Episode 32: Meet Chris Wachira, the Kenyan-born doctor who makes wine

Dr. Chris Wachira has a job most people would envy, but it’s not enough for her. Dr. Wachira, who is a fellow at Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health, is also the founder and executive director of the Institute of Clinical Excellence-Africa, (ICE-Africa), a nonprofit she founded to enhance the quality and delivery of healthcare through technology. But that’s not all. Dr. Wachira is also an entrepreneur, one of the few black winemakers in the San Francisco Bay Area. She speaks to us about her journey from central Kenya to Stanford, and how she manages to juggle her many roles.

Dr. Chris Wachira (right) at one of her wine events. Photo courtesy of Wachira Wines.

Episode 31: Prof. Mchombo on decolonizing education by teaching African languages

In a world where the dominant use of European languages has eroded the prominence of indigenous ones, Dr. Sam Mchombo still believes that African languages can play a critical role in determining the continent’s future. Mchombo, an associate professor at the University of California at Berkeley, has spent his entire career of nearly half a century teaching linguistics, Swahili, and Chichewa. He tells us how, during his university studies a call from Kamuzu Banda, the first president of Malawi, sabotaged his ambition of becoming a mathematician, but made him an ardent believer in the use of African languages in decolonizing education.

The words “Constitutional Court” in South Africa’s 11 official languages. Photo: Andre-Pierre du Plessis.

Episode 29: Dr. Chemtai Mungo on being an African black female doctor on two continents

We speak with Dr. Chemtai Mungo about why she has committed her career to serving women in her country of birth, Kenya, while at the same time working as physician in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Dr. Chemtai Mungo (in red top) at work in western Kenya. Photo: Courtesy.

Dr. Mungo, an Obstetrician/Gynecologist, is passionate about using research, advocacy, and public health to advance women’s health in Africa. As a Global Health Fellow at the University of California, San Francisco, she is working in western Kenya to help address the double burden of HIV and Cervical Cancer among women. Her work is funded by the National Institute of Health and the University of California.

She received her bachelor’s degree with Honors from the University of California, Berkeley, before heading to medical school at UCSF, one of the most prestigious institutions in the United States. Dr. Mungo also has a Master’s in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University, School of Public Health.

Episode 27: Meet the Woman Who Has Spent Decades Fighting to Protect Africa’s Image

In 2012, President Barack Obama honored Nunu Kidane as a “Champion of Change”. Kidane, who is the executive director of San Francisco Bay Area-based Priority Africa Network, talks about her unconventional  journey as an African immigrant advocating for the continent and its  people in the Diaspora. Kidane, also speaks about the census, its history and why it is important for Africans to make sure they get a complete count in the 2020 U.S. census.

Africans in Oakland, California getting ready to participate in a caravan protest organized by Africans for Social Justice and Equal Rights. Photo by Khaboshi Imbukwa

African Immigrants Join Fight for Social Justice in America

The plight of black people in the United States is well documented. In fact, it started with slavery, centuries before the country was founded. Slavery ended in the United States following the Civil War. But that would no be the end of the suffering of African Americans. Jim Crow laws were enacted in the southern states, which had fought against the abolition of slavery and lost. The era of segregation and systemic racist violence and lynchings of black people lasted from 1877 to 1960. Segregation should have ended with the President Lyndon B. Johnson’s signing or the Civil Rights Act in 1964.

Continue reading “African Immigrants Join Fight for Social Justice in America”

Episode 23 — Has Africa Dodged the Coronavirus Bullet?

A UN peacekeeper in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo, washes hands at a station set up to combat the spread of coronavirus. Photo: MONUSCO via Creative Commons.

As the world watched the coronavirus overwhelm health systems in well-developed countries, many warned that there would be millions infected and hundreds of thousands dead in Africa. In this episode, we try to make sense of why it hasn’t quite turned out that way.

Episode 22: Revisiting the Dream of a United Africa

South African poet, Teboho, (L) and Ethiopian-born pan-African activist, Amira Ali are among the co-founders of Afrika Moja. Photo: Khaboshi Imbukwa.

In a series to celebrate women’s month, we speak with Amira Ali, and Teboho, two Bay Area-based African women activists from Ethiopia and S. Africa, respectively. They have teamed up with others to launch Afrika Moja, a collective that hosts salon-style discussions to explore various ways to unite Africans at home and abroad for the sake of the continent’s future.

Continue reading “Episode 22: Revisiting the Dream of a United Africa”

Episode 21: Is the Eco, West Africa’s Proposed Regional Currency, Dead Before Arrival?

The proposed Eco would replace the CFA, pictured here. Photo: Edwin Okong’o.

In this episode, our guest, Kwesi Wilson, a Ghanaian-born commentator and professor of communication, joins us to discuss the viability of a regional African currency. Following the announcement in late 2019 that former French colonies were going to finally going to get rid of the CFA, there was excitement that those countries would finally achieve economic independence from the European power.

Continue reading “Episode 21: Is the Eco, West Africa’s Proposed Regional Currency, Dead Before Arrival?”

Episode 20: Can Africa Recover From a Colonized Mind, Or Are We Doomed?

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Togolese civil rights activist and educator, Yawo Akpawu. Photo: Khaboshi Imbukwa.

In our last episode, we spoke with Yawo Akpawu, an exiled educator and human rights activist from Togo, about the west African country’s 2020 presidential election, which, as he predicted, didn’t end the rule of Faure Gnassingbe. This week, we extend the conversation beyond Togo to talk about the future of Africa, and what he thinks is a difficult (but possible) task to bring good governance to the continent.

Episode 19: Fighting the Politics of Nepotism in Togo

Click on the player above to listen to the episode. Downloads for this and all episodes are available on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. Please join efforts to build our own African media by sharing this episode with your family, friends and people in your social networks. Thank you for listening!

In this episode, Africa Straight Talk speaks with Yawo Akpawu, an exiled educator and human rights activist from Togo, about his life, his work, his cautious optimism, and his take on the west African country’s upcoming presidential election, which is scheduled for Feb. 20, 2020.

Togolese human rights activist, Yawo Akpawu. Photo: Khaboshi Imbukwa.

Akpawu, a former high school principal, was at the forefront of a movement to prevent Faure Gnassingbé from succeeding his father, Gnassingbé Eyadéma, who died in Tunisia in 2005, having ruled Togo since 1967. The movement failed and Akpawu found himself in the cross hairs of the new dictator’s government. He fled the country and eventually ended up in the United States. To learn more about Yawo Akpawu’s work, visit the Togolese Civil League, an organization he co-founded.