Tag Archives: Belgium

Mukanda masks of Belgium African Museum

Mukanda schools masks create a mysterious setting presenting an image of an ancient ritual  of boys passing to manhood. The re-opened African Museum, Belgium, exposes a collection of artifacts from different tribes*, accompanied by explanations of the video hosts to guide a visitor into a universe of schooling by the spirits of masked deceased ancestors Makishiwho revisit the world of living to protect the young boys, and the entire village during the period of Mukanda school session.

The opening of school is a memorable moment of a night festivity, with plenty of food and Katasu beverage to frame the entrance to the first rituals on next morning: Nganga Mukanda or a ‘natural healer‘ will rub a clay into boys bodies to prepare them for a circumcision at Kateteveje ‘death place‘. The drums beat in frenzy to overwhelm the screams of the boys…

Curator and scientist Hein Vanhee devoted to the history of peoples of the Democratic Republic of Congo at Africa Museum, and at the University of Gent Centre for Bantu Studies shares his knowledge of the mask collection (Video above).
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Image: above ‘The Rotunda‘ of African Museum, Belgium.

AMENDMENTS:

Tribes” is a term which we do not longer use, because it has colonial connotations and describes inaccurately the peoples about whom the exhibitions are. We prefer to speak of “peoples” in general of when referring to more local contexts we use “communities.Hein Vanhee.

Belgium Africa Museum opening

After five years of €66 million large-scale renovation Belgium Royal Museum of Central Africa opens its door on December 9th, under a new name, and with a new concept: it closes the chapter of the Colonial Palace of the epoch of King Leopold II, and moves on to Africa’s present and future.

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“…Our new permanent exhibition aims to depict the image of modern Africa, looking into the future, without overlooking the shared common past” said Guido Gryseels, the Museum Director, whose ambition is to provide a platform for debate, the meeting space, the exhibition place, the scientific laboratory, and the documentation center. (Image below: Guido Gryseels interviewed).

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We hope to become a real meeting place and centre for dialogue for people who have keen interest in Africa”, Mr. Gryseels added.

At present the Museum works together with diasporas, and builds partnerships with African museums in Rwanda, the Musée des Civilisations noires in Senegal, the national Museum of Congo, and the National Museum of Lubumbashi. There are expectations to have exchanges with a new museum in Kinshasa,  which will open the its doors in the end of 2019. (Image below: the Rotunda, African Museum, Belgium).

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The Museum has experienced a dramatic cultural evolution from Colonial past to a modern vibrant multicultural universe, introducing voices and opinions of Africans in various forms along the exhibitions, telling their own narratives. Furthermore, the new type of engagement is foreseen for recruitment of staff from African origin to ensure the diversity of employees.

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However the Director underlines, that the current state of the establishment under his leadership is “work in process“, a new beginning, a rebirth of a fascinating space, an ‘African island‘ in the middle of Belgium: 120 000 ethnographic artifacts, 10 000 animals, 8 000 music instruments, three kilometers of archive, 205 hectare site, with only one percent of treasures at display!

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African Museum, Tervuren, Belgium

http://www.africamuseum.be

 

Rwanda murderer of Belgium peacekeepers asks for asylum

Former Rwandan Major Bernard Ntuyahaga, sentenced in 2007 by the Brussels Court to twenty years in prison for his participation in the killings of the ten Belgian peacekeepers on April 7, 1994 in Kigali, has served his sentence. After his release from prison, he seeks asylum in Belgium, said the Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, Theo Francken.

The former officer of the former Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR) is in a closed center “for a return,” said Theo Francken (N-VA) on Twitter. The release of Bernard Ntuyahaga had been revealed earlier in the week. But the Office of the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons (CGRA), which has to decide on a possible asylum application, refused to communicate on the subject on grounds of privacy.

Theo Francken confirmed that Mr. Ntuyahaga had made an asylum claim, adding that he was in a closed center “for a return“, but without specifying whether it is Rwanda. The Secretary of State reacted to a tweet from Vlaams Belang (opposition) who claimed to be the first to reveal this situation and asked Mr Francken and the Minister of Justice, Koen Geens (CD & V), to show responsibility. “This murderer in no way deserves a second chance,” added the far-right party.

“Let him go to Rwanda. We’ll see what will happen,” said Beatrice Bassinne, the widow of Corporal Bassinne, who was assassinated in Rwanda in 1994. she is against granting Bernard Ntuyahaga a political asylum in Belgium. Her husband was hacked to death with machete along with the other victims of genocide.

Moët & Chandon championship for best sommelier in South Africa

The intense search of  for South Africa’s most talented sommelier started to select the top professional who will represent the nation at the 2019 Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (ASI) Best Sommelier championships in Belgium. The winner  will receive the title of  Moët & Chandon Best Sommelier South Africa 2018.

A sommelier is a wine specialist in a range of operations from wine and food pairing, wine serving to being the ultimate wine guide.

The South African Sommelier Association (SASA) is looking for a person to meet the criteria of an exception skill, knowledge and experience. The most required qualities are sophistication and audacity.

The competition intends to search for new talents and support creativity in local communities.

The winner will receive a sponsored place in the ASI Best Sommelier of the World championships in Belgium in 2019 along with a voyage to visit the Moët & Chandon Maison in France.

Champagne cascade

Lumumba square inaugurated in Brussels

Hundreds of attendees cheered when officials unveiled a blue plaque bearing Lumumba’s name in the square at the entrance Congolese Matonge area in Brussels.

It is the first public area in the former metropole to honour Lumumba, who was assassinated in 1961 in an shooting incident in which Belgium was implicated along with the CIA.

 

Belgium sends Special Envoy to Burundi

Burundi’s long-serving President Pierre Nkurunziza promised on Thursday to step down when his term ends in 2020, easing fears of fresh violence in the impoverished country.

Nkurunziza had been widely expected to take advantage of recent changes to the constitution to stand for two more terms – raising concerns that Burundi would see a repeat of the unrest that erupted after he stood for a third time in 2015.

My term is ending in 2020” – he said a ceremony.

This constitution was not modified for Pierre Nkurunziza as the country’s enemies have been saying. It was amended for the good and better future of Burundi and the Burundian people,” he said in the speech broadcast on state television.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders welcomes the announcement by the President of Burundi Pierre Nkurunziza of the end of his mandate in 2020. The principle of democratic alternation lies at the heart of the Arusha Accords and of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.

Following this announcement, Belgium hopes that the authorities of Burundi will now start working on opening up the public and democratic space, as an essential step towards the elections in 2020. Belgium therefore pleads for a resumption of an inclusive dialogue, under the aegis of the region and in the spirit of the Arusha agreement. Minister Reynders has decided to send his Special Envoy for the Great Lakes to Burundi to bring this message.

 

BOZAR: Black speaks Black

Five short stories present Europe from the perspective of the young African diaspora. A group of young, talented Europeans with roots in various African countries have dedicated months of their lives to this project by way of workshops, boot camps and studio sessions. This film expresses their loves, fears and hopes for the future in the form of poetry, rap, dance and song. Their exhibition will immerse you in the reality of the film EUphoria. You will become part of the film and follow the quest for who we are as Europeans and what we, as human beings, leave behind.

This project came about thanks to ‘Black Speaks Back’: A Belgian-Dutch non-profit organisation set up to empower young people with African roots through online videos. In this project we collaborate with Wanlov the Kubolor (Ghana/Romania) as musical director, co-writer and co-producer; brother and sister Robert-Jonathan (director) and Nohely (script) Koeyers (NL/Curacao); art director Bouba Dola (NL/Congo) and poet Susu Amina (NL/Somalia). We have also brought a fantastic group of young people together to conquer the silver screen with their own songs and choreography.

Artists: Emmanuel Owusu Bonsu, Christopher Daley & Susu Amina
Young participants/Collaboration: Robert-Jonathan Koeyers, Nohely Koeyers, Bouba Dola & a group of about 15 young Afro-Europeans initiated by Black speaks Back
Experts: Mathieu Charles, Emma-Lee Amponsah
Theme: Afro-European identity
Final output: 1 story / 5 films

Wednesday 9 May – Premiere (Hall M)

20:00 Premiere EUphoria by Black speaks Back + Q&A

Niger: new head of EUCAP mission

Frank Van der Mueren (pictured), a Belgian senior police official, has been appointed as new Head of the European Union’s civilian capacity building mission in Niger, EUCAP Sahel Niger. Frank Van der Mueren was previously seconded to EUCAP Sahel Mali as deputy Head of Mission and Chief of Staff since 2016. He has already worked for EUCAP Sahel Niger between 2012 and 2014.

EUCAP Sahel Niger was launched in 2012 to support capacity building of the Nigerien security actors. The mission provides advice and training to support the Nigerien authorities in strengthening their security capabilities. It contributes to the development of an integrated, coherent, sustainable, and human rights-based approach among the various Nigerien security agencies in the fight against terrorism and organised crime. On 18 July 2016 its mandate was amended to also assist the Nigerien central and local authorities, as well as the security forces in developing policies, techniques and procedures to better control and address irregular migration.

Frank Van der Mueren takes over from Ms Kirsi Henriksson, who had held the post from July 2016 to March 2018.

The decision was formally taken by the Political and Security Committee on 2 May 2018. The term of the new Head of Mission will initially run until 15 July 2018, the current end of the mission’s mandate.

Belgium downgraded diplomatic presence in DRC

Bertrand de Crombrugghe is no longer the ambassador of Belgium in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The Belgian Foreign Ministry confirmed it on Monday (30/04/2018) after the publication of an article in the Dutch newspaper De Standaard.

In January, the diplomat left Kinshasa amid diplomatic tensions between the two countries, officially for “a series of consultations“. Finally, he was relieved from his duties.
When Bertrand de Crombrugghe abruptly left Kinshasa at the end of January, some had already spoken of a “rupture” of relations, however  the Foreign Ministry was downplaying the crisis. “This is not a reminder in the diplomatic sense of the term,” explained one of his spokespersons. Technically, it is a return to Brussels for discussions for ten days, he added.

Three months later, it was finally decided to call him back. The reason given is “the bilateral context”. In other words, the diplomatic turmoil  between the two countries, but not only bilaterally.  Kinshasa has announced the closure of the new Belgian development agency and  the EU Schengen house. Brussels also recalls that the DRC has no ambassador in Belgium for over a year. But the Dutch-language newspaper De Standard coming up with the news, points to a “breach of trust” between the ambassador and the Belgian Foreign Ministry.

Belgium says it is maintaining dialogue with the DRC and hopes that bilateral tensions can be resolved “so that Belgium and the DRC can again be represented at a level of ambassador in Kinshasa and Brussels. Meanwhile, the interim at the Belgian Embassy in Kinshasa is provided by Philippe Bronchain, former Belgian Consul General in Lubumbashi, where the Consulate was closed upon DRC request last February.

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