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Edited by K. Jemael Mohamed

Keti-Koti: Every African should celebrate it!
By Barbara Gwanmesia

Child mortality
By Jacqueline Lampe, Director AMREF Flying Doctors

Save Kidney, Save Life, Part 2
By Dr. Sandeep G Huilgol & Dr. Sabahat Zaidi

Africa Day 2011 - Chances for Africa’s Youth
By Ato Bob

By Valentine Che

Fighting FGM
By Caroline Achieng Otieno

Why men abused and battered women?
By Surujlall Motilall

Clarity on change in the EU Immigration Law
By A.G. Kleijweg

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July 2011 Edition




By Valentine Che*


As promised, here comes a reload of the much requested, yet controversial topic on Race & Relationships published last year.


Last year, I looked at Race and Relationships from a cultural perspective. I apologized for not being an expert in Relationship matters, yet got flattered by the sheer volume of responses to my article. Some readers went as far as saying - the cultural viewpoint is the only one that mattered. While I am flattered by this elevation, I am still humbled by my ignorance in this subject matter. Maybe my acceptance of my ignorance is the driving force behind my curiosity as I try to get a better understanding of relationships along racial lines. I do understand as well that a multitude of those directly concerned - those in interracial relationships - have surrendered to an “I don’t care what people think” mode, and I respect that. Thus, reopening this subject again is testimony and support to those who do not take as given and are crying to be heard; those who consider society’s judgment on their choices as unfair; who believe that the most obvious must not necessarily prevail.


Rachel Owule-Brown is a 28 year-old African American of Nigerian descent. She is a Princeton grad and Marketing Executive at a fortune 500 company and works in an office suite with a perfect view over Lower Manhattan. Rachel is married to Ronald (Caucasian), 32, a former teacher, now fireman at Syracuse, New York. They have a daughter, Sheandra, 3. Rachel’s annual income is just a little above 3 times Ronald’s income. Rachel says when she and her family go to Church or attend other social gatherings, the looks she gets from most people (Black and White alike) transpose vividly into ‘GOLD DIGGER’. Rachel says she initially tried not to care about what other people think, but now admits that time has taken its toll. She says the most difficult part is that, while she is not complaining, she had actually had to support Ronald during his transition from Teacher to Fireman (a 7 month period during which he was 100% a consumer). With this in mind, Rachel strongly believes society is being unfair to her because of her choice. She reluctantly admits that maybe if their financial situations were reversed, the burden of society’s judgment on her will be lighter, because at least she would be ‘guilty’ to an extent.


Rachel’s case is one among many. When I listened to Rachel’s story above, I felt guilty because I have made such conclusions in the past. That a successful career-oriented Black woman loses all her deserved respect because of her relationship choice is indeed unfair.



How many times have you prejudged persons in an interracial relationship negatively? The sole fact that society has disproportionately elevated a particular race as ‘better’ is not enough ground for every Tom and Dick to seek refuge under jurisprudence in this regard. This is a major pitfall of democracy. While 75% or more of interracial relationships involves the non-white party being the benefactor (at least financially), the remainder 25% of cases where the white party is benefactor should NOT be overlooked.


The back home mentality that equates Caucasian to rich is a fallacy. Simple arithmetic would do us justice. Walk down any street in the occident and count the number of junkies and welfare dependents. Calculate what percentage of that total are Caucasian and you will get an understanding.


The bedtime scenes in these interracial relationships makes way for a new benefactor. Western ladies have been trained to view every approaching Black male as a broke fellow looking to legitimize their residence status. In same light, western men see flirting Black ladies “holding a pick axe ready to dig”, even broke white men too.


A white lady once confessed that while family and friends are persuading her to end a relationship with an undocumented African with dreadlocks, stating that the guy in question is after one thing only: regularizing his immigrant status; the lady smilingly acknowledged that even if it was true, the dreadlock Rasta already paid his dues “under the sheets”, making her feel what she before then only imagined. Similarly situated white men would tell you their calorie intake now makes reservations for bedtime because they need enough energy to sustain the “ride”. If we go by the charter that says good sex makes for healthier and long-lasting relationships, then the party that offers this much needed “spice” should get the necessary weight on the relationship balance sheet as well. Am I asking society to give equal weight to ‘paying bills’ and ‘winding one’s waist’? Maybe. Maybe more to the latter - it is an art, born of a heritage.


I belief in a society where people are judged on ability rather than appearance. While it is easy to blame the Caucasian segment of society for racist tendencies, the non-Caucasian segments are equally liable to blame. While there are no stats or documented studies to my knowledge that proves this, it has been voiced in many circles that non-Caucasians are at times more racist that their Caucasian counterparts. If the use of the ‘N-word’ is a case in point, society’s free-pass for Blacks to use the word without repercussion justifies the above allegation.  As a victim of oppression, MLK dreamt of a state where his four little kids would be judged not by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character. That the little four would one day become the oppressors was NOT part of that dream.


I do acknowledge that changes in human behaviour with regard to perception is a quantum leap, however, a little step in the direction of scripture @ Matthew 7:1 (Judge not, that you be not judged) is worthwhile. Let’s give the Rachels of this world their deserved right to freedom of association.


*Valentine Che is a Freelance Journalist & Civil Rights Advocate. He may be reached on

Keti-Koti: Every African should celebrate it!

By Barbara Gwanmesia*


Who knows what Keti-Koti means? This question is especially for Africans reading this piece.  Anybody?  Oh you do; do you sweet reader?  Now you really make me proud of you, even envious, because you are one of those rare Africans who does know what this extremely important event means.  I was well and truly mortified when I found that after years of living in the Netherlands I was totally ignorant of what Keti-Koti meant.... I had no idea about an event that not only defined the lives of people born in the islands and other countries that were once under Dutch law, but that affected my ancestors in Africa and me as an African today.


For those still wondering what keti-koti is, it is a phrase referring to the ending of slavery in Suriname and the Dutch Antilles. Keti-Koti literally means cutting the ketting - or cutting the chain (of slavery). Slavery was abolished in these Dutch-ruled regions on July 1, 1863 but really only came to effect ten years later. From this point forward, families in Africa no longer had to suffer being sawn apart like branches, being torn apart through theft, violence or manipulations. Tribal groups or teams of people did not have to continually run for their lives, or continually sell others to survive, or go into senseless wars to breed captives for sale.  From this time on, the need to earn a living over the head of another began ebbing - our humanity as a people began regaining centre stage.  From this time on a mother no longer had to stand and watch her child on auction, or stare as that child would be dragged away into captivity, if not raped in the view of others by his/her master to try him or her for size. From that day on a mother did not have to kiss the earth into which her child’s feet had left a mark on his way into brutal servitude and death.  Keti-Koti meant our brothers and sisters dragged into lives of servitude in the Diasporas no longer had to be guinea pigs until their deaths.  Keti-koti meant the opportunity for us in Africa to one day meet our lost families in the Diaspora... to reach out and wipe their dried out tears... to search their faces and see our lost hope regained had come.



We, Africans in the Netherlands and other parts of the world cannot afford to know nothing of Keti-Koti, or to desist from becoming part of its celebrations, or to not attempt to understand all its intricacies and what it says about the expectation of both those who were dragged into servitude and those who, left behind in Africa, bowled, mourned and ached for the disappearance of their loved ones.


If you have a jot of African blood in your vein... if you have ever hated the servitude of another or rejected the notion of the slave trade (be you African or not), then July 1 of every year must remain for you a day to celebrate and to solemnly reflect on life.


I am an African and I thank God for Keti-Koti.

I am an African and I thank God for the lives of all the peoples of Suriname, the Antilles and everywhere else where people were dragged to from Africa - specifically the lives of those who suffered the immorality of slavery.

I am an African and I thank God that neither I nor any African I know need ever to live in the kind of fear that official slavery and the slave trade inflicted on us.

I am an African and I thank God for all those fighting today to free women, children and even men from human trafficking and slavery.

I am an African and I thank God for every success that is gained every day against the indignity of slavery of any form.

I am an African and I thank God for Keti-Koti.


And on July 1, I shall celebrate Keti-Koti for all those who were once enslaved and for all those still in enslavement today but surely to experience their own Keti-Koti soon!!!!


*Barbara Gwanmesia is author, publisher and musical artist based in the Netherlands. She can be reached via


Ever wanted to try tropical beers brewed in Europe? Now is your chance!


Brewed in Belgium, under licence for The African Brewery, it currently has three unique brand labels; namely African King (premium pils) with 5% alcoholic content; African Queen (Cherry fruit) with 3.6% alcoholic content and African Warrior (blond) with 5.5% alcoholic content. All three labels are in 330ml bottles. -




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Other articles in this edition

 Read the full text of articles below:


 Africa News

  • Nigeria ''will not call for regime change'' in Libya

  • Power blackouts in Ghana: No Gas from Nigeria

  • DR Congo orders 10 million voters' cards

  • Malawi to hold polls in 2014

  • Guinea ethnic groups sign non-aggression pact

  • Unity Govt: Gbabgo’s party asks for time

  • SADC leaders increase pressure on Mugabe

  • Ouattara calls for new Côte d'Ivoire, new citizenry

 Dutch News

  • Full controls by Border Police reinstated

  • Asylum requests by country in first quarter

  • TV advertising is too loud

  • Smart card ticketing on trains in 2012

  • Immediate deportation of illegal aliens

  • Dutch education going downhill

  • Parents sell eight-year-old daughter for sex

  • Dutch driving age is now 17 


    Belgium News

    • King Albert pleads with U.N.  on sexual violence in Congo

    • New Belgium citizens; majority denied

    • Four years for Belgian expat who sold fake Viagra

    • Belgium and Congo settle their differences

    •  No cough syrup for children under 12?

    • 13,500 convictions for hit-and-runs in 2010

     Sports News 

    Edited by K. Jemael Mohamed

    • Didier Drogba says ‘I Do’

    • Highest paid African players

    • Kanu ends international, continues club football

    • Egypt will not bid for CAN 2013'

    • ..And More

    Other News  

      • African Books
      • TAB Quiz
      • Nollywood Director Tony-Holland weds

      • Facelifts for dogs

      • Murder caused by lack of salt

      • Cat gives birth to dog

      •  ... And More 

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