The Faso Dan Fani: Woven Cloth of the Homeland

African Heritage

Flag of Burkina Faso Flag of Burkina Faso

Today we will be talking about the Faso Dan Fani, known as Burkina Faso‘s national cloth. For starters, the Faso Dan Fanimeans “woven cloth of the homeland” (pagne tissé de la patrie). All the words are Dioula: Fani = cloth/wrapper(pagne), Dan = woven(tissé), Fasohomeland (patrie). It is known locally as FDF. As you have probably guessed, the Faso Dan Fani is a handwoven cotton cloth. The weaving style and patterns differ depending on the ethnic group. As you all know, weaving cotton is an ancient African tradition (African textiles): in the old days, the spinning was done by women, while the men were left with weaving the cotton threads into cloth. With time, women took over the weaving business as well.

Thomas Sankara Thomas Sankara a Ouagadougou


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Open Letter from the Wretched of the Earth bloc to the organisers of the People’s Climate March of Justice and Jobs

Marching in solidarity with this bloc – on 7th December, today and always.


On Dec. 7th, indigenous activists from across the world kayaked down the river Seine to protest the removal of the protection of indigenous rights as a crucial aspect of the climate treaty being negotiated in Paris. The push back against indigenous rights was led by the U.S., EU, Australia – all states with a rich past and present of colonial exploitation of people and land – who feared that the protection of indigenous rights might create legal liabilities.

The securing of indigenous rights over land and resources is not only crucial to preventing the key causes of climate change, but also is about doing justice to those peoples most impacted. The protest on the Seine was a clear message of the kinds of devastation already under way due to state-sponsored corporate greed.

The silencing and erasure of indigenous people, and of the vulnerable peoples from the global south (the treaty…

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COP21 will determine how Africa will be colonised again, through climate change…

“They seek Africa as a territory to try and help solve the problems they created. When they propose mechanisms like REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) they are actually trying to carbon colonise the continent using our forests to sink, to sequestrate the emissions, the carbon that they create in the Western world. I think they are using Africa the same way they used Africa in the past, to colonise it, to subjugate their people.”


No Words

Words. I’ve saved few and spent many. Baiting minds with a frustrated tongue.

Speaking from a pulpit of privilege.

Self-absorbed, indulgent responsibility.

Mattering to no one.


Each word a pill, a placebo; Anything to stem the ceaseless flow;

Of despair leaking from me.

Sleeping doesn’t work when you’re woke. The systems fucked. Fucked up. Broke.

You can’t un-know when you know.


Despair meet anxiety. There’s no escape from this reality,

The Ten O’Clock news has become

Ten second bulletins of bullets in.

Eyes clamped open seeing things I can’t un-see.


Hearts once soft and tender; now trapped in ribbed cages.

Petrified and petrifying. Tight and getting tighter.

Lungs punctured with panicked breaths.

No help, no hope for the faithful or faithless. No one to save us.


A heart, once juicy, now juice-free. A rusted metal shell.

Cold and hard. Bloody anger coursing through veins.

Hearts and minds shutting down. Shutting off.

It could break windows. Every beat resistance. Existence. Hell.


On top of this chest. The weight of the world’s hatred,

Bearing down on breastbone,

Underneath, anxiety sits, curled up there it’s made its home.

Waking to stretch and flex itself, screaming, naked.


Whiteness worn like scratchy clothes encrusted with stolen privilege. A scar of my lineage.

Can’t take them off they’re all I have. They’re all the rage.

My skin an armour…y that I want to surrender, but a cross I bear. For our sins.

A canvas for blood. A key to escape a smaller cage.

An over-stamped passport to opportunity, impunity, liberty.

A leg up over carefully built barriers to keep ‘others’ out.

The pen and sword are mighty, but this story is mightier.

Tearing this shit down is our responsibility.


A carefully edited book, a history of ‘victory’;

And conquest. White hands crafting shackles for slavery.

A world map glittering, littered with ‘error’.

Dividing and conquering, raping and pillaging.

A uniform for abuse, murder, horror, terror.

Thinking past these identities takes steely determination.

Pale fashions for mass devastation.


My head is swirling. Always. Looping back on itself. Questioning questions.

Tracing thoughts to their conclusion and watching how they play out. Checking myself. Clawing for solutions.

Thinking. Thinking. Overthinking. Rethinking. Unthinking. Dethinking. Rethinking. Thinking. Thinking. Madness. I’m sinking.


Deep breaths waiting for the sedation of hope, or possibility.

A mind craving an antidote to this. Existential hostility.

An answer For you. For me. For us.

For a broken ego cloaked in fragility.


Locked together, treading on each other, pushing. Biting. Clawing.

Feeding on each other and killing and fighting. Drawing blood.

I want to hold you close, but that’s not the story…

We’ve been taught. We’ve fought. So we fight.


Some of us have the sum of us.

Some have bigger teeth and bite harder

And the rest of us scream and shout and stamp our feet.

Hatred and anger and pain and fear giving birth to hatred and anger and pain and fear. Repeat.

Beat… beat by steady beat.


Wars in my name via WiFi while we fight in the comments section.

Extinguishing tangible insurrection.

We trigger each other with Twitter happy trigger fingers, while trigger happy cops kill…No end of Black. Lives….Matter.

For those that survive it’s incarceration, indoctrination, gentrification.


We stub out the pain with cigarettes and burn each other with thoughts and words.

Generation after generation.

We inject hatred, fuck pain and drink to be sedated.

We condemn and curse each other.

Ancestors, grandparents, parents, children and the yet unborn, bearing the weight of this world we’ve created.


My womb aches – it’s been filled up with hatred and scraped out to hatred. Sedated.

My body debated, rated. Excavated. The passage is tainted. The gestation unwanted. The exit terrorised.

Many hands make light work of tearing up women’s bodies and choices. Narrated…with thought and word and deed.

Unwanted fingers creep into our sex. Followed by guns. Loaded with creed.

What choice exists? The choice to remain barren. Too many people. Too much hatred. Stripped naked. Degraded. Who’d want to plan parenthood in a world like this?


We tear down trees and put up walls.

We fucked you over, but sorry we’re full.

We stand of the shoulder of giant…injustices. Treading on nations and nature and people who have paid for this all.


Hateful comes easy,

But I know to be grateful, believe me.

Wearing this privilege is a privilege that drowns me,  but who gives a shit when people are drowning.

And those who can…do jack shit about it.


Mainstream flowing with vicious suspicions.

Chip wrappers with more nipple than news. Spitting hate and fuelling fires with incendiary lies. Words do more damage than devices.

And we’re divided. Not minded to give a shit about each other as we buy this and that.

Factories of news. And Carbon. And tat. We’re in crisis.


And we all want to live like an American. Idiot.

The civilising nation that leaves a trail of devastation with its cultural colonisation.

Built on graves and living bodies of ancient generations.

Following in hot pursuit of its European relations.

And the system fucks people up and infiltrates education and teaches them a story with grandiose decoration. Of Pale Kings and Queens who brought civilisation erasing the wisdom of indigenous populations.

‘History’ the very concept a western creation.


Genocide. Ecocide. Femicide. Maangamizi.

Chose a side, pick a side. Repeating history is easy.

Pamoja. Ubuntu. Uhuru. Reparations.

Solutions that exist outside Western imaginations.

Are ignored, sidelined, marginalised freely. Kwa nini sio sisi kusema Swahili?*


And we forget that all this shit is connected.

Stories created, told and resurrected.

Connected oppression under market depression that we’re all feeling.

This world’s no longer spinning, it’s reeling.

From the shock of these missiles on a mission creating climates for terror, and changing climates. Punching holes in a sinking ship in stormy weather.


Growth at all costs, whatever the loss. Cashing in our future. This is futile.

Greedy hands steal resources from lands, while bearing arms that costs lives and money.

Don’t you think it’s funny that we spend more on death than life?

Man-on-man more acceptable on the battlefield than in the bedroom.

With pro-lifers on the rampage, there’s no safety within or without the womb.

Fuck this shit.

Kids killing kids in classrooms in a ‘civilised’ nation where gun-loving indoctrination allows for mass shootings as a routine realisation. An indication. Of. Just. How. Fucked. We. Are.


Protests. Marches. Petitions. Civil disobedience.

Pounding fists and pavement. Nothing civil about this fucked up experience.

Pounds for pounds of flesh. Necks that turn heads. Hands that cover eyes and ears.

Mindless television a balm calming fears and drying tears.


These words taking space of those voices silenced. You’ve heard it all before from voices wiser than mine and you’ve seen it all before. A hundred thousand times.


Ammi. Nanny. Dessalines. Palmares. and Kleine.

Grant. West. Cole. Parkes. hooks. and Eistenstein.

Clemencia. Naciemento. Nehanda. Boyle. and Marley.

Rasta. Huxley. Orwell. Truth. Garvey. Garvey and Garvey.

Ahmed. Ensler. Monbiot. Morales. King. Sankara.

Obadele. Fatiman. Morris. Robeson. Cabral. Jones. Akala.

Fanon. Tempest. Lorde. Moore. Francis. Ghandi.

Corbyn. Kuya. Lewis and Lewis. Martinez. Kimathi.

Selassie. Tubman. Wainaina. Boyle. Davies. Wiwa.

Asantewaa. Tharoor. Ramsey. Smokey. Mckesson. Shiva.

Chomsky. Rodney. Roi. X. Lumumba and Lumumba.

Tutu. Kofi. Kuti. Mandela. Adichie and Nkrumah.


A dawn chorus.
A wake up call.

Are we too late? Have we lost it all?


*Why don’t we speak Swahili?

So I wrote a poem, which I haven’t really done since school. It’s about how I’m feeling about the world at this moment. It kind of just came out. It was a strange experience. I just sat there and was drawn to write and write. The words fell onto the paper.

I also recorded it, in one very rough take without editing. It’s a bit long (please bear with it) and this was the first time I’d read it out loud, so it’s raw.

Anyway, I wanted to share it with you to see what you think.

Thanks for listening.


Mallence Bart-Williams on Sierra Leone – the richest country in the world and Western dependency on Africa


Mallence Bart-Williams talks to Berlin about Sierra Leone – the richest country in the world, in nature, people, culture, treasures, minerals…and stamps.

“Of course the West needs Africa’s resources, most desperately. To power aeroplanes, cellphones, computers and engines. And the gold and diamonds of course. A status symbol to determine their powers by decor and to give value to their currencies.

One thing that keeps me puzzled, despite having studied finance and economics at the world’s best universities, the following question remains unanswered. Why is it that 5,000 units of our currency is worth 1 unit of your currency, where we are the ones with actual gold reserves?

It’s quite evident that the aid is in fact not coming from the West to Africa, but from Africa to the Western world. The Western world depends on Africa in every possible way, since alternative resources are scarce out here.

So how does the West ensure that the free aid keeps coming? By systematically destabilising the wealthiest African nations and their systems, and all that backed by huge PR campaigns, leaving the entire world under the impression that Africa is poor and dying and merely surviving on the mercy of the West. Well done Oxfam, UNICEF, Red Cross, Live Aid and all the other organisations that continuously run multimillion dollar advertising campaigns depicting charity porn to sustain that image of Africa globally.”

Did Amina Tyler steal their voice? Female Body, Sexuality, and Freedom

Really interesting article on ‘transculturation’ that raises important questions for me and for us all.

“One of the most important questions of our time is to investigate the relationship between darstellen and vertreten, i.e. among ‘describing’ or ‘showing’ women’s struggle for human rights, and ‘representing’ them (speaking on behalf of them).

So, to conclude, the question is: how to avoid the ventriloquism of those who suppose that they are speaking on behalf of somebody else? Who decides what is the proper space where women can claim their rights? These questions concern not only western intellectuals or politicians or NGOs, but even those who think that they are speaking on behalf of their ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’: the ‘subalterns’. Otherwise put, is not a matter of sharing the postmodern and relativistic point of view. That position assumes that all values are equal and that there isn’t a supreme authority who can set up a scale of values; whereas the meta-question is about who participates in setting up that scale of values, and how.”