Minnesota African Taskforce Against Ebola created

As the number of Ebola cases in West Africa continue to increase to more than 2,000 according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Minnesota African Taskforce Against Ebola, formed by the African community on Aug. 5, is gathering medical supplies and equipment to ship to West Africa.

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Minnesota state officials scramble to calm Ebola fears

As fear grips West Africa with an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus wreaking havoc in unprepared countries — Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leona and Nigeria — the Minnesota Department of Health is in a race to calm fears of a possible Ebola outbreak in the Twin Cities.

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Africans also find justice in bin Laden’s death

When Osama bin Laden declared war on America in 1999, he was a little known terrorist in America. But Africans already knew about him and his al-Qaeda group. They had already staged bomb attacks in Mali, Kenya, Tanzania, Somalia and Uganda. In the Twin Cities, when President Barack Obama announced that U.S. Special Forces had killed bin Laden, the terrorist leader who tormented many Africans as well as Americans, Kenyan fitness trainer Liz Nyamwamu remembered her uncle Enock Omweno. “I came home [one day] and my dad told me that they [terrorists] had killed one of my uncles in the embassy bombing,” said Nyamwamu. Continue Reading

Local Ivorians differ on the country’s contested election

Laurent Koudou Gbagbo, the former Ivory Coast president, was arrested on Monday in a bunker. Gbagbo refused to step down after his defeat in a presidential election in November last year. For almost two weeks, he was holed in the presidential residence in the capital, Abidjan. After his arrest along with his wife Simone, the former president was moved to the Golf Hotel, the temporary headquarters of president-elect Alassane Ouattara, before being relocated to a secure place.As Ivory Coast slides into political chaos, supporters of the Ivorian strongman in Minnesota say the people, the UN, and the West are responsible for the upheaval. “I don’t want some person the international community just imports to govern us,” said Serge Gnahoua (pictured, left), a Gbagbo supporter and Africa TV presenter (Ivory TV- Africa Rendezvous Connection) in the Twin Cities. Continue Reading

Rebellion in Libya has wide reach in Africa

As Libya erupts into political chaos, Sierra Leoneans and Liberians in the Twin Cities watch with disbelief but sympathized with Libyans. For many years, Libya’s leader Muammar el-Qaddafi (he prefers not to be called president) supported rebel movements and insurgencies in Africa.As a friend to many African dictators, Qaddafi provided arms and military training to leaders who practice despotic rule. In the late 1980s and ’90s, Liberia and Sierra Leone were engulfed in separate rebel wars that claimed thousands of lives with thousands more people maimed.Both countries blamed Libya for training rebel leaders Charles Taylor and Foday Sankoh respectively. Qaddafi, without any remorse or apologies to Liberians and Sierra Leoneans, instead donated food that never reached the people and sponsored mosques in Sierra Leone.In Liberia, Qaddafi donated funds to rebuild schools and patched relations with leaders in West Africa, but the pain and devastation his trained rebels left in both countries still lingers.After years of political repression, protesters in Libya are turning the steam on Qaddafi with a rebellion that seemed to topple his 42-year hold on power.In a desperate speech on Monday, Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi, son of Libya’s longtime leader, warned that civil war could explode the country into “rivers of blood” if Libyans support the anti-government protesters.Seif described the unstoppable protests as “a national treason.” He proposed to implement a democratic change if Libyans stop the protests. Continue Reading

Black History Month a two-way street for Africans

Many feel more understanding is needed before all U.S. Blacks can celebrate together
“Many people always associate Black History Month with African Americans,” said Gambian Yankuba Jambang, a student at the University of Minnesota. “I didn’t know about it [Black History Month] when I was back home in Gambia. In a broader perspective, we can always include Africans.”
Jambang reasoned that since Africans and African Americans have all gone through years of segregation, colonization, slavery, and other forms of maltreatment, they should celebrate Black History Month together. “It is important to have history in order to know where we are going,” said Dr. Richard B. Oni, a health consultant at the U of M and president of the Minnesota Institute for Nigerian Development. “The Black History Month creates an awareness of what people have gone through before coming to where we are today. Continue Reading

African immigrants face cultural barriers, domestic violence

When Mattu Saidu, 25, started talking with her boyfriend on the phone in 2005, it was all about love, and dreams of living together as domestic partners or getting married. Like many young women with a fixed job in Minnesota, what was missing in Mattu’s life was “love.” After few months of talking on the phone with David, 26, she moved to New Jersey to stay with him. In New Jersey, the relationship went sour. At a private residence in Brooklyn Center, Mattu explains what went wrong, and how her love crumbled. Continue Reading

Bringing cultures and communities together in Dakota County

“I will say the turnout is great,” said Binta Kawu, surveying the Dakota County Community Action Council (CAC) cultural festival and resource fair on January 12. “Up ’til the last minute, people were calling to say that they wanted to be part of it.” The fair, hosted at a Burnsville church, attracted more than seven hundred people. “We kept adding on the list of participants,” said Kawu. “In the beginning, we thought there wouldn’t be a turnout.” For Kawu, the fact that many more Africans turned out than she expected proves that people are responding to the Community Action Council’s outreach program. The event was a first for the Dakota County Community Action Council’s New American Services Collaborative. Continue Reading

MN Sierra Leoneans salute new government in homeland

West African nation’s VP, wife have local connections
Sierra Leoneans in Minnesota gathered on November 3 at a private residence in Eagan to send a congratulatory message to the newly elected All Peoples Congress (APC) government in Freetown, the West African nation’s capital. The wife of Sierra Leone’s vice president, Kadia Sam-Sumana, rushed from the airport to join the gathering after having attended another social function on the East Coast. “Thank you for your support. I am very delighted that you have decided to come together…,” said Sierra Leone Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumana in a phone call from Freetown. “On behalf of my family, and myself, I thank you and appreciate it. Continue Reading