Archive for African Diaspora



The pioneering film festival Images of Black Women returns on the 11th to 20th April 2014 to celebrate 10 years of promoting race and gender equality in film, both in front of and behind the camera. A six-day festival taking place at Tricycle Cinema on the 11, 12 & 13th of April as well as at the Rich Mix Cinema on the 14, 19 & 20th April.

Says Festival Director Sylviane Rano,

I started IBW to promote films from Women of African and Caribbean descent, a group still severely underrepresented in the film industry.  I want the festival to inspire the next generation of filmmakers and provide a platform for them to show their the wider audiences. Ten years later whilst things have improved slightly there is still a need for financial support in this area.

This year again, despite lack of funding, the festival manages to offer a fantastic mix of films made by and reflecting the lives of women of African descent from the UK and around the world.


           At Tricycle Cinema   SOLD OUT                  

  • 11th of April Half a Yellow Sun at the Tricycle Cinema 8.15pm

The festival is launching with the release of the film half of a Yellow Sun adapted by Biyi Bandele from the award-winning Novel of the same name by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at the Tricycle Theatre on April 11th   Starring Chiowetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton – at 8.15pm followed by a Q & A session.

  • FGM takes centre stage on Saturday the 12th of April at 15.00pm

With the documentary The Cruel Cut – Directed by Vicky Cooper  (Courtesy of Love Productions) and Calm by Kwame Lestrade. Followed by Q &A with Anti –FGM campaigner Leyla Hussein, and director of Calm Kwame Kestrade,

The Cruel Cut follows FGM Campaigner Leyla Hussein as she and a group of  survivors attempt to take their cause to the very top of the government. Leyla has been campaigning against female genital mutilation since 2008, winning a Cosmopolitan Ultimate campaigner Award in 2010

The Cruel Cut is a passionate, exuberant, exploration of the complex world of Female Genital Mutilation. Giving an insight into the cultural and societal pressures it brings and how it continues despite being illegal in the UK –At the time this documentary was filmed there had been no prosecutions for FGM in the UK despite being made illegal in 1985.

This screening is a timely reminder of how far this campaign has come, with the first ever prosecution for FGM due to take place this April, two days after the screening. Where does the campaign go moving forward?


Is an adaptation of a true story, set in present day London, uncovering what female genital mutilation means to a father.

On the 13th of April, UK Premiere of Award winning Haitian film DEPORTED, which won Best Documentary and Human Rights award at Vues d’Afrique 2013 in Canada, made by Rachèle Magloire, and Chantal Regnault. Plus short film The Silent Treatment. 14.30PM:

  • In the news constantly Deportations are a contentious issue in the UK, but what happens once someone is deported to their country of origin, separated from their family, with no job, or home to go to?

This documentary explores the controversial issue of what happens to deportees from Canada and the US who are forcibly returned home to their homeland Haiti, an issue currently affecting migrants in the UK.

Synopsis: Since 1996 and 2002 respectively, the United States and Canada conduct a systematic policy of repatriation of all foreign residents who have committed crimes on their soil. These range from violent crimes to simple convictions for driving while intoxicated or petty theft. “Deported” follows for three years these North American offenders as they return to their homeland: Haiti, a country they do not know.

Plus a Q & A with filmmaker Laurence Magloire (Deported) and The chief executive of Hibiscus Initiatives Jacqueline Mckenzie, an organisation who support deported Migrants in the UK and abroad.

For more information:

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Afrophobia in the EU: A Greens/EFA hearing

5436be67ed Afrophobia in the EU: A Greens/EFA hearing

Afrophobia in the EU


MEPs Jean-Jacob Bicep, Jean Lambert and Philippe Lamberts (Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance), in collaboration with the European Network Against Racism (ENAR) and the European Coalition of Cities against Racism (ECCAR), organise a European Hearing on Afrophobia on 20th February 2014 at the European Parliament in Brussels. This event, which will gather MEPs, EU officials, civil society organisations, artists and academics, aims at providing evidence on the existence of a specific form of racism called Afrophobia, targeting specifically Black people in Europe. The main objective of this event is to raise awareness and concerns about how People of African Descent (PAD) and Black Europeans (BE) are specifically affected by racial discrimination and stereotypes and to emphasize the urgency with which this specific form of racism must be recognized and tackled politically in order to really make a change in the lives of the 7 to 12 million PAD/BE residing in the EU.


Welcome and greeting
Mr. Jean Jacob Bicep, Member of the European Parliament

Keynote speech
Ms. Cecile Kashetu Kyenge, Minister for Integration, Italy tbc

First panel – Patterns of racism affecting specifically People of African Descent/Black Europeans

Ms. Philomena Essed, Professor, The Netherlands and USA
Mr. Pascal Blanchard, Historian, France tbc

Exchange with the audience

Second panel – Challenges and coping strategies on the ground: the role of NGOs, arts and media

Ms. Rokhaya Diallo, activist and journalist, Les Indivisibles & ENAR, France
Mr. Jallow Momodou, Pan-African Movement for Justice & ENAR, Sweden
Mr. Quinsy Gario, activist, The Netherlands tbc
Dr. Chokri Ben Chika, Truth Commission – Action Zoo humain, Belgium tbc
NN, Artist tbc

Exchange with the audience

Third panel – How to act politically at local, national and EU level

Mr. Jean-Paul Makengo, Deputy Mayor of Toulouse, France
Mr. Peter Bossman, Mayor of Piran, Slovenia tbc
European Commission official tbc
European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights official tbc

Exchange with the audience

Closing speech
Mr. Philippe Lamberts, Member of the European Parliament tbc

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Shaniqua Farrior – Antwerp…what is yet to come.

In a new series of articles, black women living outside of Europe share their views from the other side. In our third article, Shaniqua Farrior lays out her plan to move to Belgium and why. 

I have always been an adventurer. Often time taking on challenges that sometime seem  insurmountable. But, as all adventurers know, the journey will be filled with moments of euphoria, while other times it will be a discouraging struggle just to get to the next step. But we also know the reward of meeting the challenge with the strength and ferocity of a lion makes it all worth it.

Because, I’m never one to shy a from a challenge, I decided to accept the opportunity  to share  my goal to relocate to Antwerp, Belgium. What makes this goal rather different,  a bit intimidating and so worth it, is  I’m attempting to accomplish  this  as a young, black single mother of two.

For years I’d been entertaining the idea of permanently relocating to Europe but didn’t really know where. I know that I want to live in a lively city, that has a multicultural atmosphere and to dwell in a society that is forward thinking and value its inhabitants. I also know that I want to be surrounded by fashion, art and delicious food. As well as live in a  thriving community of progressive  entrepreneurs who are offering innovative goods to consumers.

Day after day I engross  myself in online research of  European countries that spark my interest. Visiting government websites gathering information on visas, work permit laws, permanent residency laws, marriage laws etc etc.; I scour websites and forums seeking information on job opportunities, housing, demographics, schools for my daughter and son, age appropriate activities that they may be interested in, the best neighborhoods,  race relations and articles on expatriation with children.

But online research can only provide so much.

From 2004 – 2006 I visited several countries on my list:

Although I’d  lived  in Denmark in the mid 90′s as a student attending the International People’s College, and then revisiting in ’06, the lovely fjord  just didn’t feel right for the long term, even though I have friends who are almost like family that still live there. Plus,  my ex fiancé still resides in Copenhagen and his family resides in Aarhus and the thought of dwelling in the same country and perhaps the same city and possibly running into him is just too emotionally taxing. Next!

Amsterdam reminded me a lot of New York, for obvious reasons. But the atmosphere of separatism, and racism was uncomfortably palpable; ESPECIALLY during the month of November, when St. Nicholas (Sinter Klaas in dutch)  the patron saint of  children and sailors, and his band of mischievous helpers in black face – think sambo – known as the Zweite Pete’s roll into town. I also had the double  misfortune of  being called the N-word, while strolling along the leidseplein on a Saturday night. One gentleman even asked for directions to Nigeria, before simulating punching me in the face. * Feel free to gasp here* . The upside…the Heineken was out of this world. But I was happy to leave and never come back.

France is beautiful but too expensive. However, it is a real asset to the industry i’m in. Germany is crazy fun. But I still felt there was a county and a city better suited for me.


Fast forward to 2007, while sitting in the Hong Kong Airport engrossed in the story of Cupcake Brown, a Tyler Perryesq book on steroids, a young…very young backpacker sat down next to me determined to strike up conversation. After resisting for about an hour I finally relented. Surprisingly his conversation was very engaging. We chatted  for hours ( our flights weren’t departing until the next morning) while gazing upon the neon lit skyline that Hong Kong is famous for.

We talked about my work as a massage therapist, my children, and life back in New York. He shared stories about his life in his beloved town of Antwerp, Belgium. He told me how much he loved his hometown. How nice the people are. How relaxed and friendly the atmosphere was and how I would fit right in. He talked about the opportunities available there and how it was the diamond capital of the world. Once he said that, I was intrigued.

Later that year my backpacker friend invited me to visit him for a few days in Antwerp. I accepted his offer and am so happy I did


The moment I arrived by train into the seaside city, I was greeted by the architectural wonders of the  Antwerpen Centraal railway station with its 144 ft dome constructed of steel and glass. The natural light that floods through, gives the station a very ethereal feel. I don’t know if it was the vitamin D from all the sunlight in the station, but a strange sensation of belonging and calm washed over me, that let me know that I had found what I was looking for. My feelings were confirmed every moment of the 10 days I spent there.

Traveling on public transportation, shopping in the local grocery stores with the backpacker. Discovering interesting boutiques along the Meir – the main shopping street in the heart of the city – and feeling like I blended in with the locals, gave me the confidence to know I wanted to write a chapter of my life there with my babies.

What also made the trip significant, was the fact that I created and facilitated the first infant massage seminar for expatriates. For 3 days I was able to visit homes of people who were in the position I want to be in. Many of them gave me great advice regarding raising my children there. Such as it is better to place the children in a local school versus a private school, this will ensure the children will be immersed in the dutch language. It was also said that patients will be a virtue when dealing with  the snail paced bureaucracy that is in charge of processing visas and reviewing permanent resident applications.


The expats that attended the infant massage seminar, stressed the importance of having multiple plans especially when traveling and moving overseas with children… I was advised to:

  •  Start the process at least one year or more

○       Learning the language

○       Gathering documents

○       Securing health insurance

○       Making sure finances are secure

○       Preparing the children for the move (which I heard is more difficult on teenagers)

○       Have an emergency fund just in case we have to fly back to the states on short notice. i.e death of a loved one. As well as life insurance.

○       Copies of all of our medical records, shot records, prescriptions ect.

Having  a few solid plans will give us the confidence in knowing we are prepared to face any obstacle.

So far we are just at the beginning stages of our relocation process. I am planning a 3 month stay next summer which will serve multiple purposes :

  1. I want my children to experience Antwerp and formulate their own opinion about it. As well as create a network of friends that will help familiarize them with the country.
  2. To explore neighborhoods that will best suit my small yet lively family.
  3. Visit schools both private and local to gain insight on how best to assimilate my children into the Belgian educational system. And if there will be any drawbacks that I can help to thwart.
  4. Networking with members of my profession who are veterans of the massage and skincare industry who will be asset  when  securing a work permit.
  5. To connect with other BWIE members in person who may give me better insight regarding black life in Europe.

In conclusion I want this article to serve as an inspiration to other single mothers that may have a desire to travel with their children, but felt afraid to do so. I know it seems impossible but through faith, perseverance and preparation there is nothing that can’t be accomplished.

Shaniqua Farrior Shaniqua Farrior   Antwerp...what is yet to come.

Shaniqua Farrior









Shaniqua Farrior is a Licensed Massage Therapist and Paramedical Skincare Therapist who is considered an expert in her field.  She holds a Degree in Liberal Arts from NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies. She is also a Certified Educator of Infant Massage, and an avid traveler, mother and world citizen. 

In our next article Destiny Gordon chronicles her destiny to live in Europe.

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CinemAfrica Stockholm Honors World AIDS Day

Each Worlds AIDS Day people will light candles all over the world in memory of all those we lost in HIV / AIDS and to honor their lives. CinemAfrica want to turn our attention to the memory of the 1.2 million Africans who died from AIDS-related illnesses in 2012. In 2012, 260 000 children were infected  with HIV. The majority of these are African children. Here are the CinemAfrica activities for World AIDS Day on December 1, 2013.

02 Life Above All CinemAfrica Stockholm Honors World AIDS Day

During CinemAfrica Movie Breakfast, we will show the movie: Life Above all, based on the international award-winning book, Chandas Secret by Allan Stratton. The film is about the 12-year-old Chanda and her family affected by HIV. We meet Chanda shortly after her newborn sister has died. When rumors spread, the fear and the shame rests heavily on her mom, who is forced to flee. She leaves behind Chanda who may struggle to combat superstition and prejudice with truth and courage.

unnamed CinemAfrica Stockholm Honors World AIDS Day

Ophelia Haanyama, was told about being HIV positive when she was in the midst of life. In the book, Ophelia’s Journey, she depicts her life. To live as HIV positive in Sweden with access to antiretroviral drugs and continuous medical checkups and knowing that relatives in Zambia, with just the same disease did not have equal opportunity to live as HIV positive. Ophelia took a conscious decision to publicly talk about their HIV status, and thus inspired many African women and girls to dare to live openly with their illness.

Buy tickets online.

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Questionnaire: Highly skilled women’s migration from Sub-Saharan countries to EU Countries

Find the survey in English, French and Italian from this link:

The survey is conducted in the framework of the research “Highly skilled women migration from SSA to Europe. Beyond the economic point of view” that intend to analyze the highly skilled women migrations flows from Sub – Saharan Africa to Europe in order to explore the present scenario as well as the migration strategies and the social remittances connected to these flows.

The questionnaire will take to you at max 10 minutes and your participation is important for the success of the survey.

As I anticipated the research counts of 2 moments of interview: one is the questionnaire and the other is a short semi structured online interview. It is not necessary to participate to both moment of the research, but it will be important to me your participation also to the semi structured interview.
As you can imagine more respondents we have and better it is, so if you know other women that belongs form one Sub-Saharan Country and live in one EU Country and are highly skilled (at least bachelor degree) please feel free to share the link to them.

I would like to inform you that the questionnaire is anonymous.

If you are interested to take part also to the semi structured interview and for any further questions please contact me through:
Linkedin: Camilla Spadavecchia
Skype: Camilla Unige

Best regards

Camilla Spadavecchia

PhD Candidate
Universitá degli Studi di Genova Andrea Podestá 2

pixel Questionnaire:   Highly skilled womens migration from Sub Saharan countries to EU Countries

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