Knowledge Understanding


"Black man, you are on your own" - Steve Biko (18 December 1946 – 12 September 1977).

September 12th, marks the day South Africa anti-Apartheid activist and Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko was killed in police custody in Pretoria. Biko had been arrested a month earlier in Port Elizabeth where he had been detained and tortured, resulting in him falling into a coma.

Nearly dead and suffering a serious and untreated head injury, Biko was transported to Pretoria by car and died shortly after his arrival at the prison there. Police at the time would claim and broadcast to the world that Biko died due to a hunger strike but an autopsy and photographs taken of Biko postmortem, exposed with the help of journalists Donald Woods and Helen Zille, revealed that he had died as a result of the injuries he sustained whilst in police custody.

Today, nearly 40 years after his death at age 30, we remember a man that fought for an end to the brutality he and countless others suffered and still do today. The fight is far from over.

A luta continua!


AFRICANGLOBE – A new report shows Wisconsin is dead last when it comes to the well-being of African-American children and young adults. The Race for Results report, compiled by the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, shows the state is in the top ten for the well-being of White children and young adults, but 46th out of 46 states when it comes to their Black counterparts.



African Kingdoms/Empires of the week: The Kingdom of Kongo of Central Africa ((Kongo: Kongo dya Ntotila or Wene wa Kongo or Portuguese: Reino do Congo)) - Languages spoken: Kikongo and Portuguese 

The Kingdom of Kongo. This is not the present Democratic Republic of Congo but not the Republique de Congo (Brazzaville-Congo) either. These modern states are products of colonizing powers in the XIXth century. The dynasty of the Kingdom of Kongo goes back to more than 500 years, and its traditional territory is the Atlantic coast and moderate interior of the present Democratic Republic of Congo & Northern Angola. The origins of the Kongo lie in a number of small Iron Age communities lying just north of the Malebo Pool in the River Congo (formerly River Zaire). This strategic location provided fertile soil, iron and copper ore, a rich source of fish, and a river which was navigable for thousands of miles upstream. 

By the early 15th century these communities had grown in wealth and size to form a loose federation centred on one kingdom, led by a Manikongo (King). Following the defeat of a branch of the Mbundu, the focus of power had shifted 200 kilometres south west, south of the River Kongo, where a capital was established called Mbanza Kongo (Sao Salvador under Portuguese rule). 

The first European contact came with the Portuguese explorer Diogo Cão in 1483.  Taking some Kongo hostages back with him he returned two years later and journeyed inland to the capital, Mbanza Kongo. There, in 1491, he baptised the king as João I and his son, Afonso, and began building a stone church. The six chief nobles of the kingdom also converted and adopted Portuguese names and titles.

 Soyo and Mbata were the two most powerful provinces of the original federation; other provinces included Nsundi, Mpangu, Mbamba, and Mpemba. The capital of the kingdom was Mbanza Kongo. The capital and its surrounding area were densely settled—more so than other towns in and near the kingdom. This allowed the Manikongo (King) to keep close at hand the manpower and supplies necessary to wield impressive power and centralize the state.

Kongo-Portuguese War of 1622

The Kongo-Portuguese War of 1622 began initially because of a Portuguese campaign against the Kasanze Kingdom, which was conducted ruthlessly. From there, the army moved to Nambu a Ngongo, whose ruler, Pedro Afonso, was held to be sheltering runaway slaves as well. Although Pedro Afonso, facing an overwhelming army of over 20,000 agreed to return some runaways, the army attacked his country and killed him.

Following its success in Nambu a Ngongo, the Portuguese army advanced into Mbamba—in November. The Portuguese forces scored a victory at the Battle of Mbumbi. There they faced a quickly gathered local force led by the new Duke of Mbamba, and reinforced by forces from Mpemba led by its Marquis. Both the Duke of Mbamba and the Marquis of Mpemba were killed in the battle.  However, Pedro II, the newly crowned king of Kongo brought the main army, including troops from Soyo down into Mbamba and decisively defeated the Portuguese driving them from the country at a battle waged somewhere near Mbanda Kasi. Portuguese residents of Kongo, frightened by the consequences for their business of the invasion, wrote a hostile letter to João Correia de Sousa, denouncing his invasion.

Following the defeat of the Portuguese at Mbandi Kasi, Pedro II declared Kongo an official enemy. The king then wrote letters denouncing João Correia de Sousa to the King of Spain and the Pope. Meanwhile, anti-Portuguese riots broke out all over the kingdom and threatened its long established merchant community. Portuguese throughout the country were humiliatingly disarmed and even forced to give up their clothes. Pedro, anxious not to alienate the Portuguese merchant community, and aware that they had generally remained loyal during the war, did as much as he could to preserve their lives and property, leading some of his detractors to call him “king of Portuguese”.

As a result of Kongo’s victory, the Portuguese merchant community of Luanda revolted against the governor hoping to preserve their ties with the king. Backed by the Jesuits, who had also just recommenced their mission there, they forced João Correia de Sousa to resign and flee the country. The interim government that followed the departure was led by the bishop of Angola. They were very conciliatory to Kongo and agreed to return some of the slaves captured by Correia de Sousa, especially the lesser nobles captured at the Battle of Mbumbi.

Increasing instability followed towards the end of the 16th century and later. This was not just down to the Portuguese presence, but more to do with problems over succession that afflicted many African societies. Primogeniture (the handing of the throne from father to son) was not an accepted principle and in Kongo, kingship was decided by an electoral college, which increased opportunities for intrigue and in-fighting.From 1575, the Portuguese established a colony in Luanda, Angola, just to the south of Kongo, and some governors used the position to launch raids into Kongo to gather slaves, or in an attempt to take tracts of territory. In 1622, a full-scale Portuguese invasion from Angola was eventually beaten off, but in 1665, Kongo suffered a serious defeat at the battle of Mbwila, resulting in the deaths of the Kongolese king Antonio I and many of his nobles. Kongo was plunged into half a century of civil war, which included the abandonment of the capital. Although Portugal did not effectively take over Kongo until 1857, its independence until then was severely reduced, and the power of the kings to control the whole country was broken…

More Images


(Don Alvaro, king of Kongo, giving audience to the Dutch in 1642)



(Kongo Capital City M’banza)

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Alain LeRoy Locke, philosopher, writer, and educator, was born on this date, September 13, 1886, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Locke went to Harvard and was the first African American to win the Rhodes Scholarship. He went to Oxford University for philosophy and received his doctorate from Harvard in 1918. Locke then became a professor of philosophy and literature at Howard University. Throughout his life, Locke encouraged African American artists and writers such as Zora Neale Hurston. Locke also wrote about the African and African American experience and identity, and the Harlem Renaissance. He published “The New Negro” in 1925, an anthology of poetry, essays and fiction on African and African American art and literature, which contains the portrait of Alain LeRoy Locke by Winold Reiss pictured. Locke is known as “The Father of the Harlem Renaissance.”

Image: NYPL Digital Collections 


"The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." Speech in Cape Town, 1971 Remembering Steve Biko -  [December 18, 1946 — September 12, 1977]


I see no lies

(Source: artofthewire)


Tumblrette Tina |

(Source: lust-in-her-eyes)




While there is a lot of appropriate rage about Ferguson right now, the killing of John Crawford, III is getting less attention than it deserves. I put Shaun King’s tweets and history lesson on the matter in chronological order for easier consumption.


Autopsy and video show John Crawford shot from behind in Wal-Mart

Witness in murder of John Crawford changes story

You really should be following Shaun King on Twitter.

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