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The types of Coffee Beans used in Go Africa®Coffee (Q&A)

You can buy Go Africa Coffee at:  www.amazon.com/shops/GoAfricaStore

 

The types of Coffee Beans used in Go Africa®Coffee

We have received so many inquiries regarding which beans are used in Go Africa Coffee. Since we source are beans from the following countries: (Ethiopia, Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Cameroon, and Democratic Republic of the Congo) the short answer is it depends.

images-4We have asked our resident Coffeelogist and Chief Roaster, Losseni Kone, to help provide an answer.

Coffee aficionados of all levels have without a doubt heard the words “Robusta” or “Arabica” However, Coffee is much more complex than just type of Coffee.

Below is a list of Countries and Types of beans sourced from the country for Go Africa Coffee. Keep in mind a Country can source more than one type of bean:

  • images-2Ethiopia: (Arabica, Sadamo (Yirgachefe and Guji))
  • Kenya: (Bourbon, French Mission)
  • Côte d’Ivoire (Arabica, Gros Idente, Excelsea, Kouilou and Petit Indenize)
  • Tanzania: (Robusta)
  • Cameroon: (Arabica)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo: (Robusta)

 

 

Below is a detail description of each type and subclass of Coffee Beans grown in the various regions of Africa.

 coffee-615

Not all of Africa’s coffee production is limited to Robusta, however. Here’s an overview of the different coffee varieties that are grown frequently across the African continent (keep in mind that while some of these coffees are considered single origin in nature, most like Arabica and Robusta are not):

  • Sadamo:A type of Arabica (which you can find elsewhere in this list) grown as a single origin coffee source in Sadamo, Ethiopia, this variety of coffee is a small bean that produces a rich, spicy and almost chocolatey flavor. Individual types of Ethiopian Sadamo include Yirgachefe and Guji, both known to be of high quality. Another type of Ethiopian coffee is Harar, which is another Arabica but not grown in Sadamo. More on these types of coffees later.
  • Liberica:Coffea Liberica is a species separate from Arabica as well. It typically grows in the western areas of Africa – most notably Liberia. Liberica’s taste is closer to Robusta than that of Arabica, and the beans grow on trees that can grow as high as 10 to 15 meters tall.
    Gros Idente: Similar to Liberica, Gros Idente coffee is grown in large trees in the western areas of Africa, such as the Ivory Coast.
  • Arabica:Yes, for all of our talk about Robusta growing in Africa, it can be easy to forget that Arabica coffee is also grown in Africa. Typically, the environments suited for growing Arabica in Africa are in mountainous areas – places like the mainland of the Ivory Coast and Cameroon are typical spots where Arabica coffee is grown. only-on-amazon-gacoffee
  • Excelsea:Like Liberica coffee, these trees grow high. In fact, they are also grown in the Ivory Coast which contributes to much of their similarities to Liberica and Gros Idente coffees.
  • Robusta:Much of the African environment is suitable for Robusta growing, typically the lower-lying areas in the equatorial regions of Africa. Robusta is grown just about everywhere from Madagascar to Gabon – even if Vietnam is a leading producer of Robusta coffee, its African roots are hard to shake off.
  • Kouilou and Petit Indenize:Grown inland along the Ivory Coast, these are actually smaller coffee trees.
  • Bourbon:This type of coffee was already mentioned before, but its influence in African coffee is difficult to understate. Bourbon was planted in Reunion – an island off the eastern coast of Madagascar – in the 18th century. The type of coffee then mutated, producing Bourbon coffee, which was then moved around the world and cultivated in different areas.
  • French Mission:This refers to a type of Bourbon coffee that was planted by French missionaries in areas of East Africa around the turn of the 20th century. A Kenyan type of this coffee known as K7 is also grown in Africa.
  • Mayaguez:Another subset of Bourbon coffee, this coffee is grown in Rwanda. Typically, the Bourbon coffees planted in Africa are spread throughout the eastern portions of the continent and Madagascar.

Considering the degree of geographical, environmental, and climate differences on a large continent like Africa, it’s not surprising that so many different varieties of coffee are produced there to some degree – including the world-popular Arabica.images-4

Coffee aficionados of all levels have without a doubt heard the words “Robusta” or “Arabica”. If you aren’t familiar with either, these two terms describe the two different species of beans grown commercially. They are the same in that when harvested, roasted and eventually brewed to become that magical thing we call coffee. However, that’s where the similarities end. Robusta and Arabica differ when it comes to taste, growing environments and quality:

Taste

Robusta has a neutral to harsh taste range and is often likened to having an “oatmeal-like” taste. When unroasted, the smell of Robusta beans is described as raw-peanutty.

Arabicas, on the other hand, have a very wide taste range (depending on its varietal). The range differs from sweet-soft to sharp-tangy. When unroasted, Arabica beans smell like blueberries. Their roasted smell is described as perfumey with notes of fruit and sugar tones.

Growing environments

Robusta coffee beans come from a resilient plant that is able to be grown in low altitudes of 200-800 meters. Robusta beans aren’t very susceptible to damage done by pests. Additionally, they produce more finished product per acre and require fairly low production costs.images-3

Contrariwise, Arabica coffee beans are fragile and must grow in cool, subtropical climates.  Arabica beans also need a lot of moisture, rich soil, shade and sun. Because of their fragility, Arabica beans are vulnerable to attack from various pests and can be damaged by cold temperatures or poor handling. This type of bean also needs to be grown at a higher elevation (600-2000 meters).

Which bean is better? 

No contest!  If you had to choose between an Arabica bean and a Robusta bean, it’s important to always choose Arabica.images-1

Robusta fosters use mono-cropping, the practice of growing the same plant every year in one place. It yields more space since it involves clear-cutting the forest for the crop. Because Robusta is more a resilient plant than the delicate Arabica, it can be grown in more places. Large coffee companies buy huge amounts of rainforest, clear-cut the land and plant Robusta beans. Robusta is often mixed with Arabica,  allowing the coffee companies to save a pretty penny and serve you a crappy cup. Not to mention, mono-cropping, when done excessively, also erodes soil and demolishes nutrients making the soil nearly unusable.

Growing numbers of visitors to South Africa (SA) choosing to ride with Uber (IT News Africa)

With seamless technology in place in more than 475 cities across 75 countries, Uber is fast becoming a significant role player in the global tourism industry. This is especially true in South Africa where, in the relatively short space of two and a half years, Uber has established a strong presence in five major cities, creating over 4 000 economic opportunities and moving more than 500 000 people affordably and conveniently to their desired destinations.

Uber (Image Source: technokrata.hu).

Yolisa Mashilwane, Head of Public Policy for Uber South Africa, yesterday spoke at the Tourism Policy Symposium in Johannesburg. According to Mashilwane, a significant portion of these Uber riders have been national and international visitors to these five cities, and Uber is enjoying steadily growing popularity as a preferred way for tourists to move around our cities.

“While we do not measure the percentage of rides requested by tourists across all regions in the country,” Mashilwane explains, “our recent research into tourist usage of our services found that, in 2015, international riders made up almost 29% of total bookings in South Africa.”

Mashilwane points out that the popularity of Uber is a natural consequence of the familiarity that many visitors have with the Uber app. “For global tourists to South Africa – particularly those on a first visit – the experience of arriving in the country can be somewhat intimidating,” she explains, “so the familiarity of Uber, combined with the convenience of being able to input your destination without any language barrier challenges, makes for a very appealing proposition.”

She also points to the standardised payment option as a further compelling reason why Uber is fast becoming the first choice option for many visitors to the country. “One of the biggest challenges facing a tourist in a strange country is getting to grips with the currency difference,” she explains, “and here, too, Uber provides a sense of security thanks to its standard electronic payment option that affords international users the peace of mind that they are paying a fair and fully transparent price for a comfortable and hassle-free ride.”

Safety is another key factor driving the increase in numbers of tourists requesting Uber to get them to their destinations. While driver error and road accidents can never be entirely eradicated, the technology on which the Uber offering is built makes it one of the more secure solutions for riders and drivers alike. “Uber gets people into quality approved vehicles, driven by screened and qualified drivers, quickly and efficiently,” Mashilwane explains, “it also removes the need to carry cash (unless preferred) and there is no standing in the street to hail a cab or struggling to find the nearest bus stop late at night.”

She also points to the trackable, GPS-based technology of Uber as a further safety measure that gives comfort to tourists who may otherwise have been nervous about getting lost in a strange city. “Riders can not only share their full details and estimated arrival times with others,” she points out, “but they also receive detailed information about their driver, vehicle and route before they ever have to step inside the vehicle.”

Mashilwane explains that, while Uber isn’t specifically building a tourism component into its operating model, it is being proactive in terms of growing its involvement in this immensely valuable market, particularly through partnerships with established tourist boards and organisations. “Uber has strong relationships and partnerships with tourism boards across the country.” she says, “so we are always looking for new ways to market to local and international travellers to deliver safe, affordable and reliable rides that enhance their experience of our beautiful country.”

Merchant Profile: Cape Lily (South Africa) will be selling their floral products at the Go Africa Harlem 2016 Street Festival on 7/16/2016

We welcome Cape Lily and  their  floral design and products to the Street Festival on 7/16/2016

visit http://www.capelily.com/ for more information.

Visit www.GoAfricaHarlem.org for more information.  the Go Africa Harlem Street Festival will take place on 7/16/2016 from 10am – 7pm on 116th Street btw. 7th & 8th Aves. please register athttp://goafricaharlem.org/events/general-attendee-sign-up-for-go-africa-harlem-2016-street-festival-on-july-16th-2016/  or email Info@GoAfricaHarlem.org or phone 646-502-9778 Ext. 8001.

About Cape Lily: peonies

Cape Lily is a new Harlem floral design studio, specializing in seasonal blooms grown in New York State. With roots in South Africa, the Cape Lily aesthetic is natural and wild, transporting the smells and textures of the field direct to urban clients.

Cape Lily creates unique floral experiences for special events and delivers to homes and businesses in Harlem zip codes.

All our flowers come from Rock Steady Farm. Run by three dedicated women using holistic farming practices to grow over 200 varieties of local, responsibly grown, inspiring blooms. HC3

Locally Grown Flowers

Visit us at 125th St Farmer’s Market on Adam Clayton Powell Plaza in Harlem Every Tues or Contact Us for Deliveries & Events

Chef Profile: Chef James Lupembe will be cooking it up live at the Go Africa Harlem 2016 street Festival on 7/16/2016

We are pleased to announce that Chef James Lupembe  will be  one of the Chefs cooking up something special live at the Go Africa Harlem 2016 street Festival on 7/16/2016 as part of the run up to African Restaurant Week 2016!

Visit www.GoAfricaHarlem.org for more information.  the Go Africa Harlem Street Festival will take place on 7/16/2016 from 10am – 7pm on 116th Street btw. 7th & 8th Aves. please register athttp://goafricaharlem.org/events/general-attendee-sign-up-for-go-africa-harlem-2016-street-festival-on-july-16th-2016/  or email Info@GoAfricaHarlem.org or phone 646-502-9778 Ext. 8001.

About Chef James Lupembe:

Chef-James-Lupempe

Born in Iringa, Southern highlands of Tanzania, James and his younger brother were raised by a single mother. She was known for being very hardworking and creative as most African women are. She ran a small, local business known as, “mgahawa” in Swahili (which is like a home based restaurant) to meet their basic needs.

https://www.facebook.com/lupembe.james

James was scouted by a reputable tourist restaurant in Mafinga town in Iringa. After a year of work, he landed the opportunity to go for more culinary training in the big city of Dar es Salaam. From there, he eventually got hired by the embassy of Tanzania to the United Nations and moved to New York to work as the ambassador’s personal chef. During his 7years working for the ambassador, he got to meet and serve dignitaries from all over the world. After his service with the ambassador, he moved on to working in different restaurants in New York, in search to gain culinary experience in West Indies dishes, African American, Soul food and as well as European cuisine. His favorite African dish to make is the “dibi” or grilled lamb originally from West Africa. His favorite Tanzanian dish is chapati (flatbread) and beef or chicken stew. A fusion cuisine he 11906364_416624911865048_1215004881_nwould create would be baked Tilapia with tomato sauce, served with Ugali (a corn dish popular amongst Tanzanians and al

(Vox) 3 young Muslim Americans killed in mysterious ‘execution-style’ murders

A broadcast from the local Fort Wayne ABC affiliate, ABC21, announcing the murders ABC21

Early on Wednesday evening, as the sun began to set and the air cooled to just below freezing, police arrived at a unremarkable white home in Fort Wayne, Indiana, a few blocks from the campus of Indiana Tech. We do not yet know who called them or what they expected. Inside, they found the bodies of three young men, shot multiple times in what police, on Friday, called “execution style” murders.

The young men were members of a predominantly Muslim diaspora community whose roots are in Africa’s eastern Sahel region. They were Muhannad Tairab, age 17, Adam Mekki, age 20, and Mohamedtaha Omar, age 23. Police have identified no motive in the killing, which appears to be something of a mystery.

The modest white building had apparently become something of a “party house” used by local youths, but police said there was no known connection to gangs or any other violent organization.

Were they killed for their religion? A police spokesperson cautioned against jumping to conclusions, stating that, as of yet, they had “no reason to believe this was any type of hate crime, or focused because of their religion or their nationality whatsoever.”

Indeed it may turn out that there was some unseen force at play here: gang violence, a robbery gone awry, some personal dispute. Nonetheless, it seems impossible, at this point, to completely rule out the possibility that this could be exactly what Muslim American rights group already fear it may be: an expression of America’s increasingly violent Islamophobia problem.

In recent months, there has been an alarming trend of violence and violent threats against America’s community of roughly two to three million Muslim citizens.

There were the murders, almost exactly one year ago, of three Chapel Hill students, by a local man who’d expressed a paranoid hatred of religion. Later that spring, the FBI arrested the leader of a far-right militia that was planning to massacre a predominantly Muslim neighborhood in upstate New York. Another militia, in Texas, has sent its assault rifle-wielding members to stalk a local mosque and its adherents, later publishing the home addresses of “Muslims and Muslim sympathizers.”

More isolated acts of violence — what we might call “lone wolf” attacks had the religions of the shooter and victim been reversed — have been so frequent they are difficult to track.

On Thanksgiving, a Pittsburgh man accosted his Moroccan cab driver with questions about ISIS, then shot him. Two weeks later, a Michigan man called an Indian store clerk a “terrorist” before shooting him in the face. On Christmas eve in Texas, a local man charged into a Muslim-owned tire shop and shouted “Muslim!” as he opened fire, killing one and critically wounding another.

Less than a week ago, a Missouri man charged at a Muslim American family with a handgun, telling them, “This state allows you to carry a gun and shoot you. … You, your wife, and your kids have to die.” The family was able to flee.

This has not come out of nowhere. Islamophobia has entered mainstream American discourse in the past year, receiving substantial airtime on cable news networks. CNN anchors have called Muslims “unusually violent” and “unusually barbaric”; Fox News has called Islam a “destructive force” and suggested that Muslim American communities are running secret terrorist “training camps.” Presidential candidates from Donald Trump to Marco Rubio continue to dabble in overt Islamophobia.

It is important to caution against assuming that whatever happened this week in Fort Wayne, whatever chain of events led to the mysterious “execution-style” murders of three young men, must necessarily be part of the rising wave of Islamophobic violence in America. Police are presumably cautioning against that conclusion for a reason, and it may well turn out that their deaths are entirely unrelated.

Still, it is difficult to ignore that three apparently Muslim young men have been murdered, for no immediately obvious reason, just as indiscriminate violence against Muslim Americans is growing out of control.

It is thus concerning that these murders have received so little attention, if only for the possibility, however remote, that they could be part of this trend of religious violence against American citizens.

As a thought experiment, scroll back up to the top of this page and read back through, but this time imagine that the Muslim victims of violence, in every instance, were instead Christian. Imagine that the perpetrators had all been Muslim, and had targeted their victims explicitly because of their Christian faith.

Imagine that, rather than Donald Trump calling for banning Muslims from entering the US, it was Rep. Keith Ellison, who is Muslim, calling for banning Christians. Imagine that Rep. André Carson, who is also Muslim, complained bitterly when President Obama responded to anti-Christian violence by visiting a church, and that Carson further argued America should be willing toclose down churches and anywhere else dangerous Christians might congregate.

Now imagine, amid all this anti-Christian violence and anti-Christian hatred, as Christians were gunned down in the street for their religion and crowds of thousands gathered to cheer anti-Christian rhetoric, that three Christians youths turned up mysteriously executed a few blocks from Indiana Tech. Ask yourself whether it would be treated as major news, if only for the possibility of its connection to that wave of violence, or whether it would be largely ignored, as the murders of Tairab, Mekki, and Omar have been.

The article was published in Vox.

(LA Times) Why a congresswoman from Los Angeles is talking about Africa

la-pol-ca-bass-africa-breakfast-20160223-001

From left: Rep. Karen Bass, Sheila Siwela, Zambia’s Ambassador to the U.S., and Tebelelo Mazile Seretse, Botswana’s Ambassador to the U.S. (Tom Williams / CQ Roll Call)

By Sarah D. Wire Contact Reporter

It’s 8 a.m., Congress isn’t in session and Washington’s roads are icy, but more than 100 ambassadors, academics, African emigres and heads of humanitarian groups have crammed into a basement room of the U.S. Capitol for an unofficial meeting about how Boko Haram and other terrorism groups are stunting African progress.

The regular breakfasts are the brainchild of Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles), who is frustrated by a lack of attention paid to the continent and sees her own constituents with deep interest in policy toward Africa.

“In community organizing, you believe that the best policy is made by having those people that are most affected by the policy at the table. It’s not rocket science. If you do policy in a vacuum it can have unintended consequences,” she said in an interview after the meeting.

Bass first got involved in African policy because of South African apartheid in the 1970s and 1980s when she co-chaired the local Southern Africa Support Committee.

When apartheid ended, and Nelson Mandela was freed from prison in 1990, Bass’ attention shifted to stopping crack cocaine abuse and gang violence in  South-Central L.A. Bass started and ran the Community Coalition, a social justice organization. In 2004, she was elected to the state Assembly and in 2008 was the first African American woman in U.S. history elected speaker of a state legislative body.

“I stopped doing international work and just focused on domestic work. One of the reasons I was excited about coming to Congress is I could do both,” Bass said. “I really took almost a 20-year hiatus away from foreign policy.”

She views it as her responsibility.

“The same way it was my responsibility to figure out how to address the gang and crack intersection in South-Central, I also felt it was my responsibility to help fight to end apartheid and especially the U.S. government’s policies,” Bass said.

When she joined the House Foreign Affairs Committee after taking office in 2011, Bass said it didn’t feel like those actually affected by the committee’s decisions had a voice.

“When I would go to hearings on Africa, you would have no Africans participating, but they are sitting there in the audience while we’re talking about their countries. That just seemed odd to me,” she said.

She is now the highest-ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Human Rights, and International Organizations. Other Foreign Affairs Subcommittees focus narrowly on one or two subjects.

“That in and of itself to me kind of says that Africa is not a big enough priority to have its own focused subcommittee,” she said. “We could go easily a month or two without having a hearing on Africa [with] so many subject matters.”

Bass said she’s gone out of her way to work with the Foreign Affairs Committee, not supersede it, by having committee leaders co-host the breakfasts or speak.

Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) said a wider group of people are excited about legislation before the committee because of Bass’ breakfast meetings. He’s spoken at a few.

“It’s effective,” he said. “Karen Bass is able to strategically use the enthusiasm of those who participate in the breakfasts in order to try to assist us.”

Royce pointed to several cases, including a bill recently signed by President Obama aimed at electrical infrastructure around the continent, the global anti-poaching act and congressional response to Ebola.

Bass said Africa may seem so far away to her Los Angeles constituents, “but we have a huge diaspora community in L.A.”

Her district includes Little Ethiopia, a block-long stretch on Fairfax Avenue between West Olympic Boulevard and Whitworth Drive.

“Even Little Ethiopia is a commercial strip. It is not like Ethiopians reside in that area. I’m sure some do, but that area’s very, very mixed,” she said.

She plans to talk with Mayor Eric Garcetti and the City Council about a trade mission and also a seminar to connect federal agencies with private businesses interested in investing in Africa, Bass said.

This year she wants to coordinate with the African diaspora living in Los Angeles and hold a policy breakfast in the city so her constituents can be heard too.

“I know there’s a huge Nigerian community, Cameroonian, and there are seven official consulates for seven African countries, and then there’s about another five honorary consulates,” she said. “There should always be a voice. If we come up with a policy we want to bounce it back and forth. You want the people that are most affected also pushing for the policy as well.”

Nii Akuettah, executive director of the African Immigrant Caucus, a coalition of immigrant groups in Washington, called Bass “a big champion for Africa.”

“There is a great deal of good will in the African community here for her and on the continent for her,” he said.

The periodic gatherings draw members of Congress, ambassadors from African countries, emigres or diaspora, and other people who have a stake in the United States’ policy regarding Africa, such as businesses, State Department officials and academics–and often the groups are “not on the same page,” Bass said.

The meetings began as a way to draw attention to reauthorization of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act. First created in 2000, AGOA gives special market access to certain sub-Saharan countries that maintain legal, human rights and labor standards. In June, President Obama signed bipartisan legislation extending the act until 2025.

The talks continued, with a focus on trade and economic development between the United States and African countries. Topics have ranged from Ebola to elections to electricity, and the July 2014 breakfast was also about instability because of Boko Haram, the northeastern Nigerian Islamist group.

Bass said Boko Haram must be addressed when looking to set policy about Africa’s future.

“You can’t talk about economic development, you can’t talk about the implementation of AGOA in countries without security and in countries that are not stable or are being destabilized because of Boko Haram,” she said.

Bass said many Americans underestimate the threat from the group.

“When you look at the number of people that have been killed by Boko Haram, it’s more than the number of lives lost to ISIS. I think part of our job here is raising the consciousness in the U.S. that just because something is happening on the continent, that doesn’t mean that it does not have international significance,” she said.

It’s her goal to reshape U.S.-Africa relations.

“We still kind of view Africa as a charity case and not as a continent that is a partner. Unfortunately, I think the United States is behind the rest of the world, because the rest of the world sees Africa as much more of a partner than we do,” she said.

The original article was published in the Los Angeles Times.

(AFK Insider) Gates Foundation Pays For Contraceptive Delivery By Drone To African Women

Ghana health care. Photo Credit: gooverseas.com

Ghana health care.
Photo Credit: gooverseas.com

By Dana Sanchez

Published: January 29, 2016, 3:26 pm 

Drones are delivering contraceptives to hard-to-reach Ghanaian villages in a program jointly funded by the U.N. and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and it’s so successful that other countries want it too, HuffingtonPost reported.

Deliveries to rural Ghana that once took two days now take 30 minutes by drone, and each flight costs only $15, according to Kanyanta Sunkutu, a South African public health specialist with the U.N. Population Fund.

Sunkutu said he expected the pilot program in Ghana to encounter resistance, and worried people would associate the drones with war. So the U.N., in its program materials, referred to the drones only as “unmanned aerial vehicles” — not drones.

“We don’t want that link between war and what we are doing,” Sunkutu told The Huffington Post in an interview. “But the resistance we thought we would get has not been there.”

Less than than 20 percent of women in sub-Saharan Africa use modern contraceptives. In rural Africa, a flood can shut down roads for days and cut off medical supplies, making access to birth control a massive problem.

An estimated 225 million women in developing countries around the world want to delay or stop childbearing, but don’t have reliable birth control, according to the World Health Organization. This prevents women and girls from finishing school or getting jobs. About 47,000 women die of complications from unsafe abortions each year.

“We are particularly committed to exploring how our family planning efforts can meet the needs of young women and girls,” Bill and Melinda Gates said, according to their foundation website.

The idea to use drones for delivering birth control came from a program in the Amazon, Sunkutu said.

The drone operator packs a five-foot-wide drone with contraceptives and medical supplies from an urban warehouse and sends it over to places hard to reach by car. There, a local health worker meets the drone and picks up the supplies.

Project Last Mile has been flying birth control, condoms and other medical supplies to rural areas of Ghana for several months.

Now it’s expanding to six other African countries. The goal is to revolutionize women’s health and family planning in Africa. Tanzania, Rwanda, Zambia, Ethiopia and Mozambique have expressed an interest.

Using drones to improve reproductive health isn’t exactly a new idea — it’s just new in Africa, according to Huffington Post. In June, a Dutch organization called Women on Waves used a drone to fly abortion pills to Poland, trying to raise awareness of Poland’s restrictive abortion laws.

Project Last Mile says it is the first to develop a long-term, sustainable program for delivering contraceptives by drone.

Sunkutu hopes that eventually drones will revolutionize other areas of rural African life., starting with family planning.

“They can deliver ballots after elections, or exams for school,” he said. It becomes a logistics management solution for hard-to-reach areas. We’re going to use family planning as an entry and make it sustainable.”

The article was published in AFKInsider.

 

(HuffPost Black Voices) African Women Who Deserve Movies

01/08/2016 01:59 pm ET

Dwayne Wong (Omowale) is an author who has written a number of books on the history and experiences of African people.

Recently there have been rumors that Beyonce is planning to write and star in a film about a woman named Sarah Baartman. That is an important story that needs to be told. During the period of slavery and colonization African women endured a number of abuses. The case of Baartman is perhaps the best example of how African women were degraded and treated as sex objects. Baartman was an ethnic Khoikhoi woman who was born in South Africa. She was taken to Europe where she became a freak show attraction because of her features, especially her large buttocks. She became a sort of symbol for the hypersexuality and inferiority of African women.

Baartman died in 1815 at the age of 25. Baartman had died an impoverished and alcoholic woman who had turned to prostitution to support herself when her novelty wore off. Her sexual organs were persevered and placed on display in Paris. It was not until 1974 that her display was removed and her remains were finally returned to her homeland for burial in 2002. Although Beyonce denied the claims that she was planning any movie on Baartman, the story is one that does need to be told so that people can understand the extent to which African women were degraded and reduced to sex objects for the entertainment of European men.

As important as Baartman’s story is, I also think there are many other African women whose stories are worth being made into films as well. In the media there is definitely an under-representation of strong and powerful black women, which is a stark contrast to Africa’s own history, which is filled with examples of powerful women that ruled kingdoms. In speaking of his native Guinea-Bissau, Amílcar Cabral stated: “You know that in our country there were even matriarchal societies where women were the most important element. On the Bijagos Islands they had queens. They were not queens because they were the daughters of kings. They had queens succeeding queens.” For this reason I will present a list of some other African women that also deserve having movies made about them.

Queen Makeda is held in Ethiopian tradition to be the Queen of Sheba that is mentioned in the Bible. The Bible briefly mentions the Queen of Sheba’s visit to King Solomon, but provides very little information about the Queen of Sheba herself. The Kebra Nagast tells the story of Queen Makeda, who is described as the powerful ruler of a wealthy kingdom who is curious to test Solomon’s purported wisdom. She decides to visit Solomon in Israel. The Kebra Nagastrecords that Makeda was impressed by Solomon’s wisdom and was so interested in “the God of Israel” that Makeda converted to Solomon’s religion. Makeda returned to her kingdom in Ethiopia where she gave birth to Solomon’s child, a boy who was named Menelik. This story forms the basis of Ethiopian monarch’s claim to have a direct lineage to Solomon.

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Nzinga was the queen of the Ndongo and Matamba kingdoms which were located in present day Angola. She is best remembered for the resistance that she put up against the Portuguese slave traders in her nation. Nzinga was a brilliant stateswoman who fought the Portuguese for decades until the two sides came to form a truce. Nzinga was described as the greatest military strategist that the Portuguese had ever confronted and as someone who was dedicated to destroying the slave trade. Among her own people she was a very respected and beloved ruler.

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Yaa Asantewaa, like Nzinga, is remembered for her military prowess. Over a span of nearly 100 years, the Asante people of Ghana fought a number of wars with the British, winning a good portion of those wars before finally being conquered in 1900. Leading up to the final war the Asante ruler Prempeh had decided to peacefully surrender to the British to avoid another war, but the British provoked a war when Governor Sir Frederick Hodgson requested that the Golden Stool of the Asante people be brought to him for him to sit on. The Asante people considered the Golden Stool to be so sacred that not even the Asante king himself sat on it. Yaa Asantewaa was so angered by the disrespect that was shown to the Asante people that she urged her fellow Asante citizens to take up arms to defend the Golden Stool. In the subsequent war the Asante people were defeated by the British and Yaa Asantewaa was exiled, but the Asante people generally remember this war as a victory because they prevented the British from capturing the Golden Stool.

Aside from her role as a military leader, Yaa Asantewaa was a stateswoman who served as the queen mother of the Asante district of Ejisu. After her son was exiled along with Prempeh, Yaa Asantewaa served as the king of Ejisu. Yaa Asantewaa was known as a just ruler who hated to see people being mistreated. She would use state funds to settle the debts of some of her poorer subjects to prevent them from becoming debt slaves.

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Funmilayo Kuti was the mother of famed Nigerian musician Fela Kuti. Funmilayo was a nationalist who fought for the independence of Nigeria and along with her husband, Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti, Funmilayo was involved in anti-colonial organizations such as the West African Students Union. In 1947, Funmilayo led a group of women in protest against the District Officer of Abeokuta. Fela later spoke of this incident with pride, recalling how his mother had insulted the highest representative of the British crown in Abeokuta. For the courageous manner in which Funmilayo took on the colonial government she was popularly known as the “daughter of Lisabi.” Lisabi was a famous warrior who led the Egba people in their war of resistance against the powerful Oyo kingdom. Funmilayo died in 1978 from injuries that she sustained from being thrown out of a third floor window when the Nigerian military had raided her son’s compound. The raid was done in response to a song that Fela had preformed which criticized the behavior of Nigeria’s military.

The article was published in Huffington Post’s Black Voices.

(Nature) Error found in study of first ancient African genome

Finding that much of Africa has Eurasian ancestry was mistaken.

Ewen Callaway | 29 January 2016

This rocky area in Mota cave held bones that yielded the first ancient African genome.       Photo Credit: Kathryn and John Arthur

An error has forced researchers to go back on their claim that humans across the whole of Africa carry DNA inherited from Eurasian immigrants.

This week the authors issued a note explaining the mistake in their October 2015 Science paper on the genome of a 4,500-year-old man from Ethiopia1 — the first complete ancient human genome from Africa. The man was named after Mota Cave, where his remains were found.

Although the first humans left Africa some 100,000 years ago, a study published in 2013 found that some came back again around 3,000 years ago; this reverse migration has left its trace in African genomes.

In the Science paper, researchers confirmed this finding. The paper also suggested that populations across the continent still harbour significant ancestry from the Middle Eastern farmers who were behind the back-migration. Populations in East Africa, including Ethiopian highlanders who live near Mota Cave, carried the highest levels of Eurasian ancestry. But the team also found vestiges of the ‘backflow’ migration in West Africans and in a pygmy group in Central Africa, the Mbuti.

Andrea Manica, a population geneticist at the University of Cambridge, UK, who co-led the study, says the team made a mistake in its conclusion that the backflow reached western and central Africa. “The movement 3,000 years ago, or thereabouts, was limited to eastern Africa,” he says.

Incompatible software

Manica says that the error occurred when his team compared genetic variants in the ancient Ethiopian man with those in the reference human genome. Incompatibility between the two software packages used caused some variants that the Ethiopian man shared with Europeans (whose DNA forms a large chunk of the human reference sequence) to be removed from the analysis. This made Mota man seem less closely related to modern European populations than he actually was — and in turn made contemporary African populations appear more closely related to Europeans. The researchers did have a script that they could have run to harmonize the two software packages, says Manica, but someone forgot to run it.

Pontus Skoglund, a population geneticist at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, says that he was surprised by the claim that as much as 6–7% of the ancestry of West and Central African groups came from the Eurasian migrants. But after obtaining the Mota man’s genome from Manica’s team, he and his colleague David Reich carried out their own comparison and found no evidence for that conclusion. They informed Manica’s team, who then discovered the processing error.

“Almost all of us agree there was some back-to-Africa gene flow, and it was a pretty big migration into East Africa,” says Skoglund. “But it did not reach West and Central Africa, at least not in a detectable way.” The error also undermines the paper’s original conclusion that many Africans carry Neanderthal DNA (inherited from Eurasians whose ancestors had interbred with the group).

Skoglund praised the paper — “the genome itself is just fantastic,” he says — and the researchers’ willingness to share their data and issue a speedy note about the error: they posted it online on 25 January. When asked to confirm whether and when it would publish the researchers’ update, a representative for Science said the journal couldn’t yet comment.

Manica is not yet sure if Science will change the title of the paper, ‘Ancient Ethiopian genome reveals extensive Eurasian admixture throughout the African continent’. But if the team had caught the error earlier, he says, “I’m sure we would have phrased things differently”.

Nature

doi:10.1038/nature.2016.19258

(News24) Young SA nuclear physicist hopes to bring new mobile charging technology to SA

18 November, 01:13 PM

We speak to young South African entrepreneur Shalton Mothwa about his project, the AEON Power Bag. Watch.

Mothwa took part in the Red Bull Amaphiko Academy, a workshop that hoped to inspire young South African entrepreneurs to collaborate, be creative and share their ideas for a bright South African future.

Mothwa’s AEON Power Bag is a laptop bag that will be able to charge mobile devices using WiFi and telecommunication signals. He says, “It’s about convenience and freedom. You’ll be able to do your thing on mobile devices without having to power your stuff.”

The 28-year-old nuclear physicist is from the North West Province. He tells us he is one month away from finalising the prototype but will still need R900,000 in funding before we see this product on the shelves.

The article was published on News 24.

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