Mar 2011 23

Here at Aspecks we are delighted to be able to introduce you to one of our newest affiliates Rafiqi Rafiki, a collective of artists and media practitioners whom have collaborated with the Myndz Community to create media and art. They are community activists, professional journalists, students, indigenous cultural performers, non-governmental organization board members, African vocalists, street performers, and individuals dedicated to the creation of media for the promotion of social change and development in Africa. And for those that do not already know “Rafiqi” is Swahili for “friend”,  so a rather appropriate affiliation indeed! A special thanks has to go out to Jothee also known as Kiiru wa Ngotho who hooked up this exchange of culture, knowledge and skills. Jothee is a rap lyricist, and chanter who executes the audio effects, coordinates musical projects for the Rafiqi project and is also a audio and sound specialist.

The Myndz Community‘s mission is to employ media to provide quality, efficient and accurate information to encourage communication for a harmonious social, political and economic environment in service of social change, human and media development throughout Africa. The Myndz Community is comprised of Myndz Visual, Myndz Audio, Myndz Literature and Myndz Theatre. More details after the read more jump…

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Uganda Skateboard Union
Feb 2010 24

The Z-Boys should be proud. The appeal of the skateboarding subculture has extended so far and influenced so many that it surely must have surpassed their expectations by going from Venice Beach, California in the 1970s to Uganda today with the emergence of the Uganda Skateboard Union.

The Union’s story, one that bucks the trends and defies stereotypes, is a testament to cultural exchange. Like many others, the Union’s following has found escapism and even taken on a new identity based around the global skating culture.  They watch and are obviously influenced by skate videos but like other skaters they express their individuality in their styles.  Furthermore beyond being an escape; the pastime offers lessons in ingenuity and tenacity (eg. overcoming obstacles such as building a park and having to repair their own shoes).  The story of their self-made skatepark begins with Jackson Mubiru who (according to the BBC) was introduced to skateboarding by a European enthusiast. The video below shows them in action and tells more of their tale in detail.
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What’s for dinner today? Penis Restaurant anyone?
Feb 2010 24

Depending on who you are; when you are hungry a penis restaurant may not feature very high up on your list of places to go to satisfy your cravings. In fact, for large number of people it would not even make the list at all, however in China eating sexual organs is seen as a treatment for the libido, one that helps to increase virility rather than test of the strength of one’s stomach.

Indeed the Chinese believe that the penises from different animals can be good for different parts of the body, something that is echoed in many cultures where the use of unusual parts of animals or plants are an entrenched part of traditional medicine. However, the Chinese are far from the only people eating “exotic” and wonderful foods, the Japanese of course have Fugu the infamous pufferfish that is highly poisonous unless cooked with extreme care. In El Salvador people eat Iguana meat which like frogs (infamously a delicacy in France) tastes like chicken, only tougher. The French themselves have until recently gorged on an endangered songbird know as an Orlotan, which is swallowed whole, bones and all. In Lancashire, a county well known in the UK for the variety of its traditional dishes,you can buy lamb testicles that have been peeled, bread-crumbed and fried, whilst throughout Southern Africa, worms that look similar to caterpillars found in mopani trees, are and can be eaten alive, or fried and are an important source of nutrition.

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From the inside looking out
Dec 2009 14

An American anthropology student conducts a social experiment in Ghana.

Vanick Der Bedrossian writes:

This is a TV news segment on my experience working as a money collector, known as a “mate” on a bus in Accra, Ghana (buses are called tro tro).

Regardless of possible ulterior motives; Van is a good sport for working as a driver’s mate, which is widely considered to be a menial job.  His experience and attitude teaches that all people regardless of apparent differences can relate to one another if they are willing to make the effort to familiarise themselves with the culture and experiences of others.

Royale with Cheese
Jul 2009 29

Now nearly everybody I know has seen the movie Pulp Fiction and most people remember  Samuel Jackson’s infamous line, “that is a tasty burger”! In fact the quality of a burger is a recurring theme in this movie and as the clip below highlights different countries have different names for the more famous burgers as sold by the likes of McDonalds. A quarter pounder with cheese being called a Royale Cheese in France as John Travolta points out. In some Middle-Eastern (Saudi Arabia and UAE) and Eastern European countries (Poland, Serbia, Czech Republic), McDonald’s provides both a Quarter Pounder and a McRoyale burger on its menu, the McRoyale having slightly different ingredients. Quarteirão com Queijo is used in metric Brazil, Cuarto de Libra con Queso in Latin America, whereas it is called a QP Cheese in Sweden.

Further the Big Mac, becomes le Big Mac or El Big Mac in french and spanish respectively. In India, the Big Mac was renamed the Maharaja Mac and was originally made with lamb instead of beef; however, along with the company’s other items it is now made from chicken. In Israel, where religious Jews do not mix dairy and meat products, a special Kosher version of the Big Mac is served without cheese. In Japan, there was a variant with egg, called the Mega Tamago, as well as a variant with tomato (called the Mega Tomato). So really what is in a name? Unless the ingredients vary significantly a burger is a burger right…..?

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