Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sindi Medar-Gould Memorial

The Nigerian Feminist Forum (NFF) hereby invites you to a memorial in honor of the Late Sindi Medar-Gould who until her death was a steering committee member of the Nigerian Feminist Forum.

TERRA Kulture, Plot 1376, Tiamiyu Savage, Off Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos. 
Wednesday 26th, June, 2013.
11am-1pm Prompt.
Let's make this a celebration of life for our dearest Shameless Sindi.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

ALC Africa's Debates

A must to attend... There is also online streaming on the 24th of June.

Monday, June 17, 2013

African Leadership Centre Simulation event Nairobi (2013)

The African Leadership Centre (ALC) invites you to the ALC Africa Debates:
“Is the current wave of global interest a new struggle for Africa?”
24th June 2013 at 1000–1230
ED 213, Education Building, University of Nairobi

The African Leadership Centre (ALC) was established in Nairobi in June 2010 as a joint initiative of King`s College London and the University of Nairobi. Through its Fellowship Programmes, the ALC aims to contribute to Africa’s long term security and development by mentoring the talent of young African leaders.

The ALC Africa Debates are a core part of the ALC Fellowship programme. These are high-level role-play sessions where Fellows discuss and act out the roles of key personalities involved in the management of significant security situations in Africa. The Simulation sessions provide an opportunity for the Fellows to display their analysis of current affairs from a variety of perspectives as well as their capacity to critically engage with the public on the most pertinent issues affecting Africa today.

This year`s ALC Africa Debates is titled ‘Is the current wave of global interest a new struggle for Africa?’ This simulation seminar will consider the current wave of global interest in a continent that was once characterized as ‘the scar of the conscience of the world’. This state of affairs has led to positive outcomes on the one hand with high and rising information technology absorption and production levels and on the other hand, negative outcomes with national and regional insurgencies with links to global terrorist-related networks. International interests in Africa have never been so diverse from former colonial powers, the increasingly prominent emerging economic powers: BRIC and more clandestine elements, including AQIM.

These developments have occurred against the background of energized global economic policy regimes; international peace and security interventions; as well as international engagement on the delivery of justices. However, rebellion against this overarching system has also been used as the rallying cry for global radicalization processes that have sometimes tipped over into violent extremism. We must ask whether the gains are sufficient to tolerate the negative outcomes.

The debates are an excellent tool to help us understand the problems that our continent faces from all perspectives: those that we are comfortable with and even those that we are less comfortable with. The event will also give us a glimpse at the wonderful work being done by the African Leadership Centre, King’s College London and the University of Nairobi on preparing young Africans for their leadership roles today. So please come and join the debate!

Arrival: 1000

Welcome Remarks: 1030-1100
Dr 'Funmi Olonisakin, Director, ALC

Coffee: 1130-1130

Simulation seminar: 1130 – 1230

The Simulation Exercise is undertaken by: ALC Peace and Security Fellows

(Current Fellows are from Burundi, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar and Sudan)

Monday, June 10, 2013

Human 16.0 by Ronke Akintade-Ogunleye

Dear Who- or Whatever designed humans,

I noticed your attempts at humans 1.0 - from the apemen, to your homo-erectile [dysfunction] attempt or whatever that funny name is, and several other attempts, and now us -the homo sapiens (I heard there are 15 designs in all!!!). I just thought you might like my idea since you are so adventurous :)

Here are some suggestions for HUMAN 16.0:

1. Be sure to install a mechanism that will automatically regrow another organ when the existing ones begin to tire out.
2. Be sure to make humans have both sex organs so they they can use whichever they are in the mood for. That should put paid to the issue of gender or sexual discrimination!
3. And while you are at it - could you make it so they don't have to kill anything in order to eat? - not even plants. I don't know how you're gonna do it, but you are the genius. Figure it out.
4. Could you also ensure that people reproduce just enough to replace them? And if some choose not to reproduce, then grant the baby lovers extra - but just enough to replace the non-reproducers. That should take care of population problems.
5. Better yet, how about babies grow just like plants - in our gardens! They should watch how things are done from their transparent pods. And when they are ready, drop with a fanfare, and join the rest of us - already potty trained and able to get their own food etc. None of the helpless crying bit! That should stop all the pre-natal and post-partum problems.
6. How about you get rid of dying as we know it? When it's time to go - we go with a fanfare just as we came. We invite friends and family, hold the best party of our lives and poof! disappear while dancing. That would be cool as heck!
I feel it's necessary to go because that eternity thing isn't what it's cracked out to be. I can't imagine being in the place, doing the same thing, knowing the same people for eternity. I'll be bored stiff after a couple of hundred years!

Now, what should we call HUMAN 16.0?……... How about HOMO-PERFECT!

Thanks for listening….or not.

It's just me again - your imaginative being,

Thursday, June 6, 2013


stretched out against your back
at five oclock in the morning
touching you and affirming my basics
flowing into the day

model with a body
that draws out greed and passion
adds dreaminess to my eyes
and forces my lazy lips into a
satisfied smile

watching you
from muramvya to gitega
my brown vision work your sexy frame
taking a little and teasing myself
seeing no other
your eyes cut into me
instigating a silent, sweet flood
your mouth
I join peter abrahams in describing
The deep beautiful things on your face that
Want to be kissed
your delicious smile
then your back
i could rest on you

except for the times when you
make my passion soar
or move to the front
feeling you more

your gentle strength
is physically threatening
to those who sense the value
in this mirage

male model with a body
that sustains pleasure, passion
and my mind

Monday, June 3, 2013

Why I Am a Male Feminist - Byron Hurt

The word turns off a lot of men (insert snarky comment about man-hating feminazis here) -- and women. But here's why black men should be embracing the "f" word.

When I was a little boy, my mother and father used to argue a lot. Some mornings, I would wake up to the alarming sound of my parents arguing loudly. The disagreement would continue until my father would yell with finality, "That is it! I'm not talking about this anymore!" The dispute would end right there. My mother never got the last word.

My dad's yelling made me shrink in fear; I wanted to do something to make him stop raging against my mother. In those moments, I felt powerless because I was too small to confront my father. I learned early that he had an unfair advantage because of his gender. His size, strength and power intimidated my mother. I never saw my father hit her, but I did witness how injurious his verbal jabs could be when they landed on my mom's psyche.

My father didn't always mistreat my mother, but when he did, I identified with her pain, not his bullying. When he hurt her, he hurt me, too. My mother and I had a special bond. She was funny, smart, loving and beautiful. She was a great listener who made me feel special and important. And whenever the going got tough, she was my rock and my foundation.
One morning, after my father yelled at my mom during an argument, she and I stood in the bathroom together, alone, getting ready for the day ahead of us. The tension in the house was as thick as a cloud of dark smoke. I could tell that my mother was upset. "I love you, Ma, but I just wish that you had a little more spunk when you argue with Daddy," I said, low enough so my father couldn't hear me. She looked at me, rubbed my back and forced a smile.

I so badly wanted my mother to stand up for herself. I didn't understand why she had to submit to him whenever they fought. Who was he to lay down the law in the household? What made him so special?

I grew to resent my father's dominance in the household, even though I loved him as dearly as I loved my mother. His anger and intimidation shut down my mother, sister and me from freely expressing our opinions whenever they didn't sit well with his own. Something about the inequity in their relationship felt unjust to me, but at that young age, I couldn't articulate why.

One day, as we sat at the kitchen table after another of their many spats, my mother told me, "Byron, don't ever treat a woman the way your father treats me." I wish I had listened to her advice.

As I grew older and got into my own relationships with girls and women, I sometimes behaved as I saw my father behave. I, too, became defensive and verbally abusive whenever the girl or woman I was dating criticized or challenged me. I would belittle my girlfriends by scrutinizing their weight or their choices in clothes. In one particular college relationship, I often used my physical size to intimidate my petite girlfriend, standing over her and yelling to get my point across during arguments.

I had internalized what I had seen in my home and was slowly becoming what I had disdained as a young boy. Although my mother attempted to teach me better, I, like a lot of boys and men, felt entitled to mistreat the female gender when it benefited me to do so.
After graduating from college, I needed a job. I learned about a new outreach program that was set to launch. It was called the Mentors in Violence Prevention Project. As a student-athlete, I had done community outreach, and the MVP Project seemed like a good gig until I got a real job in my field: journalism.

Founded by Jackson Katz, the MVP Project was designed to use the status of athletes to make gender violence socially unacceptable. When I met with Katz, I didn't realize that the project was a domestic violence prevention program. Had I known that, I wouldn't have gone in for the job interview.

So when Katz explained that they were looking to hire a man to help institutionalize curricula about preventing gender violence at high schools and colleges around the country, I almost walked out the door. But during my interview, Katz asked me an interesting question. "Byron, how does African-American men's violence against African-American women uplift the African-American community?"

No one had ever asked me that question before. As an African-American man who was deeply concerned about race issues, I had never given much thought about how emotional abuse, battering, sexual assault, street harassment and rape could affect an entire community,just as racism does.
The following day, I attended a workshop about preventing gender violence, facilitated by Katz. There, he posed a question to all of the men in the room: "Men, what things do you do to protect yourself from being raped or sexually assaulted?"

Not one man, including myself, could quickly answer the question. Finally, one man raised his hand and said, "Nothing." Then Katz asked the women, "What things do you do to protect yourself from being raped or sexually assaulted?" Nearly all of the women in the room raised their hand. One by one, each woman testified:

"I don't make eye contact with men when I walk down the street," said one.
"I don't put my drink down at parties," said another.
"I use the buddy system when I go to parties."
"I cross the street when I see a group of guys walking in my direction."
"I use my keys as a potential weapon."
"I carry mace or pepper spray."
"I watch what I wear."

The women went on for several minutes, until their side of the blackboard was completely filled with responses. The men's side of the blackboard was blank. I was stunned. I had never heard a group of women say these things before. I thought about all of the women in my life -- including my mother, sister and girlfriend -- and realized that I had a lot to learn about gender.

Days after that workshop, Katz offered me the job as a mentor-training specialist, and I accepted his offer. Although I didn't know much about gender issues from an academic standpoint, I quickly learned on the job. I read books and essays by bell hooks, Patricia Hill Collins, Angela Davis and other feminist writers.

Like most guys, I had bought into the stereotype that all feminists were white, lesbian, unattractive male bashers who hated all men. But after reading the work of these black feminists, I realized that this was far from the truth. After digging into their work, I came to really respect the intelligence, courage and honesty of these women.

Feminists did not hate men. In fact, they loved men. But just as my father had silenced my mother during their arguments to avoid hearing her gripes, men silenced feminists by belittling them in order to dodge hearing the truth about who we are.

I learned that feminists offered an important critique about a male-dominated society that routinely, and globally, treated women like second-class citizens. They spoke the truth, and even though I was a man, their truth spoke to me. Through feminism, I developed a language that helped me better articulate things that I had experienced growing up as a male.

Feminist writings about patriarchy, racism, capitalism and structural sexism resonated with me because I had witnessed firsthand the kind of male dominance they challenged. I saw it as a child in my home and perpetuated it as an adult. Their analysis of male culture and male behavior helped me put my father's patriarchy into a much larger social context, and also helped me understand myself better.

I decided that I loved feminists and embraced feminism. Not only does feminism give woman a voice, but it also clears the way for men to free themselves from the stranglehold of traditional masculinity. When we hurt the women in our lives, we hurt ourselves, and we hurt our community, too.

As I became an adult, my father's behavior toward my mother changed. As he aged he mellowed, and stopped being so argumentative and verbally abusive. My mother grew to assert herself more whenever they disagreed.

It shocked me to hear her get in the last word as my father listened without getting angry. That was quite a reversal. Neither of them would consider themselves to be feminists, but I believe they both learned over time how to be fuller individuals who treated each other with mutual respect. By the time my father died from cancer in 2007, he was proudly sporting the baseball cap around town that I had given him that read, "End Violence Against Women." Who says men can't be feminists?

Byron Hurt is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and anti-sexist activist. 
My Passion, my focus, the change that I want to see in the world - is my propellent factor.

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