14 October 2011

Thomas Sankara- an African Revolutionary Leader

Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara
(December 21, 1949 – October 15, 1987) was a Burkinabé military captain, Marxist revolutionary, Pan-Africanist theorist, and President of Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987.

Viewed as a charismatic and iconic figure of revolution, he is commonly referred to as "Africa's Che Guevara."

Sankara seized power in a 1983 popularly supported coup at the age of 33, with the goal of eliminating corruption and the dominance of the former French colonial power.

He immediately launched the most ambitious program for social and economic change ever attempted on the African continent.
To symbolize this new autonomy and rebirth, he even renamed the country from the French colonial Upper Volta to Burkina Faso ("Land of Upright Men").

His foreign policies were centered around anti-imperialism, with his government eschewing all foreign aid, pushing for odious debt reduction, nationalizing all land and mineral wealth, and averting the power and influence of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. His domestic policies were focused on preventing famine with agrarian self-sufficiency and land reform, prioritizing education with a nation-wide literacy campaign, and promoting public health by vaccinating 2.5 million children against meningitis, yellow fever and measles.

Other components of his national agenda included planting over ten million trees to halt the growing desertification of the Sahel, doubling wheat production by redistributing land from feudal landlords to peasants, suspending rural poll taxes and domestic rents, and establishing an ambitious road and rail construction program to "tie the nation together."

On the localized level Sankara also called on every village to build a medical dispensary and had over 350 communities construct schools with their own labour. Moreover, his commitment to women's rights led him to outlaw female genital mutilation, forced marriages and polygamy; while appointing females to high governmental positions and encouraging them to work outside the home and stay in school even if pregnant.

In order to achieve this radical transformation of society, he increasingly exerted authoritarian control over the nation, eventually banning unions and a free press, which he believed could stand in the way of his plans and be manipulated by powerful outside influences.

To counter his opposition in towns and workplaces around the country, he also tried corrupt officials, counter-revolutionaries and "lazy workers" in peoples revolutionary tribunals.

Additionally, as an admirer of Fidel Castro's Cuban Revolution, Sankara set up Cuban-style Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDRs).

His revolutionary programs for African self-reliance as a defiant alternative to the neo-liberal development strategies imposed by the West, made him an icon to many of Africa's poor.

Sankara remained popular with most of his country's impoverished citizens. However his policies alienated and antagonised the vested interests of an array of groups, which included the small but powerful Burkinabé middle class, the tribal leaders whom he stripped of the long-held traditional right to forced labour and tribute payments, and the foreign financial interests in France and their ally the Ivory Coast.
As a result, he was overthrown and assassinated in a coup d'état led by the French-backed Blaise Compaoré on October 15, 1987.
A week before his execution, he declared: "While revolutionaries as individuals can be murdered, you cannot kill ideas."

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Sankara

03 October 2011

October Newsletter

Progressive greetings friends!

What’s new with the blog?

1. You can subscribe by email l to the blog so that when a new post has been made, you will be the first to receive it conveniently delivered to your personal email address. (Your email address will remain private; your details are secure and will not be shared.)

2. Some of you have been emailing me on the UWWUL gmail account, and I have taken long to reply to you, I apologise sincerely. Please do keep writing to me and sending your work through. Another way to contact me is through my Facebook inbox. Featured poem submitted by mail: http://uwritewhatulike.blogspot.com/2011/10/paint-me-by-mo-punkrocker-tseko.html

3. Make sure to check out the poetry and events posted on the Afrikan Poets and Writers group wall on Facebook. The wall is open for you to share your work with us, and this is where I get the bulk of poetry that is published on the blog and AfroConscious journal contributions from. http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=65172951976

4. Xarra bookshop is moving from Newtown to Constitution Hill, Johannesburg. This is as from the 1st of October 2011. Your reliable store for African centred literature and music is also one of the stockists of the AfroConscious journal, self published in 2010. Xarra books is also on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Xarra-Books-Music-Books-Art/50655186127

5. Read more about the Kasi Times publication here: http://uwritewhatulike.blogspot.com/2011/09/kasi-times.html and at the bottom appears the link where you can access their site!

6. Letter from the editor. Have you ever submitted your written work to a publication and received a regret letter. Why? Read here from an editor’s point of view: http://uwritewhatulike.blogspot.com/2011/09/letter-from-editor.html

7. I have uploaded an excerpt from the I write what I like book by Steve Bantu Biko, it is titled “Some African cultural concepts” Read and be empowered: http://uwritewhatulike.blogspot.com/2011/09/biko-some-african-cultural-concepts.html

8. Call for submissions 2012: Infecting the city: http://uwritewhatulike.blogspot.com/2011/10/call-for-submissions-2012-infecting.html

9. My take on the Kenny Kunene reality tv show on Etv, So what: http://uwritewhatulike.blogspot.com/2011/10/so-what.html

What are you reading? What are YOU reading? Do you have a book you would like to recommend to us? Share! I am currently reading the Steve Biko book, “I write what I like”.

What are you writing? If YOU are not reading are you atleast writing?

If you have any literature centred news/event/project you want to spread to many, you can post it to the Facebook group wall: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=65172951976

YOU can also become a contributor to the UWWUL blog and share with multitudes, contact me for that.

Thank YOU all for the support on this blog, page views so far 4794 To the new members: I would like to welcome YOU home!

Literally yours,

'Paint me' by Mo PunkRocker Tseko

Paint me
Paint my soul…
Make me feel whole…
Do me justice with your hands;
create a masterpiece that feeds my cold dark being.
See the beauty where there isn’t...
Art in the form of imperfection…
Turn me into a beautiful mess….your beautiful mess

Mo PunkRocker Tseko

So What?

I am a young, patriotic South African. I am proud to be a descendent of this African continent.
The present state of affairs in South Africa and Africa as a whole causes my being to shudder.

Historically, we have been colonised, enslaved and oppressed. But our pride would not let us cower for longer. Many fought, and many laid their lives for the emancipation of oppressed citizens.
We followed democracy, and received the vote. But are we better off?

The new dispensation ushered forth the rise of the elite black, known as black diamonds. And the growing gap between the rich and the economically deprived. Ubuntu bethu is determined by your address, your Lambourghini and designer wear.

In the name of entertainment, We create senseless reality shows to glorify the lifestyle of excess. Eating sushi off scantily clad women, sitting in bath tubs filled with expensive champagne. We observe a young woman Ridiculing hard working women who wake up early to set up their trading stalls in the market, because they wont accept American currency and wont swipe your credit card. All in the name of entertainment the young woman disrespects women older than her, likening them to apes and Tarzan.

Darkies, have we completely lost the plot, our values, and sense of ubuntu?
Mr, Mrs, Miss Black Diamond, will it hurt to help build underprivileged communities.
Yes, you, Tendertrepeneurs. Will it hurt your pockets to dig down and donate to uplifting the area/community that is filling your coffers?
Mr, Mrs, Miss Politician will it hurt to try to bridge the gap of economic inequality?

Please wake up ubuntu benu. This is Africa!

Vuyokazi S Yonke

Call for submissions 2012: Infecting the City

Call for Submissions to 2012

The Africa Centre has begun preparation for Infecting The City Public Arts Festival that will be held in the first week of March 2012.

As you may be aware, the Infecting The City Festival offers a unique opportunity to bring music, dance and performance out of theatres and galleries and into the streets of Cape Town’s CBD. Its aspirations are to challenge audiences, breach boundaries, shifts perspectives and help make sense of the public spaces we occupy. The Infecting The City Festival’s vision is to develop a public art festival that grapples with the social issues pivotal to both the South African and, more broadly, human condition.

This is a call to visual and performing artists to submit works that have either been staged or are completely new. The work can be a full ensemble piece, an intervention, a live performance, a visual art installation or some other form newly imagined. All works should translate to or work within a public environment, and should actively engage intentional and incidental audiences. There is no specific theme, only the intention to ‘infecting the city with the awe, provocation and dynamism of art’.

If you or your company has an artwork in mind that fits with the Infecting The City Festival vision, please submit a detailed concept document (max. 500 words) and a one page C.V.

Please email all applications or queries to info@infectingthecity.com. The deadline for submissions is Friday, 6th October 2011.

For more information about last year’s Festival, please look at this site, view the Facebook page, view the YouTube videos, or contact Felicia on 021 422 0468.

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