Ospreyshire Origins: Art Theft series (Benin, Nigeria, Senegal)

2000px-Flag_of_Benin.svg

Benin Lyrics:

[Yoruba]

O ti ja aworan wa
Mase paro ki o so pe o se awon ohun-oso wonti
Awon ile iso re je awon ewon
Je ki a je ki eyi se alaye si o

[French]

Rends-nous notre art maintenant!

Image result for nigerian flag

Nigeria Lyrics:

[Igbo]

I bu ihe nleda anya

[Yoruba]

Nitori ti o ji wa aworan

[Hausa]

Bidajen kayan tarihin ku ya sa aka kama su. I ghotara?

You better return what’s ours!

Image result for senegal flag

Senegal Lyrics:

[Wolof]

Luy sa tiis?
Am nga tere xewoonu Afrig?
Yeena ngi saacee yi

[French]

Comprends maintenant?
Vous ne possedez pas notre histoire!


Here’s a triple header for the Art Theft series! These were challenging songs to write lyrics and Art Theft: Benin was actually an Ospreyshire first for me. That was the first poem I wrote that contained absolutely no English words in it! The Senegal one was even tougher because I really had to work on my Wolof since you can’t use Google Translate or any easy online sources for example. Fortunately, I bought a book on a whim that has words and phrases in Senegal’s native language.

These three countries among others in Africa are quite ticked and rightfully so. Their art, crafts, and artifacts have been looted by Europe. They’re held in museums in that continent and these African nations are suing these countries to get their stuff back. To add insult to injury, some of these nations are giving things back…as LOANED items. No, I don’t want to see loans whether temporary or permanent. You stole them, so you give them back to these nations! I really hope these nations get full returns on their art.

Here are some videos from Dr. Mumbi about the matter:

Even Dr. Y. had some choice articles about this situation:

Europe’s Largest Museums to “Loan” Looted Benin (Nigerian) Artifacts back to Nigeria

Bronze Cockerel from Benin Kingdom to be returned to Nigeria

France urged to change heritage law and return looted art to Africa

Wouldn’t it also be crazy if this situation was featured in a mainstream movie even though a character is portrayed as the bad guy for wanting the artifacts back? Oh, wait… Side note: Notice how Benin is mentioned in this clip.

Say what you will about Killmonger, but he was absolutely right about his questions involving the curator’s “ancestors” and that’s historical fact even though Wakanda doesn’t exist.

Here’s another random fact: I’m also part Beninese and I have a tiny bit of Senegalese in my DNA from my mom’s side. #ForTheCulture

The Beninese flag is from Wikipedia.

The Nigerian flag image is from Wikipedia.

The Senegalese flag image is from Wikipedia.

All videos from the Dr. Mumbi show are from Dr. Mumbi’s YouTube channel.

The museum scene is from Black Panther and is property of Marvel Studios.

Ospreyshire Origins: Lebombo

Lyrics:

[Zulu]
Sisungule ithuluzi elisha
Leli thambo lizosiza abantu ukutui bafunde izinombolo
Singabaqambi bethuluzi elisha

In ancient times at the continent’s Southern points in the mountain range
We told time, counted the days, and tracked the moon
All it took was a baboon fibula tally by tally
We taught our people from the highest to lowest veldts
At least 44,000 years ago
This wasn’t decoration
This was for education as the Originator blessed us and those up north for our tools


I have to show South Africa some love here especially since this won’t be the only time I’ll mention things from that country when it comes to the content of this album. The Congo wasn’t the only nation to produce a calculator in ancient times. In the Lebombo mountains in what would eventually be South Africa and Eswatini (the country formally known as Swaziland), the natives created their own tally stick also using a baboon bone. That was certainly innovative and this needs to be better known because I literally can’t think of any history class I took in school that mentioned ancient African civilizations with the exception of a whitewashed Egypt or maybe a casual mention of Hannibal of Carthage (now modern-day Tunisia). See, there were important math elements in Africa among many other things. Major props to Dr. Y. for informing me about this lesser-known history!

The Lebombo Bone image is from Afrolegends.

Ospreyshire Origins: Ishango

Lyrics:

[Lingala]
Tosalaki eloko ya sika
(Eloko ya sika)
Mokuwa oyo ekosunga bato pona koyekola mitango
(Koyekola mitango)
Tozali basali ya eloko ya sika
(Eloko ya sika)

Over 20,000 years ago, we crafted something still being taught to future generations. We made a calculator and calendar from a baboon’s bone. What a prime way for instructions from a primate. We solved problems and tallied up solutions. Nzambe bless our methods. Counting lunar cycles, adding, subtracting, dividing, multiplying notch by notch. We made generations smarter and efficient. We know other civilizations wouldn’t be born in millennia. Our technology shall not be fractured, only modernized in future ages.

Ishango=Innovation (repeat)


I would like to thank Dr. Y. and Deogratias from Lingala Academy for this song. The former has an article about this aforementioned ancient calculator and the latter helped me with the Lingala part of the song.

This was a good kickoff song besides the intro by covering this overlooked invention. I didn’t realize one of the first calculators was made from a baboon bone from what’s now the DRC. Anyone who says Africa had no civilization or inventions need to get educated. This bone was used as tallies and as a tool for multiple kinds of math problems. Okay, I wasn’t the best at math, but the fact that some of my maternal ancestors could’ve invented this does fill me with joy and some self-esteem.

From a musical standpoint, I listened to a ton of traditional Congolese drum music, so I wanted to do something very percussive, but still lively despite the lack of instrumental melodies. Using Lingala again has been great. It’s a very musical language and has a certain beauty to it.

What are your thoughts on the Ishango Bone or this song? Don’t forget that Dear Innovare is $7 on Bandcamp!

The Ishango Bone image is from MAA.

18th Century Ethiopian Crown to be Returned Home from Netherlands — African Heritage

This was a good news and had to be shared. Enjoy! It is from the BBC. ===== An 18th Century Ethiopian crown will finally be returned home after being hidden in a Dutch flat for 21 years. Ethiopian Sirak Asfaw, who fled to the Netherlands in the late 1970s, discovered the crown in the […]

via 18th Century Ethiopian Crown to be Returned Home from Netherlands — African Heritage

Thank you for sharing this news, Dr. Y.

I needed to hear a positive story given the nonstop depressing things going on here in America. I’m happy that Ethiopia is getting what’s there’s back. It’s a lovely crown and that country getting their diadem back is part of a spree of goodness that’s happened to them like the peace deal with Eritrea, getting a former emperor’s hair back from England, and for setting a new world record for planting trees.

This story made me smile when I was in tears the past few days.

Quote by Miriam Makeba on the Misrepresentation of Africa in the Media — African Heritage

I reblogged this post from Dr. Y’s Afro Legends blog which is so true that I just had to post it on here. Dr. Y is an awesome blogger and person who taught me a lot about African history and cultures that they NEVER teach you in school (at least here in America or the West as a whole.

That quote from Miriam Makeba is inarguable with how Western mainstream media treats the continent. At best it takes place in a fictional country that no one will ever visit (see: Wakanda in Black Panther). At worst, the whole continent is either war-torn, super poor, and uncivilized.

The Tarzan example is spot on. Granted, I’m more familiar with the Disney version, but it only proves my point since that company was too cowardly to put any Black characters in that film. That and having a certain other movie which has no humans at all also proves Makeba’s point (**cough** The Lion King **cough**). It’s as if Hollywood sees Africa as either a giant zoo, some conflict-torn continent, or a place where they can get their rocks off by exterminating Black people offscreen in their movies much like aforementioned Disney movie examples.

Thank for sharing, Dr. Y!

“People in the United States [the West] still have a ‘Tarzan’ movie view of Africa. That’s because in the movies all you see are jungles and animals . . . We [too] watch television and listen to the radio and go to dances and fall in love.” Miriam Makeba

via Quote by Miriam Makeba on the Misrepresentation of Africa in the Media — African Heritage

Germany finally “apologizes” to Namibia?

This was certainly a surprise although not in the way that I had hoped.

Germany says they’re sorry to Namibia after committing genocide against that nation over a century ago. They’ve done things such as returning the skulls of the Namibians who were used in experiments and they’re just now returning Henrik Witbooi’s (a national hero for the Namaqua and Herero tribes) bible and whip back to their homeland.

That’s all well and good, but it’s is FAR from enough.

The Namibian Genocide was the first genocide of the 20th century as tens of thousands of people were slaughtered, raped, and starved out by the Germans who colonized their country and called it German Southwest Africa back then. This was perpetrated by the 2nd Reich who gunned them down and also used concentration camps such as Shark Island against the Africans. A whole bunch of people involved in that genocide would also be responsible for the Holocaust decades later. How is it that Germany is just NOW starting to say sorry? Is it because Namibia is rightfully suing that country to get reparations (which they totally deserve, by the way)?

More needs to be done. The real kicker was when the German politician is quoted saying “We can’t undo the past.”

I DARE her to say that to the families of Holocaust victims and see how it would turn out.

I hate this double standard of only giving reparations to everyone that suffered except any African ethnic or national group who suffered as well. Researching things like the Namibian Genocide only added to my anger against humanity as these people were killed while their oppressors never got punished for it. I’m sick of seeing innocent people like them get executed, get the Elephant Graveyard treatment (I’m going to keep reminding people about that analogy especially with Shark Island and also…screw Disney!), and sexually abused by the 2nd Reich. These atrocities should be talked about and I want the Namibians to get justice for what happened in their country.

NEVER FORGET!

Video courtesy of Dr. Mumbi Seraki.

Also, shout out to Dr. Y for talking about this issue on his blog Afro Legends. One of his articles about Namibia was even featured in Dr. Mumbi’s video.

Mozambique gets $7.8 Million in settlements from British gem company. A rare event, indeed.

British Firm Agrees to Pay £5.8m to Victims of Abuse in Mozambique

First of all, I’d like to give props to Dr. Y and Dr. Mumbi Seraki for covering this story. Please check out the video and link above.

I couldn’t believe this just happened recently. In Mozambique, there are several ruby mines that got in control by Gemfields which is a British gem company. The problem is that their employees have physically and sexually abused the Mozambican people around the fields. They actually settled for $7.8 million for all the families of the victims. I’m shocked that a major company would give out that much money to all of those people. This is unheard of especially in an African nation where certain individuals and companies get away with atrocities like this all the time.

I’m ambivalent about what happened. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad the victims are getting compensated for all of the suffering that happened to them. However, I think Gemfields should’ve paid way more since that amount is a drop in an ocean given their net profits. At least some justice was done, and I hope this starts a trend for the better, so no company gets away with it.