Showing posts from 2013

Chocolate under attack

When I discovered that it was Chocolate Week (14 October - 20 October 2013), I thought this was the perfect excuse to gorge without guilt on my first love. I'm not fussy when it comes to the sweet stuff - I'll take it with biscuit, raisins, plain, dark and bitter (yum), hot and peppery, even with a pinch of salt. So you can imagine my shock, horror and despair to learn that cocoa production is on the decline.

According to a study reported in, the warming of the planet will have direct impact on growing cocoa between 2030 and 2050. The cacao plant can only be grown in latitudes within 10 degrees of the equator, and in Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire where around half of the world's cocoa is produced, temperatures are expected to rise by 2.3 degrees Celsius by the middle of the century. This is expected to be detrimental to breeding cocoa pods.

I also learnt from radio station LBC 97.3 that rubber is muscling in on cocoa's patch and farmers are clearing swathes …

Cancer awareness: the untold stories

Modern cancer research owes a great deal to one African-American woman and her immortal cancer cells.

Her name was Henrietta Lacks. After her untimely death from cervical cancer at just 31 years old in 1951, doctors discovered that unlike other cancer cells, hers would live on when cultured and fed.

Going back to ma roots

Today, I learnt that my hair is heliotrichous - very curly – for those of you not in the know. I also learnt that the use of the afro comb dates back 6,000 years and engenders extraordinary symbolism.

For example, in my country of origin – Ghana – the dua’afe (wooden comb) is linked to femininity and beauty. 

In Egypt, women would often cover their hair with wigs to ‘protect’ their womanhood as it was linked to fecundity. It also defined their social status.

It appears that Egyptians modelled their hairstyles on their Nubian neighbours and much of the stylings that we see today can be traced back to Sudan, Madagascar, Nigeria as well as other ancient African kingdoms.

This information was just a snapshot of what I gleaned from a small but hugely inspiring exhibition on the humble afro comb in the heart of Cambridge, England. 
The free exhibition Origins of the Afro Combs - 6000 years of Culture, Politics and Identity, curated by Sally-Ann Ashton at the Fitzwilliam Museum, is on until 3 Nov…