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

Friday, August 30, 2013

Could you survive on $2 a day?

Could you survive on $2 a day

The World Bank in 2005 set the $1.25 a day the global poverty line
In economics, each country in Africa mostly has their own national poverty line. However, which African countries are doing a better job of governing the people of Africa?

Could you survive on $2 a day


Explore and Understand Africa Through Her Food and Culture




The good news, people living in extreme poverty dropped worldwide from 52 percent in 1981 to 25.7 percent in 2005. The bad news, Sub-Saharan Africa around 415 million people lived within the extremely poor monetary levels.



The Ibrahim Foundation defines governance as the provision of the political, social and economic goods that a citizen has the right to expect from his or her state, and that a state has the responsibility to deliver to its citizens. There are four areas measured in the calculation of the index; Safety and Rule of Law, Participation and Human Rights, Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development.

According to the most recent estimates from the World Bank, in 2011, 17 percent of people in the developing world lived at or below $1.25 a day. Sub-Saharan Africa around 415 million people lived within the extremely poor monetary levels. "Access to good schools, health care, electricity, safe water and other critical services remains elusive for many people, often determined by socioeconomic status, gender, ethnicity, and geography." stated the World Bank.

According to the most recent estimates, in 2012, 12.7 percent of people in the developing world lived at or below $1.90 a day. There is good news, Sub-Saharan Africa reduced its $1.25-a-day poverty rate from 53 percent in 1981 to 47 percent in 2011. The World Bank states "Progress has been slower at higher poverty lines. In all, 2.2 billion people lived on less than US $2 a day in 2011, the average poverty line in developing countries and another common measurement of deep deprivation. That is only a slight decline from 2.59 billion in 1981."

Almost 1 billion people across the globe go to bed hungry every night. To meet the needs of a world population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, agricultural production will need to increase by at least 60 percent.


Did you know?
Tourism destinations continue to thrive throughout Africa: tourist arrivals to the region jumped 4 percent compared to the same period a year ago. Among the destinations for which quarterly data are available, the strongest performers in tourism were Cape Verde up 18 percent, followed by the Seychelles up 13 percent, South Africa up 4 percent, Swaziland up 2 percent, and Mauritius up 1 percent.

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Illegal Love: Being Gay in Africa

Being homosexual in certain African countries means your relationship is illegal, gay-rights activism is unlawful, and prison sentences or worse could be lawfully carried-out by family, neighbors, the police and even strangers.


Gay Pride Picnic 2013 Johannesburg South AfricaBeing Gay in Africa, the severe suppression on homosexual relationships is not restricted to Nigeria, The Gambia, Uganda and Kenya. Numerous African countries criminalize homosexual relationships, with penalties ranging from misdemeanors to death sentences. Currently there are two countries in Africa where being homosexual could legally carry a death sentence. One African country allows legal same-sex marriages and civil unions, South Africa but life is still difficult if you are gay.


Junior Mayema was enrolled in law school and hiding his sexual orientation in his hometown Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Mayema’s mother publicly denounced him as evil and tried to kill him plotting to inject him with gasoline. Heavyhearted Mayema decided to seek asylum in South Africa since he was facing a daily threat from his family and the fact homosexuality is a crime in DRC. 
An activist at Uganda's first gay pride parade in Kampala this August. Photograph: Rachel Adams/EPA
Mayema appeared in the film From the Same Soil that documented refugees in Cape Town and experiences being openly gay. However, his new life in South Africa was full of disappointments since he was not accepted as being openly gay. When Mayema turned to the police for help, the police only offered physical and verbal abuse. Mayema left Cape Town November 2014 to start a new life in the San Francisco California USA thanks to the help of The UN Refugee Agency and thousands of well-wishers.

South African traditional gay weddingHomosexual acts are illegal in Kenya, however Kenyan author, journalist and winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2002, Binyavanga Wainaina has come out to say he is gay. Wainaina says he knew he was homosexual since he was five years old and part of his reason for coming out was the Nigerian anti-gay law and the senseless violence surrounding the new law. Wainaina says he was also inspired to come out by the deaths of his father and a gay friend. He announced in an essay that he called “the lost chapter” of his memoir, that he was gay.

Wainaina ends his “the lost chapter”:

I am five when I close my self into a vague happiness that asks for nothing much from anybody. Absent-minded. Sweet. I am grateful for all love. I give it more than I receive it, often. I can be selfish. I masturbate a lot, and never allow myself to crack and grow my heart. I touch no men. I read books. I love my dad so much, my heart is learning to stretch.
I am a homosexual.

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Keto Couture Nigerian African Fashion Designer

Keto Couture Nigerian African Fashion Designer

Keto Couture Nigerian African Fashion Designer




African fashion today represents a blend of modern design and traditional African patterns with of vibrant colors.

Arise African Fashion
Nigeria Fashion Week

Kenny Okorie is an Itsekiri from Nigeria creating modern haute African designs. Itsekiri, also called Jekri, Isekiri, or Ishekiri, ethnic group inhabiting the westernmost part of the Niger River delta of extreme southern Nigeria and Kenny Okorie is among the most famous.


Itsekiri Nigerian Fashion Designer

One designer launch in 2012 giving a modern twist to traditional men and women African styles is designer Kenny Okorie of Keto Couture. Keto couture is based in Abuja, Nigeria. According to her website, “Her choice of materials reflects her class. She has a vision as a designer to design clothes that translate our rich African Heritage into worldly accepted fashion by fusing African styles with western fabrics and vice versa.

African Design Muse

African design museHer designs are non-seasonal, and our clothes are simple yet sophisticated giving strong retro vibes not just to the high class but capturing the society in general and bringing out the elegance in you like ready to wear, office couture, and evening couture, wedding and ceremonial.” Africa's fashion today represents a blend of modern design and traditional African patterns with of vibrant colors. Keto Couture showcased her designs during Nigeria’s Fashion Week 2012 at the Muson Centre in Lagos Nigeria. We Make use of African prints to produce designs that have a global appeal.

Kenny Okorie CEO of Keto Couture

“There is a basic concept that runs through my clothing's, it is classic but unpredictable, casual but not easy going, it is 100 % in look braced with ethnic flavor with a touch of the cosmopolitan look” says Keto Couture. Visit Keto Couture fashionable website for a look at her new line of fashions.

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Friday, August 23, 2013

How Leopard Got His Spots African Folktale

How the cunning leopard got his spots is a marvelous African folktale about the origin of his spotted leopard skin. 



How Leopard Got His Spots African Folktale


As the elders say, at one time, the Leopard was colored like a lion, and he had no dark markings; but he was pursued by Akiti, the renowned hunter, and feared that he might be slain.

How leopard got his spots is a marvelous African folktale about the origin of the leopard skin. To avoid this he ate the roots of a certain magic plant, which had the effect of making him invulnerable to any of the hunter’s weapons.
Soon afterwards, Akiti saw him as he slipped through the dense undergrowth of the forest, but though he shot his poisoned arrows, Leopard escaped.


But where each arrow struck him, there appeared a dark mark, and now, though hunters still pursue him, he is rarely caught, but his body is covered with the marks of the arrows, so that as he goes among the trees he looks exactly like the mingling of the sun and shadow.


Did you know?
Leopards are the smallest of the four big cats and are native to 35 African countries. The four big cats of the world are the tiger, lion, jaguar and leopard.


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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Spiced Ripe Tomato Chutney

Egypt and Nigeria are the two top producing African countries for tomato farming. Spiced Ripe Tomato Chutney, made with over ripe tomatoes. Learn how to make this tomato chutney recipe the quick and easy way. Delicious Ripe Tomato Chutney can be enjoyed with any kind of dish and if you are a home gardener, ripe tomato chutney is a great way to use your tomatoes and enjoy all year long.


Spiced Ripe Tomato Chutney

Ingredients:

4 large ripe tomatoes chopped

½ cup white vinegar

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons grated ginger

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon allspice

2 tablespoons dried onions

Salt and pepper to taste


Directions:

Add all ingredients together and simmer 30 minutes, stirring constantly. Slowly pour chutney into a 2 quart jar. Allow to cool on the counter.



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Monday, August 12, 2013

Egypt’s powerful street art packs a punch

Egypt’s street art culture astonishing work has been emerging from a new generation of Egyptian street artists. Influenced by ancient culture and contemporary politics, they are delivering potent messages of protest. Alastair Sooke surveys the scene and meets a major player.


Talented Egyptian African Artists highlight modern and traditional Egyptian perspectives of African art. Each Egyptian artist has their own uniqueness providing a positive glimpse into the talent of Egyptian artists and their continuing inspiration on art and culture thru the world.


More than two years after protesters toppled Hosni Mubarak, Cairo is still ablaze with fiery visual reminders of Egypt’s revolution. On the edge of Tahrir Square  the nerve center of dissent  the burned-out tower block that once housed the headquarters of Mubarak’s National Democratic Party stands blackened and empty. It forms a jarring juxtaposition with the coral-pink walls of the Egyptian Museum, the dusty storehouse of the country’s most precious antiquities, next door. Around the corner, there is a different kind of monument.....

Visit BBC Culture Website

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Saturday, August 10, 2013

How to buy the perfect piece of fruit in Uganda Africa

How to buy the perfect piece of fruit in Uganda Africa
Fruit in Uganda Africa

Uganda has fertile soils growing apples, bananas, pineapples, passion fruit, mangoes, and watermelons, jackfruit, papayas, grapefruits, lemons and limes and more.


How to buy the perfect piece of fruit in Uganda Africa




How to buy the perfect piece of fruit in Uganda Africa


Shopping for fruit in Uganda Africa



Apples
Look for firm, crisp, well-colored apples. They may have a shriveled appearance after being held in storage. Avoid overripe apples, they yield to slight pressure on the skin, and have soft, mealy flesh.


Grapefruit
Look for firm fruits, which are heavy for their size. Thin-skinned fruits have more juice than coarse-skinned ones. If a grapefruit is pointed at the stem end, it is likely to be thick-skinned. Rough, ridged, or wrinkled skin can also be an indication of thick skin, pulpiness, and lack of juice.


Kiwifruit
Avoid kiwi that show signs of shriveling, mold, or excessive softening, all of which indicate spoilage. Look for plump, unwrinkled fruit, either firm or slightly yielding. Kiwifruit is fully ripe when it is yielding to the touch but not soft. Firm kiwifruit can be ripened at home in a few days by leaving it at room temperature.


Lemons
Look for lemons with a rich yellow color, reasonably smooth-textured skin with a slight gloss, and those, which are firm and heavy. A pale or greenish-yellow color indicates very fresh fruit with slightly higher acidity. Coarse or rough skin texture is a sign of thick skin and not much flesh.


Cantaloupes
A cantaloupe might be mature, but not ripe. A ripe cantaloupe will have a yellowish cast to the rind, a pleasant aroma, and yield slightly to light thumb pressure on the blossom end of the melon. Cantaloupes


Watermelons
Judging the quality of a watermelon is very difficult unless it is cut in half or quartered. The watermelon surface should be relatively smooth. The ends of the melon should be filled out and rounded; and the underside of the melon should have a yellowish color and slightly flat. A flat underside usually means the watermelon ripped on the ground instead of in transit to the store.



Did you know?
Kuffel Creek Apple Nursery in located in Uganda Africa explains growing apples in Africa as "It is a shock to many people that yes, apples can be grown in a tropical climate, and have been grown by the millions for decades."

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Why Women Have Long Hair African Folktale

Why Women Have Long Hair is a wonderful African folktale about loving yourself inside and out. Read with your child and share wonderful African folktales, children enjoy listening to many types of African folktales learning from the wisdom and rich tradition of African storytelling.


Why Women Have Long Hair African Folktale

Two women quarreled, and one of them went out secretly at night and dug a deep pit in the middle of the path leading from her enemy’s house to the village well.

Early next morning, when all were going to the well for water with jars balanced on their heads, this woman fell into the pit and cried loudly for help.
 Traditional hair style from Eritrea photo by Wonderlane

Her friends ran to her and, seizing her by the hair, began to pull her out of the pit. To their surprise, her hair stretched as they pulled, and by the time she was safely on the path, her hair was as long as a man’s arm.

This made her very much ashamed, and she ran away and hid herself.

But after a while she realized that her long hair was beautiful, and then she felt very proud and scorned all the short-haired women, jeering at them.

When they saw this, they were consumed with jealousy, and began to be ashamed of their short hair. “We have men’s hair,” they said to one another. “How beautiful it would be to have long hair!”

So one by one they jumped into the pit, and their friends pulled them out by the hair.

And in this way they, and all women after them, had long hair.

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Why you should know the writer Chinua Achebe “Things Fall Apart”

Why you should know the writer Chinua Achebe "Things Fall Apart”

African Author
Albert Chinualumogu Achebe (pronounced CHIN-you-ah Ah-CHAY-bay) the Igbo author of Things Fall Apart was born on Nov. 16, 1930, in Ogidi Nigeria in an Ibo village. Chinua Achebe passed away March 21, 2013 in Boston.

Why you should know the writer Chinua Achebe "Things Fall Apart”


Explore and Understand Africa Through Her Food and Culture




Chinua Achebe is one of Africa's greatest novelists.


Chinua Achebe, after graduating from college in 1953, Achebe moved to London, where he worked for the BBC in London where he hand wrote “Things Fall Apart”. The original hand written manuscript was lost by a London typing service but was discovered months later. 

Chinua Achebe “Things Fall Apart”
Born: Nov 16, 1930 Ogidi, Anambra
Died: March 21, 2013 Boston

In 1958, his groundbreaking novel Things Fall Apart was published. It went on to sell more than 12 million copies and translated into more than 50 languages. The groundbreaking novel centers on the cultural clash between native African culture and the traditional white culture of missionaries and the colonial government in Nigeria.



Written in 1958, Things Fall Apart set in the late 19th century tells two intertwining stories, both centering on Okonkwo, a strong man of an Ibo village in Nigeria. The first, a powerful fable of the ancient conflict between the individual and society, traces Okonkwo’s fall from grace with the tribal world. 

Okonkwo, aspires to be everything his father was not: industrious, serious, successful, respected. Nevertheless, no matter how hard this determined farmer works, fate or the forces of nature seem to conspire against him. 



The second, as modern as the first is ancient, concerns the clash of cultures and the destruction of Okonkwo's world with the arrival of aggressive European missionaries. The changes seem subtle at first, but slowly the social fabric of the village begins to fall apart. 

These perfectly harmonized twin dramas are informed by awareness capable of encompassing at once the life of nature, human history, and the mysterious compulsions of the soul. Things Fall Apart traces the growing friction between village leaders and Europeans determined to save the heathen souls of Africa.
Written in 1958, Things Fall Apart centers on Okonkwo, a strong man of an Ibo village in Nigeria.



From 1972 to 1988, Achebe did not write due to emotional trauma that lingered after the Nigerian Civil war. “The novel seemed like a frivolous thing to be doing,” he told The Washington Post in 1988. 

In 1990, Achebe was in a car accident in Nigeria that left him paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. He taught at Bard College for 15 years, and then in 2009, he joined the faculty of Brown University as professor of Africana Studies. Achebe passed away March 21, 2013 in Boston.


Did you know?
Chinua Achebe first novel, “Things Fall Apart” was published in 1958, when he was 28.

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Tanzanian girls risking rape for an education

Usta remembers the night that drunken men broke into the mud shack where she lived away from her parents with several other schoolgirls in rural Tanzania.

 

She had done her homework, but was having trouble sleeping.
 
"There were seven of them. They forced their way into our huts, and rounded us up outside.
Usta's story
 
"What they wanted was to rape us," she says.
 
But this time she and her friends were lucky.
 
"The men were drunk, so we managed to escape," she says.
 
It does not always work out that way and Usta's story is becoming increasingly familiar in rural parts of Tanzania where more senior schools have sprung in the last decade.
 
Many teenage girls who desperately want to finish their education live far from the safety of their villages and parents in huts that the locals call "ghettos".
 
There they run the risk of attack so they do not have to walk up to 10km (six miles) twice a day to and from school.
 
 
Continue reading the main story from BBC News Africa Risking rape for education

 

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Tanzanian girl's long walk to education

Educating Tanzania’s Children


Eight-year-old Sylvia, in rural Tanzania, is determined to get an education and each school day makes a long and often risky one-and-a-half hour journey by foot, on her own to school. Her family is poor and cannot afford to provide her with basic shoes for the walk or a good uniform. But she is considered lucky as it is estimated that 29 million primary school-aged children, more than half of them girls, are out of school in Africa.

Sylvia's mother remarried when she was young after her father died. The family lives more than 300km (nearly 187 miles) from the main city of Dar es Salaam. Their house is in the center of the farming land - about half a kilometer (a little over 3 miles) from the nearest road. UN figures show that between 1999 and 2008 girls’ enrolment in Africa has increased from 54% to 74%, but about 16 million are out of school. Free primary education was introduced in Tanzania in 2001.


Read more from BBC Africa Educating African Girls

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Myths About African Middle-Class Living

Myths About African Middle-Class Living

Africa’s middle class population is relative
North African countries have a much higher concentration of the African middle class with Tunisia having the highest at 89 percent, Morocco 84 percent and Egypt 79 percent.

Mindelo Cape Verde

Myths About African Middle-Class Living

Many attributes set apart Africa’s middle class from the poor. One factor is the vast majority of Africa’s middle class is not likely to develop its income from agricultural activities.


Numerous economic news outlets report sub-Saharan African countries are expected to prosper in the next 16 years. However, do the growth figures reflect an improving quality of life? High growth rates should be viewed in context, the United Nations (UN) defines middle class as someone living on $10-$100 a day however, and the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) defines middle class as someone living on $2-$20 a day.

Summary of Middle Class in Africa, new figures are released every 10 years.


Year
Lower Middle Class Population $2-$4 a day
Middle-Middle Class Population $4-$10
Upper Middle Class Population  $10-$20
1980
51,132
41,443
22,770
1990
73,591
53,425
30,512
2000
105,874
60,499
38,076
2010
198,739
83,189
44,735

Household income figures do not always reflect class status since there is no universally recognized definition of middle class. There are the United Nations (UN) guidelines, so if you happen to wonder if an African family is middle class, you can consult the United Nations (UN) or the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) financial guiding principles.

Victoria and Alfred (V and A) Waterfront in Cape Town South Africa 
Nevertheless, after that, you are on your own to decide if an African family is lower middle class, middle class, upper middle class or in the spectacularly well-to-do range. However, to get us started thinking about financial status, an African household with four people living off $2,920 is considered lower middle class or floating class.

About 60 percent of Africa’s middle class, approximately 180 million people, remain lower middle class or floating class, barely out of the poor category. They are in a vulnerable position and face the relentless chance of dropping back into the poor category in the event of any unforeseen catastrophic event.

In Mauritania although nearly 43 percent of the population is classified as middle class, only 5 percent are considered stable with income levels of over $4 per day. The same situation applies in the three most populous countries in Africa, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Egypt where more than half of the middle class is in the floating category, living on less than $4 per day.

However, the glass is half-full, more than half of Africa's population is under age 35, and they are growing up well educated and technically well informed. As more countries that are African embrace electronic payments through the mobile phone, access to the internet gives a platform for economic growth potential to African entrepreneurs.


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Monday, August 5, 2013

Ghanaian Catfish Stewed With Tomatoes

Fish is the cheapest source of animal protein in Africa. Ghana’s fisheries provide 65% of the countries protein requirements, and support the livelihoods of almost 10% of Ghana’s population. 



Ghanaian Catfish with Stewed Tomatoes

Ghanaian Catfish with Stewed Tomatoes
African Recipes by

Easy Ghanaian catfish stewed with tomatoes is healthy, an inexpensive recipe to make and incredibly delicious. 

Prep time: Cook time: Total time:
Ingredients
4 medium sized catfish fillets
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cups vegetable stock
1 medium chopped onion
1 medium chopped red pepper
4 medium chopped tomatoes

Directions

Sauté filleted catfish in olive oil with the spices. When fish is half cooked slowly add vegetable stock, chopped onion, a red pepper, and tomatoes. Cook on slow for 30 minutes and serve with soft bread.



Did you know...?

We all share the same oceans, keep our oceans healthy and choose sustainable seafood

Ghanaian Catfish with Stewed Tomatoes

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Sunday, August 4, 2013

Ginger-Spiced Pears

Ginger-Pears

Ginger-Pears

Tangy ginger gives a kick to poached pears.

Easy Ginger Pears


Pears with lemon and ginger combine to make a delicately flavored dessert.


Easy Ginger Pears

Easy Ginger-Pears


Ingredients

5 hard pears      
3 cups water
7 cups sugar
½ cup chopped preserved ginger
3 lemons juice and rind


Directions

Pare and core the pears. Dice or cut into thin slices. Add water and cook until tender. Add the sugar, ginger, the lemon juice and grated rind. Simmer mixture until thick and pears are transparent. Pour into sterilized jars and seal. Serve together with grilled meats.




Growing pears in Africa


Pears are one of the most important deciduous fruits grown in South Africa. Over 3000 cultivars of the pear are known, South Africa’s main pear cultivars are Packham’s Triumph, Williams Bon Chretien, Forelle and Abate Fetel. South Africa’s main pear producing areas in the Western Cape are Ceres, Groenland, Wolseley/Tulbagh and Langkloof East in the Eastern Cape. The Western Cape Province account for more than half of all the pears produced in South Africa.

Ginger Pears


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Marake Kaloune East African Dinner in 30-minutes

Marake Kaloune or stewed fish in sauce, East African one pot dinner ready in 30-minutes.


Marake Kaloune East African Dinner in 30-minutes

Ingredients:
Marake Kaloune or stewed fish in sauce, East African one pot dinner ready in 30-minutes.
Marake Kaloune East African Dinner 
2 large firm fresh fish fillets
1 large potato, unpeeled and sliced
2 yellow onions diced
1 cup okra, chopped
1 eggplant, peeled and diced
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 bunch parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons tamarind paste
1 tablespoon diced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste


Directions:
Add potatoes, onions, okra, tomatoes, parsley and eggplant in a large pot with a lid. Mix tamarind paste and seasoning in a little water and pour over vegetables. Add the fish on top and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cook for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are soft.



Did you know...?

We all share the same oceans, keep our oceans healthy and choose sustainable seafood

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Chic African Culture Featured Articles

A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning.

A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning.
Be the good

Mental Discovery

The eye never forgets what the heart has seen - African Proverb

Wise Words


A wise person does not fall down on the same hill twice.