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 30: Meet the woman who quit her corporate job to open San Francisco’s first Nigerian restaurant

Most African immigrants go to graduate school hoping to land a great white-collar job. Not Simileoluwa Adebajo. The 24-year-old Nigerian woman quit her job as financial analyst to open a restaurant and bring her country’s food and culture to Americans. Opened in 2018, Eko Kitchen is San Francisco’s first Nigerian restaurant and catering company. We spoke with her about her passion for food, and how her young business is navigating these unpredictable times of the coronavirus pandemic.

A picture of a Nigerian dish prepared by Chef Simileoluwa Adebajo of courtesy of Eko Kitchen.

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.

Continue reading “Episode 22: Revisiting the Dream of a United Africa”

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.