New African review December 2012 issue

African Update – 14/12/12

One Hundred Most Influential Africans and the Tenacity of Hope

The year is drawing to a close, and every other person, or institution is looking back to what they have done, taking stock of where they failed and where they succeeded, where they excelled and where their performance was under par. At the same time they are considering how they are to exploit their weaknesses and strengths in light of ongoing growth and potential opportunities for prosperity in the coming year. Such is the demand of this moment, the looming Christmas and New Year celebrations notwithstanding.

Being the last review in this calendar year, we at Humanitas Afrika commend the editor of New African and his entire battalion of journalists and technical staff for their endeavour to report and highlight issues that affect Africa at home and in Diaspora with a Pan-African touch throughout the year. We are also sincerely grateful to our sympathizers, friends, supporters and sponsors throughout the year. Without you we would not be where we are today.

This month’s issue of New African is unique for its attempt at trying to do something rather difficult. How do you go about picking a hundred most influential people in a continent of a billion people? On what criteria? Perhaps for now, as New African puts it, “those that have made (mostly) a positive difference,” will suffice as a criterion.

The cover story is a collection of anecdotes on a hundred personalities drawn from across the African continent who have been influential in one or more aspects of life on Africa or segments of the African populace.

Our scope does not allow us to go into the details on each – for that we invite you to get a hold of New African magazine. One thing that stands out among them all is their determination to achieve something, their firmness of purpose – in every moment to uplift their people, the Africans and the continent. However diverse their voices and the causes they champion for may be, there is a cohesion that permeates their collective thought and purpose.  Finally, the realization is coming through, and that across the entire continent , to quote Tinie Tampah, megastar music persona from Nigeria, “As an African, I see myself as a special person; there is something about me that makes me a little bit more unique and I feel very proud about my heritage.”

The faltering that has dogged African states since independence are finally being taken on head on, “As Africans we must think with our hearts, but also with our heads in order to bring back the confidence and the can do spirit we had in the 1960s. If we can get that right, as one billion people with a common destiny, we will be greater than China,” rallies Dr.Leautier, in charge of African Capacity Building Foundation.

Perhaps no time was so full of hope and energy on the continent as on the dawning days of independence, yet what a waste many of our independence leaders made of those precious years soon after independence. But no more! “ We’ve made more mistakes than anyone else. The benefit of a mistake is that you know what doesn’t work,” says Koos Bekker of South Africa, pioneer of subscription TV on the African continent. And yet what greatest mistakes did we make than to let our vested interests to blind our vision – again no more, we know. “The greatest challenge …is how to convince [our] people to put aside competing interests,” echoes Chinua Achebe, one of Africa’s literary icons.

They call from far and wide, they represent the underprivileged, they seek the talent, they provide leverage to those who are able to, to give them the capacity to deliver; but in the end their message remains strong, if we are to be truly emancipated, our common call as individual Africans, each capable is some way – we must get rid of the dependency on the perceived big man, “I prefer to fight and to do things myself,” says Didier Drogba who needs no introduction here. No time is nigh enough than now for Africa to stand and say I can fight, not with guns, not with crude weapons, not the fight to destroy the brothers and sisters, but to fight challenges to development and self realization.

For “there is something so terrible in watching a black man trying at all points to be the dark ghost of a European…the black man who has spent all his life fleeing from himself into whiteness has no power if the white master gives him none,” says Ayi Kwei; a timely challenge to Africa’s dependencies on external solutions to its problems, and its equally fatal neglect of her own responsibility to self-identity and realization. And picking up from there, Ajuma Nasenyana, a Kenyan 400metres champion who opted for the catwalks instead, says, “I think I am breaking stereotypes and putting dark skinned girls like me on the map. I represent all the dark little girls who have low esteem and feel they have to be light skinned to be accepted and beautiful.”

We could go on and on, each personality is exceptional, they are leading causes and breaking the way in and through all sectors: sports, women emancipation and rights, infrastructure development, fighting against corruption, responsible leadership, ethics and spirituality, fashion, music, literature, politics, education, economics to name just a few.

From among other stories New African:

Takes stock of Barrack Obama’s first term in the White House, and what expectations people hope he will fulfill now that he has won a second term. Perhaps he may not be able to do much for the African continent, though he has power to influence changes to USA’s policies on Africa. But above all, Obama is an exceptional president in the long list of American presidents representing the majority minority for so long trodden upon. Will he do something to up lift the conditions and position of the African-Americans, the Hispanics, the Latino and many other small groups? He has four years, to shift the gear from “hope” and “change” to move “forward”. The clock is ticking.

Wonders whether Charles Taylor got a fair hearing at the ICC in The Hague. One judge, who was part of the bench during the entire trial, has vehemently questioned the final verdict, which he personally did not ascribe to. He points out: the absence of convincing proof of guilt of the accused, what he calls a prosecution case inherently disharmonious and filled with too many confusions and inaccuracies, judges who chose to sideline the truth in the last moment, and too many lies, too many deceptions, countless contradictions and manipulations of the trial. Charles Taylor was sentenced to 50 years imprisonment. His appeal is pending.

Revisits the life of Steve Biko, the celebrated political activist and the Black Consciousness Movement. In this article based on a review of a new book on Biko, “Biko – a biography” by Xolela Mangcu, the relevance of Biko’s crusade to modern day South Africa and Africa as a whole is underscored. The “most defining element in Steve’s leadership,” it highlights, “was his continuing and total involvement with the local community.” Quoting Mandela, it concludes, “Steve lives on in the galaxy of brave and courageous leaders who helped shape democracy in South Africa [and we may add in Africa and beyond too]. May we never cease to celebrate his life.” Steve Biko’s life still inspires many all over the world.

Takes a tour down reflection lane with Wole Soyinka, who comments on a wide range of issues affecting Africans and the continent without mincing words.

For these and more stories, see New African December 2012 issue.

Reviewed by Swegenyi Shivairo for Humanitas Afrika

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Book of the month

Xoliswa Ndoyiya: Ukutya Kwasekhaya

Xoliswa Ndoyiya: Ukutya KwasekhayaTastes from Nelson Mandela’s kitchen

A collection of recipes by Nelson Mandela's personal chef, this book contains the food served to visiting heads of state, celebrities, politicians for more than 20 years. Featuring some of the favourite former South African president's favourite meals including samp and beans, farm chicken, tripe, this book also features paella, peri-peri chicken, prawn curry, and myriad of other delights. With simple, delicious and nourishing recipes, it will interest those who wish to prepare meals that are both elegant and healthy.More

New arrivals

New titles in our library 12/2016

Our library has aquired a number of new and interesting books. Here is the list of the latest titles.

  • Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X by Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith
  • Fashion Cities Africa by Hannah Azieb Pool
  • Frantz Fanon: Toward a Revolutionary Humanismby Christopher Lee
  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty by Robinson, James A., Acemoglu, Daron
  • Shakespeare in Swahililand: Adventures With the Ever-Living Poet by Edward Wilson-Lee
  • A History of Modern Africa: 1800 to the Present by Richard J. Reid
  • Authentically African: Arts and the Transnational Politics of Congolese Culture by Sarah Van Beurden
  • Children in Slavery through the Ages by by Gwyn CampbellSuzanne MiersJoseph C. Miller
  • Global Health in Africa: Historical Perspectives on Disease Control by Tamara Giles-Vernick
  • Rumba on the River: A History of the Popular Music of the Two Congos by Gary  Stewart
  • Women and Slavery, Vol. 1: Africa, the Indian Ocean World, and the Medieval North Atlantic by Gwyn Campbell
  • Women and Slavery, Vol. 2: The Modern Atlantic by Gwyn Campbell
  • Cahier d'un Retour Au Pays Natal by Aimé Cesaire
  • Healing Traditions: African Medicine, Cultural Exchange and Competition in South Africa, 1820-1948 by Karen Elizabeth  Flint
  • Global Education Policy and International Development: New Agendas, Issues and Policies by Antoni Verger
  • Black Skin, White Coats: Nigerian Psychiatrists, Decolonization, and the Globalization of Psychiatry by Matthew M. Heaton
   

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