Connect to share and comment

A daily chronicle of a rapidly changing continent.

Congo: Albino rapper N'Kashh prepares his debut album

N'Kashh hopes to release his debut album in April.

BOSTON — The struggle of an albino's life is not one that is commonly shared or told, especially in Africa, where albinos are often ostracized and even murdered.

Albino rapper N'Kashh, however, is about to share his struggles through his debut hip-hop album, which he hopes to release this April.

N'Kashh, who is from Goma in the Democratic Repubic of Congo, raps mainly in French, according to the BBC.

More from GlobalPost: "Ghosts" — Albinism in Tanzania

The hip-hop artist told BBC that his debut album's title track is going to be Ame Seule or Lonely Soul, which is a tribute to victims of the violence against albino people in Africa like N'Kashh himself. 

Here's a picture of N'Kashh from his MySpace profile:

In Africa people with albinisim, a genetic condition that causes the lack of melanin pigment in the skin, eyes and hair, are often associated with ghosts and demons. Albino children are seen as a curse on the family for a past wrongdoing, so these children are rejected even by their own parents. 

In Tanzania, albinos are targeted and killed the moment they are spotted, reported The Telegraph.

According to GlobalPost correspondent Jon Rosen, "scores of albinos are murdered in Tanzania each year because witchdoctors covet their skin and body parts for potions many believe will bring wealth and good fortune."

In 2010, however, Tanzania elected its first albino member of parliament Salum Khalfan Barwany, but he constantly felt threatened and feared he would fall victim to albino hunters, reported The Guardian

More from GlobalPost: Africa's albinos seek their place in the sun

In any case, N'Kashh is taking a bold step to speak out on behalf of the marginalized albino community in Africa.

Below is N'Kashh's video of Ame Seule (Lonely Soul) from 2010:

More

West Africa: Unorthodox guitarist (VIDEO)

A unnamed woman plays the guitar with the front, back, and side of her hand.

Boston — Guitar teachers all over the world may be annoyed and impressed by this guitarist’s unusual technique. The song is catchy, but the woman’s nonchalance makes it great. Enjoy.
  

More

Nigeria News: Nuhu Ribadu to head special watchdog task force

The famous anti-corruption crime-fighter is back.
Nuhu ribaduEnlarge
At a rally in Dutse, Jigawa a party supporter holds a poster of then presidential candidate Nuhu Ribadu on Feb. 28, 2011. (Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images)

Boston — Corruption crime-fighter Nuhu Ribadu now heads Nigeria’s new Special Task Force on Petroleum Revenue, a government watchdog group that will combat oil related fraud.

Ribadu’s 21-member team will investigate and monitor the production and export of crude oil, and keep track of oil revenue streams, which constitute 80 percent of state income, according to the BBC

It’s an auspicious appointment, but the road getting there was not easy.

As head of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission from 2003-2007, “Ribadu bought more than a thousand cases against politicians and tycoons accused of corruption,” according to the BBC.

More from GlobalPost: Nigeria News: Ex-governors accused of huge fraud

During his tenure Ribadu was an outspoken reformer. In a 2007 New York Times op-ed he wrote, “Nigeria has made nearly half a trillion dollars from oil in less than five decades — a figure that dwarfs that of international aid to the whole of Africa. And yet, around 70 percent of Nigerians live in conditions of dispiriting poverty, on incomes of less than a dollar a day. Corruption kills far more effectively than AIDS, malaria or war.”

Presumably, statements like the above followed up by actions gained Ribadu the public’s hard-won trust and a few enemies.

He was accused of exclusively investigating his political opponents, and twice, Ribadu claims, attempts were made to kill him. He fled the country, and it was only after the death of his political rival President Umaru Yar’Adua in 2010 that Ribadu set foot on Nigerian soil.

Shortly after his return Ribadu ran for president on the Action Congress of Nigeria ticket, but lost to the current president, Goodluck Jonathan.

The formation of the task force and Ribadu’s appointment comes after massive street protests and union strikes against the government’s attempt to cut its fuel subsidiary program, which would have significantly raised the price of fuel in Nigeria.

More from GlobalPost: Nigeria on the brink

In a statement released yesterday Ribadu applauded the mass protests. “The biggest single victory Nigerians scored was to put the question of corruption squarely back on the top of our national policy agenda,” he wrote.

Perhaps a sign of things to come, Ribadu said in a report that details his efforts to fight corruption, “If you wrestle a pig, you can’t avoid the mud.”

It seems he's ready to get muddy. 

More

Africa soccer: Zambia to face Ivory Coast in African Cup of Nations

Zambia surprised many fans by making it to the African Cup of Nations final. Can they go all the way?
ZambiasoccerEnlarge
(L-R) Zambia's players Hichani Himoonde, Jordan Ayew,Francis Kasonde,Nathan Sinkala,Jemes Chamanga,Joseph Musonda,Isaac Chansa,Davies Nkausu,Rainford Kalaba,Christopher Katongo, and goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene pose before semi-final the Africa Cup of Nations football match between Zambia and Ghana in Bata on February 8, 2012. (ABDELHAK SENNA/AFP/Getty Images)

Zambia's national soccer team is proving to be mightier than they look.

The team was not expected to defeat rivals Ghana in the semi-final match on Wednesday, however after Zambia substitute player Emmanuel Mayuka scored the only goal in the 78th minute, the underdog team walked away with the victory. 

They will once again however enter the final match as the team favored to lose against Ivory Coast. 

Zambia last appeared in the African Cup finals in 1994, only one year after the devastating plane crash which wiped out their entire team, who were en route to play in the World Cup qualifiers. In that game Zambia placed second. This time, they are looking for the win. 

More from GlobalPost: Africa soccer: Ghana faces off with Zambia in Africa Cup semifinals

According to The Hindu, after defeating Ghana on Wednesday Zambia's coach Herve Rendard noted:

“The last final Zambia played was in 1994 with a reserve team, because all the team died in 1993. That meant before the tournament we were able to say, ‘if before some substitutes were able to go to the final of the Africa Cup, why not us?’ And we did.”

Team Zambia also has the support of the country's president, Michael Sata who said in a statement, "On behalf of all Zambians, I wish to congratulate you on this breath-taking feat. You are the pride of our beloved country.”

More from GlobalPost: Zambezi Bungee Update: Zambia's tourism minister jumped, too

However, Zambia isn't alone in their desire to take home the title. Ivory Coast has not won the title match since 1992. Coach Francois Zahoui said of his team, “We came here with a lot of expectation and pressure. With the failures we’ve had in the past, we understand we haven’t won it yet."

No matter who wins in the finals, it is proof that a new age in African soccer has begun. 

More

Uganda News: Museveni government distances itself from reintroduced anti-gay bill

However, government will not quash the parliamentary debate.
Uganda anti gay bill reintroduced 09 02 2012Enlarge
Sister of gay Ugandan activist David Kato, Eva Mulumba (L) cries as she gives a speech beside Kato's mother, Nalango Lydia Mulumba (R) during a memorial service for Kato in Kampala, on January 26, 2012. Kato served as a Advocacy and Litigation Officer for sexual minorities in Uganda. Kato was brutally murdered at the age of 46 years his home in Kyetume, Mukono District on January 26, 2011. (Michele Sibloni/AFP/Getty Images)

BOSTON — The reintroduction of a bill in the Ugandan parliament that would make homosexuality a capital punishment has been internationally condemned and criticized. However, the Ugandan government is doing everything it can to distance itself from the situation.

The government has released a statement that claims the bill is not part of its legislative agenda for the year, Associated Press reported earlier today.

More

Africa soccer: Ghana faces off with Zambia in Africa Cup semifinals

Underdog Ghana faces favored Zambia in Africa Cup Semifinals.
GhanasoccerEnlarge
Ghana national football team coach Goran Stevanovic of Serbia (C) speaks to players taking part in a training session on Febuary 7, 2012, in Bata, a day ahead of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations semi-final football match between Zambia and Ghana (Alexander Joe/AFP/Getty Images)

It seems to be a fight of the underdogs in the Africa Cup semifinals. 

Ghana will face off against Zambia tomorrow, Wednesday, Feb. 8. While Ghana is favored to win the match, both teams have to overcome obstacles to take home the victory. 

Ghana will have less training time leading into the game due to a flight delay from Gabon to Equatorial Guinea where the game will take place. Zambia, on the other hand, had an extra day of rest after winning against Sudan with a 3-0 victory. 

More from GlobalPost: Egypt: Soccer riot dead remembered with 3 days of national mourning

Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan told Sports Illustrated, "They've had one day more (to prepare) than us, they stayed in the same place while we traveled, but it's no excuse. We've come here to make sure we qualify for the final.''

Ghana may have less prep time, but they aren't letting it hinder their performance. In a press conference Ghana's coach, Goran Stevanovic said, "We have a short time to prepare. But the most important thing is our morale and our personality. We have all this and I'm sure we will be ready for tomorrow's game.'' 

More from GlobalPost: Barcelona beat Real Madrid again and other soccer news

Zambia, however, is looking to surprise people. For their part coach Herve Renard said his team has more heart, and that may help them come away with the win.

"When you've already qualified for the semifinal, if you are not able to beat the big team you don't deserve to go to the final. That means for us there's no pressure. There's only maybe a fantastic moment at the end of the game. We are all very happy to be there and very proud.''

More

Kenya: Where Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II

She came to Kenya as Princess Elizabeth and left as Queen Elizabeth II.
Queen elizabeth kenya visit 2012 2 6Enlarge
Queen Elizabeth II of England gets off plane, greeted by (from R to L) Sir Winston Churchill, Clement Attlee, Anthony Eden and Frederick James Marquis, 1st Earl of Woolton and Lord President of the Council on Feb. 8, 1952, as she returns from Kenya. Princess Elizabeth heard the news of her father's death while staying at Treetops, a Game Lodge, in Kenya. (OFF/AFP/Getty Images)

BOSTON — Kenya is a special place for Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, whose reign reached 60 years today.

Six decades ago on Feb. 6, 1952, then-Princess Elizabeth was at the Treetops hotel near Mount Kenya when she heard that her father, King George VI had died, according to BBC. He died in his sleep at age 56, reported the NYT.

Treetops has been a favorite safari camp ever since but is right now under renovation.

The anniversary of the Queen's Accession Day is usually commemorated quietly since it also marks the anniversary of the death of King George VI, but this year is special as Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her Diamond Jubilee. 

More from GlobalPost: Queen Elizabeth II: Celebrating 60 years of hats (PHOTOS)

The Queen renewed her vows to continue to serve the British people today, which marks only the beginning of an year-long celebration.

The video below explains more about the Diamond Jubilee:

Year-Long Celebration of Queen Elizabeth's Reign Begins
World News Videos by NewsLook
More

Sudan News: US condemns bombing of civilians

White House denounces Sudan Armed Forces for targeting its own civilians.
Sudan nuba mountains south sudan war bombing 01 20110713Enlarge
Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir's government is resisting U.S. and UN aid. Sudanese children take shelter in caves in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan province as government bombers pass overhead on July 13, 2011. Thousands of people from the Nuba region have fled to caves after repeated attacks by Sudan government forces on civilian areas. (Trevor Snapp/GlobalPost)

The United States strongly condemns the bombing by the Sudanese Armed Forces of civilians in Sudan's Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

US President Barack Obama's administration issued a statement denouncing aerial attacks in Sudan on civilian targets as "unjustified and unacceptable."

"Such attacks are a violation of international law and compound the ongoing crisis in these areas," said the statement issued by the White House.

More

Nigeria News: Who is Abu Qaqa?

Arrested yesterday, Abu Qaqa may or may not be the voice of Boko Haram.
Boko haram bombsEnlarge
In the Nigerian city of Kano on Jan. 24, 2012, police recovered over 300 undetonated improvised explosive devices in various parts of the city, a day after multiple explosions and gun assaults by Boko Haram which killed 185 people. (Aminu Abubakar/AFP/Getty Images)

Boston — On Feb. 2 Nigerian authorities arrested suspected Boko Haram spokesperson Abu Qaqa, according to Bloomberg News.

But today an unnamed member of the extremist Islamic sect who spoke with the Agence France-Presse said, "The person that was arrested was Abu Dardaa and not Abul Qaqa.”

More from GlobalPost: Nigeria News: Nigeria arrests Boko Haram spokesperson

It was noted by AFP that the man on the phone "sounded different" from previous conversations, and AllAfrica.com confirmed with unnamed "reliable sources" that “The voice in the interview ... was not Abul Qaqa's.”

To make the matter more confusing it turns out Abu Qaqa is an alias. Abu Qaqa may in fact be Abu Dardaa, according to Agence France-Presse. But the Nigerian newspaper, The Nation, says that Qaqa's real name is Jamaatu Ahlil Sunna Lidawati wal Jihad.

Whoever Qaqa is, he's now being interrogated by police and security agents for suspected ties with the terrorist organization. 

Boko Haram has killed 935 people since 2009, according to Human Rights Watch. On Jan. 27, in Kano, Nigeria’s second largest city, Boko Haram killed 185 people. 

More from GlobalPost: Nigeria: Kano recovers from Boko Haram attacks

Boko Haram quickly and violently introduced themselves to the international community in 2009 and 2010 with increasingly deadly and daring attacks against the Nigerian government, with civilians caught in the crossfire. Boko Haram are suspected of forming ties with terrorist operations outside Nigeria including Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Somalia's Al Shabaab

More

Sudan News: Coalition urges US to deliver food to hungry

Activist groups tell US to deliver food to civilians in embattled Sudan states.
Kordofan displaced 2011 06 16Enlarge
Some of the 60,000 people who have been forced to flee their homes in South Kordofan gather outside a UN base close to the main town of Kadugli. (Paul Banks/UN Photo/Courtesy)

BOSTON — A coalition of human rights groups sent a letter today to Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, urging the U.S. government to lead in delivering much needed food and medicine to vulnerable populations in Sudan's war-torn South Kordofan and Blue Nile States.

The cross border deliveries of food and medecine would go to civilian populations that Sudan President Omar al-Bashir's government is preventing from getting those essential supplies, say the coalition.

The groups — including the Enough Project, American Jewish World Service, United to End Genocide, Jewish World Watch, Investors Against Genocide, Stop Genocide Now, and Act For Sudan — said the U.S. should continue diplomatic efforts to open aid access to the region while at the same time consider delivering aid to the region without Khartoum’s permission.

“If donor governments do not act, Sudanese people will die of malnutrition and disease,” said John Prendergast, co-founder of the Enough Project. “The regime in Khartoum continues to use starvation as a weapon with no international consequence. The U.S. should lead in countering these abhorrent war tactics by breaking the blockade, demanding full access throughout Sudan, and holding accountable officials who continue to starve people as a means of holding onto power.”

Khartoum, in its war with SPLM-North rebels in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, has attacked civilians, indiscriminately bombed populations, and used starvation as a weapon, according to numerous reports by human rights groups.

The result has been a deterioration in the humanitarian situation which could become a famine in the coming months. The Famine Early Warning Systems Network warns that conditions in the two Sudan states are anticipated to reach emergency levels by March. This is one level short of famine.

“An unnatural disaster is now threatening to claim the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent people in Sudan through starvation and disease,” said Tom Andrews, President of United to End Genocide. “Once again, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, the same man wanted for genocide in Darfur, is responsible. We cannot sit idly by as people starve to death from this Bashir-made catastrophe.”

The U.S. has a history of providing cross-border aid without the Khartoum government’s permission. From the mid-1980s, a number of NGOs delivered U.S. assistance to areas throughout South Sudan and border areas in the North where the Sudanese regime attempted to obstruct humanitarian access. These efforts saved hundreds of thousands of lives. Similar cross-border operations in the 1980s supported by the U.S. government saved countless Ethiopian lives when the regime in Addis Ababa blocked aid access.

“Right now, we must be doing everything we can so that food can reach those on the brink of famine,” said Ruth Messinger, president of American Jewish World Service.

The coalition of human rights organizations said they understand the concerns of some aid organizations that Khartoum will respond by denying access to Darfur, where the situation is deteriorating.

The U.S.government should take into account the need for continued humanitarian access in Darfur in devising a comprehensive plan to ensure the timely delivery of humanitarian aid to civilian populations in the areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, the groups said. Consequently, measures should be taken to ensure unimpeded humanitarian access and protection of humanitarian workers is also prioritized in Darfur and all over Sudan.

More