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(1) Africa 53: Exploring the continent's diversity

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Too many times, I have heard the African continent described as a country with one homogeneous ethnic group. Considering that the continent is 30.4 million square metres (m2) in size, dwarfing Russia at 17.1m2, according to Nature America, and easily swallows up China, India, the US and most of Europe, isn't it about time her true might is reflected properly? I recently met a man who, through his work and in his spare time, has visited 53 of the 54 countries recognised by the African Union. It may have taken him 25 years but his experiences have helped to give him a more balanced appreciation of the continent, her people and the politics. In the first of three podcast instalments here, lawyer and journalist Dr Feyi Ogunade talks candidly about nation building and corruption and tells us some of his favourite cuisines and destinations. This podcast is based on questions from MisBeee Writes readers. Music in this podcast is called 'Di Asempa' and comes from Atakora Manu & H…

‘Trouble in Mind’ – a review of a timeless US play

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Alice Childress’ play ‘Trouble in Mind’ is the ultimate conundrum for those of us who face racial discrimination and are forced to navigate the sometimes uncertain road of being black in a white world.
Do we laugh at the unfunny jokes sometimes made at our expense just to fit in and get by? Do we grit our teeth when the unsolicited gaze on our black bodies lingers way too long? What about when that unwanted hand rests lecherously on our knee with intentions to wander and we do nothing because we need this job to pay the bills? Or do we speak our minds regardless of the consequences, knowing that our hopes and dreams may fade and we will be that solitary but brave/foolish figure speaking out.
Directed by Laurence Boswell, this version of a Childress play reflects that internal struggle in the mind. But it also shows the external trouble that voicing these feelings can also cause through an arresting exploration of identity, power and ambition - set against a backdrop of racial stereoty…

Perspectives on mental health - your stories

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The 10th of October is World Mental Health Day and as part of the day, I wanted to share some of the mental health challenges people in our communities have told me over the years.

Podcast:
Mental health and poetry - one man's story

I start with a frank interview with aspiring poet Tetteh-Kwesi who lives with dyspraxia and undiagnosed psychosis. He talks about how he has had to grapple with understanding his conditions, navigating manhood, relationships and how he has been received by the NHS and the police. He talks about his love of poetry and how writing poems has helped his to navigate this often challenging world. Click here to listen to his story.


Blog:
Misdiagnosis and mental health - one mother's journey

In this piece, mum-of-two Jayne talks about her journey to discover why her perfect daughter Ann-Marie was initially misdiagnosed by the health authorities.

She also talks about her faith, determination and the foresight of a Ghanaian doctor resulted in a positive outcom…

(3) Africa 53: Neocolonialism, homosexuality and Africa

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Imagine the stories, the knowledge and the political, economic and social oversight you would have if – like lawyer and journalist Dr Feyi Ogunade – you had travelled to 53 African countries? 
Dr Ogunade’s travels across the continent have been largely due to him working for the African Union. During his travels he has fought for the rights of Black Mauritanians to remain in their country after the government ordered their expulsion in the late 80s. 
He is now working to develop a watchdog body that aims to monitor and ensure the African Union delivers on its set objectives.
I spoke to him to learn more about his experiences, which has been broken down into three podcasts. In the final and third podcast instalment here, Dr Ogunade talks about the rise of Asian investment across Africa, the controversial topic of homosexuality and its place on the continent and his future business plans.
You can catch up on the previous two podcasts below. The first episode features Dr Ogunade who talks ab…

(2) Africa 53: Could we have a United States of Africa?

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...And do North Africans identify more with the Middle East or Africa? These are just some of the questions lawyer and journalist Dr Feyi Ogunade fielded in this podcast. Dr Ogunade has managed to visit all but one of the African countries on the continent. His visits have largely been linked to his work with the African Union.

This podcast is the second in three installments and charts his experiences of visiting 53 African countries.

The music featured in this podcast is called 'Di Asempa' and comes from Atakora Manu & His Sound Engineers.

For the first podcast, click: 
Exploring the continent’s diversity
For more posts like this, click Vlog: Azania - exploring cultural unity across ancient Africa
And What is the capital of Africa

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Please be aware that you may not reproduce, republish, modify or comme…

Brixton exhibition to showcase life of Ewe Royal in papers

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It is not everyday that you come across papers that give you some indication about your heritage and family history. This happened to one East London family that can trace their ancestry to a Ghanaian royal from the Ewe nation.

Ewe Fia  - Togbui Adamah II reigned from 1915 to 1963 - and thanks to a collection of official and personal letters and papers written by him and addressed to him, we know much more.

These papers - known as the Adamah Papers - were found by a family member and eventually donated to the Black Cultural Archives (BCA) in Brixton, London.

This is likely to be the first time such a find has been discovered in this way, and provide great insight into what life was like during a time when present-day Ghana was under British colonial rule. These papers give us rare insight into what life was like for Fia Togubui Adamah II, the people he ruled and his intersection with neighbouring kings and the British.

Check out my interview with Natalie Fiawoo who is project managin…

Vlog: British-Nigerian author's books set for February 2018 revamp

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The son of the late British-Nigerian author Buchi Emecheta is leading a project to digitise and re-launch all her works. By February 2018, her most well-known novels: 'In the Ditch’, ‘The Bride Price’ and ‘The Slave' will be re-launched with more titles set to follow, Onwordi told MisBeee at the sidelines of literary festival Africa Writes 2017 earlier this month. The plan to digitise and republish Buchi's entire collection of over 20 books – complete with new book covers - emerged after the Ibusa-born London-based author passed away in January this year.

"..one of the consequences was a realisation that lots of people wanted to read her books but unfortunately some of her books have gone out of print,” said Sylvester. “And so the idea came to me, and the other people I have been collaborating with, that we should get together and form a publishing company to re-launch some of those editions.” Despite Buchi's work spanning almost 30 years, some of her books have f…