Deng Adut never dreamed he would have a positive future, let alone be named the New South Wales (NSW) Australian of the year.
Kidnapped as a child and forced into military service, Adut’s first tour duty was at age 9 when he was expected to kill or be killed. He fought in some battles and eventually escaped to Kenya with the help of his half brother John. He later made his way to Sydney at age 14 via a UN refugee camp in Kenya. There, he taught himself to read, put himself through university and today he owns a law firm in Western Sydney.
While he uses his law degree to help others during the day, at night, the nightmares of his past still haunt him. “He crashed on the couch recently at my place,” says Joe Correy, Adut’s partner in the AC Law Group, which they co-founded in 2014. “I woke up to a sound I thought was a woman, but it was him screaming.”
The 33-year-old refugee and criminal lawyer shed tears as he received the top honor from the NSW premier, Mike Baird, at a ceremony in Sydney. He said he was beyond surprised.
“I don’t think I deserve to be in the spotlight because there are people here, like me, that came from South Sudan and have done well in Australia. But they chose me for a reason. For my involvement in the community and for my cause; a cause for education, a cause to make a change,” Adut told The Huffington Post Australia in October.
The award tops off a massive year for Adut whose memoire, Songs of a War Boy, hit stands a few weeks ago and whose portrait won the Archibald People’s Choice Award.
“I never dreamed of anything,” he said. “Even [being] a fisherman.”
10 Must See Historic Sites In Ghana
Historic sites in Ghana are an important feature that tourist should not miss. Majority of them tell stories of oppression, survival, and ingenuity. Ghana is one of the most progressive countries in West Africa. Located along the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Guinea, Ghana is recognized globally for its unique cultures, particularly the Kente. Ghana also played a major role during the trans-Atlantic slave trade era. The Ghanaian government has done a good in preserving some of these historic monuments and relics. From monuments that are now part of UNESCO World Heritage sites to ancient tribes, Ghana has a lot of historic sites that bring up some strong emotions. If you love antiquities, plan to visit the following historic sites when you visit Ghana.
#1 – The Traditional Buildings of The Asante Kingdom
The Ashanti Kingdom was a great force to reckon with in the 18th century and still remain influential to this day in Ghana. Their militaristic nature allowed them to control large areas with significant gold deposits. They ruled a vast area of present-day Ghana before the arrival of the Europeans in 1806. This historic site contains thirteen houses built by the Asante Kingdom. During the European reign, a significant number of the Asante buildings were destroyed. However, the surviving buildings are now cultural emblems. In 1980, they were recognized as one of the two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Ghana. These buildings consist of clay or mud walls and roofs made from woven palm branches. They have a geometrical design embellished with stylized animal emblems.
#2 – Jamestown Lighthouse
This historic town, Jamestown, is one of the two oldest districts in Accra. The second is Usshertown. As early as the 17th century, Jamestown already had communities. By the end of the 19th century, it already had heavy development. Jamestown remains useful today as a great fishing harbor. The area has witnessed a tremendous population growth over time. The most prominent structure of Jamestown is the lighthouse. The original structure is the handiwork of the British as early as 1871. However, the present structure came to be in the 1930s. The Jamestown lighthouse has an imposing height of 28 meters. From the summit, you will get a bird’s eye view of the Ussher Fort, the Bukom district, and the James Fort. Jamestown is today a popular tourist destination and one of the important historic sites in Ghana.
#3 – Forts and Castles, Volta, Greater Accra, Central and Western Region
This is the second UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Ghana. These fortified trading posts were built between the 15th and 18th century. These magnificent buildings span about 500 km, sandwiched between the coast of Beyin in the west and Keta in the east. Over the century, the fort witnessed a succession of occupants including traders from Denmark, Britain, Germany, Holland, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden. Consequently, they played an important role in gold and slave trade. The Ghanaian forts are better preserved than other forts in the neighboring countries. In 1979, UNESCO recognized this monument as a World Heritage Site.
#4 – Kakum National Park
This national park dates back to 1931 but it was not until 1992 that it became a national park. The park covers an area of 357 km sq. The major attraction of this park is the canopy walkway. This is the first of its kind in Africa. It is also one of the only three locations in the continent with a similar walkway of length up to 350 meters. The walkway links six gigantic trees and reaches a height of forty meters above the floor of the forest. Other features of the park include hardwood trees of heights up to 65m, medical plants, and the Sun Bird Trail. Majority of tourists want to have a feel of the walkway. Therefore, if you are planning to visit this park, arrive on time.
#5 – Paga Nania
This is one of the historic sites in Ghana that attracts lots of visitors. The Ghana Tourist Board in 2008 announced it earned about $500 million from tourists visiting this area. The origin of this slave camp dates back to 1704. Slave raiders came to Paga and the surrounding communities and held people as slaves. This unchecked activity led to the establishment of slave camps in the area. Located in Upper East Region, Paga Nania looks desolate. What remains are water troughs in the rock, observation posts, and grinding stones. The management is asking the government to renovate the camps to make it attractive again.
#6 – Lake Bosomtwe
This lake is sacred according to the Ashanti people. The people believe the souls of the dead converge here to bid their farewell to the goddess Asase Ya. This lake is over 1.07 million years old. Firstly, Lake Bosomtwe is till date the only natural lake in Ghana. Several studies suggest the crater on which the lake sits must have been from the impact of asteroids. Chromis bosomanus is a species of fish predominant in this area. However, this lake faces the risk of drying up. There is an ongoing debate for this historic site to be part of UNESCO World Heritage sites. Consequently, it will help to preserve this sacred water.
#7 – Holy Trinity Cathedral
The funding for this cathedral came from the British government. The Holy Trinity Cathedral is part of the Anglican Diocese of Accra. This ancient building was completed in 1894 but was made a cathedral in 1909. The most remarkable feature of this fortress-like structure is the rectangular bell tower. The church is not only a place of worship but also one of the historic sites in Ghana that tourists want to visit. The resident tranquility within the walls is a respite from the bustling city noise.
#8 – Salaga Slave Market
The name Salaga is a derivation from “Salgi”, a Dagomba word meaning “To get used to a place”. The Salaga market was an important trading route linking the northern and southern Sahel. Its location in East Gonja district is strategic making it an important trading route for agricultural products. However, in the trans-Atlantic slave trade era, it also served as a route for moving slaves to the coast for onward exportation. Series of events led to civil war in 1892. Consequently, this led to the decimation of the population of this area. To reach the Salaga slave market, you will need a ferry through Yeji if coming from Kumasi. This difficult terrain is the reason why the Salaga slave market is one of the historic sites in Ghana with the least visitors.
#9 – Gwollu Slave Defense Wall
Human beings have a natural survival instinct. The Gwollu slave defense wall is one of the historic sites in Ghana that highlight how far humans can desperately fight for survival. Gwollu is a small town in Sissala West district in Upper West Region. The Gwollu wall dates back to the 19th century. It was built by Gwollu Koro Limann and its main purpose was to defend the people against slave raiders. Most of these walls have been lost to environmental factors. However, the surviving wall is at the border town of Gwollu. Gwollu also holds other important tourist attractions like traditional bone-setting clinic and crocodile pond. The tomb of the former president, Hilla Limann (1979-1981) is also here.
#10 – Cape Coast Castle
This facility is a 15th-century building by the Swedes to facilitate gold and timber trade. However, it was later used as a holding facility for slaves before they were shipped to America. The British Public Works Department began restoration work of the castle in the 1920s. After Ghana’s independence in 1957, the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board took over the care of the building. The building now serves as a museum and house slave-related artifacts and documents. The rusting canons on the walls paint a vivid picture of the fortification of the facility.
16 Beautiful Cities to Visit In Africa
Africa is often portrayed as poor and underdeveloped but that is not the entire story. Characterized by fascinating natural and manmade landscape and architecture, Africa is undoubtedly a great destination for tourists. From safari to experiencing culinary diversity, there are millions of things to do in Africa. There are thousands of cities to visit in Africa. However, these fifteen cities in the second largest continent are selected based on cleanliness, beauty, security, and things to do. Each of these cities is unique and can hardly be pinned to one experience. Having a hard time deciding which cities to visit in Africa? This list will give you a head start.
#1 – Mahé (Seychelles)
Mahé is the largest island in the Seychelles archipelago. It hosts some of the most breathtaking beaches. It is home to the international airport, cruise ship ports, and the must-see Morne Seychellois National Park. It boasts beautiful hiking trails among other tourist attractions in its capital city Victoria.
#2 – Johannesburg (South Africa)
The beauty of Johannesburg is more than just the presence of breathtaking edifices like the 15 Alice Lane Towers. It cut across cultural and ethnic diversity. Johannesburg is the largest city and the economic hub of South Africa. About ten percent of the GDP of the nation come from here. The largest dry port in the world, the City Deep, is found here. You also get a chance to visit the Apartheid Museum. Other places you can visit in Jo’Burg as it is fondly called are Lion Park, Mandela Square, and Gold Reef City. Skirmishes do arise from the uneven distribution of wealth but generally, Johannesburg is safe.
#3 – Port Louis (Mauritius)
Numerous qualities make Port Louis one of the most beautiful cities to visit in Africa. However, cleanliness, beauty, and security stand out. The presence of port facilities, manufacturing industries, and tourism sites makes Port Louis Mauritius’ financial hub. Blue Penny Museum is the place to discover the rich Mauritian culture. Pay attention as you explore the Central Market and walk away with a cool souvenir. Your visit will not be complete without the taste of the local cuisine at Yuzu.
#4 – Cairo (Egypt)
Northern African countries have notoriety for beautiful cities and Cairo is one of them. With breathtaking infrastructures and a moderate crime level according to the U.S. Government, Cairo is one of the most beautiful cities to visit in Africa. Cairo is one of the oldest cities in Africa and some of the ancient buildings still stand tall. The Citadel, for example, was built in the 12th century but still has the glamour of ancient lavishness. You can take a break from busy traffics and population in places like Al-Azhar Park. Don’t forget to take Egyptian antiques with you when it’s time to leave.
#5 – Gaborone (Botswana)
It is often considered the best beginning spot for those who want to explore Africa for the first time. Gaborone may not be as popular as Johannesburg but in terms of security, it is safer. Gaborone will introduce you to epic wildlife, traditional handicrafts, and mouthwatering southern African dishes. The Gaborone Game Reserve is a must visit. You will come down with chills as you stare into the eyes of gemsboks and warthogs.
#6 – Dar es Salaam (Tanzania)
The city is brimming with activities for tourists. Dar es Salaam sits along the coast of the Indian Ocean. It is Tanzania’s largest city. Like Johannesburg, Dar es Salaam boasts of a diverse culture of people and magnificent buildings. Dar es Salaam is popular for music, seafood, islands, and beaches. If you need time off the bustling city noise, visit Mbudya Island. In this captivating scenery, you can also enjoy short boat rides. Coco Beach is where you will find the majority of tourists.
#7 – Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)
Often called the capital of Africa, Addis Ababa radiates youthful beauty and serenity. Addis Ababa in the Amharic language means ‘New Flower’. Consequently, if you adore flowers, you will have many reasons to love Addis Ababa too. Addis Ababa is the tenth on the list of beautiful cities to visit in Africa. One quality it shares with all the aforementioned cities is a low-security risk. Spice up your stay with a visit to Makush Art Gallery. Make plans to visit the National Museum of Ethiopia. If you come across dancers, join in because Ethiopians love it.
#8 – Alexandria (Egypt)
Many Egyptian cities will definitely appear on an expanded list of most beautiful cities to visit in Africa. However, Alexandria is definitely the second best in terms of beauty and security. Like Cairo, the crimes here are mostly opportunistic like pickpockets. Alexandria is a major economic center boasting of large seaports. If you have a few days to spend here, visit Bibliotheca Alexandrina a 2002 building in memorial of the Royal Library of Alexandria. Other important places to explore are Corniche and Alexandria National Museum.
#9 – Nairobi (Kenya)
If you call Nairobi Africa’s culture capital you won’t be wrong. Recent attacks by rebels have cast doubt on the security of the city. However, the beauty of the city remains untainted. If you are enthusiastic about witnessing the unbridled wildlife, Nairobi remains one of the most beautiful cities to visit in Africa. At David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust you can adopt an elephant and follow their growth. A large diversity of wildlife awaits you at the Nairobi National Park.
#10 – Agadir (Morocco)
The beauty of Agadir rests on the blending of history and modernity. Agadir is considered a safe haven for tourists. The level of crime in the city is very low and it is unlikely that you will meet any harm. Agadir sits on the country’s southern coast by the Atlantic Ocean. You can take a hike to the Kasbah, a 16th-century building unhurt by the 1960 earthquake. The earthquake also marked a new beginning for the city. There are lots of restaurants like Les Blancs serving vegetarian and Spanish-inspired dishes. You can learn more about the city’s history through the newspaper clippings and photos that cover the wall of Memoire d’Agadir, a small historical museum.
#11 – Abuja (Nigeria)
The capital of Nigeria, Abuja has the sights and sounds befitting of any national capital. From the impressive skyline to the highly-branching road network, Abuja is definitely one of the most beautiful cities to visit in Africa. Located in the heart of the country, Abuja is the most secure location you can be in Nigeria. Abuja is filled with adventures. A boat ride is one of the characteristics of Jabi Lake Park. It is also a great place to relax and experience nature. Your trip will not be complete without a visit to Aso Rock. The city boast of many five-star hotels and a robust nightlife.
#12 – Luanda (Angola)
This beautiful city rests on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Luanda is split into two parts namely Cidade Alta and Baixa de Luanda. Luanda moved up on the list of most beautiful cities to visit in African owing to recent reconstructions in different parts of the city. Saint Michael Fortress, a 16th-century Portuguese fortress is a place you will love to visit. You can also learn about the city’s contribution to slavery at the National Museum of Slavery (Museu Nacional de Escravatura). Luanda is generally safe and a great place to spend a family vacation.
#13 – Tunis (Tunisia)
The city has a mixture of stunning old and new architectures with an exotic appeal. Tunis is another North African country that has an imposing beauty. These features make it a great destination for all kinds of travelers. The Tunis Medina Festival lights up the city with music and films every evening during the period of Ramadan. Other places you should not fail to visit are the Bardo Museum and La Goulette. The latter is also a respite when you need quiet time.
#14 – Abidjan (Ivory Coast)
In terms of beauty, Abidjan was one of the cities that was revered in West Africa until wars ripped it apart. Now with improved security, tourists can explore the lengths and breadths of the city. Bushman Café is a great place to start your culinary adventure as you enjoy local dishes. Galerie Cécile Fakhoury is one of the places that should be in your Itinerary. The beautiful skyline of Abidjan defies it’s gory past and will leave you in awe. The springing technology-inspired infrastructures has made Abidjan one of the most beautiful cities to visit in Africa.
#15 – Tripoli (Libya)
It lies on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Tripoli has a historical relevance as a trading city. The city bears the scars of wars and security is also an issue. However, its historical relevance and old-world beauty remain preserved. You will be thrilled by the view of the Citadel of Raymond de Saint-Gilles, one of Lebanon’s biggest fortresses. Majority of the 20th century cosmopolitan activities happened in Tal. Notwithstanding, it is still open for you to explore. Don’t forget to have a taste of the local foods.
#16 – Algiers (Algeria)
Completing the list of most beautiful cities to visit in Africa is another Northern city, Algiers. Algiers sits along the Mediterranean coastline. The reformed part of the city is along the coast. Many refer to Algiers as the city of rare beauty. Visitors talk about the city’s hospitality. However, security is a burning question that needs to be put right. The 17th century Casbah is the part of the city you need to be if antiquity excites you.
One of The Oldest Tribes In Africa Was Kicked Out Of Their Homes And Here Is What Happened
The Batwa tribe is one of the oldest in Africa. They originally resided in the rainforests of Congo, Uganda, and Rwanda. They survived many decades through hunting and gathering. However, in the 1990s, the government evicted them from the rainforest leaving them homeless. This and subsequent events threw them into poverty.
The actions of the governments of the three countries were prompted by the need to create a national park. The national parks helped to preserve the population of endangered gorillas in the Virunga Mountains. Since then, the population of the gorillas has grown to 880 in 2018 from 284 in 1981. Tourists now pay a huge amount to spend one hour with the apes. The parks have become a huge money spinner for the East African countries. However, the Batwa tribe paid the price.
A glimmer of hope for eighteen Batwa families
Volcanoes Safaris, a luxury lodge operator was drawn to the plight of the Batwa tribe condemned to squat in Uganda’ farmland. The founder of Volcanoes Safari, Praveen Moman was touched by their appalling livelihood. Moman first met the Batwa tribe when he opened the Mount Gahinga Lodge in 1997 on the outskirts of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. The encounter sparked their relationship.
Through the Volcanoes Safari Partnership Trust, Moman gifted ten acres of land to the tribe. When asked about what motivated his actions, Moman said,
“Generally, we want to support people and improve their livelihood in relation to the work we do at our lodges. It was a bunch of rocks on which they built little shacks of twigs, of tarpaulins, of cardboard—whatever they could get.”
All the material used for the construction of the new village were donations from the guests at Mount Gahinga lodge and the Volcanoes Safari Trust. However, Uganda-based Studio FH architects’ contribution was in terms of supervision services and free designs.
A glimpse into the new settlement for the Batwa tribe
The village consists of eighteen houses each measuring twenty square meters. Each of the homes boasts of a bedroom, common room and a covered veranda which also serves as the kitchen. Eucalyptus poles with bamboo crisscross form a grid and make up the walls. However, the roofing consists of metal sheets with papyrus coating.
The builders took some steps to ensure the safety of these eco-friendly homes. First, the buildings have compact spacing for wind protection as well as to conserve farming lands. Secondly, the verandas face opposite of the direction of strong winds from the volcanoes. To ensure proper sanitation, two buildings containing latrines lie in the slopes on one side of the village.
The Batwa tribe village also has a community center on a 100 square meter space. Consequently, the dome-shaped community center is intended to be used for multiple purposes that involves public gathering. The official opening of the village was in May 2018.
The 2018 Emerging Architecture Awards
The contributions of Studio FH Architects to the Batwa tribe also earned them a place on the 2018 Emerging Architecture Awards list. The prestigious award instituted in 1999 honors young designers who create a positive impact in their environment through architectural designs.
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