Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Promised Land

African countries are considering several options necessary to boost productivity in the agricultural sector. One such option, and by far the most popular and controversial, is to lure young South Australian farmers to Africa by offering them free land and tax-free farming.

The promised land is good news to those who would like to have their own farm, as confidence on the land hits a new low because of the drought.

The Kenyan High Commissioner to Australia, His Excellency John Lepi Lanyansunya is presently wooing farmers with the right credentials; those with experience in the farm-business sector, who can bring machinery, capital, and technical skills to Kenya.

And the African Chamber of Commerce (AFRICOM) in South Australia is offering more information to interested parties on the African free-farms proposal.


Monday, May 30, 2005

A Day to Remember

Most people I know genuinely believe that the 25th of May was a very special day for the emerging African community in Australia, as the “Africa Day” festivities breathed new life into the city hall. For me, personally, it was a day like no other. A day to remember.

More importantly, it was the first “Africa Day” celebration in South Australia. And Michael Harbison, the Lord Mayor of Adelaide city was there, as the keynote speaker. So was the Kenyan High Commissioner to Australia, His Excellency John Lepi Lanyansunya. Other dignitaries and local heroes also made their presence felt.

In fact, the occasion was celebrated in style, as African-Australians graced the city hall in their majestic robes; obviously appreciating the moment.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

The Angel From Sierra Leone

Having escaped the brutal civil war in Sierra Leone a few years ago, Khadija Gbla is gradually coming to terms with her new life in Australia. But there are enormous challenges and, of course, exciting new opportunities.

With a strong sense of right and wrong, Khadija speaks eloquently about the plight of African women in Diaspora; focusing on women rights and gender relations. (She obviously knows what it means to be a refugee, based on her own personal experience.) She can feel their pain. And she shares their aspirations for a better life.

Meanwhile, she honestly believes that something must be done, and very quickly too, to soften the pain of transition.

“I want to stop the suffering”, Khadija muses as she reflects on the enormous challenges facing the new arrivals and the significant problems of survival in the land Down Under. “I want to work with people and make a difference…why can’t we have equal opportunity?”

Yet, Khadija is only 17 years old. A young woman who knows a thing or two about the struggle for women’s rights (and men’s responsibilities in gender relations), and who projects a wholesome image of youth and vitality, with a natural beauty to match.

She is an enlightened child of the universe who is wiser beyond her years; and who is extremely proud of her dual identity as an African-Australian.

“I like the Australian culture and life-style…This is a good and peaceful country”, she says. “But we need a multicultural education system that works for everybody…a system that meets the needs of women; especially the new arrivals”.

Khadija is an idealistic young woman with an angelic voice and a cheery disposition; a daughter of the revolution (so to speak) and one of the shinning lights in the emerging African community in Australia.

“We must aim at the top”, she says, without much ado. “We can’t make changes in society by staying permanently at the bottom”. This sentiment is shared by the overwhelming majority of African youths in Australia.

But there are other fundamental issues in Khadija’s universe which must be noted; such as the preservation of cultural identity.

“How do we pass on our language and culture?” That’s the question that has pre-occupied Khadija’s fertile imagination in the past few years. “Something has to be done for the future generation…We must preserve our cultural identity, as Africans”.

In a refreshing flourish of humanitarian rhetoric, Khadija talks at length about the welfare of the new migrants and refugees. She really wants to help those in need. And she wants to do community work in order to improve the living conditions of African women in Australian society.

For more stories, visit: http://africanmigrants.blogspot.com

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Movie and Food Night

Panhom is organising a great movie and food night to raise money for education and health care facilities in Southern Sudan.

The event will take place at the Windsor Theatres, 362 Henley Beach Road, Lockleys, South Australia ( Sunday 6.30 pm, June 5). Cost: $15.

Come and see Hotel Rwanda, meet nice people, and share some great food; while, at the same time, supporting Panhom’s noble objectives.

As a charitable organisation, Panhom works with the Sudanese people and the global community to provide acceptable standards of education, social justice, and basic infrastructure in the war-ravaged region in order to alleviate the suffering and chronic underdevelopment in Southern Sudan.

Website: www.panhom.org
Email: admin@panhom.org

Friday, May 20, 2005


The Ghanaian group, Wala, has done it again! This time around, the popular musical outfit uses 15 different types of African drums and flutes and a range of costumes to maximum effect. Aflah Hammond, Tuza Afutu and Odai Nmai have managed to keep the group together; using their excellent musical talents to entertain (and even to mesmerize) the audiences around Australia.

The group will be on stage at the Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre (South Australia), 21st May from 1pm to 3pm.

Sunday, May 15, 2005


The organizing committee of AFROVIBES presents African dance party on Saturday, May 21, at Adelaide Latin Dance Factory, in South Australia.

Put on your dancing shoes (your body and soul will thank you for it) because it will be a night like no other, a night to remember. A night of Afrobeat and Afro-Caribbean rhythms - from Soca to Rapso with the fantastic Nouveau-A-Go-Go Band.

Other performances include: Master drummer Lamin Nanky and his band from Senegal and the exciting Soukouss Dancers.

Join the fun!

Thursday, May 12, 2005


The Australians, generally, have a well enlightened view of the world, when it comes to matters of freedom and the policy of mandatory detention of refugees and asylum seekers.

The main thrust of the argument against detention is that the Federal Government should abandon its heartless policy of incarcerating people suspected of being in Australia illegally, because it is basically inhumane.

This view is supported by the refugee advocates throughout the land.

Writing in The Advertiser newspaper, Rex Jory argues, quite convincingly, that denying freedom to people who have committed no crime offends the basic Australian sense of justice and fair play.

In other words, it could be argued that even if the policy of mandatory detention is legally and politically sound, it is morally wrong.


Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Eric Roberts came to Australia as a refugee from Liberia, shattered and devastated as a result of the civil war in his beloved country. Now, he believes, he has found a semblance of normality and peace of mind in Australia.

“This is a great country”, Eric says, flashing his beautiful set of white teeth. “There is a feeling of security and a high standard of living here”.

Eric and his family have recently moved into a four-bedroom house in the suburban Adelaide, South Australia. And the family couldn’t have been happier. But the battle for survival continues, unabated.

In reality, Eric is still a long way from home, so to speak; but his journey from the brink is a story of courage and determination to succeed.

He has witnessed the trauma of war, hunger, and suffering in the desolate streets of Liberia in West Africa; and live to tell the tale.

“Life was difficult in Liberia in those days, just before I decided to leave”, he says. “All that fighting and killing and not a moment of peace…and no future; the situation was getting out of hand”. But things are changing!

Now, having made his home in South Australia, the real challenge is to survive the peace.

“I’ve pushed myself to the limit; trying to acquire new skills and get a good job; but it’s more difficult than I first thought”, he says. “I need a job, badly, so that I can help others …that’s the African way”.

Indeed, the resettlement process can be a difficult undertaking in the eyes of most refugees; even in the best of times. But it can also be a giant struggle for those who don’t know how to cope with the changes in their new environment. An emotional journey!

Eric, of all people, is torn between two worlds – the African world and Australia. And Africa still looms larger than life in his memory. But, like the overwhelming majority of Africans in the land Down Under, he really wants to survive, work hard, and enjoy the best of what Australia has to offer.

Undoubtedly, Eric has the drive, the X-factor, and the will to succeed!

Thursday, May 05, 2005


He has every reason to smile, but there are new challenges ahead. Kuir Pager Alaak, 19, is a charming, highly motivated, young man from war-ravaged Sudan, who has just been admitted to an undergraduate program at the university of South Australia.

“I enjoy the challenge of studying at the university”, he said. “This is what I always wanted to do…I’ve been working hard”.

Kuir is a young man on a hurry, intelligent, competent and disciplined; a “Lost boy” made good. His achievement, so far, is even more remarkable given the fact that he grew up without parental guidance and control. He is one of the 200,000 or so children who were separated from their families because of the civil war in Sudan.

Soon after he arrived in Australia as a wide-eyed teenage refugee (a few short years ago), Kuir took to education and training like ducks to water; and has never looked back.

Meanwhile, he is seriously working and studying and making the most of his new life in Australia.