Photos

The World War I In Africa Project

To commemorate the centenary of WWI, the World War I in Africa Project reveals the forgotten history of the impact of WWI in Africa.

On August 7, 1914, the first shot fired by British troops in World War I took place in Togoland (the German colonial protectorate now know as Togo) and is commonly attributed to sergeant-major Alhaji Grunshi of the Gold Coast regiment. Grunshi’s act showcases rather clearly how the European dispute played out in its colonial territories abroad as well as the active involvement of Africans in the Great War. Yet despite this history, the story of WWI and how it has been popularly remembered has been one void of an African presence.


An estimated two million Africans from Algeria to South Africa were pulled into the conflict serving as workers, soldiers and porters in order to defend the interest of foreign powers. Dragged into the dispute by the yoke of colonialism, battles between French, Belgium, British, German and Portuguese colonial empires played out on African soil, setting Africans against each other for reasons unbeknownst to them. WWI's impact on the continent was massive. Tens of thousands of African lives were lost. Borders were redefined, economies transformed and people displaced. The consequences of WWI in Africa extended far beyond the four-year span of the war. Yet little is known about this history outside the realm of academia.

As the world embarks on centenary commemorations for the Great War, the World War I In Africa Project hopes to lift the euro-centric veil that clouds memories of the war by re-framing understandings of WWI to include the many diverse people who the war effected and the forgotten spaces it seeped into. Described as a citizens’ initiative by its creators, Tanzanian cultural activist Kathleen Bomani and French geographer and cartographer Jacques Enaudeau, the project seeks to unite people throughout the globe in a collective exhuming and re-learning of a prolific history. Through utilizing the wide-reaching power of the internet and social media platforms, the World War I In Africa Project looks to engage Africans and Europeans alike through the dissemenation of  photos, propaganda posters, maps and other visuals from former colonial powers that reveal a more complex history then the one that is remembered in popular imagination. In the words of the creators themselves,

"The task we've given ourselves is not to commemorate the passing of the war, but to restore its meaning. The next four years represent a window of opportunity to connect the dots and discuss the knots, to challenge the boilerplate narrative and change the usual narrators."

Visit the World War I In Africa Project on their website, facebook and twitter for frequent updates with media commemorating historic events that took place during WWI from an African perspective.

popular
Photo still via TIFF.

Watch the Striking Trailer for 'Farming'—Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje's Directorial Debut

This is a must-watch.

The trailer for Farming, Nigerian-British actor Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje's directorial debut, is here.

"Between the 1960s and the 1980s, thousands of Nigerian children were farmed out to white working class families in the UK," the trailer begins. "This is the true story of just one of them."

Keep reading... Show less
Politics
Image by Fibonacci Blue via Flickr.

#IStandWithIlhan: Supporters Rally Behind Ilhan Omar Following Racist 'Send Her Back' Chant

"I am here where I belong, at the people's house, and you're just going to have to deal,"—Congresswoman Ilhan Omar

Social media continues to rally behind Representative Ilhan Omar, following a series of racist remarks targeted at her and several other congresswoman of color by President Donald Trump.

The president doubled down on his racist rhetoric during a re-election rally in North Carolina on Wednesday, attendees began chanting "send her back," referring to Omar—echoing anti-imigrant remarks that the president tweeted last week, in which he wrote that four congresswomen of color: Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib should "go back" to where they came from.

This is far from the first time that Omar has been on the receiving end of racist and Islamophobic attacks and referred to as un-American on account of her Somali heritage.

READ: Op-Ed: In Defense of the Black Boogeyman

Keep reading... Show less
popular
Sir Elvis in "Loving Man" (Youtube)

6 African Country Musicians You Should Check Out

Featuring Sir Elvis, Jess Sah Bi & Peter One, Emma Ogosi and more.

With Lil Nas X's EP going straight to number on the American charts, it seems like country music revival is taking over 2019 and beyond, thanks to its unlikely fusion with trap music. It only makes sense that black people are reclaiming the genre, as country was actually partly created by black American artists and heavily influenced by gospel music.

On top of that, plenty of lesser known black artists and bands are making country, or country-infused, music. This is especially the case in Africa, where the genre has been around for a few decades and an increasing number of musicians are gaining momentum. By gaining popularity in Africa, country is coming back to its roots, as country guitar and the way of playing it was originally inspired by the banjo— an instrument that African slaves brought with them to America.

Country music has a strong appeal across the African continent for several reasons: the similarity with many African instruments and the recurring lyrics and themes about love, heartbreak and "the land." At the heart of it, country music has an appeal to working class people all over the world who feel let down by the people that were supposed to help them.

Country music is played regularly on the radio in countries such as Kenya, Tanzania and Malawi but yet, the artists featured are overwhelmingly white and American. African country singers do not get the respect they deserve or are seen as anomalies. With the growing number of them making country music, here is a list of the ones you need to listen to right now.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.