Memories of Aunt Jessie in Douala

A couple of months ago, my aunt through marriage, known as "Tantie Jessie" to the nephews and nieces, passed away in Douala at the age of 80. I was thankful to have seen her a while ago in Paris at the home of one of her daughters. She was a big part of my daily life as the spouse of a Cameroonian in Douala, at the start of my career and later of motherhood, trying to fit in. She and her husband had us often over for delicious Sunday meals. She would tease me about my attempts at speaking Duala (although later, she was proud of me). I'd like to pay a personal tribute by writing about one of our adventures, which we could laugh about in hindsight! When I moved to Cameroon, the country still had its first president, Ahmadou Ahidjo. However, in 1982, the French president, François Mitterrand, convinced him to leave power and the then Prime Minister, Paul Biya, became president. We managed an architectural firm, and one morning in April 1984, we started our morning and notice

Germany faces its colonial legacy

  Since the end of World War II, Germany has been grappling with the consequences of the Holocaust. Since about ten years, the country has also started facing its colonial history, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. Germany started controlling territories in Africa in the 1800s, mostly after the "Scramble for Africa" initiated by Bismarck during the 1884 Berlin Conference, when the continent was divvied up among European countries. Germany annexed territories in present-day Cameroon, Togo, Ghana, and Namibia. After World War I, they lost most of their colonies, which were taken over by France and Great Britain. The Germans were brutal in their rule and committed genocide in Namibia in 1914. Until a few years ago, German city streets often carried the names of German colonizers, such as Petersallee in Berlin, dedicated to Dr. Carl Peters, who set off to start colonizing Eastern Africa in 1884. After the Berlin West Africa Conference, he was named Chairman of the German East-Afr

More from Zimbabwe! A Children's Book about Shona and Ndebele

Via Amanda Tento, founder of my wonderful online networking group, the 337 group , I met Yeve Sibanda. Yeve is a Zimbabwean native who now calls the United States home. She is a wife, mother, attorney, public speaker, and author, and she founded Philisa Creatives, a media company, that celebrates and amplifies African heritage. Philisa means “to bring to life” in Ndebele; its mission is to create innovative products to enhance multicultural learning. Her debut book is " My First Book of Shona and Ndebele Words ." Just a week before, I had been discussing the need to promote African languages with Elle Charisse , creator of the Speaking Tongues podcast. On a popular language-learning app, until very recently, the only African language being taught was Swahili. I just read that Zulu and Xhosa, spoken in South Africa, will soon be taught, too.  There are some apps and websites, such as Mandla (for English speakers) and ParleAfrique for French speakers. However, they often have

Picket Chabwedzeka, Zimbabwean ecologist

In Europe and in the United States, when you hear about conservation, you often think about international nonprofits such as the World Wildlife Fund, and of the discussion about zoos in "developed" countries: should animals be kept in captivity for our children and for us to gaze at behind a fence? Is the money they raise for conservation worth the sacrifice of these animals' lifestyle?  On the ground, there are many more people involved in conservation. Southern Africa has a large portion of the world's giraffes, lions, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, elephants, as well as a plethora of various antelopes and birds. Mitchel and Picket at Sinamatella Camp, Hwange, Zimbabwe, 2021 Picket Chabwedzeka is one of these people on the ground. He is a Game Reserve Manager and Senior Ecologist at the Victoria Falls Private Game Reserve in Zimbabwe. He was born and raised in Harare. Growing up, he had no prior knowledge of careers in wildlife preservation, until after finishing his hig

Ashanti Design: Joyful Design and Sustainability

The store at Kloof Street, Cape Town One of the benefits of social media is that it showcases small businesses at a lesser cost to them than mainstream advertising. From realtors to children's clothing to handicrafts from all over the world, you can find so many wonderful small businesses. In the United States, small businesses create the majority of jobs. Ashanti Design's joyful multicolored striped bean bags and ottomans stand out easily. And the items are made from recycled fabric remnants to boot! Not only does Ashanti have great designs, but it is also a business based on sustainability on many levels, and on helping people in different parts of Sub-Saharan Africa make a living. Away from Africa held an interview with Rob Walker, the founder of Ashanti Design, in Cape Town, South Africa. - How did the business get started? We used to work with an American NGO funded by USAid and other foundations, Aid to Artisans  (ATA). We did a lot of work with them in Mozambique. This

ESSACA in Yaounde meets with Adil Dalbai from DOM Publishers

The ESSACA architecture school is featured in the Architectural Guide Sub-Saharan Africa, Cameroon chapter. Diane Chehab and Epee Ellong, authors of The African Dwelling from Traditional to Western Style Homes  coordinated the Cameroon chapter, as well as wrote several articles for the Guide. Architectural Guide Sub-Saharan Africa  was published on the ESSACA blog (in French).

Minneapolis Institute of Art

 There is a photo exhibition at the MIA (Minneapolis Institute of Art): Todd Webb in Africa: Outside the Frame . It's free to view online .  As per the MIA website: This exhibition presents a recently recovered photographic series taken by American documentary photographer Todd Webb in 1958. Commissioned by the United Nations to document emerging industries and technologies in Ghana, Kenya, Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Somalia, Sudan, Togo, and Tanganyika and Zanzibar (both now Tanzania), these early color photographs went largely unused by the U.N.’s publications. Their neglect or suppression by the organization mandates a closer investigation, and animates our interpretation of the images, as well as our attempts to understand Webb’s intentions in creating them. <br /> Webb’s photographs present an outsider’s view onto the social, political, and cultural dynamics on the continent at a critical period between colonialism and independence.