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Posts tagged "germany"

Live and Acoustic: Y’Akoto Performs “Perfect Timing”.

Perfect Timing, the debut single from her latest album Moody Blues,put me on to the German-Ghanaian singer Y’Akoto's music thanks to it's superfun, colourful and carefree story-telling video shot in Accra, and of course, Y'Akoto's incredibly rich and soulful voice.

As we’re taken on a musical journey through the sights and sounds ofeveryday Accra, we’re accompanied by Y’akoto’s band of road bikers and bmx riders, each one stylishly dressed in a mixture of contemporary cuts, ankara fabrics and wax print threads. But once the video ends, it’s Y’Akoto’s singing that sticks with you. Perfect Timing is perfectly catchy with the right doses of pop, soul, and lite jazz.

Scrounging the internet for live renditions of the song, I came across this gem and decided to make a playlist of some of her other acoustic and live sessions.


NEW MUSIC: Y’AKOTO - Perfect Timing.

With a new album a little over a month away from release, German-Ghanaian singer Y’akoto (nee Jennifer Yaa Akoto Kieck) has given us our first taste of her sophomore effort Moody Blues with the single and accompanying video for her song ‘Perfect Timing’.

Coated with a little bit of modern jazz, a soulful blues-y essence and charming pop catchy-ness, the uber cute Y’akoto takes us on a mini-tour of Accra atop her road bike (BMX riders are becoming synonymous with the city), followed by a band of stylishly dressed followers as she relays a story of a lost opportunity for love, lots of bad luck and how she’s learned to let go.

On a farm deep in the countryside 100 miles (160km) west from Sao Paulo, a football team has lined up for a commemorative photograph. What makes the image extraordinary is the symbol on the team’s flag - a swastika.

The picture probably dates from some time in the 1930s, after the Nazi Party’s rise to power in Germany - but this was on the other side of the world.

"Nothing explained the presence of a swastika here," says Jose Ricardo Rosa Maciel, former rancher at the remote Cruzeiro do Sul farm near Campina do Monte Alegre, who stumbled across the photograph one day.

But this was actually his second puzzling discovery. The first occurred in the pigsty.

"One day the pigs broke a wall and escaped into the field," he says. "I noticed the bricks that had fallen. I thought I was hallucinating."

The underside of each brick was stamped with the swastika.

It’s well known that pre-war Brazil had strong links with Nazi Germany - the two were economic partners and Brazil had the biggest fascist party outside Europe, with more than 40,000 members.

But it was years before Maciel - thanks to detective work by history professor Sidney Aguilar Filho - learned the grim story of his farm’s links to Brazil’s fascists.

Filho established that the farm had once been owned by the Rocha Mirandas, a family of wealthy industrialists from Rio de Janeiro. Three of them - father Renato and two of his sons, Otavio and Osvaldo - were members of the Acao Integralista Brasileira, an extreme right-wing organisation, sympathetic to the Nazis.

The family sometimes held rallies on the farm, hosting thousands of the organisation’s members. But it was also a brutal work-camp for abandoned - and non-white - children.

"I found a story of 50 boys aged around 10 years old who had been taken from an orphanage in Rio," says Filho. "They were taken in three waves. The first was a group of 10 in 1933."

Osvaldo Rocha Miranda applied to be a guardian of the orphans, according to documents discovered by Filho, and a legal decree was granted.

"He sent his driver, who put us in a corner," says 90-year-old Aloysio da Silva, one of the first orphans conscripted to work on the farm.

"Osvaldo was pointing with a cane - ‘Put that one over there, this one here’ - and from 20 boys, he took 10.

"He promised the world - that we would play football, go horse-riding. But there wasn’t any of this. The 10 of us were given hoes to clear the weeds and clean up the farm. I was tricked."

The children were subject to regular beatings with a palmatoria, a wooden paddle with holes designed to reduce air resistance and increase pain. They were addressed not by their name, but by a number - Silva’s was number 23. Guard dogs ensured they stayed in line.

"One was called Poison, the male, and the female was called Trust," says Silva, who still lives in the area. "I try to avoid talking about it."

Argemiro dos Santos is another survivor. As a boy, he had been found on the streets and taken to an orphanage. Then Rocha Miranda came for him.

"They didn’t like black people at all," says Santos, now 89.

"There was punishment, from not giving us food to the palmatoria. It hurt a lot. Two hits sometimes. The most would be five because a person couldn’t stand it.

"There were photographs of Hitler and you were compelled to salute. I didn’t understand any of it."

Some of the surviving Rocha Miranda family say their forebears stopped supporting Nazism well before World War Two.

Maurice Rocha Miranda, great-nephew of Otavio and Osvaldo, also denies that the children on the farm were kept as “slaves”.

He told the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaperthat the orphans on the farm “had to be controlled, but were never punished or enslaved”.

But Filho believes the survivors’ stories. And despite it being a long time ago, both Silva and Santos - who have never met since - tell very similar, harrowing tales.

The orphans’ only respite came in football matches against teams of local farm workers such as the one pictured in the photograph with the swastika flag. Football was key to the ideology of the integralistas. Military parades took place at the Vasco da Gama football ground and the game was regularly used for propaganda purposes under Brazil’s dictator, Getulio Vargas.

"We’d have a kick around and it evolved," he says. "We had a championship - we were good at football. There was no problem."

But after several years, Santos had had enough.

"There was a gate and I left it ajar," he says. "Later that night, I was out of there. No-one saw."

Santos returned to Rio where, aged 14, he slept rough and worked as a newspaper seller. Then in 1942, after Brazil declared war on Germany, he joined the navy as a taifeiro, waiting on tables and washing up.

He had gone from working for Nazis, to fighting them.

"I was just fulfilling what Brazil needed to do," says Santos. "I couldn’t have hate for Hitler - I didn’t know the guy! I didn’t know who he was."

Santos went on patrol in Europe and then spent much of World War Two working on ships hunting submarines off the Brazilian coast.

Today Santos is known locally by his nickname Marujo - “sailor” - and proudly shows off a certificate and medal that recognises his war service. But he is also famous for another reason - as one of Brazil’s top footballers of the 1940s, becoming a midfielder for some of the biggest teams in Brazil.

"At that time professional players didn’t exist, it was all amateur," says Santos. "I played for Fluminense, Botafogo, Vasco da Gama. The players were all newspaper sellers and shoeshine boys."

Nowadays Santos lives a quiet life in south-western Brazil with Guilhermina, his wife of 61 years.

"I like to play my trumpet, I like to sit on the veranda, I like to have a cold beer. I have a lot of friends and they pass by and chat," he says.

Memories of the farm, though, are impossible to escape.

"Anyone who says they have had a good life since they were born is lying," he says. "Everyone has something bad that has happened in their life."

The Rave Foundation would like to contribute to practical further education in realizing and arranging fine art exhibitions. It therefore awards scholarships to young

· curators

· restorers

· museum technicians

· cultural managers

from transformation and developing countries who have arranged a guest period, a practical training or non-paid work at a museum, at a non-commercial gallery or at a non-commercial cultural institution in Germany.

The Rave Scholarship is a working scholarship and requires the holder’s presence. It includes the following payments:

· a monthly lump sum of 1,300€ for a scholarship period of three to six months

· travelling expenses (to and from Germany)

· monthly supplement of 250 € for attendance of the spouse

· monthly children’s supplement of 50 € per child

· health insurance (also for spouse and children)

· German course up to 500 €


Scholarships will be awarded to applicants

· who come from a transformation or developing country and are still living there.

· who did not have the opportunity yet to come for a longer stay or did not have further training or working stay in Germany.

· who finished their professional training not longer than five years ago and are not yet over 40. Those still studying or training at the time of application will not be considered for selection.

· who have found a non-commercial partner institution in Germany that has agreed to join the project, and developed together (German institution and applicant) a project sketch.

· who can provide a positive statement from their own country (reference).

Knowledge of one of the three languages German, English or French is a requirement.

Applicants who were rejected oncecannot apply again.

Selection procedure

The Rave Foundation committee will assess all applications. There is no legal claim to the award of a scholarship. The decision will be conveyed to the applicant in writing without stating reasons.

Application documents

Applications are submitted to the

Rave Foundation

c/o Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen

Charlottenplatz 17D-70173 Stuttgart

Fax +49/711/2225194


The application should be accompanied by

· a fully completed application form

· a CV (3 pages max.), including educational qualifications

· a project sketch (1or 2 pages) developed together with the non-commercial German institution –informing about tasks and responsibilities of the planned scholarship to Germany

· invitation letter from the non-commercial German institution for the planned scholarship period in Germany

· a letter of reference from the home country

· an abridged report (2 pages max.) on the current art scene in the home country

The application date is 15 September each year. Selections will be made within 3 months.

The application may be sent via e-mail or post. Should the application be sent via e-mail the original letter of consent and the original letter of reference should still be handed in by post later.

The Rave Foundation is an independent charitable foundation administered by the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa). Ifa is a mediating organization for German foreign cultural policy.

AFTERNOON TUNE: Nneka - The Uncomfortable Truth

EVENT & EXHIBITION: “Distance and Desire: Encounters with the African Archive”

How does the West view Africa? Their images over time have been closely tied to the development of photography. An exhibition in Germany now explores how external ideas about Africa have been shaped by photographs.


The show examines the different ways in which people in southern and eastern Africa have been portrayed in photographic images from the invention of photography in the 19th century colonial period through to the beginning of apartheid in South Africa.


The invention of photography coincided with the acceleration of colonialism in the 19th century and the new academic disciplines of anthropology and ethnology. From the 1860s, the camera came to be used as a device to gather information, record societies, and classify individuals within the colonial context.

"Distance and Desire" shows how this culminated in the development of an anthropological and ethnographical mode of looking at Africans which was pictorially constructed according to certain conventions.

"Distance and Desire: Encounters with the African Archive" runs at the Walther Collection in Neu-Ulm through May 17, 2015.

Happy Independence Day Rwanda!

Rwanda saw the first European presence, when German Count Von Goetzen visited the country in 1894. However, it was not until 1897 that Germans began establishing their control over Rwanda, and the Kingdom of Burundi to the South, as part of German East Africa. The colony later came to be known as Ruanda-Urundi after it was ‘handed’ over to Belgium, by the League of Nations, under the Treaty of Versailles.

For many years the Germans ruled the country indirectly through the Tutsi King (Tutsi was the elite class consisting mostly of aristocracy). The other major ethnic group was Hutu, who were the working class, primarily farmers.

Like other imperial powers first the Germans, and then the Belgians, who occupied the region around 1916 through military occupation, stirred the ethnic and social differences between the two groups. These differences eventually triggered the ethnic violence in 1959, which led to ouster of Tutsi monarchy in what is present-day Rwanda.

In 1961, in a referendum supervised by the United Nation, Party of the Hutu Emancipation Movement (PARMEHUTU) won an overwhelming majority. The party came to form an interim government, and was granted internal autonomy in January 1962.

Rwanda soon won its complete independence on July 1, 1962 through UN resolution that ended the trusteeship of Belgium (at the end of World War II Ruanda-Urundi had become a United Nation trust territory under Belgian administrative authority at the end of Second World War).

(text edited but sourced from here)

Happy Independence Day Burundi!

The original inhabitants of Burundi were the Twa, a Pygmy people who now make up only 1% of the population. Today the population is divided between the Hutu, making up around 85% of Burundi’s population, and the Tutsi, approximately 14%. Both Hutu and Tutsi people speak the same language, Rwanda-Rundi, also spoken as a mother tongue by the Twa. The difference between tree two ethnic groups is primarily occupational - Hutu are considered to be agriculturally-based, whereas the Tutsi are known to be cattle herders, and Twa are traditionally hunter-gatherers. The main division between the Tutsi and the Hutu came with the classification system based on wealth status (cow ownership) and physical appearance that defined

Present-day Burundi first came under European colonial control when it was colonized by the Germans and became a part of German East Africa in 1885. After Germany’s defeat in World War I, Germany was forced to ‘hand over’ the territory to Belgium. From 1916-1924 the territory was under Belgian military occupation, conquered by Belgian Congo forces in 1916. Under the Treaty of Versailles, German East Africa was divided between Belgium and Great Britain with the area know known as Burundi becoming under full control of Belgium in 1924. The area officially became Ruanda-Urundi. The Belgians had promised the League of Nations that they would promote ‘education’ in the region but, as with all colonist countries, they exploited the people and their land to benefit Belgium interests.

Read more about how Burundi gained their independence.

AFTERNOON TUNE: In her new video for her latest single ‘Restless’, Nneka bares her vulnerable side with this emotionally-charged heartbreaking ballad from her album ‘Soul is Heavy’.

Arrival at Mora. The capital of Mandara. From Narrative of travels and discoveries in Northern and Central Africa, in the years 1822, 1823, and 1824. Vol I & II (published 1826).

The Mandara Kingdom (sometimes called Wandala) was a West African kingdom in the Mandara Mountains of what is today Cameroon. The Mandarawa people are descended from the kingdom’s inhabitants.

Tradition states that Mandara was founded shortly before 1500 by a female ruler named Soukda and a non-Mandarawa hunter named Gaya. The kingdom was first referred to by Fra Mauro (in 1459) and Leo Africanus (in 1526); the provenance of its name remains uncertain.

For the kingdom’s first century of history, its rulers warred with neighbouring groups in an effort to expand their territories.

After conquering the Dulo (or Duolo) and establishing the capital at Dulo c. 1580, the dynasty of Sankre, a war leader, began. When the Dulo made an attempt to seize the throne, the Bornu kingdom supported the claim of Aldawa Nanda, a member of Sankre’s house. Emperor Idris Alaoma of Borno personally installed Nanda as king in 1614. Bornu thus attained an influential position over Mandara.

Mai Bukar Aji, the 25th king, made Mandara a sultanate c. 1715, which it would remain for nearly two hundred years. Muslim visitors converted Bukar to Islam, and the Islamicisation of the kingdom would continue for most of the next century. The kingdom experienced a golden age of sorts under Bukar and his successor, Bukar Guiana (1773-1828). Around 1781, the Mandara defeated the kingdom of Borno in a major battle, further expanding their control in the region. At the peak of her power at the turn of the century, Mandara received tribute from some 15 chiefdoms. However, the kingdom faced a setback in 1809, when Modibo Adama, a Fulanidisciple of Usman dan Fodio, led a jihad against Mandara. Adama briefly seized Dulo, though the Mandara counterattack soon drove him from the kingdom’s borders. Adama’s defeat prompted Borno to ally with Mandara once again against the Fulani invaders.

Upon the death of ruler Bukai Dgjiama, Mandara’s non-Muslim tributaries rose up, and the Fulani attacked once more. By 1850, Borno could not pass up the opportunity to attack the weakened kingdom. This renewed conflict began to sap the kingdom’s strength, paving the way for the invasion of Muhammad Ahmad’s forces in the 1880s. In 1895 or 1896, Muhammad Ahmad’s army destroyed Dulo, marking a further decline in Mandara power. However, the kingdom continued to exist, repelling continual Fulani raids until it finally fell to them in 1893.

English explorer Dixon Denham accompanied a slave-raiding expedition from Borno into the Mandara kingdom in February 1823; though he barely escaped with his life following the raiders’ defeat, he brought back one of the first European accounts of the kingdom. In 1902, the kingdom was conquered by Germany, passing then to France in 1918. In 1960, the Mandara kingdom became a part of newly-independent Cameroon.

AFTERNOON TUNE: Nneka performing ‘Come With Me’ live and acoustic for Baeble Music in NYC

In 1903, after 20 years of colonization, 712 European women lived among 3,970 European men in German South-West Africa. What to do? Rape. Although rape by German men of Herero and Nama women was common, prior to 1904 not a single case of a white man raping an African woman came before a German court. This became particularly acute in the attempted rape, and then murder, of Louisa Kamana.

Louisa Kamana was married to the son of Chief Zacharias. The two gave a ride to a German settler, who, that night, “made sexual advances” on Louisa Kamana. She refused. He killed her. The Court acquitted him. The case was appealed, and the settler was given three years in prison. Rape and murder of Herero women were common occurrences. The case only went to trial because a Chief’s family was involved, and no one among the Herero thought three years made up for a Herero woman’s life and dignity.

That’s the story of the genocide as well. Women and children were targeted. When the Herero were ‘allowed’ to escape into the Kalahari Desert, it was assumed most would die. It was also assumed more women and children would die. That assumption was correct. The German authorities explained that Herero women and children had to die because they carried dangerous diseases. Meanwhile, the German press shrieked that Herero women were ‘black amazons swinging clubs and castrating their foes’.

And so good riddance.

Excerpt from, German amnesia and Herero women, by Dan Moshenberg at AIAC


Out of Africa

Don’t miss this gorgeous exhibition of paintings, sculptures, and photography by 14 African Contemporary artists, debuting at Galerie Frank Schlag & CIE on August 25, 2012.

Seven of the artists work out of Africa and will be present at the exhibition, while the other artists are based in Europe and the United States. 

Discover the broad spectrum of African Art


Thirty years before Hitler came to power in Germany, and about forty years before Raphael Lemkin authored the word genocide, there had already been one at the hands of Germany. This genocide did not take place in Europe. This ‘forgotten’ genocide took place in Southwest Africa, or what is today, Nambia.

In the early 1900s, Germany invaded Namibia. This documentary from the BBC outlines the events that lead up to the deaths of at least three-quarters of the population of Herero people, and at least half of the population of Nama people.

This systematic form of ethnic-cleansing was done to create Lebensraum for German settlers, where space was running out in the over-crowded cities of urban Germany, and create a satellite state for Germany interests and prosperity.

"The dark racial theories that helped inspire the Nazis run much deeper into German and European history than most people want to acknowledge"

(part 2;3;4;5;6)