Remembering Anthony Bourdain's Tasteful Storytelling in Africa and the Diaspora

The cherished figure is being remembered for his respectful and sincere coverage of the continent.

Anthony Bourdain, the renowned chef, storyteller, author and TV host, has died of apparent suicide, CNN reports. He was 61.

Bourdain was in France filming a new episode of the hit CNN series Parts Unknown at the time of his death. "It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain," said CNN in a statement. "His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller. His talents never ceased to amaze us and we will miss him very much. Our thoughts and prayers are with his daughter and family at this incredibly difficult time."

Many would agree with these sentiments, as Bourdain was a cherished figure in various communities, celebrated for his ability to connect with people and encourage genuine curiosity and appreciation for various cultures through food and travel. Many praised Bourdain for being one of the few visual storytellers on television who captured African culture with integrity and respect through his popular shows Parts Unknown and No Reservations, which aired on CNN and the Travel Channel, respectively. The work he produced often challenged what people thought they knew about places foreign to them.


His episodes in South Africa, Mozambique, Ghana, Senegal—which he once referred to as a jewel of Africa and the world—as well as Nigeria, Jamaica and Cuba are just a few of our favorites. His coverage in each was devoid of the stuffy, narrow lens that many cultural explorers and anthropologists employ when telling stories from the continent and diaspora.

His death is certainly being felt around the world, as celebrities, fans and supporters have been sharing messages of the ways in which he helped expand their view of the world all morning.

In remembrance of Bourdain and his indelible impact, check out some clips from his travels across the continent and the diaspora below. You can watch full episodes of Parts Unknown on Netflix.

South Africa

Bourdain on the complexity of South African society:

•"Now there is a definite cachet to living in Soweto. A real pride of having been at the centre of things, when it was hard and dangerous to have an opinion. Look at the streets here and you see what that kind of pride does. It may not be a rich area, but it's immaculate. Squared away; an emerging middle class coming up."


Mozambique

On this trip, Bourdain explored Mozambique's incredible seafood variety and rich culinary history.

Zanzibar, Tanzania

After visiting the mainland, the food expert visited Zanzibar, and took in the island's diverse flavors, and culinary traditions.

Nigeria

Upon visiting Africa's largest metropolis last October, Bourdain described Lagos as "mad, bad, delicious, confusing, and I've never seen anything like it."

Trinidad

Bourdaine on Trinidad's resilience:

"No island in the sun is paradise on earth, however it might look from the concrete blocks, glass cubicles, or wood boxes we may live in. And all the dancing and music and great food in the world can never hold together, by itself, what would keep us apart. What might look like a utopian stew of ethnicities and cultures living together under swaying palms is of course a far more complicated matter. But Trinidad has done better than most and in proud and unique style."

Ghana

Bourdaine on Ghana's bustling Makola Market:

"You don't master Makola market; you submit to the sensation and impulse."

Senegal

"It is a country that defies stereotypes and expectations at every turn," said Bourdin in this CNN piece.

Jamaica

In this popular episode, the chef explored the harsh realities of the tourism industry in one of the Caribbean's largest islands. One popular clip shows Bourdain hilariously devouring some succulent jerk chicken.


Ethiopia

In this episode, Bourdain takes in the sounds, sites, and flavors of Ethiopia with famous Ethiopian chef Marcus Samuelsson. Bourdain tried his best to show an intimate side of a country that he felt was widely misunderstood in the global community.


Congo

In this short clip from his time spent in central Africa, Bourdain lived out one of his life-long dreams by traveling across the Congo River.

Cuba

Bourdain always warned against the romanticizing of the Caribbean, instead urging people to recognize the humanity of people who live on its islands. Upon traveling to Cuba , he had this to say: "Havana's beautiful—incredibly so. Probably—no, definitely—the most gorgeous city I've ever seen anywhere in the Caribbean or Latin America," he wrote in a Travel Channel guide. "The people are lovely. The baseball, some of the best and most passionate fans in the world. It's easy and understandable how visitors can get overenthusiastic about the place, gush about it and lose sight of the fact that their experience is very, very different than the average Cubans'."

(From left to right) Stéphane Bak and Marc Zinga in 'The Mercy of the Jungle.' Photo courtesy of TIFF.

Congolese Actor Stéphane Bak on His Intense Experience Shooting 'The Mercy of the Jungle' In Uganda

We catch up with the actor after the film made its North American premiere at TIFF.

When actor Stéphane Bak first got the script for The Mercy of the Jungle (La Miséricorde de la Jungle), he knew there was one person he had to consult: his father. "My dad did school me about this," he says. While Bak was born and raised in France, his parents had emigrated from what was then Zaire in the 1980s—before the events of the movie, and not exactly in the same area, but close enough to be able to pass on firsthand knowledge of the simmering ethnic tensions that underpin the action.

The story takes place in 1998, just after the outbreak of the Second Congo War—which came hot on the heels of the First Congo War. Two Rwandan soldiers find themselves separated from their company and have to make a harrowing trek through the jungle to link back up with their regiment. Bak plays Private Faustin, the young recruit hunting Hutu rebels to avenge his murdered family, a foil to Marc Zinga's seasoned Sergeant Xavier. As a Congolese militia swarms the area, and it becomes increasingly difficult to tell enemies from friends, the two are forced off the road and into the thick vegetation.

Their journey is physically difficult, but the jungle also nurtures them, providing food, water, and shelter. "The title is very explicit in a way," says Bak. It is the human beings they encounter, from rival soldiers and militiamen to the hostile security forces guarding illegal gold mining operations, who bring sudden danger and violence. The challenges are conveyed as much through the actors' physicality as through the minimal dialogue. As for the strain on his face, Bak says it was all real. "To be honest, it was very difficult," he says of the shoot, which took him 25 days. "I had to learn my accent in two weeks." Prior to commencing, there was training with the Ugandan army for realism. Due to the ongoing conflicts in the DRC, the movie itself was shot in Uganda.

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Brazil Has Made Yoruba an Official Language

The language will also be incorporated into primary and secondary school curriculum in the country, says the Minister of Culture.

Yoruba history and culture has an undeniably strong presence in Brazilian society, due of course, to the Transatlantic slave trade which brought millions of enslaved West Africans to the Americas. Despite the inhumanity they faced, many managed to keep their ancestral culture and traditions alive.

Centuries have passed, and Yoruba influences still continue to thrive in various regions of the country, as many Brazilians maintain a strong relationship with the language and religion. Its influence can be seen through the music, food and spiritual practices of various communities. Last month the Ooni of Ife—the spiritual leader of the Yoruba people—visited the country, where he was met by crowds of Black Brazilians who turned up to pay their respects.

This connection will likely remain strong for future generations, as the language has now become an official foreign language in the country.

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Brazil's Minister of Culture, Dr. Sérgio Sá Leitão, has said that the language will now be incorporated into primary and secondary school curriculum, reports the Nigerian Voice.

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This EP Blends the Afro-Brazilian Rhythms of Bahia With Bass Music

Get into Telefunksoul and Felipe Pomar's Ré_Con Ba$$ EP.

Brazilian producers Felipe Pomar (of TrapFunk & Alivio) and Telefunksoul come through with a dizzyingly energetic EP in the form of Ré_Con Ba$$.

Telefunksoul, who happens to be one of the main promoters of Bahia Bass music, came up with the concept of exploring the rhythms coming out of Recôncavo of Bahia and showing how they can fit into bass music.

Through the 7-track Ré_Con Ba$$ EP, him and Pomar mold and transform the diverse music of Bahia, fusing its rhythms with afrobeat, future house, deep house and much more.

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