Culture & Heritage

cuban-women-drummers-1The article “Cuban Female Drummers Breaking Out of the Mold in a Man's World,” stresses that Cuba is seeing a boom in women percussionists as “the generation that first started playing in the 1990s comes into its own and inspires younger talent to follow.” Read excerpts here and follow the link to the full article below:

It wasn't that long ago that Cuba's rich percussion scene was essentially a boys' club, dominated by men due to macho attitudes and religious tradition. Perceived as too weak for the physical demands of drumming, and unsuitable for an instrument considered a means of communicating with the gods, women were shut out of rehearsal spaces and barred from using "bata" drums belonging to the National Folkloric Ensemble. Instructors were warned that if they taught women, it could cost them a place in a traveling tour or a major performance. [. . .] Today, experts say, the island is seeing a boom in women percussionists as the generation that first started playing in the 1990s comes into its own and inspires younger talent to follow.

[. . .] Under Afro-Cuban beliefs, the two-sided bata (pronounced ba-TAH') are sacred, used for connecting with Santeria spirits. Tradition dictates the drums be made only from the hides of male goats. Players must undergo a lengthy consecration ritual. And, above all, the sacred bata are to be played only by men. [Eva Despaigne, the 60-year-old director of Obini Bata, Cuba's first all-female bata orchestra] however, was determined to fight convention. As an Afro-Cuban folkloric dancer, Despaigne saw the drum as a means to experience her art at a deeper level. [. . .] Despaigne patiently worked to persuade male batistas that her desire to play was not for religion, but for art. Little by little, she began to win them over.

After breaking off from the National Folkloric Ensemble in 1994, Obini Bata spent years on the margins of acceptance. With time, however, more women took up the hourglass-shaped drum and also became percussionists in other genres such as jazz and big band.

"From the 1990s to today, the girls have begun studying percussion (more) and the number of those who have graduated is great," said Mercedes Lay, a percussionist and musicologist who works with the governmental Center for Research of Cuban Music.

[. . .] Female batistas are still banned by traditional Afro-Cuban priests, who see their drumming as sacrilegious. But women drummers' growing acceptance is evidenced by their inclusion in rumba and rock groups, as teachers and in bands touring overseas.

Acclaimed players include Yissy Garcia, a jazz percussionist who comes from an accomplished musical family, and Naile Sosa, an energetic rock 'n' roll drummer who has collaborated with local stars such as David Blanco.

Yaimi Karell, a 33-year-old who plays with the popular island Afro-pop fusion group "Sintesis" and also teaches percussion, said women drummers have proven themselves and gained the respect of their male peers. [. . .] [Many thanks to Luis Figueroa-Martínez for bringing this item to our attention.]

Source: Repeating Islands

For full article, see http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/lifestyle/2014/06/03/cuban-female-drummers-breaking-out-mold-in-man-world/

 

jamaica park

Monuments in the Afrikan World: "Redemption Song" is located at the entrance to Emancipation Park in uptown Kingston.

Opened in 2002 in New Kingston, Jamaica's Emancipation Park serves as a tribute to the history of the people of Jamaica from Slavery and Bondage to Indpendence. The park features fountains, statues and symbols that reflect the rich and diverse culture of Jamaica and was designed by architect Kamau Kambui.
The most prominent statue in the park is the Independence Monument. This statue of a nude male and female with water flowing over the base, was done by artist Laura Facey with the assistance of about 100 artisans and craftsmen. The majority of the material used to create the park and the buildings located within the park are of Jamaican origin and indigineous to the country.

Throughout the park you will also find numerous Adinkra symbols which serve as a tribute to the West African ancestry of the people.


gambia pic
The Gambia International Roots Festival 
is a call-to-action to people from all over the African Diaspora to discover, embrace and re-affirm their ancestral identity. A week-long celebration May 9th-17th, the Roots Festival is the ultimate experience in cultural heritage tourism. 
 
As more and more people of the African Diaspora the world over long to claim their heritage legacy, the festival offers firsthand experiences in African traditions and culture. Many
people of the African Diaspora in the United States, the Caribbean, Brazil and beyond can trace their DNA to West Africa. The late Alex Haley, author of Roots was able to trace his ancestry to the Gambia which became the inspiration for the International 
Roots Festival
      Knowledge is power and gaining knowledge about your heritage can help toward liberation from the evils of slavery. This knowledge can also help to dispel some of the negative myths about Africa and her people
    
 
 
* * * * * 
 The late, noted and distinguished historian and educator John Henrik Clarke said, "A people's relationship to their heritage is the same as a child's to its mother." If we have no regard and appreciation for our heritage we are indeed like a child who is lost, cut-off or abandoned. So it is time to return to Mother Africa! Disregarding and being unappreciative of our culture heritage can have negative consequences on all levels, mentally, socially, 
economically and also spiritually.
            
* * * * * To neglect one's ancestors would bring ill-fortune and failure in life according to an African proverb. People of the African Diaspora are the children of Africa. Not knowing our true identity, failing to embrace our culture heritage and neglecting to honor our ancestors can lead to self-destructive behaviors.
                                   
Participating in the International Roots Festival is a way to appreciate our heritage and honor our ancestors who endured so much for our liberation. We must preserve this history in order to tell our own stories and pass down our own traditions. 
                                                                   
One such story is that of Kunta 
Kinteh.You will learn the history when you visit The Gambia's Kunta Kinteh Island where it all began with the capture of a young man who was forced into a life of slavery. The Gambian government changed this island's name from James Island to Kunta Kinteh Island at the last International Roots Festival.
 
  * * * * *   While on this island, you will get to see remnants of slave forts where they held captive Africans, and you will get to meet some of Kunta Kinteh's descendants. 
You will also get to do an initiation with an African family where you will become a part of that family and learn some African traditions. The Gambian families are warm and friendly and honored teach you 
                                                                                          about their culture.

The International Roots Festival is a powerful culture tool for bringing people of the African Diaspora together. It is a call-to-action for a cultural heritage homecoming. You must attend this spectacular event to meet and enjoy brothers and sisters from all over Africa and around the Diaspora. The Gambia's International Roots Festival is an exciting cultural heritage celebration that you don't want to miss! 
   
For information about the Roots Festival
Visit RootsGambia.gm.
 
There are tour packages from Atlanta, Washington, DC, New York and United Kingdom. Some tour packets from U.S. include stopovers in Dakar, Senegal, London or Nigeria. For more information on tour packages, visit AfricanDiasporaTourism.com. Contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or
call (404) 549-7215.                          

 

 

FashionAfrica online marketing 17july-wpcf 240x350After writing about African fashion for years, noted fashion blogger Jacqueline Shaw has compiled her experiences and knowledge about the continent’s rapidly growing industry into a book titled ‘Fashion Africa’. Due to be released this February by London-based publisher Jacaranda, the book offers a visual overview of contemporary African fashion, seen through a more sustainable and ethical perspective.

 

 Fashion Africa is a visual overview of contemporary African fashion, compiled with an ethical perspective. This guide is the first of its kind to bring together designers, design companies, ethical manufacturers and more, all with an African connection. In Fashion Africa, Shaw (creator of the blog Africa Fashion Guide) showcases over 40 of these fresh African designers, across the whole continent from Kayobi in Ghana to Brother Vellies in South Africa and Namibia, with specially commissioned photographs and revealing interviews

There is a fashion renaissance going on in Africa – from ready to wear to haute couture, from street clothes to luxury wear. In recent years, the fashion world has seen a flurry of new collections inspired by Africa’s vibrant colours, patterns and textures from the likes of Louis Vuitton, Diane von Furstenberg and Junta Watanabe to name a few. Increasingly, designers and labels are choosing to move the entire production of their collections to Africa. Fashion big hitters Vivienne Westwood, ASOS, Diesel and Edun (the brand label of Bono and wife Ali Hewson) are just some examples of fashion explorers who have found inspiration, sourced sustainable materials, constructed their garments using high-quality, ethical workshops and benefited from exposure in both local and international markets that this vast continent provides. The fashion industry is wising up on Africa’s potential.

These examples of fashion royalty are doing something they’ve hardly ever done before: following in the footsteps of up-and-comers. It is the new young stars of African fashion design that are destined to make headlines in the next few years.  The glitterati are already ahead of the Africa curve: A-listers Heidi Klum, Beyonce, Thandie Newton, Naomi Campbell, Lucy Lui and Kendall Jenner have all been seen in up-and-coming African designers. Bold African prints from newcomer SUNO NY can also be seen gracing the White House corridors thanks to First Lady Michelle Obama.

About Jacuqueline Shaw

Jacqueline Shaw was born in London and since 2001 has worked within the fashion industry in the UK, China, Turkey, and now in jshawafgAfrica. She is a Fashion Designer by profession, a businesswoman, bespoke bridal-wear dressmaker, an eco-entrepreneur and visionary. Jacqueline undertook a BA on Fashion Design at the Surrey Institute of Art and Design and holds a Masters in Ethical Fashion from the University for the Creative Arts (UCA), from which the book Fashion Africa was birthed. Jacqueline has traveled extensively throughout Africa, chronicling the fashion and textile industry and social enterprises across the continent from Ghana to Nigeria and Southern Africa. Shaw is the creator of the popular fashion and textile blog Africa Fashion Guide, which was enlisted as one of the top ten African fashion blogs by British national daily The Guardian.

Black-Church-607x400The typical black churches style of preaching goes back to the days of slavery. You know, when black folks were slaves? The only hope they had was that one day they’d be free. Now, there was nothing they could do as slaves except get excited about the possibility of God delivering them to freedom (that happened) and all of the spoils that entailed. Notice the key word, “excited”. Every Sunday, the only person who could read (usually, sometimes not), the preacher, delivered a sermon that gave his fellow slaves hope. They had no power. All they had was faith. He didn’t preach about getting an education. He didn’t preach about learning to manage money. He didn’t preach about how to lead a family. He preached about slaves getting what was rightfully theirs, stuff. So most sermons consisted of the preacher hyping up slaves to get excited about…nothing. He used clever words, alliterations, screamed, hollered, jumped around and at the end of every sermon, slaves left the service feeling better about being slaves. Say what! They felt good about waking up one more day and doing master’s bidding, taking his abuse and being regarded as sub-humans. All they left with was false hope, an elevated heart rate and sweaty clothes. They left with nothing of substance. They would leave services with enough joy to get them through Monday and then the misery or reality would set in again.

That is why for years ones salvation has been exclusively tied with going to church because if you didn’t go to church you didn’t get your “fix” and you felt farther from God and thus, farther from your blessing. Hogwash! Meanwhile, the white people were actually learning how to have a proper relationship with God through sound, sit down, shut up and pay attention teaching. They learned about how to be proper stewards of money, land, family and their bodies. While they were getting something out of church, we were getting nothing but a good cardiovascular workout! All of the shouting, speaking in tongues, falling out and showboating and they were still slaves. They were still slaves to their masters, slaves to the system and slaves to a method of ministry that taught people to rely on church, the preacher and not on the power that God instilled in us all.

If you notice, white churches don’t hero worship their pastors like black churches do. This is an age old mechanism. White people go to church, not to a man who holds court in the church. See what I mean? We go to church and God “moves” and we still leave slaves because in a majority of black churches there is not enough sharing of valuable information that translates into something tangible the way God intended it. No, there is only preaching. I applaud some of the preachers I know who buck this trend, yet the paradigm in the people remains the same. Church hasn’t been had unless the preacher hoops, hollers and whips the crowd into a frenzy. This puts all the emphasis on the preacher. Black folks, by and large, don’t want to go to church and listen, take notes and diligently apply what they’ve heard to their moribund lives. Nope. All they want to do is “get up”. It’s not all the preacher’s fault. Most preachers simply cave in to the expectations of the audience. That simply isn’t fair. There are many preachers who are tired, but they find no rest due to a ravenous crowd of over-stimulated people who demand that runs be made, the keys be struck and the speakers be turned up to 11. And while they’re having a “Holy-Ghost” party, their families are still falling apart, they’re still declaring bankruptcy, they’re children are still having babies, wives are still being abused, infidelity and homosexuality are running rampant and nothing that they’ve heard from the preacher (if anything of value) has come to pass in their lives.

We always talk about manifestation. It’s no wonder why most of the prophesied manifestations rarely happen. We aren’t taught how to get it. Belief is not enough. It’s the start. Yes, we should be excited about what we can do through our Creator. But church is like a weekly wedding and honeymoon (among other things). Once those things are over, the real work begins. Sadly, when the work begins, we’re ill equipped to do the job because we’ve had not the training. So it’s back to church every time the doors open so we can run around the church, get loud, mask our short comings and be fed a bunch of B.S. about how God is going to bless us and deliver us from our oppression. Yep, after church it’s right back to being slaves.

Amendment: My brother Anthony G. Green, who is, like me an advocate for the betterment of Black Americans and a Pastor pointed out something to me that I’d like to clear up. His point was that I shouldn’t leave it to the imagination as to whether or not I am disrespecting our ancestors. No, I’m not backing off my initial opinions. However, I want to make it abundantly clear that I am not putting down the way our ancestors had church. I believe that our ancestors did what they had to do and made something very profound of what they had. What they did worked for them and served to empower the people with hope. That is what they needed because that was all they could do. Times are and have been different for many years and our black churches, by and large, have not evolved they way they should. We have not grown past the emotional experience (nothing wrong with excitement) and have not moved to more empowering means of education and the responsible dissemination of information that should have and will in the future cause those who will accept the message the power to be productive and progressive. I respect your opinions and am not afraid to stand on my own, so by all means, respond. Open dialogue is the only way we can begin to accept the truth.

Original article: http://www.accordingtochris.com/the-typical-black-church-is-still-acting-like-slaves/

Troots rulehe equivalent of Jamaica 'roots' is by far the best-loved type of theatre in St Lucia. Even the contemporary productions of Nobel laureate Derek Walcott (St Lucia and the English-speaking Caribbean's most famous playwright) are no match in popularity---as Michael Reckord reports in this article for Jamaica's Gleaner.

That's the information I got recently from St Lucian educator and theatre practitioner, Travis Weekes. We were in a small hotel in Paris, France, chatting Caribbean theatre, the subject of a symposium to which we had been invited.

Weekes said that the producer of the St Lucian roots theatre, really "a combination of stand-up comedy and popular theatre", is a group called Che Cam Peche, a name which refers to a very strong logwood. Led by Carlton 'Cokes' Cyril, the group has been around for about 15 years and does most of its plays in Creole.

"Other theatre groups will put on a play and be crying out for audiences, but when Che Cam Peche puts on a play there is no space left (between people)," Weekes said. "For the average person now, theatre is synonymous with Che Cam Peche."

I asked whether scripts of the group's plays were available. The answer was no. "The plays are built primarily through improvisation," Weekes told me, "so you can buy a DVD of a show but there are no scripts. The leads in the productions are Cokes and Iglesia, husband-and-wife characters with man-woman relationship issues."

Che Cam Peche not only "rules the theatre scene", Weekes said, but does many television commercials as well.

I wondered what sort of competition productions staged by Walcott, who has returned to live in St Lucia, would provide to Che Cam Peche. Weekes said that Walcott is always organising collaborations with theatre groups in St Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago, the two Caribbean countries he has worked in most extensively over the years.

(Of course, Walcott has close ties with Jamaica. He studied at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, in the 1950s, and is often invited to Jamaica. His plays which I have seen here, either as full productions or staged readings, include Dream on Monkey Mountain,Malcochon, Remembrance, Pantomime, O Babylon, Ti-Jean and His Brothers and A Branch of the Blue Nile).

LEFT EAR LOSS

Weekes cited a production of Walcott's latest play, O Starry Starry Night, as an example of the collaborative efforts. He did not go into detail, but an Internet search revealed that the play - a poetic drama about a visit that Paul Gauguin paid to fellow artist Vincent van Gogh in Arles, France, in 1888 - gets its title from a van Gogh painting. A quarrel between the two men led to van Gogh famously cutting off a bit of his left ear.

With Walcott's assistance, the play had a four-day run last month in the Trinidad and Tobago Central Bank auditorium. It was also staged in May at the University of Essex, England, where Walcott is Essex Professor of Poetry.

Excerpts of the Essex production may be viewed via the Internet, and few readers who watch it or know the play will be surprised that it would be less popular with the average theatregoer than a rollicking roots comedy. It's a fact of life, reflected in Jamaican theatre as elsewhere, that comedies get larger audiences than serious drama.

But Weekes, who is now pursuing a PhD from the UWI (having graduated simultaneously from the Mona campus and the (now) Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts), is interested in more than just roots style theatre.

Even before coming to Jamaica to study for a degree in English Literature in 1994, he said, he was interested in using drama to get his students excited about language. He has continued to do that.

"I have also started to use drama to get them to deal with social, psychological and personal issues," he said. He can do this, he said, because of the exposure he got studying community drama with Owen 'Blakka' Ellis and others at the School of Drama.

"Blakka took us to Accompong and Trench Town to do projects," Weekes said. "He really gave us a very practical insight into using drama to help solve community problems."

st luciaCOMMUNITY PROJECTS

Weekes works not only with his own students at the community college where he lectures, but on community projects around issues that government agencies and departments want addressed. "I'll develop a popular theatre production around an issue - perhaps population control, gender, hygiene, conservation," he said.

Weekes' interest in drama began because of his father Allan Weekes, a former St Lucia Arts Guild director who worked closely with Derek Walcott's twin brother, Roderick (now deceased). Roderick and Allan Weekes ran the guild, which was founded in 1950 by Derek Walcott and Maurice Mason "to promote and encourage in St Lucia the arts of music, painting, drama and literature".

Allan Weekes wrote one play, Talk of the Devil, but really made his major contribution to St Lucian theatre, Travis told me, by translating several Caribbean plays (including some of Walcott's) from Standard English into French Creole.

Travis and his father have been taking the translated plays into various communities in St Lucia, Martinique and Guadeloupe for stagings. Allan Weekes actually started a group he called The Creole Theatre Workshop in the early 1980s.

Earlier this year, Travis was asked by the Cultural Development Foundation to use St Lucian poetry in a production to be taken to the Caribbean Feastival of the Arts in Suriname. "I took excerpts from several poets, created a story and characters and added Creole dances, movement and song," Weekes said. "The production, Jazz Country, was very well received."

Source: Repeating Islands

For the original report go to http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20131227/ent/ent2.html


 
 
 
 
 

manleymandelasAccording to AtlantaBlackStar.com in "10 Amazing Facts about Jamaica," if people look beyond stereotypes and the reputation of Jamaica as a poor country, they will see numerous success stories among Jamaicans and their descendants—I would have started by mentioning Mary Seacole (or even earlier heroic figures), but the article focuses on the 20th century and the present. Some of the figures mentioned are billionaires such as Michael Lee-Chin, noted politicians such former Prime Minister Michael Manley, famous entertainers and athletes (that I need not list here), and important figures in the Diaspora such as Colin Powell, Louis Farrakhan, Harry Belafonte, among others. It also highlights its often progressive political and cultural influence, historical events, and its nature. The Jamaica Observer summarizes here:

Although Jamaica isn’t a particularly rich country, it has created some of the most successful business people in the Caribbean, including Michael Lee-Chin, one of the first Caribbean billionaires, and Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, who revolutionised the hotel industry with his “all-inclusive” luxury hotel chain Sandals, the website said.

AtlantaBlackStar.com also said that by virtue of Jamaica's location, the island is primed to become the economic hub for trade between the West and the rest of the world.

Jamaica's Diaspora power also made the list, with the website stating: "Estimates sometimes point to there being as many Jamaicans outside the island nation as there are in it, with 1.7 million in the US, Canada and the UK alone. Native Jamaicans and their descendants are often in influential positions internationally, the website added, citing former US Secretary of State Colin Powell as one such individual.

bob_marley_dread-fly1-600x446Jamaica's music industry was not to be left off the list, with the website saying the island's "socially conscious music serves as the soundtrack to various socio-political movements in Jamaica and the broader world". The website also said Jamaica's music industry is one of the most "influential in the world" with popular dancehall artists like Beenie Man and Sean Paul constantly topping charts across the world and selling out stadiums all over Europe and Asia.

Jamaica's athletes also made the list but the island's athletic supremacy is well known so OBSERVER ONLINE will instead look further at another among the 10 Amazing Facts about Jamaica: the island's geo-politics.

According to AtlantaBlackStar.com, "Although smaller compared to countries like the US, Jamaica has been a global thought-leader in politics... Jamaica was at the forefront of the international campaign against apartheid in South Africa. It was also the first country to declare a trade embargo against South Africa, as early as 1957." The website also said Jamaica has "historically not been afraid to go against the grain politically" which is most evident by the election of former Prime Minister Michael Manley who pushed for economic equality for all developing nations, "even when his positions were unpopular with the US".

AtlantaBlackStar.com, which says it endeavours "to cover the global black community with timely, relevant, sophisticated stories", rounded off their 10 Amazing Facts about Jamaica with the island's population, cultural influence, heroes and heroine, historical narrative, and nature.

Source: Repeating Islands

[Photo of Manley and the Mandela's from http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20130612/news/706129914/photos/EP38/]

For full article, see http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Amazing-facts-about-Jamaica-in-the-eyes-of-others

See the original article at http://atlantablackstar.com/2013/11/14/10-amazing-facts-jamaica/

Kunbi Tinuoye reports on the mayor exhibition at the University of Cambridge, which explores the 6,000-year history of the afro comb and the politics of black hair. Associated material includes paintings, sculpture and images showing the variety and complexity of hair styles found in Africa and on the Diaspora. The material is being showcased at 2 university sites: The Fitzwilliam Museum, and alongside life-size installations created by artist Dr. Michael McMillan at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA).

black-fist-combThe fascinating display charts the inception of the comb in Ancient Egypt through to its ascendancy as a political emblem post-1960s. “What we know from the early hair combs is they were connected to status, group affiliation, cultural and religious beliefs,” says curator Sally-Ann Ashton. “In more recent times, the ‘black fist’ comb that references the black power salute has wider political connotations.”

[. . .] Items on display at Fitzwilliam include hundreds of combs from pre-dynastic Egypt to contemporary picks. Some interesting artifacts include a 5,500-year-old comb from Southern Egypt and the original black fist comb, which was patented in 1976 in America.

The idea behind the exhibition was to take a fresh look at Egyptology within the parameters Africa in all its diversity, rich heritage, and culture, says Ashton. Interestingly, she says the earliest combs in the collection are from Egypt and this alongside her scholarly research has left her with no doubt that ancient Egyptians were racially and culturally black African. “People do not want to admit or believe that these early civilizations were non-European but they were,” says Ashton.

[. . .] A digital interactive gallery also showcases projections of personal accounts about combs and African-type hair. Visitors are encouraged to share their own stories and photos, which will become part of archive material for future generations.

At the smaller MAA are the contemporary 3D-art installations that bring to life the cottage salon in the home, the barber shop and hairdressing salon in the modern day era. This is complemented by interactive works which center on the culture, styling and politics of afro-textured hair. “Black hair is political, period,” says Dr. McMillan, “It’s connected to areas of identity, good and bad hair, culture, style and social class.” It’s about choice,” says Sandra Gittens, author of African-Caribbean Hairdressing, who was involved in the exhibition in an advisory role. “People make a choice how to wear their hair.”

Source: Repeating Islands

For original article, see http://thegrio.com/2013/09/23/cambridge-university-hosts-major-exhibition-devoted-to-afro-combs/#s:fitzwilliam-installations-4

Chuba Ezekwesili sheds some light on why Africans are hardly ever on time in an article entitled Game Theory Analysis on Why We Love Being Late (African Time Diagnosed) for the African Travel Quarterly:

africansIts impossible to grow up in Africa and not be a victim (and culprit) of lateness or as Nigerians would call it African Time. African time is described as the perceived cultural tendency, in most parts of Africa, toward a more relaxed attitude to time. All events begin late: our meetings, parties, naming ceremonies, church services etc. Heck, brides and grooms arrive at their own weddings late! Lateness is widespread and when asked why, we Nigerians will nonchalantly declare that African time as the name implies is part of whom we are. Apart from chucking this down as a cultural trait that all Africans possess, how else can we explain why Africans (as well as a lot of other nationalities) persistently come late to events?

Uncertainty plays a significant role in the phenomenon of late coming. Specifically, two sort of uncertainty: structural uncertainty and uncertainty regarding the behaviour of others. Structural uncertainty arises as a side effect of living in a nation like Nigeria where anything could happen the next day: the Police stops you (happened to me), traffic jams happens (shout-out to Lagosians), buses/cars randomly break down or the First Lady could be having those parties that shut the whole city downliterally. These factors contribute to involuntary late coming; you get held back even when you plan to be early. The other type of uncertainty distrust concerning the behaviour of others- explains why we love to voluntarily arrive at events late. Game theory  the study of strategic decision making does a great job at explaining why uncertainty makes people come late. Its been used in Economics, Political science, Psychology, as well as Logic and Biology; so its pretty handy at explaining our culture of African time. Now lets apply this to our habit of lateness. Well start by using two Africans Tunde and Ada who have arranged to meet up. They want to spend as much time as possible at this meeting. Neither Tunde nor Ada is certain that the other party will arrive early. This modified venn diagram illustrates the outcome based on their individual decision:

As we can see, its difficult to tell what decision Tunde or Ada will make.  Clearly, if they both come on time, they get the most out of the meeting. But if theyre both not certain that the other person will arrive early, this makes them more likely to hedge their bet on going late. Depending on what Tunde does, the utility maximizing decision could be to come on time or come late. Ada also faces the same dilemma. Evidently, uncertainty/lack of trust between the two exacerbates this issue.Africa Game time

Next, imagine what happens on a much larger scale where theres a meeting of 100 people. Since the level of accountability and trust is lower in a bigger group, the attendants will have less faith in everyone arriving on time and feel less guilty about arriving on time.In the case of Africans, we already start off with the mindset that others will come late, so we definitely dont want to be there early. Funny thing isevery other attendant is thinking the same thing.

Tie this into conformity (our strong desire to follow the majority) and you have few individuals who want to be seen as different or asmumus (morons for Non-Nigerians) for coming early. So essentially, almost everyone will certainly come late. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the Game Theory computation we all create in our minds when making our decisions based on African time.

Soruce: African Travel Quarterly

 

haiti dancePromoting a culture to an audience of both natives and foreigners simultaneously is a tricky challenge. Cambridge READS, however, seemed to stumble upon a solution: an interaction of two arts, in this case lively dancing paired with a talk by a best-selling author, Sue Wang reports for The Harvard Crimson.

The writer is Edwidge Danticat, whose latest book, “Claire of the Sea Light,” gives readers a poignant glimpse into the world of a young Haitian girl who disappears on her seventh birthday. Danticat’s reading followed an energetic performance of a trio of Haitian dances by the Jean Appolon Expressions dance company. Combining dance, music, and literature, the presentation on Haitian culture, hosted by Cambridge READS in Sanders Theatre on Wednesday night, drew a diverse crowd, from local Cambridge residents and Harvard students to an MIT linguistics professor and University President Drew G. Faust.

Both Danticat and Appolon immigrated from Haiti, a place that has deeply influenced their artistic pursuits and from which they still draw inspiration. Danticat came to New York when she was 12 in hope of a better future, while Appolon came to America in 1993 at age 16, after his father was killed in Haiti.

During the talk, Danticat fondly recalled her childhood in Haiti. Besides the many stories her grandmother, mother, aunts, and extended family members told her, what she remembers most vividly is the radio, which played an integral role in her and other Haitians’ lives. In her latest book, Danticat said, she combines three powerful influences in her life: writing, radio, and Haiti. “I always had this dream of writing a novel about the radio because I love the radio and the radio in Haiti is so important,” she said. “So [I wanted] every chapter of the novel [to be] an episode of this radio show.”

Appolon’s immigrant experience has given him a mission for his dancing. “It makes my dancing stronger because I have a voice to talk about something very important that a lot of people don’t understand,” he said in an interview with The Crimson. Because of this, he has to strike a balance between communicating to two different groups—the Haitian audience that understands the culture and the foreign crowd that is newly exposed to the material.

Appolon says that he has struggled to change the general perception of Haitian dance as “voodoo-ish” and crude by highlighting its power and beauty. According to Appolon, elements of traditional Haitian dancing are in fact found in many different types of dances. “I have learned many forms of dance because I graduated from Joffrey American Ballet School,” he says. “I really see a lot of strong movements I have learned in those dances...in traditional Haitian dancing.”

Driven by his vision of promoting Haitian culture through folkloric dance, Appolon established the Jean Appolon Expressions dance company in 2006. He operates a small dance company in Boston and Cambridge that gives performances at social functions and holds dance classes and workshops. While Appolon is glad his dance company is celebrated for its unique mission of spreading Haitian dancing, he also wishes more people would join him in his mission. “I’m hoping there can be more companies like myself...more young Haitian-Americans who try to do the same work or do more,” he says. “There are so many young people who are so afraid of saying that they are Haitian. They are very embarrassed by it. So I’m hoping that the work I am doing will [make them] feel proud to be Haitian.”

For the original report go to http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2013/9/24/cambridge-reads-haitian-art/?page=single#

Source: Repeating Islands