Cecile Kyenge, Italy’s first black Cabinet minister, has exposed the nation’s ugly race problem

Italian Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge

Source: mail.com

One politician from a party that not long ago ruled in a coalition derided what he called Italy’s new “bonga bonga government.” On Wednesday, amid increasing revulsion over the reaction, the government authorized an investigation into neo-fascist websites whose members called Kyenge “Congolese monkey” and other epithets.

Kyenge, 48, was born in Congo and moved to Italy three decades ago to study medicine. An eye surgeon, she lives in Modena with her Italian husband and two children. She was active in local center-left politics before winning a seat in the lower Chamber of Deputies in February elections.

Premier Enrico Letta tapped Kyenge to be minister of integration in his hybrid center-left and center-right government that won its second vote of confidence Tuesday. In his introductory speech to Parliament, Letta touted Kyenge’s appointment as a

“new concept about the confines of barriers giving way to hope, of unsurpassable limits giving way to a bridge between diverse communities.”

His praise and that of others has been almost drowned out by the racist slurs directed at Kyenge by politicians of the anti-immigrant Northern League party, an on-again, off-again ally of long-serving ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi, and members of neo-fascist Internet groups.

In addition to his “bonga bonga” slur, Mario Borghezio, a European parliamentarian for the League, warned in an interview with Radio 24 that Kyenge would try to “impose tribal traditions” from her native Congo on Italy.

Kyenge on Tuesday responded to the insults, thanking those who had come to her defense and taking a veiled jab at the vulgarity of her critics.

“I believe even criticism can inform if it’s done with respect,”

she tweeted.

Read the full story.

Italy – African Film Festival by Nigrizia


From “Rassegna” to Festival: the African cinema in Verona

Verona has been the first city in Italy to propose a focus on African cinema and, for the first time, it was the municipality of Verona that promoted in 1970 “Il cinema africano” during the 2nd International cinema week at the Cinema Filarmonico.

In 1981, Nigrizia, magazine from the Comboni missionaries, and the Diocesan missionary centre gave life to the “Rassegna”, an event that, using cinema as an efficient and popular tool of communication, gave a truer vision of the African continent.

This initiative grew gradually. A cultural project was born around it, or rather, an intercultural one, which brought us closer to the school world with a significant presence of students at the event and of the festival team in schools during the year.

From these premises, the Festival found strength and vigor in re-editing a cultural project designed to create engagement and dialogue between different cultures, to increase public awareness on these constantly current and important issues.

First of all, the festival wants to have a broader scope, not only at the regional level and national – see the existing synergies with Milan (Festival del Cinema Africano, d’Asia e America Latina), Padua (ImmaginAfrica) and Bari (Balafon Film Festival) – but also at an international level. The participation to other international festivals about African cinema, among which FESPACO in Burkina Faso and the ZIFF (Zanzibar international film festival) was important.
Since 2007, the festival includes a competition that awards prizes to the films presented during the event. This choice was rewarded by the presence of more than 5000 people who, during a week, have discovered and awarded African films giving value to the organizational efforts of the artistic directors and promoters.

The Committee of the African film festival was created in 2009. Today the Centro missionario diocesano,Nigrizia Multimedia and Progetto Mondo Mlal continue their activity as promoters and organizers of the festival but also of other initiatives during the year.

Fall 2011 Issue of Black Expat is online

We are one issue away from celebrating our third anniversary. We would like to thank the many readers who have been with us on our wonderful journey and all the authors and contributors who have made the magazine what it is.

Black Expat Fall 2011

This issue we will again not dissapoint profiling photographers in Milan, professors in Shanghai, and the adventure of Black Missionaries from a century ago.

Dennison Bertram in a stellar article chronicles his physical and spiritual journey as a successful artist and expat in Italy. A must read!

Another Italy expat, Arelene Gibbs, tells us about the life in Rome and the reality (versus fantasy) of expat life in Europe.

Dr. Andrea Stith shows us that brains and beauty are not incompatible and describes her experience as a professor in Shanghai Jiaotong.

Tanya Tait describes her experience living in Nice with her husband and adjusting to beautiful France.

Finally our historical Black in the Day feature describes the work of Black American missionaries in Africa in the 19th and early 20th century.

We are also pleased to announce that we have 5 Luxe City travel guides to give away to 5 Black Expat readers. Get the details here and good luck: http://bit.ly/blackexpatluxe

Thanks again for reading and as always your feedback is welcome!

The Editors – Adrianne (Black Women in Europe), Reggie & Derek