Sunday, 1 April 2018

A is for April...A-Z...and Africa!!


is for


'Appy Easter Sunday to all who are celebrating! I'm glad I'm starting on a major festival day, because in India that's how all big projects are begun, with the advice of astrologers - on an auspicious moment/day to ensure success. I know I'll need all the help I can get :)  To those who do not observe Easter specifically - 

Sannu Abokai! which is Hello, friends! in Hausa, a Chadic language spoken in West Africa. 


Amampondo – a South African percussion band, listen to them perform as you read the rest.



And of course, there's Akon. Here he is with Angel. He's an American singer of Senegalese descent, one of the super-successful A-grade celebrities of African origin with his name on the Forbes' List and everything. Bet you knew that already, see I told you he's uber-famous.





Amazigh – meaning ‘free peoples,’ a.k.a Berbers, are a group of peoples indigenous to North Africa, predating the Arab, or even the Phoenician and Roman conquests. They stretch from Morocco and Western Sahara to the Siwa Oasis in Egypt. Ethnically 60% of the population of Morocco and around 2% of Egypt is Amazigh. They have a different language, customs, and way of life from the Arabic speaking populations of these countries. Though they are the majority in Morocco and Algeria, they remain politically marginalised. They have been fighting for their rights since 2011 and have made some space for their voices. Read more about them here, and watch a glimpse of their culture in these clips.





From the Safaris

Amboseli National Park – is an ecosystem and a wildlife conservation park on the Kenya-Tanzania border. It covers a core area of roughly 39,000 ha in the wider ecosystem of 8000 km2. Amboseli is the most visited park in Kenya after Masai Mara, and it is known for its elephant populations and its birdlife. Here's a clip made from some of my photos taken in Africa, in Amboseli and elsewhere.




~ Thanks for watching! ~

Books n stuff


Kofi Awoonor (1935-2013), a poet from Ghana, his poems were part of my literature syllabus at school. I remember reading his Weaver Bird, and immediately connecting the metaphor to colonisation of Africa. I still have that anthology, first published in 1967, when independent Ghana was just ten years old. The spine has faded from purple to sky blue, I have problems locating it on the shelf because I am still looking for that purple, though I know it's no longer that colour. Oh, the quirks of memory!

Kofi Awoonor was published as George Awoonor Williams in this book. (He used both names which were truncated versions of his full name). He was not just a poet but wore many hats – literary critic, professor, spoken word artist, novelist, cultural historian, ambassador to UN and several foreign countries. He was tragically killed in the terrorist attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi in 2013, where he was scheduled to perform at a literary festival that evening. Distressing that terrorists can snuff out an artist’s voice so easily – who knows what he had left to articulate?


Chinua Achebe (1930 – 2013) – the granddaddy of African literature, his “Things fall Apart” published in 1958 was the first African novel to gain worldwide attention. Also a staple of school syllabi in the 70’s West Africa, but this book I no longer have, a Heinemann edition, lost in the various country moves. Not that it matters, because a 50th anniversary edition was reissued and I read TFA again and then the entire trilogy. Always hugely rewarding to reread as an adult something which one read as a school text - a totally different perspective. Definitely a book that stays with one long after the last page is turned. Achebe bagged the Man Booker International in 2007. 

As you can see, 2013 was a sad year for African literature, two stalwarts gone. While their passing is tragic, one particularly because it was untimely - it must also be said and celebrated that there are others, an exquisitely competent younger generation of contemporary writers, such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who are carrying the tradition of African literature forward and keeping it as vibrant and spell binding as ever. Thoroughly recommend her Half of a Yellow Sun and Purple Hibiscus, both are superb reads and milestones in African Literature.






Posted for the A-Z Challenge 2018

54 comments:

  1. Awestruck. Amazed. Atrociously ignorant about so much.
    Applause for Another brilliant post. And how I love your clip.

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    1. There are a million things about Africa I love! Ideal for the A-Z :) so glad you liked the clip.

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  2. Considering their population, Amazighs should be fighting for their rights.
    Have a great time with the Challenge! I'll stop by whenever I am online. (I will be taking breaks this month.)

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    1. Thanks for your support, Alex. The Berber language is listed as an official language in Morocco now because of their activism. Their music is soulful and lovely too. The basic problem is that their populations are scattered across different countries.
      Enjoy the breaks!

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  3. Hi Nila - what a wonderful selection ... A for Amazing - sounds like we'll be in for a treat ... and many return visits to listen to all the snippets ... love the percussion ... and must read Half of a Yellow Sun - it's been in my sights for a while - cheers and what a great start - Hilary

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    1. African percussion is awesome! Could listen to the drumming all day :)

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  4. 'Appy Easter to you too! What a delightful start to the challenge. I've visited several National Parks in Africa, but not this one. Interesting!

    My Friend Rosey - A

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    1. It's a great park to go elephant spotting!

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  5. When I was researching the story of Aicha the Demonhunter, I read a lot of Berber folktales. They are among my favorites. Such a rich oral tradition. :)
    Happy A to Z!

    The Multicolored Diary: Weird Things in Hungarian Folktales

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    1. West Africa too, in fact all of Africa has this unimaginably rich oral tradition.

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  6. Fabulously interesting, thank you, Nila. Liz http://www.poetryroundabout.com

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  7. Yes, Africa is amazing. Lovely post.
    Dropping by from www.hesterleynel.co.za for the A to Z Challenge.

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    1. Thanks for visiting! Yes indeed amazing far beyond what can be written in a month worth of blog posts.

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  8. Gosh there's so much to learn from you. Happy A to Z ing.

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    1. Oh absolutely a lot of learning happens for me during the A-Z, blogging and non-blogging both. Happy A-Z to you too Kalpanaa see you around.

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  9. Hari OM
    Great start to the April challenge! I too had not missed the Auspiciousness of the Easter start... and I love the Afro beats. YAM xx

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    1. It's neat to start on a festival day, isn't it? :)

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  10. A lovely post Nilanjana, I wish you weel with the challenge.

    Yvonne.

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    1. Thanks Yvonne. Wish you a happy Easter and spring.

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  11. Absolutely love your post!

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  12. IDIR singing "A Vava Inouva" is one of my favorite songs. There is one version where he is singing before an audience and they all join in. It just brings tears to my eyes.
    www.findingeliza.com

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    1. Ya, it's a haunting melody, very moving.

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  13. Boy, you must have had a whole hour to write this one... 😝 (a joke I heard once). Lots of good material here. I'd never heard of Akon; it's not the type of music I listen to that often. He sounds good, though. Enjoy the month!

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    1. Haha an hour's just about right....thanks for stopping by and for your wishes...and for all the work you all do.

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  14. Abokai! What an amazing adventure you're taking us on - so much good stuff here. And I'd forgotten how much you expanded my listening world last April, so I'm delighted for today's gems as well.

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    1. That's the thing about A-Z - I get so much armchair travelling done! :) more in one month than in the rest of the whole year...

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  15. Hi! Visiting for the A-Z Challenge from Oil4Tinman (https://oil4tinman.com/learn-about-oils-here/). Looking forward to returning throughout the month.

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  16. Loved the information and the songs :-)

    I bought Things Fall Apart a few years ago, but haven't read it yet. A few readers told me it is beautiful but depressing, so I suppose I need to be inthe right mood to read it.

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    1. Ya, the entire trilogy isn't exactly what you'd call lighthearted :) definitely requires a certain mindspace to appreciate it...

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  17. Wow theres so much info here about a place unknown... Awesome start to the challenge

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  18. Loving your topic - one of the best parts about the A-Z is learning new things :)

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  19. ambitious A to Z project and all so amazing. Love the safari video. This shall be a highlight of April days. Thanks for posting ALL of this.

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    1. Glad you like it, I always have a blast researching :)

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  20. Amazing! Loved your slideshow and really looking forward to the rest of your alphabet :)

    Emily In Ecuador | Almuerzo - Good Lunch Choice in Puerto Lopez

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  21. wow, lovely insight.
    I think this year again I am going to love all your posts

    Mrs Dash's Toungue Twister for A

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  22. Thank you for all these awesome A words! :)

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  23. Hi Nila!
    Great info here... some of which I'm learning for the first time.

    Akon is doing amazing work on the continent, helping to bring electricity to 600 million people in rural communities across Africa.
    I remember studying "Things Fall Apart" back in the mid-80's as part of the literature course in teacher training college. I really need to revisit that story...and Achebe's other works.
    There's loads of praise for Adichie as one of the younger generation of contemporary African writers. I haven't read any of Adichie's books yet but I have them on my TBR and I'm looking forward to reading them.
    Gotta love the marimba sounds!

    I'm not participating in the A to Z this year but I hope to visit your place regularly to learn more about the African continent... and be introduced to lesser-known African authors/poets!

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    1. Hi Michelle! So very nice to see you here! Totally agreed on the marimba sounds I could listen to them all day long. :)
      Adichie is a seriously stellar writer - I have her Purple Hibiscus lined up next on my TBR and I'm pretty sure it's going to be as captivating as HoaYS.
      It's brilliant to have your inputs in the comments here, beyond valued - actual African residents' views as compared to a past resident and lifelong, devoted fan :)

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  24. Great first post and I've learnt so much already. Really interesting music and facts.
    Have a great rest of the month.

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    1. Thank you, wish you the same. Happy A-Zing!

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  25. Wow, so much info for A :) I really like the Akon song - it's very bouncy. I have to admit I have no idea who he is, but then I'm hopeless at many modern artists :)
    Hope you have a great Easter.
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings - Movie Monsters

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    1. Haha totally get that because musicwise I seem to be stuck in the last century too!

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  26. Great post with lots of interesting facts. I really need to check out more African authors.

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  27. Absolutely Amazing but ashamed that I know so little about this part of the world! Thanks for sharing!

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  28. Hi Nilanjana - coming to you via Hilary of Positive Letters (she provided your link in her A-Z Reflections Post. I'll follow up on your further A-Z posts. I'm a South African and am familiar with what happens up north but would love to learn more. Thank you for this first post! Susan

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    1. Hi Susan, great to have you here! Always nice to have an insider's perspective on these posts. Hope to broaden my knowledge of the South. Thank you for visiting and the warm words.

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