Ligali Logo

Greetings Family,

Announcement: The Ligali Organisation would like to apologise for any inconvenience cause by the disruption to our email and web services on 22 March – 24 March 2009. As a result to the resulting damage to our systems we have lost most emails sent to us between this period and request any correspondence if urgent is resent. We apologise once again for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Nyansapo - is an online community radio station hosted by the Ligali Organisation. It is designed to enable honest and progressive discussion of community issues. Our next Pan African Drum programme on 24 March 2009 will ask the questions;

How does the media alter our perception of self?

Cultural Activism: Challenging Propaganda

Nyansapo

The Ligali organisation is a supporter of the NKRUMAH@100 season


Programme Timetable

There are several ways you can interact with the programme you can;

Call the studio phone line;

0208 1444 708 / 0207 043 7759

(If engaged 0208 986 1984)

Send an email to; nyansapo@ligali.org
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Call in for free using Skype: nyansapodrum

9pm - 10pm
Pan African News (Mixing international and local news)

Community announcements and contributions from listeners are welcome.

10pm - 11:30pm
Talk of the Day
Cultural Activism: Challenging Propaganda. How does the news, music, programmes and film we consume in the British media alter the way we perceive ourselves? Can cultural artists liberate our minds, body and soul through art?
Listen, interact and call in with your opinions, advice and questions. Authors who call get an extra minute to promote their books!

11:30 - 12:00am (ish)
Loose Ends
Organic cook up flavoured discussion on recent media, films, books and cultural arts.

Nyansapo - The Pan African Drum

nyansapo_toyin_agbetu
Toyin Agbetu

Nyansapo – Cultural Activism

"the writer cannot be a mere storyteller; he cannot be a mere teacher; he cannot merely X-ray society's weaknesses, its ills, its perils. He or she must be actively involved in shaping its present and its future."
Ken Saro-Wiwa (1941-1995)

 
Greetings, what I am about to write will inflame many people, I ask that you do not read any further. Ase.
 
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It didn’t work did it?
 
I know this because as people most of us are forever seeking meaning from life. Is this it? What is my purpose? Is there life after death?
 
This search for answers means that we will often seek Truth from a variety of sources; from dialogue with elders, to books, drama, music, photographs, art and most recently websites. In particular – corporate news websites. However through art we have an alternative form of communication where the spirit of the messenger tends to be locked in an unalterable object that encapsulates the message once created. Electronic media is open to constant re-editing, re-interpretation and re-distribution. It means that the information we absorb on a daily basis is manufactured by a huge team of people collectively determined to impose their own interpretation of world events with the explicit aim of maintaining a particular cultural and political world order.
 
Many African people are now aware of the way the British media has manipulated hostility against the peoples of Zimbabwe, last weekend the Nazi sympathising Pope even had the temerity to ramble on about corruption in Africa. Meanwhile many African people remain oblivious to how much propaganda they pay for and internalise on a weekly basis.
 
So I’m going to give you a quick breakdown of a few events that happened last week to make the point.
 
Within a fortnight of the news announcement being made that our heroine Winnie Mandela was re-entering political life, the BBC, released a statement that it has commissioned a biopic of her so called “controversial” life.  In it Britain’s leading state propagandist described the planned project as a film covering her through the cultural lens of a “love story, a triumph and a tragedy". Sadly the talented actress Sophie Okonedo has decided to lower herself by taking part as the lead role.
 
This is cultural propaganda.
 
Yesterday the BBC broadcast its film “Cleopatra: Portrait of a Killer”, last week it had published an article announcing Cleopatra was ‘part African’. Part African? Is this in the same way that Obama Barack is part european? The silly article continues by pontificating about the potency of the Elizabeth Taylor image (alongside that of actor Richard Burton) in perpetuating a fake cultural representation of Egyptian sovereignty. Experts are said to have described the discovery made by Hilke Thuer of the Austrian Academy of Sciences as a real sensation. Thuer herself says; "That Arsinoe had an African mother is a real sensation which leads to a new insight on Cleopatra's family and the relationship of the sisters Cleopatra and Arsinoe".
 
This is cultural propaganda.
 
Again last week, all while the capitalist economic system continues to degenerate and expose the manipulative mechanisms of the corrupt wealthy elite in power, the British media led once again by the BBC published a series of articles claiming that during medieval times “Brits didn’t particularly like wealth redistribution”. This led to a plethora of stories talking about the ‘dark’, ‘negative’, ‘villainous’ side of Britain’s own cultural hero, Robin Hood.
 
According to Julian Luxford, an art history lecturer at Scotland's University of St. Andrews, Robin Hood and his crew of merry men should now be considered as having "infested Sherwood and other law-abiding areas of England with continuous robberies," The Independent newspaper describes him as “Robin and the Hoodies”. The new message is that taking from the rich to feed the poor is a criminal act, and no longer heroic. 
 
This is cultural propaganda.
 
Finally, when in 2009, the Africa section of the BBC news site is headlined by a story called “Gambians taken by witch doctors” we should automatically suspect that something funny is going on. But I want to stop you right there. This story is far more complex to decipher than the others. Let me explain.
 
The article includes an image captioned with the words “Traditional healers, often called witch doctors, use ancient treatments”. The phrase witch doctor has often been used to scare people into accepting the potions of alchemists instead of those who prefer to use more natural solutions. Today in westernised societies, the alchemist shops are called Pharmacies, with potion production controlled by giant multi-national pharmaceutical companies, the wizards are called chemists. But as I said this case study is a little more complex than the other so let’s look at the story a little closer.  Amnesty International is reported as having discovered that 1,000 Gambian villagers have been abducted by "witch doctors" and taken to secret detention centres and forced to drink potions leading to two deaths after some developed kidney problems. The story continues; “Amnesty spoke to villagers who said they had been held for up to five days and forced to drink unknown substances, which they said caused them to hallucinate and behave erratically.”
 
So why do I say that this story is more complex. Well it’s because I have no doubt that there is an element of Truth to it. When deconstructing propaganda we must always be focused on using physical facts, indigenous language translation and observational methodology as the initial basis of ascertaining Truth. The most effective harmful propaganda uses language as a means of distorting meaning, by creating an interpretation of facts that is divorced from an appropriate cultural context.
 
In this particular story there is no mention of the fact that the BBC is currently broadcasting a series called ‘Grow Your Own Drugs’ which uses its tabloid-style title to distort the fact that the entire premise of the programme is based upon healing through the use of traditional natural remedies. At no point in time is the presenter referred to as a ‘witch doctor’, at no point is the premise of growing medicine presented as ‘witchcraft’. It is important that we use this as context for our contextual observations when ascertaining intent. Many African traditional healers can also be accurately referred to as nutritionists or ethnobotanists so when the pejorative label ‘witch doctor’ is use there is a deliberate attempt to demonise them.
 
In order to successfully rebut damaging propaganda we must also actively seek and acknowledge Truth in order to be able to determine the level of its distortion. Sadly, I can tell you without any doubt that even in the UK there are several spiritual cults led by Africans who through seemingly benign practices - such as yoga, meditation and ritual chanting - carry out exactly the same acts of depriving people of food and attempting to coerce them into drinking unknown substances for days on end. Under the guise of healing, initiation and divination there are some Africans who see themselves as semi-deities and abuse their empathic/psychic gifts and knowledge of herbs in order to charge extortionate fees for so called spiritual ceremonies in order to fleece vulnerable people seeking a wellbeing and life away from the madness going on throughout the world around us.
 
If this is happening in the heart of England, then you can be rest assured that this is also happening back home. I'm sure many of you have seen those adverts in the back of newspapers or received cards through the letterbox from quasi-religious/spiritual healers. Now although I totally oppose this sick behaviour I do not believe a minority of bad exploitative healers should be used to disparage the many genuine traditional healers who use their knowledge of herbs - not for profit, manipulation and control, but instead to heal. You see there are many herbalists and healers both in the Diaspora and back home who can alleviate many ailments purely through use of spiritual based counselling in conjunction with foodstuff, drinks, plants, herbs, and medicines created through use of naturally grown produce. They should not be demonised with words such as ‘witch doctors’.
 
When challenging propaganda we must seek to be honest at all times and not just adopt the opposite position to what is being presented by a historic opponent. The content of this particular BBC story may be based on some Truth, but nonetheless the language it is expressed in is pure Cultural propaganda.   
   
So how do we counter negative cultural propaganda, move beyond responding and start asserting? The examples that I just shared with you are just a few of the very recent stories that reveal how the British media creates or distorts pre-existing empowering cultural property in order to oppress and manipulate the minds of the uninformed. In the run up to the World Cup tournament being hosted in Africa during 2010 there will be much propaganda coming from the usual suspects. A similar thing happened during 2005 when we were bombarded with documentaries attacking Africans during the Live Aid fiasco where western leaders and ‘liberal’ musicians promised to Make Poverty History. Sadly many of the most hostile anti-African news stories and programmes were fronted by tokenistic Africans themselves, typically those too young to know better or too morally compromised to care. 

In this particular war our only defence is to generate our own analytical media intelligence and support our own cultural activists.
 
Now I am not referring to those artists that prostitute our weaknesses, exploit our vulnerabilities and prey on the ignorant in order to maintain lavish degenerate lifestyles. No. Instead I am focusing on those individuals who quietly and powerfully create works of great cultural relevance ranging from a simple picture or sculpture encapsulating a definitive ideological viewpoint, to the singer, actor and indeed writer whose performance whether on stage or in a book invokes a strong message of inspiration that both enlightens and empowers African people.
 
It is often during the whitest hour where everything looks at its worst that we often see the emergence of a strong spirit of resistance that is both liberating and healing. The strength of our cultural activist lies not in their ability to mimic the works of others for money, but instead to promote alternative ways of thinking, interpreting and wherever necessary challenging anti-African propaganda.  
 
However because of their frontline role, they frequently come under attack facing immense pressure to compromise their art, their work, their life… simply in order to survive. As such it becomes our collective responsibility to support them both politically and financially to ensure that their spirit never dies. 
 
So the next time you hear a poet, a singer, observe a picture, sculpture, absorb a performance, a play, watch a film, read a book, feel a drummer, a dancer, the next time you feel your spirit move because Truth has touched you…. support them. For they are the inner soul within all of us, who despite threat to livelihood often sacrifice much to allow us to remember what it means to be free.  
 
May the Ancestors continue to guide and protect us.
 
Toyin Agbetu is a writer, film director, poet, and founder of Ligali, the pan African human rights based organisation.


Robin Hood
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/history-is-debunked-1645388.html
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/edinburgh_and_east/7941504.stm
 
Gambian Witch Doctors
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/7949173.stm

Nyansapo: Update.
nyansapo_toyin_agbetu
Nyansapo: The Pan African Drum

Callers
Nyansapo is a community radio station with very limited resources, as such we rely on our listeners to become active, get engaged, call and contribute with news items or sharing empowering community information we may have missed. We request all other phone contributions be limited to a maximum of ten minutes to allow others to interact with the programme.

Bandwidth, donations and fundraising
We are now exceeding our monthly bandwidth allocation and having to incur extra costs to maintain the station. We also need to build an additional two media servers, one for backup purposes. We are asking anyone who is interested in making monthly contributions to go to www.ligali.org/aboutus/donations/.

If only a few listeners were happy enough to make regular donations of at least £12 per month (£3 per week) we could improve the width and quality of our broadcasting service. Whilst the Ligali organisation does not take advertising we will consider programme sponsorship.

Phone Lines
Sound quality for callers trying to hear responses down the telephone is sporadic, sometimes the line is clear, on other occasions callers cannot hear us making interaction impossible. Our original objective was to provide a low cost phone number for our community to interact through, we may have to resort to using more flexible but expensive mobile communications technology if this fails. Please bear with us whilst we work on solutions.

Nyansapo: Spoken Word Matters

Reading Matters Books
Reading Matters:The Nyansapo Listeners Book List

The Nyansapo Listeners Poetry List

Following our reading matters programme on the 3rd March 2009, listeners emailed and called in the five most influential books they have read.

We are now asking which poems have most moved you or you feel best reflects our own cultural, political and spiritual beliefs. It doesn't have to be formal prose, lyrics from a song or spoken word performance are all eligible. Please email the words and name of the artist to mail@ligali.org with the subject heading 'Poetry'.


Nice Poem
A Poem By Toyin Agbetu

If you want to take a dagger and stab it in my heart
Then tell me that my poetry is nice
You see that pat on the back
Is a virtual slap
So let me start again
and this time…
listen close
my passive activist friend.
If my poetry is ‘nice’,
Then I have failed in my mission
I seek justice not contrition,
I promote revolution
not absolution.

My words are meant to change the way you think,
to challenge your perception,
tear down political, cultural and media deception.
When Chinua cried out ‘Beware soul brother’,
his rhythm created a venue for future dancers,
future others, dreamers and lovers
And when Ken Saro-Wara left us after shaping the melody
The oppressive mantra ‘nice poem’ was convicted.

A ‘nice poem’ of…
no fixed ideological abode,
was,
found guilty,
of demeaning,
persistent expressions of poetical resistance,
in an all African court,
deliberated by a jury devoid of prejudicial
venal
artistic
bias.

This is NOT a ‘nice poem’.

Background: Poem written in 2005. In the first three months of the 2001, Oil giant BP enjoyed profits of £2.86bn, the US company Exxon Mobil reaped £3.49bn, while the Anglo-Dutch giant Shell netted £2.69bn. Exxon Mobil announced that it had made a record £13.4bn profit in 2004. Whilst ChevronTexaco recently said its fourth quarter profits had nearly doubled to $3.44bn, against the same period in 2003. However in 2005 BP announced profits of £8.7bn, a 26% rise from 2004’s figures whilst Shell announced record profits for a UK company of £9.3bn – the equivalent to more than £1million an hour.


Maisha Solution
Maisha Solutions:
Every door has its own key

Screening: Maisha Solutions - Every Door As Its Own Key

Date: Saturday 25th April 2009
Time: 10- 5pm
Venue
: Woolwich Town hall, Market street, London SE18 6PW

A screening of the Maisha Solutions: Part One will be taking place during the African Market Day.

Maisha Solutions: Part One - "Every Door has its own key"
Duration: 1 Hr 45 Minutes
Director: Toyin Agbetu
Produced by the Ligali Organisation

Synopsis:
In a two part documentary, specifically made for a Pan African audience, we follow the writer and activist, Toyin Agbetu as he shares the results of his three year journey across three continents in seek of solutions to the many problems African people currently face as a result of Maafa.

Prior to its premiere screening Toyin announced to audience members; “it is both nervous and humbling to share my opinions, thoughts and feelings in this way, it has a very different [spiritual] energy from the Maafa series, it is an emotional film, and also very personal”.

Rejecting the classic ten point plan method, Maisha Solutions instead features contributions from various voices across the world with a strong emphasis placed upon independent learning and the empowerment of young people and women. The two part film offers insights into various topics and invites viewers to take leadership roles by becoming Pan African community workers that utilise our progressive traditional customs in order to successfully tackle many of the challenges we face today.

Maisha Solutions will be available on DVD later on in 2009.

Comments, Feedback and Complaints

3d Project
Fourth Month: Peju Layiwola

Modernity and Tradition: Peju Layiwola

Cultural activist Dr Kwame Opoku comments on the recent interview by cultural artist Peju Layiwola.

Those who saw the exhibition, Benin: Kings and Rituals - Court Arts from Nigeria would be familiar with the name and writings of Peju Layiwola. She contributed a piece, “The Benin Massacre: Memories and Experience”, to the excellent catalogue of the exhibition, edited by Barbara Plankensteiner, Museum of Ethnology, Vienna. In the interview reproduced below from the Nigerian paper, Vanguard, Dr. Layiwola speaks about her work as a teacher at the University of Lagos and as a metal caster. She also refers to the continued debate on the restitution of the Benin bronzes that were looted by the British during the invasion of Benin City in 1897. Peju is particularly qualified in this matter, being from the Benin Royal Family as well as being an Art Historian who appreciates the significance of icons. She mentions Benin casters having to look at pictures and catalogues in order to recreate classical models most of which are in the British Museum and elsewhere in the United States and Europe. How would Westerners feel if their creative artists had to look at catalogues and pictures of classical models because the originals were locked up in African and Asian museums? Requests have been made for returning some of the looted bronzes but so far there has not been any reaction, not even a simple acknowledgement. www.modernghana.com Instead, the American and European museums are more concerned with finding justifications for their continued detention of the stolen Benin artefacts.

    
Peju Layiwola, Woman Within.

If the British Museum is willing to work with Nigeria why it is not prepared to make even a symbolic gesture to return a few of the Benin bronzes? Instead, Neil MacGregor, Director, British Museum, provides some strange justifications in his latest lecture. www.museum.security.org

Do Nigerians not deserve a minimum of respect from those holding on to thousands of stolen Nigerian artefacts? Dr.Layiwola, whose relation with art goes back to her infancy, imbibed a lot from her mother, Princess Elizabeth Olowu, also an artist. Peju has set up a foundation to train women and children in art and crafts, WYART Foundation (Women and Youth Art Foundation). wyartfoundation.org


 

Pejo Layiwola: A Royal Journey into metal casting

McPhilips Nwachukwu

 

Dr. Layiwola with children at a workshop at the Institute of African Studies, Lagos.

French writer and artist, Paul Cézanne’s statement that  art is a priesthood, which only the pure in heart can come into, is very true about the life and engagements of Peju Layiwola, grand daughter of Oba Akenzua II, visual artist, metal caster, art historian and Head of Metal Casting at the Department of Creative Arts , University of Lagos.

Born to a Yoruba father and Benin mother, the University of Benin trained Princess- artist specializes in Metal, an aspect of sculptural art, which incorporates other metal fabrications like bronze, jewelry, brass and gold smelting, which apart from having cultural and ritual affinities with royal court arts and especially associated with the Bini monarchy is also, significantly perceived as a male reserved profession.

But as adventurous as her soul is, and from what she told this interviewer, Peju, contrary to all expectations, wanted a  more challenging thing: Not cut out for painting , crafts or textile, such other genres that have some soft spots for feminine figures; She rather wanted  a trial at that, where energy is exerted at high temperatures. And that she found in metal casting.

In this interview, Layiwola, who apart from her romance with metal and Benin cultural totems has also had to engage in other scholarly interventions geared towards the actualization of restitution of stolen Benin court arts, also spoke about other sides of her whole life engaging journey into the world of metal and visual arts.

Excerpts:

Madam, there is strong presence of Benin cultural aesthetics in your works. Would you tell me about yourself?
My name is Peju Layiwola. I am an artist and work principally in the medium of metal and precisely, bronze casting. Over the years I have taken part in several workshops within and outside Nigeria in the arts and that in a way, enriched my arts and has taken me to other spheres of artistic productions like print making.

I also do a bit of mixed media, but principally, my main material is metal, non ferrous metal. I grew up in Benin, my mother is daughter of Oba Akenzua II; and you find out that a lot of my works reference Benin in a way that is quite strong. Stronger than referencing Yoruba, the culture that my father belongs to.

Though my father is Yoruba, he himself grew up in Benin. So, I will say that ¾ of me is Benin and that is why you have that kind of strong Benin influence in my works.

Something must be fascinating about metal that you found it very attractive to work with. What is that thing?

I will say that I got a lot of inspiration from my mother because she studied sculpture at the University, and also worked in the medium of metal. In fact, she was one of the first women to work in bronze casting in Benin; and in fact, in Nigeria, where bronze casting is seen as the exclusive reserve of men.

In Benin like in the rest of Nigeria, women are not known to carve in woods or work in metals except now in contemporary times, when women specialize in sculpture and might delve into metal fabrications and metal assemblages.

But working in metal in liquid form is not an aspect that many women will want to go into because of the risks involved and because of the fact that it is a very tedious occupation.

So, I will say that I got a lot of inspiration from my mother, having seen her as a young girl casting in metal. So, I opted for metal design at the University of Benin, which was broader spectrum from what she studied because she did metal casting under sculpture. But I specialize in metal design, which incorporates jewelry production, metal casting etc.

However, I had always wanted to go into something different and not the usual things you find people specializing like painting or textile or ceramics. I wanted something that was really very challenging. I actually belong to the very set of women artists, who specialize in metal design, a program that was actually not cut out for women.

At that time, automatically people knew that if you were a female, you were expected to go into textile or ceramics, but I wanted to do something else, and something more challenging, and I felt that working in metal would be just good for me.

But has that decision been challenging enough?

Well, as a woman, you should know that there are a lot of taboos that surround the practice of metal casting. I didn’t face directly any of the confrontations that one would expect from traditional society because my mother was an initiated figure in the practice of that art form and so, I didn’t have any battles to fight as it were.

But working in that medium, of course everybody knows that metal is a very tedious material; and if you have to work with temperatures of that intensity, like about 1500f or even above, you will know that you are dealing with a very risky procedure of smelting. It is a very risky thing that people are not really cut out for it not even the men. So, that, I find very challenging. But the most important thing here is if you understand the chemistry of metal, the physical and chemical properties of a material, you can then easily manipulate it.

For example , you should know that if you subject metal to a particular temperature, it makes it red hot and you are expected to cool it  for it to become very soft again because the molecules are re- arranged and this process will return the metal to its original status.

And as you work on it and it gets hard again, you begin the whole process all over again. And you will understand that the other forces that metal uses so that you can easily manipulate it as you like.

The processes are risky yes, and also time consuming. If you were to do simple works of craft or something like that, though am not saying that painting is simple, but you could do that within the space of your room or apartment and you don’t need furnace or foundry or elaborate equipments and things like that.
You can see that working in metal requires a lot of equipment and you can’t just finish a work over night because it has several stages that you have to go through. In casting for example, you have to cut the moulds, smelt the metal, pour the smelt metal into the moulds and then allow it to dry and all of that. It takes a lot of time.

Of course, the cost is another aspect to look at. The cost of production is quite expensive, more especially these days of little or no light. Gas is so expensive, metal it is quite expensive too, and I work principally with brass and copper, and most of these metals are imported from outside of Nigeria and they are quite expensive to purchase. These are some of the challenges I encounter.

Considering the kind of attention that your practice and scholarship is giving to Benin art and tradition, and also considering the peculiar history and debate that shrouds Benin Court arts, don’t you think that people will label you an activist?

Well, if you look at it in that direction, it will look like breaking tradition and breaking away from the norm. But I like to say that there is no society that is static. Every society is dynamic, it keeps changing. But I also want to remind us here that even when we want to talk about the processes involved, people will say bronze casting has a lot of taboos that prevent people from trying at the craft because they believe that it is not everybody that should handle such secret materials.

And also the process is so tedious for women, especially those who are having babies. And I will say here that some of the other processes that are involved in other arts that women are allowed to practice like pottery are also aspects that come under metal casting.

So, taking the whole story as an art is novel, and people are bound to react to that. But I tell you again, that with the way schools are being set up, visual art schools in different parts of the country, the curriculum is tailored towards the British style.

If you didn’t have these biological and cultural connections with your mother, do you think you would be in this romance with metal sculpturing?

Well, my mother has her own story concerning how she came into bronze casting. But in my own case, I got in between having expanded my knowledge beyond the frontiers of western education. And that has particularly helped a great deal. Meeting her and working with her and even seeing her do it, of course, opened my eyes to possibilities.

But like I said earlier, my contact with metal at the university expanded my own scope in metal works. Metal casting is just an aspect of what I studied. Metal smelting, jewelry, gold smelting are all other aspects of metal works that I studied.

You were in Chicago recently. What did you go to do there?

Yes, it was at the Art Institute of Chicago, where I gave a lecture that closed the big show; a travelling exhibition that moved from Vienna through some places to Chicago over a two year period. It was an exhibition that was titled; Benin Kings and Rituals: Court Art from Nigeria.

It showed some of the works that were taken away from the Oba’s palace in 1897 by the invading British forces. During that invasion, many of the works were taken away and sold and are now resident in different parts of the world. Some in Germany, some in Britain and in private collections.

So, what the exhibition did was to bring about 320 of those works from private collection, from public spaces and brought them together in one show, which was curated by Barbara Plankensteiner for the Museum of Ethnology in Vienna.

So from there that show moved to four other countries. And to end the show in Chicago, I gave a lecture, where I looked at the aspect of memory and the kind of amnesia that comes out of the gap created by the works not being in Benin today.

You find out today that a lot of the carvers and casters in Benin as the last resort look at pictures in books and catalogues in order to recreate what their ancestors had done because these are classical pieces from Benin.

I also looked at the incidence of Benin massacre and how the artists are beginning to re-invent in the absence of these artifacts and what memory actually means as against history. That was what the discussion was all about.

One expected an objection, especially from the Benin royal families to be part of this exhibition given that the whole of Nigeria is clamouring for a return of these artifacts. Don’t you think that your participation, kind of endorsed continuous Western hold on these works?

Well, the works have been away for 111 years. So, they have been in Europe for a very long time. True, there have been arguments for the restitution of these works.

The fact that, there was collaboration between the Benin royal family, who lent about 20 works from the collection of the Oba of Benin, and a collaboration from the National Museum, which also helped in putting the troupe together do not in any way reduce the idea that those works should be returned to Nigeria.

If you look at the preface to the catalogue, the Oba has continuously stressed it very seriously and very unmistakably that the works be returned to Benin.  It is also about propagation your own culture and making your voice heard.

A great number of people that witnessed the exhibition did not even know that those works were in their museums. And before the works came to Chicago, there was protest by Black Americans and Nigerians living in the city in anticipation of the exhibition coming to the Art Institute in Chicago. The fact that we were collaborators does not mean  that we agreed…  however, if we said we were  not going to be part of the exhibition, well the exhibition would  still  have gone ahead to hold.
www.vanguardngr.com

Donations Matter
3d Project
3d Project: Dedicated to the Development of persons with Disabilities.

Support: 3D Project, Spanish Town, Jamaica

Greetings Afrikan people
  
3D Projects is a Community Based Rehabilitation Programme based in four parishes in Jamaica —
St. Catherine, Manchester, St. Thomas and St. Mar
y. It is dedicated to the Development of persons with Disabilities.

Gerlin Bean a serious Pan-Afrikan sister who returned to JA from England in 1987 and is the Director of this project has been working round the clock to keep it going for our disabled children in Jamaica and the project would benefit from assistance from us here in the UK. Over the years Gerlin has put in hours that most of us wouldn't even consider to keep the services operating, their sources of funding has repeatedly been cut over the years.
 
I know that many are feeling the pinch from the Credit Crunch but i'm sure that any support given will go a long way to ensuring that those from the poorer sections in Jamaica have this service to use. 
 
Please send any contributions directly as outlined in the documentation and we look forward to your support
 
Sister Nzingha Assata

3D Projects
Dedicated to the Development of persons with Disabilities
Head Office: 14 Monk Street, Spanish Town, St. Catherine,
Tel.: (876)984-2840, Fax: (876)984-7808
Email: threedprojects@yahoo.com
Website:www.3dprojects.com


3d Project
Baruwa Community School:Due to lack of funding in some classes there are 20 pupils to one teacher

Support: Baruwa's Primary School, Nigeria

Baruwa Community Primary School has 700 pupils, 7 teachers and 7 classrooms. You can do the maths. The school has no toilet and no safe drinking water. ICL is working with teachers, parents and community leaders to raise the awareness of the challenges faced at the school and raise funds to facilitate the installation of toilets and a bore-hole.

Baruwa Community Primary School, one of the only government-owned public primary schools in the area and not that far from the office of Ipaja Community Link, has recently become one of the key areas of work for staff. The school has over 700 pupils, but just 7 classrooms and 7 teachers.

The school was originally sited in a factory, but the school moved to this site in 2007 and opened on 5 May 2008 - it was not completed, but the Headteacher and teachers believed that it was "manageable". Government funds have not since stretched to complete windows, doors and plastering nor are there available funds to install toilets for the pupils or the teachers or provide a bore-hole for safe drinking water. Currently, pupils and staff go to the toilet in the bush area beside the school (which is often frequented by snakes) and drink water from an exposed well.

Please think about donating, you can send a cheque in the post payable to DIFN and post it to Ade Fashade at 84 Springfield House, 5 Tyson Street, London, E8 2LY. Many of these children are part of the OVC support programme and ICL want to do all that we can to make their lives better.

http://www.ipajacommunitylink.blogspot.com/

Community News

 

African History Display @ Kokayi Supplementary School

Greetings family.
 
As Voluntary Teaching Assistant & African History Co-Ordinator at Kokayi Supplementary School in Finsbury Park, North London. (Age range between 5 - 16 years.)
 
I have the beautiful task in creating an African History Display and I would appreciate if you could suggest any website's/organisations that I could contact regarding images/posters that could be used to develop the display.
 
Aim & Objective

To raise awareness in our greatness as african people. To have pride in who we are and have this essential information cemented into out minds, so that we are ready to challenge the injustices that are inflicted upon us on a daily basis.
 
I want children to see a proud reflection of themselves, in all that they do.

&

Create a thirst & excitement for more information regarding our history & to know what to do with it.
 
Frequency of Display
This is an ongoing display which will be changed every 6-8 in conjunction with the school term, with a theme on a particular subject area.
 
Deadline for collection of information: Sat 28/03/09.

Email: kiswahiliqueen@msn.com

  Education Matters..
nabss logo
Conference organised by: National Association of Black Supplementary School (NABSS) and the Black and Other UK Home Educators (BAOHE)

Home and Supplementary Education Conference - 6 June 2009

Greetings,

Black and Other UK Home Educators and the National Association of Black Supplementary Schools have got together to put on a conference to update the public about  home education and the availability of supplementary education for Black children.

This event will be held at the Hackney Museum on Saturday 6th June 2009 from 11am till 4pm.

We are inviting individuals and organisations in these fields to join us and take part in this event so we can give parents the best information that is available.

There is a wide range of media available for presentations including a Plasma TV and Powerpoint presentation facilities. This will be a FREE event with light refreshments available.

Please let us know as soon as possible if you would like to take part.

Black and Other UK Home Educators
Rehena Prior
Managing Director

http://www.blackandotherukhomeeducators.tk
E-mail: info@blackandotherukhomeeducators.tk
Tel:07960491963
Skype: rehenaprior

NABSS
Nia Imara
Managing Director

Tel:07958 348 558
info@nabss.org.uk
www.nabss.org.uk

  Rites of Passage: Training and Healing
Akoben
Akoben: Symbol of vigilance and wariness. Akoben is a horn used to sound a battle cry.

Mashufaa Classes

Date
: Every Week
Adm: 1st lesson is free.  Thereafter, £4.50 per lesson.  Members £2.50 per lesson

Mashufaa is a martial are created for the mental, physical and spiritual upliftment of a generation of people who have become detached from themselves!  Mashufaa is about living a life with light through the sweat of training.  Sweat lets you know you are alive.

Remember Mind, Body and Spirit are one.  Train to live and live to train. Mashufaa Classes will take place from at The Albany Theatre (Plum Room) nearest Rail: Deptford or DLR Deptford Bridge.

Monday and Fridays
Time: 7-9:30pm
Venue: Lord Morrison Hall, Chestnut Grove( off Scales Rd), Tottenham, London N17 9ET
Travel: Tube: Seven Sisters (Victoria Line), Tottenham Hale / Rail: Bruce Grove / Buses: 243, 341, 149, 259,279

Wednesday
Time: 7-9:30pm
Venue: Boy Scouts Centre (
Near Bruce Castle Park), All Hallows Road, London N17 7ADTube: Travel: Seven Sisters (Victoria Line), Tottenham Hale / Rail: Bruce Grove / Buses: 123, 243, W4

Thursdays
Time: 7:15-8:45pm
Venue: The Plum Room, The Albany Theatre/Centre, Douglas Way, Deptford, London SE8 4AG
Tube: New Cross
/ Rail: Deptford Station / Buses: 53, 453, 177

Email: info@mashufaa.co.uk
Website: http://www.mashufaa.co.uk
Tel: 07956 337391/ 07715 942734

Community Events

david_oluwale

New play on David Oluwale - 16 March 2009

A new play adapted by Dipo Agboluaje based on Kester Aspden's award winning book The Hounding of David Oluwale telling the story of one of the earliest recorded African deaths in police custody.

  • 24-28 March 2009, Hackney Empire, 291 Mare Street, London E8 1EJ
  • 31 March-4 April 2009, Nottingham Playhouse, Wellington Circus, Nottingham NG1 5AF

 

Education and Community Development Seminar:
Developing Community for Education: An ELBWO Story

Date: Wednesday 25th March 2009
Time: 4 – 5.30  pm
Location:
Cass School of Education, Stratford Campus - Room: RBG.13

Developing Community for Education: An ELBWO Story
Mame Ama Gueye, Founding Member of the East London Black Women’s Organisation

In this session, Mame Ama Gueye will look back to ELBWO's origins 30 years ago, and to the social conditions out of which it grew, in order to contribute to telling the story of ELBWO and to provide a context for theorising a wide range of contemporary issues to do with: African diaspora community in Britain; community action for education; African women and the women's movement.  

Mame Ama Gueye is a founding member of ELBWO.  She has also worked for the organisation and has been a long serving management committee member of ELBWO.  Her presentation will take the form of a dialogue with Kenyah Nyamache MSc., UKCP (director of the Nyamache Family Consultation Centre) who will be helping the audience to explore the contemporary significance of the ELBWO story.

In keeping with the theme of this Seminar Series, this session will provide an opportunity for students and scholars from across the University, as well as the wider community to dialogue with specialist knowledge. 

Scholars and tutors will want to attend these seminars to join in the discussion about developments in the field; to inform their own work and to make links across disciplines and with the communities we serve.

Students should find these seminars a stimulating point of reference for planning and developing their own research projects. 

 Please contact Costas Liantis if you would like to attend.

c.liantis@uel.ac.uk


 

African Voices and Global Justice Conference 2009

Date: Saturday 28 March 2009
Time: 9:30am - 3:30pm
Location: The Council House, College Green, Bristol

The 'African Voices and Global Justice' conference, organised by African Initiatives in collaboration with Africans in One, will be an exciting combination of speakers, films, presentations and workshops for the African diaspora and those interested in African ideas and alternatives.

A Public lecture, speeches and workshops on Education for All: Consciousness, Empowerment and Community Cohesion

Public lecture by Sis Dr Sandra Richards. Chief Executive of Despire to Inspire, Educationalist, Broadacster and Author

For more information contact africanvoices@african-initiatives.org.uk


 

Seminars/talks on African (Black) Britain

Venue: Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London, 28 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DS
Time: 6 to 7.30pm

April 15 - Maghan Keita, Villanova University: The return of the Black Knight: the African in the construction medieval and renaissance European identity

May 13 - David Clover, Librarian, ICS: Dispersed or destroyed: archives, the West Indian Students’ Union and public memory

June 10 - Cliff Pereira Black and Asian Community voice and Local History - The Bexley example


 

Restoration and Realisation of Self course in pictures

Date: March 2009
Time: 7pm-9pm
Location: Walthamstow E17
Adm: £6.50 donation (food will be available on sale)

2nd Saturday of Every Month

A composition of images, audio and video

This is a course for beginner, an introduction for participants in World History from a Black perspective: Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americans, the Ancient Egyptians, Nubians, Greeks, Romans. We will explore the global black experience and relate this to the here and now. The civilisations of Europe, the Dark Ages, politics of economics, the politics of race and nationalism, culture and identity, religion and spirituality.

Participants will learn about themselves, as they explore through themes and visual representation and then relate this to themselves and the present.

The course runs for 13 sessions

For more information: 07958 671 267 or 07816 277 360

Challenging assumptions and building for the future.


 

Screening: Grove Roots

Date: Monday 30 March 2009
Time: 6:30pm
Location: HistoryTalk, Methodist Church, 240 Lancaster Rd, W11 4AH
Adm: Free (first come first served)

Grove Roots unearths the rise of the Notting Hill Carnival, the fruition of 'Frestonia' and the lives of unique local figures such as Claudia Jones and Peter Rachmann.Featuring the voices of renowned screenwriter Richard Curtis as well as other local musicians, artists, community workers and residents, the film tells the story of the Ladbroke Grove area from the 1958 race riots to the ethnically rich place it is today. Made by 8 local, young people with the help of the Octavia Foundation and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Screenings also taking place:

Notting Hill Arts Club
21 Notting Hill Gate W11 3JQ
Tuesday 7th April at 7.30pm

Avenues
3-7 Third Avenue W10 4RS
Friday 24th April 7.30pm

12 Acklam Rd, W10 5QZ
Saturday 16th May 4pm
Event will take place following Kelso Cochrane memorial walk (starts 12pm Kensal Green Cemetery) N.B. time of screening is subject to change if procession over-runs.

RBKC Town Hall, Lecture Theatre
Horton Street, W8 7NX
Friday 22nd May at 6.30pm

Lexi Cinema
194b Chamberlayne rd
NW10 3JU
Tuesday 16th June at 6.30pm


 

Black Women Hair Skin and Beauty

Date: Sat 4th April 2009
Time:
12pm-5.00.pm
Location:
Museum in Docklands, DLR West India Quay
Adm: Free

This event  is always packed to see why click http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=dmUVXGfJ4Yc 

In association with Inspired Black Women, three films and workshops on the history and legacy of the beauty of black women. 

Films include:Sisters on the Light/Dark Thing (beauty), Black, Bold and Beautiful (hair), Yellow Babes (skin)

We will also have reports on the experiences of Black British women in Senegal, Somalia and Norway and men will be asked as to what they find attractive in women. For video on amazing and heroic women from the diaspora click here

Heroic Black Women

www.museumindocklands.co.uk


 

Africa Addio

Date: Saturday  25 April 2009
Time:
2pm-5.00pm
Location:
BFI Southbank (near Royal Festival Hall) Belvedere Road SE1 (Tube: Waterloo)
Adm:
Tickets ₤5, best to book early
Contact:
Phone 0207 928 3232 www.bfi.org.uk/southbank 

Africa Addio (Italy 1966) Part of the Mondo Caine school. This is the film that preceded the banned and hated Goodbye Uncle Tom and was said to be so racist that the filmakers made Uncle Tom to prove they were not, in any way, racist.  This shock-documentary alleges to show the turmoil following the fall of colonialism and how Africans coped without their benevolent European masters.

See for yourself if any of these styles of representation of black people which were deemed offensive then are still current in news reports or Hollywood films but accepted as 'normal' by viewers who have no knowledge of their history.

Followed by panel discussion

To join our list e-mail etf@100bmol.org.uk


 

Images of Black Women Film festival

Date: 27 -29th March 2009
Location: The Tricycle Theatre 269 Kilburn High Road, London NW6 7JR (nearest tube Kilburn on the jubilee line)
Contact: Box Office 0207 328 1000

Friday 27th march 2009 - 8.00pm (85 mins)
EUROPEAN PREMIERE FEATURE FILM "FROM A WHISPER"

Saturday 28th March -" Secret Life Of Bees"
2.45 pm - 4.35pm(110 mins)

Saturday 28th march"Hair Piece" + "Alma's Rainbow"
4:45 - 6:30pm (10 mins + 85 mins)

Sunday 29th March - 11:00am-1:00pm Adult workshop by DFG:  Documentary film production

Sunday 29th March
1:30pm - 2:15pm Short Film Competition Award

Sunday March 29th 2:30pm - 4:15pm
AFRO SAXONS By Rachel Wang(84 mins)

Sunday March 29th 4:30pm - 6:30pm(97mins.)
Johnny Mad Dog by Jean-Stephane Sauvaire


 

IBW Screening: From A Whisper

Date: Friday 27th March 2009
Time:
8.00pm (85 mins)
Location:
The Tricycle Theatre, 269 Kilburn High Road, London NW6 7JR  (nearest tube Kilburn on the Jubilee line)
Contact: Box Office 0207 328 1000
Adm: £8.50/£7.00

From a whispher is an endearing tale of two parallel lives of an artist and an intelligence officer; both indirect casualties on the August 7 US Embassy attack in 1998.  They find comfort in the help  they give each other to come to terms with the loss of their loved ones who they have been mourning for the last 10 years. Q&A with Director Wanuri Kahiu.

TICKETS SELLING FAST ENSURE YOU HAVE YOUR PLACE OF THIS VERY SPECIAL FILM ONLY ONE SHOWING - DON'T MISS OUT BOOK ON LINE OR CALL THE BOX OFFICE NOW! 


thacmho logo
Thacmho: Development Day

THACMHO Development Day

Date: Thursday 26th March 2009
Time: 12:30 - 4:00pm
Location: Exmouth Community Centre, Braysford Square, London E1 0SG

Tower Hamlets African and Caribbean Mental Health Organisation warmly invites you to our development day. An event designed to give us an opportunity to plan our future activities. We are inviting past and prospective partners to lunch and our guest session so that they can have a better understanding of our organisation as a whole. Their input will enable our membership to effectively plan our 2009-2010 programme.

RSVP

Contact: fabiant@safh.org.uk


lost_but_not_forgottono
A study by Alvin Kofi: Lost But Not Forgotton

Studies of Life by Alvin Kofi: Lost But Not Forgotton

Date: 27-29 March 2009
Time: 12-9 pm
Venue: Alexandra Galleries, 115 Melfort Road, Thornton Heath Surrey, CR7

Special soft opening on the 27th. Come, enjoy, talk and meet the artist.

For more info: 07961 422 061 / 0208 249 5807
Email: clem@alexandragalleries.com / kofi_arts1@btinternet.com


 

IBW Screening: The Secret Life of Bees

Date: Saturday 28th March 2009
Time:
2:45-4:35pm (110 mins)
Location:
The Tricycle Theatre, 269 Kilburn High Road, London NW6 7JR  (nearest tube Kilburn on the Jubilee line)
Contact: Box Office 0207 328 1000
Adm: £6/£5

The Secret life of Bees is based on the Best Selling  book by Sue Monk Kidd set in 1964, South Carolina.  It's an  enchanting parable of hope and love.  Singing sensations  Queen Latifah, Alicia Keyes and Jennifer Hudson star alongside British  born and Oscar nominated  actress Sophie Okonedo brings the bewitching tale by Gina Prince Bytheswood to life.


 

Dr Sebi UK Tour: A Holistic Herbal Healing Event

Date: Saturday 29th March 2009
Location: The Tabernacle, Powis Square, Notting Hill, London W11 2AY (Tube: Westbourne Park/Ladbrook Grove Buses:7,70,58,23,31,28,328)
Contact: Kathy or Ian - 020 7043 7530/07506929554 / email: drsebiuktour@yahoo.co.uk
Website: www.drsebi.com / www.drsebiproducts.com

Date: tbc
Time: tbc
Location: Bristol
Adm: £5 plus an opportunity to have a consutlation with Dr Sebi's team or a treatment by our Bristol based practitioners.
Contact: 07770891988 (JLAEP) or 0117 9396645 (BDA) for more information.

The John Lynch Afrikan Education Programme In partnership with The Black Development Agency, River Nile & Associates brings to YOU alternative perspectives on health, medicine and a full explosion of myths relating to cause & cure of many ailments.

(Please ring JLAEP for info on costs of treatments & consultations) PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD!!! LISTEN OUT ON UJIMA RADIO 98fm SUNDAY 2 - 4 PM for the radio interview with Dr Sebi & news on the event.


  bfm Film Club: Nubian Spirit: The African Legacy of the Nile Valley

Date: Sunday 5th April 2009
Time: 4pm
Location: Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), The Mall (just off Trafalgar Square).
Tickets: £8 non-members / £7 concession / £6 members

Nubian Spirit is a rare documentary by director Louis Buckley which unravels the legacy of ancient Sudan through an exploration of the  history and spiritual mythology of the original peoples of the Nile Valley. Digging deep into the regions contribution to modern civilization, it looks at such disciplines such as astronomy, architecture and science showing how what is now a war torn part of Africa, once rose to prominence in former times.

Features interviews with leading pan-African scholars Robin Walker, K.N Chimbiri, Anthony Browder and Dr Kimani Nehusi.

Screening will be followed by a discussion with the Director.

Winner “Audience Choice Award” Pan African Film Festival 2009.            

Dur: 74min /Sudan &UK, 2008

Language: English

Cert: 12A

Official Website: http://www.blackninefilms.com/newindex.html

Book: 0207 930 3647 or online at www.ica.org.uk

By Tube: Charing Cross or Piccadilly Circus

By Bus: 3, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 22, 23, 24, 29, 38, 77a, 88, 91, 139, 176

BFM: www.bfmmedia.com or contact Film Club Co-ordinator Nadia Denton at nadia@bfmmedia.com. 

African Market Day

African Market Day

Date: Saturday 25th April 2009
Time: 10- 5pm
Venue
: Woolwich Town hall
, Market street, London SE18 6PW

Come and experience a taste of what Africa and the Caribbean has to offer.

Exhibitors will be displaying Jewellery, Arts and Crafts, Music, Hair and Beauty, Marketing

Live performances by Zil'o'ka, Kay Young, Kersha Bailey,Church Boyz and many more

Contact:
enquires@amdnetworks.com
AMDNetworks
www.amdnetworks.com
0203 393 57 35 / 07908 144 311


 

400 Years of African British History

Date: 26th April 2009
Time: 1.00pm - 4.30pm

Explore the history of African people in the UK, who arrived long before the MV Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury in 1948.  Discover more about those born in Britain who fought against British racism over the last 400 years.

In association with Tony Warner and 100 Black Men of London  www.100bmol.org.uk


 

Walter Tull and Other African Footballers 1890-1990

Date: 23rd May 2009
Time: 1.00pm - 4.30pm

Explore the life of Walter Tull, footballer and the first African officer in the British army who served during the First World War.  Take the chance to see a new film made about this exceptional officer who died on the battlefield. We will also look at the achievements of other African footballers throughout the twentieth century.

In association with Tony Warner and 100 Black Men of London  www.100bmol.org.uk


 

Black History Walking Tour

Date: 7th June 2009
Time: 11.00am

Beginning at Imperial War Museum London’s From War to Windrush exhibition, join Tony Warner as he guides you on a tour of the African history of Lambeth and Southwark. This 90 minute walk links Imperial War Museum London to the Cuming Museum in nearby Elephant and Castle.

In association with Tony Warner and 100 Black Men of London  www.100bmol.org.uk


 

400 Years of African Female Leaders

Date: 27th September 2009
Time: 1.00pm - 4.30pm

Women in war or peacetime do not always get the historical credit they deserve. Through film and documentaries find out about African women who have led the resistance against slavery, colonialism, and racism.

In association with Tony Warner and 100 Black Men of London  www.100bmol.org.uk


 

Moyo Afrika Study Tours (MAST) 

Date:  August 6th–15th 2009  (register before 30th March 09)
Location: Ghana ( West Afrika )
Cost: $1,200 per person
Contact: moyowataifa@yahoo.com, Sis Njeri +44 (0) 7757 060313Study African History, Culture & Heritage during a Stimulating 10 day study tours;
 
 
2009 Dates
 
Kwame Nkrumah Centenary Study Tours
(1909-2009)
Open Dates for Centenary Anniversary Tours (See next page)
September 2009            (register before 30th April  09)
October 2009                 (register before 30th April 09)
 
You can also join our annual scheduled tours in February, April, June, August & October! An exciting opportunity for you if;·         you wish to develop your knowledge & experience of Afrika
 
·         you seek to reconnect & develop your networks within Afrika
 
·         this is your 1st trip home to the Motherland or West Afrika
 
·         you want to explore opportunities & options for Repatriation
 
Package includes;

  • Accommodation (Double and Triple Occupancy)
  • Daily Breakfast and Dinner
  • Ground Transportation in Ghana
  • Entrance to Tour Sites and Tour Activities
 Package does not include;
  • Airfare,  Travel Insurance and Visa Fees

MAST is organised by Moyo wa Taifa, a Pan Afrikan advocacy and solidarity organisation dedicated to rebuilding historical bridges between Afrikans on the Continent and the Diaspora and developing global people 2 people solidarity networks.
 
Sign up today by form, phone or e-mail!  
Indicate tour of your choice. Contact us for details
 moyowataifa@yahoo.com, Sis Njeri +44 (0) 7757 060313

 

Nyansapo - The Pan African Drum broadcasts live every Tuesday between 9pm - 12 pm. We discuss pan African news, current affairs and feature reviews of cultural media and events. It is an interactive programme so please feel free to call and join in.

Thank you for your patience as we redevelop our internet communications infrastructure, we are currently working on solutions to address all issues of buffering and audio quality. We expect to resolve all our other issues, technical and otherwise soon. As ever, your support and feedback, especially constructive criticism is welcome.

Ligali - in service to our family, with the spirit of our Ancestors

www.ligali.org

Ligali is a Pan African, human rights organisation founded by Toyin Agbetu in early 2000, it was named in remembrance of his beloved late father Ligali Ayinde Agbetu who taught him to take pride in his African heritage and challenge those opposed to universal human rights. The Ligali and African History Month websites were subsequently co-developed by former Ligali member emma pierre for our community, to be used by our community. It is maintained and funded entirely by the Ligali organisation but we do need your help to keep it running.

Supporting Ligali

Ligali DVD's
You can support us by making a single or regular donation online or volunteering to help at www.ligali.org/aboutus/supporting.htm.

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