Episode 33: Evelyne Keomian wasn’t supposed to go to school, but now she runs schools on two continents

When Evelyne Keomian was growing up in Côte d’Ivoire, she was told that there was no need for girls to go to school. She tells us how she refused to listen and went to school anyway — even when she wasn’t enrolled — and how her painful pursuit of education made her an advocate of quality education for every child.

Today, Keomian is an educator, and the founder of the Karat School Project, a direct service nonprofit organization with the mission to help break the cycle of poverty through education. Since it was founded in 2018, the organization has served over 1,000 children and women in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

A class meets outdoors at the school Evelyne Keomian founded in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Photo courtesy of the Karat School Project’s Instagram account.

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.

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.

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Episode 26: Examining International Response to George Floyd’s Death and Systemic Racism in America

Our guests, Nigerian-American Dr. Amanda Felix, and Ghanaian-born Prof. Kwesi Wilson spare no one in their critique of the world’s response to George Floyd’s death in the hands of Minneapolis Police. Africans, Europeans, Asians — everyone gets a fair share of the venom.

A man in a Maasai shirt protests the killing of George Floyd, whose death in the hands of Minneapolis police has sparked protests worldwide. Photo: Fibonacci Blue.

Episode 25: African Immigrants Increasingly Protesting Against Racism in the United States

Protests continue in the Unites States over the murder of George Floyd, another unarmed black man killed in police custody. Our guest Tom Gitaa, president and publisher of Minneapolis-based African community newspaper, Mshale, about why African immigrants are increasingly rising to protest racism in America.

Protesters take to the streets in Washington, DC. Photo: Cool Revolution
As more and more Africans chose to stay and raise families in the United States, many of them are realizing that the fight for civil rights is our fight too.

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.

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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?”