Tag Archives | Africa

Inside Ghana’s Witch Camps

Imagine life in a remote town comprised entirely of “witches.” The BBC explains:

When misfortune hits a village, there is a tendency in some countries to suspect a “witch” of casting a spell. In Ghana, outspoken or eccentric women may also be accused of witchcraft – and forced to live out their days together in witch camps.

The camps are said to have come into existence more than 100 years ago, when village chiefs decided to establish isolated safe areas for the women. They survive by collecting firewood, selling little bags of peanuts or working in nearby farms.

“The camps are a dramatic manifestation of the status of women in Ghana,” says Professor Dzodzi Tsikata of the University of Ghana. “Older women become a target because they are no longer useful to society.”

Women who do not conform to society’s expectations also fall victim to the accusations of witchcraft, according to Lamnatu Adam of the women’s rights group Songtaba.

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The Fantastical Burials Of Ghana Coffin

In our new age, how does one leave the realm of Earth with style and flair? In contrast to the traditional staid wooden box, the Accra-based Ghana Coffin carpentry collective carves custom coffins in every shape imaginable, including lizards, cruise ships, cigarettes, pianos, cell phones, popsicles, and (for infants) computer mice:

We are at the very beginning the fifties. Perhaps a fisherman, or then a cultivator, inquired to Kane Kwei about the possibility of having a coffin in the form of boat. Or of an onion. To bury a parent fisherman or cultivator. Kane Kwei honored the order.

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High Five, Jesus! Christ Gives a Big Hand to Nigerian Church

Picture: Michelangelo (PD)

AllAfrica.com reports that a giant hand appeared before the congregation of Glorious Assembly Ministries church in Calabar, Cross River state, Nigeria. The church is also known by the not-at-all apocalyptic, hair-raising name Christ Endtime Military Academy. Whether God’s big ol’ mitt actually appeared at the church is up for debate (to say the least); the credulous tone of the article is not. I’m particularly fond of the bit about people “[insinuating] many things concerning the hand”:

The mysterious hand which appeared on the fourth day of the programme radiated with light and pierced through the ceiling of the church building before young boys who were part of the programme noticed it with amazement.

Though many people have insinuated many things concerning the hand, the General Overseer of the Church, Pastor Timmy Larry described the hand as the hand of Jesus Christ and that a day before the mysterious hand appeared, a lady saw a vision that a mighty hand came from behind and lifted and smashed a man.

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African Women Start Sex Strike To Force President Out

Don’t mess with African women! BBC News reports on the sex strike in Togo:

Women in Togo have been urged to abstain from sex for a week from Monday to push their demand for reform.

The ban has been called by opposition coalition Let’s Save Togo, made up of nine civil society groups and seven opposition parties and movements.

Opposition leader Isabelle Ameganvi said that sex could be a “weapon of the battle” to achieve political change.

The coalition wants President Faure Gnassingbe, whose family has held power for decades, to stand down.

“We have many means to oblige men to understand what women want in Togo,” Ms Ameganvi, leader of the women’s wing of the coalition, told the BBC.

She said she had been inspired by a similar strike by Liberian women in 2003, who used a sex strike to campaign for peace.

“If men refuse to hear our cries we will hold another demonstration that will be more powerful than a sex strike,” she added…

[continues at BBC News]

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A Tear for Africa: Abduction and Reduction

Photo: Nasa (PD)

From Maximilian Forte of Zero Anthropology, A photo and text essay examining the intersection of western hegemony and humanitarianism.

Helpless, pleading, wanting, needing, small, weak, staring at you, black–this is the anti-bogeyman invented by Western humanitarianism, what passes as morality in the ideology of empire (yet again). Past the time of a London Missionary Society, we now have the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), the moral dogma of a white, western elite that projects its abusive notion of “protection” everywhere it is not wanted. Hence we have the “smug self-congratulation” marking Obama’s “Atrocity Prevention Board” and empowering the U.S. to undertake global police work. Part of a long history of casting wars as “humanitarian,” the “moral compass” of Western imperialism has an appropriately nautical sound in this commercial that declares the U.S. Navy to be “a force for global good” (nautical or extraterrestrial perhaps: the images are inspired by the opening of Star Wars, and the narration echoes Darth Vader).

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African Genome Offers New Leads in the Story of Human Evolution

Via IO9:

It’s pretty much an established fact that ancient human beings interbred with their Neanderthal cousins, but according to scientists investigating the African genome, interspecies breeding may have occurred much earlier than we thought:

Their findings suggest humans are more genetically diverse than we’d previously believed. But they also show that ancient humans may have interbred with an unknown species of hominin — what researchers surmise “could have been a sibling species to Neanderthals.

Read more at IO9.

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Namibian Fairy Circles

No one knows what creates the thousands of fairy circles dotting southern Africa, but we now know that after mysteriously springing up, they live for approximately 41 years. Via ScienceNOW:

Tens of thousands of the formations—bare patches of soil, 2 to 12 meters in diameter—freckle grasslands from southern Angola to northern South Africa, their perimeters often marked by a tall fringe of grass. Locals say they’re the footprints of the gods. Scientists have thrown their hands up in the air. But now Walter  Tschinkel, a biologist at Florida State University, has discovered something no one else has.

By comparing photos taken over a 4-year period, he confirmed something other scientists had suspected: The circles were alive—or at least they were dynamic. A number of circles appeared and disappeared over this time period. Extrapolating from the data, Tschinkel calculated that most smaller circles arise and vanish every 24 years, whereas larger circles last up to 75 years.

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South Africa’s Political Wars Begin To Resemble Our Own

Cape Town, South Africa: When I came to South Africa, I thought I was escaping the way our news programs are totally dominated by political coverage even though the election is months away and everyone knows none of this polling and hyped-up speculation matters until October.

The fight between the Democrats and Republicans is an obscenely costly affair which none of our political pundits care to investigate in terms of why so much is being invested and what the likely payoffs will be, and to whom.

Business Day, the Wall Street Journal of South Africa, featured an essay recently with a headline that offers insight into the motivation of politicians in both countries: “PUBLIC OFFICE JUST A WAY TO PILLAGE THE STATE.”

In the US, of course, we have two principal parties, almost like two wings on a plane. The Republicans, now the captive of the hard right and the Democrats, firmly ensconced in the center, partial to corporations but with some issues and positions that appeal to liberals and even, parts of the left.… Read the rest

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U.S. Marines Dispatched to Five African Countries

AfricomVia Global Research:

The hidden agenda in Uganda, Central Africa and the Horn of Africa is the conquest of oil and strategic mineral resources. Going after Joseph Kony and protecting Ugandan children is a cynical smokescreen, a pretext for a “humanitarian intervention” in a region where US sponsored  “civil wars” (Sudan, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Ethiopia) have in the course of the last 20 years resulted in more than eight million deaths:

“Through AFRICOM, the United States is seeking a foothold in the incredibly resource rich central African block in a further maneuver to aggregate regional hegemony over China. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is one of the world’s largest regions without an effectively functioning government. It contains vast deposits of diamonds, cobalt, copper, uranium, magnesium, and tin while producing over $1 billion in gold each year. It is entirely feasible that the US can considerably increase its presence in the DRC under the pretext of capturing Joseph Kony.” (Nile Bowie, Merchandising and Branding Support for US Military Intervention in Central Africa, Global research, March 14, 2012)

In a recent decision, the Pentagon confirms the sending in of Marine Special Forces to train Ugandan troops in the fight not only against Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) but also against Al Shabab in Somalia.

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The Real Meaning Of Kony 2012

kony1Via Warscapes, Dinaw Mengestu explains that the viral video’s appeal is that “the real star of Kony 2012 isn’t Joseph Kony, it’s us”:

Kony 2012 is the most successful example of the recent “activist” movement to have taken hold of celebrities and college students across America. This movement believes devoutly in fame and information, and in our unequivocal power to affect change as citizens of a privileged world. Our privilege is the both the source of power and the origin of our burden – a burden which, in fact, on closer scrutiny, isn’t really a burden at all, but an occasion to celebrate our power … helping to end the war in Darfur is as simple as adding a toolbar to your browser.

In the world of Kony 2012, Joseph Kony has evaded arrest for one dominant reason: Those of us living in the western world haven’t known about him, and because we haven’t known about him, no one has been able to stop him.

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