Connect with us


Senegal’s Museum of Black Civilizations is open, asking the West to return stolen treasures



Museum of Black Civilisations building is seen from the road, a beige circular building with a multi-storey glass entrance.

Photo: China brought the idea into reality, injecting $48.1 million into construction. (Musée Des Civilisations noires)

As visitors walk through the Musée des Civilisations noires (Museum of Black Civilisations) in Senegal during its first month, global conversations around looted artifact repatriation are certain to continue.

The West African nation’s culture minister isn’t shy: He wants the thousands of pieces of cherished heritage taken from the continent over the centuries to come home.

'It's entirely logical that Africans should get back their artworks' - Abdou Latif Coulibaly Click To Tweet

“These works were taken in conditions that were perhaps legitimate at the time but illegitimate today.”

Last month, a report commissioned by French President Emmanuel Macron recommended that French museums give back works taken without consent, if African countries request them.

Mr Macron has stressed the 'undeniable crimes of European colonization,' adding that 'I cannot accept that a large part of African heritage is in France.' Click To Tweet

The new museum in Dakar is the latest sign that welcoming spaces across the continent are being prepared, this one placing a focus on Africa and its diaspora.

An injection of $48.1 million from China tipped the idea into conception after the decades of inaction.

The idea was conceived when Senegal’s first president, internationally acclaimed poet Leopold Sedar Senghor, hosted the World Black Festival of Arts in 1966.

At the museum’s opening, sculptors from Los Angeles, singers from Cameroon and professors from Europe and the Americas came to celebrate, some in tears.

“This moment is historic,” Senegalese President Macky Sall said. “It is part of the continuity of history.”

The inaugural exhibition looks beyond colonization

Visitors view various artworks in the shape of poles at varying heights at the Museum of Black Civilisation.

PHOTO: The museum doesn’t have a permanent collection, loaning works primarily housed in Europe. (Musée Des Civilisations noires)

Perhaps reflecting the tenuous hold that African nations still have on their own legacy objects, the museum will not have a permanent collection.

Filling the 148,000-square-foot circular structure, one of the largest of its kind on the continent, is complicated by the fact that countless artifacts have been dispersed around the world.

Both the inaugural exhibition, “African Civilisations: Continuous Creation of Humanity,” and the museum’s curator take a far longer view than the recent centuries of colonization and turmoil.

Current works highlight the continent as the “cradle of civilization” and the echoes found among millions of people in the diaspora today.

“Colonisation? That’s just two centuries,” curator Hamady Bocoum said, saying that proof of African civilization is at least 7,000 years old, referencing a skull discovered in present-day Chad.

Like others, Mr Bocoum is eager to see artifacts return for good.

An exhibition space shows three mannequins wearing traditional African textiles.

Photo: About 5,000 items in Paris’s Quai Branly museum come from Senegal. (AP: Amelia Nierenberg)

The exhibition includes 50 pieces on loan from France, including more than a dozen from the Quai Branly museum in Paris.

More than 5,000 pieces in the Quai Branly come from Senegal alone, Mr Bocoum said.

Facebook Comments


Idris Elba, Adwoa Aboah And Lupita Nyongo Are Some Of The African Celebrities Who Stunned At The 2019 Met Gala



When we hear about the Met Gala, we expect celebrities to be over the top with their outfits and this year was no different. Each year there is a theme that influences and inspires the style we see on the red carpet. This year, the theme was “camp“, which as Wikipedia puts it “is an aesthetic style and sensibility that regards something as appealing because of its bad taste and ironic value.”

It is no surprise that many celebrities were able to pull it off with grandiose flair and why not? This, after all, is a gala that marries art and fashion. So let’s look at how our African celebrities fared on the red carpet.

Lupita Nyong’o wearing Versace at 2019 Met Gala

Lupita never disappoints at the Met Gala. We think her outfit tops the list. She was art itself on the red carpet. She had us at the gold Afro combs. She is the very idea of “camp” on this list.

Lupita Nyong’o (Kenyan-Mexican)

French Montana at 2019 Met Gala

One look at French Montana and all we could think about was Sheik Montana. It only makes sense to honour Ramadan at an event like the Met Gala. We like the Afrocentric touches of this look.

French Montana (Moroccan-American)

Idris Elba and wife Sabrina Dhowre wearing Versace at 2019 Met Gala

Newlywed Mr “dapper” himself with his belle was all kinds of wow on the red carpet. The duo were a treat to watch on the red carpet.

Idris Elba (Ghanian-British) and wife Sabrina Dhowre (Somali-American)

Imaan Hammam wearing Dundas at 2019 Met Gala

Imaan Hammam went a little retro with her look and pulled it off as only she could.

Imaan Hammam (Moroccan-Dutch)

Adut Akech wearing Valentino Haute Couture and Pierpaolo Piccioli at 2019 Met Gala

Adut is a stunner. We just love the eyes … ohhhh so mysterious.

Adut Akech (South Sudanese-Australian)

Adwoa Aboah at 2019 Met Gala

Adwoa was regal in her simplicity. She wore the leopard. But was not the highlight of her look. She caught our attention with her stunning hairpiece. We just looove the concept of it all.

Adwoa Aboah (Ghanian-British)

Let’s take a closer look. Ahhh yes, we love it even more. There is something innocent and yet intriguing in her look.

Rami Malek wearing Saint Laurent at 2019 Met Gala

Ramik caught our eye with his interesting shirt. And just when we thought it was the highlight of his look, our eyes hit the shoes … you can’t miss those shoes.

Rami Malek (Egyptian American)

Danai Gurira wearing Gabriela Hearst at 2019 Met Gala

Awww go Danai.  Cornrows, beads, top hat and walking stick to boot. We love it all.

Danai Gurira (Zimbabwean-American)

Let’s get a little up close and personal with Danai. We certainly love that she rocked a naturalista hair do.

Trevor Noah at 2019 Met Gala

Ok, we get it. Someone had to represent Mr “ordinary” and Trevor tried to BUT as usual, he couldn’t miss a chance at a little punch with the look so he just had to express himself with his Tshirt. No hard feelings Trevor. With so much art in outfits, one person had to represent the ordinary guy and no one could have pulled it off better than the South African comedian.

Trevor Noah (South African)

Tiffany Haddish in Michael Kors at 2019 Met Gala

Hey hey hey, Tiffany Haddish looks like she just came back from running with the zebras. The actress pulled it off too with hat and matching purse to boot.

Tiffany Haddish (Eritrean-American)

Chiwetel Ejiofor and Frances Aaternir at 2019 Met Gala

Chiwetel was going for one thing as he told Esquire. His was the “unpretentious” look and we loved every bit of it.

Chiwetel Ejiofor (Nigerian-British) and Frances Aaternir (Ghanaian-Australian)

Whose look did you like the best on the red carpet? Drop a comment and let us know.

Facebook Comments

Continue Reading


Ten-Year Old Kenyan Artist Impresses Ugandan President With Portrait



Ten-year-old Kenyan artist, Sheila Sheldone Charles first met President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda in March during his 2-day visit to Kenya. Consequently, President Museveni invited her and her mother to Uganda. The ten-year-old genius described the first meeting as a wish come true. During the meeting, Sheila presented President Museveni a portrait she made for him.

Sheila Sheldone gives Ugandan President Personal a Portrait

Following the meeting, President Museveni invited her to Uganda. A few weeks ago, Sheila was in Uganda at President Museveni’s hometown, precisely Rwakitura farm in Western Uganda. President Museveni confirmed he had invited the ten-year-old to Uganda. The president’s message through a Facebook post read,

“My mwizikulu (granddaughter) from Mombasa, Sheila Sheldon Charles, visited me in Rwakitura with her mother as we agreed she would when I met her during my recent state visit to Kenya. Her mother told me she was born at 8 pm, therefore the Luo name we agreed to give her is Atieno. [Consequently] I thank President Uhuru Kenyatta for supporting her education that her parents were unable to. Talent of whatever form should be nurtured alongside formal education. I thank her for the gifts she brought me.”

Sheila Sheldone presents a rare portrait to President Museveni

Sheila Sheldone gives president Museveni a portrait

While at President Museveni’s hometown, Sheila Sheldone presents him another portrait. Accompanying Sheila Sheldone to present the portraits are her mother and Kenya Police Service’ Sergeant Vivian Otieno. When Sheila met President Museveni the first time on March 27 at the Nyali Golf Residence (NGVR), she presented him a portrait of himself. However, this time it was a portrait of the president and the First Lady, Janet. She also presented him with a portrait of a lion.


Sheila Sheldone, her mum, and sergeant Vivian

Sheila Sheldone is a grade five pupil at Light International School. However, she is currently studying on a Presidential Scholarship courtesy of President Uhuru Kenyatta. The president awarded her the scholarship after her display of artistic prowess.

Achievements and awards

Sheila Sheldone started drawing at the age of five. However, her paintings have attracted local and international admiration. According to the multi-talented artist, her favorite painting is the portrait of the lion. Sheila Sheldone is also a dancer, poet, model, and designer. Some of her prominent paintings are Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and Martin Luther King. In a BBC documentary, she said,

“I started drawing when I was five years old. My favorite drawing is the lion. Most tourists come to Kenya to see lions. I draw women because they suffer a lot. Like my mum, she has been suffering.”

Last year, Sheila Sheldone was invited by Tese Foundation to teach a painting class in California USA. Consequently, she received the ‘Tese Foundation Youngest Lioness Award’. The young lad has also featured in local and international media.

Facebook Comments

Continue Reading


Three Rwanda Genocide Survivors Inspire Next Generation Of Camera Kids



Three genocide survivors inspire kids with photography

The 1994 genocide in Rwanda led to the death of about 500,000 to 1,000,000 Tutsis. However, 25 years on, some of the genocide survivors are making a difference using the art of photography. Mussa Uwitonze, Gadi Habumugisha, and Jean Bizimana lost their parents during the genocide. While at the Imbabazi Orphanage in 2000, they were introduced to photography at ages eight and nine when nonprofit, Through the Eyes of Children, partnered with the orphanage.

Today the trio are working as professional photographers. Bizimana is a photojournalist with Reuters Africa while Uwitonze and Habumugisha are documentary photographers. In the past few months, the trio are exploring Rwanda, interviewing genocide perpetrator and survivors to document the forgiveness so far.

Mussa Uwitonze

A Twist Of Fate For This Genocide Survivors

The fate of the trio changed when a photographer visited the country. Each time he took pictures children will flock around in excitement to see. So the photographer was curious at the type of pictures the children would take if given the opportunity. Explaining their unlikely twist of fate, Habumugisha said,

Gadi Habumugisha

“He came to our orphanage and chose a group of 19 out the 100 kids, taught us some basics of photography and gave us disposable cameras. We went out to the community to take pictures and what surprised him is that the images we took were images of life and development of Rwanda.”

Soon after, the project leaders began promoting their pictures around the neighborhood, museums, universities, and Kigali. However, their works got the attention of international photographers because they took rare images. This was because they were part of the community, therefore free to take pictures foreigners couldn’t.

Early Years In Photography

After the close of the orphanage, the three became professional photographers. They began documenting activities at conferences and non-profit organizations. Consequently, they also decided to share their photography skills for the benefit of other kids. The trio are taking the Through the Eyes of Children project global by teaching other vulnerable children and genocide survivors around the world photography.

Jean Bizimana

The trio have shared their skills with young refugees in Boston and New Jersey. They have also reached out to children in foster homes as well as disabled students and genocide survivors. Reacting to their expanded Through the Eyes of Children project, Habumugisha said,

“Photography changed our lives because people got to learn about Rwanda through photography and they gave donations to the orphanage. Also, people appreciating our photos gave us hope that even though we were orphans, we had value in society and so we [want] to pass it forward to children in formidable states, so we came up with some workshops to teach children in school and later thought of going beyond to help vulnerable children so photography could help them too.”

Future Projects

The trio is now GroundTruth Film Fellows working on a documentary titled ‘Camera Kids’. Their amazing story will be part of the feature-length film. They are looking forward to opening a photography training center to give young people (including genocide survivors) the chance of making a decent livelihood.

Facebook Comments

Continue Reading

Popular Posts