Ladies. Skales asked of you to ask you man if they are for real. In Skales new hit single, “I am For Real,” he confirmed to be for real. Well, whatever that means, but the song is off the hook. And the lyrics are well organized.
Shakes real name Raoul John Njeng-Njeng, is a Nigerian rapper and songwriter.
About a week after the closure of the 30th edition of the Orange Africa Cup Nations where the Elephants won their second title, a celebration of Africa's rising talents in anticipated rousing encounters await the continent as the CAF U-17 Niger 2013 championship gets underway in Niamey on Sunday with the hosts taking on holders and FIFA World Cup record winners Nigeria and debutants Zambia in action against Guinea in Group A.
Group B will be in action on Monday 16 February and opens with South Africa's Amajimbos taking on the defending champions, Cote d'Ivoire's Baby Elephants while Mali and Cameroon square off in the secong of a Municipal stadium double-header.
The AFCON2015, hosted by Equatorial Guinea served some exciting fixtures, memorable goals and statistics and when the continental juniors kick-off at the Seyni Kountche Stadium in Niamey, nothing short of exciting budding talents mesmerizing crowds is awaited.
Football followers can expect the youngsters to serve thrilling encounters with the spills and thrills of this junior spectacle set to thrust Niger onto the international football limelight as the tournament also serves as qualifiers for the FIFA U-17 finals to be hosted by Chile later this year.
The Golden Eaglets are the most successful team in the world at this level, having won the FIFA U-17 championship four times and the African championship twice.
Against the hosts who are making a maiden appearance, the Super Eaglets will be hot favourites but the Junior Mena fancy their chances and are in buoyant mood.
While Nigeria will be attempting to soar to a record third African title, holders Côte d'Ivoire will want to defend their title and follow in the foot-steps of their seniors in claiming a second title. The holders start their campaign on the second day of action against a determined South African side. All but Zambia and Niger have been to the final tournament before. But both the Junior Chipolopolo and Junior Mena reckon that their chances are as good as any of the competing sides and will be out to prove their worth and push for the semi-finals which come with the prize of a FIFA World Cup place.
The young players are fully aware that stardom and excellent performances at these championships would not only bring them African junior glory but lay the foundation for potentially long and brilliant international careers. The world will be watching as Africa's newest stars lay down their first markers of success.
As Barbie sales continue to plummet, another doll is aiming to slide in and take her place—in Nigeria, that is. The Queens of Africa and Naija Princess dolls are outselling Mattel's original. The dolls' mastermind, 43-year-old Taofick Okoya, told Reuters that he sells between 6,000 and 9,000 dolls per month, claiming 10 to 15 percent of the small but growing toy market in Nigeria.
The success of the Queens of Africa dolls, which are modeled after the country's three largest ethnic groups and outfitted in gowns and traditional headwear made from West African fabrics, is proving there's a sizable market for dolls that are not fair-skinned, blond, and blue-eyed. Okoya's dolls might be so popular precisely because they're the only black ones on the market in Africa.
In an interview with Elle magazine last year, he said he got the idea for the dolls when he went looking for a meaningful birthday gift for his niece, only to discover that there were no "African dolls she could relate to or identify with."
So he set up his own business, outsourcing manufacturing of the doll parts to China, having them assembled in colorful patterned dresses in Nigeria, and selling them for 1,300 to 3,500 naira (about $22) each. Seven years later, he produces about 100 to 150 dolls a day and hopes to run the entire operation locally.
Okoya's dolls weren't always flying off the shelves. It took him nearly three years to convince retailers that black dolls would sell. To aid the cause, he launched an educational campaign about the psychological impact dolls have on children.
"When little girls play with dolls, they see themselves in or as the doll, they dress it in clothes they like and act out their fantasies," he told Elle. "The more of their own likeness they see in the things they like, the more accepting they will be of their looks and culture."
The success of the Queens of Africa dolls comes at a time when typically white Barbie dolls are rapidly declining in popularity among children. By the end of 2014, Barbie sales had dropped by 10 percent for four quarters straight, and sales of rival American Girl dolls—which discontinued some of its nonwhite dolls—decreased by 7 percent.
Meanwhile, most of the Queens of Africa dolls online are sold out, and Okoya is attempting to meet skyrocketing demands. In addition to ramping up production, he also plans to make the dolls curvier, with bigger hair and fuller facial features to enhance their "identifying African characteristics," he told Elle.
An educational animation series and a line of books is also in the works to further Okoya's message of empowerment. "The goal is not just selling pieces of molded plastic, but also to inspire and create a sense of appreciation of them by promoting value, culture and heritage," he told Elle.
This story from the Economist is about Niger – the largest country in West Africa (by size) – and the country with the highest fertility rate in the world (7.6 children per woman). Although Niger does not have a large population by world standards (17 million) this number is set to more than triple between 2014 and 2050. That wouldn’t be such a problem were it not for the fact that the country cannot feed itself even now and even when there are no droughts. Unfortunately, there are consistently droughts and the harvest regularly fails:
“Niger is, by the reckoning of the UN’s Human Development Index, the poorest place on earth…An estimated 2.5m people out of a total of 17m have no secure source of food. When harvests fail, which they do almost annually, that number shoots up. In 2012, when the worst of the recent food crises ravaged the Sahel region, almost a quarter of Niger’s population was said to be going hungry…”
The reality for poor, undernourished children is heartbreaking. The Economist introduces Haowa, a mother of eight children (her last pregnancy resulted in triplets) who cannot feed her children:
“Now, when her babies scream for food she often finds herself helpless. ‘If they cry and I have nothing to give them, then I must let them cry,’ she says, cradling two infants who bear the hallmarks of malnutrition. Their hair is yellowing, their bellies are distended and their expressions glazed. They lack the energy to shake the flies from their faces.”
I can’t imagine the pain that that mother must go through – knowing that her children are hungry and unable to do anything about it. My heart breaks every time my son bangs his head and starts crying – but at least then I know that I can comfort or distract him and he will be off and running again in a couple of minutes. I have never known what it is like not to be able to feed my family. Not only does that make me extremely fortunate but it means that the suffering that mothers like Haowa go through is incomprehensible. The poor, poor woman.
So why do Niger’s population continue to have so many children when its current population cannot be fed? The Economist points to a number of factors:
“Poverty, ignorance and poor access to contraception are contributing factors, as are cultural issues like competition between wives. Men in Niger tend to be polygamous, and local doctors note that their spouses often try to prove their value by outdoing each other in child births.”
The UN is seeking to change this:
“At present the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is the only importer of contraceptives, flying in millions of dollars’ worth this year. It runs a ‘school for husbands’ which teaches men, who traditionally tended to obstruct women seeking birth control, about family planning. The schools hope to dispel wild rumours about contraception. One woman living outside of Zinder, the country’s second-biggest city, used to believe the pill would cause haemorrhages or make her unborn child anaemic. ‘I was scared for the first two months,’ she says.”
While it is good that Nigeriens are being informed so that they can make choices about their families, it appears as if Nigeriens may not want to change their current family structures:
“And the appetite for change among the population is limited. Only about a quarter of women express any desire to space out their births, let alone reduce their number.”
If that’s the case, if three-quarters of Nigerien women want to have eight children despite the misery being suffered by Haowa mentioned above, then what on earth can the UN do about it? Set up schools to re-educate women about how 2.1 would be a much better number of children to have? If this mindset largely comes about through the polygamous practises, then what should the UN do? Ban it? Do we then get back to the argument about which is more paternalistic: should we ban an apparently mysognistic practice even though women might want to be part of it? (See for example the hijab debate…) What do you, dear readers, think about this all?
PS Before we look down at the ignorance of Nigeriens about contraceptives and the pill, what do we in the west generally know about it? What do girls (I use the term deliberately) know when they are put onto the pill by their doctors? What are they told about the long term effects? The risks etc? Do we even know the longterm effects of it? Or are there none? As a final aside, I smile to think about how we are so keen to have “organic” food and to make sure no additives/chemicals are in our food and yet we take (or ensure our girlfriends/wives take) a pill every day that is pure hormone and tricks a woman’s body into thinking she is pregnant. But I’m sure there is a difference there somewhere.
About 480 government soldiers, who had previously fled into Cameroon after heavy fighting with Boko Haram insurgents are currently being repatriated to Nigeria by Cameroonian Authorities.
As previously reported by an AP news article, civilians fleeing into Cameroon gave accounts of being joined by Nigerian soldiers who were retreating from heavy fighting with Boko Haram insurgents in the border town of Gamboru.
The Nigerian army had previously referred to the unscheduled arrival of 480 Nigerian troops into Cameroonian soil as a “tactical maneuver."
A SaharaReporters source has revealed that’s the troops re entered Nigeria on a longer route through Adamawa state, rather than Borno state, after being transported in a long convoy under tight security escort.
The source said a long convoy transporting the troops entered Nigeria through a longer route from Adamawa state, rather than Borno state, and will soon join their units to continue operations against the Boko Haram militant fighters.
A security source based in the Maidugiri had previously informed SaharaReporters that Boko Haram sought to control the expansive areas of the Gamboru-Ngala for the strategic location and vibrant commercial infrastructure conducive for establishment of an Islamic caliphate.
Despite Nigeria’s government’s imposition of a State of Emergency in the Northeatern state of Borno late last year, Boko Haram has wreaked havoc in many areas of the region with hi-profile activities including successfully capturing the Gwoza Training camp of the Nigeria Police Mobile Force (PMF) last week and several army barracks and police installations, and towns.
Boko Haram has also successfully conducted cross border raids into neighboring Cameroon including the highly publicized kidnapping of the wife of Cameroon’s Vice Prime Minister Vice Prime Minister Amadou Ali in Kolofata in late July.
The group has increasingly developed a violent nature in its operations since the killing of its founding leader, Mohammed Younus, in 2009.