Chika Unigwe – Writing in Belgium

Chika Unigwe was born in Enugu, Nigeria, and now lives in Turnhout, Belgium, with her husband and four children.

She holds a BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and an MA from the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. She also holds a PhD from the University of Leiden, The Netherlands, having completed a thesis entitled “In the shadow of Ala. Igbo women writing as an act of righting” in 2004.

Chika Unigwe is the author of fiction, poetry, articles and educational material. She won the 2003 BBC Short Story Competition for her story “Borrowed Smile”, a Commonwealth Short Story Award for “Weathered Smiles” and a Flemish literary prize for “De Smaak van Sneeuw”, her first short story written in Dutch. “The Secret”, another of her short pieces, was nominated for the 2004 Caine Prize. Moreover, her short story “Dreams” was shortlisted for the Million Writers Best Online Fiction in 2005, and “Thinking of Angel” was longlisted for the same award. Her story “Confetti, Glitter and Ash” recently finished third in the 2005 Equiano Prize for Fiction.

Read Chika Unigwe’s full bio on her website, and some of her works online.

CFP Africans in Europe in the 20th Century (deadline: 31 August 2009)

Hat tip: Zola Mumford

Africans in Europe in the long twentieth century: Transnationalism, translation and transfer University of Liverpool, 30-31 October 2009

The past few years have seen a flowering of historical research on Africans in Europe and the growth of new networks of scholarship on the subject. Most of this work acknowledges that as colonial or ex-colonial subjects, as migrants, and as members of a global population for whom a common identity and fate were increasingly claimed in terms of diaspora, Africans often moved from one mono- or plurilingual context/contact zone into another. This could be the result of physical relocations, of a transfer of administrative jurisdiction over them from one colonial power to another (as after 1918), or indeed of participation in transnational literary and political networks. But much current research remains limited to particular national metropolitan contexts, their languages and institutions, with the themes of transnationalism and translation addressed largely through triangulations between Africa, Black America and the respective country of ‘settlement’. The purpose of this conference is to bring together new research and provoke discussion around those moments where Africans found themselves at the interface between European cultures, asking about the implications for subjectivity and everyday life as well as for literary and political practice of having to deal with and through different languages and cultural practices. We invite contributions that address experiences in any (or indeed all) European territories, and particularly welcome empirically-grounded case studies which address the problems of methodology and interpretation raised by the project of studying transnational lives. Possible topics might include:

• Africans as language teachers and language learners – formal and informal institutions

• Visual culture: self-presentations

• Multilingual families and generational power

• Communication, power and identity in international organisations and networks

• International milieus within national borders (seamen’s bars and Black neighbourhoods)

• Languages of the shop floor

We anticipate that the conference papers will be published.

Please send abstracts by 31 August 2009 to Eve Rosenhaft, School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies, University of Liverpool.

Ghana Investment Expo in London


London, UK – The Ghana Black Star Network presents the 2nd Annual Ghana Business & Investment Exhibition on Saturday 19th September 2009 at the Bernie Grants Art Centre, Tottenham, London.

Due to popular demand and a successful launch in 2008; the Ghana Black Stars Network are presenting the 2nd Annual Ghana Business & Investment Exhibition on Saturday 19th September 2009 at the Berne Grants Art Centre, Tottenham, London.

After a peaceful political transition; Oil on its way, growing exports, Gas in the pipelines, Obama’s visit and Sun City heading South…Ghana has to be the next stop for investors, entrepreneurs or anybody who is looking to relocate.

With a strong cedi against the dollar, interest rates going down, a thriving economy, a growing middle class and a pool of opportunities for the business minded, Ghana is on the international platform growing from the seeds that have been sown.

With all industries from Construction to Agriculture to any service industry open for all; The Ghana Business & Investment Exhibition will provide delegates with the opportunity to hear from key industry professionals on Ghana’s development and opportunities. The event is also a chance for business minded individuals to network and share ideas on doing business in Ghana.

This year’s event is in partnership with the Ghana High Commission UK and Ghana Investment Promotion Centre. Media partners include: African Business magazine, New African magazine, Trumpet newspaper, African Caribbean Business Network, Find-A-Job in Africa, Re-Connect Africa, African Voice newspaper and BEN TV.

To contact us and find out more information about the event or GBSN please contact:
Nadia Mensah
0788 6411 661

The Annual ISD-Bundestreffen in Germany


ISD photo from a previous year.

06. – 09.08.2009 in Helmarshausen

Beim ISD-Bundestreffen

trifft sich jedes Jahr die Schwarze Gemeinschaft in Deutschland.

Im November 1985 riefen zum ersten Mal Schwarze Frauen und Männer bundesweit zu einem Treffen in Wiesbaden auf, um aus der damals erlebten Isolation in einer weißen Gesellschaft herauszutreten. Viele folgten diesem Aufruf. Das war der Anstoß für eine bundesweite (damals vorerst noch die alte Bundesrepublik Deutschland) Bewegung Schwarzer Menschen in Deutschland. Ein Novum im Deutschland nach dem Nationalsozialismus. Vieles hat sich seit diesen Anfängen geändert. Aus einer überschaubaren Anzahl von Kontakten wurde eine vielschichtige Vernetzung. Schwarze Menschen bearbeiten Themen miteinander, schaffen Diskussionsforen, schaffen Wissen, gestalten ihren privaten wie öffentlichen Raum.

Es wird Workshops, Vorträge, Gespräche, Austausch, Infostände, Kinderprogramm und viel Raum zum Selbstgestalten geben. Abends gibt´s Kultur pur, z.B. Filme, Performance/ Lesung, DJ- und Live-Musik. Und natürlich könnt ihr bei Ragga, Soul, Soukouss, Hip Hop und allem was sonst noch Spaß macht, abtanzen. Themen auf den Bundestreffen sind Schwarze Geschichte, Schwarze Menschen in Bildung und Beruf, Schwarze Netzwerke, Schwarze Identitäten in Deutschland, Stärkung der Kinder und Jugend, Selbstbehauptung im Alltag, und vieles mehr …

Get more information about the ISD-Bundestreffen.

Nannie Mayme McKinney – The 1st Black Person on British Television

Source: Ann Ogidi

Nina Mae McKinney’s (née Nannie Mayme McKinney) career was launched when she was spotted in the chorus line of the theatrical revue Blackbirds (1928). She was cast in a leading role in King Vidor’s musical film Hallelujah! (US, 1929). Billed as “a story of murder and redemption in the Deep South”, Hallelujah! was the first sound feature film with an all-black cast.

In the 1930s she made two British films: Kentucky Minstrels (d. John Baxter, 1934) and Sanders of the River (d. Zoltan Korda, 1935) where she starred opposite Paul Robeson. Unable to fulfil her potential in America, she left the USA for Europe, appearing in theatrical shows and cabaret. In Greece she was known as the “Queen of Night Life”, in Budapest as the “Black Garbo”.

Nina Mae McKinney is credited as the first black person to appear on British television. In 1935 she participated in a one hour GPO film called BBC – The Voice of Britain and in 1937 was one of several artists to feature in a BBC Television Demonstration Film (d. Dallas Bower, 1937).

Sadly Nina Mae McKinney’s death in New York in 1967 (she returned in 1960) went unnoticed in the industry and the media at large, except for a small notice in a local paper. Nevertheless her talents were recognised in 1978 when she was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame.