DEBUNKING THE MYTH OF THE AFRICAN WOMAN

By Precious Nyarko-Antwi, Portia Honu and Andrews Osei Bonsu

Defining myself, as opposed to being defined by others is one of the most difficult challenges I faceCarol Moseley-Braun

One of the most difficult challenges that the African woman faces is how she is being defined by the rest of the world, especially the West. The typical ideology associated with such stereotypes include the African woman being that poor farmer in a village which cannot be found on the map with hardly anything to feed on or that skinny woman stricken with HIV/AIDS who has to cater for a  child with a bulged rib cage threatening to dissociate itself from his/her body. It seems obvious that an African woman is one of the descriptions aforementioned. Nevertheless, she is also the politician, the successful author changing the mindsets about Africa with her writing, a musician influencing change and lifestyles with her lyrics and finally, one preaching life into her congregation.

Sirleaf Johnson Ellen

This is a strong African woman politician who is listeSirleafd on the second annual list of Fortune Magazine’s world’s 50 greatest leaders.  From mending a nation after a war that lasted over a decade, to bringing her government to bear the full weight of the ebola epidemic, she is the only kind who could save her country twice. Who is she? An African woman!

Chimamanda Ngozi Adechie

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Her work which has been translated into thirty languages has  won her a number of awards including the Orange Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award 2013 and the Commonwealth Writers Prize. She was also listed among the Ten Best Books of 2013, New York Times Book Review for Americanah and listed among the 100 Most Influential Africans 2013, New African. Who is she? An African woman!

Tiwa Savage
Tiwa-savage-performing Born in Nigeria, bred in London, she launched into her music career at the age of 16. By virtue of her achievement in the music industry, Tiwa together with other renowned musicians have been advocates for several youth empowerment initiatives using the universal language of music to challenge the youth to be better versions of themselves. Who is she? An African woman!

comfort-ocranComfort Ocran is an award-winning motivational speaker, a renowned author of several inspirational books and a corporate training consultant. Comfort has used her motivational seminar, the springboard roadshow as a platform to help young people to identify the bottlenecks of their lives in order to activate the fame and success that belong to them.Who is she?An African woman!

The African woman is no longer the sickly one with no one hope, but actually the one who brings hope to all. She is beautiful and determined  but most importantly, strong willed and willing to take calculated risk. The African woman has evolved!!!

Foreign Aid…A means to Paradise or Darkness?

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In the past decade, there has been a dramatic paradigm shift in foreign aid, with China as one of the top donors in Africa. However, many scholars have argued on whether aid is indeed helpful and effective in stimulating growth and development especially, in Africa. On a broad scale, one would ask, what impact does handing out tons of money to poor countries have? Is it sustainable? Is it causing any developmental change? Is it yielding positive results? Can we even say that the aid that is given out to poor countries is actually used for its intended purpose? In reality, we know that many of the poorest countries also have corrupt governments and as a result, a great deal of these monies is embezzled or wasted. Traditionally, it was assumed that foreign aid would fight poverty, health, and educational issues and that this would spur economic growth rates in poor countries. However, in contrast a number of studies have found that aid might not work in all countries but would drive growth in countries with low corruption, good governance and sound policies.

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Let’s take a quick ride through the ‘glitz and glamour’ of the foreign aid paradise. Amongst other things, foreign aid helps to safeguard countries in terms of security, health and conflict. Aid helps to contain the acts of such terrorist groups through the provision of troops and ‘cease-fire’ resolutions. Some people also argue that foreign aid boosts savings and increases capital in poor countries. Aung San Suu Kyi’s article on “Peace, Culture and Democracy”, mentions that if the United Nations wants to promote development, then it must support agencies that empower people to contribute to development hence rich countries should continue to give aid to poor countries to reduce the shortage of capital, savings and investments. Also, since most developing countries lack domestic savings and investments, entrepreneurs and other businesses find it difficult to acquire the needed credit for empowerment, expansion and growth.

Continually, humanitarian reasons also account for why rich countries continue to give aid to poor countries. Mostly, high income countries believe that it is their social, religious or a moral duty to help people in other countries who suffer from war, diseases and other natural disasters. After the Post-Cold War conflicts which caused over five million casualties, with 95% being civilians, donor countries found it necessary to give humanitarian relief efforts and development assistance to rebuild war-torn countries and also ensure access to water, food, shelter, health care, and so forth. Last, foreign aid also helps maintain political stability in a lot of countries. For example Egypt, Israel and many Middle-Eastern countries overthrew bad governments with the assistance of foreign countries especially from the West. The civil war in Liberia was stopped and the Boko Haram in Nigeria is being handled because countries such as the U.S.A other U.N countries sent help in the form of money and peace-keeping troops.”

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Driving down the road of the ‘woes and anguish’ in the Darkness of foreign aid, one can argue that aid deters economic growth, promotes corruption and leads to dependence. Additionally, amidst all the amount of foreign aid coming in, most African countries are still wallowing in poverty. According to Adam Smith foreign aid was supposed to promote growth, savings, and investment, so it could lead to self-sustenance. However, overtime, the trend has been that, many African countries spend more on consumption goods than they do on savings and investments. Hence they do not grow to reach the self-sustaining phase. Hence, this makes African countries very dependent on foreign aid. This example is not far-fetched and can be applied to our beloved country Ghana. We have always been receiving foreign aid, but yet, majority of our people are still struggling and living in poverty.

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We believe that foreign aid is good, but the management of foreign is the problem. We think that the donors should not just give the money to us, but they should send a project manager or overseer to be working alongside the country it gives the aid to. That way, the donors would make sure that the money goes where it is supposed to and does what it’s supposed to do. This would minimize the impact it has economically, decrease corruption and make the poor countries more independent. So then our food for thought for the week is whether foreign aid is good or bad? Or could it be that there is the need for more efficient systems to make sure that the aid really does what it’s supposed to do?

Thus is Foreign Aid a means to Paradise or Darkness?

By: Henrrietta Ama Dzisi, Abena Gyekye and Maame Kyerewa Antwi

ITS ALL IN THE CONNED-TEXT : The different versions of Islam

By: David Tandoh | Dorcas Tamatey | Daniel Bonsu | The Holy Qu’ran, the spiritual text of the Muslim speaks volumes on peace and unity of a religion. However this religion time again has experienced marginalization because of the acts and dealings of extremists. So that our claims and rationalizations are informed we begin with a deeper insight into the subject matter from a Muslim’s point of view by reading this article by Tariq Ramadan titled: There is no war between Islam and the West Yes, there always will be extremists but similarly there also will be the rational who do not condone such violence. The million dollar question however is this: Which of these two groups are being heard the most? To confirm we make a few enquiries from our mates as we sit and discuss the content of this blog.   Question: What comes to our minds when Islam is mentioned in the context of Africa? Daniel: Misunderstood Anthony: Boko Haram David: Al shabab Dorcas: Violence Julateh: Terrorism Darlington: Boko Haram Daniel: Well thats two votes for Boko Haram. Any reason why Anthony? Anthony:Because they have recently been making the news … Daniel: HAHA. Fair argument. They always seem to be making the news but so we understand everyone’s point of view, Why violence Dorcas? Dorcas: The ‘Zongo boys” …….always fighting and are rowdy. It is like a default setting for them. I have received an unwarranted slap in a line to buy kenkey. Daniel: Why Terrorism?…Julateh Julateh: That’s what their extremists have made us to believe. Always committing atrocities all in the name of Islam. Again, that’s all we see on the news nowadays. Most recently the news is either about ISIS or ….. Daniel: Why Al Shabab? I think its because of the footage I saw during the crisis in Kenya: the Westgate Mall. Daniel: Why Misunderstood for me? I feel anytime something has to do with religion the parties involved are always misunderstood or taken out of context. It’s always a case of the Qur’an being interpreted in a certain way or the teachings of the Bible being interpreted in another. So what is causing our colleagues to SEE Islam in this light? BqZgqYhIcAAokEI SIGHT FOR SORE EYES Its because we CHOOSE to SEE Islam this way. The bitter truth is everyone sees Islam from a shallow perspective and sometimes its difficult to point fingers at them. Even in probability sampling conclusions for a larger group are inferred from that of a smaller sample so are our friends wrong for harboring these misconceptions? Over the past decade Muslim’s have been easy targets for prejudice and discrimination but lets take a trip down memory lane to the twentieth century. The Jews endured their fair share of discrimination at the hands of the Germans during the holocaust, accusations although mostly untrue still stuck and led to mass killings. Religion is indeed a dangerous tool but even more dangerous are the people who follow these religions. We decided to ask a different set of questions this time. Daniel: What comes to mind when you think about Islam in general in regards to the West? Daniel: Terrorism Anthony: Primitive David: Sexist Dorcas: Irrational Julateh: Barbaric Darlington: Aggresive Islam_Earthquake THE DIVIDE Again can you really blame us for our answers? The divide between the West and Islam after 9/11 painted the United States of America as fragile victims of a violent and aggresive religion. A great nation had been shocked by an entire religion. This has had the consequence of making Muslim hostility seem natural or normal. We are slowly arriving at a point of being regarded as a political ideology of a certain group. Indeed, it is a shame.   How the con-TEXT is misinterpreted In class Kobby incessantly reminds us of looking at every argument from not only different sides but different angles as well as viewpoints from Muslim vs Christian to White vs Black. So we end our post with a thought to ponder. Here is a verse from the Qu’ran which we discovered as someone’s justification for Islam being violent. The Quran: Quran (2:191-193)“And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah [disbelief or unrest] is worse than killing…but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful.   And fight them until there is no more Fitnah [disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah] and worship is for Allah alone.  But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc. | This response would surprise you. | This leaves us with our final question : If everything can be coined to look legitimate through contextualization then who is telling the truth and who is lying? You decide, but no matter what, NEVER ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE CONNED BY THE TEXT.

Will Boko Haram succeed in becoming the Islamic state of Africa?

RThe topic for discussion and reading was Africa and Islam which is a very delicate matter. Islam in Africa has a very rich and long history, which begins from the seventh century. No one actually knows how many Muslims are in Africa but one thing for sure is that Islam is the largest religion in Africa with about 50% of the population being Muslims. In contrast to this, 33% are Christians and less than 10% are non-religious or adherents of traditional African religion.
This blog seeks to draw relations between Africa and Islam and Terrorism, the terrorist group under scope being Boko Haram. Boko Haram just like the Islamic State is waging a holy war in Africa. Like ISIS they are trying to establish their own caliphate, a modern islamic state. It is interesting to know that for several years Boko Haram just focused their efforts on just Nigeria but in recent years are creating chaos across the West African region. Today, the violence in Nigeria is spilling across its borders into Cameroon, Chad and Niger. Still, in places like southeast Niger where Americans Neal and Dannette Childs have established numerous churches, people in the thousands, especially Christians, are fleeing from the jihadists’ terror. “The Christians are having to leave,” Danette Childs said. “This is a serious situation and right now as we speak there are people on the road heading west, trying to get away from Boko Haram.”
Boko Haram was started in 2002. Their goal/objective is to turn Nigeria into Africa’s largest oil producer and biggest economy. They also envision an era where Africa becomes an Islamic state ruled by Sharia law. Boko Haram is a Jihadist movement that shares a similar ideology to other Salafist Jihadist movements as al Qaeda, the Taliban and al Shabaab.
The Boko Haram fighters have killed people in the thousands. 2014 alone recorded Boko Haram murdering more than 2,400 Christians. It is even more disturbing to know that Boko Haram has repeatedly praised ISIS’s apocalyptic Islamic Ideology and that if a possible operational alliance was forged between the two groups it could have catastrophic consequences at an even larger scale.
Ekow Addaquaye
Omar Khadi
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The Fight for Custody: Africa as the child, United States and China as the Divorced Parents

By Nura Abdul-Rahman, Obed Kobina Nsiah, Makani Mweembe

China is now Africa’s third largest trade partner and over the years they have been thriving to move ahead of the United States and France in terms of trade with Africa. However, China’s growing interest in trade with Africa has aroused a blizzard of criticisms aimed at Beijing’s stance on vis-à-vis governance and human rights issues on the continent. Human Right Watch has alleged that ‘China’s policies in Africa have not only propped up some of the continent’s worst human right abusers, but also weakened the leverage of others trying to promote greater respect for human rights’. Most often the West is seen as the nosy ones and exploiters of Africa’s resources. This blog piece presents the tensions between the two superpowers (United States and China) in response to who has Africa’s best interest at heart as two divorced parents fighting for custody of their child (Africa).

the ScowlAfrica (the Child): I do not understand why anytime the US walks into the room and sees me with China, he brings in so much negativity and always scowls at us hardcore.

China (One Parent): I agree with you my daughter. We both know I have advanced political ties with you which led to the establishment of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) since 2000. We meet with you every three years to find ways of improving economic development in your countries. This is what the US have found difficult to establish with you but he goes ahead to criticize our economic and trade policies.

US (Other Parent): Excuse me China! I have organized the Mandela Washington Fellowship which brings the next generation of young African Leaders together to be trained in entrepreneurship. I have even named this fellowship after one of the most prominent leaders in Africa because I care not just about your present but also your future.

“Africa Confused!”

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China: US Please! You just started this initiative in 2010, 10 good years after we established FOCAC. Where were you all that while? When President Xi Jingping came into power, he visited three African nations in the same month he assumed presidency whereas your president, Obama only visited Ghana without even going to Kenya, his country of descent. Africa, do you remember the feud of the Kenyans back then?

US: I believe Jingping only made those visits to satisfy his county’s own national interest and not Africa’s. My dear Africa, you know China places an emphasis on the non-interference policy in domestic affairs of other countries. In other words, it is only interested in developing its economy whether or not it harms the people.

China: Wait US…

The US interrupts

US: I’m not finished China. A very typical example of this is when you supplied ammunitions to people in power to oppress the vulnerable in Sudan. I remember when the Libyan rebels asked the international community for military support to get Gaddafi out of office, China gladly turned down that request.On the other hand, US, France and Britain intervened.

China: Business is Business US! We didn’t offer help to these rebels because they were not the officially recognized power in Libya. Do not get me started on the ramifications of your support in taking Gaddafi out of power on Libya. The US are the exploiters, they are always trying to destroy the thriving African countries. Libya had a progressive economic development and was even aiming for more but these so called “life savers” destroyed the lives of Libyans. They moved from 100 to a 0.

US: And you call the killing of 200,000 innocent people within 13 months business? The ammunitions you supplied are to be blamed for this genocide. How could you be so inhumane?

Africa paces around with so much anxiety looking into the sky for godly intervention.

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US: Anyway Africa, remember that China doesn’t hire your local workers and hence they do not contribute to human development in most African countries. They are only in to exploit your natural resources at your expense.

China: Hey! At the very least, that gets the work done very quickly and properly. We work in speed to promote economic development of your countries and we can assure efficiency in our activities.

US: You brag about speed while Africa wallows in unemployment? Anyway, if Africa is to decide who she wants to engage in business with without considering who interferes with her government, remember that we have the superior technology and capacity to provide an operator role in the oil and gas industry and to supply her with high-tech machinery.

China: Africa, my dear, I have been colonized before and I know how it feels to be colonized. How different is interfering with the domestic affairs of another country from colonization? Our non-interference policy is for your own good and for the good of your economic progression in terms of infrastructure and human rights.

Readers, Africa seem confused. She might need effective and efficient policies to benefit from the competition between US and China. What would you do as a policy maker?