As an entry point for advocacy, litigation shapes public discourse. Importantly, it addresses violations and mitigates future violations. In Kenya, the High Court upheld the rights of a female Rastafari learner. She was expelled from school because of her dreadlocks. The court pronounced that “the rule that she cuts her hair is intrusive to her religion and not justifiable in a democratic country”.
Nigerian men who wear their hair in knots are not a new phenomenon, but the hairstyle’s spiritual heritage sparks fear in the hearts of many.
A statue of a black queen has been erected on Danish soil, the country’s first public monument dedicated to a black woman. Two black female artists Jeannette Ehlers of Denmark and La Vaughn Belle of the Virgin Islands created the collaborative sculpture entitled I AM QUEEN MARY in honour of Mary Thomas, a black queen who revolted against the Danish.
Not many know about the first black student who sat in lecture halls of the University of Oxford. The University of Oxford recently honoured Christian Cole, its first black student with a plaque. Cole was from Sierra Leone and he studied Classics, and he was called to the Bar in 1883, becoming the first African barrister to practise Law in the English courts.
The ANC has worked hard to monopolise the history of the anti-apartheid struggle – meaning transformational figures are being left out.
The revolutionary idea of Negritude turns 82 this year and the ‘trois pères’ of the movement, Aimé Césaire, Léopold Sédar Senghor and Léon-Gontran Damas, will be celebrated as literary heroes. But perhaps it is time, as Edwige-Renée Dro writes, to remember the ‘mères’ of the movement and resurrect them from obscurity.
A Nigerian friend, with whom I went to university in the UK, had tribal marks on his cheeks. I never felt comfortable enough to ask him about them but eventually the subject came up. He wasn’t proud of his traditional Yoruba markings and was tired of explaining to foreigners that they were not accidental scars.