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Mansa Musa: The Richest Man of All Time [History & Net worth] 

There seems to be a ping-pong match between tech titans every few years for the title of the richest person on earth. However, Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk is not close to being the richest person of all time despite their wealth. They’re still a long way from African King Mansa Musa, who is considered the richest person of all time “richer than any description can describe.”

Who Was Mansa Musa?

Mansa means Sultan in the indigenous language of the region, the Mandinka, which Musa was born into in 1280.

He became king of Mali in 1312 and his 25-year reign saw the country expand massively to include nations such as Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Guinea, and the Ivory Coast.

How Mansa Musa Became the Richest Man in History

Musa was deputized to temporarily assume Abubakari II’s duties by the former emperor, Abubakari II. This empire was characterized by its “on-call” emperors throughout its history.

This role is similar to that of a vice president in the modern world, as the person would be expected to step in on a full-time basis if something happened to the main emperor.

In a surprising turn of events, Musa is forced to step in. The day Abubakari headed out to explore the far side of the Atlantic Ocean, he never returned.

It wasn’t as if Musa appeared out of nowhere to lead. The founder of the Mali Empire was his great-uncle, Sundiata Keita.

You can attain wealth in many ways, as many late-night infomercials will tell you. Musa made his fortune primarily by trading gold and salt, which were found in abundance in Western Africa at the time. Most of his wealth was spent on strengthening important cultural centers, such as Timbuktu.

Musa didn’t become well known outside of Africa until he ventured outside of the region he ruled, despite his massive success. In 1324, Musa, a devout Muslim, decided to do the Hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca). His name soon spread throughout the world.

Pilgrimages to Mecca continue to be important parts of Islam today. It was no easy task for Musa. His empire was over 4,000 miles away. He would certainly not have been able to go alone, as he was rich and powerful.

In total, 60,000 people accompanied Musa on his pilgrimage, including servants, soldiers, and supporters.

Unlike what one might expect, Musa’s servants were not dressed in rags. The Persian silks they wore were adorned with gold staff.

Musa’s convoy of camels, horses, and people attracted the attention of the world. The caravan of Musa was not only hard to miss, but he was also giving away gold to random peasants on the street. Musa left the streets littered with gold when he passed through Cairo, Medina, and finally Mecca.

Musa sometimes left a large wake, however. Gold was given away so freely in Cairo that the economy was messed up for a time. The value of the gold plummeted.

As a result of Mansa Musa borrowing from Cairo lenders (despite the high-interest rate), the disruptions eventually settled down. Almost single-handedly, the king controlled the gold market in the Mediterranean. Cairo’s economy, however, did not fully recover from the golden touch of Mansa Musa until over a decade had passed.

The pilgrimage to Mecca would undoubtedly cement Musa’s place in history. At the time, he saw it as a way to honor his faith and to expand his kingdom. He acquired Gao in that historic journey.

Musa expanded his empire after his reign to include present-day Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, and Mauritania, as well as Mali.

Mansa Musa’s Net Worth

He is estimated to have a fortune worth around $400 billion today when inflation is taken into account. Despite being rich and sultan, he was much more than that.

Mansa Musa might seem similar to other wealthy people who eventually become philanthropists, like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, or John D. Rockefeller.

Musa, all those centuries ago, accumulated half of the wealth of the world’s richest people as a king. Musa has thus been regarded as the richest person in history by many experts. Nevertheless, many are still unable to comprehend his true wealth.

Musa’s Reign

In large part, because it was so prominently displayed during the pilgrimage to Mecca, Musa’s incredible and impressive wealth was widely known throughout the region.

During his reign, he sponsored an extensive construction program in Mali, raising mosques and madrasahs, including Sankore Madrasah (the University of Sankore).

In addition to encouraging urban living, he is credited with being an integral part of the emergence of urban civilization, as more and more people moved into urban centers during his time.

During his pilgrimage, Musa also expanded his empire to include Timbuktu and Goa. During this time, with the help of Spanish and Egyptian architects, he built the Djinguereber Mosque in Timbuktu.

Musa’s empire made Timbuktu a center of trade and culture as well as an important center for Islamic scholarship. In addition to his devotion to education, he built one of the largest libraries in the world during his reign, rivaling the Library of Alexandria with roughly 1,000,000 manuscripts.

Due to Timbuktu’s reputation, trade routes to southern European cities like Venice and Genoa included the city.


Blacks and Monuments

The Stroll, a social development organization that researches developments around Kitchener runs a project of identifying objects or peoples of historical value, with the purpose of preserving them or stories about them for information and education of those that will later inherit the land. An African proverb says those that do not know where they are coming from may not know where they are going; the reason being that if pressing forward becomes impossible, at least you can go back to where you took off from; The Stroll is doing a great job of preserving stories of them that sand of time seemed to have covered up.

Recently, we went with their guides through Kitchener, Ontario in search of the footsteps of Black residents that had lived in the city more than a hundred years ago and were surprised to know that quite a several Black people lived and thrived in the area that is now considered the town center. It took hours to review the names of the streets and to link the names and buildings to persons. Some murals on the walls around Queen Street and their specific locations began to have meanings. It was like taking a DNA test that began to point in the direction of one’s ancestry.

The journey began with some acknowledgments of them that had gone ahead, beginning with the First peoples aboriginal to the land but was displaced either by deceit, purchase or frustrated to depart,  followed by the recognition of the underprivileged blacks that erk out an existence after escaping slavery from the United States,  as well as the appreciations to them of the majority that saw the value in others and supported the upward mobility and participation with full rights of black compatriots

Kitchener Ontario used to be called Berlin; the name change is a story of another day and that is why The Stroll calls their project “Black Presence in Berlin”, but black people occupied a part of Berlin called Queen’s Bush. An Epitaph in front of Log School House is erected by the City of Waterloo in recognition of one of the first schools in Kitchener, the brief History also captured the name of a black man that lived on that same property in the mid-nineteen century.

The brief History reads “The Log School House -1820- is Waterloo’s first school and one of the oldest remaining log schoolhouses in the Province of Ontario. Built in 1820, the school was originally located near the corner of King and Central Street on lands donated by Abraham Erb. By 1842, the school was too small to accommodate the number of school children, and the building was moved to an area between Waterloo and Berlin (Now Kitchener), called Greenbush where it became the residence of a former slave, Levi Caroll, and his family until 1891…”

Our trip around Kitchener town center led to the actual building and offices that used to be occupied by black businesses in the 19th century. The blacks of Kitchener made social progress; they were artisans, lawyers, musicians, and even ran for municipal offices. Great black trumpeters played in bars where they were not accepted as customers, but they put up with many of these and bore the burdens of a better life for those coming behind, to these we must show appreciation.

One lesson though, it is a good thing for black people to also build buildings and structures that can be left as landmarks for posterity. Physical things that tell their stories. The stroll help with lots of narrations to help us imagine what it was then, but how much better will it be to see preserved buildings, artifacts that can be touched in museums and spaces and rooms like those of the great men of other races that left marks in the sand of time. Monuments can be like a blast from the past that points to the future, it is important.


Throughout history, music has always been an important adjunct to ritual and drama and has been credited with the capacity to reflect and influence human emotion. Popular culture has consistently exploited these possibilities, most conspicuously today by means of radio, film, television, musical theatre, and the Internet.

Every community, tribe, and tongue has always found a way to create music. It is as important as learning how to farm or defend themselves. This brings us the question: why music is so important to us as human beings?

In every culture of the world, music is a social activity in which almost everyone  participates. Music highlights communal values and brings people together in diverse ways. Many events of importance are celebrated with music, whether it is a marriage, a birth, or a ceremonial rite of passage.

Historically, religions have often been catalysts for music. The Yoruba people of West Africa are known for their advanced drumming tradition, especially using the dundun hourglass tension drums. Yoruba folk music became perhaps the most prominent kind of West African music in AfroLatin and Caribbean musical styles; left an especially important influence on the music used in Santería practice and the music of Cuba.

The Vedas of Hinduism immensely influenced Indian classical music, while the Five Classics of Confucianism laid the basis for subsequent Chinese music. Following the rapid spread of Islam in the 6th century, Islamic music dominated Persia and the Arab World, and the Islamic Golden Age saw the presence of numerous important music  theorists.

Music was written for and by the early Christian Church properly inaugurating the Western classical music tradition, which continues into medieval music where polyphony, staff notation and nascent forms of many modern instruments developed.

In addition to religion or the lack thereof, a society’s music is influenced by all other aspects of its culture, including social and economic organization and experience, climate, and access to technology. Many cultures have coupled music with other art forms, such as the Chinese four arts and the medieval quadrivium. The emotions and ideas that music expresses, the situations in which music is played and listened to, and the attitudes toward musicians and composers all vary between regions and periods. Many cultures have or continue to distinguish between art music  (or ‘classical music’), folk music, and more recently, popular music.

10 Benefits of music in today’s world

Music can improve mood, decrease pain and anxiety, and facilitate opportunities for  emotional expression. Research suggests that music can benefit our physical and  mental health in numerous ways. Music therapy is used by our hospice and palliative care board-certified music therapist to enhance conventional treatment for a variety of illnesses and disease  processes – from anxiety, depression, and stress to the management of pain and enhancement of functioning after degenerative neurologic  disorders.

  1. Music is good for the heart: Research has shown that blood flows more easily when music is played. It can also reduce heart rate, lower blood pressure, decrease cortisol (stress hormone) levels and increase serotonin and endorphin levels in the blood.
  2. Music elevates mood: Music can boost the brain’s production of the hormone dopamine. This increased dopamine production helps relieve feelings of anxiety and depression. Music is processed directly by the amygdala, which is the part of the brain involved in mood and emotions.
  3. Music reduces stress: Research has found that listening to music can relieve stress by triggering biochemical stress reducers.
  4. Music relieves symptoms of depression: When you’re feeling down in the dumps, music can help pick you up – much like exercise.
  5. Music stimulates memories: There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, but music therapy has been shown to relieve some of its symptoms. Music therapy can relax an agitated patient, and improve the mood and open communication in patients.
  6. Music manages pain: By reducing stress levels and providing a strong competing stimulus to the pain signals that enter the brain, music therapy can assist in pain management.
  7. Music eases pain. Music can meaningfully reduce the perceived intensity of pain, especially in geriatric care, intensive care, or palliative medicine.
  8. Music helps with weight loss: Playing soft music in the background (and dimming the lights) during a meal can help people slow down while eating and ultimately consume less food in one sitting.
  9. Music increases workout endurance: Listening to those top workout tracks can boost physical performance and increased endurance during a tough exercise session.
  10. Music connects us to the spiritual: Most times, music is used as a connection to the spiritual world. Every single religion in the world used music as a way to reach the world. People have also used music individually to reach their deity or creator in situations of emotional stress or helplessness.

Written By Babarinde Williams

War is personal

Unlike wars that were read of in recorded history that may be found fascinating, modern wars cannot be viewed as such, certainly not as mere push and pull of crazy peoples that could be waved off but as serious events with costs to individuals that are serious and very personal. The world is watching with horror, how lives and livelihoods are being wasted in the war between Russia and Ukraine but not as mere onlookers but also as joint losers, although of much smaller things yet there is a cost to almost everyone at a personal level.

Losses of lives are horrendous and the pains in the hearts of soldiers, their families, and individual combatants are grave but other kinds of losses exist and quite often, individuals will measure the impact of any conflict according to the extent of disruptions to them personally. There will be those that will bear the consequences of this war for a long time, despite not being at the war front. From the aged people abandoned in homes while other able-bodied people fled to a planned wedding that simply did not hold; not that it was called off, everyone is just on the run because survival is the pressing matter of the moment.

The reverberation of the war is felt worldwide in disrupted lives and distorted supply-chain because truly, the world is. Oil and gas prices went up with everyone paying more as the reserves were running low in many nations, but the impact on individual pockets is beyond that since energy is a major direct input into many manufacturing plants, costs of goods and services go up accordingly in many countries, despite not being anywhere near the theater of war,

No country is an island to itself anymore because a finished product in one country could be a raw material in another. Farm produce like wheat, where Ukraine excelled, but is currently not able to be processed and bagged will lead to a higher cost of bread in Africa; just as many needed goods will be stopped from entering Russia and many good things will never be sent to Ukraine because it is a war zone.

Great Russian citizens abroad, athletes, and businesspeople will become Pariahs on many streets of the world. The proud flags of Russia and its beautiful people will hide their nationality for a while because this is a time when to be a Russian is to be considered a villain. In this season that Russia is considered the aggressor, their nationals living elsewhere can expect to lose businesses, be ejected from their homes, be beaten, or even experience worse.

In the war zone, the costs to international students, businesspeople, and locals caught in the unwholesome situations will stagger as they will suddenly find themselves as refugees, exposed to dangers and exploitations. The cases of missing family members will be rampant as people flee in all directions, seeking shelter from raids and bombs. The breakdown of law and order will break fragile spirits, transforming otherwise good people into monsters

Weakness, sudden death from lack of sanitation, medications, and inability to access medical help will lead to death in addition to people with terminal cases and other ailments that are heavily medicated and monitored, wars make these simple things impossible, imposing another kind of costs to such persons. While for many people, the war between Ukraine and Russia is one of bombs and bullets, for others it is the losses of loved ones to heart failures, exposure, and truncated dreams. What had caused many sorrows also included a truncated future and a safe people converted to begging refugees suddenly, wars impose personal costs, and it is not a distant story but the problem for all here and now.



Continental Africa, like many other, continents, is endowed with the conduit of wisdom and knowledge. However, due to the pervasive stereotypical mind of some people, such wisdom and knowledge have bypassed them, and they obstinately and ignorantly miss out on the richness of that second largest continent in the world.

African traditional Religion is called animism which is the attribution of spirituality or some extra ability to inanimate objects. African tradition believes that a supernatural capability exists to activate objects and that the material universe is actually primed by invisible forces to its present state of harmony. Disharmony therefore can only be caused by the restless gods that needed to be spoken to with words of order of nature at rest. Most African proverbs are sourced from the Niger-Congo tribal groups and some more from the Nilo-Saharan tribes which suggest that the greater an area where African traditional practices exist, the proverbs are more common.

Many proverbs of Africa appear to be good observations that can be incontrovertible rules that are only safe to toe the line. It is akin to laws of science like gravity; there is no sense in anyone doing anything in defiance of the law of gravity or floatation. Proverbs are akin to simple things like do not seek to cross large rivers by foot, you are not a fish; clearly, no one needs to argue with such, but many African proverbs are not just mere words, but laws of nature with the capacity to activate spirit being lying low in nature when the right combinations of them are spoken, just as the right arrangements of wires and magnets will generate electricity. So African proverbs are valuable guides to living and interpersonal relationships.

Africa and her people, (and that term includes the Diaspora ) are rich in wise sayings, and proverbial expressions, which are all offspring of Philosophy. The Africans are well versed in philosophy, and they are quick and steady in the way they communicate in proverbs. They believe in the mathematical saying that “The shortest distance between two points is a straight line” Proverb seems to be the shortest distance from point A to point B at any given discussion. A typical example of this is found among the Yoruba ethnic group of Nigeria which says, ” Bi Oluwa ba pani lori, a fi irungbon di”, which means, “If God makes a person bald, He substitutes it with beard”. This simply means, If you lost something here, you also gained another there”

The expression of proverbs is also demonstrated among the Yoruba in the mediatorial role. The proverb that says , “O-gb-ejo-nikan-da, agba osika; elejo akoko rojo, o binu, o so opa nu; igbati enikeji ba ro ti e, o ku ohun ti yo fi da a”; that means, “The listener to one party’s case to judge, is a wicked elder. The first party presented their case and he(the elder) got angry to the point of throwing away the staff; when the second party presents their case, what will he (the elder)  use to render the verdict? ” With this in mind, the African philosophy epitomizes their ways of life wherever the Africans are found.

Philosophy also plays an important role in everyday human behavior. This is well spelled out by another Yoruba proverb that says, “Eni ba mo ise okunkun, ko ma se da osupa loro”. This means, “The person that is familiar with the deeds of the darkness, should not torture the moon”. The proverb addresses the aspect of actions in relation to consequences. The proverb sounds like a guiding warning to any person that wants to act, to think deeply and reflectively about what the outcome of their action might be.

In conclusion, African philosophy, as variously and numerously promoted through proverbs, is hardly separable from the African and the diaspora ways of life.



Tourism Spots of Africa



The land of the blacks, Africa which lies between the Atlantic and the Indian ocean is rich in history, populated by diverse tribes with its incredible landscape teeming with wildlife that is worth seeing, Africa is simply endowed by nature that offers amazing sights from Sunrise to sunset.

From Mediterranean beaches on the North coast to South Africa, there are wonders of landscapes and formations, through the deserts across the mid-African forest down to the capes of the Southern tip. Senegal Indian Ocean to the east bounds Africa to the west while the Horn of Africa and Kenya dip into the Indian Ocean to the East of Africa, In there are nature’s beauty, rich culture, and historical sites worth checking out.

These soothing gifts of nature and monuments have over the years been preserved admirations of local and international visitors which indicated that special land formations or nature by itself are some forms of riches. Let us take an overview of a few places of attraction in some select countries of Africa as a guide for prospective tourists about what this continent can offer in terms of tourism and hospitality.

In North Most of Africa lies Egypt, the established cradle of civilization where the great learnings and thoughts of the ancient tribes have been preserved for posterity. The land of the Pharaohs as Egypt is well known is synonymous with the river Nile, a very long river that stretches across several countries including Ethiopia and Sudan. The Nile is significant for the drive it provides for energy generation and agricultural productivity in its path.

Egypt has the most visited place in Africa, particularly because of the ancient wisdom coded in the ancient pyramids located in the neighborhood of Giza, another Egyptian city. The pyramids are determined to be about 5000 years old based on archaeological findings and historical records. In Giza is the great Sphinx, an imposing limestone statue of a mythical creature with the body of a human and the head of a lion. Its purpose and the sheer creativity in building such a thing in ancient times are amazing.

Other sites of interest in Egypt are the Cairo Tower, Mohammed Alli’s mosque, and the modern museum in Cairo among others.

Wildlife and the harmony of nature are the key allure of East Africa. Kenya offers the best of wildlife and nature’s blend. The country’s forest reserves radiate romance and pleasure. For instance, the Masai Mara National Park is rated as one of the world’s most magnificent game reserves. The abundance of wildlife in this reserve is dizzying. Tourists will feed their eyes with the freely roving, elephants, crocodiles, hyenas, hippos, cheetahs, etc.

The same goes for the Nairobi national park. The city of Nairobi itself symbolizes the nation’s fun haven. Visitors will be welcomed at the stunning beaches, the cultural life, and the capital city’s bustling nightlife. Moreover, the Park of Mombasa, a coastal city promises visitors as well experience.

In the West African region, All Countries there have something to offer, bearing security concerns which is taking the shine off places like Nigeria but they include the sublime beach sites, the native customs that are merely trimmed at the edges by modernity remain things of curiosity. Lots of artifacts are still available where records and objects of slavery are kept for coming generations to see.

The African traditional worshippers never disappeared in West Africa, “Osun grove” in the Southwest of Nigeria attracts hordes of local and international tourists to the yearly Osun-Osogbo Festival. The grove is found in the rainforest part of a town called Osogbo, by the way, Osun is the name of a river. It has been elevated to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where the Centre overlooks the great Osun River, the spiritual PowerPoint of the people as they view it. The festival is held in August and has developed into a season grown into entertainment and business, particularly for marketing cultural and artistic merchandise.

The greater offerings of attraction of West Africa lie more in its cultural practices and festivals much more than landscapes or wildlife, although such are also available but not in the scales of East and South Africa, Well celebrated Cultures of West Africa and important spots worth visiting will be Ojude Oba Festival, The Kano Durbar, Calabar Carnival, Argungu Fishing Festival, Obudu hills, the confluence city of Lokoja in Nigeria.  UNESCO heritage sites in West Africa include The Elmina Castle in Ghana, being the first slave-trading port set up by the Europeans in Africa. There is also the Cape Coast Castle. Not to leave out the serene beaches in Labadi and Busua, as well as the Kakum National Park.

Down South of Africa, The Republic of South Africa is filled with classic tourist sites. It is the place where several cultures blend where oceans meet, and histories are made. The contacts and contrasts of various cultures in the Southern part of Africa created struggles and legends and when merged with the geography and ingenuity of the peoples, a great environment was created that is worth visiting all year round. South African museums of historical artifacts and memorials of her struggle against apartheid are well kept. The Robben Island stands out for its political significance because the       Iconic Nelson Mandela was imprisoned there for 27 years. There’s the Krueger National Park, Addo Elephant Park, and a botanical garden at the foot of Table Mountain in Cape Town.

Neighboring the Nation of South Africa is Zimbabwe where the majestic Victoria Falls is located, the fall stands at 350 feet high, more than twice the height of Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada.  There are places to test human stamina like climbing Mountain Kilimanjaro in Tanzania or crossing the Sahara Desert by foot with the Tuaregs. Bold visitors had stayed in Masai mara in proximity to the African big five which refers to Lion, Elephant, Rhino, Hippopotamus, and wildebeest. The season is opening, and the travel season has come, Africa is also a place to check out

Black History Month

Early twentieth-century historian Carter G. Woodson wanted to look into the accomplishments of African Americans, which led to the creation of Black History Month. Mainstream historians have systematically omitted African Americans from the study of American history before the 1960s, and Woodson has dedicated his whole career to rectifying this omission. In 1926, he established Negro History Week, which prepared the way for the establishment of Black History Month in 1976.

Week of Black History

Woodson established the Society for the Study of Negro Life and History in 1915. (today known as the Society for the Study of African American Life and History or ASALH). When Woodson was discussing the release of the racist film; The Birth of a Nation, he had the idea for the Black Historical Society. At a YMCA in Chicago, Woodson discussed it with a group of African-American males. The group persuaded the group that African Americans needed a group dedicated to achieving a more equitable history.

In 1916, the group launched its main newspaper, The Journal of Negro History, and ten years later, Woodson was tasked with planning an African-American history week of activities and anniversaries. The inaugural Negro History Week was held during the week of February 7, 1926, because it coincided with Abraham Lincoln’s birthday (February 12). The Emancipation Proclamation, which emancipated many American slaves, and the renegade and former slave Frederick Douglass were two of his most famous accomplishments (Februar14).

Woodson anticipated that Negro History Week would improve relations between blacks and whites in the United States and encourage young African Americans to honor their forefathers’ accomplishments and efforts. Woodson noted in his book, Negro Education of the Negro (1933): “Only eighteen of the hundreds of Negro high schools inspected by a US Bureau of Education specialist lately offer a history of the Negro course. In most Negro institutions and universities, the race is only studied as an issue or downplayed as a minor factor.” The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History is receiving increased requests for further information as a result of Negro History Week. The Negro History Bulletin, published in 1937, was aimed at African-American instructors who sought to incorporate black history into their lessons.

Black History Month.

Negro History Week was quickly accepted by African Americans, and by the 1960s, during the American Civil Rights Movement, American educators, both white and black were celebrating it. At the same time, orthodox historians began to incorporate African Americans in the American historical narrative (as well as women and other previously ignored groups). When the United States turned twenty-second in 1976, the ASALH decided to extend the annual week-long commemoration of African-American history to a month, giving birth to Black History Month.

President Gerald Ford in the same year encouraged Americans to think about black History Month, but it was President Jimmy Carter who officially acknowledged Black History Month in 1978. Black History Month has become a regular occurrence in American classrooms because of the government’s support. Some questioned whether Black History Month should be retained in the twenty-first century, especially following the election of Barack Obama, the country’s first African-American president, in 2008. Others, on the other hand, maintain that black history month is still necessary.

The expansion of the first Negro History Week will no sure thrill Woodson. His purpose in establishing Negro History Week was to emphasize African-American achievements alongside those of white Americans. The narrative of the Negro Retold (1935) argues that the book “is not so much of Negro history as it is a global history,” according to Woodson. Woodson saw Negro History Week as an opportunity to teach all Americans about their accomplishments and to correct a national history story that he saw as little more than racial slander.

Written By Senkat J.J  Nden

Thinking About the Future – A Reflection on Black History Month

The establishment and the annual celebration of Black History month is a good thing because it seeks to look for positives in the monstrous historical abuse meted out to the Black over centuries; The period enables us to remember our forebears that faced great deprivations as slaves in the new lands, we mourn them and must not forget their contributions, their labors, and their very life spent for others.

A closer look at the events of slavery tells a story of weakness on the part of the Africans; Disunity, low-level vision, the poor organization of society, and bad leadership; are the same ailments that are still very much current in Black African societies. I suspect that for many black people, the celebration in the month of February is not necessarily a joyful one, but a reminder of the history that can repeat itself and lessons unlearned.

In his great research work titled African Triple Heritage, Kenyan Professor of African Studies, Dr. Ali Mazrui (1933-2014) opined that Black African Cultures usually accept anything large, big, or great as special, with the likelihood of divine backing and the challenge such natural phenomenon offers may signal a reference point, a place to stop and proceed no further; for example large rivers, great mountains or special land structural formations that form barriers may be God’s idea of boundaries for tribes.

The professor thought this may be a reason why Africans never developed great technologies to conquer their landscape in addition to their Philosophies of adjusting to nature, rather than adjusting nature to themselves, an extension of ancestral and nature worship. However, there is a need to break this barrier even because so many black people still operate within their clans; they are in Europe and in America but still refuse to think big, break new grounds, cross boundaries and establish new bonds.

Those men that traversed boundaries like Magellan, and Columbus meet new peoples, learn new means and methods, obtain greater wealth and show the way to others. Poverty lives with men that roam in small circles. Expanded coasts open the eyes to new opportunities. Those that interact with others partake in the opportunities encountered. This is the lesson of organizations like Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc, very large numbers of people pass through them leaving the owners with riches, when Black people also network, the interactions will circulate riches. It is time to expand our coast, cross frontiers, build new bridges, make new friends and receive the blessing that goes with it.

THE CULTURAL NORM – What is New in your Personal Life?

A multi-cultural society is quite interesting because a clash of different languages, norms symbols, values, etc. will be brought together in proximity raising the possibility of a backlash. It is known that the various cultures took centuries to form, and strong values are held, so that a change may be violently defended. It will be an interesting thought experiment for individuals to search in their minds, as to what they had given up, to identify with or fully integrate into the new society.

Any good list of what constitutes culture will at least include Language, values, Belief Systems, Norms, Government/Institutions, and foods. It can also be said that a link exists between the environment and the stable prevailing culture. When a society is formed over years and holds certain beliefs and value systems, it often will never easily yield to changes except a conquest takes place by a completely different group that imposed a new culture or some catastrophic social upheaval that overthrew everything held dear, and now made worthless.

Culture is a term used to describe the received way of life of a people. It can be further simplified to mean the best solution provided to a widespread problem or an accepted way of doing things. When a group of people is a descendant from common ancestors, they are often found to speak the same language or some form of a dialect of a language; so generally speaking, language could be the closest indicator of a people of common ancestry, when the language is not one that came about by reason of conquest or imposition.

Sociologists have mused among themselves about the validity of all cultures, some thought that when different societal ideas are allowed to exist side by side, one will ultimately dissolve into the other. Some opined that cultures should be propped up, so as not to die a natural death. This may be why certain hegemonic vanguards are allowed to exist because a section of the people view them as strong believers in what their ancestors had handed over to them, although the overall interests of societies will always seek to impose peaceful coexistence.

Yet it will be a good idea to understand that ways of life, marriages, religions, languages, clothing, customs, norms, foods, etc., and the many styles of engaging these issues by different kinds of people are worth examining.  In fact, everyone should be fascinated by the practices of others and by seeking to know what the original question was that cultural practice was attempting to answer. This will enrich humanity, promote peace and understanding. Is there a new cultural practice you had imbibed in Canada and what old practice have you dropped?

Children’s Book Authors Engage in Discussion Around Education and Race

Start2Finish Canada’s mission is to break the cycle of poverty by providing ongoing educational support to Canada’s at-risk children throughout their school years. On February 26, 2022 the children’s organization hosted the virtual event ‘Voices: A Black Canadian Reading Circle’, as part of its ongoing platform ‘The Thinkers and Doers Series’.  The Black History month event helped kick off Start2Finish’s 2022 theme entitled ‘Otherwise Futures’.

The feature guests were Curtis Carmichael, an award-winning social entrepreneur, who has written ‘Butterflies in the Trenches’, the candid story of his life in the public housing projects in Scarborough, Ontario, where he grew up surrounded by trap houses, attending underfunded schools, and avoiding drive-by shootings. The second guest was Yolanda T. Marshall, a Guyanese-born Canadian author, who has written many children’s books including one of CBC’s best picture books of 2020 “My Soca Birthday Party: with Jollof Rice and Steel Pans.” She is also from Scarborough.

As a children’s author who has kids of her own, Yolanda had a lot to say about the role of education and the implications of false narratives. “The system is set out to make you fail,” she opined. “There are so many people who are so colonialized that they don’t know themselves or their history.” She insisted that education had to an extent fostered this sad reality. “That’s what it’s supposed to do – make you feel like you’re nobody.”

Yolanda counts the birth of her son as a pivotal point in her anxiety regarding elements of the education system. She said it suddenly dawned on her that she was raising a child in a society that she knew was racist and set up to make him fail as a boy. “I said to myself, I’m giving birth to a black boy in Canada, who will go to school, will not see himself in books, will not feel that his identity is culturally relevant.”

Curtis Carmichael learned about the publishing industry in three years. His debut memoir ‘Butterflies in the Trenches’ was the world’s first augmented reality memoir. There are 100 photos in the book, and when you scan photos with an app it displays interactive augmented reality experiences in video, audio and 3D.

When it comes to educating children, Curtis felt that there is more needed than just ensuring representation in books. He stressed that education heavily relied on the enthusiasm of the teachers as well. “Children need to have things that bring them to life,” he remarked. “Having a diverse decolonized library is important,” Curtis agreed, “but also your approach to engaging with that task of teaching is of utmost importance as well.”

He said that teachers need to actually believe in those high values. “You can’t just have them because you are reading them,” he said, “yet not really showing that you understand the value.” He cautioned that children pick up on cues that you are not intimate with the book and the values it stands for. They’re gonna know that you actually inherently care about those communities.”

Written By Mbonisi Zikhali