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Monday, November 22, 2010

Achieving 8 Goals For Africa

Written By: Jamelia MmariLaunched by the UN Development Group, 8 Goals for Africa, is a campaign song by eight of Africas best known musicians, calling for commitment to achieve the Millennium Development Goals—a set of eight internationally-agreed upon goals designed to reduce poverty, hunger, disease, and maternal and child deaths by 2015. 8 Goals for Africa features Yvonne Chaka Chaka from South Africa, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Angelique Kidjo from Benin, Oliver Mtukudzi from Zimbabwe, Eric Wainaina from Kenya, and the Soweto Gospel Choir from South Africa with world renowned jazz musicians Hugh Masekela and Jimmy Dludlu from South Africa are instrumentalists on the track. Watch the inspiring music video below:

8 Goals for Africa from UNDP on Vimeo.


Sweet Charleston said...

Giving from the heart: We received a package this week from a gentleman we met by chance in New York last summer. After finishing our second day at the Summer 2010 JA show at the Javits Center, our taxi driver asked “Why do you have this West African basket with you?” The driver was referring to a medium sized sweet grass fanner basket we used in our display and made by weavers from South Carolina. Curious about his question our response was “How do you know about the baskets”. He proceeded to tell us that he was from small town in Mauritania, on the West African Coast of the Atlantic. From there he explained that the weave of the basket is coiled, a design from many centuries past, and is used not only in harvesting rice, but for cooking rice (steaming tool) and for making couscous from rice flour. A pasta like dough is made by combining rice flour, water and eggs and then rolled around the coiled pattern in the basket until pellets break and form. The result is couscous which can be cooked immediately or dried for future meals. Couscous and rice are daily diet staples.
Our conversation continued and we explained the goal of Sweet Charleston Designs and our promoting awareness of the art form of Sweet Grass Basketry through our interruptive jewelry designs. He asked to exchange contact information and let us know that he would like to share with us a basket from his country.
To our surprise we received a hand woven coiled basket from Babe, the taxi driver, along with several other items from his town. His mother brought the gifts with her from Mauritania, as she is now visiting with his family in New York. Included in the package were hand made and naturally dyed leather pillow cushions with African art patterns, hand made brass jewelry, the baskets and a small wooden box with hand tooled brass work.
This was a gift from the heart and is another step in our journey. Take a few moments and Google Mauritania and you will understand how humbled we are by this act of kindness. Babe is from the city of Kiffa. The country is one of the poorest in Africa and it is shocking to see what the per capita income is per individual. The history of the Lowcountry sweet grass basket weavers in the US took place over three hundred and fifty years ago, but a similar story exist in Mauritania today. The government declared slavery as illegal in 2007! That was a shocking bit of information. If your curiosity takes you a bit further, we recommend looking at rice being re-introduced for daily consumption and sale in Uganda. The colorful photo’s are beautiful and a perfect illustration about how the people work together to over come difficulties that are beyond our wildest dreams. Visit to see photo's of the gifts we recieved. The best gift, a new friend.