Showing posts from 2020

African foods that have no name in European languages

Sao on the tree in Douala There were myriad consequences to colonialism in Africa, and as we know, most of the continent still hasn’t recovered. But I will leave that discussion for the experts in geopolitics and history. One of the consequences is not much discussed: the vocabulary of food products, in particular of fruits, leafy greens, and vegetables. If an item doesn’t exist in the “West,” i.e. Europe and North America, it didn’t get a name. For years, there was little travel within the African continent. It was more expensive and convoluted to go from Douala to Dakar than from Douala to Paris.  Nowadays there are many more African airlines, and even if you are on your way to Paris or London, from an African metropolis, you can make a pit stop in Addis Ababa, for example. But if you are going to another country, and would like to eat your favorite food, how do you know if you can find it in that country? For that matter, even when you travel to another town, and you are sure that t

Stop Filming Us: a movie set in the RDC

 "Stop Filming Us" is one of the selections at the Mill Valley Film Festival this year.  It's a documentary set in the city of Goma in the northeastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, on the shore of Lake Kivu, close to Rwanda.  It's a multi-faceted view not only of the town and its inhabitants, but also how so many Sub-Saharan Africans have to grapple with the consequences of colonization, Young Congolese discuss the need to "decolonize one's brain," and the fact that many traditions, legends, and more have already disappeared from the collective mind. The issue of the multitude of foreign NGOs in Goma is also brought up. From their website : Screening note : This digital screening is available to view between 12:01am PT on Friday, October 9, and 11:59pm PT on Sunday, October 18, and is available to ticket buyers and passholders within the United States.   Dutch documentarian Joris Postema sets out to show life in the Democratic Republic of th

A modern fairy tale from By Kids for Kids about the Coronavirus epidemic

The By Kids For Kids podcast - usually recording in-studio stories narrated by the under 15 set, for the listening pleasure of children all over - had to quickly reconvert to doing the podcast remotely, as the entire world shelters in place to the Covid-19 pandemic. This is their "intercontinental" narration of a modern fairy tale to explain the need for confinement and the many challenges it presents. Children from Germany, South Africa, Kenya, Mexico, Canada, Singapore, and Australia participated.

Africa-centered activities while hunkering down

In happier days - a celebration You're home, you're bored. What activities can you do that you usually don't have time for - and you have an affinity for, or a relationship with Sub-Saharan Africa? Of course we can start with the news . Much of it is depressing - about how many cases of Covid19 are in Africa, who passed away - all sad and frightening. However there are bright spots! Among fashion designers and tailors/sew mistresses around the world, a Rwandan designer is creating masks made of African fabric. They are not medically approved, but at least there is a physical barrier. Other activities : - Submit a film to the Mobile Film Festival ! As per their site:  Founded in 2005, the Mobile Film Festival is an international Festival of short-length movies, based on an simple principle:  1 Mobile, 1 Minute, 1 Film .  And further:  The Mobile Film Festival is a  100% digital festival , thus aiming at reaching the largest audience. Yet, its  short and crea

Mboko Lagriffe - Cameroon design goes flying

A few years ago, I wrote about Mboko Lagriffe's " Barbebuexpo " in Douala: a novel way of organizing an art fair. In the meantime, he has not been idle. He continued painting, organizing bi-annual Barbecuexpo art fairs, designing household items, but the big "coup" has been to win the competition for a new design on Royal Air Maroc (RAM) airplanes. In 2016, Royal Air Maroc organized a competition, Wings of African Art, to decorate the exterior fuselage of its airplanes. The jury president was Mehdi Qotbi, head of the National Foundation of Museums of the Moroccan Kingdom, and included artists and critics of renown. There were three winners: Mboko Lagriffe from Cameroon, the Franco-Moroccan Sara Ouhaddou, and Saidou Dicko from Burkina Faso. Mboko Lagriffe also won the public vote.  The "Love" Royal Air Maroc plane (photo: Dayot JC) The Love plane in the air (photo: Guillaume Février) Painting: Frontières Irréelles (Unreal border