I have the heart and stomach of a King… says!

Queen Elizabeth (Elizabeth I of England) said that “I have the heart and stomach of a King.” I surmise this as having the heart and stomach of a warrior personally. She made this speech or statement in August 1588 as there were questions being raised that her gender will restrict her from being the commander of the armed forces as the Spanish Armada was assembling in the North Sea ready to invade England.

The character of this speech implies that we must show ‘chiefest’ strength in the face of resistance. We must be defiant when confronted with battles in any of its ramifications. It illustrates that while acknowledging our weaknesses, it is our strength and guts that must reign supreme in the face of battles.

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It echoes the soundbite from the great Nelson Mandela which he uttered at the Supreme Court of South Africa in April 1964, stating that “It is an ideal for which I am prepared to die”. The ideal this astute man was referring to was the total freedom of the African people – a struggle for the right to live on their own God-given land. Here was a political prisoner pleading for his life against an unfair and unjust apartheid state, however he was ready to be condemned to death for his noble principles for advocating for all races in South Africa to live freely and equally.

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How I wish the leaders in this African region and beyond can borrow a leaf of wisdom from our beloved Madiba when he says that “during my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

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My summation is that life can be a battlefield to varying degrees depending on the battle that one is confronted with, it could be political, social, economical or even internal battles. We must be like the spartan warriors of the past that were ready to fight to the last drop in the face of opposition.

Here are some of the great soundbites uttered by leaders of a long-gone era in the face of political and social resistance –

  1. John F Kennedy (Cold War – “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country).
  2. Jawaharlal Nehru (Indian Independence – “a tryst with destiny).
  3. Abraham Lincoln (Gettysburgh – Civil War – “Government of the people, by the people, for the people).
  4. Martin Luther King (Civil Rights – “I have a dream”).Related image
  5. Winston Churchill (WWII – “their finest hour”, “we will fight them on the beaches”).Image result for william wilberforce
  6. William Wilberforce stood at the House of Commons in May 1789 and said “let us put an end at once to this inhuman traffic.” This was said in the presence of many MPs who were merchants exploiting Africa through the transatlantic slave trade. Of course, and as expected the establishment did not yield to this abolitionist request until three days before his death in 1833 when the Emancipation Bill was passed.
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Happy Reading!

 

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A Conscious Traveller – an African viewpoint in the City of Love. (3mins Read)

I will like to consider myself a conscious traveller when visiting new places especially if those places (countries) have had interactions in the past with my beloved Africa (Afrique). This impetus was first imbibed in me as a student visiting Hong Kong in the early 2000s; we were doing late night crawling in Kowloon night market when the local police jumped out of their vans with batons to round up Chinese from the mainland for deportation. I wonder if this still occurs today since Beijing now has full control over the former British enclave.

This is in parallel to what I witnessed on a recent trip to Paris and suburbs – the City of Love. I like to look and feel beyond the aesthetic beauty of the Eiffel and the lovely boutiques displaying their arrays of luxury items on the Champs Elysees or the charming and soothing view of the River Seine.

Why we call Paris the city of love and romance... but is it really?

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On my many trips to this great city I have always chosen to stay and visit the beauty spots only; however, I decided to take the family to other parts especially where the Africans resides legally and illegally – Chateau Rouge.

Oh Boy, I must say I was disappointed. My disappointed primarily lies with Africa. A continent that has continually allowed ethnic, religion and political issues; be it internal or externally imposed to stalled our developments and greatness thus allowing our young men and women to take huge personal risks to sojourn across the Sahara to conflicted Libya for further voyage to become unwanted labourers in another man’s country with no documentation.

What does it mean to live in a country where you have no status?

It means no right to live, no right to education, no right to welfare, in essence no right to LIFE thereby casting aspersion on the Universal Suffrage the city of Paris is known for. This further illustrates why these young men will take more risks by jumping into Lorries at Calais to cross the channel into Dover. If I ignorantly did not understand in the past, I do now. Any man would take such risk, because the bottom line is you die penniless on the streets in the City of Love. It appears the city of love is not reciprocating love to the illegals in Chateau Rouge.

Equally, was also disappointed to see police harassing and conducting raids in the markets where these ordinary people are trying to earn a living by selling roasted corn to their fellow kinsfolk.

Generally, any city of international reckoning will also have its own dark underbelly exposed by events as has been demonstrated across major cities from Grenfell in London, to protests in Charlottesville and more.

My summation is two-fold. Firstly, in other to stem the flow of illegal immigration to the west; the western nations (France, Britain, Germany) must not only use their influence to effect positive political changes but must move sincerely to remove the remaining invisible shackles of colonization that still restrict Africa from real development and freedom.

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Secondly, African authorities and her people must move beyond real or ‘imagined’ issues of ethnicity, tribal affiliations and endemic corruption to know that it is the continent that bears the lost when her youths are roaming aimlessly and rudderless in countries that refused them legal entry.

Please feel free to comment, share and debate.

Thank you for reading!

The intertwinement of life and provenance.

A piece of art with a fascinating story can be sold for a staggering $100 millions… Phew!!!

This dawn on me as I recently won tickets to the Victoria & Albert Museum. I decided to do some ‘digging’ – digging for art treasures!

I have always wondered why art works at auction houses such as Sotheby’s can be sold for a cool $100,000,000.00 or more.

Image result for Boy with a Pipe (The Young Apprentice) Image result for Boy with a Pipe (The Young Apprentice)

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More importantly, why would anyone spend such an amount on a piece crafted, painted, sculpted or drawn in a dinghy workshop some 500 years ago.

I realised that this happenstance is due to the laws of scarcity, perhaps only a few of this works were commissioned by the ‘landed gentry’ or royals of the past. Perhaps, only few survived the wars and looting of such artefacts in the pasts. My fascination is that art has always been valuable throughout the ages and hence the very rich bourgeois and powerful have always seek to acquire those unique pieces of arts and antiquities to add to their collections.

This led me to discover the meaning of the word provenance. In regards to arts, it is the record of ownership of a work of art or an antique, used as a guide to authenticity or quality.

Provenance allows us to see (to value) things differently when we hear the story behind the art, or the painting or who has had ownership of such a vintage piece of art in the past. This allows the value to change in our minds. An authentic story with provenance is what changes the value of a piece of art or a family heirloom.

Authenticity, stories, dynasty connectivity, royal ownership and historical timelines are the ingredients for the reasons why the handiworks of the long-forgotten artist such as Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso can be sold for millions, and millions of dollars over a mobile device, bought by new money from Asia or North America.

A piece of porcelain such as below makes time travel possible by understanding the genesis of a piece of handiwork. It helps to connect to the histories, cultures and adventures of the past years or centuries.

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Photo of Samson Slaying a Philistine, Giambologna, 1560-1562, Italy. Museum no. A.7-1954. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London Photo of ‘The Miraculous Draught of Fishes’, Raphael, 1515 – 16. On loan from HM Queen Elizabeth II; rcin 912944, (Luke 5:1-11)

Provenance also intertwined with our lives as individuals, by alluding to what value we place on our own history and heritage. Our true authenticity must be brought to the surface for us to be valued as we rightly should.

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Related image Image result for nigerian sculpture at cambridge

Related image Related imageRelated imageImage result for nigerian sculpture at cambridge Image result for africa most expensive painting Related image  In the Desert (Watercolour)

I am looking forward to visiting the V&A Museum over the summer, it’s been ages since I visited such an institution.

Have a nice weekend…

https://www.vam.ac.uk/