close

International

AfricaAfrica AsiaFoodHealthInternationalNewsSpecial Report

Monkeypox: How it Spreads, Who’s at Risk – Here’s What You Need to Know

Monkeypox is not a new disease, and in some African countries, it is endemic. However, the international outbreak which began in May 2022, has prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare a global health emergency. Here are some of the important things to know about monkeypox.

What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox got its name in 1958 when it was detected in several laboratory apes. It is a zoonotic viral disease, which means it can be transmitted from animals to humans. It can also pass from human to human.

Human monkeypox was first identified in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in a 9-month-old boy, in a region where smallpox (a close relative) had been eliminated in 1968.

Symptoms are similar to those seen, in the past, in smallpox patients, but it is clinically less severe (smallpox was eradicated worldwide in 1980). In 2003, the first Monkeypox outbreak outside Africa was reported in the United States and was linked to contact with infected pet prairie dogs.

Despite the name, most of the animals susceptible to contracting the disease, and then infecting people, are rodents, such as Gambian giant rats, dormice, or tree squirrels.

Where is it typically found?

Monkeypox is mostly found in the rain forests of central and western Africa, where animals that can carry the virus are native, and the disease is endemic. In these countries, it is increasingly appearing in urban areas.

On occasion, it can also be found elsewhere, in people who could have been infected after visiting these countries.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms usually include fever, severe headache, muscle aches, back pain, low energy, swollen lymph nodes, and skin rashes or lesions.

The rash usually begins on the first or third day of the onset of fever. The lesions may be flat or slightly raised, filled with clear or yellowish fluid, then crust over, dry up, and fall off.

The number of lesions varies, from a few to several thousand. The rash tends to appear on the face, the palms of the hands, and the soles of the feet. They can also be found in the mouth, genitals, and eyes.

Can people die from monkeypox?

In most cases, the symptoms of Monkeypox go away on their own within a few weeks but, in between three and six per cent of cases reported in countries where it is endemic, it can lead to medical complications and even death. New-born babies, children, and people with immune system deficiencies may be at risk of more severe symptoms and death from the disease.

In severe cases, symptoms include skin infections, pneumonia, confusion, and eye infections that can lead to vision loss.

Many of the fatal cases are children or people who may have other health conditions.

How is monkeypox transmitted from animals to humans?

The virus can be spread to people when they come into physical contact with infected animals, which include rodents and primates.

The risk of contracting it from animals can be reduced by avoiding unprotected contact with wild animals, especially those that are sick or dead (including contact with their flesh and blood).

It is crucial to stress that any food containing meat or animal parts should be cooked, especially in countries where Monkeypox is endemic.

How is it spread from person to person?

The virus is spread through physical contact with someone who has symptoms. Rashes, body fluids (such as fluids, pus, or blood from skin lesions), and scabs are particularly infectious.

Ulcers, lesions or sores can also be infectious since the virus can be spread through saliva. Contact with objects that have been in contact with the infected person – such as clothing, bedding, towels – or objects such as eating utensils can also represent a source of infection.

People who have the disease are contagious while they have symptoms (usually within the first two to four weeks). It is not clear whether or not people who are asymptomatic can transmit the disease.

Who is at risk of getting it?

Anyone who comes into physical contact with someone with symptoms or an infected animal is at increased risk of infection.

Those who live with infected people have a high risk of infection. Health workers, by the very nature of their job, are at risk of exposure.

Children are often more likely to have severe symptoms than teens and adults.

The virus can also be transmitted from a pregnant woman to the foetus through the placenta, or through contact of an infected parent with the child, during or after delivery, through skin-to-skin contact.

How can I protect myself and others?

You can reduce the risk of contagion by limiting contact with people who suspect they have the disease or are confirmed cases.

A smallpox vaccine was recently developed and approved in 2019 for use in preventing Monkeypox but it is not yet widely available

Those who live with infected people should encourage them to self-isolate and, if possible, cover any breaks in the skin (for example, by wearing clothing over the rash).

It is important to wear a face mask when in close proximity to the infected person, especially if they are coughing or have mouth sores, and when touching the clothing or bedding of an infected person. Avoid skin-to-skin contact by wearing disposable gloves.

Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially after coming into contact with the infected person, with their clothing (including sheets and towels), or touching other items or surfaces (such as utensils or dishes) that may have come into contact with rashes or respiratory secretions.

Clean and disinfect any contaminated surfaces and dispose of contaminated waste (such as dressings) properly, and wash the infected person’s clothing, towels, sheets, and eating utensils with warm water and detergent.

What should I do if I suspect that I have been infected?

If you think your symptoms might be related to Monkeypox, or if you have had close contact with someone who has these symptoms, or suspects that there is a possibility of being infected, notifies your doctor immediately.

If possible, isolate yourself and avoid close contact with other people. Wash your hands frequently and follow the steps listed above to protect others from contagion. Your doctor, or other health professionals, should take a sample for testing so you can get the right care.

Symptoms usually last two to four weeks and go away on their own without treatment.

Is there a vaccine?

There are several vaccines, developed for the prevention of smallpox that also provide some protection.

A smallpox vaccine (MVA-BN, also known as Imvamune, Imvanex, or Jynneos) was recently developed and approved in 2019 for use in preventing Monkeypox but it is not yet widely available.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is working with the manufacturer of the vaccine to improve access to it. People who have been vaccinated against smallpox in the past will also have some protection.

Is there any treatment?

Symptoms often go away on their own without the need for treatment. It is important to care for the rash by letting it dry if possible or covering it with a moist bandage if necessary to protect the area.

Avoid touching any eye or mouth sores. Mouthwashes and eye drops can be used as long as products containing cortisone are avoided.

For severe cases, an antiviral agent is known as tecovirimat, which was developed for smallpox, and was licensed by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for Monkeypox in 2022, based on data in animal and human studies. It is not yet widely available.

What do we know about the current outbreak?

In May 2022, cases were reported in more than 10 countries in non-endemic areas. Additional cases are being investigated. You can find the latest information on case numbers from the WHO here.

As of May 2022, there is no clear link between reported cases and travel from endemic countries, and no link to infected animals.

Studies are also underway in affected countries to determine the source of infection for each identified case and to provide medical care and limit further spread.

The WHO is working with all affected countries to improve surveillance and provide guidance on how to stop the spread and how to care for those who are infected.

Is there a risk that it will turn into a bigger outbreak?

Monkeypox is generally not considered highly contagious because it requires close physical contact with someone who is contagious (for example, skin-to-skin). The risk to the public is low.

However, the WHO is responding to this outbreak as a high priority to prevent further spread; for many years Monkeypox has been considered a priority pathogen. Identifying how the virus is spreading and protecting more people from becoming infected is a priority for the UN agency

Raising awareness of this new situation will help stop further transmission.

Is monkeypox a sexually transmitted infection?

The condition can be spread from one person to another through close physical contact, including sexual contact. However, it is currently unknown whether it can be spread through sexual transmission (for example, through semen or vaginal fluids). However, direct skin-to-skin contact with lesions during sexual activities can spread the virus.

Rashes can sometimes appear on the genitals and in the mouth, which probably contributes to transmission during sexual contact. Therefore, mouth-to-skin contact could cause transmission when there are lesions in one of these parts.

The rashes can also resemble some sexually transmitted diseases, such as herpes and syphilis. This may explain why several of the cases in the current outbreak have been identified among men seeking care at sexual health clinics.

The risk of becoming infected is not limited to sexually active people or men who have sex with men. Anyone who has close physical contact with someone who is contagious is at risk.

WHO response to stigmatizing messages circulating online?

Messages that stigmatize certain groups of people around this outbreak have been circulating: the WHO has made it clear that this is unacceptable.

Anyone who has close physical contact of any kind with someone with Monkeypox is at risk, regardless of who they are, what they do, who they choose to have sex with or any other factor.

The WHO points out that it is inadmissible to stigmatize people because of a disease.

Anyone who has been infected, or who is helping care for people who are unwell, should be supported: stigma is likely to only make things worse and slow efforts to end the outbreak.

read more
Africa

Monkeypox outbreak is a global emergency of international concern -WHO declares

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the monkeypox outbreak in more than 70 countries an “emergency of international concern”.

The WHO label – a “public health emergency of international concern” – is designed to sound an alarm that a coordinated international response is needed and could unlock funding and global efforts to collaborate on sharing vaccines and treatments.

Governments are advised to raise awareness among doctors and hospitals, take protective measures in suspected cases and educate members of the population on how to protect themselves from infection.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made the decision to issue the declaration despite a lack of consensus among experts serving on the UN health agency’s emergency committee. It was the first time the chief of the UN health agency has taken such an action.

Announcing his decision to declare the health emergency during a media briefing in Geneva, Tedros confirmed that the committee had failed to reach a consensus, with nine members against and six in favour of the declaration.

“We have an outbreak that has spread around the world rapidly through new modes of transmission about which we understand too little and which meets the criteria in the international health regulations,” Tedros said on Saturday.

“I know this has not been an easy or straightforward process and that there are divergent views among the members” of the committee, he added.

Tedros said there are now more than 16,000 reported cases from 75 countries and territories and five deaths.

A global emergency is the WHO’s highest level of alert, but the designation does not necessarily mean a disease is particularly transmissible or lethal.

WHO’s emergency chief, Dr Michael Ryan, said the director-general made the decision to put monkeypox in that category to ensure the global community takes the current outbreak seriously.

MONKEYPOX

Monkeypox has been established in parts of Central and West Africa for decades, but it was not known to spark large outbreaks beyond the continent or to spread widely among people until May, when authorities detected dozens of epidemics in Europe, North America and elsewhere.

To date, monkeypox deaths have only been reported in Africa, where a more dangerous version of the virus is spreading, mainly in Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo.

In Africa, monkeypox mainly spreads to people by infected wild animals like rodents in limited outbreaks that typically have not crossed borders. In Europe, North America and elsewhere, however, monkeypox is spreading among people with no links to animals or recent travel to Africa.

Last month, WHO’s expert committee said the monkeypox outbreak did not yet amount to an international emergency, but the panel convened this week to reevaluate the situation.

 

SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES
read more
Africa

Biden to host US-Africa Leaders Summit in mid-December

President Joe Biden has announced that the United States will bring together leaders from across the African continent for a major summit in Washington, DC this December to discuss pressing challenges from food security to climate change.

“The summit will demonstrate the United States enduring commitment to Africa, and will underscore the importance of U.S.-Africa relations and increased cooperation on shared global priorities,” Biden said in a statement on Wednesday.

The US-Africa Leaders Summit, scheduled for December 13-15, was announced simultaneously in virtual remarks by Vice President Kamala Harris to the US-Africa Business Summit in Marrakesh, Morocco. The latter event is being hosted by the Corporate Council on Africa and the Kingdom of Morocco.

A senior administration official, while discussing the US-Africa summit plans on condition of anonymity, told the Reuters news agency that about 50 African leaders are expected to join Biden for the December 13-15 series of meetings.

It will come at the end of a year when Biden has engaged other regions of the world with trips to visit US allies in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Biden has yet to visit Africa since becoming president, and the summit will be his most comprehensive look at the complexities of the continent.

So far, Biden’s diplomatic efforts have focused on promoting Western democracies as a counterweight to China, but the official said the US-Africa summit was not all about Beijing.

“We are not asking our African partners to choose,” the official told Reuters. “We believe the United States offers a better model, but we are not asking our African partners to choose.”

The US Agency for International Development announced on Monday that it is providing nearly $1.3bn in aid to the Horn of Africa nations of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia to help stave off mass starvation and deaths in the drought-stricken region.

Biden said the summit will work towards new economic engagement, promote democracy and human rights, advance peace and security, and address challenges such as food security and climate change as well as the pandemic.

The president believes that US collaboration with leaders from African governments, civil society, the private sector and the African diaspora will help tackle some of the challenges, the official said.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES
read more
AfricaInternationalNews

Rwanda: ‘No problem’ with exclusion from regional force- Kagame

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame said he did not mind his country being excluded from a regional military force battling rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo, removing a potential stumbling block to the initiative.

The seven countries of the East African Community (EAC) agreed in April to set up a joint force to try to end decades of bloodshed in eastern parts of Congo. Congo welcomed the plan, but said it would not accept the involvement of Rwanda, which it accuses of backing rebels – an accusation that Rwanda denies.

“I have no problem with that. We are not begging anyone that we participate in the force,” Kagame told Rwanda’s state broadcaster on Monday.

“If anybody’s coming from anywhere, excluding Rwanda, but will provide the solution that we’re all looking for, why would I have a problem?” Kagame asked in the wide-ranging interview.

Congo has accused Rwanda of supporting the M23 rebel group, which has been waging its most sustained offensive in Congo’s eastern borderlands since capturing vast swathes of territory in 2012-2013.

Rwanda denies supporting the rebels and in turn accuses Congo’s army of firing into Rwandan territory and of fighting alongside the Forces Democratiques de Liberation du Rwanda (FDLR), an armed group run by ethnic Hutus who fled Rwanda after taking part in the 1994 genocide.

The EAC has called on local armed groups to join a political process to resolve their grievances or “be handled militarily”, the office of Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is the chairman of the EAC, said in April.

Recent attempts to stop the violence militarily have proven unsuccessful, and in some cases backfired, security analysts and human rights groups say.

Despite billions of dollars spent on one of the United Nations’ largest peacekeeping forces, more than 120 rebel groups continue to operate across large swathes of east Congo almost two decades after the official end of the central African country’s civil wars.

SOURCE: REUTERS

read more
Entertainment

ENTERTAINMENT: R. Kelly Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison After Found Guilty of Luring Children for Sex

R&B singer and songwriter R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison today following decades of sexual abuse allegations.

Last year, after a six-week trial that included testimony from 45 witnesses in a Brooklyn courtroom, a jury found him guilty of racketeering and violations of an anti-sex-trafficking law known as the Mann Act.

At the time, Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Geddes said Kelly, now 55, masterminded a scheme to “target, groom and exploit girls, boys and women.”

Before Kelly was sentenced, a group of survivors including Angela, who testified during his trial, were given a chance to read victim impact statements.

“You used your fame and power to groom and coach underage boys and girls for your own sexual gratification,” she said while staring at Kelly, according to The New York Times. “We are no longer the preyed-upon individuals we once were.”
r.kellyFor decades, allegations swirled around the singer who was previously acquitted in 2008 on child pornography charges.

In an indictment following his 2019 arrest, prosecutors alleged Kelly and his team — including managers, bodyguards and assistants — “traveled throughout the United States and abroad to perform at concert venues … and to recruit women and girls to engage in illegal sexual activity with Kelly” as far back as 1999.

According to the indictment, the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer allegedly required his victims to follow “numerous rules” in which they “were not permitted to leave their room without receiving permission, including to eat or go to the bathroom,” were “not permitted to look at other men” and “were required to call Kelly ‘Daddy.'”

he indictment also accused Kelly of “engaging in sexual activity with girls under 18 years old,” failing to disclose “a sexually transmitted disease Kelly had contracted” and producing child pornography by requesting that underage girls send him photographs.

“R. Kelly’s enterprise was not only engaged in music; as alleged, for two decades the enterprise at the direction of R. Kelly preyed upon young women and teenagers whose dreams of meeting a superstar, soon turned into a nightmare of rape, child pornography and forced labor,” Angel Melendez, special agent in charge from Homeland Security Investigations, said in a statement after Kelly’s 2019 indictment.

Gerald Griggs, an attorney for several of the victims, tells PEOPLE that his clients are satisfied with the verdict.

“It’s been a long journey for many of the accusers and their family members,” Griggs says. “My clients have been fighting since 2017, and some others have been fighting for 20 years. Today, the voices of black women were heard loud and clear. This is a process to achieve justice, and they are eagerly awaiting sentencing – as well as his three other trials. Today, justice was served for Robert Sylvester Kelly.

read more
Africa Asia

Afghanistan: Taliban Govt. bans women participation on national issues

Taliban in Afghanistan has announced that females are banned from participating in large gatherings to address issues of national unity.

The new development was announced on Wednesday by the acting deputy prime minister, Abdul Salam Hanafi.

He told state broadcaster RTA that the gathering, the first of its kind since the Taliban took over in August 2021, would start on Thursday.

When asked if women would attend, Hanafi said male delegates would represent women.

“The women are our mothers, sisters, we respect them a lot, when their sons are in the gathering it means they are also involved, in a way, in the gathering.

“Different people with different views are going to gather. This will be a positive step for stability in Afghanistan and strengthening national unity.’’

Hanafi said religious leaders had asked for the gathering to address an Islamic system of government and economic and social issues.

read more
Africa

South Africa: MPWC Calls for Action against Tavern Owner

The Chairperson of the Multi-Party Women’s Caucus (MPWC), Ms Nkhensani Bilankulu, today expressed great sadness at the deaths of 21 young people at a tavern in the Eastern Cape over the weekend.

I am further concerned that young people of this age, under 18 years of age, are allowed in a tavern and are allowed to consume alcohol in that place

Ms Bilankulu condemned the deaths of the 21 youngsters at Enyobeni Tavern in the early hours of Sunday morning. “I am extremely sad and I think I can speak on behalf of the whole committee in expressing sadness at the untimely deaths of these youngsters who had their whole future ahead of them. They have now been robbed of this.”

It has been reported that 12 boys and nine girls died in the incident, the youngest of whom was 13 years old. “I am further concerned that young people of this age, under 18 years of age, are allowed in a tavern and are allowed to consume alcohol in that place. Action should be taken against owners who allow underage patrons into such places. I am also concerned about these young people being in that place in the early hours of the morning. Where is the parental supervision?”

Ms Bilankulu called on all stakeholders – parents, the community, law enforcement authorities and the education and recreation sectors – to play a more active role, especially in underprivileged or poorer communities, by guiding the youth to make good choices and provide safer options for recreation to ensure young people are not vulnerable to negative influences.

“On behalf of the MPWC, I would like to send our deepest condolences to the families, friends and community of all those affected by this tragedy.”

 

read more
International

ALAAFINOLOGY By Prof. Siyan Oyeweso

 Introduction

By deploying the conceptual framing of kingship power as Alaafinology, I am offering a conversation that is less about the narrative of this specific kingship but a lot more about it as a “system” of politics, an institution of governance, and political philosophy. I am doing so not within just the Oyo data, as useful as this may be, but within a larger African setting as well as the world beyond Africa that speaks to kingship. In this larger setting, the ingenuity of a system receives substantial theoretical analysis in terms of its representation, justification, ideology, and relevance. In my approach, the African concept and ideologies of power may begin to receive the attention that they have not yet received. One advantage of such an approach is that this discourse can be built upon to move the contributions of Africa to a higher level of analysis, approximating it to what is called the “universal”. Indeed, narratives on Oyo as well as other African kingdoms and empires treat them as localities and peculiarities; my study treats them beyond that, with the further suggestion that theoretical ideas can be formulated around the Alaafin and other kings to talk about the constitution of political ideologies, ontologies of power, and the epistemologies around domination and subjectivity.

Alaafinology! Why am I deploying this label! It can be changed to Obalogy as well, and my reasons will still be the same. Historical narratives, as rich as they can be, are not enough to create intellectual permanence, to organize memory, to build museums, to build ideologies, and to universalize knowledge. Many essays on different aspects of kingship have become ephemeral. Labels and definitions are the tools of power, knowledge dissemination, and the means to spread ideas over a wider region. Taking the great stories of the Alaafin outside of the Yoruba region may not necessarily connect with such people as Igbo (Nigeria), Asante (Ghana), Vai/Kru/Grebo (Liberia) or Zulu (South Africa). However, labels and definitions connect; therefore, they enable others to study their own histories and events in relations to those labels. Where the label fits, it enables the “universalizing” of narratives; whereby it does not fit, it allows narrative departure points.

IKU BABA YEYE
IKU BABA YEYE

A label is a short cut to a library. It allows the creation of a subject, a field, a specialization, as in PhD in Alaafinology, which may be on a group of people in far-away Gambia. Disciplines have their roots in labels, as in History, Literature, and the sung specializations within them. Elsewhere, I have argued that if we had created Ifaology in the 1950s and 1960s, many universities would have been awarding degrees on it. Such a degree would gave attained virtually everything that the humanities stand for as in critical thinking and pedagogy. Labels have been created to understand institutions, processes, places,etc. For instance, we now use the Sultanate as a label to describe many kings in Muslim countries. We now use Egyptology to describe the study of ancient Egypt and its antiquities, and we label those who engage in it as Egyptologists. A highly specialized branch on language within Egyptology is known as Demotic Studies, and they refer to themselves as Demotologists. Studies on IFA could be labelled as Ifalogy while those who engage in it can be called Ifalogists to designate a highly dense and specific field.

We must create labels and define them, their meanings, mythology, and tools. Thus, I can say that Alaafinology means the following: kingship and the exercise of power; kingship and the civilizing mission of culture; kingship and the collapse of kingdoms; the body of the king, etc.

We can then apply the meaning to specific cases over time. For instance, the label can be a way to understand history, as in the study if the Pharaohnic state — the king and his ability to expand the polity. After the decline of Egypt, monarchies developed in Napata and Meroe (Sudan), and a greater success story in Ethiopia which survived the modern era. Alaafinology can speak to the forms of monarchies, their strengths and decline.

To talk about Alaafinology, in whatever form kingship is defined, is to speak to ideas about the centralization of power, the forms of government, the theory of power (distributive, absolutist, divine, monarchial, predatory, pre-modern, modernist, etc.). Alaafinology can speak to the theory of checks and balances, but with moments of ruptured to the system and the move towards absolutism.

Alaafinology can be used as a label to understand land-based kingdoms. The Alaafin and Oyo illustrate the characteristics of land-based empires with larger conception of global imperialism and modernism.(Foot note 1). Land-based empires emerged in China, in the Americas (Maya, Tiahuanaco and Huari), Aztec in Mexico and Inca in Peru, both later destroyed by the Spaniards. How did they emerge? Who destroyed the kings? How did the fall of kings connect with the role of outsiders with better weaponry? Why did some like China survive due a longer time, and able to work its long successful past into its impressive present, based on a solid long-standing bureaucracy? How did land-based empires generate resources to fund emperors, fight their wars?

IKU BABA YEYE
IKU BABA YEYE

Alaafinology is about the ability to manage conflicts and wars. Conflicts were very endemic to the kingship system. It was hard to manage an extensive empire. Similarly, it was certainly hard to manage the competing forces within the palace and capital. It was hard to manage sibling rivalries. Take, for instance, the succession to a vacant throne, which was (and now) always very complicated. Rivalries were intense by the aspirants, in spite of being related by blood. Oye didu– competing for the throne–reveals the ability of a candidate to master the skills of negotiations and survival, the understanding of the forces that exercise control, and the ability to project one’s character. The competition was tough in the past, and tough in the present. (Foot note 2) Having ascended to the throne, its maintenance was equally difficult– one needs political acumen to handle men and women with competing interests and a lot of money to sustain a lifestyle.

Alaafinology is about the understanding of African power systems before the imposition of colonial rule. Power revolved around the king, his palace, the household, officials and retainers, and powerful chiefs and kin-groups. The strategies of kings to maintain dominance was never the same. Many African kingdoms were fragile, while some were strong. Migrations away from power centers undermined the power of many kings. Loss of the control of trade routes, long-distance trade and labor, weakened many kings. The impact of the king on everyday life of citizens was never the same everywhere. Not all kingdoms were successful as Egypt in establishing legal systems and bureaucracies. Not all were also greater than the Roman emperors to use religious institutions to establish a cultural dominance.

Alaafinology is a label to understand the process of state formation in different parts of the world. Sometimes, state formation involved an access to an ideology of power, as in the case of Islam in the Sokoto Caliphate. The success in building a strong military, which must be ensured by access to weapons, means of mobility, and horses (as in the case of Oyo). Warrior kings emerged in some places, as in the case of Shaka, the founder emerged in some places, as in the case of Shaka, the founder-king of the Zulu. Between the sixteenth centuries, Oyo and many other West African kingdoms, especially those along the coast, had to deal with the opportunities and destructions of the Atlantic slave trade. The supplies of slaves to the Atlantic — which produced access to guns and gunpowder, while allowing them to consolidate power — also destroyed them in the long run.

One final example is about death and transition in the context of royal life. The body of the king, in death, creates mysteries, and in some sense miseries as well where, in the past, it warranted human sacrifices. In secular terms, the death of the king was a calamity around the continuity of the system and the ruptures that were created. Whether it be Oyo or Mali, the death of the king generated serious uncertainties. There were reasons for this. Performance and effectiveness were very much tied to the person of the king. Indeed, the health and fortune of the state was the same as those of the king. Death could immediately undermine the state itself. Speaking about death, the study around death, including suffering and agonies, has come under the label of thanatology, which has given rise to scholars on this topic who call themselves thanatologists.

I expect a vigorous challenge in my intellectual creation of Alaafinology as a label. If objections are raised to the suggestion on its wider application to cover long historical eras in different parts of the world, it can, at least, be applied to the study of Oyo where, as in a study by Abdullahi Smith on the fall of the Old Oyo Empire, the label of “Alaafinate” had previously been coined. (Footnote 3) Pending the affirmation or rejection of my idea, I am using Alaafinology in its broader sense that I defined above. In this application, I am not just dealing with Oyo but kingship in general within a broad ideological and epistemological canvas. To fully understand what I am driving at, it has to be seen as an epistemic enterprise in the decolonization of African knowledge. The proposal has a very strong scholarly potential to open the traditional archive to unfold a richer understanding of institutions.

Culled from: OYO HISTORY, TRADITION AND ROYALTY ( Essays in Honour of His Imperial Majesty the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba (Dr.) Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III

Edited by: SIYAN OYEWESO, OLUTAYO C. ADESINA.

Pages 3-7

Footnotes:

1. I am adopting here the controversial classifications of kingdoms/empires into land-based and sea-based. For their meaning and adoption, see Stephen How’s, Empire:  A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2002)

2. For how the current Alaafin, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, ascended the throne, see Kola Owolabi and Sayo Alagbe, The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III: His Life History and His Philosophy (Ibadan: Universal Akada Books 2008)

3. Abdullahi Smith, ” A Little New Light on the Collapse of the Alaafinate of Yoruba” In Studies in Yoruba History and Culture: Essays in Honour of Professor S. O. Biobaku Gabriel Olusanya, ed., (Ibadan: University Press Limited  1983),

read more
AfricaCulture & TourismInternationalInterview storyInterviewsPersonality Interview

I promote African culture, tradition and spirituality of our ancestors- Fabunmi, Yeyeoba of Oyotunji Kingdom

Fabunmi Adefunmi Sands is a scientist 1, licensed phlebotomist, certified orthopedic technician, and Echocardiogram reader who is currently working as an Emergency room technician II, and as a shop steward for SEIU-United Health care workers, a part-time lobbyist who assist with debating on the Capital floor in Sacramento, California, dealing with health care bills and rights for the people of California.

She graduated from American River College with an associate’s in Health and Science with an emphasis in psychology and emergency medicine and Bachelor’s degree in health and Administration with an emphasis in the  Emergency room and National.

Fabunmi is a part-time Human rights activist, a peace ambassador for the Black race, an African American Historian who hosts traditional and spiritual educational events, and the Yeyeoba of Oyotunji African Village who practice priestly ways that were learned from her parents and global travels on traditional events.

In this exclusive interview with ADEWALE ADENRELE, the Yeyeoba of Oyotunji speaks about ancestral lineage, spiritual journey in the Sango temple, and African culture and tradition, plus her major role as Yeyeoba of Oyotunji Kingdom.

Below are excerpts:

Can you tell us briefly about yourself, your family and educational background?

I am a Dahomean/ Yoruba diaspora who was born in Black Mecca, you would know it as Harlem, New York. I was born and named “Ifabunmi Olubiyi Adesoji Adefunmi’’ by way of my African naming ceremony, and my American name is Fabunmi Olubiyi Adefunmi’ which was on my American government papers.  As the daughter of Oba Adefunmi I and Olori Olubunmi Adesoji, I am a diaspora child of the Oyo and Ile Ife Empire by my diaspora blood line.

I was born to the ruling house of Adefunmi, first Oba of Oyotunji African Village ‘Osejiman Efuntola Adefunmi I, and the first Olubunmi Adesoji the queen of Lukumi and the first Queen of Oyotunji. My parents, who were very strong traditionalist Yoruba priests, were very renowned in the priesthood in North America. I was born to a clan of Obatala priest on my father’s side. My mother’s clans are warrior women / iron women as well as Christian preachers, and Native Indian (Black foot and Edisto) medicine spiritualists.

Fabunmi riding horse at Oyotunji African Village

I was raised in the USA with western colonial ideology all around me; I am a grand descendant to Alexander Hamilton, the first treasure to the United States of America, also the grand descent to Robert Smalls, the first freed slave Senator to South Carolina. I am the grand daughter to Roy King who worked alongside the General Marcus Garve to help the Black star liner and assisting with the birth of Liberia. I was at the birth of the beginning of the nation we all now call Oyotunji African Village. I was raised in the Sango temple in New York until I was age 5, where for many nights my Yeye and baba with other priest held bembe’s and called the ancient Orisas to the earth.

Who influenced you the most in life and why?

My mother was the most influential in my life, she made me to be strong and never scared of anyone or anything, she made me very proud of my blackness when in this country call America frowned on the black people. My mother instilled in me the four elements of courage and I have lived by the rules till this day.

You are the Yeye-Oba of Oyotunji Kingdom, a royal princess and an ambassador of the royal crown; At the most simplistic level, an ambassador acts as a representative which you are one, what are your responsibilities and how have you impacted lives with your position?

Yes! I am the mother of King to Oyotunji African Village, I am the daughter of the first king of Oyotunji, I am the eldest sister to the reigning king of Oyotunji. I am in perpetuity to the Royal Crown, West African culture tradition spirituality of Ancient African religions.

I am also a representative of healing of the mind and body when in crisis, which is ruled with the divinity of the creator’s touch. My responsibilities are to work hard to educate and put forth the truth about our people and to help continue pride and proof of the great royals and rulers of great empires before antiquity, before slavery interrupted our ancestor’s time in the Empires of the humblest of humanity. I helped the spiritual children understand what that force is that compel them to want to return to Momma Africa. That force that they cannot understand, for my people in the diaspora, as well as globally, I supervise, manage and negotiate for the betterment for the kingdom of Oyotunji and the nation of the Yoruba and black race.

Yeyeoba of Oyotunji Kingdom
Yeyeoba of Oyotunji Kingdom

I hosted Black history events on the west coast of the United States. I promote the Orisa festivals held in Oyotunji African village every month, which is the only authentic African village in North America. I work in collaboration with the chiefs and Egbe’s of  Oyotunji African village and villages globally to help promote the West African culture tradition and spirituality of our ancestors in its purest form.

Also, part of my responsibility to the king is to report on my findings pertaining to the family of the Adefunmi and the village of Oyotunji, also to know of the crimes against the Diaspora Africans that were scattered across the world and to make the Diaspora in America and the world to know that you have a home in Oyotunji. I educate on the name of the land called Oyo and Ile Ife, the birthplace of our ancestor. For generation we in North America were never allowed to know the names to return home to. I give the names of the ruling Kings so when they return to momma Africa, they can visit the crown that ruled over our ancestors across the ocean back in mommas Africa’s arms long before the diaspora became diaspora. I educate on how to practice our ancestors’ ways opening without religious persecution. My responsibility is to give hope to our oppressed brothers and sister who are being gun-down in cold blood here in the diaspora on how to spiritually protect them and by shielding themselves with the Orisa.

You attended the World Obatala Annual Festival 2022 edition held in Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria under supreme auspices of the His Imperial Majesty, Oba Babatunde Enitan Ogunwusi Adeyeye, Ojaja II, Ooni of Ile-Ife and the leadership of His Divine Grace Oba (Isoro) O.O.O Dada, The Obalesun Obatala Worldwide. What was the inspiration and motivation that drives your spiritualism on the attendance?

Its closeness of defining me, inline that gives birth to my ancestral lineage where I originated from, they made me who ways show me the way back to the creator to better understand the quality of being.

Read Also: https://africandevmag.net/2021/04/30/oyotunji-african-village-an-institution-for-cultural-tourism-by-adewale-adenrele/

The two-weeks annual festival programme that celebrates Yoruba religion, customs, culture and tradition through spirituality in purity, with the aim to bring together a wider audience of Obatala devotees, traditional worshipers, traditional and cultural institutions. What do you like about African Culture and traditions?

Being a Diaspora African American, my ancestor’s culture is unwavering, I love the ancient customs they still hold to be true.  I love the mystic and the beauty of the beginning of humanities manifestation of traditions that survive the birth, death and rebirth of Momma Africa’s children.

Visitors from different parts of the world such as; USA, Brazil, Trinidad & Tobago, Venezuela, Argentina, Cuba and more were in attendance of the festival. Can you share with us your experience?

An awesome experience!!! I lived in America with hundreds of different ethnicities, but to spend quality time with those many different devotees from around the globe was spiritually uplifting, it made my soul feel more of a connection to being home.

The festival continuously engages in by promoting the Yoruba Cultural agenda towards a veritable socio-economic and political emancipation of our people globally as a yardstick towards global development. How would you use your visit and experience to motivate other Americans who are African descent especially Nigerians-Americans to join you?

I use all my experience to educate and give proof and facts that knowledge is power and always seek the truth, my culture; tradition spirituality has been proven through science, throughout time, our ancestors’ ways is that of the ways of divinity that lives in us all.

L-R: Fabunmi and colleagues

This year theme for International Women’s Day, is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”. Can you tell us how to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all?

Women are the ones who give birth to nations, we are the ones that raise the children of that nation, we are the ones who half to have equal sitting at the table of building and sustaining a nation for we are the mothers of that nation.

A lot of African nations are fashioning their democracy after the west, yet we exist in some level of neo-colonialism. Well, is there a way to localize democracy that will fit the African context? 

Our ancestors left us a blueprint, remember if you look at the Ogbonis, and the Oba council, they already have what we need but the seed of evil scamming, deceitfulness has manifested, and we must remove it from our DNA. We must know how to remove the corruption tree and we must burn its roots.

Researches put forward a new narrative explaining the variations in African ancestry in the Americas and how these variations were shaped by the transatlantic trade, how has you and many others changing the narrative for development?

Tribute to Alaafin

African Ancestry in North America, the land of the free the home of the brave, those words where never meant for us Chattel Diaspora , American Africans who built this nation. USA Diaspora who still used as target practice for the white man’s fear prophesy preparation for the last stance of the pure white race. I as a decedent of chattel slaves, has study the reason for the debauchery of my people here in North America. Just the fact that I am allowed to read and write, look a white person in their eye when I speak and not be murdered for it is a gift from the great Brave Black Men and women who came before me.

The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade took my ancestors humanity for generations, along with millions of ancestral lines. The slave trade took my ancestors language for generations upon generation from us and gave us the oppressors tongue. Still to this day we struggle to learn our ancestor’s original tongue we struggle to go back to Africa for we don’t know where to go, that is until Oyotunji African Village. The strength and resilience of my people brought forth survival tactics to live in this land, first they learned to survive by speaking to one another in an invented language called Geechee talk, , the Geechee talk was invented to help talk about things so the slave master could not know what was going on and used to trade with Indigenous of the North America .

Amazing memories are unforgettable; can you share with us the most amazing memory?

My most amazing memory was with my Yeye and Baba, they both were singing and drumming to SANGO  my yeye was singing oriki (Eulogy)  while my baba was drumming and me and my sister Fabayo were dancing, best memory ever.

How many languages can you speak fluently?

I speak 2 languages fluently and several others like Yoruba and French I struggle with it . Though the language was spoken amongst the free blacks and the red skin Indians of this land. As a DESCENDANT I speak Gee Chee fluently like I speak English. In America the chattel slaves lost their culture and their spirituality. As their descendants we fight every day to return to our ancestors’ ways.

We had to fight and scratch for every breath we take on this soil which has been fertilized by the blood of my people the Diaspora of North America, time after time. We the awaken generation now know the names of our ancestors lands the names of the kings, the names of the villages, we know the names of our Gods our ancestors’ ways. We know the name and way to Oyo Empire, We now know the name and place of the Ancient Holy city of Ile Ife, we know that we are from the land of the Benin the village of Abomey where my direct royal ancestor was stolen from.  We no longer cry for home for we know where she is now…

 What advice would you give the younger ones?

I would tell them to never forget who they are and where they came from REMEMBER your culture tradition and your own people’s spirituality

Thank you for sharing with ADM

Thank you. Alaafia o!

 

         ADM 2022

read more
Culture & Tourism

Nepal has the highest mountain in the world Mount Everest 8,848 meters- Bishwombhar Lamsal

Tourism is the largest industry in Nepal and its largest source of foreign exchange and revenue before the Covid-19 outbreak that claimed lives crashed the economy and affects the growth of tourism. It suffered a setback because millions of tourism workers are jobless due to the pandemic. Even though Nepal possesses eight of the ten highest mountains in the world, Nepal is a hot spot destination for mountaineers, rock climbers, and people seeking adventure.

Bishwombhar Lamsal, a tourism expert, consultant, and founding chairman & counselor, Vraman Holidays Pvt. Ltd shares his view with ADEWALE ADENRELE on “Pandemic and its Impact on Tourism”.

Below are excerpts:

Can you tell us the major attractions in Nepal; how would you educate interested students and potential tourists to visit Nepal?

Nepal is a country that lies between two giant countries India and China. Nepal has been blessed with the youngest and highest mountain on earth also known as the Himalayas. Nepal boasts of having eight the fourteen 8k meters mountains, the highest mountain in the world Mt. Everest 8848 meters is also in Nepal.

Nepal is rich in culture. We have around 125 ethnic tribes living in Nepal and each ethnic tribe has its traditions, customs, and culture. This multi-dimensional heritage combines the varieties of Nepal’s ethnic, tribal, and social groups, and it manifests in music and dance, art and craft, languages and literature, festivals and celebrations, and foods and drinks. With the diversity in altitude ranging from the Terai region to the Himalayan range. The landscape also varies from the lowland agricultural area and deserts to the high-altitude mountain range. Each landscape has its beauty.

Nepal is famous for Trekking; Peak Climbing; Mountain Biking Tours; expedition; Day Tours; Rafting; Wilderness Trekking; Adventure Sports Activities; Helicopter Tours; Honeymoon Tour Packages and Yoga Meditation Treks/Tours among several others. You define it; we tailor-made it. We have been continuously promoting our tourism/hospitality ventures/products and NEPAL as a whole at nearly all of the major international platforms viz: WTM; FITUR; ITB: OAS; CMT Stuttgart; MTS; VIT to name a few. On such platforms, we not only promote our company’s individual products/services but also NEPAL as a whole. We distribute our promotional materials in flash drives; brochures; websites and ads. This way we not only educate; we compel people of varied professions to come to Nepal at least once in their lifetime for life experiences.

What are the challenges you faced while doing travel and tourism business and how did you overcome them?

Tourism is always evolving and it never remains the same! Because the way we were bound to do business during the 90s/2000s and now has drastically changed! Major challenges at that time were guests visiting destinations on their own and facing problems on their way… We have numerous examples of guests missing/lost and death reports simply because they chose; to travel on their own without the support/assistance from the local experts/authorized service providers. Though problems persist, it has been drastically reduced to a significant degree. We become able in educating our guests about the consequences of traveling alone! We solopreneurs in collaboration with our government entity – Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) – are working for the welfare of our industry.

 In tourism, we have aspects of tourism like educational tourism, religious tourism, medical tourism, and cultural tourism, which area is Nepal’s selling point of tourism to the world?

Nepal is diverse and rich in every aspect of Tourism/Hospitality. Nobody will return empty hands/minds once they are in this amazing piece of land! We do outstandingly promote NEPAL as a destination for Education Tourism; (concept broadening) Medical Tourism; Cultural Tourism; Photography & Movie-Shoot Tourism; Honeymoon Destination and many more…

As the founder, chairman, and counselor of Vraman Holidays Pvt Ltd. in Nepal, how long precisely do you think global travel will resume to its normal pace?

Tourism/Hospitality is the HARDEST-HIT industry sector among ALL because of the Pandemic! This is no doubt! And, an amazing part of our industry is – it is capable of rejuvenating at the FASTEST pace among ALL, as well. Let me define this; for instance, people in agriculture, under normal circumstances have to wait several months to have their product being harvested, and we cannot do this all year round! Whereas in Tourism/Hospitality, we can serve our guests all year round! The industry impacts all other sectors! Tourists’ flow means increments in activities; many people get employment; there in consumption in provisions; food, local people are deployed at specific areas as per the needs of tourists. All sectors revive just because TOURISM revives!

Thus, under normal circumstances, I presume TOURISM is the fastest-progressing industry among ALL.

Early 2020 before the pandemic outbreak, global tourism celebrated a record year of travel. Now, it’s decimated and facing a recovery that could take some time. Can you tell us how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the travel and tourism industry?

Words will be insufficient to describe the (global) impact – adverse effect – of the Covid-19 Pandemic on Tourism/Hospitality. This is a service industry and services are meant for luxury. When there arose a situation to choose between luxury and survival; anybody can choose between the ONE. For instance, people need products/goods to survive. But services are for thriving. During the Pandemic, our quest was the SURVIVAL! Thank God, we survived! And, we are confident that now we will thrive at the fastest pace!

The pandemic affects millions of people who depend on tourism and were laid off or furloughed. How do you think tourism can bounce back and survive?

Optimism | Faith | Resilient – we tourism stakeholders bear this trait to the highest degree than anyone in another industry sector! There is no doubt that we – the tourism industry – will be the fastest recovering industry sector among ALL. Tourism/Hospitality is the HARDEST-HIT industry sector among ALL because of the Pandemic! This is no doubt! And, an amazing part of our industry is – it is capable of rejuvenating at the FASTEST pace among ALL, as well.

Let me define this; for instance, people in agriculture, under normal circumstances have to wait several months to have their product being harvested, and we cannot do this all year round! Whereas in Tourism/Hospitality, we can serve our guests all year round! The industry impacts all other sectors! Tourists flow means increments in activities; many people get employment; there in consumption in provisions; food .. local people are deployed at specific areas as per the needs of tourists. All sectors revive just because TOURISM revives!

Many destinations anticipate travelers’ behavior will change in the virus’s wake. What measures have you put in place to sensitize and educate potential tourists/travelers to erase the fear of covid-19?

We are all aware at this point that Covid-19 is no JOKE. Standard health protocols are being deployed everywhere, at least in my country – NEPAL. We are sincere; desperately; in a healthier environment – awaiting our international guests to arrive; enjoy; entertain and thrive!

 African Development Magazine would like to partner us with media tour promotion and coverage of tourism activities, would you support this development and give us a chance?

For sure; we are together at every step of your action. Please go ahead.

Thanks for sharing with ADM

Thank you too.

ADM 2022

read more