Episode 24: Honoring African Mothers

Many African fathers proudly — some even loudly — take credit for the success of their children. But if they were to be honest, they’d admit that our mothers play bigger roles in shaping our lives. This week we tell you about out mothers and other African women who made us who we are.

African mothers going to fetch water. Photo: Kabuka Steven via Wikipedia Commons.

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.

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Episode 20: Can Africa Recover From a Colonized Mind, Or Are We Doomed?

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Togolese civil rights activist and educator, Yawo Akpawu. Photo: Khaboshi Imbukwa.

In our last episode, we spoke with Yawo Akpawu, an exiled educator and human rights activist from Togo, about the west African country’s 2020 presidential election, which, as he predicted, didn’t end the rule of Faure Gnassingbe. This week, we extend the conversation beyond Togo to talk about the future of Africa, and what he thinks is a difficult (but possible) task to bring good governance to the continent.

Episode 19: Fighting the Politics of Nepotism in Togo

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In this episode, Africa Straight Talk speaks with Yawo Akpawu, an exiled educator and human rights activist from Togo, about his life, his work, his cautious optimism, and his take on the west African country’s upcoming presidential election, which is scheduled for Feb. 20, 2020.

Togolese human rights activist, Yawo Akpawu. Photo: Khaboshi Imbukwa.

Akpawu, a former high school principal, was at the forefront of a movement to prevent Faure Gnassingbé from succeeding his father, Gnassingbé Eyadéma, who died in Tunisia in 2005, having ruled Togo since 1967. The movement failed and Akpawu found himself in the cross hairs of the new dictator’s government. He fled the country and eventually ended up in the United States. To learn more about Yawo Akpawu’s work, visit the Togolese Civil League, an organization he co-founded.

Episode 18: A Ghanaian’s Perspective on “The Year of Return”

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In this episode, we speak to Kwesi Wilson, a San Francisco Bay Area-based Ghanaian-born professor, who took his American students to Ghana in 2019 as part of “the Year of Return”, a Ghanaian government campaign to attract descendants of African slaves to their ancestral land. The ambitious project challenges black citizens of European, American, and Caribbean nations to go beyond visiting as tourists to become investors, and even offered them citizenship and land. What grade does our professor give the project?

Back to the Roots: Visitors at the entrance to Assin Manso Slave River, where slaves took their last baths before embarking on a 31-mile trek to slave castles in Cape Coast. Photo: Kwesi Wilson.

Episode 16: Kenya’s Tribal Kingpins Try to End Tribalism by A Referendum


In the last episode of 2019, Africa Straight Talk looks at the politics of toxic ethnicity. We focus in Kenya, where there are efforts to end tribalism by a referendum. Will it work or is this another gimmick by the political elite?

After the December 2007 presidential elections, Kenya descended into chaos, following allegations of fraud. By the time the violence ended in February 2008, nearly 1,000 people had been killed and many more injured. More than 250,000 people were displaced from their home in the Rift Valley, the breadbasket of the country, where some of the worst atrocities happened. Since then, every election year has been a time of great anxiety as Kenyans spend months wondering if they could return to those dark days.

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Episode 15: Francophone Africa Suffers from Severe Case of Battered Woman Syndrome

In this episode we look at Africa’s relationship with its European colonial masters. One of the biggest obstacles to African progress is the continent’s apparent unwillingness to divorce herself from her abusive colonial powers. It is fair to compare Africa to a battered woman who’s is so dependent on her husband that she doesn’t consider his blows and kicks to be abusive. Nowhere is that case of battered woman syndrome more severe than in former French colonies.

Recently, African musical legend and human rights activist, Salif Keita, caused a political earthquake in Mali, his home country, when he challenged France’s influence in Africa. In a bold and candid video address on his Facebook fan page, Keita asked Mali’s president, 74-year-old Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (no relation) to stop bowing to pressure from a kid, referring to French President Emmanuel Macron, who is 41 years old.

Salif Keita is part of a growing opposition to the colonial yoke France still holds around the necks of its former colonies. The prosperity and destiny of 14 African countries is controlled by an agreement they signed under duress as a condition for independence. The details of the agreement are guaranteed to outrage anyone who cares about Africa.

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