Edwin Okong’o is not your typical, stereotypical African. He is a storyteller by any medium necessary™. Okong'o is an award-winning journalist, humorist, satirist and memoirist. He received his master’s degree from the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied radio, newspaper, magazine, and online multimedia storytelling and editing. Okong’o’s journalistic work, provocative commentaries, and stand-up comedy performances have appeared in numerous media across the world. He is the winner of several honors, including a Webby Award for his short documentary, "Kenya: Sweet Home, Obama", which he made for the PBS program, Frontline.
Having failed to create “one nation under God” to match the words of their country’s Pledge of Allegiance, U.S. Evangelicals are trying create it in Africa by sponsoring anti-LGBTQ laws. We speak with two U.S.-based Ghanaians — Arthur Musah, and Kwesi Wilson — about how lawmakers in Ghana are taking cues from American Evangelicals to introduce a hateful law to crack down on the country’s LGBTQ community. If passed, the draconian law would not only punish suspected gay people, but also any person — including family members — who fails to report them to authorities. Behind the bill is an American right-wing extremist group known as World Congress of Families, which has ties to white supremacist organizations.
Born to Ghanaian father and a Ukrainian mother, Musah is an award-winning filmmaker, whose films explore African identities in a globalized age. He is gay and has become one of the leading figures in opposition to Ghana’s proposed hateful bill.
Wilson is a professor of communication, social commentator, and founder of the Afrikan Trumpet, a blog and podcast exploring how art can be used to create change.
African countries will suffer the worst consequences of climate change, but you wouldn’t know it if you looked at the continent’s negotiators at the COP26 talks in Glasgow. Their strategy seem to be stretching their hands out for billions of dollars in handouts as compensation for wealthy countries role on climate change.
What Africa needs to do is cut the pipeline that supplies the resources that wealthy countries use to fuel the greedy overconsumption that is threatening the continent’s future. Accepting money from the countries that are mostly responsible for the impeding climatic catastrophe only helps the polluters shed their guilt. And, frankly, given the corrupt nature of African governments, chances are that the money will be shipped back out to offshore banks in the same wealthy countries.
If you thought former U.S. President Donald Trump — the wannabe despot — was crazy when he sided with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman after the murder of journalist Jamal Kashoggi, you haven’t met David ole Sankok. On a recent visit to Saudi Arabia, the Kenyan lawmaker said women from his country have been raped, tortured and murdered by their employers because they are prostitutes.
Here is what he wrote on his Facebook page after a meeting with Saudi officials, Kenyans workers, and the employment agencies that recruit them:
“From my assessment, the problem is that Kenya recruitment agents pick girls from Koinange Street, [an Nairobi areas known for prostitution] bars and brothels and export them as immigrant workers without pre-departure training on laws, traditions and cultures of foreign countries. Even back home you can not pick a househelp from Koinange Street or Sabina Joy [a famous Nairobi brothel] and expect house services without parental control.”
Every year, the United Nations General Assembly presents an opportunity for Africa’s leaders to embarrass themselves on the international stage. During this year’s assembly, which took part in New York recently, it was Namibian President Hage Geingob’s turn to show the world how unbelievably naive our leaders are. Geingob used the term “vaccine Apartheid” to describe rich countries’ hoarding of the coronavirus vaccine. How ridiculous is that? Why can’t the wealthiest continent in the world just figure out how to create its own vaccines? And when are we going to realize that the west doesn’t — and will never — have our best interest at heart?
We look at why African governments stand by and do nothing when their citizens get abused, tortured, and murdered abroad.
In the past two years, for example, at least 89 Kenyans working in Saudi Arabia have died under suspicious circumstances. Many were domestic workers, whose bodies had clear signs of torture. What is really going on, and why is it so difficult for the Kenyan government to get an explanation from the Saudis?
On Sunday, President Joseph R. Biden’s administration began unprecedented mass deportations of Haitians, who have been entering the United States from Mexico. Why are they being treated differently than, say, Cuban refugees, who only have to set foot on U.S. territorial waters to be welcomed to America? Could race be a factor, or is it because Haitians are fleeing capitalism and not communism like Cubans? And why isn’t there outrage from Black leaders in the administration and Congress?
On Sept. 5, the Guinean military rolled into the Guinean presidential palace, overthrew the government, and arrested President Alpha Condé, who had been in power since 2010. The country is now under the military rule of Col. Mamady Doumbouya. The colonel has promised to hand over power to civilians soon. Will he, or is this another story of an African military dictatorship in the making?
In this episode, Nado and Okong’o give their views on the mess their surrogate homeland of the United States has created in Afghanistan, and how it will affect their homeland of birth, Africa.
Among the countries that have agreed to help the U.S. save face — if that’s even possible — is Uganda. How can one of the world’s poorest nations, which already harbors 1.4 million refugees, afford to take more? And what will happen those among the 2,000 Afghan refugees who won’t be approved to relocate to the United States? Could Uganda be setting herself up for getting stuck with someone else’s problem, or is this a smart move by President Yoweri Museveni to get hold of some American dollars?
Haitian American musical artist, Sophis, gives us some straight-talk insights into the historical context mainstream media often avoid when talking about his country of birth.
Haiti is a country with a rich history. It was the first Black nation to liberate itself from European rule, way back in 1804, when a slave revolt defeated Napoleon’s mighty French army and declared independence. That’s right — 80 years before the 1884 Berlin Conference, when European empires sat down and agreed to divide the African continent amongst themselves, Haiti had fought and defeated one of he greatest of them to become independent.