Category Archives: Africa

Sheri Veronica – As school children in Barbados we were taught to hate Jamaicans

Sheri Veronica Barbados

“Respect Jamaicans”

by Sheri Veronica

THE TRUTH IS, we were taught to hate JAMAICANS.  As a little girl in primary school, our teacher taught us that Barbados was the jewel of the Caribbean.  We were taught that any mad/crazy slave or any slave who could not take instructions, were shipped off to Jamaica.  This was the mandate, I supposed in my little head (or was that taught to me also), of every Caribbean island.  Send the mad and **aggressive slaves to Jamaica.  Then as time passed and you start to see clearer, meet people and question things, you soon realize that the insurgent slaves were the brave ones.  They were the men and women who could not be broken…

… continue with a good read at Sheri Veronica’s blog

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Filed under Africa, Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, History, Jamaica, Race, Slavery, Sugar

Nigeria Barbados student programme disaster – Donna St. Hill says Sharon Brathwaite unable to account for major funds

Nigerian Deputy Governor Utuama and Donna St. Hill

Nigerian Deputy Governor Amos Utuama and Donna St. Hill

Barbados Today journalist Emmanuel Joseph interviewed Donna St. Hill – programme director for the Nigeria-Barbados student disaster that continues to unfold.

The full interview is worth your time to read if only to see once again how these foreign student and employment initiatives always fall apart in Barbados. Always. Everybody tries to squeeze a little bit of the funds for themselves and their brothers and in the end there are never enough funds to complete the original goals and standards of the project. All the time. Every time.

But this time there were some major feeders at the trough… or so says Donna St. Hill.

From what St. Hill says, once again there was little or no oversight of employees in Barbados as St. Hill ran her end from Africa (taking her little bit of squeeze for sure).

Now St. Hill is blaming Barbadian Sharon Brathwaite for misdirecting, misspending and generally being unable to account for hundreds of thousands of dollars over a relatively short four month period. It’s the students who are suffering in the end, and the money is gone gone gone.

Sharon Brathwaite told her side of the story to Barbados Today (see article I’m Sorry)

Some selected quotes from the Donna St. Hill interview…

“My company Donna St Hill International manages this contract… I live in Africa, so I hire local project administrators, of which Miss Brathwaite [Sharon] was the one who was working on the Barbados project…   I thought that with some close supervision, more mentoring, she could achieve more than what she even knew she was capable of.”

“I have heard Sharon Brathwaite had travelled to Nigeria to see my clients, to see how she could, not take over the responsibilities and the headaches, but control more of the financing and have it paid directly to her. That failed.”

“So at no time could we think about bringing the money back because every other month we were coming and it needed to be there –– you know, salaries to pay and some small things, but certainly not $750,000 . . . . We are all shocked because I know what I have approved; and even with some seepage here and there, it can’t be right.”

“So what happened with that money? Well we are trying to find out.”

Read the entire story at Barbados Today

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Filed under Africa, Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law, Nigeria

The politics of Ebola

Barbados ebola

“There is no need for the pharmaceutical companies to covertly engage in genocide in Africa. The Africans are doing an excellent job of genocide on themselves.”

The Editor
Barbados Free Press
Grape Hall, Barbados
West Indies

Dear Sir/Madam,

There was a letter in the Daily Nation of September 30, 2014, entitled: “Ebola a weapon of mass destruction?” written by Mr. Leonard St.Hill. The gist of what he had to say is as follows: he advises that the absence of speculation (presumably its origins) over Ebola virus raises some suspicion.

He goes on to state “that too many epidemics in Africa seem to have the effect of weapons of mass destruction which can result in genocide.” He concludes that Africa is serving as a laboratory where the pharmaceutical (western) industry, use native Africans as test subjects to ascertain the efficacy of the pathogen and antidote, whilst making a financial killing.

In the past in your newspapers, I have stated that persons should always stick to their areas of technical expertise and that the majority of Barbadians are scientific illiterates. Mr. St. Hill falls under both headings. He displays gross ignorance of microbiology and biotechnology and is guilty of disseminating false innuendos to an uninitiated public.

The major pharmaceutical companies have little interest in doing research into little known tropical diseases. The returns on their investment are not worth it. The people of Africa are too poor and cannot afford the cost of a complete regimen of treatment. Continue reading

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Filed under Africa, Barbados, Health

Barbarians: Sudan Muslim government sentences pregnant woman to death for being Christian

Meriam Ibrahim Execution

And it’s all according to the Holy Koran

Muslim animals force Christian mother to give birth while wearing prison shackles.

In the early hours of May 27, 2014, Meriam Ibrahim gave birth while chained to a wall in a prison in Sudan. The Sudanese court recently confirmed she will be executed now that her child has been born. How civilized of the Muslim court to wait until the child is born.

The 27 year old’s crime was to marry a Christian. She was always raised a Christian, but her father (who left before she was born) was a Muslim. And that makes her a Muslim in the eyes of the court, and apostate. The Koran says apostates should be killed so that’s the end of that.

With Meriam in prison is her 20 month old son.

There is no difference at all between the Islam of Sudan, and Islam elsewhere. The only difference is the percentage of the population that is Muslim. When that percentage reaches a certain level, Sharia Law kicks into play, and Sharia Law is the law.

Let those millions of Muslims come forward who do not believe that Meriam Ibrahim and other ‘apostates’ should be executed for choosing another religion.

(Sound of crickets chirping)

Meriam Ibrahim: Apostasy Sudanese woman sentenced to hang ‘may not be freed’, her lawyers warn

The treatment of Ibrahim by the Sudanese authorities was internationally condemned in early May, when the then heavily pregnant woman was sentenced to death for refusing to renounce Christianity, and reportedly imprisoned with her 20-month-old son.

Pressure on Sudan to release Ibrahim increased last week, when the 27-year-old was forced to give birth to her daughter while restrained by shackles.  Continue reading

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Filed under Africa, Culture & Race Issues, Human Rights, Religion

Daughters of the Niger Delta “The oil has spoiled everything for us…”

BFP has been invited to see this documentary on Saturday March 8th. We’ll let you know what we think. Here is a description from the film’s website:

Daughters of the Niger Delta
Documentary (55:30 min)

Daughters of the Niger Delta is an intimate film portrait of three everyday heroines who manage to make ends meet against all odds. As their personal stories unfold, we come to see that the widely ignored environmental pollution in their backyard is not the only human rights issue affecting their lives.

The Stories

The film radically differs from the usual media reports about oil outputs, conflict, and kidnapping. It gives a taste of everyday life in the Niger Delta through the eyes of three ordinary women: Hannah, Naomi & Rebecca. Their struggle to survive in the delta’s beautiful but pollution-marred wetlands confronts us with the human impact of corporate irresponsibility, gender injustice, and failing government service delivery.

The stories of Hannah, Naomi, and Rebecca are sobering as well as uplifting. They shed light on day-to-day injustices that we rarely hear about in the news. But they also highlight women’s strength and resilience. Despite the hardship affecting their lives, the filmed women are determined to give their children a better future. Women may be the best captains to navigate the Niger Delta out of its troubled waters – if only they were given the chance.

Women’s Voices

It’s time to listen to women’s voices. Their priorities are relevant not only for the Niger Delta, but also for other parts of Nigeria that currently are marred by violence and social unrest. Women’s experiences can enrich the policy discourse – if only we are willing to listen.

Film website: Daughters of the Niger Delta

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Filed under Africa, Disaster, Environment, Human Rights

“Cumba” – the story of one slave woman owned by Captain John Burch, Christ Church. From Africa to Barbados to England

slavery-barbados.jpg

“Mr. Maverick was desirous to have a breed of Negroes, and therefore seeing she would not yield by perswasions to company with a Negro young man he had in his house…”

… from John Josselyn as recounted in Two Voyages to New England, published 1674

One story of millions

by West Side Davie

“Cumba” was her name. She died a slave in Romford, England in April, 1668 – the property of John Burch and his wife Margaret of Hogsty Plantation. (I’m not sure whether Captain John Burch of Barbados is also referred to and is the same as Colonel John Burch of Barbados, but this family history and other websites seem to say it is the same man. I remain open for correction!)

Today, Cumba is remembered as Havering’s first black resident in an excellent article by Professor Ged Martin just published in the Romford Recorder:

It was 350 years ago this year that a fabulously rich couple, John and Margaret Burch, arrived in Romford.

They’d made their money in Barbados, exploiting slave labour to produce the bonanza crop: sugar.

In 1664, they retired to England, buying Romford’s biggest estate, Gidea Hall, then usually called Giddy Hall. The mansion, demolished in 1930, stood just east of Raphael Park.

Madam Burch, as she was fawningly called, brought her personal maidservant from Barbados, the ultimate status symbol.

Cumba was Havering’s first black resident. A slave, a piece of property, Cumba survived the English climate just four years.

But when she died, in April 1668, somebody had the humanity to record her name in the register of Romford’s St Edward’s church. “Cumber, a ffemale Blackamore servant from Guyddy Hall, buried.”

Today, “blackamore” is an offensive term. But in 1668, when “black” was used to ­describe complexion, it was an attempt to identify Cumba with some dignity. The double “ff” ­indicated a capital letter.

… read the entire article Cumba: Havering’s first black resident remembered on the 350th anniversary of her arrival.

We know very little about Cumba, but we still know far more about her than we do about millions of other people who were enslaved with her and since. We know about the times in which she lived, and we also know a little about the socially-condoned cruelty of slave owners. I believe that much of history has been ‘cleansed’, but not all of it. What passed for ‘normal’ and ‘acceptable’ when Cumba lived gives us some idea of her personal circumstances, what she probably saw even if she was not herself subject to all of the abuses. We simply don’t know the details of her life, but we know the times.

So to learn more about Cumba, we will talk of the people around her: the powerful elites of society at the time… Continue reading

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Filed under Africa, Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, History, Human Rights, Race, Slavery

One year since the passing of Nenyin Alison Attah (Coleman): How a Bajan ended up First Lady of Akwa Ibom State Nigeria

Alison-Attah Barbados Nigeria

“When we finally reached Nigeria, I was certain that I had reached my resting place on earth. There would be no return to Barbados or UK”.

… Mrs Alison Attah, April, 2012, in an interview in Lagos.

Tuesday October 29, 2013 will mark exactly one year since Mrs Nenyin Alison Attah, the former First Lady of Akwa Ibom State departed this world for eternal life. For the two children, Felicia and Christopher, and for His Excellency, Obong Victor Attah, the Father of Akwa Ibom State, it has been a long year; made longer by the absence of the centre-piece of every home – a loving wife and mother. Life had ceased to be the same for them; but life must go on.

But it was not only the husband and kids who will miss her. Eno, the house help of over three decades, who through the generousity of the former First Lady, had sent two kids to university and is the proud owner of three bedroom bungalow, with boys quarters attached, had refused to go. Like the Biblical Ruth she had decided that even in death “Your people shall be my people”. She represents a lot of people who are still to come to terms that their long term benefactor had gone – never to return…

Read the entire article at the Vanguard Nigeria: From Barbados with love for Nigerians

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Filed under Africa, Barbados, History

Who showed up for the Black Empowerment Association clean-up of Bussa? Nobody… not even the BEA.

Like every news organisation in town Barbados Free Press received a news release from the mysterious anonymous ‘Black Empowerment Association’ calling for a clean-up of the Bussa Emancipation Statue on Sunday, September 2, 2012 at 7am.

Nope, I didn’t go. We (she and me) almost intended to, but we were kind of hung over.

Okay, I lie. Never intended to go. Got the press release on Saturday afternoon at 1:17pm. I never got up on Sunday until 1pm. I had a great time on Saturday night. Must ‘ave.

Looking in the news media, don’t see any coverage or photos of the called-for clean-up of Bussa. Nope. Not a word, not a photo.

Checked the emails: nothing from the ‘Black Empowerment Association’. No emails, no photos of the clean-up.

I’d wager a week’s beer money that nobody showed, and that the ‘Black Empowerment Association’ is some lone anonymous guy on the internet. We get twenty emails a week like this.

But ya know what?

At least one blog published the press release just like the ‘Black Empowerment Association’ was some real organisation with a real spokesperson, a membership, an address and a phone number. They called the article “Bussa Outrage Clean-up Project”

What a joke!

The ‘press release’ came from ‘Matt’ (no last name) at a gmail address. That’s it! Now it’s been picked up by the secondary internet news channels just like it is a real story. Go ahead, google search “Black Empowerment Association Bussa” and you’ll see have I mean.

I’m going to print the press release in full here so our readers can further tune their bullshit meters.

At BFP we try to sort the legitimate from the fake. Sometimes we fail and when we do we apologise and learn. But so far we’ve never to our knowledge presented our readers with such obvious fakery made up bullshit as this prime example. Enjoy…

Here is the nonsense that others printed as real… Continue reading

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Filed under Africa, Barbados

We tight tonight!

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Filed under Africa, Music

Another cry for the Africa that could have been

How Robert Mugabe went from a man of the people to believing that he was God’s own gift to Zimbabwe, with a singular focus on maintaining his own power.

Quotes from the documentary, “Robert Mugabe… what happened?”

“Democracy in Africa is a difficult proposition because always the Opposition will want much more than it deserves…”

…Robert Mugabe

“The man’s hands are tied behind his back with wire.”

…Documentary film maker unearthing secret graves

“What do you do to a hero or to a father who has gone wayward? What do you do? Can you discipline your hero? Can you discipline your father?”

…Trevor Ncube

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Filed under Africa, History, Human Rights

Uganda: Thrilling morning visit from gorillas

One of our regular readers sent us the above video shot last December. I don’t know if I would have the courage to film as these tourists did.

I once said I would trade my house for a low orbit flight on Sir Richard Branson’s new space line. Forget that… I’d trade my house to be the guy who got the kiss and grooming from the troop.

Unbelievable!

Thanks so much to an old friend.

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Filed under Africa, Barbados, Wildlife

Wally Serote on the International Monetary Fund, Fox News… and your life

“I will therefore not allow myself to be trapped in Western thinking, which has presided over thought and ideas and has dictated to the world what to think.”

Wally Serote’s article in the Thinker 31 poses serious questions:

“We can no longer be professional students of the west.”

I hope that magazines like the Thinker will help in the debate on the path forward. We need to change the “terms of trade” as Best would say and we need to develop solutions that fit our reality.

The crisis in the Caribbean economy finds little debate within the region and all that is proffered is the failed mantra from the IMF and other Western sources.

Can we not do better?

Is it that the we allow CNN and Fox to fracture our thinking and believe all that is offered by them as gospel?

Where are the critical thinkers? All we are hearing is the voice of the right trying to prop up a failed model.

We must and can do better.

Regards

Godfrey J. Martin

We Hope to be in Time for Dialogue

by Wally Serote

The issue here is, since I believe that the Western sun is setting, most of the answers we seek for the 21st century exist outside of the West and among people of the South. Wherever we are, although belatedly, we have to search for a paradigm shift to survive during this century and set the basis for the survival of future generations.

“We have, from an African perspective, to make a decision that we can no longer be professional students of the West.”

Africa is in a position to play this role, given its cultural diversity, historical experiences and continental resources, human and natural. It will therefore be necessary to think outside of boxes, but not re-invent wheels. I will therefore not allow myself to be trapped in Western thinking, which has presided over thought and ideas and has dictated to the world what to think. Continue reading

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Filed under Africa, Barbados, Consumer Issues, Culture & Race Issues, Economy

Jim Bailey: Battle of Britain fighter pilot and anti-apartheid warrior

(click photo for large)

The wondrous life of James R. A. Bailey, DFC – founder of DRUM Magazine, South Africa

Anybody who has spent any time at all in South Africa knows DRUM Magazine, a publication that has had its ups and downs in the past six decades but was always on the front line of the struggle for freedom. Since I spent some time in Jo’burg in the early 1990’s, DRUM has turned into more of a black urban lifestyle publication but there was a time when the tabloid told stories that no one else could without getting banned.

What I didn’t know before now, and only just discovered this past week, is that DRUM was started and financed for decades by a white ex-Royal Air Force fighter pilot named Jim Bailey. To my great delight an old friend presented me with a birthday gift of Bailey’s wartime biography The Sky Suspended – A fighter pilot’s story. That led me to looking up the author online and there I found the story of Jim Bailey and DRUM. Isn’t the Internet a wonderful thing?

As near as I can discern from the online stories, Bailey poured much of his inherited wealth into starting DRUM as a “black” publication in 1950. It was a true tabloid with girls, crime and violence to keep the readers titillated and the numbers up but it developed a reputation for coming right up to and crossing the line about freedom issues. I think BFP’s readers will understand our appreciation of that marketing philosophy. 🙂

When the police beat Steve Biko to death in 1977, DRUM showed the activist in his coffin. When Desmond Tutu wanted to tell the people why he met with the South African apartheid government, he did so in the pages of DRUM. When the bodies piled up on the streets in the townships, DRUM showed them beside the photos of the white police who shot them down. These were dangerous stories to cover, but DRUM did so and made a difference.

Jim Bailey died in early 2000 but he left a legacy of books and poetry that I’ve yet to read. I’m only 40 pages into The Sky Suspended, but other than writing this post I doubt I’ll do any work for the next few days until I finish the book.

Later this week I’ll put up a few more posts on Bailey and his role in Sooth Africa at the time, but for now here’s what he says about what it takes to be a fighter pilot…

It became a study of mine, one I pursued meticulously at this time, to discover what type of man makes the best fighter-pilot. I found, for example, that only children, pilots without brothers or sisters, were particularly helpless. When a new pilot came to us, I would try to guess after a day or two whether he came from a large family or not and then go and ask him. If he did, he had a better chance to survive.

Good pilots are common, good fighter-pilots were rare. It is as with polo: many can ride, but few play polo well; and among those who play well, many ride in a crude and efficient way, without good hands or precision. I arrived at a few conclusions. The qualities that made for success in a fighter-pilot seemed to be just those sturdy qualities that made for success in other professions; observation, initiative, determination, courage, including the courage to run away.

Battle of Britain veteran Jim Bailey on what makes a great fighter pilot

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Filed under Africa, Aviation, Culture & Race Issues, History, Human Rights, Military, Race

Robert Mugabe’s Christmas dinner!


I love the internet… Last Dictator Standing!

All your favourites are here: Saddam Hussein, Idi Amin, P.W. Botha, Colonel Gaddafi… courtesy of South Africa’s NANDO.

Chicken anyone?

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Filed under Africa, Human Rights

Black race and science

Revising history doesn’t change the present.

Black governments must fund science as a priority

by Robert D. Lucas, Ph.D.

Recently, there was a series of articles in the local newspapers (by Messrs Michael Dingwall and Rahim Shabazz), concerning the role of the black race in the advancement of science. I have some comments to make as a scientist. Let me first state that scientist are seekers of the truth. Scientists deal with facts and not sentiments.

Dingwall is correct when he states that as a race, black people continue to lag in the field of science and technology and to quote him: “The black man has been virtually absent where innovations in science and technology are concerned.”

The foregoing is a statement of fact and no amount of wishful thinking by Shabazz or Mr. Orlando Marville is going to alter the situation. The black race is always harping on the past. It is time to look forward ( I am not saying that one should forget the past) and make efforts to change the situation.  At one time, Europeans were considered to be little more than savages by the Chinese and Muslims when these peoples were leaders of the known world. The Europeans pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps. The achievement by the Europeans was led by their scientists. Continue reading

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Filed under Africa, Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, History, Race

The new Bajan export commodity: Wives to China!

Millions of young Chinese men haven’t a hope of finding a wife in China. The reason of course is that China is missing tens of millions of females: unborn, infants and girl children who were aborted or murdered as part of the “one child” policy. Now the societal bill for the last 30 years is coming due in the form of millions of lonely and angry young men.

Once discarded as being “worth less” than male children, Chinese females of marriageable age are becoming a valuable commodity, but that shortage can’t be rectified from within China. It would take decades of baby making and the young men can’t wait. (I wouldn’t and couldn’t wait either!)

What are the young men doing to find love and wives? The answer for some is to find a wife while working abroad in Africa, Asia and North America. The results of this love abroad are starting to appear in the form of photos on the internet in China. I haven’t seen any mixed couples from Barbados, but there are probably some and it won’t be long, especially with all the Chinese workers arriving on the island.

As a mixed-race couple and family, Shona and I are always happy to see other mixed-race couples and families. We think that the more mixing that goes on the better the world will be. Trends can have societal implications though, and some might wonder what the implications of this trend will be for Barbados.

Upon reading a translated article at ChinaSmack I didn’t think of something that came into Shona’s mind right away, but then I’m a guy.

Here’s what Shona said about Chinese men marrying black women:

“Good. If the Chinese value Bajan women for wives, maybe you men will smarten up and start to respect us women more.”

She has a point!

Further Reading

“About chinaSMACK

chinaSMACK offers non-Chinese readers an insight into the world’s largest internet market by translating and reporting popular Chinese internet news, trends, and phenomena as well as Chinese netizen comments, opinions, and reactions.”

ChinaSmack.com: Chinese Men with Black Women & African Wives

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Filed under Africa, Barbados, China, Culture & Race Issues, Race

Spark of the Day! Orphan Princess in Kenya

‘Princess’ is smart, friendly and doing alright by the standards of the camp. She has put on weight and is healthy. Like most of the children, once she gets into the programme she has an excellent chance at a good future. I wish I could have taken her home, but that wouldn’t have been right either. See you next year, little one!

This Spark of the Day! is our way of reminding our readers and ourselves that we should be giving something back. One person can make a difference! It made a difference to Princess.

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Spark of the Day! “Congo” makes you think of…?

Fred thinks of Geneviève bringing him some strudel.

Not exactly the photo you had in mind when you hear about someone traveling to the Congo? Then maybe you should think about buying an airline ticket to someplace you’ve never dreamed of visiting. Travel: it will change your worldview… and change you too!

Spark of the Day! is our little reminder that most of the folks you meet anywhere are likely to return your smile and kindness – and they are as curious about you as you are about them.

Our thanks to Fred, and yes – Geneviève makes your little heart skip a beat, fuh sure!

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