DYNAMIC AFRICA

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Posts tagged "slavery"

Images of Nigerian women in Italy, victims of sex trafficking, taken by Elisabeth Cosimi.

Once in Europe, these young women are immediately put to work in order to pay a debt that can be as much as 50, 000 Euros. Reduced to the level of slavery, this young women are often forced to work up to 20 hours a day on the highway and some times in bad weather conditions.

passaxpassa:

First 3 of 15 photographs from the Quick Money photo reportage by Elisabeth Cosimi.

No. 1 Une fois arrivées en Europe, les jeunes femmes nigérianes sont immédiatement mises sur les trottoirs pour rembourser une dette qui s’élève à 50.000 euros. Réduites à  l’état d’esclavage ces jeunes femmes doivent travailler parfois jusqu’à vingt heures par jour sur les bretelles d’autoroute et quelque soit les conditions climatiques.

No. 2 Jeune femme nigériane se prostituant sur les routes d’Italie aux abords de Naples.

No. 3 Cette Jeune fille nigériane victime de la traite reste cloitrée toute la journée chez un “bienfaiteur” d’origine italienne en attendant de pouvoir rembourser sa dette.

via La beaute de Pandore

(via rajfrancis)

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."

As the youngest child of an illiterate family, being enslaved was not uncommon in Ghana when I was growing up. I worked as a child fisherman in more than 20 villages between the ages of six and 13, when I finally escaped and returned home. During the time I was captive; I was tortured and abused in various forms. On a daily basis, my working day started at 3am, and ended at 8pm, and was full of physically demanding work. I was usually fed once a day and would regularly contract painful diseases which were never treated as I was denied access to medical care.

I was first trafficked with five other children, and out of the six of us; three lived, and three did not. I saw many children die from either abuse or the rigorous work they were forced to do.

[…]

We’ve made some progress: over the past 15 years, the government has put in place both the Children’s Act to protect the rights of children and the Human Trafficking Act, we now have a national plan of action to eliminate child labour – and these are all positive steps forward.

But my disappointment has to do with certain attitudes which do not bode well for the advancement of the cause of children: we still have government officials who do not believe that child labour exists in this country [a 2012 Unicef report found that 34% of Ghanaian children aged 5-14 are currently engaged in underage labour], and that is very difficult to work with because if the person does not believe the issue exists, we have a long way to go.

James Kofi Annan, a Ghanaian man who was enslaved as a child who now runs a charity, Challenging Heights, that focuses on protecting the rights of children, speaks to the Guardian about his life experiences and goals for the future.

tw: abuse, slavery.

After posting this video that speaks on the situation regarding slavery in Mauritania the film I Am Slave, which is based on the story of Mende Nazer's* early life, her capture and kidnap from her home in South Sudan's Nuba region, and her enslavement in Khartoum, Sudan and in London, England, working for Arab families, came to mind.

The entire film, starring Wunmi Mosaku as Malia, a fictional character whose life experiences mirror that of Nazer’s, can be watched above.

AUGUST: Celebrating African Women

*this links will take you to interviews with Nazer

Back in 1981, Mauritania became the last country in the world to abolish slavery. Now, over 30 years later, human rights activists still maintain that this heinous practice still exists and that up to 20% of the country’s population are enslaved, despite claims by the Mauritanian government that it is ‘a thing of the past’.

In response to this, the Mauritanian government has now set up an anti-slavery agency that aims to combat the practice and culture of slavery in the country, as well as reintegrate former enslaved peoples into Mauritanian society.

In this conversation hosted by Al Jazeera, The Stream talks to Mauritanian human rights and anti-slavery activists who break down the situation and complexities of the culture and system of enslavement, under-representation, and systematic marginalization in the country that are sustained by ethnic, and sometimes racial, divides, also bringing in a very important perspective on the relationships between black Africans and Arab colonizers.

nigerianostalgia:

A freed Yoruba slave from Bahia, Brazil. 1800s

(via lolwhitefeelings-deactivated201)

lickystickypickyshe:

In July 1761 an illegal slave ship foundered near Tromelin, a speck of land 200 miles east of Madagascar. After six months on the island, the surviving gentlemen and sailors assembled a makeshift boat and departed, promising to return for the 60 slaves left on the island. They never did.

The slaves kept a fire going for 15 years while they struggled to survive on an island of barely 0.3 square miles. They fashioned houses from coral and sand, built a communal oven, and subsisted on turtles and seabirds.

“We have found evidence of where they lived and what they ate,” archaeologist Max Guérout told the Independent in 2007. “We have found copper cooking utensils, repaired, over and over again, which must originally have come from the wreck of the ship.”

Many of the castaways simply succumbed. At one point 18 left on a makeshift raft; it’s not known whether they reached land. In 1776 a French sailor was shipwrecked on the island, built a raft, and escaped to Mauritius with three men and three women. When a rescue ship arrived for the last seven castaways, they included a grandmother, her daughter, and an 8-month-old grandchild who had been born on the island.

The governor in Ile de France declared them free, since they had been bought illegally. He adopted the family of three and named the boy Jacques Moise. His surname is a French form of Moses — a baby rescued from water.

wrivol:

“Congo Square is in the vicinity of a spot which the Houma Indians used before the arrival of the French for celebrating their annual corn harvest and was considered sacred ground. The gathering of enslaved African vendors in Congo Square originate as early as the 1740’s during Louisiana’s French Colonial period and continued during the Spanish Colonial era as one of the city’s public markets.

By 1803, Congo Square has become famous for the gathering of enslaved Africans and free people of color who drummed, danced, sang and traded on Sunday afternoons. By 1819, these gatherings numbered as many as 500 to 600 people.

Among the famous dances were the Bamboula, the Calinda and the Congo. These African cultural expressions gradually developed into Mardi Indian traditions, the 2nd line, and eventually New Orleans Jazz and Rhythm and Blues.”

b-sama:

AFRICAN INDEPENDENCE

African Independence is a feature-length documentary covering the history of the African continent since enslavement and colonization by Europeans. 

The film highlights the birth and realization of and the problems confronted by the movement to win independence in Africa. 

The story is told through the voices of freedom fighters and leaders who achieved independence and justice for Africans. 

It seeks to enlighten and provide audiences with African insights into the continent’s past, present and future through the lens of four watershed events: World War II, the end of colonialism, the Cold War and the era of African republics.

On my ‘to watch’ list.

White American Writer Joe Mozingo Traces, Discovers & Chronicles His African Ancestry

"I always had kind of a longing to understand the history of the place I lived in, and I think that kind of came from the fact that I had no family history that I knew of. … Then when people started asking me my name … I kept wondering, how is it that we don’t actually know where this name came from?"
"I met a professor, who was Sherrie Mazingo, and she was black, and she had done a lot more research than I had on our genealogy, and had been to a family reunion in North Carolina. [She] came back with the news that the name was African, and that we all descended from the same person, and he was, in her words, a ‘Bantu warrior.’ My uncle, out of nowhere, said we did in fact come from Virginia, where this slave had landed."
"There was the period in Virginia, that I had never known about, where free blacks and poor whites were mixing and even getting married."
"We think he landed when he was about 11 years old, near Jamestown, and basically when these Africans arrived, you know they figured they wouldn’t live more than a couple of years — there was no reason to have a lifelong slave — so they treated them as indentured servants.

"Edward appears to have had a contract with his master to work a certain amount of time."
"There was this brief period when Edward did well, and then the rich classes really wanted to put the squeeze on the poor to create this system of slavery, which really marginalized the poor whites and the free people of color. Their fates went downhill really fast; they were suddenly out of money. One of them even re-indentured himself to pay off some debt.
"They basically started leaving the area, and that was the time they could reinvent themselves. Those that were light-skinned enough could say they were white, and wherever they landed they came up with a new myth. You know, people said they were French Huguenots, Portuguese — anything but African."

(cont. reading)

White American Writer Joe Mozingo Traces, Discovers & Chronicles His African Ancestry

"I always had kind of a longing to understand the history of the place I lived in, and I think that kind of came from the fact that I had no family history that I knew of. … Then when people started asking me my name … I kept wondering, how is it that we don’t actually know where this name came from?"

"I met a professor, who was Sherrie Mazingo, and she was black, and she had done a lot more research than I had on our genealogy, and had been to a family reunion in North Carolina. [She] came back with the news that the name was African, and that we all descended from the same person, and he was, in her words, a ‘Bantu warrior.’ My uncle, out of nowhere, said we did in fact come from Virginia, where this slave had landed."

"There was the period in Virginia, that I had never known about, where free blacks and poor whites were mixing and even getting married."

"We think he landed when he was about 11 years old, near Jamestown, and basically when these Africans arrived, you know they figured they wouldn’t live more than a couple of years — there was no reason to have a lifelong slave — so they treated them as indentured servants.

"Edward appears to have had a contract with his master to work a certain amount of time."

"There was this brief period when Edward did well, and then the rich classes really wanted to put the squeeze on the poor to create this system of slavery, which really marginalized the poor whites and the free people of color. Their fates went downhill really fast; they were suddenly out of money. One of them even re-indentured himself to pay off some debt.

"They basically started leaving the area, and that was the time they could reinvent themselves. Those that were light-skinned enough could say they were white, and wherever they landed they came up with a new myth. You know, people said they were French Huguenots, Portuguese — anything but African."

(cont. reading)

ancestral-voices:

 Africa: A Voyage of Discovery with Basil Davidson Ep 5 - The Bible and The Gun

‘We wonder why in the 21st Century the continent of Africa remains such a troubled area of the world. We can attribute many of the problems to not only European and American colonialism, but also to the long shadow of identity, language and cultural destruction caused by religious missionaries’. 
In this documentary Basil Davidson discusses the Eurocentric Christianization of African which was  inexplicably linked to European colonialism. 

Below is commentary from a review of this documentary episode 

Waves of Christian missionaries came to Africa. Most missionaries felt that they were serving an elevated race, trying to help a downtrodden race. They came to Africa expecting to help horrible people. Most missionaries were biased and discriminatory before they left their homes. There were a few that disagreed. Bishop Toser of the University’s mission questioned the idea that the differences between the European and African civilizations. He said that whether a culture is civilized or not is not dependent on their outward circumstance. The number of railroads and phonographs does not measure the superiority of a civilization, according to this Bishop.

The missionaries did not have easy acceptance in Africa. Many died of disease contrary to the popular belief that tribes boiled missionaries in large pots over fires. The practices of some missionaries, like their discrimination, is horrible. Some missionaries used force to get converts. Some had people flogged or threatened flogging in order to convert them. There were missionaries strongly for and against flogging in the conversion of Africans to the Christian beliefs. The missionaries saw that some spiritual beliefs had to be destroyed before the Africans would believe any of the Christian doctrines. Missionaries generalized this and thought that they had to destroy all African spiritual beliefs and culture. Missionaries insulted the African traditions frequently, in an effort to instill the Christian ideas in Africans. Davidson included a portion of a missionary video from the 1960’s. The juju, a person who is looked to much like a priest, is openly insulted and humiliated is the video. This hostility is much like the original method of destroying the old culture to replace it with the new ideas of Europe. The reaction of Africans is that some rejoice in renouncing their beliefs and some question their identity. To many missionaries, this mission of converting an inferior race is the climax of all Christian missions. It is sad that these people believed that they were doing the right thing.

I’m still trying to understand how and why he called those that were not captured into slavery as ‘the lucky ones’. Lucky? Are we really going to divide West African populations on either side of the Atlantic into terms that disgustingly over-simplify the impact of slavery - both during and after this portion of history?

And then he called Livingstone ‘remarkable’ and ‘the best-loved European’ to ever set foot on the continent. That’s taking things way too far.

Nevertheless, despite the sometimes disturbing Eurocentric and Westernized bias in this documentary, it contains a lot of crucial information on the pivotal roles missionaries played in destroying subduing the minds and behaviors of African societies into adopting lifestyles set out by European colonists.

(via diasporicroots)

militarismus:

Images of women slaves in North Africa

1 & 2 - A woman being examined by her “handlers”

3 & 4 - “The House of the Frog. The girl is offered for hire or for sale.”

5 - A nude woman in a courtyard

6 - “Nomads and their slave girls.”

melanatedcontributions:

Gaspar Yanga 

When students learn about slavery in school, a lot of them often ask this question: “Why didn’t they fight back?” It’s a question that often remains unanswered because lesson plans don’t always address the grittier elements of history, particularly the slave trade.

But they did fight back. And one of them, Gaspar Yanga, changed history forever.

Often referred to as the “first liberator of the Americas,” Yanga was a leader of a slave rebellion in Mexico during the early period of Spanish colonial rule around 1570. By the year 1609, the large number of escaped slaves had reduced much of rural Mexico to desperation, especially in the mountains in the state of Veracruz.

Taking refuge in the difficult terrain of the highlands, Yanga and his people built a small maroon colony, or “Palenque”—a community of runaway slaves living on mountaintops. The colony grew for more than 30 years, partially surviving by capturing caravans bringing goods to Veracruz. In 1609, the Spanish colonial government decided to try to regain control of the territory.

Spanish troops, numbering around 550, set out from Puebla in January 1609. The maroons facing them were an irregular force of 100 fighters with some type of firearm and 400 more with primitive weapons such as stones, machetes, and bows and arrows. These maroon troops were led by Francisco de la Matosa, an Angolan. Yanga—who was quite old by this time—decided to use his troops’ superior knowledge of the terrain to resist the Spaniards. His goal was to cause the Spaniards enough pain to draw them to the negotiating table.

Upon the approach of the Spanish troops, Yanga sent terms of peace, including an area of self-rule. The Spaniards refused the terms and the two groups fought a battle that lasted for many years. Finally, unable to win indefinitely, the Spaniards agreed to give Yanga’s followers their freedom in exchange for ending the constant raids in the area and gain their help in tracking down other escaped slaves.

Additional conditions were also met, including:

1. Upon surrender, Yanga and his people would receive a farm as well as the right of self-government;
2. Only Franciscan priests would tend to the people; and
3. Yanga’s family would be granted the right of rule.

In 1618, the treaty was signed, and by 1630, the town of San Lorenzo de los Negros de Cerralvo was established. The town name of “San Lorenzo de los Negros” was officially changed to Yanga, Veracruz in 1956. This town of more than 20,000 people remains under the name of Yanga today.

» Contributed by Raymond Ward, DuSable Museum of African American History.

The Brazilian Baracoon, built in the 1840s and held up to 40 slaves at a time in Badagry, Lagos State.

This ancient town of Badagry was founded around l425 A.D. Before its existence, people lived along the Coast of Gberefu and this area later gave birth to the town of Badagry. It is the second largest commercial town in Lagos State, located an hour from Lagos and half-hour from the Republic of Benin. The town of Badagry is bordered on the south by the Gulf of Guinea and surrounded by creeks, islands and a lake. The ancient town served mainly the Oyo Empire, which was comprised of Yoruba and Ogu people. Today, the Aworis and Egun are mainly the people who reside in the town of Badagry as well as in Ogun State in Nigeria and in the neighbouring Republic of Benin.

The name originated from the fact that the people of Badagry’s means of livelihood are farming, fishing and salt making due to the availability of trees and presence of ocean water respectively. The natives believed that Badagry was founded by a famous farmer called Agbedeh who maintained a farm which became popular it was named after him. The word Greme meant farm in Ogu language and a visit to Agbedeh’s farm brought about the word and Agbedegreme and its usage meaning Agbedeh’s farm. It was then coined to Agbadagari by the Yoruba inhabitants and later corrupted to Badagry by the European slave merchants before the end of the seventeenth century.

Badagry is majorly recognised for its slave trade by the foreigners.

The trade began in 1440 with Prince Henry, the navigator of Portugal.  By 1593, 12,000 slaves had been sold to labour markets in Italy and Spain. One horse was traded for 25-30 slaves in the 1440s and the value of African slaves rose from six to eight slaves per horse. By the 16th century, there were over 32,000 slaves in Portugal.

Along the line, Seriki Faremi Williams, an African slave appealed a bargain with his buyers. He agreed to supply slaves to the foreigners in exchange for his freedom. The Nigerian, specifically of the Yoruba tribe to be exact, got his wish and was immediately set free to begin business. He returned to Badagry and built the Brazillian Baracoon with the mission to transport as much slaves as possible. He raided villages and captured their natives and sold them to the middlemen who eventually re-sold them as slaves to European slave merchants.

The baracoons were small rooms where up to 40 slaves were kept, all in upright position for days before they were shipped across the lagoon via the point of no return into the waiting ships. The group of houses, now mostly residential, were all at one point or the other used to keep slaves waiting to be transported. Vlekete square, founded in 1510, was known to be the slave market in Badagry.

The slave merchants began to work on his intelligence and that of African Leaders involved and enticed them with material gifts. Slaves were then exchanged for merchandises as little as whisky, tobacco, rum, cuppino glass, canons, iron bars, brass, woollen, cotton, linen, silk, beads, guns, gun powder amongst others. Because they knew it was of paramount importance to these natives.

Historically speaking, Badagry was the first and last port of call. When the ships arrive to pick these slaves, they would be brought out from the hole in which they were put and taken to a place called ‘The Point of No Return’. This process involved the crossing of slaves through the ocean that links the Badagry port to this point. When the slaves have been crossed over, they would walk about 20miles to the point.

In between, they would each approach a coven where they would drink from a well that contained a silver shiny liquid claimed to be water and recite a verse. This initiation would wipe out there memory so as to avoid foreknowledge of their whereabouts. The curator further explained that these slaves immediately loose their memory and do not regain it until they reach their final destination. Only the strong ones make it to the New World and maybe luckily, back.

(x)