Thursday, August 24, 2017

African Animation: Banji Versus The Village storybook is moving forward into animation

The children’s storybook, Banji Versus The Village, is progressing into animation. It is a lush paperback and ebook written and illustrated by U.S. based Nigerian animator, Bankole Lasekan. The book is quite distinctive in narrative and visual storytelling, which embraces an African traditional style and motifs. In this interview, Bankole discussed his latest project.
Q: What’s the story about?
A: It is about a 7-year-old boy and his baby hippo friend, and their “creative solutions” around the village, which the village often finds challenging.
Q: Why initially a book and not straight into animation?
A: I originally conceived it as a TV series. Nonetheless, early feedback indicated the script and design elements would be great also in storybook format. So, they were developed simultaneously.
Q: How long did the book take?
A: Being a one-man project, it took about a year; particularly due to the 3D modeling, texturing and rigging of the characters, and the myriad set elements. Though, these assets will also go into the animation.
Q: Could you tell us a bit about your animation background?
A: I studied Design Communication and Film/Animation back in college. I was eventually fortunate to gain employment with Pixar long ago, where I picked up a lot about the art form from those great guys. I was an animator on A Bug’s Life and the Oscar-winning Geri’s Game. I further worked at Electronic Arts in L.A. and some other local studios. I eventually started a small studio in Nigeria, focusing on TV commercials, ad concepts and graphics.
Q: Overall, what do you hope this project accomplishes?
A: For one thing, the book has good instructional value, and is a gainful addition to the larger efforts encouraging youth literacy. The content is as motivational as it is fun and entertaining. We expect the animated series as well to be of extensive value in an environment where nearly all animated TV programing is foreign. I also hope to use the opportunity to teach and mentor some Nigerian/African young folks who had earlier requested animation training opportunities.
Q: Are you working with any major studio on the project?
A: Not currently. We are still working independently. Inquiries are however welcomed.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Africa's Space sector will gather for The African Space Generation Workshop in Akure, Nigeria this November

Africa’s First Space Generation Workshop Coming to Nigeria

The space sector represents a vital enabler for Africa. This November the region's leading young space professionals will gather for a collaborative workshop in Akure, Nigeria to strengthen networks and stimulate communication about addressing key questions being faced by Africa's space community. Topics to include how space technology and its services foster socioeconomic development for the region through space sciences, navigation/positioning, earth observation, and satellite communication
Lagos, Nigeria, August 19, 2017 --(PR.com)-- The planning of the first African Space Generation Workshop (AF-SGW) is underway by the (SGAC) in support of the, United Nations Programme on Space Applications.

This two-day regional workshop for students and young professionals in the African region represents an unparalleled collaborative effort, and will be held on 16-17 November 2017 in Akure City, Nigeria hosted by the Centre for Space Research and Applications, of the Federal University of Technology.

The objective of the AF-SGW is as follows:

* To strengthen the regional network of the students and young professionals in the African region

* To examine and consider key questions in Africa region that the regional space community is facing and to provide inputs from the next generation of the space professionals

* To allow tomorrow’s space sector leaders in the Africa region to have the opportunity to interact with today’s space leaders and professionals in the region.

The workshop will have up to 100 African delegates between 18 and 35 years old, focusing on university students and young professionals working in the African space sector to accomplish a series of common objectives. These include the strengthening of the regional network and providing means of effective communications amongst today’s space leaders of the region. Planned activities will further hope to examine and consider key questions in Africa that the regional space community is facing and to provide inputs from the next generation of the space professionals.

The space sector represents a vital enabler for African’s students and young professionals. Space investments offer services for the region in the growth of health, education, construction, land and resource management, agricultural, and environmental sectors. The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs encourages the use of space services to assist towards the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Such uses include the surveying of crops, disaster response capabilities, and the monitoring of climate change. For example, high-resolution satellite imagery has been integrated with machine learning at Stanford University to provide estimates of where impoverished populations reside in certain African regions.

Space technology and its services offer means of crucial socioeconomic development for the region. This includes space sciences, navigation and position, earth observation, and satellite communication. The African Union is aware of such opportunities to address its challenges, and acknowledges regional projects and organizations such as the African Leadership Conference, the Regional African Satellite Communications Organisation the multilateral African Resource Management Satellite Constellation program. Furthermore, Union Heads of State and Government adopted the African Space Policy and Strategy during the 26th Ordinary Session in January of 2016, in efforts of establishing an African Outer Space Programme.

A lack of significant funding has been a challenge for the region’s space industry. As a result, funds have primarily been used to develop miniaturized satellites for space research, including those from South Africa and Nigeria. In 2013, South Africa become the first African country to launch its own CubeSat (TshepisoSAT), followed by another (ZA-AeroSat) in April, 2017. Kenya’s University of Nairobi is also actively developing a CubeSat project for the monitoring of coastal areas and agricultural regions. Nigeria and Ghana have also launched such satellites in cooperation with Bangladesh, Japan, and Mongolia as part of the cross-border interdisciplinary Joint Global Multi-Nation Birds Satellite project. As Nigeria will be the host location for the workshop, it is also a leader in the region’s space sector. The country’s National Space Research and Development Agency was established in 1999 and is mandated to pursue the attainment of space capabilities.

The Space Generation Advisory Council provides international connections, while enhancing regional cooperation and coordination amongst the younger generation. The AF-SGW represents an integral opportunity for young African space professionals to establish meaningful cooperation intentions from the ground up. This is the one body that will make the difference in the continent.

1st African Regional Space Generation Workshop (AF-SGW 2017)
Clementine Decoopman
+43 1718 11 1830
Contact
http://www.spacegeneration.org/event/af-sgw-2017-home
Executive Director – Space Generation Advisory Council


Ghana Launches Its First Satellite As Part of A New Era of African Space Exploration http://j.mp/2v5C6eT 
Going to the moon? What Africa is doing to put its man or cat into space, and how you can help http://j.mp/2w2Ln4x 

The Pan African University Institute for Space Sciences to be hosted in South Africa, enrollment January 2016 http://j.mp/2wEw3h6



Friday, August 18, 2017

Former Dallas School Board alumni, Ron Price's "open-minded views" on the situation in Charlottesville, VA


The Last Four Letters of American Are 'I CAN'

Ron Price, Statesman and former Dallas School Board alumni, shares his views regarding the right to free speech.

 Statesman and former Dallas School Board alumni, Ron Price, spoke to local media yesterday regarding the situation in Charlottesville, VA, and the resulting nationwide racial tensions.  He delivered open-minded views on freedom of speech, the President, our Country's history and its future, as well as a can-do motto for Americans.
"We should all condemn Neo-Nazis, the KKK, & all hate groups. However, they still have the right to speak," said Price. He recalled the sniper attack in July 2016 that left five Dallas police officers dead and how they "gave their lives here in Dallas protecting the rights of those who were protesting, to ensure they still had the right to speak."
While many Americans are divided about how the President is handling the situation in Virginia, Mr. Price suggested that it is, "un-American to criticize President Trump and his children personally; however, it is pro-American to criticize his policies."
Price went on to address the national Confederate monument battle by suggesting that the memorials remain where they are or move them to a museum rather than destroying them. He stressed the importance of these symbols of a painful time in our country's African-American past that should not be forgotten.  Furthermore, he stressed that without these reminders or memorials, "we shouldn't be shocked if history repeats itself."
Mr. Price then turned his attention toward the future by saying, "Our nation has an ugly past; however, it's time that we come together and make our future beautiful for our children."
As a unifying gesture, Price closed his interview by encouraging everyone to take pride in being an American, "If you were born in the United States, that makes you an American. The last four letters of our name spell out - I can! I CAN make a difference in our country!"
About the Honorable Ron Price:
  • Past Chair of the National Black Caucus of School Board Members
  • Past President of the National Association of African American School Board Members
  • Dallas Independent School District Trustee, 1997-2009
  • Past President of the National Caucus of Young School Board Members
  • Past President of the Texas Black Caucus of School Board Members
  • Past Bylaws chair of the Texas Association of School Board Members
  • Past President of the Metro Plex African American School Board Members Association
  • Past President of the Dallas School Board
  • Past 1st President of the Dallas School Board
  • Past Secretary of the Dallas School Board
  • Past Chair of the DISD Budget and Finance Committee
  • Past Chair of the DISD Education Committee
  • Past Chair of the DISD Personnel Committee
  • Created the Dallas Teen School Board
  • Helped establish the DISD Student Uniform Policy
  • Championed Citywide Early Childhood Program 
For more information, contact:
Patricia Almand, Universal Media Group
214.810.0864
patricia@umgad.com




Monday, August 14, 2017

Farewell, Elder Bankie F. Bankie, our Pan-African compass.





Dear Friends,

Very sadly our friend and colleague, Mr. Bankie F. Bankie, has passed on. It is taking some time to piece together all the rather patchy information on the circumstances surrounding his demise. I have been in touch with his wife, friends and colleagues in Namibia since the morning of the 6th August when the first news reached me from his sister in Ghana. We have set up a working group in Namibia, which is making all the necessary preparations for his funeral. His request, according to his will, is that he wanted to be cremated. The date for the cremation has not been fixed. I spoke yesterday to the former Prime Minister of Namibia, Mr. Nahas Angula, who is the most senior person involved in the preparations for his funeral. The Namibian authorities and colleagues have done a splendid job on announcements in the country.

Mrs Rita Bankie discovered Bankie’s decomposing body when she arrived from travels on the evening of Tuesday, 1st August. I was called by Estelle Appiah, Bankie’s sister on Sunday morning at 1 AM, who informed me that she had received news of her brother’s death and whether I could confirm the sad news. Early in the morning of Sunday, I made contact with two colleagues in Namibia who, after investigations, confirmed the news. Apparently, his body was decomposed. Mrs Estelle Appiah, Bankie’s sister, has asked for official reports and a death certificate through the Ghana High Commission in Namibia so that his will can be formally registered in the High Court in Accra.

We are awaiting a decision on the date for the cremation.

Yours sincerely,

Prof. K.K. Prah
Director, CASAS
Cape Town, South Africa
www.casas.co.za


Activist Romona Epifania Hidileko, who worked very closely with the late elder Bankie F. Bankie at the National Youth Council (NYC), delivered the news that our Pan African teacher and guide has departed from this earth.
Indeed, he has proceeded into the ancestry from where, as African spirituality guides us, he will be watching over us. With the defeat of African spirituality in the arena of death related metaphysical, there is only one way to react and interpret death – the European missionary interpretation.
Thomas Sankara, one of Africa’s greatest African revolutionaries that lived, helped us deal with death.
Listen to how he guided the people of Burkina Faso, on 19th October 1986, following the death of Samora Machel, then revolutionary leader of Mozambique: “avoid falling into sentimentalism… with sentimentalism one cannot understand death. Sentimentalism belongs to the messianic vision of the world, which, since it expects a single man to transform the universe, inspires lamentation, discouragement and despondency as soon as this man disappears.
Samora Machel is dead. His death must serve to enlighten and strengthen us as revolutionaries . . . I ask you to name streets, buildings and so on after Samora Machel over the whole expanse of our territories, because he deserves it.”
Similarly, Bankie is dead. His death must to enlighten and strengthen us as Pan-Africanist. Bankie was a Pan-African activist in his own class. He would not want us, I believe, to fall into sentimentalism. He would want us to dedicate our work to the liberation of the African people, particularly towards black people’s knowledge of self.
The best we can do is to recall his ideas, thoughts and principles for reflection and action. It is for us to think about our engagements with him for reflections and safekeeping for he is gone for good into ancestry.
Although I understood the struggles of the African people and constantly sought personal development of my objective and subjective consciousness when I left Iipumbu Secondary School for the University of Namibia after 2005, I had not reached a refined understanding and appreciation of Pan-Africanism until I met and had personal relationship with Bankie. He taught me Pan–Africanism.
I was not alone, we were with many others, such as Etuna Jakobus Joshua and Shidumifa Lot Ndamanomhata. He had many students under his Pan-African tutelage before us. Many of them hold high positions in society today. The best universal reflection of Bankie, therefore, is that of a Pan-African activist, Pan-Africanist teacher and compass for those of us that got closer to him.
It must be clarified that he did not teach us Pan-Africanism in classrooms, but through personal, social and political encounters. Bankie had successfully integrated himself with the youth.
Politics aside, Mandela Kapere assisted a great deal in this integration by finding a place for Bankie at the NYC. This has been a significant development in Bankie’s Pan-Africanist work in Namibia. Kapere, therefore, played an important role in the work of our teacher within the small circles of Pan African youth.
Bankie was an action-orientated teacher. He loved us dearly. In 2010, he took me out of the World Youth Festival in Pretoria to meet the freedom fighters of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). At that time the people of South Sudan were still fighting for independence from Khartoum. The ANC had given diplomatic status to the SPLM.
He had long hours of discussion with Dr John Gai and Sabir Ibrahim, who then ran the office. When South Sudan got independence, he asked me to accompany him to a workshop in Addis Ababa to meet with African activists, including those from the newly independent South Sudan dealing with the questions of the challenges of decolonisation.
Bankie was passionate about the struggles of the people of South Sudan. He introduced us to the problem of
‘Islamisation’ and the ‘Arabisation’ of Africa, with Sudan being a case study. He often, in private conversations, chastised the Swapo elites for prioritising the struggle of Palestine over the struggle of people of South Sudan.
He had the following to say about Pan Africanism in Namibia: “In Namibia the youth are disinterested in Africa and its Diaspora. It will come eventually, but it’s two to three generations away. PACON failed its mission of disseminating Pan-Africanism. I wanted to resign from its Eminent Board in 2005 but was asked to stay on. Despite many efforts to change its board, the powers-that-be have insisted on keeping the board. During the armed phase of the struggle Swapo was generally felt to lack ideological direction. We are paying the costs of that now.”
What we must do, as Pan Africanists, is to continue the activism of elder Bankie. I will continue to make him proud with my little efforts as Commissioner of the African Diaspora and External Affairs. I will work with African activists in the Diaspora.
Although he may not be around to call me to his house for hours and hours of discussions, I will forever cherish our time together, avoid falling into sentimentalism, and complete his task. Our Pan-African guide will continue watching over us, from ancestry.
Job Shipululo Amupanda is a commissioner for the African Diaspora and External Affairs of the African Youth Commission and a political science lecturer at the University of Namibia.
More tributes:
~
On Thu, Aug 10, 2017 at 11:52 AM, Line HILGROS wrote:
Hotep Majestic family,

Bad news, one's of us Bankie FOSTERS Bankie a great lawyer from Caribbean is dead early this morning. He has worked variously in administration, diplomacy, education and research. He currently lives and works in Juba, South Sudan, where he is associated with the Kush Institution and is actively interested in Afro-Arab relations and their impact on the African unity movement. After a stop in Gambia and Ghana, he has chosen to live in Namibia like a Professor and Dean, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Namibia. In addition to his Pan African interests, his expertise is in information and knowledge sharing for the development of grassroots groups in Africa. Here he is between Sis. Dowoti DESIR and Brother Peter LEMA, with Sister Malaak SHABAZZ. I had planned to invite him for Kwanzaa in December but God decided otherwise. Honor and Respect for this great Pan africanist (This is my point of view).

Kind Regards
Be blessed
Kisses from Guadeloupe

Sis. Makeda knows as Line HILGROS`
~
Dear Line,
Thank you for this news. Brother Bankie was a giant in the Pan African Movement. He regularly sent out news and advancements in Pan Africanism, he organized and coordinated many meetings and conferences, and just simply got serious Pan African work done on a daily basis.. He will be sorely missed. May he rest in peace, knowing he did his part majestically.
Stay strong.
David L. Horne
~
All hail the life and times of BFB. May he journey forth and return to us. A great comrade he was, and will always be.
Hilary (M. Beckles)
~
I struggle to accept the departing of our Brother Bankie F. Bankie......
I have rarely met, learned from and actively interacted with someone as practical as Elder Bankie F Bankie. His absolutism about Pan-Afrikan progress, ideological accuracy and revolutionary commitment was not only reflected in his speech and writing, but in every pore of his life. He was a huge provocation and upsetment to anyone who adores talking nonsense, pretending to be an activist and falsely projecting Afrikan progress. 
His undying commitment to Afrikan Youth was unquestionable and a HUGE challenge to "arrogant Pan-Africademics" who like to put youth at the back and reserve frontseats for themselves only. To Brother Bankie, young Afrikans belonged in front. Always. Also, his awakened analysis and positioning himself as a recurring alarm-system for Arab-led enslavement, anti-Black terrorism and Arabization was important beyond what many lenient Afrikans could comprehend.   
Many experienced his "rough" and non-negotiable stubbornness, but if you took time to study where that came from, the source was his impatience with our collective non-progress. Brother Bankie had no time for chatting, chilling and celebrating. His stance was no-rest, no-sleep, no-fear.
His passing is a HUGE loss to Afrikan Progress. Warrior Bankie was a Ph"DO" (rather than a PhD....) - an ultra-practical Pan-Afrikanist, having completely internalised the struggle and living an Afrikan urgency day and night. 
On behalf of eBukhosini Solutions in Johannesburg, myself and all entities I have engaged closely with him through, we want to say RISE IN POWER to our departed Brother, Elder, Father, Friend and Progressive Force. May his spirit continue to live through those of us who are still fearless, faithful and militant in our dedication to Afrikan Freedom. 
May his Ancestral Soul visit us relentlessly, trouble us, wake us up, challenge us, irritate us and PUSH us as hard as necessary - to continue the work that must be done. By ANY means necessary.
Peaceful Journey, Beloved Brother and Friend. 
The struggle does - INDEED - continue.
Your life was not in vain.
We'll take it from here.
Ase'
Baba Buntu
Executive Director
eBukhosini Solutions
--
Afrikan Salutations, BABA BUNTU
Executive Director
Johannesburg

~
Muhammad Jalal Hashim:
Dear Baba Buntu and all, I still find it very difficult to comprehend the fact that Bankie F. Bankie is no more with us living in flesh on this earth. There are some people you grow up believing without being aware of it that they are immortal. Once they pass away, things stop from being the same things you used to know; the world stops from being the same world. This is how I am feeling since our brother and friend Glenroy Watson broke out to me the sad news.
What can we say! Denying it? Bankie hated nothing more than living in denial of life facts. There is nothing that we can do better than keeping his torch aflame and pursuing the same ends and goals he spent his honourable life fighting to either fulfil or to eradicate. Bankie fought his honourable wars on two sides, on one side to make ends meet, such as the welfare of all black Africans; on the other side, to stop certain things, such as racism, from existing.
Hereby, I call upon you all: let us write about him and try to collect all his written materials he had sent us so as to see the possibility of compiling them in a book.
Further, let us all think of a way to annually commemorate his honourable life and departure.
All remain well.
~

Mavis G. Biekman wrote:
Good Afternoon Baba,
It is always sad to share these kind of information, especially when it concerns someone who was an activist, warrior, revolutionist, a leader, with the aim to create awareness and concsiousness on his people, but also an empowerer for the youth!
It is also sad that people who are valuable for  the society live shorter than those people who are sowing destruction within civilization/societies and havoc in countries worldwide, or in their own backyard!
Brother Bankie has set an example for African societies, and I hope that they, especially youth, will follow his footsteps to bring the necessary CHANGE!!!!!
I wish his family, friends, fellow activists/warriors, you Baba and friends strength to carry this loss!!! 
As you said Baba, MAY HE REST IN POWER!!!!
Asè!
Who is Bankie Foster Bankie? 
Get to know Bankie Foster Bankie:http://theblacklist.net/main/search/search?q=Bankie