Episode 81: U.S. Evangelicals trying to create ‘one [homophobic] nation under God’ in Ghana

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.

Episode 80: Africa will be most affected by climate change, but negotiators show no urgency at COP26

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.

Episode 79: By calling abused workers prostitutes, David ole Sankok has justified Saudi enslavement and murder of Kenyans

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.”

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Episose 76: Is ‘vaccine Apartheid’ to blame for Africa’s pitiful inoculation rates?

70th Annual General Assembly Debate
Namibian President Hage Geingob addresses the 70th United Nations General Assembly. Photo: United Nations.

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?

Episode 75: Why Saudis continue to murder Kenyan immigrant workers

We look at why African governments stand by and do nothing when their citizens get abused, tortured, and murdered abroad.

A group of women Saudi returnees wait for their turn to disembark for their respective home areas after receiving orientation by by UNICEF staff.
Women returning from Saudi Arabia wait at a UNICEF center after arriving at Bole International Airport in Ethiopia. Photo: UNICEF Ethiopia

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?

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Episode 73: Guinea pig Alpha Condé finally overthrown

Guinea’s President Alpha Condé, 83, under arrest after the Sept. 5 coup.

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?

Episode 69: Does Africa have the right to blame brain drain?

Stop brain drain.” Illustration by theps.net.

Whenever African leaders are asked why the continent lags behind in terms of development, they blame braid drain — the exodus of its most intelligent people. But are they right, or are they to blame for frustrating young people so much that they have to go looking of a dignified life elsewhere?

Our guest is Joseph Makokha, an engineer who  studies and conducts research on engineering design with the goal of understanding how to design Artificial Intelligence to augments humans on thinking tasks. He is currently helping the Turkish Ministry of Education develop an Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning curriculum for its schools. 

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Episode 68: Meet Wamkanganise naGaadza, Zimbabwean mbira maker, teacher, and cultural ambassador

Salani Wamkanganise naGaadza (center) with his wife Kelly Takunda Orphan playing mbira during a virtual live concert that was organized by the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester. Photo: Mosquito Media.

We speak with Salani Wamkanganise naGaadza, and Kelly Takunda Orphan, a husband and wife who are ambassadors of African music and culture. Salani, a Zimbabwean-born virtuoso, doesn’t just make music and teach people how to play mbira; he makes the instruments himself in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he lives.

Since 2017, Salani has performed and recorded with various mbira ensembles and bands. In 2020, UNESCO inscribed the mbira to be on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, and Salani was one of two featured cultural ambassadors during the filming of the project in Zimbabwe.

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Episode 66: This is what is wrong with (South) Africa

Former South African President Jacob Zuma’s jailing for contempt of court has led to riots that have killed 276 people. Photo: GovernmentZA.

In this episode, we look at how the politics of ethnicity holds Africa back. Why are poor Africans willing to kill or die for wealthy corrupt goons like former S. African President Jacob Zuma, whose jailing for contempt of court has led to riots that have killed 276 people? Can we simultaneously fight corruption and support tribal kingpins like Zuma?

Episode 65: Meet the Ghanaian sisters challenging Europe’s dominance in chocolate making

The Addison sisters, founders of Ghana’s pioneer bean-to-bar company ’57 Chocolate, enjoying their treats. Photo: 57chocolategh.com

We speak with the Addison sisters, Kimberly and Priscilla, who set out to challenge the stereotypical belief that premium chocolate can only be made in Europe. Five years ago, they founded ’57 Chocolate, a pioneer bean-to-bar chocolate company that uses beans grown within Ghana to create delicious treats.