ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
Believe you me, if I could have things my way, every South African child would travel
to every town in every province of this country by the time they turned 18, after which
point they would go on to explore Southern African countries by the age of 22,
and the rest of the continent before they turned 30 years of age.
Books on Africa and Africans
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By Kate Nkansa
A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with a Senegalese friend about tourism in Africa. He made some interesting statements that I found to be insightful. He said that Africans were more likely to know more about France, the United States, United Kingdom, and a host of other western countries, than they were to know about, Mali, Ghana, Tanzania, Angola or Senegal. Furthermore, Africans were more likely to visit Western countries than countries on the African continent.
I often listen to Africans speaking and boasting about how many European countries they have been to, they however fail to mention one African country they have visited. Have you ever heard of anyone mentioning that they have been saving for a trip to visit Timbuktu in Mali, which was a centre of Islamic learning from the 13th to the 17th century; or Ghana which has some of the finest untouched beaches in the world; how about the Great Zimbabwean Ruins which is a world heritage site? Many of the places to visit in Africa do not cost you an arm and a leg to tour. It is possible to visit African countries on a small budget and get the most out of the holiday. Here is a list of places to visit in Africa (go to the links). Westeners know more about our beautiful continent than Africans. Whether it is North, Southern, East and West Africa. There are some great places to visit in Africa, something to suit peoples unique preferences.
Africa has many wonderful countries to visit where we can enjoy the rich history, cuisine and culture. It is time we take advantage of what this continent has to offer in travel and tourism. Let Africans support travel and tourism within Africa. Many of the places we wish to visit in the outside world are just at our doorstep.
We travel to France to get a taste of French bread and wine; Italy to experience their pasta and pizza; and Switzerland for their cheese and chocolate. What cuisine are African countries celebrated for having? Do we as Africans know? Here are a few African dishes I came across that I am certain would tickle anybodys taste buds. Ghana is famous for its shitor, which is a spicy hot chilli pepper condiment that tastes like ketchup in the United States and salsa in Mexico. Shitor is served with any meal. It is delicious! West African Cuisine and East African Cuisine are delicious. Why not try cooking a new dish from these regions? Kenyan and Ethiopian coffees are some of the best in the world. I am sure there are plenty other dishes and cuisines I have failed to mention.
Let us be more adventurous, in learning about different African music, cultural history, cuisines and tourist spots. It is a shame that we let our beautiful continent go unexplored by Africans.
Kate Nkansa is a risk-taker. She constantly challenges herself to step out of her comfort zone. She is a social entrepreneur, which is defined as a person who is ambitious and persistent, who tackles major social issues and offers new ideas for wide-scale change. Her goal is to become part of a growing voice among Africa’s youth demanding change on the continent. She was born in Ghana but spent her youth in South Africa. She’s currently living in South Korea, but will soon be back on African soil. www.africansolutionz.com
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Thank you for the article. Interesting indeed. I would be among the first to agree with you on the matter of getting to know one’s backyard before looking around the neighbourhood. That said, there are a few things that I would like to bring to your attention about the things that we would all like to happen on this continent.
A couple of years ago I tried to organise a trip around Southern Africa, and up to the East Coast, ending on the beaches on Kenya where we were to enjoy our New Year’s eve amongst Kenya’s most beautiful. There were a number of challenges that resulted in the trip being cancelled. These challenges are the very things that I would like to bring to your attention.
The first challenge about travelling in Africa is that one always has to travel with companions, preferably people who are familiar with the country you choose to visit. The basic story there, and this is one I experienced first hand while travelling in Botswana just last year, is that the road infrastructure (including and especially road signs) is nowhere to be found and as a result getting lost is VERY easy. I spent about an hour trying to find my way from Gaborone to the border a 15 minute trip, even after having asked people for directions. The story there, if you wana travel in Africa, find a knowledgeable companion. What this means is that Africa is not friendly to first-time visitorssomething that cannot be said for any of the developed nations.
The second challenge came around the question of how to get to where we wanted to get to. Would we travel by bus, car or plane, maybe even a combination of all three? The answer to that question is not as simple as it might be in some parts of the world. We could go by bus, but the experience would be of such a nature that we could not even consider packing much more than we could carry in one backpack, lest we get tired along the way. Not exactly ideal for leisure travel. We could possibly go by car. The challenge with this mode of transport was the fact that we would need a four-wheel drive in order for our journey to be remotely possible. This could not happen because we just did not have cars to begin with, never mind big ones.
Plus there would be petrol consumption issues involved. At the time we wanted to do the trip, Zimbabwe was still prone to having no petrol at its gas stations so we had to factor that into the trip as well. The last option was to fly. That was a none-starter because trying to fly from South Africa, through Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Uganda, spending some time in Zanzibar, and ending up in Kenyaand then back to South Africawould probably cause a dent even in Bill Gates’ wallet. The combination of these modes of transport as you can imagine was not really an option either. Anyway, we managed to hash out some plan that could allow us to make the trip and cost us what could be viewed by only a few Africans as reasonable.
Now, I am not one to simply press on the problems that we have on the continent because I believe in the potential that this continent has, as you so rightfully point out in the article. The reason I have painted the picture that I have painted is to draw your attention to some of the things that need to be corrected if African tourism is to be a reality. The first is that we need to ensure that the infrastructure in African nations is of such a state that it becomes unbelievably easy for first-time travellers to make their way through this continent without having to worry about being lost.
The second is one of affordability, and it leads on from the infrastructure issue. We ought to ensure that there is good enough infrastructure to make the travel between African cities easy to accomplish and therefore cheaper to provide. The third, and last that I will point out today, is that of stability. Only stable regions can enjoy great booms in tourism, even from their own brothers and sisters. In neighbourhoods where there is a lot of gang violence, parents tend to tell their children to stay indoors and don’t allow then to see their neighbourhood.
In our own little way, no matter where in Africa you might be from, let’s each play a role in getting these things in place. Let’s put each of our nations in a position to say to the rest of Africa that they have no excuse for not visiting our nations because everything is in place that would make it possible for them to visit. Infrastructure, affordable travel, safe streets and a stable supply of all the goods and services needed to make a holiday what it is meant to be, a restful time of fun and laughter. One thing I cannot disagree with you about, is the wonderful and colourful cuisine that Africa has to offer, including Nigeria’s peanut chicken.Thulani Madinginye 5 Oct 2010
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As usual you are very thorough and thoughtful in your response. A very impressive quality indeed. As someone who has had the privilege of backpacking through Southern Africa I have to say that some of the challenges that you highlighted are indeed real, but not insurmountable. I travelled with a mate of mine through Southern Africa without knowing any locals; all we had was a map and some very helpful, friendly locals so you don’t necessarily need to know any locals to travel through the continent. You can easily navigate your way with just a decent sense of direction, a good map and the help of the locals.
Secondly Africa is actually quite friendly and welcoming to first-time visitors even in its current state. What struck me and my mate as we backpacked through Southern Africa and had the most incredible experiences, was that we were the only Africans who were travelling. In every place we went there where lots of North Americans, Europeans, Australians, etc. travelling through the continent and totally loving it in spite of all its challenges. In fact for most of them Africa’s rawness actually presented its greatest appeal. So the current state of affairs need not be an impediment to young Africans wanting to see and experience this great continent.
If people from outside can travel the continent so freely, despite all its pitfalls, the question needs to be asked: What is stopping us Africans from exploiting our own continent?Mugabe Ratshikuni 7 Oct 2010
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I do not disagree with the fact that we should be travelling. I do not disagree with the fact that we should be trying to get more Africans to see their continent and appreciate its beauty. I am of the view that, as stated before, one should get to know their own backyard before exploring their neighbourhood. What I am simply trying to bring to light is the fact that there are real challenges to travelling in Africa that cannot simply be ignored. There are challenges that present themselves that we ought to get rid of.
Of all the things that I stated, you have only stated one that can be overcome. The matter of cost is real, and we know that the majority of Africans live in poverty. The matter of instability is yet another. Who would dare travel through the Congo even today, in what is considered a relatively stable political environment. Even countries like Uganda still have parts that one cannot move through because of political instability and warfare.
Believe you me, if I could have things my way, every South African child would travel to every town in every province of this country by the time they turned 18, after which point they would go on to explore Southern African countries by the age of 22, and the rest of the continent before they turned 30 years of age. Unfortunately that is something that cannot happen, and my real point in writing is that we ought to deal with those challenges so that the next generation of Africans can have no reason to remain within their artificial borders.
From a practical point, we also ought to make it possible for Africans to cross African borders for holiday making without any need for a visa for at reasonable amount of timeabout a month. That way one does not even need to think about whether they should travel or not. Then there is the issue of healthcare Mr. Ratshikuni.
If you were to catch Malaria or any other disease on your travels through Africa, it will prove quite difficult to find decent health care that would be able to save your life. This is real, and most people worry about that. Every time I tell my family I am going to any other African country, one of the first questions I get asked is about Malaria prevention, not out of ignorance, but because it’s a real concern. Once again I ask. What can we do, as a generation, to rid this continent of these obstacles to travelling across the Motherland?
How can we make it possible for those who come after us to live and love Africa by experiencing it? In every great nation, it is incumbent on the current generation to see it as a duty to leave the country better than they found it for the next generation. Let us make that our pledge.Thulani Madinginye 7 Oct 2010
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not a worry at all. In response to your comments about the challenges that potential african tourist may have I’d say that you’ve raised some very valid points. With regards to the financial aspect of it, I know many people who save for a year to go on holiday. Perhaps you and your friends could have opened a bank account and put aside money each month towards the trip.
Also hiring a 4×4 and driving it through Southern Africa could have been another options. So you would not have had to have anyone own a vehicle to make such a journey. [Here] are some websites that can provide you with a quotation for vehicle hire: Off Road Africa and Drive South Africa. From what I can tell with the research I did it costs about R1000-R1200 per day to hire a 4×4; the 4×4 can accomodate 5-7 people and includes tents etc. There are always ways around these challenges, we just need to be creative and little more adventurous as Africans.Kate Nkansa 13 October 2010
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Interviewed by Lola Balola
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of My Ten Years in Captivity and My Journey to Freedom in America
By Francis Bok
By Mende Nazer
By Alek Wek
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By Anne Carroll
The author’s analysis of how the illustrations amplify and create tension with the writing and how they empower and sometimes disempower their subjects is the first critical work in this important area. Generously illustrated. Highly recommended. Choice
In tracing the formation of the idea of the New Negro through the vital interplay of literature, art, and social criticism, Word, Image, and the New Negro makes a superb contribution to scholarship on the Harlem Renaissance, the history of African American publishing, and modern American culture.Eric J. Sundquist, author of To Wake the Nations: Race in the Making of American Literature
The first detailed comparative analysis of the mix of text and illustration in the major African American magazines and anthologies of the 1910s and 1920s. It is a major advance in our understanding of what amounted to innovative collage forms articulated to race and politics. Carefully theorized and rich with persuasive readings, the book should appeal not only to literary scholars but also to anyone interested in modernity and the little magazine.Cary Nelson, author of Revolutionary Memory
A very welcome contribution to the contemporary rethinking of the period. By calling our attention to the images that consistently and significantly appeared alongside some of the well-remembered texts of the Harlem Renaissance, Carroll foregrounds the very modernity that the New Negro Movement sought self-consciously to embrace…. Carroll’s eye for the particular will have both a helpful and inspiring effect on readers who want to continue building on the work she has done here.Net Reviews
This book focuses on the collaborative illustrated volumes published during the Harlem Renaissance, in which African Americans used written and visual texts to shape ideas about themselves and to redefine African American identity. Anne Elizabeth Carroll argues that these volumes show how participants in the movement engaged in the processes of representation and identity formation in sophisticated and largely successful ways. Though they have received little scholarly attention, these volumes constitute an important aspect of the cultural production of the Harlem Renaissance. Word, Image, and the New Negro marks the beginning of a long-overdue recovery of this legacy and points the way to a greater understanding of the potential of texts to influence social change.amazon.com
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By Barbara Foley
A carefully argued, nuanced presentation of the genesis of the Harlem Renaissance. Foley’s breadth of knowledge in American radical history is impressive.American Literature
Foley’s book is a lucid and useful one… A heavyweight intervention, it prompts significant rethinking of the ideological and representational strategies structuring the era.Journal of American Studies
Foley does a masterful job of analyzing the racial and political theories of a wide range of black and white figures, from the radical Left to the racist Right… Students of African American political and cultural history in the early twentieth century cannot ignore this book. Essential.Choice
In our current time of crisis, when ruling classes busily promote nationalism and racism to conceal the class nature of their inter-imperialist rivalries, one can only hope that readers will not be daunted by Foley’s dedication to analyzing the ideological milieu of the 1920s that contributed to the eclipse of New Negro radicalism by New Negro nationalism.Science & Society
With the New Negro movement and the Harlem Renaissance, the 1920s was a landmark decade in African American political and cultural history, characterized by an upsurge in racial awareness and artistic creativity. In Spectres of 1919 Barbara Foley traces the origins of this revolutionary era to the turbulent year 1919, identifying the events and trends in American society that spurred the black community to action and examining the forms that action took as it evolved.
Unlike prior studies of the Harlem Renaissance, which see 1919 as significant mostly because of the geographic migrations of blacks to the North, Spectres of 1919 looks at that year as the political crucible from which the radicalism of the 1920s emerged. Foley draws from a wealth of primary sources, taking a bold new approach to the origins of African American radicalism and adding nuance and complexity to the understanding of a fascinating and vibrant era.
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#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane
#10 – Covenant: A Thriller by Brandon Massey
#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva by Ashley and JaQuavis
#12 – Don’t Ever Tell by Brandon Massey
#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide by Ntozake Shange
#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree
#15 – Homemade Loves by J. California Cooper
#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper
#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber
#18 – Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare
#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King
#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey
#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe
#22 Thug Matrimony by Wahida Clark
#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark
#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber
#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter
#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson
#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History by Ahati N. N. Toure
#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley
#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell
#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore
#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit by RM Johnson
#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins
#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell
#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard
#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris
#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice
#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields
#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class by Lisa B. Thompson
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This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label ‘trafficked’ does not accurately describe migrants’ lives and that the ‘rescue industry’ serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. “Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality.”Lisa Adkins, University of London
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A Novel by Jesmyn Ward
On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family thats about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrinas inexorable winds is the voice of Wards narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her familys raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brothers blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt. Her fathers hands are like gravel, while her own hand slides through his grip like a wet fish, and a handsome boys muscles jabbered like chickens. Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isnt usually just metaphor for metaphors sake. She conveys something fundamental about Eschs fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, whats salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.WashingtonPost
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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posted 29 October 2010 / update 1 January 2012