I decided to try something new this semester. Each of my classes are going all in: my students are going to build websites and create multimedia projects. My two intro classes (African Freedom Fighters and Popular Culture and Politics in Africa) have the opportunity to […]
http://bkatz.bergbuilds.domains/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Podcast-3.wav Further Readings: CLIFFORD D MAYSpecial to The New,York Times. “In Sierra Leone, Land of Diamonds, Decay Sets in.” New York Times (1923-Current File), Jun 21, 1984. https://muhlenberg.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.muhlenberg.idm.oclc.org/docview/122533558?accountid=40980. Onishi, Norimitsu. “Africa Diamond Hub Defies Smuggling Rules.” New York Times (1923-Current File), Jan 02, 2001. https://muhlenberg.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.muhlenberg.idm.oclc.org/docview/92139776?accountid=40980. Harden, Blaine. “2 […]
Hello again blog post readers! Today I will be writing about Fatema Mernissi. I stumbled upon this amazing woman in my research about Morocco and am so happy I did. Fatema Merinissi was a founder of Islamic feminism. Islamic feminism obviously existed previous to her, […]
Hey Hey Hey Friends! Long time no see!
As promised, blog post number two! I’ll go back at some point and add the link to the podcast I’m going to record about the two of the with my two partners, you remember how it went last night. So last post was on the earlier side of Post-Apartheid Africa, and I focused in on the global reaction to the Sharpeville Massacre. If you haven’t read that post yet, go do it becuase I’m going to jump ahead about 20 years to 1979 Africa. Now this was pretty much the peak of the Cold war, and the world was divided in half. Almost every country had to decide which side they fought on. The nuclear arms race was on.
I found a really interesting article from my good ole’ fav, theNew York Times. So for 22 years, South Africa had been participating in the International Atomic Energy Agency. 22 years! Then 1979 the other nations, decided to kick them out of the conference. This decision came just two years after the other member nations decided to remove South Africa from the board, even though they had one of the most advanced nuclear facilities in Africa. Normally I would be screaming racism, and there were probably a few nations who were glad to see South Africa gone based purely on geography and race, but this is a little differnt. Some nations (cough cough Egypt) thought that South Africa was getting a little too big for her britches. However, most nations cited the prevalent racial discrimination that was running rampant through South Africa. As the representatives from Kenya phrased the other nations needed to show their opinions towards the racism in South Africa” ‘not with words’ and explanations but with actions’ “. They wanted to make a statement to the international community, which I think is actually really important. This is another example of an international show of support for the repressed minorities in South Africa. Much like the solidarity protests, these nations are taking a stand for what they believe in. They believe that this racial discrimination is wrong, and they are doing some (small) steps to stop it.
As you can imagine, the South African representative at the conference was not super pleased with what was happening. He saw this distrust as the beginning of the end. He meant the agency, but really it signified a shift away from racial attitude in the international community. Now the world is still an incredibly racist place, but the decision made here was important. This decision was a small step by the internationally community to doing what’s right. The other nations knew that this would cause strife in an already perilous world, but they did it anyway. This may be a small thing, but it does give me a little bit of hope for the future. Maybe international pressure will be enough to cause some much-needed changes in our own country today. Who knows? An orange Oompa-Loompa is president of the United States, anything is possible.
I know that this seems like an almost completely isolated incident that doesn’t really have much to do with the rest of what I have been talking about but I did that on purpose. I wanted to talk about something that many other people aren’t talking about, something the world has forgotten. I wanted to remember that Kenyan representative who tried to help support those who needed it.
“Nuclear Parley Ban South Africa in Implicit Warning.” New York Times, December 5, 1979. Accessed April 11, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/1979/12/06/archives/nuclear-parley-bars-south-africa-an-implicit-warning.
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Hello Hello Friends! I know it’s been a while since I last wrote, and I apologize for that. To make up for it, I have two new blogs and a podcast coming up for you all in the next few days. This one focuses on […]
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So after reading about how the Westerners thought that the Ghanian music culture was primitive and tribal, I decided to focus on the complexities of Ghanian music in order to further prove that they are wrong. I focused on the specific ensembles of Ghanian Highlife. I also found some humor in this too that I will reveal later. I also found some social disparities between men and women in this that was interesting But basically, Ghanaian highlife music is traditional Akan music played with Western instruments but also local instruments like the “Pati” or the local drum (Geest).
So the first thing that I noticed is that Ghanian Highlife music is broken down into three major components. The first ensemble consists of the brass bands made in the provincial cities in Ghana. The type of Highlife that was performed in Ghana was called “Adaha”. And what’s very interesting and amusing about this is that there is a a type of Highlife called “KonKomba” which is actually considered a poor man’s HighLife music. So I guess if you’re Highlife rendition wasn’t up to par it would be considered a poor man’s rendition which I thought was kind of funny and brutal. Highlife is ultimately “a blend of traditional Akan melodies with European musical elements (Geest).
The second ensemble was the coolest thing I read about so far because of how it shows the socio-political factions within Ghana. So this second ensemble was performed in cinema’s with silent movies as the introduction. It was ten shilling for admission and was usually only attended by educated and higher class Ghanaians. These performances incorporated woodwinds, the Swanee whistle and played waltzes, rumbas, foxtrots, and quicksteps (Collins).
The third were guitar bands that were not as interesting to me as the second ensembles but they focused on a cool interment called the Apremprensema which was a “giant bass hand piano” (Geest. I tried to look it up and find out what it exactly looks like but i couldn’t find any.
So looking at all this really shows that Ghanain music is very complex and has a lot of components to it. It is also really intelligent and refreshing of them to use European instruments in order to create new music. The charismatic wonder of this reminds me of when we listened to Fela in class. But I also think that this reveals something darker. In Fela’s performances, it showed women in a very submissive light. Watching Fela’s performances. Women were usually backup singers and the women dancer’s were on their knees for most of the time. This showed the chauvinistic side of Africa and Ghanaian Highlife shows that too. Singing, playing, and composing highlife was usually a male affair (Collins). Women were given the short end of the stick. Female performers were very rare and male singers usually played the role of men and women. Here’s an excerpt from a song called “Asiko” by Eddie Dankor:
Uncle Kwasi, I shall tell you a story. There were two eo-wives. The youngest of them was the senior wife. A quarrel broke out between them. The younger one said to the older one: ‘I win the husband through the delicious soup I make.’ (twice) You know, when women quarrel they want to insult each other. So the younger wife said that she pleased the husband most because of her soup. The older wife replied: ‘Eei, you win him with soup? Then I shall win him with love-making, haha.’ 9 Good soup or love-making … over to you (Collins).
The lyrics show how they over sexualize and mock women in highlife music which shows the enforcing of male supremacy in Africa including Ghana which we also talked about in class in regards to music in Nigeria. It’s crazy how music can reveal about social status and gender hierarchy.
Collins, E.J. “Ghanian Highlife” UCLA . African Arts. 1976
Darko – Asante, Nimrod and Geest, Sjaak Van Der “Male Chauvinism: Men and Women in Ghanian Highlife Songs
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Hello blog post readers! I am back with my third blog post, this one about what is known as the ‘Years of Lead’ in Morocco. This time period is so rich and interesting in the history of Morocco. So the Years of Lead refer to the 1960s to the 1980s, marked specifically by the rule of King Hassan II of Morocco. Some scholars believe that the Years of Lead began with Moroccan independence in 1956, while Morocco was still under the rule of King Mohammed the V, who I have spoken about at length in my previous blog posts. Either way, Hassan II was King of Morocco from 1961 until his death in 1999. This time period was also marked by a stark oppression of critics of the government. As we see throughout history, when there is a highly oppressive government regime, we often see a rise of citizens fighting for their rights- in this case for democracy and human rights. It is even more interesting, because he was seen as a moderate leader by the West! He was an ally of the West until his death in 1999 where the atrocities he committed were fully uncovered. While the West were aware of some of the atrocities that were happening under his regime, many human rights violations were kept hidden from the public.
Under King Hassan II, Morocco saw a ton of human rights violations. Political opposition to Hassan the II was immediately shut down. The political opponents were reported by the Moroccan government to have “disappeared.” Disappearing truly meant either executing the opposition or sending them to prison. A secret prison that existed in Tasmamārt, Morocco is where both the political opposition and their families were sent. Now infamous for the hideous human rights violations that occurred, those who willingly or unwillingly participated in the failed coups in 1971-2 against Hassan the II were thrown into this prison for up to 18 years. The prison was built in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco in 1972 after the second failed coup. The prison was closed in 1991 after significant strain from outside leaders and international human rights organizations. These cells were just large enough for the prisoners to enter it. Described as dungeons, the prisoners were never allowed to leave. They weren’t clothed. The guard dogs and prisoners were fed the exact same food, more often the prisoners were fed the dogs’ leftovers. The conditions there, of isolation and darkness caused some detainees to commit suicide before they were released. The prison was underground in the mountains, where holes were poked in the structures to let some light and air in- there was no protection from the summer heat or winter conditions, which caused many detainees to fall ill.
Moukhlis, Salah. 2008. “The Forgotten Face of Postcoloniality: Moroccan Prison Narratives, Human Rights, and the Politics of Resistance.” Journal Of Arabic Literature 39, no. 3: 347-376. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed March 28, 2018).
The conditions in this prison were obviously disgusting and absolutely horrifying. Morocco has been paying compensation to the families affected by the prison since 1991. Malika Oukfir, is a Moroccan Berber writer, and was one of the disappeared. Her father was a leader of the second failed coup against Hassan II in 1972. Her father was executed, and she and her family were sent to multiple desert prisons. Even after the prison closed, her family’s house was destroyed, they had no rights- they could not work, and they did not have money. Her sister escaped to Spain then to Paris in 1996, where she helped Malika escape where she could start a new life. She had been imprisoned for 25 years, the larger part of her life, as this ordeal started when she was 19. Malika Oukfir has published two books about her experience: Stolen Lives: 20 Years in a Desert Jail (1999) and Freedom: The Story of My Second Life (2006). My personal favorite part about her stories is that she tells readers to not look at Morocco as just this story. She told The Washington Post 2001, “Although a victim, I do not want to look at Morocco through my story, but I want my experience to count,” she said. “That is why I bear witness. I hope my opinions will not be perceived as an intention to denounce but to look reality in the face and to recognize the errors of the past.”
File:Malika oufkir 2006.jpg
Larry D. Moore
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As any newly independent country does, Sierra Leone had their plate full. One of the most important roles that any nation needs to sort out is their position in the international community. Sierra Leone was genuinely active in their diplomatic relations. When you think about […]