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Baye Yimam

Ethiopian painter, diplomat, customs director, entrepreneur, linguist, university professor, and novelist, was born in Zage, Gojjam province of Ethiopia, on 10 July 1868. His father, Gebre Iyesus Denke, was a priest serving a local church, and his mother, Fenta Tehun Adego Ayechew, was presumably a housewife. In Zage, then a center of learning, Afewerq learned the painting, poetry, church music, and liturgical dancing of the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian tradition.

Afewerq was related to Empress Taytu Betul, wife of Emperor Menilek (1844–1913 on account of which he was brought to the palace to continue what he had started in Zage He was later sent to Italy to further his studies at the Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti in Turin Upon his return from Italy he began to produce mural paintings by order of the palace and decorated the churches at Entotto then the capital city However he soon ...

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Cyril Daddieh

Ivorian lawyer diplomat politician mayor and cabinet minister was born in Toumodi a town about 25 miles from Yamoussoukro Ivory Coast s capital The son of an ordinary Baoulé peasant he attended a public primary school in Toumodi run by Kablan Koizan one of the very first Ivorian primary school teachers in the colony He attended middle school in Bingerville and the École Normale William Ponty in Dakar While in Senegal he met Richard Mollard a visiting French professor who encouraged him to study law He recommended the University of Grenoble because the climate was more congenial and Grenoble s serene surroundings were conducive to serious academic studies Alliali did not want to go down the path of becoming a colonial administrator an agent of oppression at a time when the anticolonial struggle led by the Parti Démocratique de Côte d Ivoire Rassemblement Démocratique Africain PDCI RDA was in full ...

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Nadia Ali

was born on 13 March 1954 in Wakenaam, Guyana, the eldest of three children of teachers Michael and Dolly Amos. She had a sister, Colleen, and a brother, Michael. In 1963 the family became part of the significant post–World War II migration of Afro-Caribbean people from the British West Indies to Britain in the hope of a better life.

The family settled in Kent where as a minority Valerie experienced racial discrimination firsthand Undeterred she let it stimulate her keen sense of world politics equality and social justice and give birth to her mantra obstacles are for climbing over She and her sister were fortunate to attend the prestigious Townley Grammar School for girls in Bexleyheath Kent Colleen recalls that Valerie never boasted about her triumphs even when she received top marks in school and it was this intellect that saw Valerie become the first black exemplary class representative By ...

Article

Kate Tuttle

A lifelong diplomat, Annan assumed the top post of the United Nations (UN) in January 1997 to serve a term lasting through 2001. In 2001 the UN General Assembly unanimously elected him to a second term running from 2002 through 2006. That same year Annan and the United Nations shared the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize, awarded to the secretary-general for “bringing new life to the organization” and to the UN in recognition of its role in promoting “global peace and cooperation.” Two years later, however, Annan faced the challenging task of piloting the UN through one of the biggest crises in its history, the United States war against Iraq.

Kofi Annan is the first head of the UN to come from Africa south of the Sahara Desert He is also the first secretary general to have risen through the UN ranks Annan had impressed the international diplomatic ...

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Katya Leney-Hall

Ghanaian Nobel Laureate and United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, was born in Kumasi in what was then the British Gold Coast colony. Along with his twin sister Efua Atta, he was born to Rose Annan, a Fante, and Henry Reginald Annan, an Ashanti/Fante. Both parents were Christian and descendants of chiefs. Annan’s father was a commissioner of the Ashanti region and an employee of the United Africa Company, who rose through the ranks to become its director. After his retirement, Henry Reginald Annan also became president of the Ghana International Bank.

Ghana’s declaration of independence in 1957 found Kofi Annan in Cape Coast, finishing his secondary schooling at Mfantsipim, the Methodist boarding school. The following year, he began his studies in Economics at the Kumasi College of Science and Technology, completing his degree in the United States at Macalester College, in St. Paul, Minnesota (1961 From there he moved ...

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Joseph Appiah was born in Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti region in the British colony of Gold Coast (present-day Ghana). His father, an expert in Asante law, served at the court of the Asantehene, the traditional Asante ruler. As a boy, Appiah attended primary school in Kumasi and secondary school in Cape Coast. After graduation he worked at the United Africa Company, the largest British trading firm in West and Central Africa. He then traveled to Great Britain in 1943 to study law at the Middle Temple, a prestigious center for legal education. While in Britain, Appiah developed a close friendship with future Ghanaian president Kwame Nkrumah and became involved in the Ghanaian independence movement. When Nkrumah returned to Ghana after the formation of the Convention People's Party (CPP), Appiah served as his representative in Britain. He returned to Ghana in 1954 after becoming a member of ...

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Henry Louis Gates

Ghanaian politician and diplomat, was born on 16 November 1918 and raised in Kumasi, the capital of Ghana’s Ashanti region. His father was James Appiah, headmaster of the Wesleyan school in Kumasi and secretary of the Asanteman Council, a chiefly body that helped govern Ashanti. He was also secretary to his brother-in-law, the Ashanti king. His mother, who died when he was a child, was the niece of a prominent Cape Coast–based businessman, who, as head of Appiah’s matrilineal family, played a central role in his upbringing. Appiah attended the elite Methodist secondary school at Cape Coast, Mfantsipim. He joined the management of the United Africa Company after graduation, was posted in Sierra Leone during World War II, and traveled in 1944 to Britain where he studied law and became a member of the Middle Temple In the following decade Appiah was an activist in the pro independence West ...

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Francisco Ortega

Jorge Artel, whose real name was Agapito de Arcos, was born in Colombia, in the colonial city of Cartagena de Indias, once the major entryway for slaves into the Spanish colonies in South America. He grew up surrounded by the drumbeats of the cumbia music, slavery's violent legacies, and the history of resistance embodied in the many maroon communities that dotted the city's borders. In his poetry he evokes those images, especially, as Lawrence Prescott has noted, using the symbol of the drum as the unifying thread essential to the black experience in the Americas. Like other black poets in Spanish America, such as the Afro-Peruvian Nicomedes Santa Cruz (1925–1992) and the Cuban Nicolás Guillén (1902–1989 Artel does not single out race alone as the defining element that has shaped his life and his aesthetic vision For him as for the others class ...

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Ralph M. Coury

Egyptian diplomat, is best known as a pioneer of Egyptian Arab nationalism and the first secretary-general of the Arab League. His father, Hassan Bey, served as a member of Egypt’s quasi-parliamentary bodies before 1914. His family owned considerable land in their hometown in Giza, as well as a townhouse in Helwan. Although scholars who emphasize the shallow basis of Egyptian Arab nationalism link Azzam’s early Arabism to a strong consciousness of Peninsular origin, the Azzams regarded themselves as fallahin dhawati (an elite of rural origin). As was true of many sons of the ruling class in their modernizing journey, Azzam resisted his father’s pressures to study at the religious university of al-Azhar. He attended state primary and secondary schools, St. Thomas’s School of Medicine in London, and then, briefly, as a result of the interruption of World War I, the Qasr al-Aini School of Medicine in Cairo.

As a ...

Article

Juan Fandos-Rius

official and diplomat of the Central African Republic (CAR), was born on 6 June 1923 in the Poto-Poto neighborhood of Brazzaville in the Middle Congo. His mother was a Gbaya from the Bouar-Baoua region of Upper Sangha, then part of the Middle Congo but later attached to the colony of Ubangi-Shari. His father, Jean Bandio, a Gbaya, grew up in the Carnot region of Upper Sangha, but was sent by the French to serve as a nurse in the capital of French Equatorial Africa (FEA), Brazzaville. Jean-Arthur, the fifth of Jean Bandio's ten children, studied at the École Urbaine (Urban primary school) from 1933 to 1939, then from 1940 to 1944 at Brazzaville's École Edouard-Renard Edouard Renard School which trained Central Africans to serve as administrative assistants and primary teachers for FEA Bandio s classmates at Edouard Renard School included many future leaders of the independent states ...

Article

Geoffrey Roper

Egyptian poet, diplomat, military commander, and politician, was born in Cairo on 6 October 1839. His family claimed descent from a medieval Mamluk royal line, but his surname (nisba) refers to the district of Ityay al-Barud in Lower Egypt, of which his ancestors had once been tax farmers (multazims). His father, an artillery officer under Muhammad Ali, died in Sudan when al-Barudi was only seven years old. After primary education, al-Barudi entered the Military Training School in Cairo, in 1851, and graduated from it in 1855 with the rank of bash-jawish (sergeant-major). During the reign of the viceroy Saʿid (r. 1854–1863), he served in Istanbul as a diplomat and during this time acquired a lifelong enthusiasm for literature.

In 1863 the new viceroy, Ismaʿil (r. 1863–1879 visited Istanbul and recruited al Barudi as commander of his Viceregal Guard in Cairo with the ...

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Jeremy Rich

Burundian politician and diplomat, was born on 23 May 1956. Her parents belonged to a prominent Tutsi family. From 1979 to 1981, after she had completed her undergraduate studies, Batumubwira worked as a journalist for the newspaper La Voix de la Révolution du Burundi. She eventually received a master’s degree in communication. In 1981, she became a public relations administrator for the United Nations information center in Bujumbura, the Burundian capital. She held this position until 1995, even after the Burundian civil war commenced in the early 1990s. She married Jean-Marie Ngendahayo, a prominent politician in his own right, who served as Burundi’s foreign minister from 1993 to 1995 She joined the Conseil national pour la défense de la démocratie Forces de défense de la démocratie CNDD FDD National Council for the Defense of Democracy Forces for the Defense of Democracy a rebel movement ...

Article

Cyril Daddieh

former diplomat, cabinet minister, president of the National Assembly, second president of Ivory Coast, and first president to be deposed by the Ivorian armed forces, was born in Dadiékro, in central Ivory Coast. A member of the Baulé ethnic group that dominated the Ivorian political economy since the early 1940s, Bédié was a favored protégé of President Félix Houphouët-Boigny.

He studied law and economics in France at the University of Poitiers, after which he joined the Ivorian civil service in the waning years of French colonial rule in 1960 and was sent to study at the French Foreign Ministry. Two months later, he was named councillor at the French Embassy in Washington. Only twenty-seven years old at independence in August 1960 Bédié became Ivory Coast s chargé d affaires and shortly thereafter ambassador to the United States He also established the Ivorian mission to the United Nations in New York ...

Article

Patrick Bellegarde-Smith

was born Louis-Marie Dantès Bellegarde in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on 18 May 1877. His parents were Marie Boisson, a seamstress, and Jean-Louis Bellegarde, the director of the botanical gardens of the School of Medicine. He married Cecile Savain in 1902 and had seven children (Auguste, Argentine, Jeanne, Marie, Simone, Fernande, and Jean). Two of his five daughters, Marie and Fernande, were founding members of Haiti’s first women’s movement in the early 1930s. These daughters followed in the footsteps of Bellegarde’s aunt, Argentine Bellegarde, a well-known feminist educator and a major influence on the life of young Dantès.

Bellegarde took it as an omen that he was born on the day of the creation of the Haitian flag in 1803 He lived all his life in the neighborhood of Lalue then a middle class area near the National Palace His family on both sides had become poor though they had ...

Article

Patrick Bellegarde-Smith

Dantès Bellegarde was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in 1877. His family had long been at the center of Haitian politics. Bellegarde's mother was Marie Boisson and his father Jean-Louis Bellegarde. His maternal great-grandfather, Jacques Ignace Fresnel, was named judge by Jean-Jacques Dessalines, a leader of the Haitian Revolution, who became the first leader of the independent state in 1804 and soon proclaimed himself Emperor Jean-Jacques I. This same great-grandfather was later minister of justice under President Jean-Pierre Boyer, who ruled all of Haiti from 1820 to 1843. Bellegarde's paternal grandfather, Jean-Louis de Bellegarde, was a duke and marshal in Haiti's second empire during the rule of Faustin Soulouque, who declared himself emperor and ruled from 1847 to 1859. Bellegarde's aunt, Argentine Bellegarde (1842–1901), was a noted educator and an early feminist. Bellegarde married Cécile Savain (1875–1965 ...

Article

Félix Ojeda Reyes

was born in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, on 8 April 1827 to Felipe Betances Ponce, of Dominican origin, and María del Carmen Alacán, of Puerto Rican origin, the well-off owners of a sugar plantation called Hacienda Carmen. On 21 April he was baptized and registered by church officials in the Book of Mulattoes. Shortly after his mother’s death on 10 February 1837, Betances’s father sent him to Grisolles, near Toulouse, in the southwest of France. Under the care of the Prévost-Cavallieri family, Betances, always an excellent student, studied at the Collége Royal in Toulouse. In 1848 the year of the revolutions that toppled absolutist supremacy in Europe he entered the College of Medicine at the University of Paris At that historic moment Betances commenced a lifetime of political engagement and activity by participating in the antimonarchist revolution of 24 February which established the Second French Republic Although his ...

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Geoffrey Roper

Moroccan Arabic writer, journalist, and diplomat (not to be confused with the francophone writer Abdelmajid Benjelloun, born in 1944), was born in Casablanca. At the age of five months, he was taken by his parents to Manchester, where his father worked as a merchant. He attended primary school there, and became the darling of a small community of immigrants. The loss of both his mother and his sister while he was still young had a profound effect on him, reinforced by his reading of Charles Dickens; the emotional consequences of this loss can be found in his writings.

He returned to Morocco with his father at the age of nine They took up residence in Fez where Bin Jallun received his secondary education and then enrolled in the ancient Islamic university of the Qarawiyin The pervasive atmosphere there was one of traditional Arabic learning and culture and this made a ...

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Curtis Jacobs

was born on 3 August 1832 in St. Thomas, Danish West Indies (today, the US Virgin Islands). He was the third of seven children born to Romeo Blyden, a tailor, and Judith Blyden, a teacher, a free black married couple in a Danish colony where the majority of Africans were still enslaved. Members of an integrated congregation of the Dutch Reformed Church, the Blydens moved briefly to Venezuela in 1842, where, in addition to discovering an aptitude for languages, Blyden observed that most of the emancipated Africans in that country were not far removed from chattel slavery.

Wilmot became a student of the Reverend John Knox of the Dutch Reformed Church upon his family’s return to St. Thomas in 1844. Impressed with his academic potential, Knox encouraged Wilmot in 1850 to travel to the United States with a view to gaining admission into the Rutgers Theological College ...

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Emmanuel Asiedu-Acquah

Ghanaian nationalist politician and diplomat, was born on 21 February 1916 in Winneba, a coastal town in the central province of the Gold Coast (present-day Ghana). His father, James Edward Botsio, was the registrar of the colonial district commissioner’s court. His mother, Diana Ama Amina, was a trader. Kojo Botsio was schooled at the local Catholic primary and middle schools before attending the prestigious Adisadel College in the historic city of Cape Coast in 1929. He went on to train as a teacher from 1935 to 1936 at Achimota College, which also trained other future prominent Ghanaian leaders including his long-time political associate, Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first postindependence leader. After his training at Achimota, Botsio taught at the Catholic secondary school of Saint Augustine in Cape Coast for five years.

In the tradition of some educated colonial Ghanaians of the time Botsio studied for his bachelor s degree at ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Algerian diplomat and politician, was born in the Moroccan town of Oudja on 2 March 1937. He was the first child of his mother and the second of his father. He had three half-sisters, four brothers, and one full sister. His parents came from the Algerian town of Tlemcen, just across the border from Morocco. He left school in 1956, when the Front de Libération Nationale (FLN, National Liberation Front) anticolonial movement called on Algerian students to boycott French public schools.

Bouteflika joined the FLN and became the political officer of the Wilaya 5 FLN unit fighting in and around Oran. By 1960, he became the head politician officer of Wilaya 5. Before the Évian Accords of the spring of 1962 led to Algerian independence Bouteflika served as an intermediary between the imprisoned FLN leader Ahmed Ben Bella and the military commander Houari Boumedienne Bouteflika s ...