Episode 43: African News Analysis with Kwesi Wilson

Kwesi Wilson, the Ghanaian-born social commentator and professor of communication, joins us for analysis of some of the recent news from Africa.

Kwesi Wilson. Photo by Edwin Okong’o

Episode 41: Meron Semedar spent years running for his life, now he’s running for election to the city council in Oakland, Calif.

Mr. Meron Semedar, a refugee from Eritrea, is seeking to become the first African-born person to be elected to the city council in Oakland, California. Semedar, who wants to represent District 3, has spent nearly two decades in community organizing, and advocating for immigrant, refugee, and human rights.

Now a proud U.S. citizen, he believes that he has something unique to offer Oakland. He’s also urging African immigrants across America to get more involved in the local politics of the community they now call home.

Meron Semedar protesting Muslim ban/refugee ban at the San Francisco International Airport. PHOTO CREDIT: Meron Semedar for Oakland City Council, District 3

Episode 38: Big Oil asks Trump to make Africa a plastic sh*t hole, and other stories

In this episode, we discuss some of the most interesting recent stories out of Africa, including the American oil industry’s effort to keep Africa the “sh*t hole” Trump believes it is by exporting waste to the continent. And what do we think about Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangawa’s promise to compensate white farmers for losses they incurred when his late predecessor, Robert Mugabe, drove them out of the land they took from Africans during colonial rule? Finally, in Egypt, the Africa Cup of Nation trophy is missing. EPISODE CONTAINS SOME EXPLICIT LANGUAGE.

Women and children sift through garbage to collect metals and plastics from a dumpsite outside Kenya’s coastal city of Mombasa. PHOTO: StarsFoundation via Creative Commons.

Episode 36: How one of the fiercest critics of the Ethiopian government became its staunchest supporter

Prof. Alemayehu G. Mariam spent decades criticizing dictatorial regimes in Ethiopia, his country of birth. Today, he is one of the staunchest supporters of the Ethiopian government, something he says happened “overnight,” when Abiy Ahmed became Prime Minister. An attorney by profession, Prof. Mariam teaches political science, American constitutional law, civil rights law, judicial process, federal and California state government, and African politics at California State University, San Bernardino.

Prof. Alemayehu G. Mariam (in red shirt) accompanies Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (front, left) on a tour of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) construction site. Photo courtesy of @AlMariam1 on Twitter.

Prof. Mariam has argued cases in the California Supreme Court, and was instrumental in the passing of Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007 in the U.S. House of Representatives, which made it official U.S. policy to support — among other things — human rights, democracy, independence of the judiciary, freedom of the press, and the release of political prisoners in Ethiopia. Read his commentaries at www.almariam.com.

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”