"The world is a prison," says Tanzanian superstar Remmy Ongala.

"There are people who are proud of their lives and others who are always suffering. Many musicians sing about love, about life. I try not to sing very much of love, [but] to try to illuminate the situation of the world." -- Remmy Ongala

One of Tanzania's most popular musicians, Remmy Ongala, has died at his home in Dar es Salaam.

Born in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo in 1947, he was known as "the Doctor" because he was seen as a defender of the people.

His songs often criticised Tanzania's elite and at the height of his popularity the government tried to expel him on immigration grounds.

By Amanda Jones

Vanilla is a tropical climbing orchid, with a long green fleshy stem that sprouts roots that cling to trees parasitically. Its yellow or orange orchidaceous flowers grow in bunches, which bloom one flower each day, opening one by one during the two month season. Vanilla cannot grow naturally in temperate climates. In nature they are only pollinated by Mexican bees and hummingbirds that are capable of penetrating a tough membrane that separates the plant’s pistol and stamen.

Henrietta LacksIn 1951, doctors removed Henrietta Lacks's cells without her consent. More than half a century later, companies have made millions from her cell culture, while few of Lacks's descendants can even afford insurance.

The unsettling story of Henrietta Lacks begins with an everyday occurrence: a trip to the doctor's office. The 30-year-old African-American's 1951 diagnosis of cervical cancer would change her life, and the damaged cells taken from her body without permission would alter the course of medical history. At a time when health-care reform is a key concern for the White House and millions of Americans, Lacks's story is a potent reminder of the injustices that were perpetrated by the health-care industry on the poor and uneducated not long ago.

Raised by her grandfather on a tobacco farm in Virginia, Henrietta Lacks was the granddaughter of slaves. She gave birth to her first child at 14 and later married the father of the baby, who happened to be her first cousin—not uncommon at the time. Shortly after Henrietta turned 30, she felt a knot in her lower stomach that she knew meant something was wrong. But with a husband and a house full of kids to take care of, Lacks could ill afford to worry for long; her family also had little money for a doctor's visit, and at the time, many hospitals offered African-American patients substandard treatment.

Joseph  Kabasele  Tshamala, popularly known as Le Grand Kalle", was a Congolese singer and bandleader, considered the father of modern Congolese music. He began his career by founding the seminal African Rumba band Grand Kalle & l'African Jazz, the most popular early band on the scene, whose personnel at various times included guitarist Doctor Nico Kasanda, saxophonist Manu Dibango and singers Tabu Ley Rochereau and Pepe Kalle.

Patrice LumumbaAfrican nationalist leader, the first prime minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (June-September 1960). Forced out of office during a political crisis, he was assassinated a short time later.

Lumumba was born on July 2, 1925 in the village of Onalua in Kasai province, Belgian Congo. He was a member of the small Batetela ethnic group, a fact that was to become significant in his later political life. His two principal rivals, Moise Tshombe, who led the breakaway of the Katanga province, and Joseph Kasavubu, who later became the nation's president, both came from large, powerful ethnic groups from which they derived their major support, giving their political movements a regional character. In contrast, Lumumba's movement emphasized its all-Congolese nature.

Desmond   RichardsonHailed by the New York Times as one of the great modern dancers of his time, Desmond Richardson is a multi-talented artist who has mastered a wide range of dance forms including classical, modern, and contemporary. Richardson’s immense talent was first recognized as a student at New York High School for the Performing Arts during which time he received a merit scholarship from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center (1983-1986) and the International Academie des Tanz in Koln, Germany (1984-1985). He is also a recipient of a Presidential Scholar Award for the Arts (1986).

Knowledge Project

Africa Knowledge Project is an academic resource that offers journals and databases. Check them out at AKP.

Upcoming Deadlines

CALL FOR PAPERS

Columnists

LivewireRasta Livewire is a leading blog that provides in-depth viewpoints from Rastas in Africa and African Diaspora.

Africa Knowledge Project (AKP) publishes peer-reviewed journals and academic databases.

Ojedi is an online retailer of fine art and exceptional handcrafted pieces from around the world.

Africa House is an Africa and Diasporian gallery. Africa House accepts proposals for submission on a rolling basis.

African Event Posters show posters of events at Africa House.

African Gourmet Dinners shows images of African gourmet dishes.