Global Information Network, now in its 20th year, hosts a regular series of public events on African issues; edits, writes and distributes news, and offers internships. Volunteers are especially welcome here at its W. 29th St. headquarters!
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
(GIN) – African master of the spoken word, renowned actor and musician Sotigui Kouyaté, passed away Apr. 17 in Paris, France, reportedly of pulmonary disease.
Born in 1936 in Mali, he was an oral historian or “griot”, whose knowledge was authoritative among the Mandinka people.
He explained his heritage in an interview: “…I’m a storyteller, a griot. Rightly or wrongly, they call us masters of the spoken word. Our duty is to encourage the West to appreciate Africa more. It’s also true that many Africans don’t really know their own continent. And if you forget your culture, you lose sight of yourself. It is said that “the day you no longer know where you’re going, just remember where you came from.” Our strength lies in our culture. Everything I do as a storyteller, a griot, stems from this …”
A longtime collaborator of British film and theatre director Peter Brook, Kouyate wrote and staged a number of plays himself. For his role in the movie “London River”, he won Best Actor title at the Berlin Film Festival and the French government's highest cultural honor at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, when he was made an officer of arts and letters.
In an unrelated development, legendary Nigerian bandleader, King Sunny Adé, was forced to call off his North American tour, scheduled to start in Canada and come to the Highline Ballroom in Manhattan in May after two percussionists in his 17 piece band died in a car accident.
Attempts to get American visas for replacement members of the band proved unsuccessful.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
Friday, April 2, 2010
Mar. 30 (GIN) – Pastors of the Evangelical Alliance of Angola making a Palm Sunday stop in the southern city of Lubango, reported being shocked at the sight of some 3,000 families dispossessed as part of a government clearance program to make way for public infrastructure projects.
“What I heard and saw with my own eyes, I'm sorry, it displeases me greatly, and doesn't correspond with the reality of a country that's been independent for more than 33 years and in Peace for eight years,” wrote Luis Samacumbi of the Congregational Church.
“We visited people in the few existing tents and with families who were able to save their zinc roof sheeting which they had put together to protect the children from the rain, the strong winds and the cold.” He criticized “deliberately man-made emergencies like this that put innocent children in the traumatic situation which we saw.”
During the Angolan Civil War (1975-2002), Lubango was a major base of Cuban, SWAPO and government troops.
FIERCE DEBATE OVER U.S. BILL TO SUPPORT UGANDA MILITARY
Mar. 30 (GIN) – Proposed US legislation authorizing military action against the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda has come under fierce debate. Critics say the bill will serve to prop up Uganda’s government which is under fire for criminalizing homosexuality.
“While the bill funds some humanitarian aid and post-conflict justice, the primary focus is on a military strategy to ‘apprehend or otherwise remove’ LRA leaders,” noted Samar Al-Bulushi, a consultant to the International Center for Transitional Justice. Human Rights Focus, a local NGO based in northern Uganda, also opposes a military option.
In Acholiland, northern Uganda, where the ethnic Acholi people have faced both the LRA and the government’s army, the Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative urged a peaceful resolution to the conflict. “As religious leaders whose primary concern is the preservation of human life, (we) advocate for dialogue and other non-violent strategies to be employed so that long term sustainable peace may be realised.”
On Nov. 17, 2009, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act, bi-partisan legislation authored by Sen. Russ Feingold and co-sponsored by some 25 other senators. It requires President Obama to develop a new strategy to confront the LRA and sets aside $10 million for humanitarian assistance in areas outside Uganda where the LRA is operating.
A recent BBC investigation reportedly uncovered evidence of a massacre in the Democratic Republic of Congo by the LRA with over 300 victims. Both the LRA and the Ugandan government dispute the findings.
SOUTH AFRICANS WOWED BY BILLIONAIRE’S WEDDING
Mar. 30 (GIN) - Entrepreneur and billionaire Robert Matana Gumede bid farewell to his bachelor years with one of the most lavish marriage ceremonies seen in South Africa. His bride, medical doctor Portia Mkhize, drove up in a black Rolls-Royce to the sound of Ave Maria, delivered by the 100-strong KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, which had been flown in for the occasion.
The guests – over 2,500 - included A-listers from all over the world and across social and economic strata. “We have presidents of countries, politicians, musicians and all the who’s whos from all walks of life under one roof,” said ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa when he addressed the guests.
The wedding proceeded to Gumede’s home township, KaBokweni, on Sunday, where 25 head of cattle were slaughtered.
According to the official biography, Gumede studied Law at the University of Zululand. Opportunity knocked in the IT industry and Gumede started Gijima Technologies – now one of South Africa’s largest black-owned IT companies with government deals worth more than 1.5 billion rand.
The new Mrs. Gumede worked at a state-subsidized AIDS hospice in Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal, until last year. The golden couple honeymooned in Beijing.
CHINA TRADE WITH SO. AFRICA HITS HISTORIC HIGHS
Mar. 30 (GIN) – In a visit this week to Pretoria, top Chinese political advisor Jia Qinglin and South African President Jacob Zuma laid the groundwork for stronger bilateral relations, while coordinating the two countries' stances on climate change.
China has become South Africa's biggest trade partner and exporter as bilateral trade volume hit a historic high of more than 16 billion U.S. dollars in 2009 despite the international financial crisis.
African economic growth is expected to accelerate to 4.3% this year from 1.6% last year, according to the U.N. Economic Commission on Africa in its annual report this month with East Africa likely to be the fastest-growing region, expanding to 5.3%. But poverty could still rise as there may not be an similar increase in employment, a U.N. report said on Tuesday.
South Africa was the last leg of Jia's ten-day African tour which already took him to Cameroon and Namibia.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Monday, February 15, 2010
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Feb. 2 (GIN) – A website first developed to map reports of violence in Kenya after the post-election violence in 2007 is being used to help focus where help is urgently needed in post-earthquake Haiti.
Ushahidi, the website whose name means "testimony" in Swahili, has been used in the Democratic Republic of Congo to monitor unrest and al-Jazeera used it to track violence in Gaza. It was also used to monitor the 2009 Indian elections and to help gather reports during the swine flu outbreak.
Feb. 2 (GIN) - Libyan leader, Moummar Gaddafi, speaking at the recently concluded African Union summit in Ethiopia, called on President Barack Obama to end all U.S.-sponsored wars around the world.
The Libyan leader singled out Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine as battles which were unjust.
Feb. 2 (GIN) - Incoming African Union chairperson and President of Malawi, Bingu wa Mutharika, told the assembled African nations at his swearing in ceremony that Africa has no excuse to remain poor.
While Africa has multiple problems, the continent was not poor, he said, but was endowed with great mineral wealth and other resources, which the developed world was exploiting.
Feb. 2 (GIN) – Twenty years ago today, former president FW de Klerk called an end to the racist system of apartheid. Not long after, he ordered the release from prison of anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela.
De Klerk was “one of the braver apartheid rulers,” observed former ANC secretary general Cyril Ramaphosa in an interview with SABC radio.
“Of all the apartheid rulers he was the braver one, who took the steps," Ramaphosa said, but added, “He had to do it….His hand had been forced by pressure inside and outside the country for reforms.”
Jan. 26 (GIN) - Africa's first democratically elected woman president, Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, has announced she will run for a second term.
"I know where we are today, I know where we ought to be tomorrow and I know how we will get there," she told a joint assembly of MPs gathered this week for her annual message.
Jan. 26 (GIN) - Some $7 million in U.S. aid to primary schools in Kenya has been suspended, pending an investigation into fraud claims, according to the U.S. ambassador.
The US move comes a month after the UK government pulled out of the project when $1 million in donated funds to the Education Ministry were reported missing.
Kenya is ranked as East Africa's most corrupt country by the group Transparency International.
THIS MONTH'S FEATURED BOOKS
SELF DETERMINATION AND
A Challenge for Africa
Edited by Francis M. Deng
Most African countries suffer from crises of national identity that are rooted in the formation of pluralistic states, characterized by gross inequities among the component groups. Oftentimes, the state gets captured by dominant groups that then define the national identity framework on their terms to give themselves the preeminent status as the favored citizens who enjoy all the rights and dignity of citizenship.
NEW SUDAN IN THE MAKING?
Essays on a Nation in Painful Search of Itself
Edited by Francis M. Deng
“New Sudan” is a concept for radically reforming Sudan’s governance system by addressing the national identity crisis that has been responsible for the wars, the instability and the failure of the national building project that have afflicted the country since independence. The gist of the crisis is that the dominant Arab group, which is in fact an African Arab hybrid and a minority, perceives the country in its image as an Arab-Islamic nation. This inevitably discriminates against the non-Arab and non-Moslem