Showing posts with label Africa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Africa. Show all posts

Friday, 24 November 2017

The African Nation

Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana believed (so do we), that all blacks belong to the African Nation, irrespective of where they reside on this side of heaven. 

In Kwame's words: 

"All people of African descent, whether they live in North or South America, the Caribbean or in any part of the world are Africans and belong to the African nation" - Kwame Nkrumah

When you think of the dynamics of slavery, how families were broken and taken from Africa over the Atlantic, how plantation owners separated children from their mothers or fathers, you realize the thread and bond all blacks share. Blacks calling one another "brothers" and "sisters" is not cliche, it has a fundamental underlining truth.

So, in unity, let us use this truth to our advantage.

By J.M.
Toronto, 2017

The Africa we are working to see ...

The Africa we should be working together to see

This is the Africa we are all working and striving to see. One where every African has a choice of where to live and have a choice whether or not they want to go back to the African. Not an Africa filled with war and poverty and the narratives of such.

Join me in building a place we can be proud of.

By Jumoke Eniola Odepe

Monday, 27 February 2017

What are our African kids learning in school during the Black History Month?

Stories being projected to our younger kids at school during Black History Month are having a more negative impact than positive on their psyche. Black History Month should be celebrated, I support this, however, we need to review the contents being sold to our African young hearts. Stories of African resilience and strength, the ability to overcome in brutal conditions should be projected rather than all woes and inferiority complex building materials being sold to our next Generation. where do we go from here?

Jumoke Eniola Odepe

Mt Olive

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Happy African American History Month

This month, we celebrate the resilience, tenacity, and unbreakability of the human spirit evidenced in all African Americans. Brought from Motherland in chains and 150 years later, put a president in the White House.

I am proud to be ancestrally related! 

Happy African American History Month.

Jumi Eniola Odepe
Ghana, Africa

Friday, 16 December 2016

We as Africans must engage ourselves in mind reprogramming trades

From grass-root Africa to elite Africa, the children need to be cleansed from every iota of inferiority. 

They are not inferior to children of any other country or continent in the world and they must not view or believe themselves as lesser than all. 

Poverty eradication helps in this reorientation but how about the millions in Africa who are wholesome and have never tasted hunger or poverty? 

Can we sincerely say every one of them has an equality mindset or do they feel less than the average human being? 

This feeling of being less than human is mostly an effect of the poverty they see daily and the consumption of non-African negative programming. 

Our black girls do their birthdays and their cakes have Princess Elsa's picture on it. Please she's blonde! But that's their model. 

Tell me how then will these black girls see their kinky-haired self as the image of beauty! Let's start from here, let's recreate our African princesses, girls who truly look like them.

Where are my African scriptwriters? 

We as Africans need to engage ourselves more to create representation for the next African generation. 

Our school curriculum must build confidence in the kids, and by this, I do not infer only the elite, outrageously unaffordable private schools. 

All sectors must train Africans to emancipate themselves from mental slavery. How? We need to promote quality media content from Africans to Africans and especially to our next generation of Africans to see. 

Our African books should be comprehensive enough to be used in our school curriculum, African technology, African fashion, African music, African movies, yes Nollywood, African dream{what is it by the way?}, all these must be encouraged, sponsored, standardized, showcased, and reinforced.

We as Africans need to look within, own it, and live from within. We must own where we have been and also, more importantly, we must own where we want to be. We must own how we want our continent to be placed in the nearest future.

By Jumoke Eniola Odepe

Article updated on August 5, 2020

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Rewrite African Narratives

Photo by Joshua Oyebanji Unsplash

 "If you don't like someone else's story, write your own" - Chinua Achebe

Africa and Africans have awoken to the realization of the negative impact of commercials and various narratives about Africa's past, present, and future, written by non-Africans. These stories affect the lives and everyday realities of people of African descent.

Negative narratives, have affected the way Africa and Africans are seen, perceived, and reacted to.

Are you African? Has any positive African idea ever jumped at you? Start working on it. 

Connect with like minds via Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram, or by any means that you can.

Start making your contribution. You can't turn a blind eye. We have to start changing our own stories from within and without and all hands must be on deck. The next generation of Africans is counting on you to make a difference.

By Jumoke Eniola Odepe
Long Live The Pen.
Toronto, 2016

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

When you hear about Africa, what do you think? | Mo Abudu | TEDxIkeja

Video courtesy, EbonyLife TV

Take a listen to video by Mo Abudu

The video spoke to me. Let's forget about our impoverished leadership{this too will fall in place} but acknowledge what has been placed in your heart to do for Africa. Nobody is too tiny to make a difference. We cannot leave our kids to go through the same stereotypes we Africans face within and outside the continent, but they will, if we don't start working. We cannot leave the next generation to figure this out. Time to unleash the positive African in you.

xxx Jumi

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Moving forward. African quote


Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Create the Africa you want to see and publish it the way you can

Changing African Narratives through your efforts

It is apparent that existing African stories have neither helped African countries or her people. Some of these stories have been shared via negative media while some have been shared by Africans ourselves. It has not helped in moving us forward as a continent and as a people.

Its time we started rewriting the stories that exist and also through faith creating the stories we want to see. My question to you is, what will be said that you wrote to change the current negativity surrounding the African continent? What is your African niche? Could it be storytelling, essay writing, film production, granting funds to African students abroad so they can feel, funding African reorientation adverts, helping African countries torn with wars? 

What's your African niche? 

Locate it and Live in it.

By Jumoke Odepe

Start writing the African story your own way as an African - it changes everything

If you are African descent reading this, we are not lost, the quotes below reveal that every effort counts and you can be part of the that we can have a safe HOME where we can all live and be proud of. So that we can all stop running around the world like sheep without shepherds and stop being"travelling peoples" as described in Laurence Hill's Book of Negroes.


Tuesday, 1 November 2016

As Africans, we all must be engaged in building

#Reimagine Africa

As an African elite, look within and ask, what can I do to change the present African narratives? What niche can I carve and do my uncompromising best to lift this continent? 
For my sake and for the sake of my children.

By Jumoke Odepe

Sunday, 2 October 2016

1st, drop the word "Black" from our African tag


She's French, they are Mexicans, he's Indian, they are Chinese, you are North American, his cousin is British, our neighbours are Australians, they are Irish Canadians, we are Polish 2nd generation Americans, she is a Canadian citizen of middle eastern descent.

The above cuts through a range of skin tones but have you ever heard anyone above tagged "Yellows" or "Light Browns' or "Pales" or "The Carton Coloreds!"? The question then is this, why are people of African descent tagged "Blacks"? Research on what has been historically associated with the word "black"  is thought-provoking, see, for example, the words, "blacklisted" and "black sheep of the family". 

"Black" has been used to depict the presence of evil, dirt, and secrets. In the Roman culture and in Africa, black is the colour of death or mourning, it has been associated with the devil, hell, death, and sinBlack and white have often been used to describe opposites; particularly light and darkness and good and evil. In Medieval literature, the white knight usually represented virtue, the black knight something mysterious and sinister. In American westerns, the hero often wore a white hat, the villain a black hat (    

Blacks People of African descents are called "Blacks" because they have dark skin tones, which is absolutely a lovely skin tone that never breaks, but, what happened to being called "Africans" or "African Americans" or "African Canadian" or "Jamaican" or "Ghanian" or "African descent"?                          
In December of 2008, Jesse Jackson and some other Blacks African descent leaders came together to decide that the African race is fine with being called African Americans (, why then has the word "blacks" stayed? 

As blacks a people of African descent, moving forward, don't accept the word "black" as defining you, leave colorism, and color definition to laundry grouping. Change happens with our daily conversations, eliminate colorism from your daily discussions whether in describing yourself or others.

Don't say, Black,   Say African, African American, African descent, or better still African Diaspora. We can now move forward, there is a whole lot to a name. 

Jumoke Eniola Odepe


Thursday, 7 July 2016

Princesses with Kinky curls, hazel nut skin or darker hues and honey deep eyes.

"Mom, you can't be a Princess with that hair!" He giggles and continues " Princesses don't have braids! they have long blonde hair!"...he goes ahead to describe the Rapunzellish hair and looks. Lol!!

This was what my little boy told me after I just had my hair beautifully braided and hubby called me a Princess. Immediately I knew I had work to do. That the still images of what is defined as "Princessy", the pretty long haired girl with dazzling diamond tiara, just like when I was growing up, has found a way into the minds of our newest African generation. How? Primarily through books and media. The dreamy sea blue eyed Princesses we see in books and on cartoons has a way of instilling in a child's mind, acceptable prototypes of Beauty, Princessey and  Princy.

After the episode with my son, I made a research on brown barbie dolls with Afros or braids and was elated to see some @Queen of Africa doll shop. This is part of the work we have to do! No other tribe, race or color can do this for our "African generation NeXt" than ourselves. We have lots of books to write, lots of rhymes to write, lots of kids songs to write, lots of lullabies to write, lots of cartoons to make and lots of stories to include in the kids world definition of  "Beauty", the African child type of beauty. To make the African next generation know and believe from birth, in their own kind of beauty. In their own kind of Princess. A Princess with kinky curly hair, hazel nut skin or darker hues and honey deep eyes.

It is as simple as that. It is as complex as that.


Friday, 1 July 2016

Non African commercials defined Africa this far - We are redefining

The African story has been defined by Commercials this far, creating a global havoc that has affected African lives and experiences; it is still affecting it in ways we can not conceive... and what more? Some countries have made a fortune from our dark objectification. For the sake of  the X - African generation, we get to redefine it. With the advent of "team natural" -  embracing our Kinky hair and loving it the way it grows straight out of our heads, curled and untamed, the African woman gave herself the permission to love her own kind of beautiful. This revolutionized the hair care industry in unimaginable ways. How far will we go to change the narratives of Colourism, African Contourism (which I love absolutely) - for if we don't change these narratives, it lingers, it is internalized by the younger generation and so the disturbing trend continues.
The same strategy employed when we came to ourselves on our kinky hair, will be used to project the good sides of  Africa while we work tirelessly on the bad. Every continent has the good, the bad and the ugly..while the bad and ugly is managed, the good is projected to the world. Why should a one sided story, propagated by non African media be used to limit Africa and Africans, casting the ugliest hues of  grey?
The journey has started, this time led by Africans, sharing their own stories with their own pens, their own mouths, their own media.

Penned by Jumi

Thursday, 23 June 2016

When African hair started to Rock

With accepting our natural hair, we suddenly see a new wave of acceptance, more magazines featuring it, more spots on TV shows, researchers suddenly came up with theories on how black girls are super attractive erasing their former black theories! 

Whatever happened? What happened? 

Suddenly I see products of this world, the cremes and oils of this world, the anti-heat sprays of this world, the hair manufacturing companies of this world, all making products especially for the kinky, afro, natural hair, big chop, detangling, moisturizing of the African hair.

But seriously what happened? I proposed the theory of universal acceptability to which my friends giggled. 

That the moment a people choose to redefine what is acceptable, what is beautiful, what is appropriate, the universe releases support. 

In other words, when we sanctioned the kinky 'fro as beautiful the way it grows out of our heads, untamed, curled, the curliest of curls! 

A new definition of hair beauty was introduced to the universe, the universe was left with no choice but to introduce a wide range of support through the hair care industry, and all that revolves around it. but that's a story for another day.

Jumoke Eniola Odepe

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Childhood un-laughed memories - The Living in Nigeria never bored me series

Childhood memories

When I'm not wondering if human debris has started gathering in space or brainstorming about some catchy stuff to write or analyzing some futuristic UFO's or scheming how to solve matters that deeply concern the human race or wondering what type of rum was injected into the first human who traded in slaves, I flashback on my beautiful childhood memories in Nigeria.

One of such laughable memory for me was how people would fish for infinitesimal monetary change in the church offering bowl after dropping their offering in church, while the assigned usher to the pew waits angrily at the other end of the pew to receive the offering bowl back.

For example, a woman might drop the Nigerian currency note of N5 Naira (the equivalent or thereabout of 0.013 USD) into the offering bowl and painstakingly fish out the Nigerian currency coins change of N4 Naira from the same offering bowl, neither minding that other church members were waiting to donate their offering into the same bowl nor minding the angry usher at the end of the pew, fuming at the ensuing fracas and held up offering bowl! How do I even explain this properly? 

My writhed facial expression usually reads why not just bring 1 naira offering to church? 

 Intriguing!! But I was just a child, it was an un-laughed memory, I'm laughing at it now.

By Jumi Eniola Odepe

Monday, 29 June 2015

Nigeria and value of human life

Photo by Babatunde Olajide on Unsplash

Road sign symbols that show that animals are crossing intrigue me. 

It shows that not only human life matters but also wildlife.

A while ago, I was visiting with my friends, we had just had dinner at a restaurant near their home. As we drove back, I noticed the streetlights were off , so I asked why. "So as not to scare away the animals" came the response.

We visited our family friends in their countryside home a few years back , as we drove through their neighborhood at night, I noticed the drivers dimmed their headlamps ever so often, so again I inquired, why? "Full lights scare the squirrels so we try to use just enough lights to see oncoming vehicles." Phew!!

I immediately had a flashback to the cruelty to the cows at Kara close to the Lagos city entrance. 

The cows are clobbered till they bleed! 

Animal cruelty right? 

But the viciousness to animals that occur in Nigeria does not start at that, it is a reflection of cruelty of man to man. From battles for road space to fatal battles for political power.

Nigerians believe that change is coming and I do too. But with the rotten system that we have, in all tribes from young to old, in all sectors from grassroots to the presidency, corruption in the minds of literate and illiterates alike, my only question is how do we navigate from these? 

ogbon wo la maa da??

Again, just random thoughts.
Jumoke Eniola Odepe

Monday, 8 June 2015

Yoruba Alphabets (Alfabeeti Yooba)


Since I cringed so much at the "dying art of ABD" on my last post. I might as well spell out the alphabets here.. someone might need it soon. Here we go:

Aa         Bb         Dd           Ee     Ee     Ff      
Gg         gb         Hh            Ii       Jj      Kk     
Ll           Mm       Nn          Oo     Oo     Pp     
Rr           Ss          Ss           Tt      Uu     Ww

I don't think I missed out anything, I am certain there is no letter "C" though.   

Jumoke Eniola Odepe
Mississauga, 2015

Thursday, 4 June 2015

The Dying Art Of The Yoruba Alphabets

Photo by Oladimeji Odunsi on Unsplash


Growing up in Nigeria, my siblings and I spoke the Yoruba language. 

Elders everywhere spoke the language to us, our parents spoke it with us, everyone spoke the language to us, we speak it in school and had to be continuously warned by class captains or class monitors to "stop speaking vernacular."

So I speak it fluently, I speak my native dialect too!

Somewhere along the line, a certain wind of modernization swept over parents in Nigeria and the Yoruba language hibernated, it became hidden, to be seen but not heard!! 

The English language became our mother tongue! So kids born in the '80s early '90s upward saw the Yoruba language as an aberration, an anomaly! 

Something like you-are-not-sophisticated-or-you-are-just-too-local if you speak Yoruba! And there Voila! We missed it! We've raised almost a generation of children who can not read or speak "ABD"!!.

The Yoruba classes taught in school can only do little. We have to speak the language consciously to the children at home and enforce it to be spoken back to us. That, I tell you is an onerous task! 

My kids are struggling to speak my language. I waited for them to grow a little, get a grasp of the English language first and then pick up the Yoruba language but it was almost too late! Here we are, at ages 6 and 7, trying to force them to have a grasp of the language, I want them to understand and speak it fluently. Thankfully, they are beginning to speak it, even if they call their own food "aja" which means a dog!

I realized that the easier way out is starting to speak the language once the child is born, the English or other languages would come naturally from school and society. With the older kids, we still have to start somewhere.

Here are a few helpful YouTube links I stumbled on:

Alphabeeti yooba by #btstories74 
DNVlogsLife A on you tube:

My best wishes as you teach your child a very key aspect of their life.

Jumoke Eniola Odepe
Toronto, 2015

Thursday, 21 May 2015

The African Hair Movement

Photo by Sebastien Conejo on Mixkit 

The low cut makes me happy and its quite easy to maintain, so it's easy to blob on and on about it.

A few weeks after cutting my hair, a good friend asked me as a matter of fact, "really, do you want to take that hair out of the house like that?" to which I responded also, "No way!! when I'm not drunk!". 

My hair was not only low, but it was also African natural and sincerely I did not want to go out without a wig on. 

We all know the African kinky hair is usually permed, tucked in under weaves and wigs, or totally transplanted. Well, I just guess the last is possible, not that I've seen girls do it; but why won't African hair transplant be possible when bald hair transplant and receding forehead hair transplant is now very possible.

A few weeks down the line of the Q and A with my friend, I mustered enough courage to go out with my low hair without a wig! It was liberating. I felt freedom from wigs, weaves, and hair relaxers. I could feel the warm embrace of each wave of breeze at the root of the short hair strands. 

This step also unlocked some settings in my default such as the silent beliefs that as a grown girl, my African hair should be relaxed, worn long either with a wig or a weave.

I normally do not give this a thought because it's quite uneasy carrying my thick Afro without a perm. But this time, I allowed myself to think about it. Could this be a part of the self-objectification I wrote so much about in Law school last fall?

I started drawing links between African slavery, colonization, civilization, and how it has toyed with our minds. Have we been made to believe that the African hair is to be hidden from view or at least straightened in some ways to look presentable? The modern African girl should have a weave on for dinners, job interviews, etc. to look presentable? 

Some weaves such as the Brazilian weaves are so expensive, treating them is equally expensive, more expensive than treating our natural Afro. Is something wrong with us or am I just a relentless deep thinker?

In my natural hair journey, I've learned the African natural hair is manageable, with organic products here and there, you can have comb-able, style-able, and fashionable hair. 

This does not stop us from changing hairstyles and doing what we want with our hair definitely, its just a few thoughts that crossed my mind while thinking of the effects of slavery and colonization in Africa. 

Some of the effects include our fading languages and lovely traditions. 

I once again thank the leaders of the natural African hair movement! You brought some light! 

We definitely have to embrace our roots more and celebrate what we've been given. We sell it to the world till they want what we've got. 

The amazing fun fact about the African hair is that we can relax our hair and wear weaves, unfortunately, non-Africans can't make an Afro from their hair. Well, except they wear an Afro weave.

Again, mere random thoughts.

Jumoke Eniola-Odepe
Toronto, 2015