Tag Archives | Africa

Iconic boab trees trace journeys of ancient Aboriginal people

Legend tells that huge hollow boabs were used as prisons in north west Australia. Robyn Jay/Flickr, CC BY-SA

Legend tells that huge hollow boabs were used as prisons in north west Australia. Robyn Jay/Flickr, CC BY-SA

Haripriya Rangan, Monash University

Baobabs, the iconic bottle trees of Africa and Madagascar, have a single relative, the boab, living in the Kimberley region of northwest Australia. No one knows when and how the boab came across from Africa to Australia, or why its natural range is limited to this region.

In a study published recently in PLOS ONE, we solve one part of this mystery by showing that ancient Aboriginal peoples were responsible for spreading the boab in the Kimberley.

The boab mystery

An early hypothesis was that baobabs existed in parts of the supercontinent of Gondwana, which split up and became Africa, Madagascar and Australia more than 50 million years ago. This was not very convincing because, for one thing, peninsular India was part of that massive continental break-up, but does not have any of its own baobab species.… Read the rest

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Gates Foundation’s Seed Agenda in Africa ‘Another Form of Colonialism,’ Warns Protesters

Calling out a scheme to privatize Africa's seed resources, protesters in London picketed outside the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Monday, March 23, 2015. (Photo: Global Justice Now/cc/flickr)

Calling out a scheme to privatize Africa’s seed resources, protesters in London picketed outside the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Monday, March 23, 2015. (Photo: Global Justice Now/cc/flickr)

Originally Published on Common Dreams.

‘This neoliberal agenda of deregulation and privatization poses a serious threat to food sovereignty and the ability of food producers and consumers to define their own food systems and policies,’ says campaigners

Food sovereignty activists are shining a light on a closed-door meeting between the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which are meeting in London on Monday with representatives of the biotechnology industry to discuss how to privatize the seed and agricultural markets of Africa.

Early Monday, protesters picketed outside the Gates Foundation’s London offices holding signs that called on the foundation to “free the seeds.” Some demonstrators handed out packets of open-pollinated seeds, which served as symbol of the “alternative to the corporate model promoted by USAID and BMGF.” Others smashed a piñata, which they said represented the “commercial control of seed systems;” thousands of the seeds which filled the pinata spilled across the office steps.

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Africa, Shamanism, and the Transhumanist Future with Kilindi Iyi – Free Radical Media Podcast

In this installment, the Free Radical crew speaks with martial artist and world traveler Kilindi Iyi. Iyi discusses his travels through the African continent, including his studies of ancient shamanistic practices, secret societies, and martial arts traditions. Kilindi has studied under and worked with tribal elders and leaders throughout Africa. He also details his extensive study of entheogenic substances, particularly psilocybin (in amounts that make Terence McKenna’s “Heroic Dose” look like child’s play), and his theories of the new, natural shamanism and transhumanism.

Kilindi can be reached via facebook.

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Africa’s Ancient Plant Diversity And Seed Independence Still Under Threat From Proposed New Laws

Grain Seeds from True Mind's Open Sesame: The Story of Seeds

Grain Seeds from True Mind’s Open Sesame: The Story of Seeds

via Tech Dirt:

Back in May 2013, we wrote about worrying attempts to create a harmonized system for controlling the sale of seeds in Africa that would increase the power of large suppliers such as Monsanto, at the expense of small farmers. A long and interesting article in Intellectual Property Watch indicates that those efforts are intensifying:

The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), with the help of the United States and an international plant variety organisation, is working to grow regional support for a controversial draft law. The draft protocol would boost protection for new plant varieties, despite concerns of local civil society that it would not be in the best interest of ARIPO members’ food security due to its potential impact on small farmers. ARIPO held a regional workshop on the issue in recent weeks in part to build support for a treaty negotiation to lock in these protections.

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“We Come as Friends”, a Look at Contemporary Colonialism in Africa, a New Documentary from Hubert Sauper, the Director of “Darwin’s Nightmare”

via chycho

we come as friendsMy first glimpse into what the new colonialism in Africa was looking like was with Hubert Sauper’s 2004 documentary “Darwin’s Nightmare”. That’s when I realized that the future of Africa was going to be very bleak. If you are interested in what’s going on in Africa then this masterpiece is a must watch. (I was only going to provide a link to the Trailer below, but I found the full documentary online. It’s missing the English subtitles, so if you want to have the full experience I suggest tracking down a full version.)

Darwins Nightmare (Hubert Sauper, 2004)

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Hubert Sauper has released a new documentary on Africa, focusing on Sudan, entitled “We Come as Friends”Sundance program and review.

Below you will find Democracy Now!’s full interview and discussion with Hubert Sauper regarding this project.… Read the rest

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The Crumbling Ancient Texts That May Hold Life-Saving Cures

Loc timbuktu manuscripts amm0001rsAstonishing lost medical science being unearthed from ancient texts smuggled out of Timbuktu to avoid Al-Qaeda? It may sound like the plot of a Dan Brown potboiler but it appears to be true based on this first hand report by Amy Maxmen who went to Mali for Nautilus:

…Subjects in the collections, spanning the 13th through 17th century, include the Koran, Sufism, philosophy, law, medicine, astronomy, and more. Haidara stresses the need for climate-controlled safe-houses for the manuscripts, so that academics can begin to study the books to learn about African history. He thinks the books might also contain information about cures for maladies that persist today. “Every book has answers, and if you analyze them you can learn solutions,” he says. “Everything that exists now, existed before now.” One prime example of this constancy is a plague that has afflicted humans at least since ancient times and currently kills approximately 1.2 million people per year: malaria.

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Selling Body Parts For Black Magic At Hospital Morgues

morgueIn the organ thieves’ defense, this is recycling. Via South Africa’s IOL News:

An extensive black market in human body parts has been uncovered in Swaziland’s second-largest hospital. Demand is strong in the country for human ingredients for use in traditional potions. Even the water used to wash corpses in the hospital mortuary is being sold to traditional healers.

The practice of selling human organs from the mortuary at Raleigh Fitkin Memorial Hospital in the central commercial hub of Manzini is an open secret. A human brain costs R1,000. Other parts, from internal organs to body fat, fetch from R400 to R1,000.

Body parts are roasted and pulverised into an ash, and mixed with herbs for a potion that is either drunk, ingested or in some cases rubbed into the blood through a razor cut to the skin. The user is then endowed with supernatural power, according to belief.

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Pretending One Can Dissociate Torture From War is the Lie of the Powerful

via chycho

larcenet_6One of the most amazing aspects of the resource wars is that within their own countries, most western powers have been able to stifle opposition for their participation, not to mention being able to suppress any real criticism of how they conduct themselves based on the laws of war.

“Everyone must be entitled to benefit from fundamental judicial guarantees. No one must be sentenced without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court. No one must be held responsible for an act he has not committed. No one must be subjected to physical or mental torture, corporal punishment or cruel or degrading treatment.”

Let’s take France as an example since it appears to have the backing of its citizens in taking the lead role in the recent wars which are set to determine the future of Africa.

To have a full appreciation for the magnitude of the folly of France’s decision to attempt a “total reconquest of Mali” by getting involved in what David Cameron has predicted to be a multi-decade conflict, all we need to do is recap a little history and extrapolate to the present.… Read the rest

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