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Tales by Moonlight

In Africa most of our traditions are oral. One of my favorite African traditions is the conte or the folktale. Folktales are usually told at night. In honour of this tradition, this entry will be a West African folktale and I will be your griot (storyteller).

Let me tell you the story of the leopard and the turtle...

One day, Turtle went to Leopard's house. He saw Mrs. Leopard standing at the door. Turtle bowed and said, "How do you do, ma'am?"

"I'm fine, thank you," she replied. "How are you?".  

"Well," Turtle said, "I've got a fever and my skin hurts all over. I'm so sick with fever that I'm going to go to the bush to look for roots and make a root tea."

"That sounds proper," says Mrs. Leopard.

"By the way, where is Mr. Leopard today" asked Mr. Turtle.

"He's out hunting" she replied. "You haven't seen him?"

"No, ma'am," Turtle replied. "I'm sorry he's away, because if he had been here I'd go ride him like a horse."

This statement upset Mrs. Leopard, so Turtle went home. When Mr. Leopard returned, Mrs. Leopard told him that Turtle said he was going to ride him like a horse. Mr. Leopard went wild, cracked his teeth, growled, and went over to Turtle's house.

"So, you say you are going to ride me like a horse?!"

"No I did not!" said Turtle "I never said anything like that!"

Leopard says, "All right then, let's go ask my wife."

Turtle replied "But I cant walk. I am sick with fever all over."

"Okay, I'll give you a ride" Leopard replied.

And Turtle replied "Fever will make me fall. Get me a little rope. I'll tie it around your mouth Mister Leopard. I'll hold on to the rope so that when I shake with the fever, I will not fall off of you."

Leopard got him the rope.

Then Turtle said, "Give me one little stick, Mister Leopard, so that I can keep the flies from bothering either one of us."

Leopard got him the stick. And off they went, with Leopard carrying Mister Turtle, and Turtle bouncing but holding the rope, and with Turtle flogging Leopard with the stick.

When they reached Leopard's home, his wife was waiting. She pointed at Mister Leopard and said, "Well, it's true. Turtle said he was going to ride you like a horse, and he's doing just that!" and she burst out laughing.

Mister Leopard realized that he had been fooled, and he grabbed Turtle off his back. He was mad now. He grabbed the rope and the stick and held Turtle tight. Then he found a bigger stick, and flogged Turtle multiple times, and so hard that the shell on his back had cuts all over it.

So the story goes, Turtle did ride Mister Leopard like a horse, and that is why he still has marks from the turtle-whipping on his back shell.






Nollywood Films

You've heard of Hollywood and Bollywood. But, chances are you haven't heard of Nollywood. It is Nigeria's movie industry and the 2nd largest in the world. Nollywood is only surpassed by Bollywood in the total number of films produced annually. Yes, it is larger than Hollywood in that respect.Nollywood movies are shown around Africa and the world. It is a multi-million dollar industry.

Nigerian films continue to reshape the image of Nigeria and Africa as a whole that most people have. The Nigerian film industry has taken African films into the 21st century. It not only displays traditional Africa, but it shows modern Africa in a way that foreign films on Africa do not. Africans relate to Nigerian films so well because they bring to life everyday stories in an interesting, real and often comedic way.

The quality of the films produced is an issue to many. In my opinion, they are not of the best quality, but that is why they are known as home videos and they are watchable. The fact of the matter is that it would not be profitable for producers to raise the budget or increase the production and post production time. Firstly, so that these films can be affordable for everyone limiting the budget and production time is necessary. And secondly, most Nollywood fans value quantity over the quality of films. I'm sure that as circumstances become more economically desirable for Africans the quality of the industry will elevate as well.

This is a report by CNN's Christian Purefoy on Nollywood. He also highlights how piracy is affecting the industry.

MTV Africa Music Awards

The 2009 MAMA awards was held in Nairobi, Kenya last weekend. The first ever MAMA's were held in Lagos, Nigeria last year. This year, however, it was even bigger and better. Akon and Wyclef Jean co-hosted the spectacular event.

It was definitely a step in the right direction for the African entertainment industry and provided a good reason for Africans to unite and enjoy each others culture and music. 

The video below shows part of the festivities. Enjoy!


What Unites Us: Football

Africans LOVE football. It is by far the most popular sport on the continent. Men, women, children and even the elderly are united every 2 or 4 years to religiously watch the game in tournaments like the African Cup of Nations, the World Cups and Olympics. When it comes to football we don't play. It is definitely a common ground for all Africans.

The 2010 World Cup is coming to the African Continent for the first time ever!!!! South Africa is hosting it and the qualifiers are ongoing. Over many lunches in the past few weeks I have had loud arguments with Africans as well as people from other football-loving countries. To set the record straight on who the best African teams are take a look at the following FIFA (Federation Internationale de Footbal Association) and CAF (Confederation of African Football) statistics I have tabulated. 

Top 5 National Teams (Male)






19  Cameroon











36 Côte d'Ivoire






Cameroon is the most successful African Nation at the World Cup. In 1990, they reached the Quarter Finals. They have been to the World Cup 5 times along with Morocco. Tunisia has qualified 4 times. Nigeria and South Africa have qualified 3 times, Egypt twice.


Congratulations to Ivory Coast and Ghana who have qualified for the 2010 World Cups!! South Africa is in by default as the host country and on November 14th the other 3 African countries to go through will be decided.

             **Statistics from**



Music Industry Explosion in Economic Crisis

One of my previous entries introduced you all to the Nigerian music industry. I just came across a CNN report which details how the Nigerian music industry has become so popular among Africans in general that it is withstanding the pinch of the economic crisis. It also features everyone's favorite P Square.

Bettering Africa through Fashion

Ozwald Boateng is a British-born Ghanian designer. He was born in North London in 1960. He began making bespoke suits in 1990 and is widely credited with introducing Savile Row tailoring to a new generation. Boateng's many clients include Will Smith, Samuel L. Jackson, Jude Law, Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Barack Obama and Jamie Foxx.

Deola Sagoe is an haute couture fashion designer from Ondo State in Nigeria. A mother of three who studied at the University of Miami and University of Lagos with a Masters in Finance and Management, Sagoe began designing in 1998 and has gained international notoriety for her lively, and colorful designs.


Most people are generally unfamiliar with African Music. If they are somewhat familiar with it, they know the likes of Miriam Makeba, Angélique Kidjo, King Sony Adé , Youssou N'dour or the late great Fela Kuti. In the past decade, however, the African music industry has created a new, distinct and more contemporary sound.

These are the videos that I, as an African teenager, would watch on television when I'm at home in Nigeria:

Nigerian Twins Peter and Paul make up the super duo P-square 

D'banj Nigeria's biggest entertainer Jozi South Africa's biggest Afro Hip-hop artist Asa one of Nigeria's most original artists The Masked Maestro Lagbaja and the lovely Ego (both Nigerian) Nigerian Lara George Nigerian Artists Naeto C and Ikechukwu Last, but not least 2Face