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PHOTO STORY: Turning cocoa into chocolate at this Liberian School of Agriculture1 minute read

Mastering the art of local transformation

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The Liberian International Christian College School of Agriculture, opened in late 2018, began then to produce chocolate from locally farmed cocoa beans to be sold on local markets. Nimba and Lofa Counties are the main producers of cocoa beans in Liberia.

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  • A bag containing cocoa beans is ready to be sorted and graded at the Christian College School of Agriculture, in Ganta, in the Nimba County, in Liberia. (Photo by Carielle DOE / AFP)

  • Employees at the Liberian International Christian College School of Agriculture use a cocoa grading sheet to document the quality of cocoa beans received from local farmers in Ganta, Nimba County, in Liberia. (Photo by Carielle DOE / AFP)

  • Employees at the Liberian International Christian College School of Agriculture sort cocoa beans received from local farmers in Ganta, Nimba County, in Liberia. (Photo by Carielle DOE / AFP)

  • Gifty Barlea (L), 20, an employee at the Liberian International Christian College School of Agriculture washes cocoa beans received from local farmers in Ganta, Nimba County, in Liberia. (Photo by Carielle DOE / AFP)

  • Gifty Barlea, 20, an employee at the Liberian International Christian College school of Agriculture manually grinds the roasted beans in Ganta, Nimba County, in Liberia. (Photo by Carielle DOE / AFP)

  • Chocolate production manager Joshua Zemah pours the chocolate mixture onto a table where the temperature will be measured at the Liberian International Christian College School of Agriculture in Ganta, Nimba County, in Liberia. (Photo by Carielle DOE / AFP)

  • Sunday Seaway, 19, shakes around cocoa powder at the Liberian International Christian College School of Agriculture in Ganta, Nimba County, in Liberia. (Photo by Carielle DOE / AFP)

  • Joshua Zemah, the chocolate production manager at the Liberian International Christian College School of Agriculture in Ganta, Nimba County, in Liberia. (Photo by Carielle DOE / AFP)

  • Sunday cleans the chocolate production table at the Liberian International Christian College School of Agriculture in Ganta, Nimba County, in Liberia. (Photo by Carielle DOE / AFP)

  • Dark chocolate, sprinkled with coconut powder, is seen as finished product at the Liberian International Christian College School of Agriculture in Ganta, Nimba County, in Liberia. (Photo by Carielle DOE / AFP)

  • Sunday Seaway, 19, removes the frozen chocolate from the trays at the Liberian International Christian College School of Agriculture in Ganta, Nimba County, in Liberia. (Photo by Carielle DOE / AFP)

  • Freshly harvested cocoa beans are left to dry in the sun at the Liberian International Christian College School of Agriculture in Ganta, Nimba County, in Liberia. (Photo by Carielle DOE / AFP)

  • Gifty Barlea, 20, an employee at the Liberian International Christian College School of Agriculture manually grinds the roasted beans in Ganta, Nimba County, in Liberia. (Photo by Carielle DOE / AFP)

  • Chocolate production manager Joshua Zemah measures the temperature of the poured chocolate mixture onto a table at the Liberian International Christian College School of Agriculture in Ganta, Nimba County, in Liberia. (Photo by Carielle DOE / AFP)

  • Moulding trays are laid out before the chocolate production team transfer the mixture at the Liberian International Christian College School of Agriculture in Ganta, Nimba County, in Liberia. (Photo by Carielle DOE / AFP)

  • Chocolate production manager Joshua Zemah mixes the chocolate in an effort to cool the mixture down at the Liberian International Christian College School of Agriculture in Ganta, Nimba County, in Liberia. (Photo by Carielle DOE / AFP)

  • Sunday Seaway, 19, squeezes the chocolate into moulding trays at the Liberian International Christian College School of Agriculture in Ganta, Nimba County, in Liberia. (Photo by Carielle DOE / AFP)

  • Gifty Barlea, 20, and Sunday Seaway, 19, store the trays in a freezer at the Liberian International Christian College School of Agriculture in Ganta, Nimba County, in Liberia. (Photo by Carielle DOE / AFP)

  • Gifty Barlea, 20, an employee at the Liberian International Christian College school of agriculture manually grinds the roasted beans in Ganta, Nimba County, in Liberia. (Photo by Carielle DOE / AFP)

  • Sunday Seaway, 19, shakes around cocoa powder at the Liberian International Christian College School of Agriculture in Ganta, Nimba County, in Liberia. (Photo by Carielle DOE / AFP)

  • Gifty Barlea, 20, an employee at the Liberian International Christian College school of agriculture manually grinds the roasted beans in Ganta, Nimba County, in Liberia, on February 1, 2019. - The Liberian International Christian College School of Agriculture, opened in late 2018, began then to produce chocolate from locally farmed cocoa beans to be sold on local markets. Nimba and Lofa Counties are the main producers of cocoa beans in Liberia. (Photo by Carielle DOE / AFP)

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Conservation News

A Nation Making Huge Strides in Rebuilding

Rwanda is making significant progress in moving on from its ugly past

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Image credit: East African Legislative Assembly

In April 1994, ethnic tensions between the Hutu majority and the Tutsi minority boiled over, and what had been decades of mutual distrust ultimately escalated into a full-blown catastrophe. Over 800,000 Tutsi were murdered by Hutu militant groups, with many women raped, and hundreds of thousands of children rendered homeless.

The genocide, which stretched for three months, was met with a slow response from the international community, and many people were forced to flee into neighbouring countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The events of that dark period in Rwandan history illustrated in movies like “Hotel Rwanda” and “Sometimes in April”, left a trail of effects, some of which included post-violence trauma, increased distrust, hate and proliferation of pregnancies as a result of rape.

Twenty-five years have passed, and it has been a long, tortuous road to healing for all Rwandans, but commendable efforts have been made. Reconciliation and rehabilitation centres abound in various parts of the country, and there has been significant investment in technology, making Rwanda one of the few shining lights in a continent plagued by poverty and corruption. It is also worthy of note that there is significant female representation in Rwanda’s legislative houses: for context, Rwanda has one of the world’s highest proportions of women in power as 61% of members of parliament and 50% of the cabinet are female.

One aspect of the reconciliation process that needs elaboration, though, is the social work profession. Established after the genocide, social work has been integral to Rwanda’s healing process, through homegrown solutions or indigenous models of development that address the many layers of social wounds. Social workers in Rwanda have been heavily involved in programmes such as community work, local collective action and the indigenous practice of girinka, which makes for the provision of one cow for every poor family. There are also initiatives, such as the Hope and Homes for Children, which cater to children who may have been abandoned as a result of parental trauma resulting from rape, family isolation, drug abuse, vulnerability and stigma towards children with disabilities.

Rwanda’s success story is one that many African nations can take a cue from. Who is to say that countries like Sierra Leone would not be a lot better off if there were more women in positions of power? What if there had been more concrete efforts to ensure reconciliation between the Igbo and the rest of Nigeria after the civil war? These are the unanswered questions, but it is beautiful watching Rwanda thrive after the horror show of 1994. 

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Art

How young people are changing the African narrative

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How young people are changing the African narrative

For non-Africans who have never visited the continent, the perception of the second largest continent in the world has always been that of a place of impoverishment and raw savagery; a place ravaged by horrible epidemic and war. 

This is largely attributable to an agenda-driven western media which sell these bogus tales about Africa to their global audience viewing the world through their reportage. Sadly, some of our local media are also guilty of this disservice to the mother continent.

As much as Africa, like other continents have its challenges, the positive stories to tell about the continent far outweighs the negativity found therein. 

The good news, however, is that young Africans – the new generation, are striving to change the negative narrative of Africa through their excellence in different fields within and outside the continent.

These young Africans are pushing the frontiers of knowledge in their respective fields of interests, discovering new things and making landmark achievements. Whether in Technology, Fashion, Literature, Music and more, they are forging paths necessary for the sustenance of development in Africa. These crop of individuals are passing the message that Africa has a lot to offer the world through its rich human resources. What better way to be true ambassadors of the continent? 

Let us take a look at some of the young individuals championing the change of an age-long African perception in their different fields.

Technology & Innovation

Over the years, we have seen some of the most innovative minds in technology come from Africa. Notable figures like Philip Emeagwali who invented the world’s fastest computer and who also won the 1989 Gordon Bell Prize for an application of the CM-2 massively-parallel computer, Jelani Aliyu who designed the Chevrolet Volt,  Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, among very many others make this list.

One young African that is gradually making waves in technology is 35-year-old Jamila Abbas. Abbas is a Kenyan computer scientist and software engineer who is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of MFarm Kenya Limited. MFarm is an android application that Abbas developed to solve the challenge of lack of pricing transparency Kenyan farmers faced.

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Culture & Tourism

Vimbai Chats with Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane on SA Tourism

News Central’s Vimbai Mutinhiri chats with Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, South Africa’s Minister of Tourism on the prospects of tourism in the rainbow nation.

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Vimbai Chats with Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane on SA Tourism

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