Episode 45: An African Perspective on the U.S. Presidential Election

In our last episode of the year, we’re joined by Liberian-born journalist and educator, Joe Kappia, for an African perspective on the presidential elections in the United States, and in Africa. Kappia is the editor in chief and publisher of the West African Journal, a monthly news bulletin for the African communities throughout the United States. He is currently  a teacher at the Abraham Lincoln High School in San Jose, California.

We’d also like to thank you, our dear listeners, for the support you’ve given us in the first year of our podcast. We’re talking couple months off to rejuvenate ourselves and reflect on what we’ve learned in order to make our podcast better. Until the, as Emmanuel Nado would say, be well.

Photo by funky fat girl is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Episode 44: Meet the South African Woman Who Unknowingly Swapped one Racist Country for Another

When Tebogo left South Africa for the United States to escape rampant racism in the banking industry she worked in, it didn’t occur to her that she would be swapping one racist country for another. Tebogo is a community organizer, poet, house music enthusiast and part-time deejay . She is a founding member of the Afrika Moja, a San Francisco Bay Area collective that advocates for the unity of Africans in the Diaspora.

Episode 39: How musicians from the tiny islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique invented the Zouk music that led to a dance craze in the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, and Asia in the ’80s. The story of Kassav’ as told by Jocelyne Béroard

When Jocelyne Béroard realized that there were not enough people in her native Caribbean island of Martinique to sustain her ambition to be a musical superstar, she decided to join hands with others and conquer the world.

Jocelyne Béroard performing with Kassav’ in 2016. Photo by Kmeron under Creative Commons license.

The singer and songwriter joined hands with artists from neighboring Guadeloupe to form Kassav’, the seminal group that created the popular Zouk style of music, which fueled a dance craze that spread from the islands to the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia.  

Continue reading “Episode 39: How musicians from the tiny islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique invented the Zouk music that led to a dance craze in the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, and Asia in the ’80s. The story of Kassav’ as told by Jocelyne Béroard”

Episode 37: Immigration runs in the blood of this Ivorian lawyer

When she was 6, Emma Sophie Amoussou traveled by plane unaccompanied. She turned what could have been a scary journey for a child into a love of international travel and migration. Today, she is an immigration lawyer who helps Africans immigrate to Canada.

Born in Côte d’Ivoire, Amoussou lived in France before moving to Canada, where she studied law and the founded eSoph Immigration Canada, an immigration consulting firm. She spoke with us from Abidjan.

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 34: Nigerian filmmaker Chike Nwoffiah on why Africans should own their narrative

Nigerian-born actor, director, educator, and award-winning filmmaker, Chike Nwoffiah, talks about why it is important for Africans to take control of their history though storytelling. Nwoffiah is the founder and CEO of the Silicon Valley African Film Festival (SVAFF). The 11th year of SVAFF kicks off in October but will be online because of the the COVID-19 pandemic. We even managed get Nwoffiah riled up by bringing up Beyoncé’s “Black is King.”

Flags of African countries line the stage in 2019 during the celebration of Silicon Valley African Film Festival’s 10th anniversary. Photo courtesy of SVAFF.

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.