popular

Belgium Has Apologized to its Former African Colonies for Kidnapping their Mixed-Race Children

It's taken six decades for Rwanda, Congo and Burundi to receive this apology.

Almost six decades after Burundi, Congo and Rwanda gained independence following eight decades of colonization, Belgium has issued an apology to the Central African countries, according to the New York Times. The apology was delivered by Prime Minister Charles Michel during a plenary session of Parliament today.


During Belgium's colonial rule almost a century ago, the country kidnapped and deported children who were born to mixed-race couples. These children, known as the métis, were later forcefully adopted and most were never able to contact their biological families again. Families and entire communities across three different African countries were torn apart with irreparable repercussions still felt even today.

The family of a Congolese man by the name of Assumani Budagwa, now in his mid-sixties, was affected by Belgian's actions during that time and co-authored a resolution which urged the current Belgium government to acknowledge and apologize for its injustices against mixed-race children in the three African countries. The resolution was adopted last year into Parliament.

Speaking in the Parliamentary plenary session today, Prime Minister Charles Michel said:

"In the name of the federal government, I present our apologies to the métis stemming from the Belgian colonial era and to their families for the injustices and the suffering inflicted upon them. I also wish to express our compassion with the African mothers, from which the children were taken."

Last year, the Catholic Church apologized for their role in mistreating the métis saying, "It took till last year for this issue to be raised and the church wishes to apologize for the whole of society, not just for itself."

As one can imagine, there are many individuals in Congo as well as Belgium who are still without official birth certificates and also desire to trace back their roots and family history. The resolution by Budagwa included this reality and demanded that the Belgian government assist these individuals.

The acknowledgement is perhaps a concrete first step in addressing the numerous brutalities committed by the West during their colonial rule. However, the spokesperson for the Burundian Presidency, J.C. Karerwa Ndenzako, said the following on social media:

"Excellency Prime Minister @CharlesMichel, Apologizing over children snatched from their African mothers is not enough. The vileness of these acts is part and parcel of a far broader history. #Belgium should dialogue with #Burundi, #Rwanda & #DRC."
popular
Photo courtesy of Doble Seis Entertainment

Burna Boy, Teni, AKA, Sho Madjozi, Mr Eazi & More Earn 2019 BET Award Nominations

This year's "Best International Act" categories are stacked with some of the biggest names in African pop.

The nominees for this year's BET Awards have been announced, and one again, some of the biggest names in African pop have been named in the " International Act" categories.

This year, Nigerian acts Burna Boy, Mr Eazi have been nominated in the "Best International Act" category. They've each had standout years, with both artists performing at the Coachella Music Festival this year.

They're nominated alongside South African star rapper AKA, who won a Kids' Choice Award earlier this year for "Favorite South African Star," and the French-Malian pop singer and one of OkayAfrica's 100 Women Aya Nakamura. French-Cameroonian and Togolese rapper Dosseh and UK rappers Dave, and Giggs round out the heavily-stacked category.

Keep reading... Show less
Film
Photo still courtesy of Chika Okoli.

This New Documentary Sheds Light On the History of a Beloved Nigerian Staple—Agege Bread

'Fresh Agege Bread' by Chika Okoli's FABA gives us a much-needed insight into the popularity of Nigeria's coveted Agege Bread.

This new documentary following Nigeria's own Agege Bread contributes to the need of preserving and documenting food culture on the continent.

In Fresh Agege Bread, directed and produced by filmmaker Chika Okoli of FABA (For Africans By Africans), we follow food researcher Ozoz Sokoh as she traces the history and popularity of Agege Bread featuring its pioneering bakers, community figureheads and locals. The documentary touches on the rise of the booming product as well as addresses some of the controversies around the health and safety measures applied in the production of this staple.

For Okoli, the inability to find such insights about this significant food in Nigerian culture is what inspired her to develop this documentary.

"Agege Bread is so popular in Lagos but shockingly, there is very little information about it online and the same can be said about other cultural elements that are significant to our way of life," she shares with us.

Keep reading... Show less
News
amA picture taken on May 17, 2019 in Berlin shows a Stone Cross, a key 15th-century navigation landmark erected by Portuguese explorers, seen at the History Museum in Berlin. (Photo: TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Germany to Return Stolen 15th Century Stone Cross to Namibia

Germany's Culture Minister says the move is a "clear sign" that the country is committed to coming to terms with its colonial past.

In the latest development in the movement towards African art repatriation, the German government will return a 15th-century Portuguese stone cross that has been in its possession since the colonial era, back to its original home in Namibia.

The cross was a navigation landmark placed on the coastline of present-day Namibia in 1496, before it was taken in the late 17th century under German colonial rule, BBC Africa reports.

The Namibian government put out a request for its return back in 2017, and the request was formally approved today by the Berlin Museum. The cross is set to be returned in August, according to a statement from the museum.

READ: Taking Back Our History: Understanding African Art Repatriation

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.