Dandara: A Great Black Woman That Made History

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Dandara, the great fighter.

It’s our responsibility to dig out great stories of black history. Many are racists because of your colour black, but during the First and Second World Wars, White soldiers painted their faces black to avoid detection by enemies. Many blacks survived because enemies hardly had a glimpse at them. This is short story of one of the greatest black women fighters in black history.

Dandara was an Afro-Brazilian Woman, Warrior who lived in the 1600s. She was co-founder of Palmares, a run-away slave community (quilombo) that thrived for almost a century.

Bravely she fought alongside Zumbi and others defending the freedom of her people and her community. Palmares was eventually overthrown by Dutch and Portuguese colonizers, but rather than return to slavery, Dandara took her own life as an act of resistance.

The Mysterious Sandwich Thief

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In Europe and America, an innocent black man likely becomes a suspect because of the colour of his skin. At the premises of the industrial cleaning company, are workers from various countries, including Africans. For almost three months, the company we were working for, takes us to another industrial company in the district of Antwerp, called FABRICOM, to work there.

Fabricom is a construction company occupying a very large terrace. The company installs and maintains electricity installations, video surveillance, heating etc. Like the officials, the industrial workers also used containers as offices, toilets and dining hall.

The work at Fabricom was very heavy, thus; among hardworking operational staff, we do eight hours per day and most of the time, I drive a forklift. At 12 P.M, we have our lunch break. It was launch time we detected that some of the workers’ launch box had gone missing.

To work very hard and to find out that your lunch box is missing or stolen, is an issue too tough to handle. This didn’t happen once or twice but daily. Action speaks louder than words. Being Africans among white workers, all eyes were on us as the suspect, even though we weren’t accused of any theft.

At the dining hall, the atmosphere becomes tense, when on the fifth day of the week, one of the workers finds his food stolen again. This time, the management decides to do something about it. They secretly started their investigations, creating undetected hideout aiming to catch the person responsible for this theft red-handed.

The following week, about a quarter to noonday, a mysterious man emerged into the quiet dining hall, looking for a meal to steal. After tasting a number of meals, he finds a delicious one and he took it. As he tries to walk out he was intercepted.

Shockingly, out of over hundreds of workers at the company, the mysterious thief appeared to be one of our colleagues from Portugal. He was interrogated but the company didn’t call the police. Instead, they informed the boss of our company of what has happened.

Fabricom wouldn’t like to see the thief at the company’s premises again, so the company I was serving sent the Portuguese to another place to work. Sometimes it’s very hard to be judged wrongly because of the colour of your skin, but that shouldn’t prevent us to build a good relationship, with our neighbours, colleagues and our bosses.

King Leopold: The Butcher Of Congo

New African News Magazine’s editor, Baffour Ankomah reviews author Hochschild’s King Leopold’s Ghost. 

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Only 90 years ago, the agents of King Leopold II of Belgium massacred 10 million Africans in the Congo. Cutting off hands as we see in Sierra Leone today, was very much part of Leopold’s repertoire. Today, Leopold’s “rubber terror” has all been swept under the carpet. Adam Hochschild calls it “the great forgetting” in his brilliant new book, King Leopold’s Ghost, recently published by Macmillan. This is a story of greed, exploitation and brutality that Africa and the world must not forget.

This story is actually best understood when told in reverse order. Leopold never set foot in “his” Congo Free State – for all the 23 years (1885-1908) he ruled what Hochschild calls “the world’s only colony claimed by one man”.

It was a vast territory which “if superimposed on the map of Europe”, says Hochschild, “would stretch from Zurich to Moscow to central Turkey. It was bigger than England, France, Germany, Spain and Italy combined. Although mostly rainforest and savannah, it also embraced volcanic hills and mountains covered by snow and glaciers, some of whose peaks reached higher than the Alps.”

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King Leopold’s crime in images.

Leopold’s “rubber terror” raised a lot of hairs in Britain, America and continental Europe (particularly between the years 1900-1908). But while they were condemning Leopold’s barbarity, his accusers were committing much the same atrocities against Africans elsewhere on the continent.

Hochschild tells it better: “True, with a population loss estimated at 10 million people, what happened in the Congo could reasonably be called the most murderous part of the European Scramble for Africa. But that is so only if you look at sub-Saharan Africa as the arbitrary checkerboard formed by colonial boundaries.

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Holding hacked off wrists, brutality by King Leopold.

“With a decade of [Leopold’s] head start [in the Congo], similar forced labour systems for extracting rubber were in place in the French territories west and north of the Congo River, in Portuguese-ruled Angola, and in the nearby Cameroon under the Germans.

Joel Savage: The First African Journalist To Investigate The High Death Rate Of Africans In Antwerp’s Notorious Stuivenberg Hospital

https://joelsavage1.wordpress.com/2015/02/04/joel-savage-the-first-african-journalist-to-investigate-the-high-death-rate-of-africans-in-antwerps-notorious-stuivenberg-hospital/