On September 2nd, the First African Legal Training Programme was opened in the Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU), attended by President Wang Lequan of China Law Society, Executive Vice-President Chen Jiping of China Law Society, Vice-President Zhang Mingqi of China Law Society, Deputy Prosecutor-General Li Rulin of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, Minister George N. Manongi of Tanzanian embassy to China, President Peng Long of the BFSU, Director Zhao Daguang of the Administrative Division of the Supreme People's Court, Vice- President Du Shiping of Beijing Law Society, Mr. Shen Sibao, a renowned Chinese expert on law, president of China International Economic Law Institute, and representative of the teachers, and African students of the training programme.
President Wang Lequan of China Law Society, President Peng Long of the BFSU, Vice-President Du Shiping of Beijing Law Society, Antonio Binza Quilobo, Minister Public Magistrate of the Attorney-General's Office of Angola and representative of the African host for the fifth China-Africa Legal Forum, Venrandah Munyaro, State Counsel of the Attorney-General's Office of Zimbabwe and representative of the African host for the fourth China-Africa Legal Forum, delivered remarks. The inauguration ceremony is chaired by Executive Vice-President Chen Jiping of China Law Society.
President Wang Lequan made an address titled "Deepening China-Africa legal exchange and promote comprehensive development of a new type of China-Africa strategic partnership", pointing out that in the new century, China-Africa relations should also keep pace with the times.
In 2000, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was established, becoming an important platform for China and African countries to carry out collective dialogue. In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Africa, proposing the development of China-Africa relations with sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith, bringing China-Africa relations to a higher level.
In 2014, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited Africa, putting forward the concept of "four+six+one" framework, to upgradeChina-Africa cooperation. China and Africa will enjoy a more beautiful future and broader prospect of cooperation.
Forum on China-Africa Cooperation - Legal Forum, as animportant part of FOCAC, has been held successfully four times, achieving fruitful results. And the mechanism has been improved with richer content, more pragmatic cooperationand growing influence.
The First African Legal Training Programme is the first training programme China has hosted for professionals of the legal community in Africa, which the Chinese government attaches high importance to. It is the enrichment and extension of FOCAC - Legal Forum, laying the foundation for providing legal guarantee and intellectual support for comprehensive China-Africa cooperation.
It marks a new stage in legal exchange and cooperation between China and Africa, and will leave its footprint in the history of China-Africa relations. President Wang hopes that African students present can become the participants of China-Africa legal exchanges, practitioners of legal diplomacy, promoters of China-Africa new type of strategic partnership, protectors and inheritors of China-Africa traditional friendship.
Wang ended by saying that the Chinese traditional mid-autumn festival is coming, hoping that African students can take the BFSU as their home, enjoying the happiness of the festival with their teachers and having a beautiful memory.
President Peng Long said that the holding of the First African Legal Training Programme in the BFSU by its Law School reflects the trust the leaders of China Law Society have on the BFSU, and the BFSU will work to ensure the success of the training programme.
Vice-President Chen pointed out that the programme has been in the making for three years by the China Law Society. It is the first training programme China organized for African professionals of the legal community. It is a concrete action to implement the Fifth Ministerial Conference of FOCAC - Beijing Action Plan (2013-2015) and FOCAC - Legal Forum Beijing Declaration.
Over 30 students from nearly 20 African countries attended the training programme, who are judges, prosecutors, lawyers and scholars recommended by African legal and law organizations that have close cooperation with the China Law Society, Chinese embassies to African countries, and African embassies in China. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Commerce, FOCAC Office have provided guidance and support to the programme.
At the opening ceremony, China Legal Diplomacy Research Center, China-Africa Legal Research Center, China-Africa Legal Training Basis were also inaugurated. Executive Vice-President Chen Jiping of China Law Society serves as honorary chairman of China-Africa Legal Research Center.
Vice-President Zhang Ming serves as chairman of China-Africa Legal Research Center. President Peng Long of the BFSU, Vice-President Du Shiping of Beijing Law Society, Executive Vice-President Wang Liming of Renmin University, President Huang Jin of China University of Political Science and Law, and Director General Gu Zhaomin of the Overseas Liaison Department of China Law Society serve as the deputy chairmen of the Center.
Chinese experts and officials on law including Director General Liu Hehua of the International Cooperation Bureau of the Supreme People's Court, Director General Lin Songtian of the African Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, President Shen Sibao of China International Economic Law Institute, President Fu Zitang of Southwest University of Political Science and Law, President Jiayu of Northwest University of Political Science and Law, Partner and Lawyer of King&Wood Law Firm Jiang Junluhave been invited to be the council members. At the inauguration, certificate conferring ceremony was also held.
Ghanaian celebrated actor , Van Vicker. After many years in the movie industry has finally gotten the opportunity to star in his first Hollywood movie titled ‘Skinned’ with Hollywood actress /Director , Lisa Raye McCoy.
Van Vicker who’s currently in America , said that he has been very active shooting in different countries that’s why he has not been too stable in Ghana. ‘I have been very active shooting in different countries and also attending different programs. That’s why I have not been too stable in Ghana, but now i am in America shooting a Hollywood film for the first time’ he said excitingly.
Sharing his first time Hollywood shooting experience, he said. ‘the experience, is not very different from other shoots, but i must say, Raye and Avery Williams (Director and co-director) changed my whole perspective as an actor and a director.’
‘They were so professional it’s almost a crime but yet so warm and friendly. we had fun and we nailed it’ Van stated amidst laughter’.
Comparing the Ghanaian film industry to Hollywood, he said that the major difference in shooting in Hollywood and shooting in West-Africa is that, with Hollywood filming, there is a state of professionalism and everyone on the set knows their jurisdiction and takes full responsibility.
As to Gollywood film industry will ever get to the standard of Hollywood, he said that the Ghanaian film industry is not ignorant but rather, he’s glad that a number of actors and producers are getting exposed to international shoots and they can bring to bear, experiences which is going to let them know better and also do better.
Mr Van vicker said that the standards of movie- making in Ghana have not fallen because the rate, rather , he thinks it has to do with the purchasing power.
‘it seems the masses purchase more of the local films in Ghana, than the English ones , but outside Ghana, the English films are doing well, it is a matter of time and hard work’ he professed.
Lisa raye is best known for portraying Diana “Diamond” Armstrong in the film The Players Club, Neesee James on the CW sitcom All of Us from 2003 until 2007 and Keisha Greene in the VH1 romantic comedy series Single Ladies which originally aired from 2011-2014.
Forty years ago Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia was overthrown. It was a blow for all Rastafarians, who revere him as a god - and for those Rastafarians who had emigrated to Ethiopia, life suddenly got more difficult.
In 1948 Emperor Haile Selassie gave 500 acres (200 hectares) of land at Shashamene, 150 miles (225km) south of Addis Ababa, to black people from the West who had supported him in his struggles with Mussolini's Italy.
The first settlers to arrive were African-American Jews, but they soon moved on to Liberia or Israel. After them, in 1963, came a dozen Rastafarians, and the numbers swelled after Selassie made an emotional visit to Jamaica three years later.
The Rastafarians' adoration of Selassie stems from the words of black consciousness leader Marcus Garvey, who said in 1920, "Look to Africa, when a black king shall be crowned, for the day of deliverance is at hand". When Selassie was crowned emperor, 10 years later, many thought Garvey's words had come true.
Another belief widely held by Rastafarians is that they will eventually return to Africa - the continent their ancestors left in slave ships long ago. And quite often, according to Erin MacLeod - author of Visions of Zion: Ethiopians and Rastafari in the Search for the Promised Land - "back to Africa" is treated as synonymous with "back to Ethiopia".
Today there are up to 800 Rastafarians at Melka Oda, near Shashamene, as well as a few in the capital, Addis Ababa, and in the city of Bahir Dar. But how has life turned out for them in Ethiopia - and what do Ethiopians make of their Rastafarian neighbours?
It has not been a love affair.
In 1974, the communist Dergue regime overthrew and imprisoned Selassie - who died the following year - and began purging all vestiges of the imperial dynasty. Land was nationalised, including the land granted to foreigners at Shashamene, and some Rastafarians settlers fled.
Even today, long after the fall of the Dergue, Selassie remains a controversial figure in Ethiopia, and many look askance at the Rastafarians who venerate him.
"There are people who have extreme love for Selassie, the modernising leader who did so much for the country, but others say he was a representative of a colonial empire, was enamoured by the opulence of Europe and did not lead the country in an equitable way," says MacLeod.
There have been other problems too.
One is "ganja" - marijuana - considered a herb of religious significance by Rastafarians, who sometimes refer to it as the "wisdom weed" or "holy herb".
In Ethiopia, by contrast, it is regarded as a dangerous drug, comparable to heroin or cocaine, says MacLeod. Ethiopian police sometimes raid the Rastafarian settlement at Shashamene to search for it, she says - even though khat, a stimulant leaf that is widely chewed in the country, is held by some experts to be more harmful.
It is also unfortunate that the land granted by Selassie is located in a region populated by the Oromo people, who say they have been oppressed for years by Ethiopia's dominant Amhara commnity, to which Selassie belonged.
According to MacLeod, Selassie was for the "Amharisation" of Ethiopia.
"On the local level, in Shashamene, the Rastas support the emperor, who, in the eyes of the Oromo people, represents a coercive central power," agrees Dr Giulia Bonacci, an Italian Rastafarian researcher based in Addis Ababa.
"In a region still marked by a history of alienation from land and economic and social dominance, symbols of imperial power are not appreciated."
The Rastafarians have, up to a point, integrated with the local Ethiopian population. Some have married Ethiopians, but on the whole these Ethiopian partners have not adopted the Rastafarian faith.
"She don't fight me about my faith. I don't fight her. She's a Protestant," says Vincent Wisdom, a Rastafarian man with an Ethiopian wife. None of his five children share his faith either. "Two of them are Orthodox and one of them is Protestant; the others are too small," he says.
MacLeod has met only one Ethiopian, Naod Seifu, who has converted to Rastafarianism.
"I used to have dreadlocks but I have to trim them to work," he told her. "In Ethiopia having dreadlocks is taken as bad behaviour and inappropriate." He added that any Ethiopian who believed the king was divine was regarded as "mad".
When MacLeod first visited Shashamene in 2003, she was surprised by what she found.
"It was not at all the way it was described to me. It's not a Rastafarian town. It's 100,000 Ethiopians and only a few hundred Rastas living on the outskirts," she says.
Many more Rastafarians come to Ethiopia on holiday, either for a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage or for regular sojourns.
"Some will come once a year or every couple of years and they describe themselves as having 'one foot in Ethiopia'," she says.
Even those who live in the country long-term have mostly retained their British, American or Canadian passports to make it easier to travel abroad. But taking dual citizenship - and obtaining a second, Ethiopian passport - has never been possible.
Talks on the issue had been due to take place with former prime minister Meles Zenawi, according to MacLeod, but his death in 2012 put paid to the plan.
Most Ethiopians still consider Rastafarians foreigners, or "ferenjoch", she says.
"We know God is Haile Selassie, Him Mighty God. Now Him save the poor earth right now, and Him save the people," Bob Marley was quoted as saying in 1978, four years after the emperor was toppled.
"True dat dem overthrow 'im. In a sense, all a de people around him was really weird. But just how it go..."
In the same year Marley visited Shashamene, While there, says political scientist Horace Campbell, he began to realise "the problems of translating a dream into reality".
His wife, Rita, has talked nevertheless about the family's hopes of burying him in Shashamene.
Ethiopia, MacLeod says, will always remain the Rastafarians' promised land.
A blind Liberian recording artist, popularly known as the ‘The Blind Nimbaian Gospel Musician,’ is in dire need of financial assistance to make two gospel albums, amidst these difficult times in the country, to give hope to the hopeless through his songs.
Evangelist Joseph N. Yeanay said he is on the hunt for US$3,000 to record his albums, each of which would have six tracks, mostly sung in his vernacular, Dahn.
Yeanah made the disclosure recently when he visited the offices of the Daily Observer on MacDonald Street, Monrovia.
The 40-year-old blind musician disclosed that the albums would mark his 10th and 11th, respectively.
“The songs have already been written through an inspiration from God, and we have been in practice for over a month, we are just in need of US$3,000,” Yeanah said. “We want to use this medium to appeal to every Liberian and non-Liberian to come to our aid to help us give our people hope.”
Yeanah says he became blind in his hometown, Gbain in Nimba County, few days after his birth on March 25, 1974, after a bath from a midwife.
As a young boy, he gained interest in singing and subsequently became a blind songster in Gbain. When he moved to Monrovia, he joined the ELWA United Liberia Inland Church and then recorded his first album in 2003 entitled, “Ciaa Nuenae” (meaning Hell Fire).
The following year (2004), Yeanah made a six-track album entitled ‘Yes Jesus!’ In 2005 and 2006, he made ‘Victory over Death’ and ‘Let’s Get Closer to God’, respectively.
Due to the lack of support, the Yeanah didn’t record in 2007, but in 2008, he came out with the ‘Satan has created conflict’ album.
The success of the each of his albums contributed to the next.
Yeanah released a recording each year from 2009 to 2012. “Because we don’t have the money, we want to make the 2013 and 2014 albums together. That is why we need US$3,000,” the musical evangelist says. “God’s Divine Favor and Let’s Praise the Lord are the names of the two albums.”
He also said: “Most of the songs will be done in Dahn, and we believe when they are recorded, the songs will give our people hope and encouragement amidst this deadly Ebola outbreak and hardships.”
Mr. Yeanah is married to Mrs. Janet Yeanah who is also his lead back-up vocalist. Other vocalists on production team include Habakkuk M. Henry, Samuel F. Mulbah and Katia Saye. Yeanah and his wife are blessed with five children, namely: Abigail, Salome, Josephine, Victor and Josiah. He can be contacted through the ELWA United Liberia Inland Church or through cell number 0886452392.
They look so strange. Fifty steel columns, most of them 33 feet tall, standing upright in the middle of nowhere, like a gaggle of broken combs. What are they? They are set on a zigzaggy brick pad at the edge of a field about 55 miles from Durban, South Africa. Why? As we approach our own Sept. 11 anniversary — with the waterfall memorial now open in Manhattan and visitable — I'd like you to see this place. It teaches lessons about remembering.
On Aug. 5, 1962, Nelson Mandela was in a car traveling along this very road, R103. He was pretending to be "David Motsamayi," a chauffeur for a wealthy businessman who was with him in the car (but wasn't really a businessman. He was Cecil Williams, a rather well-known white South African theater director and communist activist.) The two men were looking for government buildings they could target, then one day blow up as part of the African National Congress' increasingly militant campaign to end South Africa's racial apartheid laws.
As they drove by this spot, the police approached, flagged down their car and asked Mandela and Williams who they were. They lied. The police had been tipped (by whom we don't know), and knew Mandela was not a chauffeur but a revolutionary who had slipped illegally back into South Africa. He was arrested, tried, convicted and then sent to jail for 27 years.
By the time he was released, Mandela had become a world-famous freedom fighter, and would be elected the first president of a new, multicultural South Africa. But here, on this little patch of road, is where it all began. Mandela often said that his time in jail was, despite its pain, a fertile period — a pause that allowed him to rethink, regroup and re-energize his movement.
That notion is celebrated here by South African artist Marco Cianfanelli, who created this curious sculpture 50 years after Mandela's arrest — thus the 50 columns. From the side, they are jagged bars, as in a jail. But step away, view them from the right angle, and they become the man they imprisoned. Mandela emerges from his cage as the bars are transformed into the contours of his face, proudly bathed in light.
You can stand before that face, or shift, and let him disappear. Cianfanelli calls his sculptureRelease, because the "arrangement of the columns create a sense or moment of fracture"; you can create that moment over and over on your own, just by stepping left or right. Freedom, in this viewing, is always a possibility, but sometimes it's hidden and waiting, and sometimes it steps out and declares itself. The choice, in some sense, is ours — it's where we choose to stand.
To my mind, this is what a public sculpture should be: It should shift, play and be continuously engaging. Time robs most monuments of their original significance. Writing in the New Yorkerrecently, Adam Gopnik reported that the Statue of Liberty was originally built as an anti-slavery message, a statement by republican France that it was siding with the Union and emancipation. There is, he says, a "broken slave shackle around Liberty's foot" that is now hardly noticed, because we have reimagined Miss Liberty as a celebration of immigration and welcome.
The monuments we build today are going to shift and change — just like we do. What I like about the Mandela sculpture (and what makes me uneasy about the World Trade Center pools), is that Cianfanelli knows that we're changelings, so his monument keeps asking us to shift position, to adjust, to rethink. The trip from jail to freedom (and back) is a provocative subject; it will keep people thinking for a long, long time.
The new New York monument centers on two rectangles, "reflecting pools" that drop water into two pits to a dark space below. If "reflection" means "let's be sad together," these pools do that — at least for the generation that was around when the buildings fell. But I wonder what they will say to folks 50 years from now. You will step up to the two big black holes, see the water crashing down then, curiously, bubbling back up, then down again, and you will think ... what? It might prompt thoughts about innocence or evil or falling — but, unlike the Mandela sculpture, its message is blurry, more sentimental than provocative. A good monument creates good conversation. In South Africa, they're having a better one.