For Your Updated News and Views from Africa.
1. Apology for slave trade made at Gambia International Roots Festival
John Hawkins a cousin to Francis Drake was one of the first people to kidnap good men women and children from West Afrika and make them into slaves by selling them to slave masters in the Caribbean. Andrew Hawkins who claims to be a descendant of John Hawkins made a political gesture 10 years ago at the ‘International Roots Festival in the Gambia’.
Andrew Hawkins visited Gambia in June 2006 with a group of 20 from the ‘Lifeline Expedition’, a charity project aimed at achieving reconciliation over the slave trade. After walking to the Banjul Stadium in the Gambia in Yokes and Chains, Andrew Hawkins 37, a youth worker from Cornwall on behalf of his group apologised. “I apologised on behalf of my family. I apologised for the adults and children taken. I recognise that it’s a small, simple act to say sorry – but it was a handful of people who started the slave trade and the ripples of their actions caused evil throughout the continent of Africa”.
As Andrews’s apology came to an end the Vice-President of Gambia, Isatou Njie Saidy, came forward to symbolically remove the chains and accept Andrews’s group’s apology.
Andrew Hawkins and his group again donned chains and staged a ‘reconciliation walk’ through Juffureh Island, the local elders were less impressed by the group’s gesture and it took talks with the elders to further explain the symbolism behind the group’s actions.
Andrew later stated that “It was one of the most memorable things I’ve ever done. It was a learning experience. You see just how deep the wounds left by the slave trade are. As someone with family links to the slave traders, it was a very difficult thing to see the consequences of their actions. Hopefully a handful of people can now be the beginning of something good.”
Andrews’s symbolic gesture of an apology cannot stand alone; an apology is only a starting point for the healing of a continent. 10 years on Afrika is still fighting for sincere formal apologies and reparations from all those countries that raped Afrika and continue to benefit from the slave trade and colonialism.
2. Why are we poisoning ourselves; our children and generations to come?
People are now becoming more aware of the poison that they are putting into their bodies and the effects this has on individuals; families and generations to come. Those of us who care about the existence of the human race and quality of life are changing the way we eat and live.
Some of the challenges to our human existence today are:
. Introduction of a processed (Poison) food diet.
. Less manual jobs, thus lack of natural physical exercise for our bodies.
. Rich soil around the world is left uncultivated.
. Wealth being kept by few and many are left to starve, including wars (Underlying factors usually greed).
There is a saying that we use in Africa, although with western influences we have become very lax in practicing it. ‘Eat what you grow and grow what you eat’ We have been brainwashed into eating food that has been processed and eating less food that is naturally grown. Our bodies are natural healers and any poison that we put in destroys the ability to function and to heal. The result is more illnesses that our bodies cannot fight such as adult and child cancers.
If you want to research more into our journey from natural food to processed food, look at food journeys such as sugar, white flower and fat, these are the most widely used products in our food today. For example the natural nutrients that sugar cane produces are very different to the end result of the production of white sugar. Look at the benefits of coconut oil, which was widely used in Africa and the Caribbean until many were then told coconut oil and other saturated fats were bad for your health. Don’t forget the journey of white flour, the biggest poison of them all. But don’t despair we have all been sold the ‘healthy food lie’.
How can change come about?
Back to our age old saying ‘eat what you grow and grow what you eat’ I would add to that saying…
‘Eat when you’re hungry and share what you grow and grow in natural soil what you eat’
The biggest challenge for us today is that we are heading towards a worldwide food shortage. Farmland is therefore now a very precious commodity and some international company’s who can foresee the need for real produce and not artificial processed food for the future survival of humans on this earth are buying up the land (land grabbing).
African countries need to make sure that those who live in the country are given the tools, support and financial resources to cultivate the land so that they can eat what they grow. There is no need for hunger in a country if there is rich soil. It is a reality that some countries export the rich natural grown food and import garbage and/or allow commercial companies to feed their people poison.
Those who are interested in buying land abroad should be made to give back to that country part of what is cultivated, which also includes giving local people jobs instead of importing their own workforce and exporting all of the produce.
Generations need to understand the value of their land and develop an overwhelming union within their communities with support from the government to develop and sell their own produce. No country should be exporting more produce than they need to feed those in the country. My mother use to say ‘look after those at home before you look after those abroad’
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3. Is Africa’s meteoric rise to riches sustainable?
Africa is booming based on commodities sales. But buyers like China are not transferring ‘know how.’ Without more of a middle class and new Mandela-like leaders, things could go sideways.
Click on the link to read the full article by Robert Rotberg