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'Birthright Africa' Wants to Connect People of the African Diaspora to Their Heritage

Birthright Africa is on a mission to reconnect Africa and the diaspora.

Wouldn't it be amazing if African descendants around the globe could reconnect with the African continent in a way similar to Israel's Taglit-Birthright program? Without the questionable politics of course.


That's what the creators of Birthright Africa creators Diallo Shabazz and Walla Elsheikh thought when they came together to bring the idea to life. After registering the domain Birthright Africa in 2005—Elsheikh, who grew up in Uganda, Sudan and Sweden—was given the push to take the project a step further once she heard from Johnson via Facebook. The two travelled to Ghana in 2016 and were able to finance a trip for seven young people to make the trip shortly after.

A new profile in The New Yorker, tells the full story of how the program came to be, and how it's steadily expanding to ensure that young black students are given a chance to visit the Motherland. They collaborated with the Black Male Initiative (BMI) at the City College of New York (CUNY), and now all members of the association between 18 and 30 are eligible to apply for a free birthright trip to the continent.

A major part of the program for its creators, is working to counter trite and oversimplified narratives about African countries and allowing for its descendants to experience it for themselves, especially following Trump's infamous "shithole remarks."

"So it's that much more relevant to dispel," Elsheikh tells The New Yorker.

"Because it really hits your soul," says Johnson. "We are not pushing a political agenda. But it's inherently political to educate and empower black people."

Read the full story via The New Yorker, and learn more about Birthright Africa via their website.

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Meet Musa Okwonga, Poet, Musician and Activist Standing Up Against Xenophobia One Line At A Time

We talk to the artist about leaving London, being a migrant and resisting Germany's resurgent fascist movement.

A German TV channel recently announced a TV debate on whether Germans should still be allowed to say the N-word.

One of the announced panelists was Frauke Petry, the former leader of the AfD—a German far-right party that recently got 14 percent of the vote in local elections. Petry openly called for the return of Nazi-era terminology in public. This issue might have remained hidden for anglophones if it wasn't for the British writer, poet and activist Musa Okwonga who called out the TV channel on his Twitter account. Eventually, they cancelled the show.

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Sports
Via CONIFA

At This World Cup, Players Risk Imprisonment to Compete

What you need to know about the CONIFA World Cup, the football tournament for breakaway nations.

The ConIFA World Cup, the global football tournament for unrecognized nations, and football associations not affiliated to FIFA, is about to begin its third edition. The championship will kickoff on 31 May in Sutton, Greater London, where the Barawa FA team will act as host.

Barawa FA, named after the port city of Barawa in southern Somalia, represents the Tunni and Bravanese people who live there, but it also represents the wider Somali diaspora in the United Kingdom. So, even though the tournament will be played in England, this will be the most African ConIFA competition to date, with not only an African member hosting and heading the organizing committee, but with two other African teams taking part in the competition: Matabeleland and Kabylia.

This will be the largest edition of the ConIFA World Cup so far, with 16 teams playing in 10 stadiums—seven in Greater London, two in Berkshire and one in Essex. In contrast, the previous edition, held in Abkhazia—a separatist region of Georgia—in 2016, featured 12 teams in two stadiums; while the inaugural edition, held in Lapland—a region encompassing parts of northern Sweden, northern Norway, northern Finland and north-western Russia inhabited by the Sami people—in 2014, only featured one stadium and 12 teams. It will also feature the largest number of African teams so far, as only two participated in 2014 (Darfur and Zanzibar) and 2016 (Somaliland and Chagos Islands).

The tournament has also raised its profile. Irish bookmaker Paddy Power announced it will be sponsoring the tournament, probably seizing the opportunity to take bets on the tournament, which will occur between the end of national European leagues and the beginning of the FIFA World Cup in mid-June.

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Events
Photo by Farah Sosa.

Here's What Amplify Africa's Inaugural Afro Ball Looked Like

The awards event was a celebration of excellence and ambition in the African community.

On Saturday, May 19, the Los Angeles Theater Center in downtown LA became a mecca for idealists and dreamers from the African diaspora.

The casual passersby would've been greeted with an effusion of bold prints, intricate headwraps and color coordination—the likes of which had not been seen since their favorite 90s music video (or church, or a wedding for some of us). And though the festivities might have vaguely resembled a film set—as is all too common downtown—this moment wouldn't be rehashed months later in a movie or television show. Attendees were flocking to Amplify Africa's inaugural Afro Ball. With the support of BET International, Buzzfeed, OkayAfrica, the GEANCO Foundation and more, Afro Ball lived up to its name as a "for Africans, by Africans" awards event, celebrating excellence and ambition in our community.

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