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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

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Digitization helps reduce redundancy, improves efficiency of healthcare professionals – Sudhir Rathore   

It’s no secret that the healthcare industry is complex and fast-growing with hundreds of laws, policies, and regulations, the wide range of potential professions and jobs, and daily developments in diagnosis, treatment, and medication, healthcare organizations have a lot to keep track of — and doing so thoroughly and professionally is vital to their success and the health of their patients.

Healthcare consultants are so valuable. Although becoming a healthcare consultant takes years of education, time, and skill development, it’s a position that’s crucial to the success of healthcare organizations across the globe.

Sudhir Rathore is a Healthcare entrepreneur and consultant with a primary focus on the African continent and he has worked in senior positions in various capacities with healthcare organizations like Fortis healthcare and Aster healthcare, also with prestigious groups like Aditya Birla Group and TATA in India. He bagged Bachelor of Science, Master of Business Administration degrees.

Sudhir founded SURJEN, a Healthcare delivery start-up, and integrated technology, health for medical services providers to achieve better healthcare delivery objectives in Africa. He is rated as among one of the best healthcare executives in Nigeria.

Sudhir Rathore is also a co-founder, director, and principal consultant at Troika Consulting. He shares his experience with ADEWALE ADENELE on why he focuses on Africa, the role of digitalization, and the future of the healthcare industry.

Below are excerpts:

How and why did you begin your journey as an independent consultant?

After working with various organizations for 15 good years in senior positions one thing I realized was that the independence to work on your dreams is not something that comes easy. So, it’s like searching for absolute freedom in my professional career has encouraged me to start afresh as an entrepreneur. My years of experience in the Nigerian healthcare system helped me to contribute and add value to the healthcare industry.

Which industries or work areas are you typically involved in?

Sudhir Rathore
Sudhir Rathore

My work area is exclusively Healthcare, which includes working with Hospitals, Laboratories, Pharmacies, etc. The idea is to change the way healthcare is delivered in Nigeria. We want the healthcare delivery system to be more accessible, economical, and trustworthy

Can you think of any client story in the healthcare industry that you are especially proud of?

We have helped more than seven thousand patients in accessing quality healthcare through us, be it heart surgery for small kids, kidney transplants, gynecology surgeries, spine and brain surgeries, gunshots, or accidents we have assisted all sorts of patients. One specific patient I would like to mention was a few years back when he was shot in the head in Makurdi during a random shooting incident by armed robbers. We received a call around 11:30 pm to evacuate him and bring him to Abuja. It was very difficult in the middle of the night by the road looking at the security situation, we arranged an air ambulance to airlift him to Abuja and performed successfully in one of the hospitals in Abuja. We were able to save a life.

Do you think the pandemic has affected consulting in the healthcare industry, and have you seen an increase in a specific type of project?

Pandemic has affected many industries at large; however, it has given a stimulus to the hospitals around the world. We are a part of the consulting team of a private University Teaching Hospital coming up in Abuja, which was conceptualized and built during a pandemic. Pandemic also has helped diagnostic laboratories to build their infrastructure and provide quality and comprehensive services to the masses in Nigeria. A lot many investors are now investing in healthcare diagnostic businesses in Nigeria.

What role do you think digitalization will play in the healthcare industry?

To me, digitalization is the basis of easy accessibility and cost-effectiveness of healthcare services delivery to the masses in Nigeria especially primary healthcare. Web-based digital healthcare services like www.surjen.com  provide primary healthcare services to the patients from the comfort of their homes, be it blood sample collection, booking hospital appointments, Teleconsultation, second opinion for chronic diseases, or referral to hospitals in case of advanced treatments. Such digital healthcare services are not only cost-effective but easily accessible by the patients. In secondary and tertiary healthcare institutions digitization not only helps reduce redundancy but also improves the efficiency of healthcare professionals.

What trends will have the biggest impact on the healthcare industry? And how do you think companies should better prepare?

Healthcare industry is one of the most challenging industries as compared to others like software, space, or automotive. The industry is regulatory heavy, approvals for new products and procedures take years leaving less room for innovators and investors. However, there is a change in both the attitude of the regulatory bodies and investors in the last couple of years. The way various vaccines are developed against pandemics using newer technologies within a limited time has opened up a newer avenue for industry players, regulators and investors. They are more receptive now and willing to move ahead together.

I think genetic research coupled with AI technology is a new goldmine for investors and will bring out better resources for healthcare professionals and pharmaceutical companies to treat diseases like sickle cell which is predominant in Nigeria, cancers, Alzheimer’s, etc.

How do you think the healthcare industry will change over the next 5 to 10 years?

Healthcare industry in Nigeria is already going through a positive transformation. There are treatments and surgeries which were not happening in Nigeria before but are being done frequently in hospitals in Abuja and Lagos. So, things are changing. However, we need to aggressively counter the challenge of brain drain. A lot of young doctors after training from Nigerian institutions move abroad for greener pastures leaving the country’s healthcare system to suffer. I think both the Nigerian government and private healthcare players should bring out opportunities in terms of training and growth of these doctors within Nigeria so that such migration can be discouraged.

Nigerian Healthcare delivery system can change with the intervention of the government by providing subsidies on importation of equipment, consumables, medicines, etc. It should also be liberal on imposing various taxes on healthcare facilities and most importantly is to make available capital at single-digit interest rates through banks. Covid intervention fund from CBN is one such welcome move by the federal government but this should not be the only one.

Do you think there are any advantages for companies using independent healthcare consultants?

Pix; Middle: Sudhir Rathore and his staffs
Pix; Middle: Sudhir Rathore and his staffs

Consultants bring a wealth of experience and knowledge with them that’s why they are called consultants. Expecting a good doctor to be a good businessman and a good management professional at the same time is asking too much from him. It takes a lot of people with different skill sets and knowledge to successfully run a healthcare institution be it a hospital or a laboratory, it’s a team effort always. A consultant guides the total business entity to a growth path by integrating each department cohesively and eliminating any friction.

What are the most exciting aspects of working in the healthcare industry?

Respect before money. This is probably the only industry where you respect your customer and your customer equally respects you. Secondly, the blessing you receive when you have done your job well and the patient has recovered, nothing can match that. However, this is also an industry that comes with heavy responsibility

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

Yes, one amazing story I would like to share with you. This family whose one-year-old daughter was detected with a hole in the heart and was referred to me by one cardiologist to undergo surgery in India. When I discussed with the hospital in India the bill was coming out to be around 6000 dollars for the surgery. Meanwhile, the father of the child sought to meet me; I didn’t go to my office on that day so I invited him to my house. When he came what I saw was a military sergeant in uniform. I discussed with him the process and cost of surgery, and he said that he can’t pay as he is not that financially strong and he has much support from his family. That pained me as much as I could emotionally connect to him as my father was also in the Military. I vowed to help him within my best capacity. I called the hospital in India and pleaded with him that we need to get this surgery done within the bare minimum cost. After initial hiccups, the hospital thankfully agreed and they diverted the patient through an NGO making the whole surgery free of cost for the family. Later the father sends me an emotional email with lots of blessings. I will never forget that man, what I saw in him was my father. Life is good, that’s what I can say.

African Development Magazine would like to be part of your team and report your activities, will you give us this chance?

Sure, why not.

Thank you for sharing with us.

You are welcome, Thanks to ADM

  ADM 2022

 

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Interviews

I founded ‘AAAA’ after I lost my parents to HIV/AIDS- Carine Siltz Kapinga

Carine Siltz Kapinga, a former Miss Congo, DRC-USA 2003, and founder of the African Advocates Against AIDS Inc,  use her organization to sensitize, educate and orientate the community about the risk in the disease HIV/AIDS, raising awareness and helping them access, adequate testing, care and treatment services.

The journey started after she lost her parents to HIV/AIDS and joined a program supported by World Health Organisation through the Amo Congo in Bandal/Kinshasa/DRC. The program was aimed to train AIDS Orphans about HIV/AIDS and how they can educate and sensitize others around the world.

Carine Siltz Kapinga shares her experience with ADEWALE ADENRELE on the struggle many HIV orphans go through, the stigma, and the need to educate our community about the risk and protective factors of this decease

The mother of 3 who bagged an associate degree in Journalism is currently running a street outreach initiatives effort for HIV AIDS awareness and covid-19 prevention

Below are excerpts:

You are the Founder of African-Advocates Against Aids What are the aims and objectives of this organization?

The African Advocates Against AIDS Inc., aim and objectives is to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS virus with African immigrants and the African American community in the United States of America through education and raising the awareness of this disease and helping them access, adequate testing, care and treatment services through referral to our partners and supporters among whom are: The African Immigrant commission of NY and CT, NYC Health and Hospitals/ Test and Trace outreach corp, The NYC Emergency Management, the Bridge Builder’s Community Partnership, the Alliance of Positive Change, the Boots on the Ground Street Outreach Ministry, The Greater Highway Deliverance Temple, the Bethel’s Emanuel Temple ( BET), St Mark Catholic Church, Jabba African braiding salon, the Ryan and Nina health center, the Institute of family health, African Paradise and Aisha braiding salon.  We are grateful for their unflinching support. Together we are stronger!

Carine Siltz Kapinga
Carine Siltz Kapinga

What have been the most challenging and the most rewarding aspects of leadership for you?

The most challenging moment for me was to initiate our current and ongoing street outreach initiative efforts for HIV/AIDS and COVID-19 prevention by being in the shelter due to family matters and also during a global pandemic with the added challenges of maintaining one’s confidence while building a team and experiencing setbacks like the Covid-19 Pandemic. I’ve learned that during times of crisis, one can produce much fruit by leading one’s self to build. It is important for a leader to be seen involved for your team’s success depends on it. Leadership cannot be a Lone Ranger endeavor.

The most rewarding moment for us is to see how well we all came together to serve during the Covid-19 crisis, thus our Mantra. ‘We’re Stronger Together” During this Covid crisis, we were found on the frontlines, and under an unprecedented circumstance, we found the strength in working together to do what it takes to fight back and expand lifesaving resources to those communities in need, this was done through collaboration, and working with our partners, including community’s faith organizations(CFOs). Community-based organizations and (CBOs) local participating, local businesses such as pharmacies, barbershops, African hair braiding salons, and volunteers that all came together to support our initiative.

How would you describe the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak and what have been the challenges and the success stories to your organization?

As an organization, we have been operating under unprecedented circumstances as I was in the NYC Shelter system where women are experiencing homelessness at even higher risk than men and contracting the HIV/AIDS and Covid-19 Virus.  In that regards we initiated our street outreach initiative efforts for HIV/AIDS and Covid-19 prevention where we distributed on a weekly based to the community in need: Masks, hand sanitizers, face shields, and resources provided access to vaccination, testing, care, and treatment services provided through our referrals and partners.

If we can come together and utilized resources to create adequate infrastructure to carry out those interventions that have been successful here in America, we can address the HIV/AIDS and Covid-19 crisis in Africa and Globally.

When are you taking the outreach to the African continent for street outreach and awareness?

We are hoping to work with African countries very soon to raise the awareness of this virus, the risk, and protective factors, so we can prevent the spread and expand lifesaving tools information, and resources to those African countries that have been severely impacted by HIV/AIDS and Covid-19 virus.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urges leaders to play a vital role in their community combating the pandemic by sensitization and outreach; would you tell us what your organization has done in this regard?

Our organization has played a vital role in communities severely impacted by sensitization and outreach.

Women are supposed to be celebrated every day for their selfless contribution to the community but there is a low level of participation of women in politics, do you wish to contest in the future?

Carine Siltz Kapinga
Carine Siltz Kapinga

We see low levels of participation of women in politics over the years but the tide appears to have turned judging from the role of women now in the workforce and politics. I support these women political leader and their services to those populations in need and may consider running with God’s willingness to improve the lives of those affected or infected by HIV/AIDS and build better infrastructure to address the current crisis.

African ethnic groups and tribes have customs and traditions that are unique to their culture. What do you like about African Culture?

Of all the countries in the world, I find that African culture stands out; it is rich and very diverse as it is considered the motherland with strong characteristics in Arts, Languages, Traditions, and Culture.

African Development Magazine would like to partner African-Advocates Against-Aids for Sensitizing, educating, and orientating the Africans through our platform, would you support this development?

Yes. AAAA would support this development and welcome your organization as one of our partners.

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

The most amazing memory is Our World HIV/AIDS Day/Outreach Initiative where all of our participating CFOs and CBOs came together to serve the community

What advice would you give the younger ones?

We cannot disregard the needs of those we seek to serve, know that there are going to be challenged in life and though there may be great, there are not impossible. Don’t look for excuses or make excuses for failure to grow. “Take the bull by the horn, for you are the Bull” There are numerous entrepreneurship and opportunities to serve your community.  We believe this can be accomplished through: mentorship, training, education, information sharing, and available resources, however, sometimes, like a needle in a haystack” one must search and seek it out. If we can invest in our youth, truly we believe they are the future.

Thank you for sharing with us.

You are welcome.

ADM2022

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Interviews

My mission is to amplify the voices of vulnerable people- Seah Matilda Banga

The number of women leaders who are stepping forward as change agents that advocate for the assailable and voiceless in society increases across the world with landmark achievements in humanitarian activities.

Seah Matilda Banga a.k.a Sia Domingo is one of the leading women who uses her platform to advocate for important issues like human rights activities, education, women’s and youth empowerment, entrepreneurship, and civil society campaign for good governance among other injustices

As a role model, ambassador, leader, activist, and Ordained Pastor, Seah Matilda Banga has carved out a niche in the world with her captivating educational background and journey into humanitarian activities and leadership role which enable her to lead various organizations back in the home and in diaspora and worked on many humanitarian projects.

Seah Matilda Banga had an exclusive interview with ADEWALE ADENRELE, and shares her humanitarian experiences, her days as a refugee, her advocacy for change and democratic stability in Sierra Leone, her role as an electoral judge which enables her to know the importance of voting rights, justice, and fairness for citizens to have more engagement with government through voting and how she founded and manage her foundation and other investment like real estate.

Below are excerpt:

 Your profile is captivating, motivating and interesting; can you tell us briefly about yourself, your family and your educational background?

I am originally from Kono District (the land of diamonds), the Eastern Region of Sierra Leone in West Africa and currently living in the United States of America.

I attended the University of Sierra Leone, Institute of Public Administration and Management where I graduated with a background in Journalism,  I went back and added Public administration and computer studies to the package. I also attended the Haggai Institute of South Africa, Nairobi Peace Initiatives, and completed the Conflict Resolution and Peace mediation course. I acquired more diplomas from the Liberian Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, The Ghana Human Rights Commission.

In 2015, I was invited to participate in the Barak Obama Organizing for Action Expedited course for Community activist and Fellow program. I attended and graduated as a Fellow in 2016. I have since attended other programs in his institution in Chicago. After my Fellows program, I also became a Fellows Manager and was appointed Head of Chapter for the climate change and leadership in my county, Montgomery County, Maryland, from 2016-2018.

Seah Matilda Banga
Seah Matilda Banga

With the call of God upon my life, I attended the Omega Christian University in Louisiana, United States, and completed my doctoral at the Southern Wesleyan University.

While in Sierra Leone I was a civil activist and actively participated in human rights activities, women’s empowerment, and a civil society coordinator for the campaign for good governance. I was blessed to work for one of the best attorney’s offices in Sierra Leone, Betts and Berewa law firm for 12 years. Lawyer Berewa later became Attorney General of Sierra Leone as well as a presidential candidate. It was during my time there that I developed the inspiration to fight for the disadvantaged and developed my leadership skills. I became the founder and President of the Sierra Leone Legal Secretaries Association, the Secretary-general of the National Organization for Women (NOW) for over 5 years.

During the rebel war in Sierra Leone, I escaped to Guinea, Conakry where I was temporarily employed by the UNHCR to manage the refugee program. While serving as a refugee myself, I was approached to participate as one of the voices behind the pirate radio, Radio Democracy 981.FM with a mandate to organize programs, speak to bring back democracy to Serra Leone. I took on the alias Sia Domingo because it was a very sensitive time then. I was promoted to become the first Personal Assistant to the then President Alhaj Tejan Kabbah. I served only a short time and was invited to the United States by the USAID to participate in the Democratic Enhancement for Women program in Washington DC. After the course, I could not go back because there was another war in Sierra Leone. It was during that international visitor’s program that I was given honorary citizenship by the Mayo of Nebraska.

To continue my passion I started an organization called the Diaspora International Platform which is a tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Maryland in the United States of America. The idea was to bring together other African countries, advocate for change and democracy stability, so we can lend our voices to each other and support when needed.  There are currently about 15 countries in the organization.

I am the Founder of This Time Africa Media- a platform to hear the minds and achievements, contributions of Africans in the Diaspora and globally. The General Overseer of GAP Ministries- Destiny House in the United States, with partners in India, South Africa, Sierra Leone.

On the corporate level, I am also in property management, finding great apartment homes or other homes for people t0 meet their budget

What motivated you to start the Diaspora International Platform and what have been the aims and objectives?

Diaspora International Platform was created out of the need to bring together voices of Africans in the diaspora. It is important to learn from each other how we address similar issues and pick out lessons from other successful diaspora organizations.

D.I.P-Africa Aims to provide a platform, a hub where a unified team of Africans will share information about their communities and strengths, and redefine our sense of purpose as Africans living in the diaspora, to harness the power of our diversity

D.I.P-Africa creates the necessary relationship and impact so that All Agencies managing African Affairs can recognize our existence.

D.I.P-Africa serves as a bridge -Outsource and implementing between County and diaspora community-

As a Director of Operations and Host at This Time Africa Media, What have been the challenges and the success stories?

As you are aware there are general challenges that we in the media faced whether it is print or mass media. The life threats to people in the media, lack of transparency. As a new channel, people are always looking for already big names while we are also looking for big names that will make us big (Laughs and Laugh continues )

Data privacy- with the world of social media, people are concerned about their data privacy and lastly financial- challenge. However, the focus and vision are to continue and we will, despite a lot of these challenges we have received great success stories of Africans who have succeeded in creating great businesses and are business entrepreneurs making headlines, those living in abroad who have entered the political field, religious, art and music industry, etc., We have interviewed representatives in government and others in public or private industries and one of them is Africans greatest entertainer Kweku Amoako who runs the  Afropolitan cities. He was interviewed by BBC and This time Africa Media.

Women supposed to be celebrated every day for their selfless contribution to the community but there is low level of participation of women in politics, As Electoral Judge at MD State Board of Elections, do you wish to contest in the future?

This is a very interesting question and one that I have been asked several times.  I have been approached by people and I have had, and continue to have that conversation. I have passion and drive for change. Maybe I should not use the word change or I should say improvement. I believe that with my experience I am able to bring improvement to any government in my country. The idea of running for a seat or becoming a cabinet minister of some sort is something I toy and pray about daily.

Seah Matilda Banga with Amb of African Union, Arikana Chiombori

The primary thing is to look at it in a way of service. How can I serve my country with everything including knowledge and experience that God has helped me acquired. The proportion of women has to increase. I believe God gave some of us the opportunity to come overseas to improve ourselves.  Remember that I was in Sierra Leone before the war and during the war and made my contribution to society.

“So the impact is there and the memory of my service no matter how small lingers on. I want to say with all humility that Sierra Leone enjoys the peace it has today because of some of us. Seah Matilda Banga alias Sia Domingo) who sacrificed our lives for peace to return, and democracy to prevail”

Having served as an electoral judge for several years I have learned the importance of voting rights, justice, and fairness. I have also acquired the discipline of the sensitivity of voting and how it should be taken seriously. The numbers determine the choices of the people. When it is not handled correctly it overturns the desires of the popular vote.

You are the President at ONE CHILD IN NEED, what are the vision and mission of this great concept?

The 12 years of civil war in Sierra Leone left many women and children unprepared for the burden and responsibilities that came after the war. With absolutely nothing to start from, these young children are left with no alternative but to either prostitute or sell wares on the streets, or become beggars. It touched and continues to touch my heart to see this.

One child in need was born out of the need to help reach children and bring a smile to their faces but in particular children in the rural areas, the vision statement of One child is to change the community, at a time by each one reaching one child in need.

This year 2022 we shall focus more on this organization.

With your leadership role and vast experience working with international organizations, what are the needs in Africa? What will it take to build entrepreneurship and employment in Africa? And what are you trying to do to move the needle?

Firstly let me tap Africa on the back because we have made strides globally, there are improvements, achievements to show our journey to success, considering the fragmented economy, brainwash we inherited.

What we need is to have a new mindset that we are great and we are able to be independent and you can see it from what is going on today. Mali is redeeming itself. The idea of gaining independence from colonialism is not enough. We must sustain our independence by getting the right leader- this is a big term being used every day but if we have a compassionate leader one who has integrity and is accountable to his/her people.

One of the things I intend to do in my country is to start a patriotic campaign. I’m not sure you saw what happened at the African Cup of Nations (AFCON2021), but all of the Sierra Leoneans came together. If we place patriotism as a priority, I am not saying it will change immediately, but it will enhance change.

What am I doing to move the needle Is to make my voice heard in different quarters (I don’t even think I am doing enough) but this is top on my list this year.  I want to go back to working with the grassroots, training, advocacy, and leadership development.

African Development Magazine would like to be part of your team, partnering with international agencies and showcasing your activities, will you give us this chance to promote African continent?.

I think this will be a worthy cause. We should be in partnership to work together on issues that affect Africa and how we can contribute positively to bring a change. There are international organizations that will help us on the project.

African ethnic groups and tribes have customs and traditions that are unique to their culture. What do you like about African Culture?

I am a big believer in African Traditions and Culture. This is what makes us unique. From the clothes we wear, our accent, our respect for elders, to the depth of other traditions, I believe and love the culture and hope that our generation and generations after us can maintain the culture. Life is about identity. Our culture and tradition is our identity. I learned from school reading a literature book of Okonwo that he who brings kola brings life and I believe in the sharing. I miss the days when we all sat around the big tray and ate together. (Even though I was being bullied) but it was great it brought about love and unity.

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

Oh wow!!! One of the most unforgettable moments was my ordination. It was the icing to the cake of my book (in the making) from politics to pulpit making the demanding bridge between religion and politics.

Secondly, when the Ambassador of the African Union Arikana Chiombori received and honored us.  Just receiving that pin, recognizing what we do in community development gave me the chills.

What advice would you give the younger ones?

Pursue it until it happens. Be an example of good and stay positive. My experience is that for every level of leadership there is a challenge. Be strong enough in the time of storm and know it will pass do not give up.  Take God along with you in everything you do. Do not try to be someone else. Do not let the noise of the market drown your dream. Hold fast to your dream. Be part of the change.

Build relationships, build communities, build for change.

Thank you for sharing with African Development Magazine.

Thank you too. I appreciate so much.

ADM 2022

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Improving the world for future generations is my priority- Richard Collins

The most important role in marketing is that of the brand strategist. A good brand strategist can unify a company, influence a market, and architect and implement the brand experience that can directly affect the success of a company.

Richard Collins is the Founder, CEO, and Managing Director of CSR Accreditation, He’s an experienced brand strategist and creative whom have pursued a passion for helping companies in the public, private and third sector promote their brand reputation to create differentiation and improved audience engagement.

Collins established CSR Accreditation in 2018 and turns to be one of the leading UK-based company delivering a global standard for social responsibility, improving the world for future generations, and reducing the negative impact on the environment by building a better and cohesive society.

Collins is the Vice-President for the Bucks Chamber of Commerce Council, a member of the Society of Leadership Fellows, St George’s House, Windsor Castle, and a Trustee for Heart of Bucks – Community Foundation.

In this interview with ADEWALE ADENRELE, the CEO speaks about how CSR Accreditation has provided the perfect opportunity for positive stories and testimonies. How he helped organisations to promote their CSR and sustainability efforts as an integral part of their brand personality and reputations.

Below are excerpt:

What motivated you to start the CSR Accreditation?

I was involved with the Green Organisation from early on when a project I was involved in won a Green Apple award.

I was so impressed with what they were doing I have stayed involved until this very day. As a result we established the International CSR Excellence Awards. This led to a large regional business membership group to look at establishing an accreditation for social responsibility. I needed a new definition that was less fluffy at the edges and one that applied to all organisations across all sectors no matter how small or large. Social responsibility should be for everyone.

So I developed a standard that is supported by the CSR four pillars of environment, workplace, community and philanthropy. This provides a structure that will help an organisation plan and act responsibly. A standard that states for Social Responsibility should be for every organisation.

The ‘C’ needs to be more inclusive, ‘Corporate’ excludes a large number of stakeholders, specifically the third and public sectors, sole traders and small SME’s. For this reason we have defined the C to be more inclusive. To include companies, communities, charities, to allow for collaboration, we can then surround these meanings with a Caring, Cohesive approach Common to the wider Collective.

Social Responsibility allows you to enrich the quality of lives for all by investing in social value as an essential part of an organisations culture. This provides purpose and impact and will ensure a sustainable and profitable business. It will help to build a better world for future generations by improving the environment and ensuring a cohesive community to live and work in.

How important is CSR, ESG and SDGs to us and how do we create the right culture and mindset to drive change?

There is now no doubt about the impact of CSR on profitability for an organisation.  Social responsibility is a new profit centre. The future shape of business will be measured in both social and financial value.

The clear drivers for CSR can be seen in a return on social investment (ROSI) and a social return on investment (SROI). CSR now drives an organisations brand and business reputation and is a powerful emotional investment that has a positive impact on all stakeholders. It makes us feel good because it is about something good. It is also a way to add value and give greater purpose to our time beyond the job role and title. This is about staff engagement, improved productivity and mental health and wellbeing. Employees want to feel proud of the organisation they work for.

Being a responsible, sustainable business makes it easier to recruit new employees. There appears to be a change in mindset from those seeking employment for the first time. This may be about underpinning value for business in engaging with the next generation from a CSR perspective. In other words, an organisation that delivers social value. This is about lining up your values with those of the next generation, and there is the measurable operational costs savings and better financial performance by reducing resource use, waste and emissions, you can help the environment and save money too.

It also easier access to capital. Investors who are pouring money into companies want to know that their funds are being used properly. Not only does this mean that corporations must have sound business plans and budgets, but it also means that they should have a strong sense of corporate social responsibility. Investors care about corporate social responsibility and so should companies.

According to the London Stock Exchange Investors now routinely analyses information on CSR (ESG) performance to gain a better understanding of companies’ future prospects. 60% of assets managed for EU investors incorporate sustainable investment strategies.  It is now common place to be scored on your CSR performance when tendering for both public and private projects. Already one out of three local authorities insist on evidenced CSR as part of the tendering process.

CSR is about the future: discovering your sustainable and profitable potential and achieving it

Customers want to trust organisations they engage with. Employees want to work for values-driven employers and investors want to know that a company is addressing its ethical responsibility. But it is also about delivering social value, and investment in something much bigger than the organisation. It will help with clarity about want you want to get out of business and from your life. It becomes a road map for delivering greater purpose and value to all stakeholders.

So, ask yourself what is the cost of not being socially responsible? Increased absenteeism, retraining, poor engagement, lost social capital, losing tenders, poor reputation, dropped from the supply chain, not attracting new talent and a high risk investment.  Can you afford not to be a socially responsible organisation?  NO!

What is CSR Accreditation?

The CSR Accreditation provides independent recognition of organisations socially responsible activities.

A CSR Accreditation provides a structure that can help an organisation plan and act responsibly – Social Responsibility – driving forward successful businesses. The CSR Accreditation is an effective way to benchmark what you are already doing with regard to social responsibility. It is a process in which you collate measure and report on your organisation’s socially responsible activities.

This is a fully holistic and inclusive approach that allows for all organisations – private, public and third sector and is for all sizes from sole traders to large corporations. It employs a white paper approach that promotes an organisation’s individuality. The application process provides a simple and straightforward template where you record activity against the Social Responsibility ‘Four Pillars’ of environment, workplace, community and philanthropy. Each Social Responsibility Pillar is designed to help you impact report on areas such as energy performance, recycling, staff engagement, health and well-being, community engagement and support for local and national charities.

The Accreditation application is independently assessed and depends on supporting evidence to back up CSR activity outcome and impacts.

Why get CSR Accreditation?

CSR Accreditation is a powerful way to communicate these positive actions to all stakeholders. Achieving CSR Accreditation is a visible testimony of excellence in Social Responsibility.

  • The accreditation helps you integrate social, environmental, ethical, human rights and consumer concerns into your business operations and strategy.
  • An accreditation will also provide you with a roadmap for planning future activity.
  • A CSR Accreditation can be used to:
  • Deliver the information required for ESG (Environmental Social Governance) reporting
  • Identify the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) which you may wish to support.
  • Write a Social Value policy
  • Reduce negative impact on climate change – Race to Zero
  • Produce a Social Impact Report.
  • Enrich, enable and engage employees, shareholders and stakeholders.

When you have achieved a bronze, silver or gold accreditation you can use the mark to show all audiences that you have been independently recognised and validated for your CSR commitments.

CSR Accreditation Arabia website and portal was recently launched for Middle East and North Africa countries and what is motivation and the feedback?

We have seen a significant uptake in interest in CSR in the region. We have partners in the Gulf States and Egypt and can see subjects like ESG and the United Nations SDG’s becoming headline topics.

The concept of CSR is truly a global phenomenon especially with regard to supply chain, environment and human rights. CSR Arabia has come at a perfect time to allow organisations of all sizes engage in a meaningful way with this topic.

The feedback has been overwhelming with our regional partners and their audiences. It allows organisations to share impact and evidence in Arabic to support their applications and most importantly provides access to independent validation.

What advice would you give the younger ones and prospective students?

To be honest we should be taking advise from the younger generation.  There appears to be a change in mindset from those seeking employment for the first time. This may be about underpinning value for business in engaging with the next generation from a CSR perspective.

Bucks New University indicated that Over 70% of students actively look for an organisations CSR policy before accepting a job offer or applying for a job.

Furthermore, that their careers platform showed for the first time that the “average” student would rather explore work in the public or charitable sector rather than banking or law.

In other words, an organisation that delivers social value. This is about lining up your values with those of the next generation.

I would advise these younger generations to show that they are the true enablers for delivering meaningful socially responsible and sustainable initiatives. To find out how they can inspire and influence an organisation to do good.

To show that the future shape or business will be measured in social value as well as financial value. That their generation will be making purchasing, recruitment and loyalty decisions based on the moral and ethical behaviour of the organisations they engage with.

Thank you for sharing with African Development Magazine.

Thank you too. I appreciate so much.

ADM 2022

 

 

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Imperial-Majesty Empress Elham Madani Reveals How She Became A Powerful Modern Queen of Humanitarians

In this Interview with African Development Magazine, Her Imperial Majesty, Dr. Elham Madani speaks about her life journey and experience during the war.  She also discussed her plan in unifying royal houses across the globe, service to humanity, women’s empowerment, engaging youths through art, culture, and tourism, and her lead role as “Princess” in the coming movie titled “Legends of Africa”.

Below are excerpts:

Can you tell us briefly about yourself, your family?

Thank you so much. I am the only child of medical physician parents and was raised to be very independent to rely on myself but during the war, I lost my mother and home and it is the reason that caused me a lot of emotional pain and trauma because my father had to take care many wounded patients in the war. I was facing and feeling a lot of pain from the people around me and that caused me to be different. Elham since my childhood as known from Elham to Empress Elham. I passed through tremendous difficult journeys and of course, the spiritual line of the God calling causes me to be very different in a positive way.

I was supposed to be a medical doctor but then I decided to be the eyes and vision of the people that suffered during the war in order to protect them. I chose to be the mental doctor to heal the spirits and I became the professor and a spiritual Queen.

You are the founder & CEO, WIND International Film Festival, Mighty Vision Pictures, INC, and World Cinema Academy, what are the motivation, vision, and mission of this great concept?

To save the world through art and culture, bring peace through creativity, to make people busy in their own self-power. Instead of destroying, we are building with the colour of their beautiful dimensional creative spirit.

Queen Elham Madani

You are popularly known as the‘’ Empire of Madani” can you tell us the secret behind it?

The way that Yoruba is Yoruba today. Madani is and shall be Madanis forever to come. My old Madani royal from Madani’s dynasty served the world thousands of years ago with dignity and hardworking, they were the highest educated in their society, to advance humanity and we shall be the same. I am hoping to see true Madani’s in the world through being connected to the Empire of Madani to build things right altogether.

It’s not a one-way road, you bring things, we build you and  use generation grow. It’s like that.

Promoting culture has been your priority, what motivated you into this?

To bring heal the people and to communicate to the world together through the art and beauty of God. The world is a gift to us and I try to let people be united by using their voices and visions through art, culture, and creative aspects. Though it consists of good and bad things but if we create more good things, we can create a weapon against the dark side of it that is why I celebrate and use this artistic weapon to unite the works with peace with love.

What do you like about African culture?

African spirituality path history mystery and historical roots and colourful traditional aspects of it

How many languages can you speak fluently?

English, Farsi, Arabic, Hindi, Urdu

Have you ever met with any Yoruba Monarch before, if yes, how would you describe Alaafin of Oyo and Ooni of Ife?

Although, I have not met him but through video conference and webinars, of course, Ooni of Ife is one of our imperial patrons of the Empire of Madani but a worldwide humanitarian role father and the traditional king which is being recognized many times through my royal awards since few years.

Alaafin of Oyo is our other great example a true powerful Monarch, highly cerebral who believe in education as Madani royal dynasty. We wish our Ambassadors and students to celebrate them through us and I have outstanding great news I shall tell in your next video interview about Empire of Madani and world Cinema Academy there

Do you believe in Yoruba culture, tradition, and heritage?

Of course yes, otherwise I would not serve my past 8 years, being in Hollywood and learning Yoruba, well it’s not easy it seems that you are president of a country but promoting another country.  (LAUGHS)

Are you a spiritual person?

Obviously! Do you think big things can be happening if we are not connected to the source?

How would you promote culture and tourism in your empire?

A lot of possible ways through the movie field, for example at my World Cinema Academy or Empire of Madani. Umbrella of many organizations collaborated with us, which is like a mother source for learners to know many possible ways to be connected the source of knowledge in acting, cinematography, modeling, directing, producing, and scriptwriting.

I am a co-Producer and co-director plus being the main lead actress of this epic adventurous historical feature movie that has about 20,000 casts and crew in few seasons the aim to make. The first part that is called the legend of Africa ( the land of bows) is going to be shot around early November 2021 in Delta state of Nigeria.

It is my privilege to come to Africa for the first time and associate with great movie makers Celebrities Royal House and Elites by adding value to African history through the Empire of Madani’s and World Cinema Academy …
I have faith this project will be amazing and invite many celebrities and investors to involve
Meanwhile, I am going to shoot a Feature a Documentary about the areas that I am going to visit Royal Kingdoms and what they want the World to know that can be Mainly the importance of the relation of traditional rulers with the people and the power of spirituality in unity in the world

L-R: Queen Elham Madani anchoring a show

These studies help them to build their own life, It’s not acting for the sake of acting but it’s acting for the sake of saving their lives from the slavery of their solo spirit in order to expand them to be a multi-directional and best possible version of what they can be about. So it’s not Acting but it’s making the person a true self, as stronger to be a depth in full spirit to understand themselves, to know themselves and the society knowing the character of each person in the movie allow them a pattern norm for many to learn from them.

African Development Magazine would like to be part of your team, and showcasing your activities, will you give us this chance, and what will be your commitment?

Definitely YES! Perhaps you know I am so picky and you’re going to be given a lot of commitment and tasks. I hope you can do that. I hope so yes!

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

I have a lot, which one, spiritual ones or physical ones? By this God-calling responsibility as the Empress and a guru on my way, I move forward and have forwarded many to their success.

I passed tremendous difficult trials that are almost not possible for human beings, I did not lose my hope and never quit, which made me very strong and be the fearless Queen that people call “Queens of all warriors” or  Empress to Impress or Phoenix Empress.

That is the power of spirituality I enjoy assisting others indeed to be the same way and I get things done even no one is with me because I know I have God and I go forward.

My Techniques in teaching actors as a director is I make them to know themselves better and get the depth of personality of the characters easier therefore they’re not going to act for the sake of acting they change themselves to be the character that is of course very hard but will give the steps to the character to be connected with the viewers

What advice would you give the younger ones?

To believe in their real self, do not relent. Use the mentorship of their chosen mentors

Thank you for sharing with us.

Thank you too. We want Success for all.  It’s great for all to join us. Thank you once again African Development Magazine. We are connected to God. Be the one to serve and build the nation with love www.empireofmadani.org

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African spiritualization, culture and traditions are my ancestral linkages – Dr. Akil Kokayi Khalfani

Dr. Akil Kokayi Khalfani, is a Change Agent, Motivational Speaker, Author, and Professor and Pan African Diaspora Ambassador to His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ooni of Ile Ife.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, and raised up to the fifth grade in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Dr. Khalfani spent most of his adolescence in Los Angeles, California where he learned the foundations of family values and hard work from his parents, grandparents, and large extended family.

As a first generation college student, he was dedicated to seeking the truth about the African global experience, and breaking down barriers and creating opportunities for others, which he did as a radio host at KZSC and a newsmagazine editor.  Unbeknownst to him, he was following in the footstep of his Great Grandfather and his three brothers, who were doctors and educators.

Dr. Khalfani did not learn of them until after he had begun writing his dissertation.   As part of his academic journey, he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. However, he refers to his BS degree as a Blood Shed degree because of the thousands of Africans in America who died to provide him with the opportunity to thrive.

He subsequently earned his Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania, from which he also earned a Graduate Certificate in African Studies. While at Penn, he became a Fontaine Fellow and an International Pre-dissertation Fellow through the Social Science Research Foundation.  During the latter he studied isiZulu, Afrikaans, and southern African history and culture at the University of Pretoria in South Africa.  His academic areas of expertise are Africana Studies, race relations, social stratification, and developing solutions to social problems.

In this exclusive interview with Adewale Adenrele of African Development Magazine, Dr. Khalfani speaks about his political journey, African spiritualism, Leadership challenges and plans for his constituents.

Below are excerpts:

 

 Can you tell us briefly about yourself?

My name is Akil Kokayi Khalfani. Which means, intelligent, one who uses reason to summons the people who are destined to rule. When someone calls my name, it reminds me of the role and responsibility that I must play in my community. I am a man of the people, an author, professor, motivational speaker, father, and husband. I am a candidate for U.S. Congress representing New Jersey’s 10th congressional district. I earned a Ph.D. and Masters in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania, and a bachelor’s from the University of California, Santa Cruz. I studied in South Africa at the University of Pretoria. My academic areas of expertise are, social stratification, developing solutions to social problems, Africana Studies, and race relations. I am currently the Director for the Center for Global Education and Experiences, Director of the Africana Institute and Associate Professor of Sociology at Essex County College.

I recently founded Vote-ED, a nonprofit organization dedicated to voter education and registration.  I am the Pan African Diaspora Ambassador to the Ooni of Ile Ife. I am the author of, The Hidden Debate: The Truth Revealed about the Battle over Affirmative Action in South Africa and the United States, which was nominated for the Oliver Cromwell Cox Award of the American Sociological Association (ASA). I have contributed to several books including the W.E.B. Du Bois Encyclopedia and White Logic, White Methods, Racism and Methodology, which won the ASA’s 2009 Oliver Cromwell Cox Award.

 What are your major responsibilities as an Advisor to the UNESCO Center for Global Education, how have you impacted your position on populace?

I formerly served as an Advisor to the UNESCO Center for Global Education.  We organized events to address educational challenges around the world.

 What have been the most challenging and the most rewarding aspects of leadership for you?

The greatest challenges are the resistance to liberty, equality, and justice around the globe, particularly as it relates to people of African descent.  As I wrote in The Hidden Debate, we must develop a new holistic analysis to the problems of the world, while simultaneously developing a holistic approach to the solutions of these various social problems. Often policymakers and scholars, although well meaning, only address the surface of the problems of the day and never get to the true core of our various challenges. The core of these problems, I argue, rest at divergent interpretations of liberty equality and justice. Thereby, suggesting that what one experiences in the name of liberty equality and justice is also divergent because we are not operating on the “sup posit” universal meanings of these precepts.

My rewards are not individual. Success or rewards come in the form of collective achievement of agreed upon goals and objectives. That is, we must focus on outcomes and not just access to the possibility of social transformation. So, the answer is not just equality, equity, or justice, it is the synergistic achievement of these precepts that are symbiotic in nature. The achievement of equity, for instance, is often believed or at least spoken about in isolation of justice or freedom, which is not possible.

Contribution and call for promoting humanity service, peace and unity, equity and justice has been your priorities, who influenced you and why do you choose this path?

I have been influenced greatly by our African ancestors, my parents, and grandparents.  The legacies of Harriet Tubman, Kwame Nkrumah, Malcolm X, Toussaint L’Overture, Imhotep, Oduduwa, and others.

The generational trauma, pain and suffering of the people in our community, as well as the great potential and opportunities for our community compel me to push and to push hard. As Frederick Douglass said, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”

You are a Candidate for US Congress for New Jersey’s 10th district; Share with us your journey into politics?

This is my second time running for U.S. Congress. I am pushing along with my constituents for greater representation for New Jersey and the 10th district. Many people in the district do not feel as though their voices are heard, so I am striving to be the voice of the voiceless.

 You were extremely disappointed with your representation in Congress; can you tell us what you will do differently if given an opportunity?

As mentioned above, I will be the voice of the voiceless. I will hold regular town hall meetings for constituents in the district. I will fight to bring more financial resources from Washington DC into the district. I will work to clean up the environment in New Jersey where many people experience environmental discrimination and pollution because their communities are near various polluting systems or corporations.

READ ALSO: https://africandevmag.net/2021/05/17/interview-nikki-spooner-american-born-nollywood-actress-embraces-yoruba-language-culture/

I am a strong advocate for reparations for African Americans. My position is that the discussion on reparations in the United States needs to be tied to the long discussion of reparations for people of African dissent around the world as a result of colonialism and slavery.

 President Joe Biden is the president of the United States, Do you believe in his vision and policies?

This is a very broad question. I believe that Biden like any president has some things right and other things that need to be counterbalanced. As a member of Congress, it would be my responsibility to both draft legislation and to serve as a balance in this regard, especially where the constituents of the 10th district are represented, but also on national and global matters.

It seems you have an ancestral link or bloodline with Africans, tell us about Juneteenth celebration?

I am African. So, my ancestral linkages are with the motherland and her people and traditions.

Juneteenth is a recognition of the delayed emancipation of enslaved Africans from the vestiges of forced servitude and torture by European Americans and the American system of governance. A group of Africans in Texas, who had been freed at the same time as all others when slavery ended in the United states in 1868, were not aware of their freedom more than two years after their actual emancipation. This celebration of Juneteenth is a contrast in part, to July the 4th.

This is important because July the 4th is when independence is celebrated in the United states. However, it was again Frederick Douglass who so eloquently said, “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim.” Douglass’s point was that why should African people celebrate the 4th of July when the vast majority were still enslaved. Many African Americans still reflect upon this important point today. Juneteenth, however, then is an opportunity for African Americans to reflect upon their formal liberation from physical bondage, but as slavery ended a new form of servitude immediately followed in the form of sharecropping and convict leasing. These atrocities continued the subjugation of people of African descent in the United States albeit in a different format.

 African Development Magazine would like to be part of your team reporting your activities; would you consider partnering with us and what will be your commitment to ADM?

We will be glad to work with the African Development Magazine.

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

The birth of my children are always amazing memories for me. Also returning home to the motherland in 1994 was an amazing journey, as well as living in South Africa in 1995. There are so many others, but I will say that I am blessed to have had the opportunity to travel widely and appreciative of the foundation laid by my parents whose sacrifices made all that I do today possible. Modupe!

 What advice would you give the younger ones?

Keep pushing forward and let no one or nothing stop you on the path to your personal and collective liberation and upliftment. We must practice Ubuntu, Maat, and Iwa Pele.  Share what you know and always strive to know more.  Finally, bring someone along with you on the journey to upliftment and transformation of our people around the world.

Ase! Ase! Ase ooo!

 

ADM2021

 

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