Episode 55: Meet Byb Bibene, the African jack of all trades

Byb Bibene in action. Photo: Robbie Sweeny.

Byb Bibene has toured the world as a professional dance educator, choreographer, and cultural organizer. He is also a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and has taught at many other colleges, high schools, and arts institutions across the United States. Bibene is also an independent financial professional and strategist helping families, individuals, and students in the African and African-American communities close the wealth gap and plan for their future.

Born in the Republic of the Congo, Bibene completed his Bachelor’s degree in Economics and a Master’s degree in Finance at the Marien Ngouabi University before moving to France, and eventually to the United States. To contact him, follow this link to his LinkedIn profile.

Episode 54: Will Africa learn any lessons from Magufuli’s death?

President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses nation on developments in South Africa’s strategy to control he spread of COVID-19. Photo: GovernmentZA is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Whenever anyone in the west tries to express concern over the state of affairs in our continent, our leaders often begin chanting the “African solution for African problems” mantra. Now that President John Magufuli of Tanzania tried the African solution of prayers and failed miserably by dying of suspected of Covid-19, will our leaders start looking for real practical solutions?

Continue reading “Episode 54: Will Africa learn any lessons from Magufuli’s death?”

Episode 53: How creating music has helped Ivorian songbird Fely Tchaco deal with trauma

Fely Tchaco and band at the Freight and Salvege in Berkeley California

Fely Tchaco performing at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley, California. Photo: Courtesy of Felymusic.com.

Ivorian-American singer, songwriter performer and visual artist, Fely Tchaco, shares a remarkable story of resilience and how making music helped her deal with trauma from a violent childhood, and from the abusive relationships she got into as an adult.

Continue reading “Episode 53: How creating music has helped Ivorian songbird Fely Tchaco deal with trauma”

Episode 52: ‘Thoughts and prayers’ for Tanzania’s John Magufuli, who’s been missing

Tanzanian President John Magufuli, who hasn’t been seen in public since Feb. 27, takes the oath of office before beginning his first term in 2015. It remains to be seen whether he turned the Bible he’s holding into a divine coronavirus vaccine. Photo: Paul Kagame.

In this episode, we offer “thoughts and prayers” for Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli, Africa’s Covid-19 denier-in-chief, who hasn’t been seen in public since Feb. 27 and is rumored to be hospitalized outside his country.

Word from the Motherland is that Magufuli, 61, who defied World Health Organization recommendations and stopped reporting his country’s coronavirus cases in May, has finally caught the virus and is in intensive care in a hospital somewhere between Kenya and India.

For much of the past year, Tanzanians have gone about their business as if the pandemic doesn’t exist, although some acknowledge there is an increase in cases of “pneumonia.” As you would expect, Magufuli is an anti-vaccine religious wacko who believes, “Vaccinations are dangerous. If white people were able to come up with vaccinations, a vaccination for AIDS would have been found.”

And, oh, he has a PhD in Chemistry, though, we suspect he fried his brains by getting high on the chemicals he was supposed to use for laboratory experiments.

If it’s true that Magufuli has finally caught the virus he’s been blowing kisses to for a year, does he deserve to live? And if the man known as “the Bulldozer” bulldozes through the virus, will he finally accept that it’s real?

Episode 50: Meet the Straight-Talking Ivorian Advocate of Vulnerable African Immigrants in the United States

Adoubou Traore (hand raised) at San Francisco City Hall with staff from AAN, and partner organizations. Photo: Courtesy.

Adoubou Traore, an Ivorian-born educator, activist, and community organizer, has dedicated his life to helping African immigrants to navigate the complex U.S. immigration system. He minces no words in challenging successful African immigrants to do more for the new arrivals in their community. Traore is the co-founder and executive director of African Advocacy Network (AAN), a non-profit organization that collaborates with community partners, individuals, faith-based groups, and immigration advocates to serve refugees and immigrants in Northern California.

AAN is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization that relies on grants and donations to provide services. To make a tax-deductible donation click here.

Episode 49: One Man Defying the Odds to Teach Ghana’s Kids Coding

Ebenezer Obeng-Nyarkoh. Photo: Courtesy.

Some people have told Ebenezer Obeng-Nyarkoh that his mission to teach coding to kids in Ghana will fail. He is not listening. Obeng-Nyarkoh, a data scientist and co-founder of Kids Coding, talks about his vision for Ghana’s children, and how he’s navigating around various obstacles. The program teaches children aged between 6 and 17 to explore basic coding concepts with engaging activities in an all hands-on learning environment to give them an early start in learning useful technological skills. 

Prior to working as a data scientist, Obeng-Nyarkoh was a reporter with the Ghana News Agency in Takoradi and Tema. He holds an MA in international and development economics from the University of San Francisco, and BA in international affairs (economics) and new media from the University of Maine.

Episode 48: Meet Nzambi Matee, the Kenyan Woman Turning Plastic Waste Into Building Materials

team3
Kenyan environmentalist and social entrepreneur, Nzambi Matee, (second from left) and her team at Gjenge Makers, where they turn plastic waste into building materials. Photo: Courtesy.

When Nzambi Matee sees plastic waste, she sees gold. And she’s on a quest to pave the streets and sidewalks of Kenya with it. Matee is the founder of Gjenge Makers, a Nairobi-based startup that is working to reverse environmental pollution by turning plastic waste into building materials. Matee has received numerous honors for her innovation, including Young Champion of the Earth, an award given by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to young entrepreneurs who are solving the world’s most difficult environmental problems.

Matee speaks with us about her upbringing in Kenya, and the obstacles African entrepreneurs like her run into when they try to innovate.

Episode 47: Jerry Rawlings’s Legacy, and Ghana’s Long Road to Democracy

Jerry Rawlings visits AMISOM 04
Former President Jerry Rawlings of Ghana visits the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in 2004. Photo: AMISOM Public Information used under CC0 1.0

Kwesi Wilson, a Ghanaian-born news analyst and professor of communication, joins Africa Straight Talk to explain the complicated legacy of former President Jerry John Rawlings, who died in November. A former Ghana Air Force fighter pilot, Rawlings navigated the country’s bloody coup-ridden early decades of independence to become head of state in 1981.

Continue reading “Episode 47: Jerry Rawlings’s Legacy, and Ghana’s Long Road to Democracy”

Episode 46: Uganda’s Museveni Shows Trump How a Real Dictator Conducts Elections

President Museveni welcomes President Kagame to Uganda | Kampala, 25 March 2018
“President Yoweri Museveni welcomes President Kagame of Rwanda to Uganda | Kampala, 25 March 2018” by Paul Kagame is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In the first episode of our second season, we discuss America’s wannabe dictator, Donald Trump, and how his “regime” emboldened real African despots like Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni. After Trump’s supporters launched a murderous terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, the Ugandan strongman showed how a true dictator should conduct elections. After Jan. 14 election which the opposition rejected, Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, placed Bobi Wine under house arrest for 11 days by surrounding his house with heavily armed soldiers.