[re/posted]scribbles from the den

When the idea was first hatched to put forward South Africa’s candidacy for the 2010 World Cup, it seemed a far-fetched dream. And when FIFA actually awarded the tournament to South Africa, it was, in the view of many, a gamble destined to fail. However, after six years of turmoil, controversy and acrimony later, South Africa is finally set for the 2010 World Cup tournament.

For the next month, (legitimate) concerns about the financial toll of the tournament on South Africa’s economy, the absence of concrete benefits for large swathes of the South African population, or about FIFA’s stifling rules will be put on the backburner as the world enjoys the beautiful game.

Dori Moreno

Dori Moreno is one of those unapologetically afflicted by ‘World Cup Fever’:

I have been waiting for the World Cup to arrive ever since the announcement was made that it would be hosted in South Africa. It’s difficult to get excited about something happening so far into the future. But now, the World Cup is upon us, and in just 2 more sleeps, South Africa will face Mexico in the kick off game of the 2010 World Cup. And South Africa has woken up and is alive with energy, passion and enthusiasm.

 ‘Today, the Bafana Bafana team took to the streets of Sandton, Johannesburg in an open top bus. South African fans came out en masse to celebrate and get a glimpse of their national team. The vibe was indescribable and when the Soweto Marimba Youth League played the national anthem, I confess to being moved to tears from the sheer emotion and energy of the event.


‘I think even the die-hard pessimists out there will struggle not to get caught up in the positive energy that will carry us all on a cloud for the next month. To everyone out there, I say, ENJOY! To all the visitors to our awesome country, feel it, live it and fall in love. It’s time for AFRICA!!!!’

Jeanette Verster’s Photography

And talking about the June 9 ‘United We Stand for Bafana Bafana’ parade organised in Sandton to encourage South Africans to show their support for their national team, Jeanette Verster publishes a colorful picture essay that vividly captures the national excitement.

Brand South Africa Blog

Brand South Africa Blog hopes that the unity and patriotism demonstrated in the run-up to the World Cup will last long after the tournament:

‘The past few months have been an incredible sight. Road works, bridges being built and the most spectacular, the giant eye which watches over all of us from the entrance to the V&A Waterfront. To say I feel proud would really be an understatement, although true. Undeniably through all of this is the tangible feeling of patriotism, excitement and unified spirit in the air.

‘Flags, Zakumi’s (official World Cup mascot), soccer jerseys everywhere makes me feel that we can unite as a country, evident in the progress made.

‘*** I love SA ***

‘The feeling I hope for South Africa is that we stay this way long past the end game is played. Everyone is watching and can see that through working together and progress, we can be pushed into another league and be part of a set of countries people all of the world would like to visit sometime in their life.

‘So, Bafana, we are behind you 150%, make us proud and do your best.

‘Visitors to South Africa, our country is beautiful, take the opportunity to visit places off the beaten track you’ll be pleasantly surprised and p.s. don’t forget to shop!’

Constitutionally Speaking

Even as the excitement builds up, there is anger just beneath the surface over a number of (FIFA-inspired?) decisions which do not benefit South Africans. One such issue is the apparent blanket ban on public gatherings in many municipalities for the duration of the World Cup. Constitutionally Speaking argues that:



‘If this is true, it would mean that parts of South Africa are now effectively functioning under a state of emergency in which the right to freedom of assembly and protest have been suspended. This would be both illegal and unconstitutional. Other reports have suggested that such orders were indeed given, but that the police are now backtracking – probably because the police have realised that they are breaking the law and that the order, in fact, constitutes a grave breach of the law and the Constitution.

‘It is a sad day indeed when the police itself become a threat to our democracy and our rights because Fifa and the government want us all to behave and shut up for the next month and to forget about our democratic rights.’

Scribbles from the Den (and betwixt en between the lines: a video diary of the ‘Q[/t]’ werd)

Scribbles from the Den takes us back 20 years to a memorable World Cup game which is now part of the football folklore and which credited to have changed the World Football Order in favor of African countries:

‘Exactly 20 years ago on June 8, 1990 at the Giuseppe Maezza Stadium in Milan, Italy, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, “a humble team with an insignificant past” to quote the Miami Herald, defeated Argentina, the star-studded defending World Champions led by Diego Armando Maradona, in a thrilling Italia ’90 World Cup opening game that came to be known as the “Miracle of Milan”…



‘The victory over Argentina was merely the beginning of Cameroon’s Cinderella story which came to an end only after England ousted the Lions in an epic quarterfinal game that is also part of World Cup folklore. Cameroon’s brilliant run in Italia ’90 in general, and its historic win over Argentina in particular reverberated around the world and changed the Football World Order forever…

‘The aftershocks from that memorable Friday afternoon at the Giuseppe Maezza Stadium would be felt years later first with FIFA increasing the number of African teams taking part in the World Cup from two to five, then with the “browning” of European leagues which opened their doors to players from the continent and in the process unearthed African football prodigies such as “King” George Weah of Liberia, Same Eto’o of Cameroon and Didier Drogba of Cote d’Ivoire.’

Up Station Mountain Club

As the football fiesta goes on in South Africa, Charles Taku, a lead counsel at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania, wonders whether Africa has any reason to celebrate as many states turn 50:

‘Africa is sick; very sick indeed. It is safe to state that at 50, there is nothing to celebrate. Rather than celebrate, Africa should be engaged in a moment of soul searching to find out where we went wrong and to generate ideas about how to resolve the myriad problems afflicting the continent…



‘There is no gainsaying that Africa is a victim of its colonial heritage. It is also true that many African problems are self inflicted. For that reason, according to Peter Schwab, Africa is its own worst enemy.

‘As Africa enters the second half of the century, there is a compelling need for it to eschew all pretensions to celebration and to use the opportunity of the moment to search for viable solutions to its plethora of problems. Our collective failure enjoins us to do a lot of soul searching at this point of our history rather than celebrate a failed past in anticipation of a bleaker future. Africa and the black race in general need to take their destiny into their own hands once again. Time has come for all black people of this world to invoke the spirits of Marcus Garvey, George Padmore, CLR James, the Osagyefo Mwalimu and others whose mere mention of name give us the inspiration, courage and hope to start all over again, in seeking a path of glory they once laid out for us.

The time to build and improve on what they started for our collective survival in a mercilessly competitive world is now. Waiting for dictators that preside over the destiny of most of the continent at present to pave that path to glory is simply foolhardy, if not suicidal.”



Kumekucha

Kumekucha explains how he believes the ruling elite plan to rig the August Referendum for the proposed new Kenyan Constitution:

‘Folks I am afraid that I have more bad news for you concerning the new constitution most of us are yearning for. Let me start by confessing that for a person with my years of experience I was rather naïve to believe that those who own Kenya would ever allow for an electoral system that they did not have any control over. The truth is that the so called “tamper-proof” electoral roll has already been tampered with and non-existent voters introduced. And since it is NOT the same electoral roll that we will go to the general elections with, the only conclusion is that the intention is to rig the August 4th Referendum.

‘The game plan by the powerful owners of Kenya is for the NO camp to catch up with the YES majority so that the difference is around 20% or less. What will then happen is that NO will win with a very slim majority. Enough to deny most Kenyans what they are yearning for so much that they can no longer sleep too well. Those wh o have read the document and realize the sweeping changes it will bring into the country and the deadly blow it will deal to impunity.

‘What really scares me is that so far these powerful forces have been able to get things done through the NSIS and have even influenced the judiciary to make certain bizarre rulings. To me that is evidence enough that they are quite capable of going ahead with their well laid plan even as the president tires himself crisscrossing the country campaigning for a new constitution.’


BROUGHT TO YOU BY PAMBAZUKA NEWS

* Dibussi Tande blogs at Scribbles from the Den.

 

blogger’s note: you probably don’t know how these stories (will) go, or maybe you do…either way, we’re going through the archives of hadithi, checking our lists of super (s)heroes many times, en sharing myths en legends of Afrika in this epic of a series…. all the betta for you to over/stand The Q werd (coming not/so soon to a screen near you).

Today’s’ queen was known by many names, depending on who tells the story….

When men were not brave enough – the story of Queen Dahlia

A woman who faced her enemies while empires crumbled, one of the most famous yet elusive women in history, Dahlia was a Berber queen. She is better known as Kahina or al-Kahinat, a title given to her by Arabs, which means “witch”.

Before the Islamic conquest, Africa was a province of the Roman (Byzantine) Empire. At that time it comprised Tunisia, north Algeria and some parts of Morocco. Africa, reconquered in 533 AD by Emperor Justinian, was an Exarchate – a single province with virtual autonomy, governed by a supreme official called the Exarch.

The Exarchate’s capital was the ancient city of Carthage. After Justinian’s invasion, Africa experienced many decades of peace and relative prosperity. At a time when almost the entire world burned with the flames of war, this small province remained an oasis of stability. Peace brought economic prosperity. Its grain was exported, along with goods produced by its artisans, especially their red pottery which was renowned throughout the Empire. With luminaries such as Pristian, Corippus, Victor of Tunis and Aldhelm, Africa also rose to become one of the intellectual centres of the world.

This Africa of Dahlia’s youth was a melting pot, in which peoples of different races and religions thrived, including Romans, Berbers, Vandal and Visigoth settlers, and tribes of black Numidians. There were Christians of various denominations – Catholics, Arians, Donatists (who rejected the ecclesiastic authority of the patriarchs) – and also numerous Jews and pagans. All these groups lived mostly in peace, marred occasionally by outbreaks of persecution against the Jews and Donatists, and other conflicts.

Very little is known about the private life of Dahlia. It is hard to distinguish fact from fiction in the numerous legends which surround her. Dahlia was born the daughter of Tabat, a chieftain of the Jrawa tribe, who lived in the region of the Aures mountains. Some (mostly Jewish) historians claim that Dahlia professed Judaism. These point out that her Arab title, “al-Kahinat”, may be a corruption of the Hebrew word Khn, which means “a person of the priest class”. The surname Cohen derives from the same root.

Additionally one Arabic chronicle, by Ibn Khaldoun, written years after her death, calls Dahlia “a Jewess”. It is possible that the Berber Queen followed the Jewish religion, but this is only a speculation. Indeed, many Berber tribes professed Judaism at this time, but others also had Christian or traditional beliefs.

The legends preserve some details of Dahlia’s appearance. She had very long black hair, and had large dark eyes. She was extremely tall for a woman of the time. She was said to be charismatic, and authors attribute to her the gift of foresight – most likely a reminiscence of her great intelligence and wisdom.

When she was a young woman, a chieftain who demanded to possess her as his bride terrorised her tribe. Dahlia went into hiding for some time. Finally she agreed to the marriage. On the wedding night, she slew her new husband by smashing his skull with a nail. Due to her enormous talents, she climbed to the top of her society.

The storm comes

In 646 Ad, when Muslims finally conquered Egypt, the long years of peace were about to come to an end. The Exarchate of Africa found itself on the frontline of the war with Islam. The Byzantine Empire, itself suffering defeats on almost all fronts, and further weakened by a constant civil war, could give no assistance to such a distant province. The Exarches had to completely rely upon local, limited resources. That they managed to hold off the Muslim advance for so long demonstrates how enthusiastically the local population supported the defensive actions against the Arabs.

It was not until 680 AD that the Arabs finally broke through the defences of the Exarchate. While Romans barricaded themselves in coastal cities, a Muslim commander named Oqba led a raid along the coast that reached the Atlantic Ocean in modern Morocco. It is said that Oqba slashed the waves of the ocean with his sabre, furious that there was no more land to conquer. Upon his return in 683 however, Oqba’s army was annihilated by a coalition of Berber tribes, and he himself was slain.

This victory, however, merely postponed the eventual fall of the Exarchate. In 697 AD, a new Muslim army entered Africa, under the command of Hassan ibn Numan. At this point, At that point, the weakened forces of the Exarchate could not stop the Arab advance, and following a sneak attack, Carthage fell.

Surprisingly, a Byzantine fleet appeared in African waters and the capital was retaken, only to fall again the following year, after a dramatic siege. Almost all its defenders and most of its civilians perished. In retaliation for its resistance, the Muslims destroyed the city. Thus the ancient city of Carthage, and with it the last Roman presence in Africa, came to an end.

The siege of Carthage, however, had given Dahlia the extra time she had needed. A new power in Africa was born. One consequence of the Byzantine defeat was that the Romans had lost their interest Africa. From this point onward, we have to rely solely on Muslim sources, which are very rarely reliable.

The witch

During the siege of Carthage, Dahlia completed her lifetime’s achievement. She consolidated all the major Berber tribes under a common purpose – driving out the invaders. Beginning with guerilla warfare, she soon graduated to launching full-scale invasion against the Muslims. She was joined in this by the survivors of the Byzantine army, as well as the remnants of the local Visigoths.

Dahlia attacked the main Muslim army, completely defeating it and pushing the invaders back to Egypt. She even reclaimed the ruins of Carthage. At that point, she was the unquestioned heroine and leader of all of Africa’s population – both nomads, Berbers and Romans. All the ethnic and religious groups united under her banner. She was also joined by some deserters from the Muslim army. One of them, most likely an apostate, became her lieutenant and adopted son. This was also the time when she gained her famous Arabic nickname.

Without doubt, Dahlia was close to creating an independent state. She ruled with an iron fist. She quickly transformed the anarchic Berber tribes into a disciplined army. She showed great military and administrative skills. She managed to hold Muslims at bay for a long time, perhaps as long as for three years. She also established an administration capable of maintaining a large standing army for this time. Dahlia was an intelligent person and knew that the Muslims would come back, so she prepared for them the best she could.

One of the most bizarre episodes of Dahlia’s struggle against the Muslims was the defection of her three natural sons. These joined the Muslims and converted to Islam, claiming that they did it on a peremptory order given by their mother. Some speculate that Dahlia knew that in the long perspective she had no chance to stop the Muslims, and decided that it was the only way to save her beloved sons’ lives. Other authors suspect that her sons came to conduct espionage and sabotage.

Even if this second option is true, Dahlia had no chance to make use of her sons’ skills. The exact cause of her downfall, and the date when this happened, is not certain.

Muslim chroniclers accuse Dahlia of maintaining a “scorched earth policy” in the hope that this would make the Muslims abandon their invasion plans. For this reason they say she ordered her men to burn cities, to kill livestock and destroy all the fields. Africa, according to Islamic chronicles, turned into a desert on her orders. Muslims say these actions caused her to lose the support of the settled population, who were terrified by the destruction. Farmers and city dwellers became, from this time onwards, passive observers in the conflict. Chroniclers say proudly that such destruction could never stop them, since the main reason for Islamic conquests was gaining converts.

Dahlia’s “scorched earth policy” is, however, an unlikely scenario. Non-nomads formed the majority of her army and supporters. She was intelligent enough to know that such a move would make them abandon her cause. Moreover, it diminished her already scarce resources. It is most likely that the destruction of Africa (which is a fact confirmed by archaeologists) was done by Muslims themselves who later attributed it to their enemy. The invaders were the only beneficiaries of the destruction. Moreover, Muslims used these methods of terrorist warfare elsewhere during their conquests, as in Spain and Egypt.

Dahlia soon found herself the only enemy of Islam on the African continent. Muslims sent considerable forces and finally defeated her Berber warriors. Sources differ on how she died. Some say that she died a soldier’s death – with a sword in her hand. Others maintain that she poisoned herself when all was lost and defeat was near. Even the exact date of her death is unknown. It happened between the years 702 and 705. Dahlia’s head was mummified and sent to the Caliph, who ordered that it be nailed to the entrance of his favorite mosque.

The end

After Dahlia’s death, the fate of Africa was sealed. All organized resistance ceased to exist, though some Berber tribes continued the open fight for some time. In all treaties with the Berbers, the Muslims demanded conversion to Islam. Facing the threat of complete destruction, most of the tribes agreed to abandon their old beliefs. Those who did not accept the new religion were killed. Many Berber women were said to have committed suicide.

Conversions threatened by force rarely have initial effect. For a long time local Muslim governors sent reports to the caliphs that the ever-rebellious Berbers were Muslims in name only, apostatising at every possible occasion and starting mutinies time and time again.

The fate of the mostly Christian settled population was initially similar to that of Syria, Spain or Egypt. However, Christians had lost most of their intellectual elites who had either died in war or emigrated (most of old Roman aristocracy had fled to Italy). By such means, the population became Islamised and Arabized much quicker than in other regions conquered by the Muslim hordes.

Small pockets of Christians however, survived up to 17th century. In addition, as late as the 12th century in some coastal cities, the Latin language could still be heard in the streets.

A long dark night fell upon Africa….

It is somewhat ironic, but modern Islamic authors refer to Dahlia/Kahina as an example of the high role of women in Islamic societies.

By Basileos
Dedicated to “Sahara” and all other daughters of the desert.

Sources:

Roger Collins: Early Medieval Europe
Georg Ostrogorski: History of the Byzantine Empire
Wikipedia
http://www.whoosh.org/issue85/klossner6.html
http://gess.wordpress.com/2006/08/25/the-legend-of-the-kahina-a-north-african-heroine/
http://www.swagga.com/queen.htm

Further reading:
Primary chronicle: Ibn-Khaldun (a compilation of earlier accounts; very biased and written a long time after her death).
Anonymous, Une Jeanne d’Arc Africaine: Episode de l’Invasion des Arabes en Afrique. Paris, 1890?
Beauguitte, Germaine. La Kahána, Reine des Aurcs. Paris, 1959. (A novel)
Boisnard, Magali. Le Roman de la Kahena. Paris, 1925. (A novel)
Djelloul, Ahmed. Al-Kahana. Paris, 1957. (A play)
El Aroui, Abdelmajid. La Kahena. Tunis, 1990. (A play)
Encyclopedia of African History and Culture. Vol. 2, African Kingdoms (500-1500). Edited by Willie F. Page. Facts on File, 2001.
Gautier, E. F. La Passá de L’Afrique de Nord. Paris, 1937.
Hannoum, Abdelmajid. Colonial Histories, Post-Colonial Memories:The Legend of the Kahina, a North African Heroine. Heinemann, 2001.
Hannoum, Abdelmajid. The Legend of the Kahina: A Study in Historiography and Mythmaking in North Africa. Ph.D. thesis, Princeton, 1996.

Illustration: Nouredine Zekkara

original source: http://www.north-of-africa.com/article.php3?id_article=337\

message to the warrior(s).queens

timing is relevant (en for dis’ series, the 16th century is as relevant as the present)…. as distant as these stories may seem they’re (some of) the pieces we need to over/stand why we’re here en what we can do about it.

It is necessary to go back for what we’ve forgotten, en move forward with it….basically, these case/studies are a sneak preview of (living) POCstars featured in the Q werd….stories of lion/nesse/s speaking….

hadithi? hadithi?

nilienda osogbo, wakaniambia hadithi ya amina wa zazzau (na queen bakwa turunku), kwa hivyo leo tunaenda zaria…..

Zaria City is located between latitude 90 and 120 North and longitude 70 and 90 East and with average rainfall covering the month of May to October.

Zazzau aka. as Zaria City (the Administrative Headquarters of the Emirate) was named after the younger sister of the famous Queen Amina who conquered and annexed most of the important Hausa States.  The evidence of her conquest are still visible in some of the Hausa Towns where the remains of the Walls exist as “Ganuwan Amina”.

The frontiers of Zazzau extended to cover many towns down South and up North, Katsina, Kano, Zamfara, Bauchi and Plateau States Border the Emirate. The Capital of Zazzau was moved from Turunku to Kufena and finally to Zaria City.

The seven original states of Hausaland: Katsina, Daura, Kano, Zazzau, Gobir, Rano, and Garun Gabas cover an area of approximately 500 square miles and comprise the heart of Hausaland. In the sixteenth century, Queen Bakwa Turunku built the capital of Zazzau at Zaria, named after her younger daughter. Eventually, the entire state of Zazzau was renamed Zaria, which is now a province in present-day Nigeria.

However it was her elder daughter, the legendary Amina (or Aminatu), who inherited her mother’s warlike nature. Amina was 16 years old when her mother became queen and she was given the traditional title of magajiya. She honed her military skills and became famous for her bravery and military exploits, as she is celebrated in song as “Amina daughter of Nikatau, a woman as capable as a man.”

Amina is credited as the architect who created the strong earthen walls around the city, which was the prototype for the fortifications used in all Hausa states. She built many of these fortifications, which became known as ganuwar Amina or Amina’s walls, around various conquered cities.

The objectives of her conquests were twofold: extension of Zazzau beyond its primary borders and reducing the conquered cities to vassal status. Sultan Muhammad Bello of Sokoto stated that, “She made war upon these countries and overcame them entirely so that the people of Katsina paid tribute to her and the men of Kano [and]… also made war on cities of Bauchi till her kingdom reached to the sea in the south and the west.” Likewise, she led her armies as far as Nupe and, according to the Kano Chronicle, “The Sarkin Nupe sent her [the princess] 40 eunuchs and 10,000 kola nuts. She was the first in Hausaland to own eunuchs and kola nuts.”

Amina was a preeminent gimbiya (princess) but various theories exist as to the time of her reign or if she ever was a queen. One explanation states that she reigned from approximately 1536 to 1573, while another posits that she became queen after her brother Karama’s death, in 1576. Yet another claims that although she was a leading princess, she was never a queen.

Despite the discrepancies, over a 34-year period, her many conquests and subsequent annexation of the territories extended the borders of Zaria, which also grew in importance and became the center of the North-South Saharan trade and the East-West Sudan trade.