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#Culture | Remembering The Gullah People, The Last African Tribe Standing In America

Gullah Women - 

In 1670, the first British settlement was established in the coastal plain and swampland of the territory from North Carolina to Florida, known as the Sea Islands. The area's semi-tropical climate and abundant rainfall made it difficult for early colonists to find a crop that would produce sufficient revenue for England. By 1700, settlers discovered that the highly swampy land was appropriate for producing rice, an Asian import. However, they failed at their attempts to cultivate it because of the lack of knowledge among white planters.

It was later revealed that Africans from the traditional rice-growing region along the west coast of the continent were well skilled in performing the arduous work. Consequently, settlers acquired large numbers of captives from these areas for rice cultivation. This operation made South Carolina one of the wealthiest colonies in North America.

Year after year, thousands of African slaves were imported to the rice-growing lands of America. They mainly came from the Gola tribe of Sierra Leone, but also included natives of the Fula ethnic group, the Bassas, the Krus, the Malinkes, and the Mendes, forming an African group of about 20 tribes.

These different communities had to find a way to communicate between themselves; that is how they created a common language called Gullah. Some believe the term “Gullah” has originated from the Gola tribe, whose members were imported to grow rice in America. It is also said that “Gullah” came from the abbreviation for Angolans, who were also displaced to the same region.

The Gullah language started as a lingua franca using English as the base language with many loanwords from various African languages and a grammatical structure that mostly respects African norms. With time, Gullah became more than a bridge language and morphed into a full-fledged tribal group that blacks of the swampy lowcountry identified with.

The Gullah people made up an alternative African tribe formed in America yet greatly attached to cultures of the motherland. These enslaved Africans shared many parts of the languages, rituals and customs drawn from their ancestral communities in Africa. Many Gullah arts and crafts are indistinguishable from those found in West Africa. For example, Gullah artisans skillfully create wooden mortars and pestles, rice fanners, clay pots, and other pieces closely connected to Sierra Leone. Also, the Beautiful Gullah made baskets known as sweetgrass baskets, are identical to the Sierra Leonean shukublay.

To this day, the Gullah tribe exists. Although the language has lost a lot of its African influence, the Gullah people have succeeded in preserving most of their culture. This was made possible thanks to their geographical position and unique slave conditions. The climate of the Lowcountry, Georgia, and the surrounding Sea Islands aided not only rice cultivation but also the spread of various tropical diseases. Sicknesses such as malaria and yellow fever affected all inhabitants in that side of the country, including enslaved Africans. Whites were most vulnerable to them, and as a result, the white planters customarily vacated their farms and moved away from the rice fields during the humid seasons when diseases were rampant.

With their absence, plantations were generally run by a few white managers and trusted, enslaved Africans known as "drivers." The disease cycle kept the white population away from the place while more and more Africans were imported each year. By 1708, there was a black majority in the colony. The great influx of new Africans and the lack of English cultural influence upon their lives directly assisted the creation and preservation of a distinctly African set of traditions.

Gullah religious systems and beliefs, while derived from the Christianity practiced by their former white masters, are also evidence of a distinctly African tradition. While adhering to Christian doctrine, the Gullah practice a faith immersed in communal prayer, song, and dance. Many also continue to hold traditional African beliefs. Witchcraft, which they call wudu or juju, is one example that can be traced to the country of Angola. Some Gullah believe that witches can cast a spell by putting powerful herbs or roots under a person's pillow or at a place where he or she usually walks. There are also special individuals known as "Root Doctors" that serve to protect individuals from curses and witchcraft.

Today, Gullah is the last African tribe standing in America, as not only an important part of American history, but an important indicator of the survival of ancestral African cultures in the diaspora.
One of the most popular pieces of culture provided by the Gullah is probably the song “Kumbaya”. Kumbaya is said to have begun as the sincere plea of slaves for God’s intervention. A spiritual song, “Kumbaya” was created by the Gullah people. It has now become a well-known Christian song worldwide even back in Africa. Indeed, many protestant churches still sing the song knowingly or not of its roots.

The popular meaning of the word “Kumbaya” in the U.S. refers to being in harmony with one another and forget about any problem of the past.

On TV, the Gullah people are portrayed in The WGN hit series, Underground, which made its way to the heart of the Gullah nation for its second season, and delves into the history of Gullah culture. In the series, viewers are able to watch the rice-cultivation routines, many rituals and of course the art and craft of the Gullah people.

Rice cultivation + Gullah People - Underground
Bottle Tree Tradition - Gullah People - Underground
Gullah Girl - Underground

#Video | Juliana Kanyomozi Releases J.Lo Looking Video

#SoHip | Wizkid's 'Come Closer' Creates Jamaica vs. Nigeria Controversy

Fact is Wizkid’s ‘Come Closer’ song + video is drawing on average half a million of people every day on Youtube, but not only to show love.

Indeed, although most people fuss about  Drake, who was MIA on the video, some Youtube viewers created an entire controversy surrounding wizkid’s alleged use of Jamaican patois in the song.

So, fans aren’t too fond of the Naigerian artist’s seemingly Jamaican style.

Others argued that the lyrics weren’t in Jamaican patois, but in Nigerian pidgin.

To some, Jamaican patois originated from Africa so it’s all the same.

However, so far, only one word has been proven to be Jamaican patois on wizkid’s track and it’s actually from Drake’s verse when he sings, “What would I do without you, my chargie? ». Chargie is said to mean friend in Jamaican creole.

Therefore, no matter what people think or say, the hype is definitely on for Wizkid and it feels surreal how much exposure he is getting right now. Now that he owns that deal with Sony Music, the sky is probably the ultimate limit for the African kid.

#SoCool | Here Are The First African Countries Showing Love to Fally's 'Eloko Oyo' Video

Congolese singer Fally Ipupa dropped the visuals for 'Eloko Oyo', a feature he teased plenty of times on social media.

A post shared by Fally Ipupa (@fallyipupa01) on

The track is said to pay homage to Congolese folk artist Mimi Mongo, who recorded the original version of the song a long while ago. Overall, the 'Eloko Oyo' video was well received, as it was risen to half of a million views on youtube in less than 48 hours.

According to Google Trends, Fally’s traditional number is being searched the most in Central African countries, with Congo-Brazzaville at the top of search frequency with an index of 100. Interestingly, Fally’s home country is only in second place as Congo-Kinshasa bags less inquiries for the video and records a search index of 60. In addition to the 2 Congos, Dicap la merveille also received tons of love from Cameroon, Gabon, Cote d’Ivoire, Angola and even Tanzania.

Check out the stats below.

#Culture | Beyoncé Embarassed by Angélique Kidjo in Robben Island

#SoCool | Diamond Platnumz Etait Vendeur de 'Mitumba' Avant de Devenir une Star

Chibu Dangote aka Diamond Platnumz a eu à se confier sur sa vie passée en admettant qu'il fût un vendeur de "Mitumba" au marché. Aux camerounais, ceci voudrait dire que celui-ci avait une cuvette pleine de ce que l'on pourrait appeler pains de manioc faits à base de manioc, d'huile de palme rouge et emballés dans des feuilles de bananier. La vente de mitumba se fait en bordure de route en général par des femmes. Recette issue de la tribue bassa, le mitumba au cameroun est assez consommé dans les villes de Douala et Yaoundé.

Vu que Diamond n’est pas de nationalité Camerounaise et n’y a probablement jamais mis les pieds, il ne s’agit pas de ce type de mitumba, mais il vendait tout de même au marché. En effet, mitumba en swahili c’est la vente de vêtements de friperie. Alors oui Diamond était un fripier avant de devenir la grande star de la musique qu’il est aujourd’hui.

Le chanteur a fait cette révélation en 2015 quand il a posté une photo de lui et une de ses fidèles clientes sur Instagram.

Bien que ces deux définitions n’aient aucunes possibles corrélations, le mot Mitumba, qui prend ses origines de la langue bantu, la racine des langues comme le Swahili et le Bassa, pourrait avoir un sens commun.

En effet, Mitumba en swahili signifie groupés et attachés, ce qui définit assez bien la friperie empilée dans des sacs et attachée en ballots avec des cordes , tout comme la préparation du Mitumba chez les bassas car la pâte de manioc est entassée puis emballée dans des feuilles et attachée avec des lianes.

Mitumba - pain de manioc

Friperie (Mitumba)

L’évolution des langues reste un concept extrêmement fascinant de la culture africaine.

#SoCool | This Celebrity Grandma is Over 100 Years Old!

Dearest Nunia Lichaba, as called by her beloved granddaugther who is none other than South African uberly succesful songstress and judge of the voice S.A. Lira, turned 101 on this faithful April 9 2017. Lira shared an instagram post about her centenarian grandmother saying, "Her body is frail, her mind is sharp & she has a wicked sense of humor." Lira added that her grandmother is still passionate about singing, dancing and reading.

In only a few hours, fans floaded Lira's comment section with birthday wishes and positive messages.

A 2012 report mentionned the surprising number of South Africans that are reaching and exceeding the age of 100. According to 2011 statitics, 358 people claimed they were aged between 115 and 120 when officials came knocking on their doors last year. Moreover a little less than 3 000 South Africans are to be over the age of 110, and 15 581 people over the age of 100.

Older people living in rural areas of the country seem to benefit from better diets which makes it easier to live longer than city people.

“Eating slightly too little is not nearly as bad for you as over-eating, and in the city many people die because of heart failure and diabetes, which are related to diet and lifestyle. On the other hand, more and more retirement homes have frail care centres with specialised medical care, meaning that people can be kept alive for longer,” said Dr. Dr Dawie van Velden of Stellenbosch University in South Africa.


#SoCool | Get to Know Diamond Platnumz' Baby Mama Zari Hassan w/ 8 Facts

#SoHip | Hair Rebellion by Thandiswa Mazwai

As we take a hair trip in Thandiswa Mazwai's land, you'll see that this South African artist is not just a music rebel, but definitely a hair rebel as well.

Her dedication to artistic, always Africa-inspire,hairstyles, full of structures, edgy cuts and indigenous decorations should be applauded, because she is not only preserving African culture but also reinventing it one do at a time.

Thandswa never shies away from showing off her original hairstyles, we had to share a few of all the hair glory.

1- Side shaved + reversed braid falling down the forehead with a cowrie shell at its tip

2- Hair crown embellished with African hair jewls

3- Inspired by Nomadic people of Niger from the wadabi

4- Braided  hair sculpture

5- Short with painted zigzags

6-Huge snake box braid dressed with colorful beads

7- Intricate cornrow embellished with cowry shells

8- Beautiful mohawk with reverse cornrowed braids display

9- Still creatively hairstyled for Mandela day 2009

10-Inspired by Fulani braids

11- Tight mohawk game with metal embelishment

12- Intricate bun for 2017 "Bedele" album cover

13- Yellow & red hair dyes with face paint 

Bonne Nouvelle ! La team Afroziky est finalement bien avancée dans son projet d’installation à Douala, Cameroun.

Nous vous présentons SHOWROOM by Afroziky. Notre objectif est de faire de cet espace un lieu d'exposition, de promotion et de vente, destiné à la mise en valeur exclusive de nos différentes créations. Nous voulons vous procurer une variété d’articles exclusifs à production limité dans l’art de l’artisanat dans le but de promouvoir l’individualisme et la culture neo-panafricaine. Dans un monde engouffré dans le générique même la créativité se noie à travers la poursuite de la tendance. Nous voulons briser cette glace et vous donner l’opportunité de définir qui vous êtes sans pression. La route est longue mais nous sommes engagés dans cette cause et voulons que vous soyez des nôtres dans cette aventure !

Showroom, Boutique 39 Marché des fleurs, Douala, Cameroun