Cassava has been used by generations of home brewers in Africa. Now the drought-resistant, starch-rich, root vegetable is to be processed, bottled and labelled for sale in bars and supermarkets.
The brewing firm SABMiller launched the world's first commercially produced cassava beer on Tuesday, formalising an age-old technique practised in villages across the continent.
The brand, a lager named Impala after the widespread African antelope, uses 70% cassava and 30% barley, and will first be brewed and offered in Mozambique.
It will be sold at 75% of the price of other lagers and the makers hope to attract people who traditionally have drunk home brews, sometimes at risk to their health.
Graham Mackay, SABMiller's chief executive, said: "Very often illicit alcohol is positively dangerous. What we're doing is offering a legal alternative to that large percentage of alcohol that is homemade and from which governments get no taxes."
Bananas are a popular ingredient for home brews in the Democratic Republic of Congo, while sorghum and cassava are used in Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Commercial beer remains an aspirational product that many cannot afford.
Gerry van den Houten, SABMiller's technical director, said of the drink: "It's a lager with a slightly sour note. It has a much lower gluten content than normal beer."
The company said it was buying cassava from more than 1,500 smallholders.
But there are challenges with cassava versus a barley-based brew. Cassava is 75% water and starts to degrade almost immediately following harvest so cannot be transported long distances.
Van den Houten said: "Cassava is the biggest crop in Africa but the least commercialised. It can lie in the ground for a long time but when you harvest it you've got to use it in 24 hours."
The company is using a mobile processing unit to combat the problem. The cassava tubers are chopped into slurry and turned into a cake that can be stored for at least six months.
SABMiller said it would use about 40,000 tonnes of raw cassava each year in the beer's production, and it expected the brand to contribute about 10% of the firm's annual sales in Mozambique over the next two to three years. A test batch of 150,000 litres had already been sold.
Cassava grows widely across Africa and SABMiller aims to expand the beer next year to South Sudan, where it commissioned a large-scale brewery in 2009.
MONROVIA (Reuters) - Winston Tubman said on Friday he would not take part in Liberia's planned November 8 presidential run-off vote against President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf but the election commission said a vote would take place anyway.
Tubman, a Harvard- and Cambridge-educated lawyer who worked at the United Nations, said the election process was biased against him and called on supporters to take part in a peaceful protest on Saturday and to boycott the vote next week.
He also said he would not recognise any government formed as a result of the polls. But the election commission chief said nothing would stop the poll from taking place as planned.
Johnson-Sirleaf's camp said Tubman was boycotting a poll he knew he could not win but said Liberians would not allow their country to be dragged into further trouble.
The culmination of Liberia's second post-war poll -- which will test progress in stabilising a nation that is rich in minerals but was crippled by years of war -- has been marred by allegations of bias at the election commission.
The previous head of the commission resigned last week after Tubman's party complained it was biased, but Tubman said problems remained at the body.
"We refuse to participate in the November 8th run-off election. We will never reward fraud and abuse of power and will never grant legitimacy to a corrupt political process," Tubman told reporters in Monrovia.
Tubman called on his CDC party supporters to don white clothes and hold a "vigil for peace and transparent elections" on Saturday before boycotting the poll next week.
"Any government coming out of the November 8 process will be one without a national mandate to govern and will not be recognised by the CDC," he added.
The regional body ECOWAS has warned that a boycott risked destabilising Liberia and called on Tubman not to pull out of the process. Tubman flew to Nigeria for talks with ECOWAS this week but they appear to have failed.
POLLS STILL ON
The polls are the second post-war elections since 14 years of on-and-off conflict ended in 2003.
Johnson-Sirleaf, recently named winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, has been credited with stabilising the country since coming to power after the last election. But critics say change has not come fast enough and corruption is still rampant.
Billions of dollars in deals for mining and oil exploration rights have been signed but many people lack the most basic of services in the country of just under four million.
The election commission said Tubman's boycott would have no impact on the holding of the vote.
"We are calling on all peace-loving Liberians to turn out in their numbers to come out and vote on Tuesday," election commission chief Elizabeth B. Nelson told Reuters by phone.
"Nothing will stop the elections from going ahead as planned," she added.
An ECOWAS official said the regional body would make a statement on Saturday.
Wilmot Paye, secretary general of Johnson-Sirleaf's Unity Party, said Liberians were not ready to return to the "dark days" of their violent past.
"Maybe they (the CDC) think by dong this, they will create a constitutional crisis. But there will be no constitutional crisis," Paye told Reuters.
Confidence in the country has steadily grown and foreign mining and oil firms are preparing to pour in billions more dollars to develop resources in the West African state.
But frustrations over poverty simmer and a U.N. peacekeeping force is still central to security as the national forces are rebuilt from scratch after the war.
Toofan 'we celebrate the best of African football' is one of my favorite line in their new music video 'Africa Hoyee meaning Africa Forever'. They are changing the sound of African music to a new style of music called the Ogbragada. They are talented and good in dancing.
Mensah A. Blaise alias Barabas et Fantohou K. alias Master make up the Togolese group, Toofan. They are widely popular in Togo and Francophone West Africa and primed to become major players on the African music scene as well. Toofan are undoubtedly one of the most promising groups in Africa. Their musical style is called "Ogbragada" is a combination of rap and urban music.
In 2005, the Toofan released their first single, "Epervier Ogbragada" to support the national football team of Togo, the Hawks. It was in tune with "Epervier 2006", which honored their team who had qualified for the World Cup 2006 in Germany. The song became the anthem of all Togolese supporters. Toofan flew to Germany to represent Togo in musical shows of the World Cup. Back in Lomé, they released their first album: Obragada 2006. It became an instant hit!
In 2007, they released a second album called Confirmation and to thank their fans, they organize a big concert at the Palais des Congrès de Lome. This increased their popularity and won over Togo. In October 2007, they launched the single 'Parlé, Parlé which became a massive hit. They performed alongside famous Ivorien group, Magic System during their concert on December 25, 2007 in Lomé.
In late 2008, the single, 'Attaquant' was released. It started to get airplay on French music channels as Toofan's international stardom shone. In 2009, Barabas et Master released another hit, 'Déloger' from the third album, 'Carte de visite'. The single was number 1 in the Top Trace TV Africa for many weeks.
Toofan has also remained a conscious music group, as evidenced by the song "A.I.M.E.S/AFRIQUE", which praises doctors' work in promoting good education and health in Africa. Some other singles like 'La vie là-bas' and 'Poches vides' talk about their dreams and hopes.
They undertook a two-month tour in the United States before performing on 2nd February 2010 at the Zenith in Paris for the first part of Fally Fally, and then they filled the 15,000-seat municipal stadium of Lomé on December 25, 2009. They have also performed in Dakar, Cotonou, Abidjan, Niamey, and various places in France, etc.
The group was nominated for the KORA Award for Most Promising African group in June 2010 in Burkina Faso. They were nominated for the Best Artist of West Africa (Kundera GOLD 2010) alongside Ghana's Barima Sidney and DJ ARAFAT of Côte d'Ivoire.
A popular Yoruba movie star-Bimbo Akinsanya has been arraigned at the Magistrate’s Court in Ikeja, Lagos, for allegedly sending a boy to kill a woman, Rev. Pat Dennah, and shooting her in the shoulder on 28 October 2011 at 20, Samuel Street, Akowonjo, Egbeda, a suburb of Lagos, southwest Nigeria.
According to the police prosecutor, Barth Nwokedi in the two-count charge brought against the defendant, alleged that Bimbo pointed Rev. Dennah to a yet to be identified boy to kill her.
He added that
the boy, who is now at large, shot at Rev. Dennah but only wounded her on her left shoulder.
This alleged offence allegedly committed by the actress is punishable under section 338 and 516 of the criminal code, cap C17, vol 11, laws of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2003.
The police prosecutor said the 34 year-old actress conspired with others at large to commit the alleged offence.
One of the charges reads: “ That you, Bimbo Akinsanya and others now at large on 28 October, 2011 at about 2030hrs at No. 20, Samuel Street, Akowonjo, Egbeda, Lagos, in the Lagos magisterial district, did point Rev. Pat Ogechi Dennah to a boy yet to be identified, to kill her and the said boy shot her with a gun and wounded her on her left shoulder and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 338 of the criminal code cap C17 Vol. 11 laws of Lagos State of Nigeria 2003.”
However, Akinsanya pleaded not guilty to all the allegations.
She was subsequently granted bail by the presiding magistrate, Mr A.O. Isaac in the sum of N100,000 with two sureties who must be resident in Lagos.
The matter has been adjourned till 30 November, 2011 for trial.
Probably tired of kissing actresses, sexy Ghanaian actor John Dumelo has taken a step further in his screen kissing exploits. This time, he has entered the music arena and his first catch was allegedly afro-pop sexy singer, Becca, born Rebecca Acheampong, who is widely known for her musical prowess.
However, there is a rising argument over whether he really kissed Becca and if the two have an amorous relationship behind the scenes. The single actor reportedly had a feel of Becca’s lips in front of over 1,500 revellers who trooped to the Dome of the Accra International Conference for the Red Lipstick All-female Concert.
Becca was performing her ‘Forever and Ever’ song, when John surprisingly popped up on stage. He sent the crowd into a frenzy. The crowd at that point didn’t know what John was up to except for his dance steps with Becca.
Then came the unexpected and controversial kiss. Currently, there is a rising controversy over what really happened on stage as opinions are divided over it. While others said “they kissed,” others claimed “he only gave her a peck”.
John has kissed a lot of African actresses including Yvonne Nelson, Jackie Appiah, Omotola Jalade Eikende, Yvonne Okoro and more. As at press time yesterday, News-One could not get John or Becca to reveal what really happened.