Curiosity is the key to knowledge.

Established 2008 Chic African Culture teaches the history of African-food recipes and African-cultures, art, music, and oral literature.

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The person who is not patient cannot eat well-cooked dishes. -African Proverb

Friday, August 31, 2012

NERICA, Planting Rice in the Driest Regions of Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa Rice Center helped develop New Rice for Africa or NERICA rice variety for planting in Sub-Saharan Africa’s dry-lands. Rice is a staple food in Africa, its growing importance is evident in the food security planning policies of many countries, and West Africa is the major contributor to rice production in Africa.



In 1992 the Africa Rice Center with benefactors, notably CGIAR, Gatsby Foundation, IFAD, Japan, Rockefeller Foundation, UNDP and World Bank began work on cultivating a new rice species. AfricaRice developed a new breed of rice with desirable traits tailored to growing in the African climate. The new variety New Rice for Africa or NERICA now has 18 different varieties suitable for the upland (dry-land) rice ecology of sub-Saharan Africa.

Coumbayel Coulibaly displays a calabash full of the
high-yielding New Rice for Africa variety.
photo by Rose Kane


Rice is a staple food in Africa and its growing importance is evident in the food security planning policies of many countries. There are 39 rice-producing countries in Africa attempting to meet the needs of the continent but farmers fall short and meet about 42% of demand the remaining rice is imported at a great expense.  Africa's inability to reach self-sufficiency in rice production is due partly to low levels of modern growing techniques and skills and irrigation issues. West Africa is the major contributor to rice production in Africa. The major producers in West Africa include Sierra Leone, Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, Guinea-Bissau and Nigeria.


Dry-land rice production is strictly rain fed, this is the most extensive rice ecosystem in Africa, and has a great influence on the total rice output. The only source of water is rain, so the crop is highly vulnerable to drought as a result of erratic and poor rains. However, NERICA varieties are suitable for the dry-land rice ecology of sub-Saharan Africa in order to increase rice production and aiding Africa in becoming self-sufficient rice producers.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Age of Discovery, Portugal and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

Age of Discovery, Portugal and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade



Born around 1394 Infante Dom Henrique de Avis also known as Henry the Navigator or Prince Henry is looked upon as a significant patron of the Age of Discovery. His father King John I conquered Ceuta in1415. Ceuta is a small Spanish territory that lies just 18 miles from Gibraltar in North Africa. 

Prince Henry wanted to expand the business opportunities of Portugal at the same time destroy the operational base of the dreaded and feared Barbary pirates. There was extensive trade in gold and salt across the Sahara Desert that Prince Henry wanted to control. 
The trade in gold and salt across 
the Sahara Desert attributed to 
The Age of Discovery

Prince Henry began an agenda to seek out direct sea trade routes to gain access to the gold trade in West Africa. In 1460 Henry the Navigator died but the exploration of Africa by Europeans continued, the Age of Discovery lived on.

The Portuguese brought the first slaves in 1444 from Northern Mauritania. King John II of Portugal continued the work of Henry the Navigator by appointing Diogo Cão to explore and further open up the African coast. Diogo Cão was born in 1452 and was the first European known to travel into the Congo and to explore West Africa in 1482, present day Angola and Namibia. 

The discovery operations lead by Diogo Cão, the Portuguese were able to travel down the western coast of Africa initiating slave trade relations that grew into the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Spicy Carrot Apple Oelek Sambal

What is a Sambal? Sambal is a chili-based fruit and vegetable preserve made sweetly and very hot and used as a condiment. Many countries in Africa are famous for their Sambal.  



Spicy Carrot Apple Oelek Sambal


Ingredients:
Sambal is a chili-based fruit and vegetable preserve made sweetly and very hot and used as a condiment. 2 cups finely grated carrots
2 cups grated sweet apples
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon brown sugar
3 chopped hot chilies

Directions:

Toss carrots and apples with lemon juice and 1 teaspoon salt, let sit 1/2 hour, then squeeze with hands and discard any excess liquid. Combine with remaining ingredients and mix well. Allow to sit refrigerated for several hours before serving. Serve with red meats.



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Friday, August 24, 2012

Christian Africans: Mark chapter 12 verses 30-31

Religion has always been vital to the people of Africa, coming together for mutual support in hard times and answering eternal questions of what happens after death, why bad things happen to good people and why we are here on earth.


Christianity first arrived in Northern Africa around the 1st century AD and these Christian communities were among the earliest in the world. Who introduced Christianity into Africa is an ambiguous story at best however; it is commonly believed Christianity was brought from Jerusalem to Alexandria on the Egyptian coast by Mark, one of the four evangelists, in 60 AD.
Christianity first arrived in North Africa around the 1st century AD.
Mark 12:30-31

There are a vast number of different religious practices on the African continent today, too many to count however, they all share some common characteristics: a belief in one God, a belief in ancestral spirits, the idea of sacrifice, and rites of passage.

Mark chapter 12 verses 30-31 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength and Love your neighbor as yourself”, translated to seven widely spoken languages on the African continent Hausa, French, Malay, Portuguese, Igbo, Swahili, and Yoruba.

English
Mark 12:30-31
30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. 31 The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.

Hausa
Markus 12: 30-31
30 Love Ubangiji Allahnku da dukan zuciyarka, da dukan ranka, da dukkan hankalinka, kuma da dukan ƙarfinsa. 31 Na biyu ita ce: Ka ƙaunaci maƙwabcinka kamar kanka. Babu wani umarni mafi girma daga cikin wadannan.

French
Marc 12: 30-31
30 Tu aimeras le Seigneur ton Dieu de tout ton cœur, de toute ton âme et de tout ton esprit et de toute ta force. 31 Le second: Tu aimeras ton prochain comme toi-même. Il n'y a pas de commandement plus grand que ceux-là.

Malay
Happiness is a direction not a placeMarkus 12: 30-31
30 Kasihilah Tuhan, Allahmu, dengan segenap hatimu dan dengan segenap jiwamu dan dengan segenap akal budimu dan dengan segenap kekuatanmu. 31 Yang kedua ialah: Kasihilah sesamamu manusia seperti dirimu sendiri . Tiada perintah yang lebih besar lagi .

Portuguese
Marcos 12: 30-31
30 Amarás o Senhor teu Deus com todo o teu coração, de toda a tua alma e com toda tua mente e com todas as tuas forças . 31 O segundo é este: Amarás o teu próximo como a ti mesmo . Não há outro mandamento maior do que estes.

Igbo
Mark 12: 30-31
30 hnanya Jehova b Chineke g na obi g nile na nd nile na mkpr obi g dum na uche g na dum na ike g . 31 Nke abụọ b nke a: H onye agbata obi g d ka onwe g. E nwegh iwu ka nd a ukwuu.

Swahili
Mark 12: 30-31
30 Mpende Bwana Mungu wako kwa moyo wako wote na kwa roho yako yote na kwa akili yako yote na kwa nguvu zako zote. 31 ya pili ndiyo hii : Mpende jirani yako kama wewe mwenyewe. Hakuna amri nyingine iliyo kuu kuliko hizi.

Yoruba
Marku 12: 30-31
30 f Oluwa lrun r plú gbogbo kàn r àti plú gbogbo kàn r àti plú gbogbo kàn r àti plú gbogbo agbára r. 31 Awn keji ni eyi : f mnikeji r bi ara r. Nib ni ko si àṣẹ tóbi ju wnyi.


1.  Hausa- spoken in Niger, Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Eritrea, Germany, Ghana, Sudan and Togo.

2.  French- spoken in Seychelles, Djibouti, Comoros,  Burundi, Cameroon, Gabon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Benin, Madagascar, Burkina Faso, Niger, Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Rwanda, Chad, Republic of the Congo, and Central African Republic.

3.  English- widely spoken throughout Africa and the official language of Botswana, Cameroon, Eritrea, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Self-declared Somaliland, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
There are a vast number of different religious practices on the African continent today 
4.  Malay- spoken in Madagascar.

5.  Portuguese- spoken in Angola, Cabo Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe and Equatorial Guinea.

6.  Igbo- spoken in Nigeria

7.  Swahili- spoken in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo.


8.  Yoruba- spoken in Nigeria, Benin, and Togo

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Little known facts about black-eyed peas also known as cowpeas

Shelling Niébé beans, a variety of cowpeas in Africa - photo by amythenurse

Cowpeas originated in Africa and is widely grown around the world. Cowpea is also commonly referred to as black-eyed pea or niébé.



Ten Cowpeas Black-eyed peas Facts


1.   Cowpea is an important staple crop in sub-Saharan Africa, especially in arid Savannahs of West Africa and the Sahel.

2.   Cowpeas are a valuable source of vegetable protein, vitamins as well as valuable income.

3.   Western and Central Africa is the leading cowpea producing regions in the world producing around 64 percent of the estimated 3 million tons of cowpea seed produced each year.

4.   Nigeria is the world’s leading cowpea producing country; Senegal, Niger, Ghana, Mali, Cameroon and Burkina Faso are significant also significant producers.

5.   Niébé is a variety of cowpea grown by many women small farmers, throughout West Africa.

6.   Black-eyed peas get their name from their characteristic appearance of a black dot in the middle of a cream colored bean.

Black-eyed peas are said to bring good luck when eaten on New Year's Day in the Southern US.
Cowpeas
7.   The black-eyed pea is believed to have been introduced to the United States through the African slave trade.

8.   Black-eyed peas are said to bring good luck when eaten on New Year's Day in the Southern US.

9.   The peas represent good luck, and are served with collard greens that represent money.


10.       Black-eyed peas are full potassium, calcium, magnesium, and iron.



Niébé is a variety of cowpea; the drought-resistant bean thrives even in the dry, arid soils of the Sahel. The niébé bean improves soil quality in the Sahel by fixing nutrients since its nitrogen requirements low; its roots form nodules that contribute to the fixation of atmospheric nitrogen.

Approximately 80% of the atmosphere is nitrogen gas but most of it is unusable by most living organisms. The niébé beans as does most legumes convert unusable nitrogen into a form usable by plants. This is a good thing because plants, animals and microorganisms can die of nitrogen deficiency. 

About Black-eyed peas also known as cowpeas

Five facts about black-eyed peas also known as cowpeas

Black-eyed peas or cowpeas originated from West Africa.
Cowpeas are the most important seed legume in the tropical savannah areas of Africa.
Black-eyed peas or cowpeas are grown and eaten extensively in Asia, South and Central America, the Caribbean, the United States, the Middle East and Southern Europe.
Cowpea plays an important role in the livelihoods of many rural families in Africa, Latin America and Asia by providing nutrients deficient in cereals.
Cowpeas provide the bulk of proteins and vitamins such as folic acid, micro-elements such as iron, calcium, zinc and also carbohydrates in many food deprived areas of the world.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Contemporary Art from Ghana and Zimbabwe

Modern Fine art from Ghana and ZimbabweTake a personal tour of a contemporary installation of Ghanaian and Zimbabwean Art

As Ghana celebrates fifty years of independence in 2007, the San Diego Museum of Man is partnering with artists from Ghana and Zimbabwe to showcase artistic expressions paintings and sculpture from accomplished African artists.



Fifty years ago, independence movements started to sweep across the African continent, bringing to the newly independent nations the promise of political, economic, and cultural freedom from their colonial rulers.

As Ghana celebrates fifty years of independence in 2007, the San Diego Museum of Man is partnering with artists from Ghana and Zimbabwe to showcase artistic expressions paintings and sculpture from accomplished African artists.

Guest Curators Kwamina Ewusie, Peter Swaniker, and Joe Kinsella have selected a number of artists to participate, and the exhibit will feature their first-person narratives to describe their works.

Take a personal tour of a contemporary installation of Ghanaian and Zimbabwean Art





















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Friday, August 10, 2012

Seth Dei a renowned Ghanaian Art collector

Seth Dei, co-owner and founding board member of Blue Skies Ghana. Blue Skies is a producer of fresh fruit products in its factory near Nsawam Ghana.


Seth Dei, a renowned Ghanaian Art collector, talks about the huge opportunity in Art, his biography, how he became an Art collector, his Collaboration with New York University and his advice to up and coming Artists.

Listen to celebrated Ghanaian art collector, investor and co-owner of Blue Skies Seth Kwasi Dei speak about his collection.





















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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

What is African Art

What is African Art

African Art
What is African art? If the answer seems self-evident it is not.

What is African Art


Explore and Understand Africa Through Her Food and Culture




Art plays an essential role in the lives of the African people and their communities and people across the world.


 What is African art? If the answer seems self-evident it is not. 


Each African artist has their own uniqueness providing a positive glimpse into the talent of Africa’s artists and their continuing inspiration on art and culture thru the world.
What is African art?


What is meant by ‘African’ is just a matter of geography or ethnicity?  Africa is a diverse continent of many cultures and African art falls under many headings as well. African art was once regarded as primitive art in museums.

Each African artist has their own uniqueness providing a positive glimpse into the talent of Africa’s artists and their continuing inspiration on art and culture thru the world.


South African artist Marcus Neustetter created Chasing Light in 2010 as a digital projection. Chasing Light has been presented as laser and glow stick performances, digital prints, and computerized simulations. Neustetter has yet to see the aurora borealis, but he notes, "Until then, I'm very happy to continue making work about chasing light.





Yoruba carvings by Olowe of Ise was born about 1875 in Efon-Alaiye, a town in eastern Yorubaland that was once a kingdom and one of the most important centers of Yoruba carving. 

Olowe of Ise descendants claim he was self-taught, but it is likely that he learned the Yoruba canon and perfected his carving skills during an apprenticeship.

Olowe was an innovative and virtuosic, even daring, artist as demonstrated in this sculpture. Among the Yoruba such elaborately carved and decorated bowls were prestige objects used to offer kola nuts to guests or to deities during religious worship. 




What is African art?





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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Famous Yoruba African Sculptor Olowe of Ise

Famous Yoruba African Sculptor Olowe of Ise

Yoruba carvings
Olowe of Ise was born about 1875 in Efon-Alaiye, a town in eastern Yorubaland that was once a kingdom and one of the most important centers of Yoruba carving.

Yoruba African Sculpturer Olówè of Isè

Famous Yoruba African Sculptor Olowe of Ise


Explore and Understand Africa Through Her Food and Culture




The details Olowe of Ise early life and training in sculpture are not known. Olowe moved to Ise at a young age to serve the King as a court messenger.


Yoruba carvings of Olowe of Ise

Yoruba African Sculpturer Olówè of Isè

Olowe of Ise descendants claim he was self-taught, but it is likely that he learned the Yoruba canon and perfected his carving skills during an apprenticeship. 

Eventually he became a master artist at the King's palace, and as his fame grew, other Yoruba kings and wealthy families commissioned him to carve architectural sculptures, masks, drums and other objects for their palaces.

Among the Yoruba such elaborately carved and decorated bowls were prestige objects used to offer kola nuts to guests or to deities during religious worship. 

Olowe was an innovative and virtuosic, even daring, artist as demonstrated in this sculpture. The image of four dancing girls on the lid, for example, is the first such representation in Yoruba art. 

Olowe's choice of dancers raises questions about his inspiration. Olowe also depicted nude males, one of whom is kneeling, on this bowl. Such renderings are exceptional and challenge the Yoruba canon.



Did you know?
Olowe of Ise worked in the small town of Ise in southwestern Nigeria, Olowe is considered as the most important Yoruba artist of the 20th century.

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