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.


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

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Hannibal, Commander or Canibal

Hannibal Barca General Commander-in-Chief of the Carthaginian army

Hannibal's identity crisis issue is almost nothing about him is written down by the Carthaginians. Most of the world's knowledge about Hannibal comes from the Greeks and Romans, who are his sworn enemies since he was nine years. It does not help the biography of Hannibal when Thomas Harris created Hannibal Lecter, who originally appeared in a series of novels and subsequently the horror movie Silence of the Lambs.

Hannibal Barca General Commander-in-Chief of the Carthaginian army

Hannibal, Commander or Canibal. When You Say The Name Hannibal, Whom Do You Think Of?

Explore and Understand Africa Through Her Food and Culture

Hannibal Barca 247-183 BC was a Carthaginian general during the Second Punic War between Carthage and Rome, 218-202 BC and is one of the greatest military commanders in world history.

Hannibal the Commander

His father was Hamilcar Barca, 275-228 BC, the great general of the First Punic War 264-241 BC died command of the army passed to Hasdrubal, Hamilcar's son-in-law for eight years but Hasdrubal was assassinated. When news of his brother-in-law death reached the armies, the soldiers unanimously chosen Hannibal, age 21, as their commander. Hannibal streamlined his aggressive means of warfare and on assuming the command he at once rode out to conquer the Olcades, and soon made himself master strategy by a series of intelligent and formidable assaults which the Olcades were overwhelmed and surrendered to the Hannibal and the Carthaginians. Hannibal is considered one of the greatest generals of antiquity and his tactics are still studied and used in the present day. 

In 219 BC the Romans took over the city of Saguntum, near the modern town of Sagunto in the province of Valencia, Spain. The Romans, ignoring their treaty with the Carthaginians installed a coup d'état. Because of this, the capture of Saguntum was essential to Hannibal's plan and Hannibal conquered and destroyed the city Saguntum. The Saguntines turned to Rome for aid, but none was sent. In 218 BC after enduring eight months of siege the Saguntines' last defences were finally overrun. This was the start of the 2nd punic war.

Hannibal's crossing of the Alps in 218 BC second punic war is one of the most celebrated achievements of any military campaign. The Romans mistakenly presumed that the Alps created a secure natural barrier but they did not count on Hannibal's tenacity and intelligence. Hannibal occupied much of Italy for 15 years but was unable to march on Rome. Hannibal's army numbered 38,000 infantry, 8,000 cavalry, and 38 elephants, almost none of which would survive the harsh conditions of the Alps. 

An enemy counter-invasion of North Africa forced him to return to Carthage, where he was decisively defeated by Scipio Africanus at the Battle of Zama. Military historian Theodore Ayrault Dodge, who fought as a Union officer in the American Civil War called Hannibal the father of strategy, because his greatest enemy, Rome, came to adopt elements of his military tactics in its own strategic arsenal. Hannibal remained true to the vow he had taken when young with his father by his side on the altar at the age of nine. Until his death, he remained an enemy of Rome and his name is remembered as Rome's greatest enemy even to the present day.

Did you know?
No surviving ancient biography on the subject of Hannibal has ever been found.

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Saturday, October 6, 2018

When You Can't Trust Water

When You Can't Trust Water

Precious eyesight can be saved, river blindness is one of the leading causes of preventable blindness worldwide. River Blindness is a tropical disease caused by a parasitic worm.

About 300,000 people are blind because of the parasitic worm Onchocerca volvulus and another 800,000 have visual impairment. Nearly 99% of infected persons live in Africa.

Man in Tanzania Africa with River Blindness
Man in Tanzania Africa with River blindness

What is River Blindness?

River Blindness is transmitted through repeated bites by black flies that bite during the day. The disease is called River Blindness because the blackfly that transmits the infection lives and breeds near fast-flowing streams and rivers and the infection can result in blindness.

Humans become infected when blackflies deposit Onchocerca infective larvae into the skin when biting to extract blood. Once inside the human body, the larvae mature into adults in around 3 months to 1 year. Most adult female worms live in fibrous nodules under the skin and sometimes near muscles and joints.

Adult male worms are usually found near the female worms. Nodules form around the worms as part of the interaction between the parasite and its human host. Inside the nodules the worms are relatively safe from the human immune response.

As adults, female worms produce thousands of new larvae daily. The larvae become detectable in the skin 10 to 20 months after the initial infection. The adult worms can live up to 15 years inside the human body, and their larvae have a lifespan up to 2 years.

The death of microfilariae is very toxic to the skin and the eye, producing terrible itching and various eye manifestations (lesions). After repeated years of exposure, these lesions may lead to irreversible blindness and disfigurative skin diseases sometimes named "leopard" skin and "lizard" skin.

How Common is River Blindness?

Worldwide river blindness is second only to trachoma as an infectious cause of preventable blindness.
Eye exam

Worldwide river blindness is second only to trachoma as an infectious cause of preventable blindness. In some West African communities, the disease had blinded about 50% of men over the age of 40 years. People with major river blindness infections will usually have one or more of three conditions of itchy skin rash, eye disease, and/or nodules under the skin.

The World Health Organization estimates that at least 25 million people are infected and 123 million people live in areas that put them at risk of infection. About 300,000 people are blind because of the parasite and another 800,000 have visual impairment. Nearly 99% of infected persons live in Africa. River Blindness is commonly treated with an oral medicine called ivermectin however; there is neither a vaccine nor recommended drug available to prevent River Blindness.

Did you know?
Trachoma is the world's leading cause of preventable blindness and occurs where people live in overcrowded conditions with limited access to water and health care. Trachoma, an eye infection affecting both eyes, is the world's leading cause of preventable blindness. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), trachoma is responsible for the visual impairment of 2.2 million people, of whom 1.2 million are irreversibly blind. 

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Thursday, October 4, 2018

Fear the Snitch African Proverbs

Fear the Snitch African Proverbs

Three Zulu African proverbs why you need to fear a snitch, trader and bad influence with proverb meanings and explanations.

Snitch, trader and bad influence Zulu African proverbs with explanations

Yintlolela yombini
A spy for both.
Meaning: Said of a snitch.

Ukaka kampetu
The shield turned the wrong way.
Meaning: This saying is applied to anyone who goes over from one party to another. It is a common expression for one who turns evidence against accomplices in crime.

Uyakulila ngasonye uxele inkawu
You will shed tears with one eye like a monkey.
Meaning: A warning used to deter any one from being led into a snare of any kind. It is said that when a monkey is caught in a trap he cries, but that tears come out of one eye only.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Supernatural African Plants

Learn About Supernatural African Plants

Certain plants in Africa have a supernatural deadly reputation but these African plants, steeped in myth and folklore, have been used for thousands of years for medicinal purposes in Africa.

In Africa, the supernatural and medicinal properties of plants were secrets learnt by the most intelligent and observant members of static, pastoral and nomadic tribes and clans; and the possessor of these secrets became the supernatural cornerstone of the clan since holding the  knowledge acquired of herbs and their uses.

Herbalist growing supernatural African Plants
Herbalist growing supernatural African Plants

The medicinal properties of certain herbs and plants in skillful hands were well known to the ancient seers the symptoms and effects could be varied accordingly as the plants were dried, powdered, dissolved in water, eaten freshly gathered, or burnt as incense on the altars. The subtle powers of opiates obtained from certain plants were among the secrets carefully preserved by the witchdoctor.

Among the plants and flowers to which the power of divination has been attributed, among the Egyptians by the use of Opium and Kaempfer the patient fell into a rapturous state. From the juice of the Hemp, the Egyptians have for ages prepared an intoxicating extract, called Hashîsh, which is made up into balls of the size of a Chestnut. Having swallowed some of these, and thereby produced a species of intoxication, they experience ecstatic visions. The cork oak was held especially sacred to the ancient Egyptians as it was also thought useful in driving away evil spirits.

Satyrion is a favorite herb with North African herbalists, who held it to be one of the most powerful sexual desires. Cumin is thought to possess a mystical power of retention: hence, it has found its way into many a love-philter, as being able to ensure fidelity and constancy in love.

Growing herbs in South Africa
Growing herbs in South Africa

The Mandrake is one of the most celebrated of magical plants, but for an enumeration of its manifold mystic powers. The arid areas of Sudan are said to produce a certain fruit that the natives call Peci. It was believed that when pulled from the ground the root emitted a shrill cry that drove people mad and killed them. The plant grows in arid areas where it has been used as a hallucinogen, painkiller, aphrodisiac and fertility drug for thousands of years.

However, the dose has to be right. In essence, if you were to consume it you would basically get hallucinations, dizziness and increased heart rate, and you could get disturbed vision as a consequence of it, and then disturbed cognition. If the dose is high, enough it could kill you.

The mandrake is just one of 2,500 species belonging to the Solanaceae family, which also contains tomatoes, potatoes, chillies, aubergines, peppers, tobacco, deadly nightshade and henbane - they are commonly called the Nightshades.

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Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Stop Talking and Listen

Stop Talking and Listen

Stop talking and start listening to good African Proverb advice from the ancestors.

African Ancestor advice to listen to

  • Those who refuse to obey cannot command.
  • War ends nothing
  • If you are filled with pride then you will have no room for wisdom.
  • The lion does not turn around when a small dog barks.
  • The spider and the fly can't make a bargain.
  • An army of sheep led by a lion can defeat an army of lions led by sheep

African Proverbs

War ends nothing.

Those who refuse to obey cannot command.

The lion does not turn around when a small dog barks.

An army of sheep led by a lion can defeat an army of lions led by sheep

The spider and the fly can't make a bargain.
The spider and the fly can't make a bargain.  

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Chic African Culture Featured Articles

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