Comoros independence day

The Comoros celebrates its independence today. Consisting of four islands in an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, between the mainland Africa and Madagascar, the island has a diverse history and culture with African, Asian and European influences.

A matriarchal society still survives in the Comoros and in celebration of independence and sisterhood, here are the vocal stylings of Comorian women:

 

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Malawi independence day

SK

Malawi celebrates its independence day today.

I remember going to an Afrolution event a few years back. The show was totally taken away by Malawi's own MC, Kimba 'chellam' Mutanda. I absolutely love his clever track "Dearest Child" (listen to it on his myspace page). You can read an interview with Kimba on Mmalawi Blog, "the Ultimate Infotainment Directory." Here's a snippet of his lyrical stylings:

I came across another interesting artistic talent from Malawi, Samson Kambalu. You can read more here and here about his thought-provoking interactive installations and experience holyballism for yourself on his website. Kambalu is also author of an autobiographical book, The Jive Talker: Or, How to get a British Passport, one of the Sunday Telegraph's Books of The Year, 2008.

Check out the Lake of Stars Festival in Malawi, this October. An award winning festival, it brings international talents together with local artists and helps to promote the arts, tourism and development in Malawi. This year's line up includes: The Noisettes, Peter Mawanga, Sally Nyundo, Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly., Tinashe, Eddy Temple-Morris, John McClure, Afrikan Boy, Goldierocks and more. The festival is powered by volunteers so you can get involved and experience this great event and beautiful lake-side setting.

Image at top: Samson Kambalu signing his Sunny Side Up silkscreen prints, available at the Jealous Print Studio.

Algeria Independence day

El Kantara

Algeria celebrates their independence today. 

This North African country is home to the first African-born winner of the Literature Nobel Prize, Albert Camus. Perhaps most famous for his novel, The Stranger, Camus is also regarded as a key philosopher of the 20th century. Philosopher and founder of deconstruction, Jacques Derrida was also born in Algeria. Martinique philosopher and psychiatrist, Frantz Fanon, spent a great part of his life in Algeria and his work there constitutes a great part of his famous revolutionary book, The Wretched of the Earth.

Algerian art

Along with a centuries old tradition of arts and crafts, there is a significant contemporary art scene which is well documented. Read this insightful article on Algeria's Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Algiers (MAMA) and how it is facilitating new relationships between "culture and memory, public space and sense space, urbanity and citizenship."

 

Images above:
Top – Barrage d'El Kantara à Biskra by Astonar.
Middle – Art work by  Ammar Bouras, Samta Benyahia and Mohammed Khadda

The selfish African

The-selfish-African

For a large part of my employed life, I worked for a progressive sustainability communications agency. A key belief of the company, and of many successful people all over the world and over centuries, is that you have to have a vision of what success looks like, before you can achieve it.

I worked with different kinds of clients, all of whom were professing some level of commitment to sustainable development. From previously unusual suspects such as multinational corporations, to the more expected non-profit organizations; from national government departments to local authorities and; everything in-between. Perhaps because it was my bread and butter, and something at the front of mind every day, I often started to feel the frustration of hammering the same messages, doubting that they were really getting through. Or whether those that commissioned them in the first place were merely ticking boxes.

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Somalia Independence Day

Mataanomontage

The Republic of Somalia was formed 50 years ago today when the former British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland territories united. 

While Somalia is often associated with conflict, piracy and the breakdown of the state, its cultural ambassadors have been busy creating alternative expressions of and insights on the nation.

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Burundi Independence Day

Today in 1962, Burundi became independent from Belgium. To celebrate, we're sharing the sounds of the Royal Drummers of Burundi. Playing traditional rhythms honouring the sacredness of the drum, the Drummers have brought attention to Burundi, a nation that is rarely talked about.

A multi-generational percussion ensemble, the Royal Drummers of Burundi, or Les Tambours de Burundi are globally renowned with their music having inspired the likes of Adam Ant and Joni Mitchell as well as the creation of the WOMAD festival in 1982. 

 

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