Tag Archives: Africa

Sunday Reads

Recipes

Books read: January – April

I happily enjoyed all of these books that I would happily recommend any of them.

Sunday Reads

Recipes

Sunday Reads

Three thoughts on Ngugi wa Thiong’os public lecture

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Source

His talk was titled “Decolonising the Mind, Securing the Base”.

  1. We exchanged our accents for European accents and in exchange for access to African resources.
  2. If you know all the languages of the world except your mother tongue, you are enslaved. If you speak your mother tongue in addition to other languages, you are empowered.
  3. Names and language is the imperialist’s last battle for the war that begun with the sword.

His talk was disrupted, I think wrongfully but here are a couple of other views you could check out.

Sunday Reads

  1. Interesting take on development in Africa through the tale of the seed industry in Uganda.
  2. Even I got punished for speaking an African language at school.
  3. More women than men in Lesotho are in school.
  4. Technology is definitely making life easier for refugees.
  5. This seems like a simple DIY even I could do.
  6. As Christians we do not look to our circumstances but the hope of Christ and His promises!
  7. A mistake is just a moment in time.”
  8. Be ambitious for life and not just work. Yes!
  9. Ten places to visit in Nairobi.
  10. Six hot podcasts on and by Africans to listen to.
  11. Yummy lemon cake.
  12. What is a PhD?
  13. Awwwww at this cute child‘s response to her mom. Oh dear for this old man.
  14. Lime zest and cardamon mandazi.
  15. Some really inspirational girls!

Sunday Reads

  1. Loving these sets of articles about women, women and ambition and the work place.
  2. Thinking of doing this for someone I love.
  3. Something about this video made me so homesick for Nairobi.
  4. Some tips for all the new moms out there.
  5. Love that this guy acknowledges what White Male Privilege has meant for him and his accomplishments.
  6. Kenya goes to the polls in  August this year. A quick primer of some of the issues.
  7. Some great African books to look forward to this year.
  8. Somehow not a fan of all these baby products that work on selling fear to parents.
  9. Some more Obama stuff.
  10. We cannot run from God’s voice, where is He calling you to today?
  11. An effective way to incorporate prayer into your life.
  12. yummy fish recipe.
  13. Getting kids to [always] eat veggies.

Sunday Reads on Africa

  1. I have read ten of these 50 must-read books by African female writers.
  2. Exclusive Books publish their first newsletter focused on African Lit. Great start.
  3. A South African church in pictures.
  4. Hot jams to get you ready for the week ahead!
  5. Beyonce’s style of feminism is not my own.” Chimamanda Adichie.
  6. I would venture a guess that most black women have this growing up with black hair story.
  7. On intersectionality. Yaa Gyasi’s essay on what it means to be Ghanaian in America.
  8. Pettinah Gappah’s recent short story.
  9. Love and Johannesburg. The couple reminds me of the Mr and I.
  10. 21 gifts for the creative black woman in your life.
  11. A guide to Africa’s dictators. Here and Here.
  12. Rachel Strohm highlights work by the team at Democracy in Africa in putting together a long reading list of articles on African issues by African scholars.
  13. This page showing Everyday Africa.
  14. But why is my leader like this? Not sure we need mandarin studies in Uganda just yet.

A Wonder of the World

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I recently went to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and all I can say of the trip is heat, beauty and Vic Falls. Wow, just wow!!!

Enjoy!

 

(Long) Sunday Reads

  1. Great marriage lesson about talking honestly of our growing up experiences
  2. Clothes, beauty and Africa (NY Times)
  3. Uganda’s fastest and cheapest street food: Rolex. Do yourself a favour and google how the typical Ugandan pronounces it 🙂
  4. …. and then a brief history of Vietnam’s street food, the Banh  mi.
  5. School lunches in Japan.
  6. So much good in this story.
  7. Relationship goals. Yes!!
  8. I love mussels and this seems so simple to make at home.
  9. I sometimes feel this way about my accomplishments. Yeah!
  10. I WANNA host an ice cream social too.
  11. Because Lagos loves to party.
  12. Bringing up kids in this day and age is not for the faint hearted.
  13. Giving birth in Guinea is not child’s play.
  14. We must watch Hidden Figures. Very important story to tell!!
  15. Yummy (no egg) ice cream recipe.
  16. This is my plan for September – need to get a proposal out.
  17. I had a similar meal recently at a restaurant, YUMMY cauliflower.
  18. Some more productivity hacks.
  19. This letter. So true and poignant!

Reviews of Books I have Recently Read

I had a few books that I needed to get through and here are my thoughts on some of them.

Coconut by Kopano Matlwa

  • The story talks about identify, self expression and family as well as issues of class and wealth and post-colonial African societies.
  • Made me ask myself what makes me African. Is it my dreadlocks, my clothing style, the language I speak or not speak. My race perhaps? Africans come in many moulds and it is fine because we build up each other and our environment.
  • It’s critically acclaimed and I agree that it’s definitely an important piece of literature for our time.
  • The writing style is not great and it was very confusing to know when it was a thought or the actual storyline and a good editor would have helped with this. But its a few pages so you could quickly get past that.

Spilt Milk – Kopano Matlwa

  • I quite liked this book, slightly better written but it definitely had more promise than it finally delivered because it just ended abruptly. To be honest, it also started just as abruptly so maybe this is a stylistic feature?
  • Can’t really say much about the other themes but the theme of education and a School that influences young African minds and philosophy personally appealed to me.
  • I also loved that she paid homage to all the (black) African greats and it was very encouraging to see this greatness that has gone before us. Led me to ask myself, who is writing the African story? My story, your story?
  • Loved the story and would definitely recommend it.

Under the Udala Trees – Chinelo Okparanta

  • I love, love, love this book. Love the author and her previous collection of short stories. So before you ask, I will recommend this book.
  • Themes: love, marriage/ relationships, family, homosexuality, loss, identity.
  • I love here writing style and the language she uses also how she develops her characters. You get to really understand them and start to root for them.
  • The novel is extremely complex and multi-layered and is not something you read casually.
  • I have shared before my thoughts on homosexuality and fully stand by the fact that the action is sinful but the individuals are beloved of God and so I read the story more for the literature but not because I stand by or believe in it.
  • Nigeria has the Biafran War that has been included in a lot of literature. This made me think of what contemporary Kenyan or Ugandan writers talk about as that definining moment of our history.

Dust – Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor

  • This book is a historical account of Kenya as a novel. It takes us through the history of a nation through the story of a house and a family from 1963 to 2007/8 when the post-election violence happened.
  • If I had to give any criticism, its that the book has two very distinct parts and only the very patient will see it to the end and enjoy it. It starts slow and seems patchy and disjointed in certain places then it picks momentum and takes off. Beautiful work!!
  • There are a lot of characters, yes, but they are all interconnected so its quite easy to lace through them.
  • The books themes include: nationalism/ identity, love, passion, corruption, leadership, art/ creativity.
  • Must read to anyone wishing to understand Kenya or planning a visit there.

Have you read anything interesting recently?

 

Note to self …

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Source

I read this a couple of weeks back and it made me feel something. Not sure what, but as a Black Women, I felt something and so I shared it.

Long Sunday Reads

  1. Thoughtful cards that recognise the many paths to parenthood.
  2. I would happily co-sign the petition to have all academic research freely distributed. (NY Times link)
  3. The top researchers on RePec (Research Papers in Economics) from a ” Developing Country” are all male and predominantly pale.
  4. Jeez, the ethics and externalities stemming from a privately owned city in India.
  5. Decorating together as a couple.
  6. Relationships aren’t always exciting or glamorous. And that’s fine. These 24 comics celebrate the more mundane bits of things #7, 12,16,17,19 and especially 22.
  7. I’m already so iffy about eating eggs, not sure it was wise to read this egg on whether to wash eggs or not, whether to keep them in the fridge or not.
  8. Daily life in a major Accra slum. Very riveting (but could be gross) read.
  9. Imagine if your hotel owner knowingly spied on you while you visited their hotel?
  10. Don’t let fear dictate how your life should be / the pressures that women face regarding marriage.
  11. Data sources for researchers, many free and easily available.
  12. No more boy only OR girl only books.
  13. Wearable baby tech marketed to parents based on fear mongering.So shameful and morally horrid.
  14. What will happen when African leaders take their election rigging online? I cannot even imagine!
  15. I am sometimes guilty of not taking my job THIS seriously!!
  16. Various recipes this week.

Sunday Reads

Happy Valentines Day all … Something warm and fuzzy!

  1. Healthy pumpkin and oat bread
  2. Finally government and ruling party comment on the evil virginity bursary schemes.
  3. Loved this story about second hand booksellers in Joburg.
  4. Simple enough DIY involving a wok that turns into a lamp.
  5. Childhood obesity is on the increase. In Sub-Saharan Africa *GASP*
  6. Fascinating read on a river that actually boils.
  7. Lunch club anyone?
  8. Always in life it helps to be a unique individual. Always. Be Unique.
  9. This cooking project in Delhi just warmed my heart for some reason.
  10. On the schooling options for Black children and the issues to consider: One and Two.

“The paradox of elite education in SA is that it breeds an economic elite with very little social literacy, and who display contempt for the idea of social intelligence.”

Last Sunday Reads of 2015

  1. A simple way to think of writing, in three parts.
  2. Now I am even more confused about Westgate,Nairobi (37 minute audio recording)
  3. Ten ways to help you improve your eating habits. Particularly #1 on doubbling up on veggies.
  4. A quick tuna chickpea salad.
  5. Light quick read on the history of Vlisco making fabrics for Africa (Won’t talk today about my feelings of appropriation where this is concerned)
  6. A longer history of Vlisco here
  7. So Rachel Dolezal does not get it at all! Still, six months later and with a baby on the way!!
  8. “​what’s the danger of not training the people who stay?” Another classic Seth Godin post.
  9. The NYT’s best pics for the year
  10. Pleased to hear there are measurable and positive benefits to the show 16 and Pregnant coz I really like the show!

The Centre Cannot Hold

I recently had occasion to read Things Fall Apart. I thought it would be quite overrated because how can it be that every single person would read this book and fall head over heels with it. BUT, I must say, it delivered on just about every aspect. It was an easy read, well written, timelss and very much classical. I loved it and would happily recommend it to anyone (like me) that hadn’t read it!

Things Fall Apart tells two intertwining stories, both centering on Okonkwo, a “strong man” of an Ibo village in Nigeria. The first, a powerful fable of the immemorial conflict between the individual and society, traces Okonkwo’s fall from grace with the tribal world. The second, as modern as the first is ancient, concerns the clash of cultures and the destruction of Okonkwo’s world with the arrival of aggressive European missionaries. These perfectly harmonized twin dramas are informed by an awareness capable of encompassing at once the life of nature, human history, and the mysterious compulsions of the soul. Source

My overall thoughts?

  • I loved that the story was told through a very flawed but relatable hero.I loved that he took the time to develop other supporting characters and they were not a hollow supporting cast.
  • I greatly appreciated the proverbs and had occasion to smile at the meaning behind some of them.
  • Based on my upbringing whereby I significantly identify with a Christian Culture, I found some of the content quite other-worldly and very steeped in what I would call Witchcraft what with all the ceremonies, the belief in ancestral worship and the blatant worship of idols. That made me very very uneasy.
  • Having said that, it was quite enlightening to see how things ran say Pre-Christianity as we know it . To see how the people ( past and present), their land and their “gods” were heavily intertwined.I believe that we are merely stewards of the earth and that to some extent we have abused it.
  • The last section of the book dealt with the early Missionaries and the Colonisers that came to Africa and I must say it made me so angry.I actually felt like my stomach would turn from the rage.
    • It bothered me so much that Christianity was so heavily intertwined with Western Culture. African culture was not perfect, ABSOLUTELY NOT! But it was unnecessary to introduce the faith within such a narrow slant. I wonder whether it makes White people uneasy how integrated Church is with predominantly their culture. Yes, I understand it is a generalisation as I have attended churches that are truly multicultural but they are often in the minority!
    • I doubt that we speak often enough of the brutality of the Colonial rule. Physically and emotionally, it dehumanised and destabilised people. Something I believe inexorably altered the application of the Rule of Law across most colonialised nations.
  • I loved the sense of Community that was described and in particular the description of one of Okonkwo’s neighbours daughters and how the village chipped in to make the day a success and memorable. This was particularly memorable in light of a conversation I had with friends earlier last week on whether they would go through with traditional negotiations or if they would skip it altogether. There is a communal part to marriage that one must experience -regardless of how tough or difficult it becomes.
  • As a modern woman some of the practices were a tad out of date for my liking and the one that is foremost in my mind is Polygamy. Just no.
  • The ending initially for me felt like a cope out but then as I reviewed it over and again in my mind, I could see how it would happen. Okonkwo had been broken down slowly and then increasingly over time. By the end, he was not himself.

Definitely, go out, read it and share and let me know your thoughts if you have already read it!

 

Sunday Reads

  1. Must make this recipe – Lentil and Basmati salad 
  2. This recipe too! Pumpkin Risotto with prosciutto
  3. I definitely want to start a Cookbook Club – would be so awesome!! Anyone keen in the Cape Town area?
  4. If only I had money to assist to bring this service to scale.
  5. Sir David Attenborough narrates the intro to Adele’s Hello. Interesting!
  6. I enjoyed watching these two sisters on Masterchef SA and I am equally happy for them on this venture. If you can check out their launch, go ahead.
  7. THIS all sounds good but I am not sure that this is the best way to educate children or spend these large sums of funds.
  8. Manufacturing and the state of industrialisation in Africa.

Enjoy!!

9. And what is my heritage?

UG independence day

Happy Birthday Uganda!! 53 today and counting 🙂

South Africa has a Public Holiday on the 24th of September – Heritage Day. There is a bit of a history of this day. There is also ill-feeling around the fact that this has now been White-washed to National Braai Day which cheapens the day. Be that as it may, I would like to commemorate my own Heritage Day and share part of what makes me, me.

  1. I am not a refugee. I remember being in lower primary at school and hearing people call me one and I had honestly never heard that phrase and when I dutifully went home and asked my parents what it meant, I saw the disgust in their face and honestly thought it was a swear word. My parents moved to Kenya as part of the East Africa Community and they got jobs in Nairobi. Yes I am a foreigner, but a legal one and really a labour migrant.
  2. The same thing applies to my status in South Africa. I am proudly foreign but also extremely legal and here by choice. Weirdly, I had my own status prior to marrying a local boy. Yes I am aware that marriages of convenience do happen but by the time we got to settling down, they had tightened up all of those loopholes. And they continue to do so even to date. Don’t even remind the number of height of hoops we had to jump through to get married.
  3. Growing up in a very Ugandan home but in a foreign country, was never confusing. Not in the least. Without much explanation, it was always known what happened at home and what was non-negotiable and the level of influence that we could pick up outside and bring home and you just knew what fit where.
  4. Some non-negotiable Ugandan aspects? We always knelt to greet my parents and other visitors, we proudly bore only our Ugandan names- my mom was particularly clear about us using our first names that identified us as coming from my fathers community and not our middle ones that are from her community. Our foods always had groundnuts, we had groundnut sauce, sweet potatoesamukeke (dried and steamed sweet potatoes),  matooke (plantain)atap (millet),  firinda (beans), obutusi (traditional mushrooms),  smoked and dried beef and fish. Just brought tears to my eyes and loads of salivating as I remember some of these meals.
  5. We also learnt Kiswahili and Sheng’ that was spoken by our contemporaries. We adopted chapati (flat bread), ugali (steamed maize flour) and sukuma wiki (kales). We wrote local exams and went to local schools living and mingling with predominantly Kenyans. My accent? How many times have I been in Uganda and had people walk up to me and refuse to accept that I am Ugandan because of my accent. I think it is now a confusing thing because the most I get is, “Are you from East Africa?”
  6. As I have gotten older, I have learnt not to question too much what makes me me. I have certain core beliefs that I hold dear to me and surprisingly, a lot of them are inspired by my Christian faith as I view that as my first and biggest cultural lens. Thereafter, in light of what makes the most sense to me as an African child. Some cultural practices differ from community to community and indeed nation to nation but for the most part, they are summarised by respect for all, care and regard for all and your enviroment and in some cases, there are gender expectations that you must adhere to.
  7. In planning the wedding, it did get confusing but even then it played out how I order my worldview – get all the requirements for the Church wedding out of the way and then get the traditional/ civil stuff finalised. The traditional stuff was a mix of both my mom and dad’s practices and you would expect it to be similar but it wasn’t and as long as I was told where to stand and what to do,I did and it got done.
  8. As I am getting older/ maybe in the last four to five years, I have seen an increased interest in my traditional dress (ssuka) and I delight in wearing it to special occasions. As a married woman, there is also additional jewelry that I get to wear it with which makes it even more special. An interesting finding for me was also the fact that I asked my dad whether my grandma took my granddad’s surname and he told me two things: (i) in our culture, before the  wazungu (White man) came, we didn’t typically take on surnames because it was taboo to name someone after yourself unless the baby was born when you were going to die or were at war and were expected/feared dead  and (ii) names in our culture are indicators of a clan and since a man would never marry a sister (a fellow clanmate) it was never expected that you would take on the new (clan) surname. On that note, I figured why take it on then?
  9. Something I do ask is what is Kenyan culture. What of that background contributes to me. A friend asked me recently, when you say you are going home, where do you mean? Unequivocally, Kenya. I KNOW the people, the context of stories, the language, the setting, so many firsts and memories singly and with others.  It’s a whole part of my life and a part I love with such intensity, it is both exciting and scary. But is all mine to pick and play with.
  10. So happy heritage day and here’s to all the things that make me,me. Cheers!!

PS: If you are from Uganda (the Motherland), please let me know if my spelling of the food is fine – prior to now, I have never had to spell them out.

4. Sunday reads

Happy new month and here are some lovely reads for you this morning!
  1. Interesting read on the long and short run effects of labour rigidity and the effects of being in a Union.
  2. Separating truth from myth when considering the focus, magnitude and nature of Chinese investment in Africa.
  3. Do married men or women give more and what does the success of household cash transfers depend on? Very interesting read – one of those where you wanna look at the underlying data.
  4. In true Economist style, here is a slightly different view of the trust games between spouses.
  5. What actually works where the intention is to keep girls in school. Here is a three part series attempting to answer that: One. Two . Three (Out in October, will update it later and link back to this).
  6. This is why we need more women in power, but generally, a closer consideration of who we select to positions of leadership.
  7. I don’t know, this just broke me!
  8. In light of Tuesday’s post, Kim Cattrall talks not having babies.
  9. All eleven of these successful relationship tips I FULLY AGREE WITH.
  10. How DO YOU tell your little child they are HIV Positive? I feel like the article was too simplistic but hey, let me know your thoughts …
  11. How do they get the writing on the Parmesan rind? Well now you know …
  12. Ever lost something? Wondered where it went? Wished you could track it down? Well this lady lost her iPhone and found out where it went.
  13. Stuff you can do to stay active mentally.
  14. This is a good primer on blogging and why I write a post or not sometimes.
  15. Recipes:
    1. Zuccini Rice gratin
    2. Ginger carrot salad with Quinoa
  16. A simple enough DIY Project
 
 
 
 

Sunday reads

Hope you have a blessed and restful Sunday, enjoy your reads!

  1. iPad Apps for the Kitchen
  2. A good story coming out of Africa
  3. Some lovely tips for dyeing natural hair. 
  4. Boo to gender stereotypes but I also believe in traditional roles for wives and husbands 😦
  5. A recipe I tried and definitely loved past week that had very good results – Zuccini Cake.
  6. A feel good story that we all always need to hear every so often!
  7. Beautiful natural hair looks to rock for weddings and other formal occasions
  8. I love this couple. Viva!!!
  9. An easy ricotta gelato recipe if you are interested to try