Today we celebrate International Mother Language Day proclaimed by the General Conference of UNESCO in November 1999. International Mother Language Day has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. Please do leave us a greeting in your mother language.
Today we visit the Omo River valley in Ethiopia where the Hamer ethnic community lives. The Hamer ethnic group has a unique initiation ritual that involves bull jumping. This practice is still practiced today.
A video of a fluent Xhosa-speaking teenager Chad “Xolani” Baling, 18, who recently successfully participated in a sacred initiation rite of passage ceremony in South Africa has set tongues wagging on social media. Baling lives with a Xhosa family in East London, and he went through the traditional Xhosa ulwaluko initiation rite to manhood. Some social media users have been applauding Chad for embracing a critical part of Xhosa culture, while others users having been critical of the custom calling it “outdated”.
Malawians across major cities today participated in protest marches against alleged proposals by the government to legalise abortion and homosexuality in the country. Various religious groups participated in the protest, which also attracted members of the Rastafari faith. Numerous images of the protest shared on social media show people carrying pro-life placards and anti-gay banners.
An amended law in Egypt, imposing tougher penalties on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and reclassifying the practice as a crime rather than a misdemeanour has come into effect. FGM practitioners will now face up to 15 years in jail if found guilty of carrying out the procedure. Although the practice was criminalised in 2008, FGM remains widespread in Egypt, and it is also silently practiced in other African countries. The amended law has been welcomed by anti-FGM campaigners.
The sex toy trade is flourishing across South Africa as couples are increasingly relaxed with the idea of buying adult toys. The negative social stigmas around the adult toy industry seem to be slowly crumbling. Désir a luxury sex toy e-commerce store is recording month-on-month increases in the sales of couples’ sex toys, and the company says the sale of sex toys is now evenly balanced between both sexes, as the subject becomes more acceptable.
The image of African girls playing with white dolls has been a reality, which has become almost commonplace. Finding black dolls in shops, dolls which are representative of Africa’s cultural diversity is often an arduous task. A social entrepreneur in Botswana hopes to change that, and has created a range of African dolls, which celebrate the diversity of African girls and challenge the normativity of white dolls.
I have liquid views about cultural appropriation versus appreciation. By virtue of living in a globalised world we are drawn to original designs as influenced by genuine interest, which is lovely. But, the lines blur when capitalism gains more than the people who give the product its identity and uniqueness