As we settle into the final quarter of the year, harrowing events continue to leave many of us speechless and heartbroken. The global Black Community have been confronted once again with indefensible violence committed against Black Bodies. This time, Africa is bleeding and its trauma has now hit centre stage.
Online activism has provided us with the opportunity to put our social platforms to good use and demand justice that has been overdue. While addressing the cruelties of those who wish to exploit Africa and its people, those within the diaspora must apply pressure and remind our people at home that they're not alone.
WHAT’S BEEN GOING ON IN THE CONTINENT?
The following outlines some of the events that have happened in the African continent this year:
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN CONGO:
The sinister atrocities the Congolese have faced within the DRC would leave many to believe it’s a nightmare that shouldn’t see the light of day. And yet, a total of 6 million civilians have been reportedly killed from war crimes, exploitive forced labour and genocide. This figure is said to have increased since the war the country faced between 1996 to 2003. Those who reside in the east of the country continue to be exploited through mining the country’s natural recourses such as cobalt, copper and coltan for the West’s consumption and creation of the newest devices on the market. Women, girls and boys have been systematically raped as a weapon of war. Back in 2011, an estimate 48 women were raped every hour in the country, giving the country its title of the “rape capital of the world”.Earlier this month, Congolese women took to the streets to protest against the violent conflict the country has faced. #CongoIsBleeding
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN NIGERIA:
SARS (Special Anti-Robbery Squad) is a social movement which was created in 1992 to protect citizens and handle crime and robbery in Nigeria. Throughout its existence, Nigerian citizens have experienced harassment from the police unit for basic things such as living their everyday lives. Victims have included those who posses nice cars or the latest gadgets and clothing. After years of harassment, torture and inhumane killings, the citizens of Nigeria took back their power and matters into their own hands by protesting against SARS’ horrendous acts of violence. The protests also aimed to demand that the government to stand by their people. On the 20th of October 2020, the peaceful protests in search for a basic human right to life resulted in SARS and the Nigerian army violently killing, beating and torturing innocent citizens while the rest of the world watched live on social media with deep sadness and another layer of collective Black trauma. #EndSARS
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN ETHIOPIA:
A massacre against Ethiopia’s Christian demographic is currently plaguing the country. Housing one of the oldest churches of the world, more than 30 churches have been burnt down , last November. At least 500 people have been said to have been killed during “door-to-door” attacks. This has resulted in thousands of civilians being displaced and find refuge in the last three months since June. Attacks have surfaced within southern Ethiopia’s Oromia regional state, including its capital Addis Ababa. #PrayForEthiopia
WHAT IS HAPPENING IN ZAMBIA:
Outrage surfaced upon the citizens of Zambia after a Ms Carol Kambwili (and her daughter), were forcefully arrested. During this arrest, the women were physically harassed, and forcefully nearly undressed while being put in a police vehicle. The MMD (Movement for Multiparty Democracy) youth chairman Joshua Mulenga wrote a noted letter to Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja, highlighting how the Zambian Police Service had been using maximum force on unarmed and defenceless civilians. Zambians have been protesting against the police, which has been responded to with violent methods of restraints. #EndPoliceBrutalityInZambia
WHAT IS HAPPENING IN CAMEROON:
Cameroon has reportedly been dealing with an Anglophones Crisis. This is said to have contributed to the Anglophone Problem, which is a socio-political issue rooted in Cameroon's colonial legacies from the Germans, British, and the French. Those within the English-speaking demographic are said to be marginalised, compared to their French-speaking counterparts. The issue opposes many Cameroonians from the Northwest and Southwest regions. This has resulted in the crisis claiming more than 2,000 lives and displaced more than 450,000 people. #AnglophoneCrisis
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN GHANA & IVORY COAST:
Children in both Ghana and Ivory Coast are being trafficked from Burkina Faso and Mali; to work on cocoa farms in Ghana. The industry has promised to reduce numbers, however, this hasn’t been the case. The proportion of children from agricultural households who engage in child labour within the cocoa sector across Ivory Coast and Ghana had increased to 45 percent in 2018/19 from 31 percent in 2008/09. These children are subject to “hazardous work” including using sharp instruments unfit for children. This type of work has risen to 43% from 30% also. Both Ghana and Ivory Coast combined produce two-thirds of the world’s cocoa. #ChildTrafficking
WHAT CAN WE DO?
The internet is easy to access and its ability to communicate with millions across the globe with platforms such as Instagram and Twitter gives us valuable tools to use when reporting and sharing humanitarian crises. It has proven to be a vital platform in cases such as the Black Lives Matter movement; inspiring those on the continent to be vocal with the current events they have been facing. Through hashtags, communities have formed as they enter a dialogue of justice, confront the corruption their country has become a victim to and demand a better future for their children. It is essential; that we within the diaspora, amplify the voices of our people and share the useful information and resources we have that could be of benefit.
As technology evolves, so do our methods of activism. Here are a list of tools you can use to get the right information out there:
Social Media: Platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, have proven to be essential pieces of media, particularly for subjects that are usually overlooked on in mainstream media. By using a specific hashtag, you invite real-time information centred around that topic onto your feed. We must use this time to share useful information as others use it for resources but to educate. If you wish to post information that could be of benefit to your cause of interest, it is your responsibility to make sure the information provided is accurate and truthful.
Online Petitions: Websites such as Change.org, ipetitions.org, Avaaz.org and more, has granted us the opportunity to contribute to our chosen causes. Being signed digitally, with your name and email address, this method is proves efficient with millions of people signing through a link. These petitions contribute to various causes through political and lawful hearings, where they will discuss the matter at hand.
Online Donations: These fundraiser platforms allow charity organisations and their supporters to raise the necessary funds that are needed for their cause. Since it’s online, it gives us the chance to put our money where our mouth is. Good examples of fundraising platforms include GoFundMe, GlobalGiving and JustGiving.
Blogging: Blog posts like this one, provide unfiltered pieces of journalism which tend to be motivated behind passion and a deep desire to educate those who may not know what’s going on. They are easy to share over social media platforms and give people easy to digest information.
HERE’S WHERE YOUR SUPPORT IS NEEDED
Below are a list of online petitions, fundraisers, charities and protests you can all support during these trying times.
The Feminist Coalition: is a group of young Nigerian feminists formed in July 2020 with a mission to bring equality for women in Nigerian society with a core focus on education, financial freedom and representation in public office. They have been championed for raising funds for the #EndSARS protestors raising money for medical bills, legal aid and food. They are currently not taking any more donations, but if you wish to keep updated about the protests, check out their socials and website.
Young entrepreneurs and activists Dahunsi Oluwanifemi and Ife Alaba have teamed up with Adam Bradford to raise money for the protestors in Nigeria. Their money will help feed the protestors. If you wish to contribute and find out more, click here.
There is currently a government petition to Implement sanctions against the Nigerian Government and officials which has already gained over 200,000+ signatures. Ensure you do your research before signing so you are completely aware of what this might mean for Nigeria and its government.
#YellowSunday is a an annual fundraiser which support Congolese Women into getting an education, and help raise funds for their tuition fees. They wish to grant more public awareness on the ongoing issues that can be found in Congo today.
If there are other African charities, petitions or fundraisers you believe we all need to know about, please don’t hesitate to mention them in the comment section below. Remember, to utilise the appropriate hashtags when discussing topics. But more importantly, continue to amplify the voices of those who are having to live through this on the frontline. #EndSARS #EndSWAT #CongoIsBleeding #FreeCongo #PrayForEthiopia #EndPoliceBrutalityInZambia #AnglophoneCrisis #ChildTrafficking