On this page i will be reporting my weeks information from different countries around Africa. I hope to overview similar topics that we are discussing in class and provide background to what was happening in Africa during then. What forms of Social Movements were spurred in Africa and to what extent where they similar or different to what was happening in the Western World.
Sierra Leone Womens Activist
Sierra Leone is a country in West Africa and its capital is Freetown. Sierra Leone was first explored by the Portuguese and was given its names which means “lion mountains”. In 1808 the coastal area of Sierra Leone was part of the British colony. In 1961 it became an independent nation through a military coup.
During the late 19th century a woman known as Adelaide Smith Casely Hayford was influential in promoting women’s identity and African nationalism in Western Africa. At a young age she was moved with her family to England where she grew up and was educated. When she was 24 she moved back to Freetown to pursue a career of teaching. She believed that education would prepare young girls for their appropriate roles as wives and mothers whilst promoting pride of nationalism. In 1920 she went to the United states to give public speeches about education for girls in many colleges around the country and gained a lot of African American support. With the funds from this trip she later opened a school known as the Girls Vocational School in Freetown under British colonial rule. This school focused on providing girls with the vocational skills to excel in jobs that were common in 20th century Sierra Leone and preserve their cultural identity. This school was not as successful as she hoped but she became a world renowned social icon for female activism and nationalism. She would give public speeches in her African dress and share her ideas on pride in cultural heritage and the importance of education for women.
http://diaspora.northwestern.edu/mbin/WebObjects/DiasporaX.woa/wa/displayArticle?atomid=901 http://www.blackpast.org/gah/hayford-adelaide-smith-casely-1868-1960 http://www.factmonster.com/country/sierra-leone.html
Professor Wangari Maathai was born in a remote village in Kenya and was fortunate to receive a full scholarship from the Kennedys’ program to study in the United states. After completing studies in the United States she went to Germany for a continuation of her studies. She was determined to go back to Kenya and upon arrival she quickly became active in environmental issues. Not only was her interest in the environment but womens rights and democracy. She joined the National Council of Women of Kenya and heard many rural women complaining that their streams were drying up, food supply was not secure and they had to walk further to get firewood. In 1977 she founded the Green Belt Movement whose goal was to combat deforestation through the planting of trees. She cracked down on illegal deforestation with raids that even led to her severe beating by contractors. None the less she preserved despite huge political opposition in the 1980’s who were agaisnt her movement. In 2005 she was the first African woman to win the nobel peace prize. Now the movement empowers communities with a particular focus on women to conserve the environment leading to an improvement in their livelihoods. Professor Maathai understood the connection between the everday hardships of the poor and the continued environmental degradation in their area. The group fights agrigulture expansion into the forests and since 1971 has spurred the planting of over 51 million trees in Kenya.
In 1950 homosexuality was prohibited in Uganda and since then the developed discrimination/marginlization of the homosexual population in the country has become a international spotlight. In February of 2014 the president established an anti-homosexulaity bill making the acts of homosexuals illegal throughout the whole country. Initially the penalty for being gay was death but due to western spotlight have changed the penalty to life in prison. The infringement of human rights aspect of this issue is very serious and many human rights groups around the world believe the law promotes violence against LGBT people. The anti-gay movement in Uganda has been backed by the church and especially the evangelical church. In 2009 3 US evangelical Christians came to Uganda and presented a seminar on exposing the homosexuals. The amount of false information fed into the public through the teachings of the church members was highly criticized by many western papers such as the new York times. What has this led to in Uganda? Those that are homosexual in Uganda must live in fear of their community as even the slightest thought of a person being homosexual can justify the killing of that person. The people of Uganda have shown their support for the bill and have the view of homosexuals as pedophiles, HIV spreaders, non human citizens that are infecting the population. This has led to an increase case of homophobia in Uganda and has made it hard for a movement to spur against the legislation. However, a magazine called Bombastic has emerged and hopes to share the realities of being gay in Uganda. The mainstream media is hostile towards gay people and this magazine is hoping to put right many of the misconceptions spread by the Ugandan media. Through the sharing of stories they hope to change the social attitudes of Ugandan people towards homosexuality. The magazine is free and contains personal stories of homosexuals living in Uganda. They are taking a huge risk in a country where they can be put in jail or even worse killed. It is a sign of defiance to the unjust laws and mentality that have been established in Uganda against the gay community.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/press/gay-rights-activists-defy-ugandan-laws-by-publishing-new-lgbti-magazine-9955950.html http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/06/-sp-gay-ugandans-face-new-threat-from-anti-homosexuality-law https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uganda_Anti-Homosexuality_Act,_2014