Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Beautiful Neighbours

Copyright Anette Bengtsson 2009

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Beautiful Africa 11th edition - Last edition

Welcome to our last edition - our team is getting into new ventures - so we take a break from adding new posts to Beautiful Africa.

Thanks to all that contributed - we have had a great time gathering stories - and meeting great people along the way. We all continue writing Africa related posts on our blogs not to talk about all those that continue documenting life as they see it here in Africa. Blog culture is definitely here to stay and by now there is no end to the many sites and blogs that show a more honest and real picture from all corners of the continent. A big thank you once more to our regular contributors and everyone else that contributed with their posts and regular comments.

This last edition includes posts about Arusha, Timbuktu, the Eden field station in Niger, a fun song by Freshlyground, one of Kari's fantastic photos and last but not least Loomnie's short story.

Personal experiences

From Tauratinzwe here is When I first lived in Africa posted at Observations of Africa - "When first I lived in Africa, I lived about 20 kilometers outside Arusha, Tanzania at the foot of Mt. Meru. My house was among the student houses at the Chuo cha waBatisti cha Theologia cha Afrika ya Mashariki (the Baptist Theological Seminary of East Africa)."

Esther sent me the link to a great blog and I chose the latest post from there : The river to Timbuktu published at Camels from Timbuktu to Essakane.

"There's now a new 'road' through the desert, North off the tarmac on sandy tracks from Douentza to get to Timbuktu, finishing in a ferry to cross the wide Niger river."

Sights of Africa

From Esther's blog here is - Skywatch over Eden’s field station posted at - the photos speak for themselves - also check out Esther's other skywatch posts.

I chose one of the latest posts from Kari's blog The Harmattan is blowing in posted at "african dust is kicked up and blown west on the trade winds where it freezes in midair and falls on your tongue and mittens. "

Sounds of Africa

From Szavanna_blog here is a vibey song - Ma Cherie by Freshlyground.

Creative Writing

Loomnie presents The Lizard posted at "He had been watching his son since he started the game. The boy had been chasing a red-head lizard for about thirty minutes, and now he had finally got him. He held the wriggling lizard by the tail and went outside. Still holding him he came back into the parlour of their room and parlour apartment with a bowl and a forked stick. His father wondered what he was going to do with them but he did not ask him anything. He did not want to say anything."

This the last post for the carnival - at least for the time being - have fun and keep blogging!

many greetings,
from Szavanna and the rest of the team, Ishtar and Loomnie

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

11th edition coming up

Greetings Beautiful Africa fans!

The 11th edition is coming up at the beginning of December. It would be nice to end 2008 with a great collection - please submit your posts till the end of November so that we can include them in this year's last edition. You can also submit posts by contacting the team, Esther, Loomnie or Szavanna - and if you discovered new Africa-related blogs that you'd like to introduce to us - please do so!

To get you in the writing mood - here is some Dibango vibes :

South African greetings to All,

Szavanna and the BA team

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Beautiful Africa 10th edition

We started off June 16, 2007 - with the first edition and since then we have assembled such a great list of posts all telling the stories & happenings on the continent - life is going on and there is a lot to discover even for those that live here - like members of the BA team - I am sure all three of us discovered new things while looking around for interesting stories and reading through submissions.

This edition has stories from Niger, Senegal, Mali, South Africa, Mozambique, Burkina Faso and there is also a "continental playlist" to celebrate our 10th edition - here goes ....

Personal Experiences

Esther presents September highlights from Eden’s field station posted at "I was so happy to come back to Niger and find the country still green. It rained not too long ago, and the greenness may last for a while, even if it won’t rain again for the rest of the season.Although I haven’t been to the field station since my arrival this Tuesday, I thought I’d share some images from Eden’s field station this month."

Axel sent us Traveling And Personal Growth posted at She says : "This post is about hitchhiking through Southern Africa, the experiences, the culture and what I learned in the end... "

Culture and tradition

Ndebeles is a post about the Ndebele people of South Africa posted at Szavanna_blog.

My pick for this section is David's How to build a grass hut posted at Voice in the Desert. "Ever wondered how the Fulani make their lovely domed huts? No? Well, I think I'll tell you anyway" .... click to read step by step building instructions.

Sounds of Africa

Tim Abbott presents Whirl, Dervish, Whirl posted at Walking the Berkshires. " ... and the stuff coming out of Mali from musicians such as Vieux Farka Toure - son of the late, great Ali Farka Toure - and the electrified Touareg jams laid down by Tinariwen makes me want to talk a long, slow boat up the Niger and learn to race camels. Poetry in motion. "

Szavanna ( that's me :) put together Szavanna's Top 10 posted at Szavanna_blog. "The following is a YouTube playlist I put together to celebrate the 10th edition of Beautiful Africa - and it is in no way the top 10 - since I don’t think this is a competition - and would probably end up with an infinite number of songs if I had more time. There is rai, reggae, blues, jazz, tuku music, makosa and much more."

Sights of Africa

Tauratinzwe sent us Fortaleza da Ilha de Moçambique posted at Observations of Africa. This post is a selection of photos - "a closer look at the fort on the Island of Moçambique".

Kari submitted Beautiful Africa posted at under her photo she adds : "West Africa has a joie de vivre that transcends circumstance. If only I could learn as much. Senegal, you have a beautiful smile.


This is all for our 10th edition, thank you so much once again for your contributions!

Submit your blog article to the next edition of beautiful africa using the carnival submission form. ( If for some reason you don't manage to submit there - contact one of us via our blogs - to make sure we receive your submissions.)

There are lots of stories we have told through the bloggers that have already participated - but this collection is still just a small introduction to all that is happening on the continent - help make this collection more complete by :
  • sending in your own posts
  • or suggesting Africa related posts and blogs that could take part in the carnival
  • and also sending in your suggestions and comments

many greetings to all, happy blogging!

Szavanna & BA Team

Monday, 6 October 2008

Beautiful Africa is ready for its 10th edition!

After a short break, the Beautiful Africa carnival is up and running again, so start collecting those posts again! If you want to help us out, feel free to recommend other Beautiful Africa posts, so that we can make this uplifting carnival come alive - big time! With all the negative publicity going on about Africa's misery and incapabilities, Africa needs a page that shows the other side of the coin: the Beautiful Africa that we all love so much!

Posts can submitted here. You have up until the end of October! :-)

Greetings from Zinder, Niger!

Monday, 18 August 2008

Beautiful Africa 9th edition

Welcome to the 9th edition of Beautiful Africa. Even though the editions might come a bit less regularly - we do plan to publish one every two months so keep sending in the posts.

This edition includes amongst others a solar cooker recipe, writings by three very talented bloggers, you can also spend some time discovering South Africa's wildlife, get to see the Olive-backed forest robin, a newly spotted bird species from Gabon, read a post about South African jazz and also about a Malian Wassoulou musician. We do have some new contributors as well as our regular bloggers adding to the mix. Sit back and enjoy!

Personal experiences

Let's start with one of Esther's favourite posts the 'Sauce de Tanout' Solar Cooker Recipe posted at Esthers intro goes : "The Eden farmers and their families mix the cooked Maerua crassifolia leaves with crushed peanuts, decorate with an onion and sell it in the village. There is a lot of money to be made this way, because the meal is good! And so when making one of the two casseroles I was going to serve with the Boscia senegalensis grains a few nights ago, I did my very own take on the choice of ingredients favoured by the Eden farmers, and hence the name of the casserole: Sauce de Tanout. "

My pick as a special personal experience is Abri's entire blog, Uit die Blou van Onse Hemel - it being a collection of photos as Abri and his friend flew from Cape Town to Potchefstroom in a helicopter and decided to live-blog it all. "Two helicopter pilots on a crazy trip through and around South Africa with a Robinson 44. Our final destination is Potchefstroom where we will stay a few days before we hit the sky again to our home sweet home the Cape of Good Hope." Click to visit the blog and see their journey.

Music of Africa

From Tony's place read Kwa Tebugo - jazz coming home. "After more than 30 years, a South African musician who has achieved great acclaim in Britain and Europe is coming back to get the land of his birth jumping with the power of his backbeat."

Next find out about The Songbird of Wassoulou posted at Szavanna_blog. "Oumou Sangare (born February 25, 1968, in Bamako, Mali) is a Malian Wassoulou musician, sometimes referred to as “The Songbird of Wassoulou.” Wassoulou is a historic region south of the Niger River, and the music there is descended from traditional hunting songs, and is accompanied by a calabash."

Sights of Africa

Next up is Pilanesberg posted at Szavanna_blog. This is a small photoalbum introducing you to the park. "Pilanesberg Game Reserve is in the Bojanala Region of the North West Province, adjacent to Sun City. Set in the crater of a long extinct volcano, the Park ranks among the largest of the parks in South Africa (it is in fact the fourth largest park) and covers an area of 55 000 hectare."

GrrlScientist presents New Bird Species Discovered in Gabon posted at "A new species of bird has been identified by ornithologists from the Smithsonian Institution. The bird, which was first discovered in Gabon, a small country in Africa, was unknown to the scientific community until now. Interestingly, this species is part of a larger group of closely-related birds in southwest Gabon known as the Gamba Complex."

Creative Writing

Loomnie submitted his Fola, A Short Story posted at "Fola stood before her father’s sickbed, staring at him with what seemed like rapt attention but she wasn’t seeing anything. As she stood staring, her feelings traversed the fields of sympathy, pity, disgust, and anger. These feelings were so deep that the images they called-up in her mind were so overwhelming she felt they would choke her if she didn’t run out of the hospital ward." Click to read on ...

Rushay's Bpm and therapy in one session is next posted at His post speaks of itself - here is the start : "Instinctively walking the path to rhythmic drum woven beats thats been manipulated digitally and fed to hungry Africans over decades have left us malnutritioned.I have given this so much thought,how music feeds a world thats hungry not just to move the body but also to feed and sustain the soul."

Tauratinzwe concludes the list of posts with Mr Bean posted at Observations of Africa. It goes : "One day Baba Nyemba went to town to get some meat. At the butcher shop he saw a nice piece of steak in the window that was just what he wanted." Read on to find out Baba Nyembas day at the butcher shop.

Mr Bean's story ends this edition. Thank you so much once again for your contributions!
Submit your blog article to the next edition of beautiful africa using the carnival submission form. Help us make this blog represent all parts of Africa - if you know of a post that would fit the idea behind this carnival - please make sure you let us know about it!

many greetings to all, keep blogging!

Szavanna & BA Team

Thursday, 14 August 2008

9th edition coming up soon

Hey there!

Just a short note to let you know that the next edition is coming up soon - you are welcome to add your posts. Personal experiences, creative writing, photoalbums, music related posts, or even a mix of all of these are welcome! If you have a post in mind, please submit it here.

I end with Rushay's photo - check out his photos on Flickr - he has a great collection!

Fingoville, Grahamstown, South Africa the efforts of artist to uplift the community

Monday, 23 June 2008

Beautiful Africa 8th edition

Greetings to everyone - we are back with the 8th edition of carnival. The team has been quite busy this year with other projects - apologies for the delay. We will try our best to keep posting great stories so stay tuned and keep sending us your contributions.

Personal experiences

Tim Abbott is first with Teddy Landrover posted at Walking the Berkshires, saying, "A tribite to our old landrover, and the extraordinary friendship it allowed us to establish with Namibian bush mechanics."

Esther presents Today, 20 years ago posted at her blog at "This very day, twenty years ago, I was visiting the field station with my family to see the development of the new mud buildings that Eden was setting up in Dalli, 13 km south of Tanout city. Although the buildings themselves were nice, the field station did not make that much of an impression on my seven year old mind. "

Loomnie's post is last in this section with Yoruba and English, Yoruba and French posted at . "It is always interesting to speak Yoruba with Beninese Yoruba speakers. I – like most Nigerian Yoruba speakers – don’t speak Yoruba without code-mixing, and the other language in the mélange is almost always English."

Culture and tradition

Peter Jones presents Midwifery in Mali: Working with the Indigenous Minianka People posted at Indigenous Issues Today. This book review is about Monique and the mango rains - Kris Holloway’s Peace Corps experience among the Minianka indigenous peoples in Mali’s southeastern region near the Burkina Faso border. Peter writes : "The relationship between Fatumata and Monique is what makes this book succeed as it offers a unique glimpse into the day-to-day lives of the Minianka indigenous people and their contemporary struggles. The rarity of this glimpse is that we are given access to a component of Minianka life not often shared with the outside world – the inner realm of womanhood, midwifery, and childbirth."


Tauratinzwe sent us A Little Art Work posted at Observations of Africa, saying, "Lacking artistic talent myself, I can only enjoy and envy the work of those who are talented."

Sounds of Africa

My pick for this edition's music section comes from, a great blog for all those interested in Nigerian music - Yoruba Bata - A Living Drum and Dance Tradition from Nigeria . The YouTube description says : "Introduction to Yoruba Bata Performance as practiced in Erin-Osun, Nigeria. Featuring Lamidi Ayankunle, master Bata drummer from Erin-Osun."

Szavanna's contribution to this section is Abdullah Ibrahim's classic piece - Mannenberg posted at Szavanna_blog. The YouTube description goes : "For the first time ever, Abdullah Ibrahim, formally known as Dollar Brand, went to Robin Island, where Mandela was imprisoned. All forms of music were banned. A lawyer smuggled one of Abdullah’s songs into the control room, blocked the doors and played it over the loud speakers. Mandela’s first sound of music in decades. "

Sights of Africa

To end this edition have a look at The wild flowers of Namaqualand posted at Szavanna_blog. "Namaqualand in the north-west of South Africa is a sunburnt and barren semi-desert. But that changes dramatically in spring, when after a short rainy season the countless wildflowers spread over the wide plains like a colourful carpet."

That concludes this edition. Thank you for your contributions!
Submit your blog article to the next edition of beautiful africa using the carnival submission form.

Help us make this a great resource - please contact us if you come across great posts and bloggers that could be possible contributors to this carnival in the future.

Warm greetings and happy blogging,

Szavanna & BA Team

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

April next

Dear Beautiful Africa Readers & Participants!
Sunset in Zinder, Niger by Anette Bengtsson

The 8th edition of the Beautiful Africa Blog Carnival will be posted end April, so there is ample time to assemble all those beautiful posts that highlights all the positive sides of Africa! Should the blog carnival fill up too early, it might be posted earlier, so stay tuned!

You can post your entries here - and if you know of a post that'd make a great submission, don't hesitate to contact any of the editors!

Warm greetings from around the world:
Ishtar in Europe (for two more days), Szavanna (in South Africa) & Loomnie (in Benin)

Monday, 17 March 2008

Beautiful Africa 7th edition

Szavanna started this post but was not able to continue it. As I am just putting together the final touches, I thought it would be nice to let the original text stay!
Hi there - hope you are already enjoying your well-earned December breaks.

This is the last edition for the year - and we hope to continue with new editions next year - please let us know how it went this year.

A big thank you one more time to Ishtar, who started this initiative and is supporting it regularly even tough connectivity is not the best in Niger.
Personal Experiences

The first post is by Ishtar Making friends at the race track posted on IshtarNews - what an interesting day spend at the Zinder race track...

Tim Abbott presents Teddy Landrover posted at Walking the Berkshires, saying, "A tribite to our old landrover, and the extraordinary friendship it allowed us to establish with Namibian bush mechanics."

Tauratinzwe presents Observations of Africa: Mwindaji* -- The Last Hunt posted at Observations of Africa, saying, "I still get an adrenaline flow remembering this experience. There's an epilogue involving a cobra, but that's for another campfire tale."

Alison Sharley presents Hope for Madagascar posted at Green Me, saying, "Hi -- great to find this carnival. My post is both personal experience and that of others doing work in Madagascar. Thanks!"

Culture and Traditions

Ishtar presents Ramadan celebrations in Zinder on Ishtarnews. The post starts saying : "This year, the Ramadan celebrations went by very quietly, due the region being split in three different groups, each choosing a different day of celebrations."

Sights of Africa

GrrlScientist presents Mirror Image posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, "this animal is almost an icon for Africa itself!"

Sounds of Africa

Afromusing recently wrote about the CD Ngoma Process - The post says : "This is a CD that would fit neatly into the category ‘ World Music’, though i would call it something like Kenyan Ngoma. There is Kapuka, Genge, Bongo, time for the genre Kenya ngoma? The CD has the types of songs that have a cultural thumbprint; it is immediately identifiable to Kenyans."

Arts & Creative Writing

From Fasy's blog, The Other Side of Africa, here is Fatiha - a short story : "She is six years old and loves to listen to stories on the moonlight. Pure and innocent daughter of the Sahel, she loves to play with her friends on evenings and help milk the cows in the morning. Knee high, the only type of life she knows is happy-go-lucky."

Nasra sent us her poem entitled The Islands of the Moon posted at A window within Myself - in her post she also writes about her experiences growing up on the Comoros Islands ...."The first time I had set foot in Comoro Islands, I was a teenager but till now I recall the scene of the road which was constructed on frozen lava. Clearly it was evidence that the island at one time had perhaps tremendous volcanic activities. .... "

That concludes this edition. Thank you for your contributions!

Submit your blog article to the next edition of beautiful africa using the carnival submission form.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Upcoming March edition

Hi all! This is to let you know that the Beautiful Africa Blog Carnival is finally due again on the 20th of March. Submissions can be entered until the 17th of March.

Fazuma of Niger

In the meantime, take care!

Ishtar & the BA team

Friday, 1 February 2008

A sign of life

Just wanted to let you all know that the carnival is not down - just temporarily taking a little break as all of us editors are currently buried with work and projects. Ishtar is in Niger working for the Eden Foundation, Loomnie is on a West African Tour working on his PhD and Szavanna is in South Africa juggling with far too many projects at the same time. But keep those posts ready, for as soon as one of us have (a little) time over, it'll be Beautiful Africa time again!

Writing from a fairly cold Niger,

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Carnival reminder

Hello to all those reading the carnival blog!

We are getting ready to publish the last edition of the carnival for the year - please post your entries - we still have spaces left for the 7th edition - on 17 December.

Ishtar is still in Niger - check her blog for the latest - here is one of the photos she sent recently :

Outside the sultan's palace, Zinder 2007

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Beautiful Africa - 6th edition!

Welcome to the November edition of the Beautiful Africa blog carnival!

This month's edition introduces you to some great posts on Niger, Nigeria, South Africa & Namibia. Thanks for all those that submitted posts - looking forward to reading your future submissions in the coming months.

Personal Experiences

We start with a pick from Ishtar's blog called The Baobab forest posted at IshtarNews. Ishtar's intro goes ... " Mirriah is not only known for its market place however; in fact, it is even more known for its huge Baobab forest. These trees were sowed a very long time ago and are of great value to the families that owns them. During the rainy season, they produce the much desired Baobab leaves (that are sold at every market) and during the dry season, they produce the very nutritious and very tasty Baobab fruits."

Tim Abbott presents Namibeb Gure-aogu: The Environmental Shepherds of ≠Khoadi ||Hôas Conservancy posted at Walking the Berkshires, in it read about a "Community Based Natural Reseource Management: empowering those who live on the land to care for the resources on which they and wildlife depend in Namibia"

Sights of Africa

Tauratinzwe presents Observations of Africa: Africa Gallery posted at Observations of Africa. "Stroll through the Africa Gallery and enjoy photos from Eastern and Southern Africa."

Sounds of Africa

Loomnie submitted Asa’s Fire on the Mountain, Jailer and Other Songs posted at "Asa (pronounced asha) is a Nigerian lady who was born in Paris but grew up in Lagos. She later returned to Paris, where, according to her bio, she played with Les Nubians, Manu Dibango, Doctor L, and Tony Allen. Her first album was released on 16 October 2007. Sometimes, her lyrics are unpretentiously didactic, like in Fire on the Mountain and Jailer, but then, even those who don’t like ‘preachy’ songs will find her melody enchanting."

Szavanna presents It has to do with sounds. Natural sounds from far up north. - The music of Moses Molelekwa posted at Szavanna_blog. "Moses is an unbelievably gifted jazz artist from South Africa - he tragically passed away a few years ago. The post goes ... "When I heard Moses’s music for the first time - I thought - wow - and that is all I could think of - when it comes to words - and I was just sitting there listening. The richness and shades of his sounds is amazing and comes so naturally one note after the other."

Arts and Creative Writing

Nasra sent us ~My African Lady~ posted at A window Within Myself. Nasra is a poetess living in Oman - be sure to check her poetry and all the projects she is involved in.

Another Szavanna_blog pick is Meeting the Prince. "The story of how I got to meet and work with this exceptional and talented artist from Nigeria."


A pick from - a post entitled Bryan Habana is Rugby’s player of the year. "Since I am blogging from South Africa - the boks winning the worldcup will remain an unforgettable experience no matter if one is a sports fan or not. I was glued to the TV screen during the final just like most people here - seeing the Springboks hold the cup was a special moment."

The post on Bryan Habana concludes this edition. Remember to submit your blog article to the next edition of beautiful africa using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page

Help us make this a great resource - please contact us if you come across great posts and bloggers that could be possible contributors to this carnival in the future.

Warm greetings and happy blogging,

Szavanna & BA Team

Technorati tags: , .

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Carnival reminder

Hi there everyone - hope you are well!

A quick note to remind you to submit your stories, poems and other writings - please do so - we still have spaces left for the 6th edition coming up very soon - on 18 Novemeber.

Ishtar is still very busy in Niger - she sent us some great photos - here is one :

Man and son selling dates at the Zinder market

Greetings to All from South Africa!

Anna & BA Team