judge of Timbuktu, Al-Qadi Aqib ibn Mahmud ibn Umar. He had built the inner court of the mosque parallel to the exact dimensions of the Ka'abah in Makkah. A wealthy Mandinka lady financed Sankore University making it the leading centre of education. The Sankore University prospered and became a very significant seat of learning in the Muslim world, especially under the reign of Mansa Musa (1307-1332) and the Askia Dynasty (1493-1591).   The University of Sankore had no central administration; rather, it was composed of several entirely independent schools or colleges, each run by a single master (scholar or professor). The courses took place in the open courtyards of mosque complexes or private residences. The principle subject matter taught at the University included Qur'anic and Islamic studies, law along with literature. Other subjects included medicine and surgery, astronomy, mathematics, physics, chemistry, philosophy, language and linguistics, geography, history, as well as art. Students were also reported to have spent time in learning a trade along with relevant business code and ethics. The university trade shops offered classes in business, carpentry, farming, fishing, construction, shoe making, tailoring, navigation, etc. It prospered and became a very significant seat of learning in the Muslim world. It was claimed that the intellectual freedom enjoyed in Western Universities was inspired from universities like those in Sankore and Qurtuba (Muslim Spain).  Memorising the Qur'an and mastering the Arabic language was compulsory for students; as Arabic was the lingua franca of the university, as well as the language of trade and commerce in Timbuktu. Withstanding a few manuscripts, which are in Songhay and another a'jami language, all the remaining 70,000 manuscripts that are believed to have originated from the University of Sankore are in Arabic. The Al-Furqan Islamic Heritage Foundation in London published a list of these manuscripts, which can be found in a 5-volume collection in the Ahmed Baba library. The highest, or "superior" degree level (equivalent to PhD) is reported to have taken students 10 years to undertake. During the graduation ceremony, the graduates had to wear the traditional turban to represent the name ‘Allah' which Muslims believe symbolises divine light, wisdom, knowledge, and excellent moral conduct. What is more, graduates had to demonstrate excellent character, and care for Islamic values and education prior to receiving their graduation invitation. Similar to other Islamic universities, the University of Sankore granted admission to students originating from diverse backgrounds. Around the 12th century, it is reported that there was an attendance of 25,000 students, in a city of 100,000 people. The university was renowned for its high standards and admission requirements, which in turn produced world-class scholars, recognised by their publications and graduates. Quoting the French author Felix Dubois in his book, Timbuctoo the Mysterious: "The scholars of Timbuctoo (Timbuktu) yielded in nothing, to the saints in the sojourns in the foreign universities of Fez, Tunis, and Cairo. They astounded the most learned men of Islam by their erudition. That these Negroes were on a level with the Arabian savants is proved by the fact that they were installed as professors in Morocco and Egypt. In contrast to this, we find that Arabs were not always equal to the requirements of Sankore." Felix Dubois The most famous scholar of Timbuktu was Ahmad Baba as-Sudane (1564-1627), the final Chancellor of Sankore University. He penned over 60 books on various subjects including law, medicine, philosophy, astronomy, mathematics, etc. He was a matchless jurist, professor, and Imam of his time. In 1593, during the Moroccan invasion, he was deported to Fez, while most of his work was destroyed. Other celebrated figures from Sankore include: Mohammed Bagayogo as-Sudane al-Wangari al-Timbukti (Conferred an honorary Doctorate from Al-Azhar University during his visit to Cairo en-route to undertaking the Hajj (mandated holy pilgrimage)); Modibo Mohammed al-Kaburi; Abu al-Abbas Ahmad Buryu ibn; Ag Mohammed ibn Utman; Abu Abdallah; and Ag Mohammed Ibn Al-Mukhtar An-Nawahi. Most of these scholars were of the Maliki School of thought and followed the Qadiriyyah tariqat (spiritual path); many of them already being graduates from other educational establishments in Fez, Tunis, Cairo, and Makkah in the early history of Sankore. The University of Sankore is still functioning but with little resources. The Muslim world and Africans need to preserve, maintain, and support what was once a most formidable institution of learning that contributed greatly to our present Civilisation.
The University of Sankore, Timbuktu content media
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The gamer
Aug 20, 2018
In North African History
Biography: Ibn Battuta spent 29 years traveling the world during the Middle Ages. During his travels, he covered around 75,000 miles of ground which included much of the Islamic Empire and beyond. He is known as one of the greatest travelers in world history. How do we know about Ibn Battuta? When Ibn Battuta returned to Morocco near the end of his life in 1354, he told many tales of his fantastic journeys abroad. The ruler of Morocco wanted a record of Ibn Battuta's travels and insisted that he tell the stories of his journeys to a scholar. The scholar wrote the accounts down and they became a famous travel book known as the Rihla, which means "Journey." Where did Ibn Battuta grow up? Ibn Battuta was born on February 25, 1304 in Tangier, Morocco. At this time, Morocco was part of the Islamic Empire and Ibn Battuta grew up in a Muslim family. He likely spent his youth studying at an Islamic school learning reading, writing, science, mathematics, and Islamic law. Hajj At the age of 21, Ibn Battuta decided it was time for him to make a pilgrimage to the Islamic holy city of Mecca. He knew that this would be a long and difficult journey, but he said goodbye to his family and set out on his own. The trip to Mecca was thousands of miles long. He traveled across north Africa, usually joining a caravan for company and the safety of numbers. Along the way, he visited cities such as Tunis, Alexandria, Cairo, Damascus, and Jerusalem. Finally, a year and half after leaving home, he reached Mecca and completed his pilgrimage. Travels Ibn Battuta discovered during his pilgrimage that he loved to travel. He liked seeing new places, experiencing different cultures, and meeting new people. He decided to continue traveling. Over the next 28 or so years, Ibn Battuta would travel the world. He first went up into Iraq and Persia visiting parts of the Silk Road and cities such as Baghdad, Tabriz, and Mosul. He then traveled along the east coast of Africa spending time in Somalia and Tanzania. After seeing much of the African coast, he returned to Mecca for Hajj. Ibn Battuta next headed north visiting the land of Anatolia (Turkey) and the Crimean peninsula. He visited the city of Constantinople and then began to head east to India. Once in India, he went to work for the Sultan of Delhi as a judge. He left there after a few years and continued his travels to China. In 1345, he arrived in Quanzhou, China. While in China, Ibn Battuta visited cities such as Beijing, Hangzhou, and Guangzhou. He traveled on the Grand Canal, visited the Great Wall of China, and met with the Mongol Khan who ruled China. After spending over a year in China, Ibn Battuta decided to head home to Morocco. He had almost reached home when a messenger informed him that his parents had died while he was away. Rather than return home, he continued on his travels. He went north to Al-Andalus (Islamic Spain) and then headed back south into the heart of Africa to visit Mali and the famous African city of Timbuktu. Later Life and Death In 1354, Ibn Battuta finally returned to Morocco. He told the story of his adventures to a scholar who wrote it all down in a book called the Rihla. He then remained in Morocco and worked as a judge until he died around the year 1369.
Early Islamic World: Biography of Ibn Battuta content media
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The gamer
Aug 20, 2018
In Modern Events
Five Nigerian teenagers won first place in the junior division of the Tecnovation World Pitch Summit held in San Jose, California last week with an app that has the potential to save thousands of lives. Iridescent's 2018 Technovation World Pitch Summit is the world’s largest tech entrepreneurship program for girls. The program invites girls from ages ten to eighteen from all over the world to identify a problem in their community and then challenges the girls to solve it. Team Save-a-Soul was selected from 2,000 mobile app developers to represent Africa at the pitch competition. Their winning mobile app, FD Detector (Fake Drug Detector), tackles the problem of counterfeit pharmaceutical products in Nigeria. The team won ahead of rivals from the US, Spain, Turkey, Uzbekistan and China. The girls’ app addresses a real life and death issue in Nigeria. The regulator, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has struggled for years to close in on a rampant fake drug market. Though the exact number of counterfeit drugs is contested, many malaria deaths in Nigeria are have been linked to the use fake medicines. African countries are dumping ground for 40% of the world’s recorded counterfeit drugs. Others have addressed this problem as well with technology, including mPedigree, a Ghanaian company founded by 2015 Quartz Africa Innovator, Bright Simons. The girls plan to partner with NAFDAC to create a database of certified pharmaceutical products. Once authorized by the agency, a pharmaceutical company can upload its drugs onto the platform and be admitted to the database. Consequently, anyone with a smartphone camera, both health professionals and consumers, can scan the barcode of a drug and the app will let then them know if the drug is real or fake and display its expiration date. The app also allows users to report cases of fake drugs directly to NAFDAC. The team is made up of five girls from Regina Pacies Secondary School Onitsha, Anambra State: Promise Nnalue, Jessica Osita, Nwabuka Ossai, Adaeze Onuigbo and Vivian Okoye. The girls were mentored by a 2017 Mandela Washington Fellow, Uchenna Onwuaegbu-Ugwu who founded a STEM Center focused on implementing STEM education in schools for children and youth from ages 3-18, especially girls in rural communities in eastern Nigeria.
A team of Nigerian schoolgirls won a top Silicon Valley prize for a fake-drug detector content media
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The gamer
Aug 20, 2018
In North African History
Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to those parts of the Iberian Peninsula governed by Muslims, or Moors of North Africa, at various times in the period between 711 and 1492. As a political domain or domains, it was successively a province of the Umayyad Caliphate, the Caliphate of Córdoba (929-1031), and finally the Caliphate of Córdoba's taifa(successor) kingdoms. For large parts of its history, particularly under the Caliphate of Córdoba, Andalus was famous for learning and the city of Cordoba became one of the leading cultural and economic centers in both the Mediterranean basin and the Islamic world. In 1236, the Requincusta (gradual Christian reconquest) under the forces of Ferdinand III of Castile progressed as far as the last remaining Islamic stronghold, Granada. Granada was reduced to a vassal state to Castile for the next 256 years, until January 2, 1492, when Boabdil surrendered complete control of Granada to Ferdinand and Isabella.
Al-Andalus content media
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The gamer
Aug 20, 2018
In Central African History
The Ishango bone is believed to be the oldest mathematical tool. The Ishango bone is a bone tool, dated to the Upper Paleolithic era. It is a dark brown length of bone, the fibula of a baboon, with a sharp piece of quartz affixed to one end, perhaps for engraving. It was first thought to be a tally stick, as it has a series of what has been interpreted as tally marks carved in three columns running the length of the tool, but some scientists have suggested that the groupings of notches indicate a mathematical understanding that goes beyond counting. It has also been suggested that the scratches might have been to create a better grip on the handle or for some other non-mathematical reason. The Ishango bone was found in 1960 by Belgian Jean de Heinzelin de Braucourt while exploring what was then the Belgian Congo. It was discovered in the African area of Ishango, which was centered near the headwaters of the Nile River at Lake Edward (now on the border between modern-day Uganda and Congo). The bone was found among the remains of a small community that fished and gathered in this area of Africa. The small settlement had been buried in a volcanic eruption. The artifact was first estimated to have originated between 9,000 BC and 6,500 BC. However, the dating of the site where it was discovered was re-evaluated, and it is now believed to be more than 20,000 years old. The Ishango bone is on permanent exhibition at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Brussels, Belgium.
The Oldest Mathematical Object content media
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The gamer
Aug 20, 2018
In Southern African History
A giant stone city was discovered in South Africa, approximately 150 km west of port Maputo, Mozambique. By calculating the erosion rate of the dolerite, it became possible to assess the age of the site. It was estimated that the 1500 square-kilometer metropolis was constructed between 160,000 and 200,000 years ago! The ruins consist of huge stone circles, most of which are buried in the sand and can be seen only from the air or with the help of satellite imagery. It is believed that this ancient city is part of an even larger structure of 10,000 square kilometers. The organized nature of this ancient community and a road network connecting it to the terraced agriculture suggest that the metropolis was home to a highly advanced civilization. The geology of the site is quite interesting too because of the numerous gold mines located in the area. According to researchers, this ancient civilization could have practiced gold mining. What is quite curious, no one has ever wondered about the origin and the age of these stone circles before, despite the fact that local residents have encountered them multiple times. In 2007, Michael Tellinger, researcher and writer passionate about human origins, and Johan Heine, a local fireman and pilot, decided to explore the site. According to Tellinger, the evidence they found suggests a completely different perspective on the history of humankind. According to the conventional version of human history, the first civilization on Earth was Sumer and emerged in southern Mesopotamia about 6000 years ago. But what if there was another, earlier civilization that was then lost in the mists of time? “The photographs, artifacts and evidence we accumulated, point towards a lost civilization that has never before been and precedes all others – not for a few hundred years, or a few thousand years … but many thousands of years,” he said. Tellinger believes that this ancient African metropolis is the oldest structure built by human on Earth. In fact, he thinks that the Sumerians and the Egyptians inherited knowledge from this advanced civilization. This hypothesis is based on the fact that there are carvings of the Egyptian Ankh on the rocks of the ancient city. How could there possibly be an image of the Egyptian god thousands of years before the Egyptian civilization emerged? “These discoveries are so staggering that they will not be easily digested by the mainstream historical and archaeological fraternity, as we have already experienced. It will require a complete paradigm shift in how we view our human history,” Tellinger said. Tellinger’s findings raise more questions than answers, but we can hope that this incredible ancient city will attract more researchers in the future and that one day more light will be shed on this lost civilization and the unknown aspects of human history in general.
An old city found in Southern Africa may rewrite history content media
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The gamer
Aug 19, 2018
In Modern Events
Bright blue, older than dinosaurs and weighing as much as an average-sized man, coelacanths are the most endangered fish in South Africa and among the rarest in the world. Barely 30 of these critically-endangered fish are known to exist off the east coast of South Africa, raising concern that a new oil exploration venture in the area could jeopardise their future. Coelacanths, whose shape has remained almost unchanged for 420m years, captured world attention when the first living specimen was caught off the port city of East London in 1938. This discovery was followed by the subsequent capture of several more off the Comoros islands in the early 1950s, confirming that coelacanths were definitely not extinct. December 2000 brought further excitement when divers found a small coelacanth colony in underwater canyons near South Africa’s Sodwana Bay, adjacent to the iSimangaliso wetland park and world heritage site. Now the Rome-based energy group Eni plans to drill several deep-water oil wells in a 400km long exploration block known as Block ER236. Dr Andrew Venter, the chief executive of Wildtrust, one of several conservation groups lobbying for a significant expansion of South Africa’s protected ocean areas, said: “The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 decimated fish populations – so if we had an oil spill off iSimangaliso it is very likely it could wipe out these coelacanths.” The Sodwana coelacanths are about 40km from the northern boundary of the Eni exploration area and nearly 200km north of the first drilling sites, but Venter said oil spills spread far and swiftly. His concerns have been echoed by the coelacanth expert Prof Mike Bruton, who said the fish are specialist creatures, sensitive to environmental disturbance. “Anything that interferes with their ability to absorb oxygen, such as oil pollution, would threaten their survival. The risk of oil spills or blowouts during exploration or future commercial production in Block ER236 is a source of serious concern.”
Older than dinosaurs: last South African coelacanths threatened by oil exploration content media
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Aug 19, 2018
In Modern Events
Kofi Annan, the only black African to become UN secretary-general, has died. The 80-year-old "passed away peacefully on Saturday (18 August 2018) after a short illness", the foundation named after him said. His home country, Ghana, has declared a week of national mourning. Annan served two terms as UN chief from 1997 to 2006, and was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian work. He later served as the UN special envoy for Syria, leading efforts to find a solution to the conflict. In a statement announcing his death, the Kofi Annan Foundation described him as "a global statesman and deeply committed internationalist who fought throughout his life for a fairer and more peaceful world". "Wherever there was suffering or need, he reached out and touched many people with his deep compassion and empathy." The career diplomat died in hospital in the Swiss city of Bern. He had been living near Geneva for several years. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 for helping to revitalise the international body, during a period that coincided with the Iraq War and the HIV/Aids pandemic. Kofi Annan described his greatest achievement as the Millennium Development Goals which - for the first time - set global targets on issues such as poverty and child mortality. However, Annan was not immune from criticism. His critics blamed him for the UN's failure to halt the genocide in Rwanda in the 1990s when he was head of the organisation's peacekeeping operations. Later, after the US-led invasion of Iraq, he and his son were accused of being involved in the "oil for food corruption scandal" that led some to call for his resignation, though he was later exonerated
Kofi Annan, former UN chief, dies at 80 content media
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