Image: South32 South32 has received an offer from Seriti Resources Holdings to acquire its South Africa Energy Coal business. The company did not disclose a value of the proposed transaction, but indicated Seriti’s offer included a “modest” up-front cash payment with a deferred payment mechanism. Seriti is a South African mining company co-owned by four black anchor shareholders, including Masimong Group, Thebe Investments, Zungu Investments (Zico) and Community Investment Holdings (CIH). The company was incorporated to acquire the New Vaal, New Denmark and Kriel mines from Anglo American, as well as various life extension coal resources and closed collieries. “When we announced our intention to broaden the ownership of South Africa Energy Coal in November 2017, our vision was that it become a sustainable, black-owned and operated business, consistent with South Africa’s transformation agenda,” Kerr said. The divestment would reduce South32’s sustaining capital intensity, strengthen the balance sheet and improve margins, according to Kerr. The South Africa Energy Coal business has cost South32 $US578 million ($851.8 million) in impairment charges and reduced the group’s profit after tax by 71 per cent to $US389 million in the 2019 financial year. The charges resulted from South32’s historical investment in the operation, its assessment of Seriti’s current offer and the market outlook for thermal coal demand and prices. “Looking ahead our portfolio will include industry leading positions in alumina and manganese, and we will continue to embed development options with a bias to base metals that have the potential to deliver meaningful growth in shareholder value,” Kerr said. “Our announcement that we have entered into exclusive negotiations with Seriti is an important milestone and we expect to provide a further update to the market in the December 2019 half year.” South32’s financial results ending June this year saw its revenue slide by four per cent to $US7.27 billion on the previous corresponding period, despite positive results across its Australian operations. The company achieved a 57 per cent increase in production at Illawarra Metallurgical Coal in New South Wales, with the Appin Colliery continuing to ramp up towards historical rates. Australia Manganese also operated its premium concentrate ore circuit at around 120 per cent of its design capacity, contributing to South32’s production of 5.5 million tonnes of manganese ore. This underpins a three per cent increase in the group’s production volumes. South32 has also commenced a feasibility study at the Eagle Downs Metallurgical Coal following its acquisition of a 50 per cent interest in the project.
Members of Team South Africa pictured soon after arriving for the Africa Games in Rabat. Photo: @TeamSA19 on twitter RABAT –The SA swimming team opened the aquatics programme of the 12th African Games in a spectacular fashion, claiming 11 medals (six gold, three silver and two bronze) in Rabat, Morocco, on Wednesday. Michael Houlie kicked off the evening session with a gold medal-winning performance in the 50m breaststroke, posting 27.41 ahead of Egypt’s Youssef Elkamash in 27.52 and Tunisia’s Wassim Elloumi in 28.27. Martin Binedell won himself a gold medal in the 200m backstroke with a time of 2:01.38 followed by Algeria’s Abdellah Ardjoune in 2:02.73 and Egypt’s Yassin Elshamaa in 2:05.77. Binedell bagged his second gold as part of the 4x100m freestyle relay team with Douglas Erasmus, Brad Tandy and Ryan Coetzee when they finished in 3:21.63. There was no stopping Erin Gallagher as she sped to the finish line of the 100m freestyle in 55.13, while team-mate Emma Chelius scooped the bronze in 55.86. The silver went to Egypt’s Farida Osman in 55.62. Gallagher and Chelius were also a part of the gold medal-winning 4x100m freestyle relay team, alongside Jessica Whelan and Kerryn Herbst, where the ladies’ topped the podium in 3:48.88. GOLD RUSH! Team SA picked up 6 golds
KPTV photo. PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – An African-American man has filed a discrimination lawsuit against the owner of a Pearl District bar, alleging the Splash Ultra Lounge conspired to keep him from entering the club because of his skin color. Ray Peterson says he tried to attend a friend’s party at the nightclub on Northwest 9th and Northwest Couch Street about a year ago, but wasn’t allowed to enter the building. According to Peterson, the owner and security staff said he was wearing too many gold chains, which violated the club’s dress code. Peterson says he asked the club’s security staff if he could see the dress code, but he says they refused to show it to him. Peterson and his lawyers are seeking half-a-million dollars in damages. They say the owner of Splash Ultra Lounge, Chris Lenahan, and his security company, Top Flyte, conspire to limit the number of African-Americans who can enter the nightclub. According to Peterson, they communicate by radio and code, and when they believe there are too many African-Americans in the club, they “arbitrarily enforce a dress code” to regulate the number of African-Americans or people of color they allow inside. A similar lawsuit against Lenahan involving a different African-American man and a different club he owns was settled outside of court a few years ago, even though Lenahan had said the allegations were fabricated. FOX 12 reached out to Splash Ultra Lounge and the security company for comment but did not hear back. Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.
If Africa really wants to end violence, states will need to take their own peace project more seriously. Both the value and the flaw of the African Union’s (AU) Master Roadmap of Practical Steps to Silence the Guns in Africa by the Year 2020 is the breadth of its vision. In offering practical steps for realising the AU’s ambitious plan to end conflict – adopted in 2013 as a flagship project of its wider developmental blueprint Agenda 2063 – the Master Roadmap identifies just about all of Africa’s familiar ills as causes of its endemic violence. Inequality, poverty, undemocratic behaviour, gross violations of human rights, proliferation of illegal arms, fragility of states, government corruption, illicit financial flows from the continent, uncontrolled exploitation of natural resources, climate change, lack of implementation by AU member states of the many treaties and decisions on these and other issues, the United Nations’ failure to fund more of the AU’s own peacekeeping efforts … etc. The self-criticism is often sharp and unsparing, including the observation that one of the causes of African conflicts is ‘the failure of liberation movements to transform themselves into dynamic governing political parties able to operate in pluralistic democratic societies’. The roadmap also berates many member states and the AU itself for persistently ignoring the often glaringly obvious early warning signs of brewing conflict and violence. These usually come in the form of those same violations of democracy and human rights. The roadmap’s main obstacle is its assumption that conditions for silencing the guns exist in Africa The roadmap is often pertinent and even radical in the solutions it proposes. Not least it suggests stiffer sanctions against AU members that perpetrate the undemocratic behaviours that provoke violence. But, as Oxfam’s Désiré Assogbavi pointed out in 2017 after the roadmap was adopted by the AU, it was always too generic to be achieved in the three years that remained then. He proposed that the AU focus on the worst conflicts, setting benchmarks and time frames. It should also identify and address the most volatile potential conflicts. Assogbavi suggested that the AU more formally institutionalise its mechanisms for tougher sanctions against member states for unconstitutional behaviour. More than two years later, these observations are just as pertinent, while the recommendations remain just as unimplemented. For example, the continuing tolerance of undemocratic behaviour. It does seem something of an anomaly that it was Equatorial Guinea that introduced a resolution at the UN Security Council in February this year for greater cooperation between the UN and AU in silencing the guns. This is after all a very repressive country – one that perpetrates many of the underlying causes of violence identified in the roadmap. The AU is of course only as strong as its member states and since many of them are deeply undemocratic, they are unlikely to reprimand or sanction others for the same flaws. But then it must be acknowledged that that is going to be a major obstacle to silencing the guns. After just six years of the whole initiative and barely three of the roadmap, it’s no surprise that Africa remains far from silencing all or even most of the guns. Some successes in peace efforts have been registered, such as the Ethiopia-Eritrea peace accord, the Sudan peace deal, the revitalised South Sudan peace deal, the mediations in Madagascar and Central African Republic – although many remain tentative. However the Uppsala Conflict Data Program , the most comprehensive global monitor of conflicts, shows that despite some fluctuations either way, the 2018 death toll from organised violence in Africa barely changed from that of 2013. It was 15 455 in 2013, jumped steeply to 24 264 in 2014, dropped to 20 515 in 2015, dropped again to 17 416 in 2016, rose to 18 308 in 2017, then dropped to 15 003 in 2018. Now, as the Institute for Security Studies’ Peace and Security Council Report notes , the AU has just adopted as its 2020 theme ‘Silencing the guns: creating conducive conditions for Africa’s development’. This seems like a last push to, if not silence, at least lower the decibel levels of the guns by 31 December 2020. (Even if the key phrase ‘by 2020’ has been quietly dropped from the title.) This seems to be a tacit acknowledgement of failure, or perhaps just reality – that the guns will not go quiet next year. The AU must enforce its own stated values as a start to nipping future conflicts in the bud The PSC Report believes the project ‘was ambitious from the outset’ and that the roadmap was bound to struggle given its tight deadline. It does conjecture though, that adopting ‘silencing the guns’ as a theme will ‘galvanise stakeholders to take stock of achievements and challenges in implementing the roadmap.’ Also that the AU Peace and Security Council will consider these lessons when developing a more robust action plan for achieving peace – but only beyond 2020. The report says the roadmap faced operational and institutional obstacles, mainly stemming from its assumption that conditions for silencing the guns now existed in Africa. Instead, it says, ‘The activities of violent extremists and other insurgent groups in the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin, violence related to political transitions and the unprecedented level of climate change and natural disaster-induced displacement all pose a threat to states’ ability to keep their citizens safe.’ Indeed the Uppsala data shows the Nigeria-Sahel axis has the highest death rates. Like Assogbavi, the PSC Report notes member states’ lack of political will to implement AU decisions as a major source of conflict. It also finds the roadmap to be unrealistic in its expectations of AU institutions that aren’t yet fully functional. Equally unrealistic is its proposal that member states and regional economic communities as well as the AU and its organs themselves fund all the ambitious recommendations. But the report also notes that the AU Peace Fund has secured more funding from member states than ever before. This raises hopes that it can finance the implementation of more peace and security activities. Appointing former AU peace and security commissioner and former Algerian foreign minister Ramtane Lamamra as AU High Representative for Silencing the Guns in Africa has also raised hopes. In the above-mentioned February UN Security Council debate, African contributors tended to emphasise what outsiders could and should do to help silence the guns. For example, the need for more Security Council support for AU peacekeeping, and noting that the small arms flooding the continent were almost all manufactured abroad. True enough. But the one thing the AU and its member states have in both their power and their budgets to do, is to enforce the AU’s own stated values of democracy, human rights, respect for the rule of law and good governance. That would be a good place to start in order at least to nip future conflicts in the bud. Peter Fabricius , ISS Consultant In South Africa, Daily Maverick has exclusive rights to re-publish ISS Today articles. For media based outside South Africa and queries about our re-publishing policy, email us.
Sponsored Content Tony Elumelu MFR is founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation and one of Africa’s most esteemed businessmen. Last month’s Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) in Abuja, Nigeria brought together five African presidents and thousands of African entrepreneurs for two days of intensive talks about issues of job creation, technology, poverty, and youth empowerment. The TEF has long advocated entrepreneurship as a key driver of economic transformation in Africa. Its annual forum offers opportunities for budding CEOs to tap into the expertise of more than 60 international speakers and even to apply for seed capital, mentoring and training. The event enables would-be entrepreneurs to participate in a variety of masterclasses, panel discussions and debates designed to inspire innovation and boost economic development on the continent. The TEF initiative carries significant financial clout. A total of $100 million has been pledged by the Foundation over the next decade to benefit tens of thousands of young entrepreneurs, with 7500 candidates having already been accepted on the programme in the four years since its inception. Learning from Africa’s rapidly emerging economies The African leaders present at the event’s fifth gathering represented some of Africa’s most dynamic economies, including Senegal’s president Macky Sall. Under Sall’s leadership, Senegal has enjoyed impressive economic growth, with businesses also benefiting from a redoubling of government efforts to curb corruption. Senegal has steadily climbed up Transparency International’s corruption index since Sall’s election in 2012. Initiatives such as the creation of a new anti-corruption commission and a specialised court dealing with illicit enrichment cases have turned Senegal into the least corrupt country in West Africa. The progress Sall’s administration has made on stamping out corruption has given a boost to the country’s entrepreneurs—particularly important given that entrepreneurship is seen as a crucial catalyst for the country’s continued economic expansion and an important means of creating jobsb for its younger citizens. Macky Sall’s proposed reforms seek to make the process of starting up businesses substantially easier – allowing SMEs to be registered in a matter of days rather than months, for instance – with the aim of encouraging 100,000 young entrepreneurs to contribute to the country’s success story. Tony Elumelu’s United Bank of Africa has been an important partner for Senegalese entrepreneurs, as highlighted in a recent meeting between the two men in Dakar in the wake of the international forum. With local funding thin on the ground in many African countries, venture capital is often only available from investors outside the continent. TEF helps to redress the balance by funding first-time founders who may otherwise struggle to access pre-seed and seed capital. In partnership with the TEF, the government of Senegal has recently announced its intention to provide $1 million of sponsorship capital over a three-year period. Prioritising entrepreneurship A similar pattern of growth can be seen in Rwanda, where president and TEF keynote speaker Paul Kagame has targeted the expansion of business activity and opportunities, especially among the country’s young people and women. For years, the Rwandan government has been encouraging the development of a knowledge-based economy driven by young entrepreneurs, especially in the thriving tech sector. Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, hosts pioneering foreign investors and is home to incubators like kLab which attract Rwandan graduates as well as US and UK tech entrepreneurs keen to capitalise on the country’s growth culture. Fast-tracked business registration procedures enable companies to get up and running quickly and efficiently with the minimum of red tape. Some have questioned whether the state is taking the most efficient approach, though. While Rwanda’s young people learn about the power of entrepreneurship from an early age – entrepreneurship lessons are a mandatory part of the curriculum in the country’s secondary schools – there are still many more young Rwandans looking for jobs that there are opportunities available for them. The gap between government policy and Rwandan’s lived experience is significant. And yet, in just a few short years, Rwanda has successfully shifted government focus towards the support of entrepreneurship, having established a Human Capital and Institutional Development Department and invested in dedicated innovation camps. Although inter-departmental coordination could be better, the drive to encourage individuals to consider starting their own businesses seems to be bearing fruit. Unlocking Africa’s potential The TEF’s goal is for the many young entrepreneurs who joined Presidents Sall and Kagame at this year’s forum to spread their learning to yet more countries, spurring the massive shift in economic growth and job creation the continent needs. In his speech to the forum, Tony Elumelu reiterated his belief in so-called ‘Africapitalism’: the power of long-term investment in entrepreneurship to drive economic prosperity and social wealth that will catalyse Africa’s development. He said: ‘I salute those here; our ambition is that you become ambassadors for entrepreneurship in Africa. You are a generation of wealth creators who share our commitment to the transformation of Africa.’ This year’s event closed with the UBA-supported Marketplace where SMEs were invited to exhibit their products and solutions and encouraged to forge connections with investors. We are undertaking a survey to help us improve our content for you. This will only take 1 minute of your time, please give us your feedback by clicking HERE . All responses will be confidential. Tony Elumelu Foundation TEF Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship
Landscape architect Walter Hood (tan suit) explains landscape design of the African Ancestors Memorial Garden, at the soon to be built International African American Museum. The museum will receive a $1 million donation from the city of North Charleston. File/Brad Nettles/Staff The city of North Charleston plans to give $1 million to the International African American Museum, making it the first city other than Charleston to make a major contribution to the soon-to-be-built facility. The donation will be given over four years in annual sums of $250,000, funded by the accommodations tax revenue. Council members are scheduled to vote on the proposed gift Thursday. The city’s finance committee, which includes every member of council, approved the donation unanimously last week. Mayor Keith Summey said he’s been considering the contribution for about six months. He sat down with former Charleston Mayor Joe Riley this month to discuss his hope for how North Charleston may be included in the project. “We want our part of the history to be recognized,” Summey said. Specifically, Summey would like to see the museum highlight the neighborhood of Liberty Hill. Founded in 1871 by four freed black men, the community is North Charleston’s oldest and predates the city itself. An exhibit in the city’s new Intermodal Transportation Center will feature an exhibit on Liberty Hill’s history. But exposure in the IAAM, Summey said, would spread the community’s story on a much greater scale. “Municipalities have a competitive spirit sometimes,” Summey said. “But we thought enough of this project that we believed we would be treated fairly.” Riley said he was “extremely grateful” to have the support of the neighboring city. The idea of incorporating Liberty Hill into the IAAM fits with the museum’s focus of “telling African American stories through the lens of Charleston, the Lowcountry and South Carolina.” “This is a place where African Americans were able to build their own community,” Riley said. “I think it’s wonderful.” The funds given to the museum will not be designated for a specific use, Summey said. Money from accommodations taxes — the revenue gathered from stays at hotels and other commercial lodgings — was chosen for the gift since the museum is expected to draw new travelers to the area, including North Charleston. One of the goals of the museum is to serve as a hub for visitors who want to discover other places that are meaningful to African American history throughout the state. For example, one gallery will feature an interactive media table with a map of South Carolina. Visitors can zoom in on different points of interest and learn about relevant sites and how they connect to the stories presented at the museum. More than 2,200 contributors have raised the more than $90 million already donated to the project. So far, public contributions have come from the city of Charleston, Charleston County and the state of South Carolina. The museum reached its original fundraising goal, $75 million, last August. But construction costs, including the price of steel, were higher than anticipated, and fundraising continued. Several large donations have been announced this year, including contributions of $1 million or more from BP, Nucor Corp., Dominion Energy and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. After almost two decades of planning and fundraising, the IAAM reached a milestone last month when Charleston City Council voted to approve critical contracts allowing work to begin on the museum’s waterfront site. The contracts totaled $60.2 million, about $58.46 million of which will go to the primary contractor, Turner-Brownstone, for the first phase of construction. Other smaller contracts included electrical work and project management services. An official groundbreaking ceremony will be held in October at the museum site, which is next to the Charleston Maritime Center. Riley, museum board chairman Wilbur Johnson and interim CEO Bernard Powers will join North Charleston city officials Friday morning for an announcement of the donation at the Felix Pinckney Community Center.
A South African court on Wednesday partially banned the former national flag of South Africa, which has become a symbol for many of the apartheid era [Denis Farrell/The Associated Press] A South African court has partially banned flying the country’s apartheid -era national flag, saying such display amounted to “hate speech” and “harassment”. Wednesday’s landmark ruling in South Africa ‘s Equality Court in Johannesburg barred the so-called “apartheid flag” – comprised of three stripes of orange, white and blue with the emblems of Britain, the Orange Free State and the South African Republic at its centre – from being displayed except for academic, artistic or journalistic purposes. WATCH 09:45 During the ruling, Judge Phineas Mojapelo said any gratuitous display of the old flag was “racist and discriminatory”. “It demonstrates a clear intention to be hurtful, to be harmful and incite harm and it, in fact, promotes and propagates hatred against black people … it constitutes hate speech,” Mojapelo said. Offenders will not face arrest. However, they will be subject to community service and fines for displaying the flag, which had sometimes been exhibited by far right-wing and conservative groups at political gatherings and at rugby matches. Supporters of the ban, who have rallied around the #morethanaflag hashtag on social media , likened the ruling to Germany banning the swastika, while opponents said the decision was an infringement on free speech. The ruling followed a petition to the court by the Nelson Mandela Foundation Trust after the flag was displayed in October 2017 during a protest by white South Africans against the killing of farmers. The foundation, which is the custodian of former president and freedom fighter Nelson Mandela ‘s archives and legacy, argued that flying the flag showed nostalgia for the old days. “Gratuitous displays of the old flag express a desire for black people to be relegated to labour reserves, a pining for the killing, the torture, the abductions, a melancholia for the discrimination, the death squads, the curfews and the horrific atrocities committed under the flag,” the foundation said in the statement. Outside of the court, the foundation’s CEO Sello Hatang praised the ruling. “We must be a nation that celebrates our diversity instead of fighting over our differences,” she said. The Apartheid flag is gone! The Equality Court has today ruled that gratuitous displays of the old flag are legally hate speech! A win for democracy and all South Africans! #MoreThanAFlag pic.twitter.com/tdDLdz2IEw — NelsonMandela (@NelsonMandela) The old flag was adopted in 1928, 20 years before the formal promulgation of apartheid laws in 1948. It was officially replaced by the multicoloured “Rainbow flag” after South Africa achieved majority-rule democracy in 1994, implementing a constitution with laws to prevent racial discrimination. The constitution also created the Equality Court, meant to protect equal rights for all citizens. The new flag, designed by Frederick Brownell, who died in May at the age of 79, was meant to symbolise the unity of the previously segregated racial groups. “Those who display the old flag choose deliberately to not only display the old flag, but also consciously and deliberately choose to not display the new, multiracial flag,” Mojapelo also said during the ruling. “They choose oppression over liberation.” Opponents, including the groups Afriforum and the Federation for Afrikaans Cultural Societies, who lobby on behalf of South Africa’s white Afrikaner minority, said the ruling corroded free speech. Also speaking to reporters outside of the court, Ernst Roets, of Afriforum, said his organisation was not convinced that displaying the flag alone amounted to hate speech, adding that “for it to be hate speech, it must be coupled with a call to action to inflict harm.” The so-called ‘apartheid flag’, which a court partially banned on Wednesday, was replaced by the ‘Rainbow flag’ in 1994 [File: Andrew Boyers/Reuters] Many hailed the verdict as progress for South Africa, where, despite the end to minority rule, tensions remain high as the nation is gripped by wide economic disparities, rampant corruption and a battle to ease unemployment and roll back crime . Dakota Legoete, spokesman for the ruling African National Council party, said the court’s decision was a “national victory”. Nathi Mthethwa, the minister of sport, arts and culture, tweeted that the ruling was “in the spirit of” the South African constitution which calls for the healing of “the divisions of the past.” The Congress of South African Trade Unions said that “if the Nazi flag and the Confederate flag can be denounced in Germany and America, there is no reason to keep glorifying the apartheid flag.” Is apartheid in South Africa over? Get a free audiobook
Chalk artist Darrean Brown of Reynoldsburg creates a drawing of Langston Hughes at the 2018 African American Cultural Festival. [Eric Albrecht/Dispatch] Hide caption Columbus has long been home to African Americans who have contributed to the city’s rich tapestry. For decades, the neighborhood now known as the King-Lincoln District has buzzed with African American business owners, musicians and artists. And throughout the city, African immigrants are bringing their own cultures to Ohio’s capital. Through simple coincidence, central Ohioans can experience both at two festivals: the third annual African American Cultural Festival and the inaugural Columbus African Festival . The two free festivals offer guests distinct experiences: one of local African American history, and one of the cultures that immigrants have brought from overseas. Here is what to expect: African American Cultural Festival MAYME MOORE PARK, 240 MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. BOULEVARD Hours: 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday Contact: columbus.gov/aacf Taking place in the heart of the historic King-Lincoln District, the festival will showcase live music along with spoken-word and dance performances by black artists. This is the first year that the festival will have a two-day run. This gives visitors more time to enjoy live entertainment, art and jewelry merchants and workshops on topics ranging from urban gardening to genealogy tracing. “The mission is to bring the community together and celebrate the rich African American history that is in Columbus,” said Carla Williams-Scott, director of the Columbus Department of Neighborhoods, which presents the festival along with the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department. “It’s an opportunity for us to come together and celebrate each other.” An opening ceremony will kick off the festivities, followed by a slate of attractions that include a Friday evening tour of the neighborhood and a Saturday morning 5K run. The Urban Jazz Coalition and MojoFlo are just two of the musical acts scheduled to perform during the festival, and Amos Lynch Plaza will be transformed into a “cultural corner,” where art, poetry, music and fashion will be on display. Columbus African Festival INNIS PARK, 2995 INNIS ROAD Time: noon to 7 p.m. Saturday Contact: columbusafricanfestival.com From the northern areas of Morocco to the southern reaches of Mozambique, the continent of Africa is home to an array of cultures. Many of those ways of life are reflected in central Ohio, home to thousands of African immigrants. Saturday’s inaugural Columbus African Festival will showcase the diverse music, fashion and foods that are found in central Ohio. The festival is intended to unite immigrants while introducing their ways of life to the rest of the city. “It’s high time we showcase our culture,” said event co-founder and president Barth Shepkong, a native of Nigeria who came to the United States in 2003. Shepkong has lived in Columbus for five years with his wife, Gachomo, who also is from Nigeria. “It’s open to everyone regardless of race, regardless of religion — people who are interested in African culture,” Barth Shepkong said. The festival is a collaborative presentation between The African — a professional organization of which Shepkong is a part — and the African Professionals Network. Highlights include a range of Africentric musical performances, a fashion show, poetry readings and ethnic food. Small businesses owned by African immigrants will have the opportunity to advertise their goods and services to a potential new market, Shepkong said. The African Youth League, a student organization at Ohio State University, is helping with the planning and logistics of the festival. Some of the members will participate in the live performances, including president Akwi Anyangwe, who will showcase the traditional clothing of Cameroon, the homeland of her parents, during the fashion show. Anyangwe said her hope is that guests realize that African culture is not monolithic, that each country has something different to offer. “A lot of people do view Africa as one huge lump of land that shares the same culture, which is not true,” she said. “African culture is rich. It’s so authentic; it’s so powerful.”
Conversations about reparations aren’t going away anytime soon. As people debate the merits of whether Black descendants of American slavery are entitled to special payment or support to offset the destructive socioeconomic impact of racism, there are many myths that still need to be busted to have a solid conversation about the best possible outcome. Duke University Economics Professor William ‘Sandy’ Darity, is one of many vocal supporters of reparations, leading the charge to make people look more intently at the data and empirical evidence around Black wealth in this country, rather than concluding a narrative based on assumptions. Take for example the idea that if Black people only saved more money instead of “buying Jordans” or name-brand clothing that depreciates with value, they could somehow close the whopping racial wealth gap (which is estimated to drop to $0 for Black families by the year 2053). READ MORE: Poll reveals most Americans oppose cash reparations for slavery “The core explanation for Black-white disparities in the United States particularly the wealth disparity is structural rather than being a consequence of dysfunctional behavior on the part of Black folks,” Darity tells theGrio . “A lot of people like the dysfunction argument. One reason is because it ultimately places the responsibility for the disadvantage on Black folks themselves. However, in doing so, it also suggests that if Black folks could only do the right things then the right things would happen to Black people,” he continues. “This is unrealistic and it’s not supported by any of the available evidence.” William ‘Sandy’ Darity (Duke University) Darity explains that in fact, Black and white savings rates are comparable for certain demographics, and in some sub-groups, Blacks have higher savings rates. As for the structural cause for the wealth gap, Darity points to reasons that go beyond slavery. The U.S. government’s denial of 40 acre land grants to newly freed Black people (known by many as “40 acres and a mule”), was the first incarnation of economic disparity. “Had that occurred we probably would not be needing to have this conversation today about reparations at all because we would have recenter the wealth position of Black Americans immediately upon emancipation,” Darity further explains. Segregationist policies like redlining (denying Black homeowners loans outside of certain neighborhoods) and restrictive covenants, ensured that the wealth gap persisted at the turn of each new decade. In fact, a new report from The Atlantic , entitled “ The Great Land Robbery, ” demonstrates how 1 million African-American families in the South lost millions of acres of farmland, due to racism. Many of these losses occurred in the 1950’s, long after slavery ended. And on August 22, we will pause to reflect on Black women’s Equal Pay Day, which, according to EqualPayDay.org , symbolizes the day a typical Black women must work into the year just to make what a typical white man would earn at the end of the previous year. According to the National Women’s Law Center, when both race and gender are taken into account, the wage gap between Black women and white men is the largest gap that exists and can cause Black women to lose nearly $870,000 in potential earnings. In some states, Black women make $0.97 for every dollar a White man with the same qualifications makes while in others it’s as low as $.50 with the same credentials. Segregationist policies ensured that the wealth gap persisted at the turn of each new decade. (Image by Robert-Owen-Wahl from Pixabay) These deficits, cemented by violence against economically prosperous Black communities, have been made to ensure Black economic success was overshadowed and undercut. Would Buying Black Help? Another myth Professor Darity addresses, is the idea that if Black people would only “ buy Black ” in their communities, they could also close the racial wealth gap. While Darity celebrates buying Black as an act of racial solidarity with definite positive benefit, he says it won’t scratch the surface of closing the actual gap. “ There’s 2.5 million Black-owned businesses. They take in somewhere between 150 to 200 billion dollars in revenues. Walmart takes them 500 billion dollars in revenues on a per piece on an annual basis for our business,” Darity explains. “I think people don’t fully understand the magnitude of this wealth disparity is such that we cannot alter it significantly just by simply altering Black behavior. “ So, can we do? Professor Darity says reparations are not only morally due to Black Americans, but could be useful in helping us get beyond the mere 3 percent of the nation’s wealth we currently own (Black Americans make up 13 percent of the overall U.S. population.) “If we had an appropriately designed program where the objective was to build Black assets so that the Black wealth position was comparable to our share of the national population, now that would be truly Earth shattering,” Darity tells theGrio . In a new report from the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke , Darity actually breaks down some of the Democratic candidates’ proposals for closing the wealth gap, and analyzes which potential POTUS offers the most effective repair. Reparations has become a 2020 campaign issue where candidates are being asked how they plan to alleviate the wage gap. ( Image by Karen Arnold from Pixabay) Of all the promises made, Sen. Cory Booker ‘s ‘baby bonds” proposal is Darity’s pick as the one with the greatest impact for Black America. It also happens to be an idea he helped develop. Whatever voters choose, Darity wants people to keep applying pressure for race-based policies that stimulate wealth-building for Black Americans. “I would like to urge folks who are disillusioned to recognize that this claim has not been met for more than 150 years,” says Darity. “So, let’s hang in there and keep on with the struggle.” Watch a clip from theGrio’s interview with Professor William Darity above, and find more for more Black wealth tips on our Living section.
NORFOLK, Va. — Four hundred years after American slavery and democratic self-rule were born almost simultaneously in what became the state of Virginia, ceremonies will mark the arrival of enslaved Africans in the mid-Atlantic colony and seek healing from the legacy of bondage that still haunts the nation. Yet the weekend ceremonies in Tidewater Virginia will unfold against the backdrop of rising white nationalism across the country, racist tweets by President Donald Trump, and a lingering scandal surrounding the state’s governor and a blackface photo. The commemoration will include Sunday’s “Healing Day” on the Chesapeake Bay where two ships traded men and women from what’s now Angola for food and supplies from English colonists in August 1619. A bell will ring for four minutes, while churches across the country are expected to join in. Virginia’s two U.S. senators and its governor will make remarks at a Saturday ceremony. And a family that traces its bloodline to those first Africans will hold a reflection at its cemetery on Friday. “This moment means everything to folks like myself who are African American and to the folks on the continent of Africa as well,” said Mary Elliott, curator of American slavery at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. “But it should mean something to everybody, regardless of race,” she added, “because it is a moment that defined the nation — what became the nation.” Though little noted at the time, the arrival of the enslaved Africans in England’s first successful colony is now considered a pivotal moment in American history. Englishman John Rolfe documented the landing of the first ship, the White Lion, at what was then called Point Comfort. He wrote that leaders of the colony traded provisions to buy the slaves. From the White Lion and a second ship, English colonists took more than 30 Africans to properties along the James River, including Jamestown. By that time, more than 500,000 enslaved Africans had already crossed the Atlantic to European colonies, but the Africans in Virginia are widely considered the first in English-controlled North America. They came 12 years after the founding of Jamestown, England’s first permanent colony, and weeks after the first English-style legislature was convened there. Quentin Kidd, a political science professor at Christopher Newport University, said the commemoration’s timing “speaks to the very contradictions on race that have been part of this nation from its founding.” “We want to recognize this historic event,” Kidd said. “And at the same time, we have a president who spouts off racist things. And we have a governor who still has not satisfied everybody when it comes to the blackface scandal.” In February, a picture surfaced from Gov. Ralph Northam’s medical school yearbook page showing a man in blackface next to someone in Ku Klux Klan clothing. Northam denies being in the photo. An investigation failed to determine whether he was or not. The Democrat will speak Saturday about “the atrocity of slavery” and “the racial inequities that continue to persist,” his press secretary, Alena Yarmosky, wrote in an email. The 1619 commemoration comes at a time of growing debate over American identity and mounting racial tension, from Washington to the site of a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. It also follows recent racist tweets from Trump. One called on four Democratic congresswomen to “go back” to their home countries, even though three were born in the U.S. Another tweet attacked Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings, calling his majority-black Baltimore district a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” where “no human being would want to live.” Yet Trump also signed into law the “400 Years of African-American History Commission Act,” requiring a panel to develop programs that acknowledge the Africans’ arrival and slavery’s impact. Among the commission’s members is Terry E. Brown, the first black superintendent of the Fort Monroe National Monument, a former U.S. military base in Hampton that is on the site of the Africans’ 1619 arrival. “For me, a great nation pays attention and remembers its history no matter how complex it is,” said Brown, who will launch the countdown for the bell ringing on Healing Day. Brown said the idea of Healing Day is for people from all walks of life “to talk, to laugh, to cry and in some small way to break the insidiousness of racism.” “I want the nation to walk away knowing that the contributions of Africans and African Americans in this country are so significant that they warrant an anniversary like this,” he said.