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GLOBAL INFORMATION NETWORK, an independent nonprofit media organization, distributes news and feature articles on Africa and the developing world to mainstream, alternative, ethnic and minority-owned outlets in the U.S. and Canada. For more than 20 years, Global has been supplying wide ranging and unique news, analysis, features, on essential newsmaking events with a progressive, social justice fo

GLOBAL INFORMATION NETWORK, an independent nonprofit media organization, distributes news and feature articles on Africa and the developing world to mainstream, alternative, ethnic and minority-owned outlets in the U.S. and Canada. For more than 20 years, Global has been supplying wide ranging and unique news, analysis, features, on essential newsmaking events with a progressive, social justice fo

Operating as usual

Looking forward to seeing this film in the U.S.
06/15/2021

Looking forward to seeing this film in the U.S.

LIFE OF ANC ACTIVIST, DULCE SEPTEMBER, PROFILED IN NEW DOCUMENTARY

June 14, 2021 (GIN) - South African anti-apartheid activist Dulcie September was the representative of the ANC in France, Luxembourg and Switzerland until her murder outside of ANC offices in Paris in 1988. Despite an array of clues, her killer was never identified and the story of the 52 year old activist drifted into oblivion.

New details about the incident, compiled by noted filmmaker Enver Samuel, can now be seen in a documentary screened this month at the 23rd annual Encounters International Documentary Film Festival in Cape Town, South Africa.

“Murder in Paris” is a political crime thriller that shines new light on Dulcie’s role as an underground operative in the fight for the liberation of South Africa and for her efforts to expose the murky world of arms deals between the apartheid regime and France.

Using interviews and archival footage, Samuel’s film paints a gripping portrait of a patriot and dogged freedom fighter committed to the democratic ideals which she sadly did not live to enjoy in her home country.

“Murder in Paris is the culmination of a four-year journey which began in April 2017. A chance meeting in Switzerland with Randolph Arendse, a close relative of September’s, led me down the long road of making a documentary on a truly remarkable woman,” said director Samuel.

“Finding new archival material was a big task for me - like searching for and finding nuggets of gold. There is a pounding of the heart as one door opens and another and another, which takes you down a journey of discovery.

“On my first discovery of video footage I was transfixed. Tears welled up in my eyes … I had been working on ‘Murder in Paris’ for two years: I had immersed myself in reading about September; obtained countless photographs of and newspaper articles about her.

“Her personal and political integrity, her principled position, her moral courage and her vision for a better South Africa stand as a strong reminder of how central these values are, even today as we confront the unfinished business of the past and the present.“

“It has been 33 long years since Dulcie September’s assassination and there has been no justice for her and her family. I believe ‘Murder in Paris’ finally gives her a voice and I am hoping it will, in some form, be a catalyst to bring her name back into public discourse and, eventually, play a role in reopening an inquest into her untimely death,” Samuel said.

Also showing at the 10-day Festival is ‘President’ - an award-winning, gut-punching docu-thriller that follows the 2018 Zimbabwean elections, plus “amazing films” from Niger, Ethiopia, Kenya, DRC; and SADC countries; Botswana, Mozambique, Eswatini. w/pix of D. September

Now approaching famine. Who can stop this?
06/15/2021

Now approaching famine. Who can stop this?

ACUTELY MALNOURISHED TIGRAYANS WERE INTENTIONALLY STARVED, U.N. OFFICIAL SAYS

June 14, 2021 (GIN) - Famine is staking out its young victims in the Tigray region of Ethiopia where some 33,000 severely malnourished children are trapped in inaccessible areas beyond the help of aid agencies and relief workers.

For the Tigrayans and their neighboring province of Wollo, it is a tragedy they know well. The region was the epicenter of the famine of 1984. About six million Ethiopians were affected; the number of deaths is estimated at around one million. Another famine, eleven years earlier, denied and ignored by Haile Selassie’s government, led to hundreds of thousands of deaths.

Since the latest conflict began in November 2020, Tigray has been devastated by fighting between government forces and rebels, with 1.7 million people displaced since the conflict began in November 2020.

A UN-backed study released on Thursday found that 353,000 people in the region were living in "severe crisis".

"There is famine now," said UN Humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock, adding: "This is going to get a lot worse."

In some of his strongest public comments to date on the crisis, Lowcock accused forces from neighboring Eritrea of "trying to deal with the Tigrayan population by starving them."

In an interview with Reuters, Lowcock said Eritrean soldiers and local fighters are deliberately blocking supplies to the more than 1 million people in areas outside government control. "Food is definitely being used as a weapon of war." The Ethiopian government says aid is getting through.

The Eritrean forces that joined the conflict have been accused of widespread pillage and, along with the Ethiopian army, of burning crops, destroying health facilities, and preventing farmers from ploughing their land.

Minister of Information Yemane Gebremeskel maintains that accusations that Eritrean soldiers are blocking or looting aid are "fabricated."

The UN conservatively estimates that 22,000 survivors of r**e will need support. Fear of sexual violence means that women and girls stay in hiding, unable to seek food.

Meanwhile, general elections are scheduled to take place on June 21 despite continuing human rights abuses in Tigray where the government and Eritrean forces are accused of war crimes, including multiple massacres, and under a government that is starving a significant portion of the population.

The United States is "gravely concerned" about the environment in which the elections in Ethiopia will be held and urged politicians and other community leaders there to denounce violence.

More violence, more kidnappings. When do Nigerians get security at home again?
06/09/2021

More violence, more kidnappings. When do Nigerians get security at home again?

U.S. THINK TANKS RULE NIGERIA ‘A FAILED NATION’

June 6, 2021 (GIN) - Over 200 people were killed in violent attacks across Nigeria last week, as the insecurity across the country continues despite the efforts of security agencies.

Over the same period of time, no fewer than 137 people were abducted across the country.

The figures were gathered by the Premium Times of Nigeria from newspaper reports and family members of victims.

Rising levels of violence and the inability of the nation’s leadership to bring it under control have led the Council on Foreign Relations and the Harvard Kennedy School to conclude that Nigeria as a nation is at a point of no return with all the signs of a failed nation.

Nigeria has long teetered on the precipice of failure, the authors wrote in a report published by Foreign Policy magazine. But now, unable to keep its citizens safe and secure, Nigeria has become a fully failed state of critical geopolitical concern.

Its failure matters because the peace and prosperity of Africa and preventing the spread of disorder and militancy around the globe depend on a stronger Nigeria.

Long West Africa’s major power, Nigeria played a positive role in promoting African peace and security, according to the reports authors. (But) with state failure, it can no longer sustain that vocation, and no replacement is in sight.

Its security challenges are already destabilizing the West African region in the face of resurgent jihadism, making the battles of the Sahel that much more difficult to contain. And spillover from Nigeria’s failures ultimately affect the security of Europe and the United States.

Failed states are violent, the report continues. Nigeria now confronts six or more internal insurrections and the inability of the Nigerian state to provide peace and stability to its people has tipped a hitherto very weak state into failure.

At a bare minimum, citizens expect their states to keep them secure from external attack and to keep them safe within their borders.

The finding was prepared by former US Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, and the Founding Director of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Program on Intrastate Conflict and president emeritus of the World Peace Foundation, Robert I. Rotberg. According to them, Nigeria is currently in its final phase from which it would eventually collapse.

Elsewhere in Nigeria, the government has banned Twitter after the U.S. social media giant deleted a tweet from the president's account for violating its rules.

The diplomatic missions of the EU, U.S., Britain, Canada and Ireland issued a joint statement late Saturday condemning the ban. "Precisely the moment when Nigeria needs to foster inclusive dialogue and expression of opinions, as well as share vital information in this time of the Covid-19 pandemic."

"The path to a more secure Nigeria lies in more, not less, communication," it added.

More than 39 million Nigerians have a Twitter account, according to NOI polls, a public opinion and research organization based in Nigeria.

The government's suspension came after Twitter deleted a remark on President Muhammadu Buhari's account in which he referred to the country's civil war four decades ago in a warning about recent unrest.

The 78-year-old president, a former general, referred to "those misbehaving" in recent violence in the southeast. "Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand," the president had posted on Twitter. w/pix of M. Buhari

Premium chocolate from Ghana!
06/09/2021

Premium chocolate from Ghana!

GHANA FORESEES END TO NEOCOLONIAL TRADING RELATIONSHIPS STARTING WITH COCOA

June 6, 2021 (GIN) – At a state visit to Switzerland last year, Ghana’s president, Nana Akufo-Addo put his cards on the table. The second largest cocoa producer would no longer ship the raw material to Switzerland if by doing so, it would trap the country in poverty for the next century.

Ghana and the Ivory Coast supply 70% of the cocoa beans, but most of the value in a chocolate bar is generated in Europe and North America. The global chocolate industry is worth over US$150 billion. West African economies receive less than US$6 billion.

This is despite a growing demand for consumer chocolate in West Africa, some of which is satisfied through imports.

In his address to the Federal Council of Switzerland, Akufo-Addo decried the colonial-style relationship with the world’s chocolate manufacturers in which Ghana provides raw materials only to import finished goods.

“There can be no future prosperity for the Ghanaian people in the short, medium or long term if we continue to maintain economic structures that are dependent on the production and export of raw materials,” the President said.

It is well known that most farmers in the two top African cocoa growers live in dire poverty. Some employ children or extend their farms by cutting down forest to make ends meet. Farmers get at most 7 percent of the chocolate value chain. Those who make, sell and market chocolate grab more than 80 percent, said David Pilling, a reporter with the UK Financial Times.

Added to that, Ghana is not set up to produce chocolate bars on a commercial scale. With no dairy industry, milk power must be imported. Packaging has not kept up with cost or sophistication with the west. Energy is more expensive and less reliable.

But now, several domestic companies are making bars for Ghana’s growing domestic market. Two Ghanaian sisters run ’57 Chocolate, one of several artisanal manufacturers producing high-end chocolate in small batches.

Fairafric, a German-Ghanaian company is producing export-quality chocolate in large quantities from a $10 million factory north of Accra.

Fairafric’s founder, Hendrik Reimers, says that by turning beans into bars domestically, five times more value stays in Ghana.

Finally, made-in-Ghana chocolate does well in a premium market. It can also win over the millennials who respond to stories about supply chains that create decently paid jobs.

Ghana has made remarkable progress on expanding primary cocoa processing and chocolate production capacity, the South African news organization, The Conversation, reports. Now it is time to develop a vibrant domestic chocolate industry and benefit from a 1.3 billion strong market provided by the African Continental Free Trade Area.

T.B. Joshua has passed.
06/09/2021

T.B. Joshua has passed.

SUDDEN PASSING OF NIGERIAN PREACHER STUNS SCORES OF HIS FOLLOWERS

June 6, 2021 (GIN) - “Time for everything – time to come here for prayer and time to return home after the service.”

With those words, Nigerian preacher TB Joshua, one of Africa's most influential televangelists, ended his final sermon on Emmanuel TV, the broadcast arm of his megachurch. His death was marked by over 300,000 followers on Facebook within 24 hours of his passing on June 5. He was 57.

Temitope Balogun Joshua was the founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations or SCOAN. Tens of thousands of people attended his weekly services in Ikotun-Egbe, in the city of Lagos.

He was popular in many African countries, and in South America where he held many religious crusades.

As news of his passing spread, a huge crowd gathered around the mammoth ornate church that towered over the neighborhood, covering several blocks.

Crying in disbelief, women pulled their hair and men shook their heads. One follower, interviewed by the independent TV Sahara Reporters, compared Joshua’s philanthropy with the failure of government leaders. “People are suffering for this country and there’s no other hope,” he said. “You call yourself governor, you call yourself president, (but) you don’t do anything. You don’t help the people.“

Joshua’s rise to prominence in the late 1990s coincided with the explosion of "miracle" programs performed on national TV by various pastors. His ministry professed to heal all manner of illnesses, including HIV/Aids and Covid-19.

Joshua would have celebrated his 58 birthday on June 12. Church officials have not released a cause of death.

Joshua’s philanthropy was widely admired but his teachings from the “prosperity gospel” – often called the “health and wealth” gospel - were regarded by many Christians as a heretical teaching based on manipulation rather than genuine care. And in April, YouTube shut down his account for videos claiming to ‘cure’ homosexuality. His internet platform had close to a million followers.

Facebook also removed at least one post showing a woman being slapped while TB Joshua said he was casting out a "demonic spirit".

Joshua authored several books including Miracle Money, Bible Success, Magic Debt Abundance, Angels and Unexpected Income. According to Forbes magazine, his net worth was between $10- and $15 million U.S. He leaves behind his spouse, Evelyn Joshua, and two children: Serah Joshua and Promise Joshua. w/pix of T.B. Joshua

Nigerian film pioneer little known outside of Nigeria...
05/28/2021

Nigerian film pioneer little known outside of Nigeria...

LADI LADEBO, EARLY FILM COLLABORATOR WITH OSSIE DAVIS, PASSES

May 24, 2021 (GIN) - Ladi Ladebo, writer and collaborator with Ossie Davis in an early media project of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, has died in London. He was 78.

Ladebo, holder of a marketing and business degree from New York University, offered a marketing plan to the Delta sorority for a novel film project. According to the Sorority’s 15th president, Lillian Pierce Benbow, the proposed film, Countdown at Kusini, would counter the cinema of “Blaxploitation” and address negative images of Blacks in cinema.

“We saw that with movies, and any of the media, you have the usual stereotype presentation of Black women [. . .] either she’s got a handkerchief on her head, humming her song, ‘Jesus, I’ll be home by and by,’ or she’s somebody’s pr******te or in some other way dehumanized,” Benbow said in 1974.

“The [depiction] problem will begin to be solved when Blacks gain control over the making of their own films”.

What eventually followed was a historic collaboration with Ossie Davis and his wife Ruby Dee on Countdown at Kusini, a film written by Ladebo.

Davis recalled his meeting with Delta: “They came to us … I happened to have a son-in-law (Ladi Ladebo, a Nigerian) at that time who was interested in filmmaking and he had rights to a story called Countdown at Kusini.”

The commitment to a pan-African effort had long been on Davis’ personal agenda, having assisted in the direction of Kongi’s Harvest, the first Nigerian feature film which starred Wole Soyinka.

But filming in Nigeria proved to be a significant, costly obstacle. Davis recalls: “When the crew arrived in Nigeria and saw the working conditions, they insisted on more pay.” Other costs began to mount.

Ultimately, the film industry backed away from the film. “They did not believe whites would be interested in Kusini and they weren’t going to tie up a screen on a Saturday and lose profits. So they put it on once, on one screen, on a Wednesday,” Ladebo recalled.

Reviews of the film also hurt its chances. Vincent Canby in the New York Times wrote : “it’s a movie that wants to be ‘serious’ about African political aspirations while also being entertaining. Though it tries hard, it’s neither [. . .]

Despite the failure of Countdown at Kusini, Delta believed the project fulfilled its mission of educational and political enlightenment, and economic empowerment and self-sufficiency.

Kusini was shown at the Diaspora Festival of Black and Independent Film in the US in 2018 - its first screening in 30 years.

Other films by Ladebo are: Cool Red, and Bisi, Daughter of the River, Heritage, Vendor, and The Silent Sufferer. He also directed several serials for TV including Pariah and The Thrift Collector.

He is survived by his wife, Irene, three daughters and two grandchildren. w/pix of L. Ladebo

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Global Information Network began as a Third World news distributor about 4 decades ago. Gradually our focus turned to Africa, a sorely-under-reported region of the world. Our news clients asked for more Africa news as well. Over the years we have developed a network of colleagues in African media. Our goal is to introduce new voices from the continent, to increase insights, analyses and perspectives for a wide audience and to bring into their view information about African issues that are overlooked or under-reported by mainstream media or our capacity as a non-for-profit 501(c)3 organization.

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