Thursday, May 31, 2007


The Land of Cush will soon have a new skyline

The Al-Mogran Development Project is a $4 billion plus development project undertaken by the Alsunut Development Company that seeks to develop several thousand acres in downtown Khartoum along the spot where the White Nile and Blue Nile merge to form the Nile. The discovery of oil in Sudan has provided the Sudanese government with a billion dollar surplus that allows the funding of this project.

Starting in 2004, the project has two main phases:

phase one, the Central Business District development

phase two, the residential estate portion.

The Al-Mogran project, when completed, will produce 11,000,000 square feet of office space, 1,100 villas, housing for 45,000 residents and visitors, and jobs for 60,000 Sudanese. The project, however, has received criticism in light of the continuing Darfur Conflict. Completion is expected by 2014.

Alsunut Development Company website for more information CLICK HERE


The White Nile and the Blue Nile merge. The Al Mogran development will be situated on the peninsula to the bottom-left


Sand Storm


New Khartoum state of the art airport (work has began since october 2006)
-Cost US$530 million dollars
Capacity of 7 millions passenger per year
-Superficy of 70 km2

-Two runaways at the length of 4000 meters and a width of 60 meters

-Height of the new airport’s tower will be 58.1 meters
-Passenger terminal at an area of 86,000 square meters
-Cargo terminal at an area of 40,000 square meters, in addition to a Presidential Terminal at an area of 3,750 meters, and large planes parks and maintenance workshops and other facilities.
-Utilities at the new Khartoum Airport will include an international hotel with 300 rooms, a modern conference,hall and a big plane supply center. He added that several services, petroleum stations and markets will be established at the area around the new airport. It will be completed in 2009

Video of the future airport (made by the German construction group - Dorsch Gruppe) Simply Amazing! There is none like it in present day Africa.

Rotana hotel is due to open by the end of 2008 at Almugran


Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei displays Nobel Prize diploma and medal during award ceremony in Oslo, Norway, December 10, 2005. The US $1.3 million Nobel prize was divided equally between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Elbaradei the Director General. Elbaradei gave half of money to to a group of Cairo orphanages with which his sister in law works.

ElBaradei was born in 1942, in Cairo. ElBaradei comes from a family dominated by lawyers. Amongst the first distinguished were his maternal grandfather, Ali Haider Hegazi, who sat on Egypt's Supreme Court and his father, Mostafa ElBaradei who rose to become the president of the Egyptian Bar Association. ElBaradei enjoyed a youth of privilege in the clubs of Cairo and vacation homes in Alexandria where the wealthiest or Cairo elite had their retreats.

Mohamed ElBaradei as a young man, with his mother, Aida Hegazi, while he was studying Law at the University of Cairo, Egypt.

ElBaradei graduated from the University of Cairo in 1962 with a degree in law and joined the Egyptian foreign service for he which he was posted to the U.N. mission in New York. There he took advantage of a part time masters program at NYU Law school. He later took leave from his job in the early 1970s to pursue PhD program in international law at NYU School of law.

When he completed his doctrate program ElBaradei was posted was posted by the Egyptian foreign service to its mission in Geneva. In 1984 ElBaradei was hired by the IAEA to open the Vienna based organization office in New York. At the IAEA he flourished, moving up the ranks of leadership. By the time ElBaradei became director general the IAEA had been run by Swedes for 36 of its 40 years(the first director was a USA Congressman Sterling Cole).

Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei with nuclear inspectors and safety experts of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria: October 13, 2005.

ElBaradei believes credibility is the lifeblood of the organization, and when that is lost the IAEA is finished. He has preserved that credibility in several ways. The first is by running an organization whose ethical standards have never been challenged. While the rest of the UN system has weathered in a series of debilitating crises. The IAEA has been scandal free and regarded as the jewel in the crown of the network of international organizations.

ElBaradei's job is to run an international organization with a technical mandate, one that requires that he present factual accounts of what different countries are doing with their nuclear facilities. Taking on the structure of global politics is something for national leaders and the secretary general of the UN.

"In the real world, this imbalance in living conditions inevitably leads to inequality of opportunity and, in many cases, loss of hope. And what is worse, all too often the plight of the poor is compounded by and results in human-rights abuses, a lack of good governance and a deep sense of injustice. This combination naturally creates a most fertile breeding ground for civil wars, organized crime and extremism in its different forms."

ElBaradei Speech at the Nobel Prize Ceremony

"It's not just poverty per se, it's the sense of humiliation and injustice. When somebody feels humiliated, they just go bananas, and that is what happens"

ElBaradei on the sociology of conflict.

Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, speaks to the press outside the White House, March 17, 2004 following a meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush.

With so much riding on his name its remarkable how little attention Elbaradei has received.

ElBaradei has been frustrated by the Iranian government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad refusal to come clean about all of its nuclear activities and worried about the situation escalating to warfare.

"Everyone recognizes that Iran can only be resolved when all the concerned parties sit together, face to face, and have a negotiated settlement. There is no military solution...even if you go through the sanctions. An imposed solution is not a durable solution."

"My view is that we should look at the indications, not the intentions, and then decide...As things stand, we cannot prove that Iran has a military nuclear programme. But do you have indications that this is the case? This is the question I think everyone should now be asking."

ElBaradei likens nuclear weapon states to those "who continue to dangle a cigarette from their mouth and tell everybody else not to smoke." In particular, recent moves in the USA to develop a new generation of nuclear warheads has elicited his outrage. "How can the USA, on one hand, say every country should give up their nuclear weapons and on the other develop this bunker heads mini nukes?" ElBaradei has maintained the stand of the IAEA by refusing to bend before the powerful states and never to shy from telling them unwelcome truth.

For ElBaradei at the end of the day its all boils down to a matter of moral responsibility: "You can act as a bureaucrat in the negative sense and do your job and go home. or you can realize that there is something you can do to make people safer and better off. And you do what you have to do."

Mohamed ElBaradei with his wife Aida and daughter Laila a lawyer in London, at home in Vienna, 2005. His son Mostafa not in the picture works in London as a production engineer at CNN.


Monday, May 28, 2007


Elechi Amadi was born into an Ikwerre family in Aluu near Port Harcourt, in the Delta region of Eastern Nigeria. He studied at the Government College in Umuahia, and like other major Nigerian writers, he was educated at the University College of Ibadan. Its legendary English department and the student magazine The Horn encouraged a number of aspiring writers, the likes of Nobel Laurette Wole Soyinka. Amadi, however, studied natural sciences receiving his B. Sc. in physics and mathematics in 1959.

Amadi's early novels, like Chinua Achebe's, are set in his traditional African setting. Amadi's first novel, The Concubine, was published in 1966, six years after Nigeria's independence. The story was set in the area near Port Harcourt. It starts out as a depiction of village life, its conflicts, ancient customs, and gods, but then it proceeds into mythological level. Ihuoma is the most desirable woman in Omigwe village and the tragic heroine, whose well-fed look does a great credit her husband. He dies, but she has won the heart of the hunter Ekwueme. They deny their love so that Ekwueme can marry another woman, to whom he has been betrothed since birth. At the end Amadi reveals that Ihuoma is actually the wife of the Sea-King, the ruling spirit of the sea, but she had assumed the human form.

The widely acclaimed work was followed by his other works such as The Great Ponds, depicting a war between two villages over fishing rights, and The Slave, in which the protagonist fights against his background, but after a brief career in freedom. Amadi's books form a historical trilogy about traditional life in the rural, pre-colonial Nigeria.

  • translator: with Obiajunwo Wali and Greensille Enyinda: Okwukwo Eri, 1969 (hymnbook)
  • translator: Okupkpe, 1969 (prayerbook)
  • ISIBURU, 1973 (play)
  • PEPPERSOUP, 1977 (play)
  • THE SLAVE, 1978
  • ELECHI AMADI AT 55: POEMS, SHORT STORIES, AND PAPERS, 1989 (ed. by W. Feuser and Ebele Eko)

Elechi Amadi Official Web Page

Sunday, May 27, 2007


Fela Anikulapo Kuti, born in Abeokuta, Nigeria in 1938, was a singer-composer, trumpet, sax and keyboard player, band leader, and politician.

Fela was born to a wealthy Yoruba family as Olufela, Olusegun, Oludotun Ransome-Kuti. Fela recalls his father as having been very strict, to the point he thought his father as wicked man. Fela's father lived by the the biblical principle 'Spare the rod and spoil the child.' Nevertheless, Fela valued the lessons he learnt from his parents during his upbringing, as this experience contributed in shaping the man he grew up to be.

By the age of eight, he began playing the piano and organ. He became his school's pianist, playing at morning assemblies. As a young teen, he played in a band called Cool Cats. His rebellious side was also beginning to emerge; at age sixteen he formed a club called 'The Planless Society', with just seven members. Its sole aim was to violate all school rules. Fela also edited the journal of the club; 'The Planless Times Publication'. This was swiftly banned by the school authorities.

His political side was nurtured by his activist mother, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti. She was a key figure in the nationalist struggle, and took Fela to political rallies. When Fela was 18, she introduced him to Kwame Nkrumah, a meeting Fela recalls as having 'changed his life'.

In 1958, at the age of nineteen, Fela went to Britain for further studies. He studied Classical Music at the Trinity College of Music, concentrating on wood wind instruments. He also formed a jazz band with his best friend, Jimo Kombi Braimah (J.K), called Koola Lobitos.

By 1961, he had met and married his first wife Remi Taylor and by 1963, he was back in Nigeria

A brief stint in the USA in the '60s nurtured Fela's radicalism, and he went home in 1970 determined to speak out for West Africa's oppressed urban poor. Fela led his sprawling, 30-plus-piece afrobeat band - first called Africa 70, and later Egypt 80 - through scathing broadsides against his government, international business and corrupt leaders all over. Early songs like "Zombie," a swipe at Nigerian Army soldiers, and "International Thief Thief" horrified authorities and earned Fela harsh retribution.
He worked a short stint at the the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation, as a radio producer, leaving the position to concentrate on his re-formed band, Koola Lobitos.

In 1975, Fela changed his 'slave' name from Ransome to Anikulapo meaning 'one who has death in his pocket'.

It is reported that of the numerous altercations Fela has had with the Nigerian government, 18th February, 1977 will forever remain a milestone in his life. His family house, called Kalakuta Republic, was besieged by Nigerian soldiers, and was set on fire. The damage which ensued cannot be quantified; however, valuable possessions, like a tape of his forthcoming film 'Black President,' perished. Dozens sustained malleable injuries. His 78/84 year-old mother whom was thrown out of a window, died months later as a result. Fela himself ended up with a cracked skull, one of a number of injuries which affected his capabilities on the trumpet and saxophone. Nor was he to recover financially. Kuti served time in jail for his role of 'safe guarding his person and property'. This incident led to the now very famous songs 'Unknown Soldier' and 'Sorrow, Tears & Blood', released in 1977 and 1979 respectively.

Fela’s affection for polygamy, condom-free sex, his advocacy of marijuana use and his penchant for performing in only his underwear provided the Nigerian government with the opportunity to repeatedly harass him, with the hope of suppressing his vocal political protests. Fela was arrested numerous times, mostly on unfounded charges, and was imprisoned four times.

To the Pan-African world, Fela was a towering figure who arguably combined elements of pure artistry, political perseverance, and a mystic, spiritual consciousness in a way that no other individual ever has.

Fela with his wives. According to Fela in African Culture women are taught not to be jealous.

"It is very important for a man to marry many women because a man goes for many women in the first place. Like in Europe,when a man is married he goes out when the wife is sleeping...he should bring the women to the house to live with him, and stop running around the streets. That is what a man is supposed to do...a man is not supposed to run around the streets after women...women should be in his home."
-Fela Kuti

In 1978, in a total act of defiance against moral and social issues, Fela married 27 women in one traditional ceremony. This event was televised around the nation. In 1986, Fela divorced his wives, explaining that "I do not believe any more in the marriage institution. The marriage institution for the progress of the mind is evil. I learned that from prison. Why do people marry? Is it to be together? Is it to have children? People marry because they are jealous. People marry because they are possessive. People marry because they are selfish. All this comes to the very ugly fact that people want to own and control other people's bodies. I think the mind of human beings should develop to the point where that jealous feelings should be completely eradicated."

The year 1997 marked the beginning of the end for Fela. He played his last public paying show in March at the Muson Center. The shrine was raided in April, and, yet again, Fela was detained for possession of and trafficking in drugs. In mid-July, Fela collapsed at his home and was rushed to hospital. Towards the end of the month, speculation had reached fever pitch over his health. A national newspaper announced his death - this prompted Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti to issue a press release, on the 24th July to quell such rumors; "He is responding to treatment", he announced.

One of his defining characteristics was his view on death. He told biographer Carlos Moore: "Death doesn't worry me man. When my mother died it was because she finished her time on earth. I know that when I die I'll see her again, so how can I fear death? . . . So what is this **** world about? . . . I believe there is a plan . . . I believe there is no accident in our lives. What I am experiencing today completely vindicates the African religions. . . I will do my part . . . then I'll just go, man. . . Just go!"

On the 2nd August 1997, at approximately 5:30pm, Olufela Anikulapo-Kuti died from heart failure arising from complications of HIV/AIDS. As Fela had said; "when you think you die, you're not dead. Its a transition." His son Femi now carries on the afrobeat tradition with his popular 17-piece group, Positive Force.

"I don't object to what people hear. But my music is African music."

Fela Kuti Documentary and Music Click here
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

The Talking Drum
Fela Kuti Project