Modern Inventors and Scientists of African Ancestry

Africans and peoples of African ancestry have been inventors and scientists, contributing to global human knowledge, across various fields, despite often difficult and discriminatory conditions. Machine-making. Jan Ernst Matzeliger, an African-Surinamese, invented an automated shoe-making machine in 1883, producing ten times more shoes than existing methods in America, cutting production costs/prices, and revolutionizing footwear. Electrical… Continue reading Modern Inventors and Scientists of African Ancestry


Rastafari (also Rastafarianism) is a spiritual and political movement which syncretizes elements of Christianity and Pan-Africanism. It started in 1930s Jamaica, inspired by the teachings of Jamaican-born activist Marcus Garvey and following the inauguration of the Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie. It is named after Selassie’s pre-coronation name, Ras Tafari. Adherents are called Rastafarians or Rastas. … Continue reading Rastafari

Capoeira: The Afro-Brazilian Martial Art

Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian martial art which incorporates dance, music and play. Practitioners are capoeiristas. Since it was developed in secret, there is little historical documentation around capoeira. Some say it was created in the 16th century by enslaved West Africans taken to Brazil. With defensive arts forbidden, they camouflaged their practice as dance. Others… Continue reading Capoeira: The Afro-Brazilian Martial Art

Mathematics in Ancient Africa: Lebombo Bone & Others

Innovative record keeping and complex mathematical calculations were commonplace in some of the earliest civilizations of Africa. The oldest mathematical instrument in the world is the Lebombo bone, discovered in the Lebombo Mountains in present-day Swaziland. The bone, which comes from a baboon’s fibula, is dated at 35,000 BCE. The bone bears 29 markings believed… Continue reading Mathematics in Ancient Africa: Lebombo Bone & Others

Françafrique: 1979-Present (Part 3)

Continued from Part 2 1979 [Central African Republic]: ‘Operation Barracuda’ – French troops overthrow Bokassa after over a decade of military and economic support 1979-1992; 1997-present [Republic of Congo]: Despite being a self-proclaimed Marxist, President Nguesso remains under the control of French oil giant Total (previously Elf Aquitane) 1983 [Chad]: ‘Operation Manta’ – 4,000 French… Continue reading Françafrique: 1979-Present (Part 3)

Françafrique: 1954-1978 (Part 2)

Continued from Part 1 Below is a timeline of some (but definitely not all) Françafrique events: 1954-1962 [Algeria]: Over 1 million Algerians killed by French forces in War of Independence 1957 [France]: French Prime Minister François Mitterrand says, “Without Africa, France will have no history in the 21st century.” 1958 [Guinea]: After Guinean leader Sekou… Continue reading Françafrique: 1954-1978 (Part 2)

Françafrique: France’s Relationship with Its Former African Colonies (Part 1)

France is often heralded around the world as a bastion of liberty and democratic ideals, and yet France’s record in Africa speaks otherwise, even up to the current day. The relationship between France and its former colonies is referred to as ‘Françafrique’ (a portmanteau of ‘France’ and ‘Africa’ in the French language), a term coined… Continue reading Françafrique: France’s Relationship with Its Former African Colonies (Part 1)

Yasuke: The Mozambican Samurai Who Helped to Unify Japan

Tom Cruise’s character in The Last Samurai (2003) was not the only non-Japanese to achieve the rank of samurai. In 1579, an African traveller named Yasuke arrived on the shores of Japan in the service of Italian Jesuit missionary Alessandro Valignano, either as a slave or indentured servant. Historians still debate Yasuke’s country of origin,… Continue reading Yasuke: The Mozambican Samurai Who Helped to Unify Japan