Confessions of a brave coward

Flying and punishment


Ever been in jail, locked up, at the warden’s mercy? Neither have I. ever been help- and powerless? I have. When that moistness covers your palms although it’s cold. When your stomach’s knotted up in cramps because suddenly, somewhere over the clouds, this sign lights up: fasten your seatbelt. A storm, turbulences, an abduction, lightning, or has the pilot just pressed the wrong button?

Do you also spend hours staring at the wings, certain that they are about to fall off? And the person next to you says “Hey, don’t worry! These things can fly with just one engine, you know. Hahaha.”

Damn, I’m afraid of flying, even though I’m a so-called frequent flyer.

People who know it all say that that’s completely irrational. Because flying is supposed to be the safest way to of travelling. A lot safer than going by car, or by train. Sure I say. Everybody knows that. But you needn’t talk to me about statistics and the laws of physics – I don’t believe a word of it.

Why does a plane crash in Siberia make it to the evening news, and not a car crash in Brandenburg? Cars move where a ton of steel belongs: on the ground. Steel doesn’t fly and has no business at an altitude of 10 000 metres, and that’s that. And how much does a plane weigh anyway?

I’m not afraid of snakes, and not of sharks either. If I see one, I follow it. Once I even stroked a white shark. But try telling one of those who are afraid of these predators that only ten people are killed by sharks every year, because the animals don’t particularly like human flesh. I’d rather get into a basin full of sharks than into a Boeing 737, even if it’s just flying from Hamburg to Frankfurt. But I understand if some people feel differently. Fear is subjective and irrational.

Everything started in 1993. on a trip to Ibiza, 250 Marks with Iberia. A bargain. Brilliant. So I thought. The turbulences were so strong that even the stewardesses frantically clung to the seats. Aluminium trays of Polenta got thrown around, and the rustling of the sickbags was ubiquitous. Because of strong winds on the Balearics the pilot had to attempt landing three times. At the third try, and after lots of Hail Marys of my neighbour, the plane came to a standstill at the end of the runway. After that experience, things in the stratosphere haven’t been the same for me.

Now I’m plagued for days before flying by all the symptoms of phobias: dizziness, trembling, cold sweats, nausea, cramps, sweaty palms.

Okay, I don’t faint or loose control, and I even manage pretty well to hide my fear. Twenty-five percent of all passengers are said to suffer from fear of flying – my secret allies. You can recognise them by their “Oh”s and “Ah”s during turbulences and other unforeseen occurrences. In those moments, I always cling to the headrest of the seat in front of me and consider taking part in seminars for relaxed flying.

And I’m not even afraid of a crash. I’m also a terrible co-driver. I always work the break-pedal I haven’t got and tell my friends about recent bloody car-crashes if they happen to be driving too fast on twisting roads in misty weather. Some call me a control-freak, but I just hate being dependent on others, unable to intercede. It isn’t as if I could steer a jumbo jet. That’s not the point. But what if both pilots are taking a nap, and the auto-pilot decides to join them?. Then you’re caught in that big metal tube, an oxygen mask dangling in front of your nose. My neighbour pukes on my lap. People scream. Panic. Crash. The end. And there’s absolutely nothing you could do about it. You can’t even smoke a last cigarette, because it’s a non-smoking flight.

How high are your chances of survival if the plane crashes? Anyway, if I could travel back in time, I’d stop the conception of the Wright brothers. They are responsible for the first motorised flight.

The trip to the airport is my Via Dolorosa. I suffer, search for reasons for not flying, feel sick and dejected. There’s nothing to look forward to. Before takeoff sullen ladies and gentlemen expect me in front of beeping machines. The rucksack has to be opened, laptop and camera removed and switched off, shoes taken off, sorry, the belt, or was it the watch. And then the accusing look: “But you know you’re not allowed to take containers of liquids larger than 100ml on board, Ma’am”. How am I supposed to relax under those circumstances? Was I throw my water of mass destruction into the bin I imagine an Arabian-looking guy abducting an aircraft, threatening everybody with a bottle of Evian.

I once tried during a flight to list all the airlines I’d ever flown with. Things got difficult after number 26. I can even boast of having flown with some really exotic lines, such as Lion Air, Lao Aviation, Royal Air Cambodia, Aeroflot, Kam Air, Air India, Ariana or the Pakistani PIA – which some say means Please Inform Allah.
In January 2007 an aircraft of the Indonesian cheapo-airline Adam Air crashed in the south pacific. Four times I flew with that airline last year, from Jogyakarta to Denpassar for 18 Dollars. That’s how much I valued my life.

Flying with the United Nations is relatively pleasant. Their reputation alone makes you trust them. And apart from that the time, well, flies if you’re sitting next to a Somalian rebel leader or a drunk member of the Peace Corps. What’s less pleasant is if a Cessna gets caught in a Monsoon over the Congolese rainforest and gets lost on the way to Rwanda. Or if cows happen to be grazing on the runway in the Cambodian Jungle, unwilling to vacate it. That kind of thing.

There’s nothing funny about flying Aeroflot. Once I’d booked a flight to Cambodia with them. The plane turned out to be an Iljushin, well into its thirties and as bent as a banana. The seat next to me was taken my a man who made me think of Ivan the Terrible.

A giant, who had no front teeth, but a huge scar from his left ear to the edge of his mouth.
But he smiled and offered me vodka.

“No, it’s too early for that, spassiba”, I said. Alcohol exacerbates my fear of flying. Otherwise I’d just drink myself into a coma. I can’t sleep on board, either. Even during twelve hour flights I keep staring out of the window and rubbing my wet palms on my knees. Not even 500mg of Zanax or Valium help. I’ve tried’em all. I also avoid humorous small-talk about the funny safety instructions.

Of course Ivan couldn’t have known that. But he stopped smiling when I refused his hospitality. “Drink!”, he said, and I obeyed.

Even before take off a fist-fight had broken out in the corridor between drunken passengers. I seriously considered cancelling Cambodia. Get out! This here isn’t going to end well. You have to be able to read the signs in order to survive.

Aeroflot is one of the few airlines which don’t take the ban on smoking too seriously. Nicotine calms your nerves, the Russian knows that. But only in the rear of the aircraft. Great. All the junkies had congregated. But there were no ashtrays. A drawling bear pointed to the bin, a hole in the wall. That’s where Ivan should put his cigarette-butt. Which he would have done, if an emerging flame hadn’t prevented him. The bin was on fire. In apathy, I stared at the flames for a few minutes and then informed a flight-attendant that the aircraft was on fire. “Njet problem”, hw answered, and put out the flames with orange juice.

In the winter of 2005 I flew from Kabul to Heart with the afghan Kam-Air. Sounds like an adventure, doesn’t it? Your enthusiasm is dampened if you see the pilot, a Kasakian or Russian ex-fighter pilot, silently spreading what looks like Superglue on the wings. Or shakes his head as he looks at the propellers.

That kind of airline isn’t too meticulous about its timetable. If your boarding card says 11.25, that may mean “sometime tomorrow”. The seating arrangements are also left up to the passengers. My seat number was 23 A, a window seat. Which was occupied by a goat, and a Pashtuni farmer beside it. Why am I telling you all this? In order to demonstrate the close connection between appearances and reality. The exact same machine crashed against the Hindukush in a mean snow-storm two weeks later.

I’ve noticed that the prettiest stewardesses work for the most dangerous airlines. Lion Air or African Express employ only supermodels. I’ve got a theory about that: it’s supposed to take passengers’ minds off their approaching doom.

Once I flew from Nairobi to Mogadishu with African Express. An airline you do not want to fly with. What company is stupid or desperate enough to service Somalia. Ten days later I was supposed to leave the country, Kenya had decided to refuse its permission to all flights to and from Somalia. All planes to and from Mogadishu were grounded. Without giving any reasons for or information about the duration of this measure. As is the custom in Africa. However, an Africa Express aircraft was to take off for Nairobi – violating Kenya’s territorial sovereignty.

The prospect of staying in one of the most dangerous cities in the world for an unspecified length of time temporarily outweighed my fear of flying. So off I go to the local African Express office. I confirm my flight and pay the airport charges. “Madame, I’m afraid we can’t accept your return ticket, the friendly gentleman at check in. It was issued in Kenya and not valid in Mogadishu. New regulations, since yesterday, he explained. I would also need a return ticket – from Nairobi to Mogadishu. “Two hundred Dollar, only, Madame”.

I thought of the last flight that was supposed to leave in two hours time, and my oriental patience collapsed. “Dear Sir, I do not intend to come back to Somalia. I’ve already got a return ticket. Look, here it is”, I said and showed him the ticket. I also had a Kenyan visa and a return ticket to Germany. Which should be sufficient. There was nothing he could do, he responded. If I didn’t want to pay he could also take me off the list of passengers.
There was a faded poster hanging on the wall. It showed the aircraft I was supposed to be boarding. The year1978 was printed on one of its corners. “Please give me ten minutes to consider”, I asked.

Of course I did fly in the end, as I always do. And wherever I land, in Baghdad, Kabul or in Mogadishu, I think: At last I’m safe.

More about Rahel:

International Black Women Conference Kwakoe Amsterdam 27 July 2008

International Black Women Conference
27 July 2008
Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Joan Ferrier (Equality)


- 13:30 Welcome

- 14:00 Opening remarks by ZAZO

- 14:05 Opening remarks by mayor Elvira Sweet

- 14:10 Spokenword by Dayenne Denneboom

- 14:15 Workshop Black Consciousness by Rosemary Ekosso

- 14:30 Break and performance by Carol Denise

- 14:45 Introduction Black European Women Councill by Tiye International

- 15:00 Workshop Black Businesswoman by Sandrine Joseph

- 15:15 Panel discussion with an internationaal panel

Panel members:

Maritza Russel (Netherlands)
Sandrine Joseph (France)
Lesley-Ann Brown (Denmark)
Adrianne George (Sweden)
Jurne Azubiah (United Kingdom)

- 15:50 Poem by Lesley-Ann Brown

- 16:00 Business Market/ Hour (brief thank you/ network drink/ socializing

- 17:00 Jazz+Soulband, Shyne Speakerlox olv Miles Tjon

Date: 27 Juli 2008
Admission: 5 euro p.p. (registration in advance preferable)
Address: VIP Plaza Kwakoe Amsterdam Festival Bijlmerpark

Kwakoe Amsterdam

Vanessa Limon:
Kwakoe Amsterdam

Sandra Rafaela:
Afro European Sisters Network
Women of the African Diaspora

Joan Ferrier:

If you want to attend, send an email to:

*To be confirmed

Black But Invisible: “We see things in colour not just black & white.”

The Black But invisible campaign is openly challenging the British fashion industry for its failure to use black models within all genres of fashion.

We strongly believe the British fashion industry is practicing “industry apartheid”.

The campaign, launched by Mahogany Models Management (MMM) in July 2008, has been created to question the industry on the lack of black models used in mainstream fashion and therefore evoke a change.

The excuse that “Black does not sell” imposes the idea that fashionista’s are less likely buy products if modelled by black models. But, in a modern multicultural British society can this excuse still be viable?

The lack of models of colour within fashion campaigns has been recognised worldwide; however the UK fashion industry continues to turn a blind eye to the problem and has made very little effort to address the issue.

Chief Executive of MMM, Sola Oyebade said, “We feel now is the time to say ‘Black is back’ and the fashion industry must start using more models of colour within mainstream fashions shows and advertising campaigns.

“As a modelling agency that represents models of colour, we have to sweat blood to ensure our models are booked.

“The UK fashion industry is still living in prehistoric times and lacking behind the rest of the world. It’s fair to say that the UK fashion industry is institutionally racist.”

July’s issue of Italian Vogue is the first to solely use black models to highlight the overt discrimination in the fashion world.

According to The Independent UK, Editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia, Franca Sozzani said, "There are so many beautiful black women not being used."

MMM have shown their support to Italian Vogue and their fight to tackle racism, by setting up an ‘Italian Vogue All Black Issue’ appeal on Facebook. The appeal urges it’s supporters of over 12,038 people to purchase the magazine when released in the UK.

“Black BUT Invisible campaign is the beginning of our fight and we aim to use this campaign as the catalyst to force the industry as a whole to change its perception that black does not sell”.

Mahogany Model Management

Globetrotting 101

(Elaine Lee)

My love of travel was instilled by my mother who, as a child, often envisioned living and working in Africa when she grew up. She shared those dreams with me, and even though she never made it across the great waters, she traveled throughout the U.S., many times with me in tow.

It wasn't until I was 38 that I realized I could do more than take vacations; I could be a traveler. While visiting Paris that year, I met a fascinating man at a dinner party who had made international travel a way of life. He was a fashion and travel photographer as well as a photojournalist. Looking at his passport was orgasmic! I counted 43 stamps to Africa alone! He had arranged his life so that he spent on average two months working and two months traveling. That encounter ultimately transformed me.

Shortly after returning home, I started a travel fund. I knew I would have to be creative and persistent (since I wasn't particularly lucky or rich). I converted my two-car garage into a one-bedroom apartment and faithfully deposited the rent I received into a special account. And I consulted a financial planner who helped me rethink my attitudes about saving, spending andinvesting. Eventually I was able to semi-retire for two years. During that time, I took a seven-month solo adventure through eight countries in Central and Southern Europe, Africa, and Southeast Asia. I returned with my spirit rejuvenated and the borders of my inner and outer world greatly expanded.

Perhaps the biggest surprise about traveling internationally was to discover that in many parts of the world it is an asset to be a black woman, unlike in North America, where it is often a liability. When I am abroad, I am usually afforded a level of respect and appreciation that I do not get in my own country. It's when I travel that I am told I'm attractive, courageous and smart. So often, when women hear that I have taken a trip around the world by myself, they tell that me they could never do it....... because it would cost too much, be too complicated to figure out, too scary. It's not any of those things, especially if you plan and prioritize appropriately. Here's how I did it....

Elaine Lee is the editor of "Go Girl!
The Black Woman's Book of Travel & Adventure."

To learn more

Flower Power (Copenhagen)

Flower Power

(Lesley-Ann Brown, Copenhagen)

I started doing something last year that I thought I'd never do: I started to tend plants. It all started with a cactus which was given to me as a Christmas present. At first it seemed like one of those gesture gifts: given perfunctorily, and it probably was. But then, the plant did something I had never witnessed a cactus do before: It flowered.
After a year of sitting absently in my apartment, pink buds started to push forth from little black knobs on the tips of its leaves.

It got me to thinking about a few things. It got me to thinking about that old adage, you know, the one about don't judge a book by its cover? It got me to thinking about surprises from the most unlikely of places and how much having this flowering cactus in my house uplifted me.

It got me to thinking about many of our ancestors who had to work Sun up and Sun down and who had to tend their own gardens in between working 6-7 days a weeks, in order to have but a little extra to eat. It made me a bit more connected to the relationship between us as human beings and the earth we have sometimes covered with concrete and littered with our indestructible gadgets.

See, I'm a city girl, a girl who can't even name flowers even if they grew with signs. But this flowering cactus was enough to make me decide to get a few more flowering plants. On cue, a moving colleague gifted me with 3 geranium plants (I think that's what they are!) and although I'm far from being a seasoned gardener, they have fared quite well for over a year now. And you know what? So have I.

The geraniums came from a well respected colleague with the instructions, “Let the soil dry out a bit and then water with food once a week. They love that. Funnily enough, unlike so many other things in my life, I have managed to do this. You know why? It was because someone took the time to tell me how to take care of these plants. See, sometimes the obvious isn't so obvious sometimes the reason we may not excel at doing something is simply because we do not know how. That's where teachers, true life teachers, step in. We're all students and teachers in life: Knowing when we're which one at different times is a good skill to learn. No one knows everything!

Taking care of these plants is a big accomplishment for me, because every time I take the time to tend to these plants, I feel like I'm taking the time to tend to me. If I'm too busy to take care of these plants, it means, in some tangible way, I'm neglecting myself. A dehydrated plant, strangely enough, reflects the fact that I'm probably not being too good to myself. Am I remembering to drink enough water? Am I taking the time to stretch? Am I spending the time to do the things I must do to remain centered, like yes, tend to my plants?

I like clearing the dead leaves from the soil. I like watering them. I like the way the green fills up my windowpane and how it foils the blazing blue of the sky.
Tending to these plants has made me think about my own life: If I was a plant, who or what waters me? Or better yet, what do I water myself with? Nourishes me? If I surround myself with healthy people and things, surely I am fortified as well? What if I surround myself with heavy, negative people? Do they, in turn, poison my soil? What if I surround myself with people who inspire me to be my best (the most patient of gardeners, the master gardener, the gardener I strive to be)? If I hang out with other, expert gardeners (I use this as a loose metaphor, insert anything you like ) am I not bound to learn new techniques that will help me become a better gardener? Remember: When the student is willing the Master appears.

Conversely, I must strive to contribute positively to those budding flowers around me as well I must be to others what I wish them to be to me. Am I encouraging my peers? Am I present with my son i.e. being there with him, when we are together and not worrying about my phone bill? Am I interacting sincerely with the woman who mops the floors at my job? Am I fertilizing those around me? Am I engaged?

Through my plants, I have learned to weed the negative images and energy out of my life. I have found that it is very easy to moan about my life, be unhappy with myself and dis the majority of those around me if I surround myself with people, with images, that do the same. Conversely, I find that I am elevated and experiences vibrations so positive that I experience a buzz when I surround myself with images and people who look at what is going right in their lives, who encourage me to be true to myself, who challenge me lovingly, who support me and my efforts.
This is my fertilizer.

Look around you.
What do you see? Or more importantly, what do you NOT see? Make a list, mental or otherwise, of the things that make you feel good, not in a quick-fix way, but in a long-term, this-experience-is-fertilizing-my-soul-kind-of-way.

Make a list of those things or situations that make you feel bad. Don't glaze over them. Spend some time wondering, "What is it about this particular exchange that de-centers me? That makes me uncomfortable?" "Is it me, my insecurities, or is this person projecting their issues on me?" Sometimes it's difficult to tell, but one of the traits of a true student of Life is the willingness to look at yourself as harshly as you sometimes look at others. I say harshly, but please add a good dose of lovingly in their as well. I always try to talk to myself in the way I talk to my son, or how my grandmother talks to me with a voice full of love and understanding. It is not until we can treat ourselves in this way that we can begin to treat each other in this way.

No matter where you, chances are, it's pretty difficult to find images that affirm (y)our beauty, that fertilize your soul. Just like I enjoy looking out my window at my plants, I enjoy looking out over the landscape of my life at those I hold dear to me: the array of flowering human beings who although not perfect (who is?) are committed to being better human beings and demand the same from me.

Sometimes what we see around us is not a reflection of (y)our soul. Not being able to see your Self, or recognize a part of your Self in the media or in your immediate surroundings is a subtle sort of abuse, a cultural amputation, a poisoning of your soil.

It is important that we recognize ourselves in the books we read, the magazines we peruse, the movies we watch. This is fertilizer.

A healthy dose of diverse representation is but one of the things our world needs.

The Remedy: Surround yourselves with images that remind you of who you are, who we are at our best. Include images that tap into the very best of our successes. And let every step we make be in Grace with a commitment to peace within and without. Smile, and watch your inner and outer flowers grow.

More about Lesley-Ann Brown:

Poca TV Aldith Hunkar

Poca TV, as you know, is a friendly station
about da peepss, by da peeepss, for da peeepss -

We know about the hardship and stresss
that go wid ibbyday Babylon Life…
We also know it is hard to
sit back and relaxx wid a positive thought
when one DOES have some Time 2 oneself…

Which is why we are helping out…

Just find that little gap in you bizzy day
and click, click, CLICK!

4 even MORE roootzz rebel TV !!
Jusss tyooon in whenever the Media System gets you down...
We guarantee a smile or two!

For more:

Organik B.L.U

Organik B.L.U has been birthed by a woman for women ONLY.

Within the space of one month Organik B.L.U has managed to attract over 200 registered members to our Social Network.

Organik B.L.U has been c8ted truly for the expression of Mind, Body & Soul. Expression is LYFE! We represent love, respect, acceptance, appreciation, spirituality, unity, empowerment & all things beautifull!

We are a NO DRAMA ZONE. Drama kills the soul and robs your cr8tivity!
Our mission is to kill drama (negativity) and give birth to GROWTH (love)!

We are more than a Social Network. We are here to be of service to you!
Organik B.L.U helps to support our LGBT community in what ever way possible. If you need one2one support, if you are organising an event or have a product that needs to be seen or heard, let us know!

We are here to celebrate our Beauty, our Creativity, our Relationships and most of all our LIVES! Organik B.L.U is making amazing changes within the Black Lesbian Community. Upliftment is all we know!

Are you ready to meet other Black Lesbians who are positive, cr8tive, beautifull, spiritual and doing something wonderfully amazing with their lives? If so, then Organik B.L.U is the space for you. Your place awaits you!

We look forward to you being a part of The Organik B.L.U experience!

Organik B.L.U (s) services:

-Spiritual Advice

-Drugs & Alcohol Support

-Relationship Support

-Health & Nutrition

-Workshops & Seminars

-Web Solutions & Design

-Marketing & Promotion

-Networking & Outings

"women that come together stick together" - Ms B.L.U


Social Network:


Black Women's European Council launch in Brussels 9 September

Greetings from Vienna

This Mail is to remind you of the upcoming launching of the Black European Women's Council on Sept. 9th 2008 in the premises of the European Economic and Social Committee Rue Van maelant 1040 Brussels.

*Our achievements so far:*

1. Thanks to Brenda's unending support it was possible for us to secure the cooperation of the European Economic and Social Committee for this important event. This cooperation represents a very important step towards implementing the preamble of the Vienna Declaration which states "Our gathering here is an indication of the necessity for the EU to dialog with Black Women's Organisations EU-wide. The European Year for Intercultural Dialog therefore presents an opportunity to initiate and strengthen partnerships and alliances. We welcome purposeful efforts to engage with the EU in the implementation and in consequence in the securing and exercising of our rights as full citizens of the EU and EEA".

2. I had a meeting with the new Director of the Fundamental Rights Agency -FRA in Vienna last Friday and am very happy to inform you that Mr Morten Kjaerum, the Agency's Director, is very happy about our activities and is very interested to work with us to advance the cause of Black Women and Black Communities in Europe. He would love to be at the launching; unfortunately FRA's staff is on retreat on this date. So we agree he sends a video message for the launching.

3. I am most happy to inform those of you interested to attend the official launching on Sept. 9th, that the proposal I submitted to the *EACEA- Europe for Citizens* has been approved. This means we shall be able to cover part of your expenditures in form of perdiem (according to the EU Flat rates 2008). Enclose is the agenda of the launching for your information. The registration form is under Please register not later than August 15th 2008 for organisational reasons. We can cover perdiems for up to 3 participants per country.

4- With the funding of the EACEA we shall be able to host the first general assembly of BEWC (a slight change of agenda) and a workshop on how to organise national coordinations of BEWC in April 2009, in The Netherlands. We shall be able to cover perdiem for up to 40 participants all together.

At the moment I am working hard to secure a funding for a reception to celebrate our launching in Brussels. Should anybody know where we can apply for the sum of €10.000 to cover launch and reception, I shall be most grateful for your support.

We are currently working on the list of speakers for both the High Level Roundtable Discussion on "The role of Black Women in an all inclusive Europe, challenges faced by Black Communities" and the official speeches at the launching. We shall publish the final list on our website ( as soon it is complete.

Please check regularly for updates on this event. Be so kind to forward this invitation to interested black women and men around you. Should you have any questions, do please not hesitate to get back to us at anytime.

We are very much looking forward to seeing you again in Brussels for this great event.

With best greetings from Vienna


Beatrice Chalice Executive Director
AFRA -- International Center for Black Women's Perspectives
Graumanngasse 7/D/1, 1150 Wien
Tel/Fax: +43 1 9660 425
ZVR-Zahl: 488597767
office @

Black and Beautiful But Invisible Campaign Interview

Yesterday I received this email:

Sierra Leone Born Model Kadiatu Kamara talks about why she is a backingthis campaign.We would love your feedback about this interview after hearing theface of the campaign discussing issues regarding under representationand industry racism.

What are your thoughts? Please share them.


The International Office on Migration Wants to Know Where You Are

Adrianne George and I received this email today:

Dear Ms. Rafaela, Dear Ms. George,

I am writing on behalf of Madame Ndioro Ndiaye, Deputy Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), who has requested that I contact you concerning our database for African women.

Madame Ndiaye would like to bring to your attention an interesting program here at IOM- Migration for Development in Africa (MIDA). MIDA is a comprehensive framework for migration and development that mobilizes highly skilled and willing members of the continental African Diaspora as agents for development.

Thus, IOM has developed databases of African Diasporas living in Europe, North America and Africa, for people willing to contribute to the development of their country of origin. Given the potential of Diaspora women to contribute to gender equality and the empowerment of women both at home and abroad, IOM created a special database for African women Diaspora members.

The information in the database will enable IOM, as well as governments and civil society, to contact these individuals with opportunities for networking, learning, service, investment and consultation. This is a crucial component of the MIDA initiative, and we are excited to involve African women of various talent and leadership capacities.

For this reason, we would like to encourage interested members of Women of the African Diaspora (WAD) to check out our website and take just five minutes to register in the women's database here:

We would be grateful if you could share this information with the members of your organization.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or comments. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Kind regards,

Ahuoiza Baiye

Ahuoiza Baiye
Office of the Deputy Director General
International Organization for Migration
+41 22 717 92 77

Kobina Wright

I am on a path to discovery- the space within myself has been explored, just as the moon has, but there are so many more expanded galaxies to uncover … so many new planets, stars and asteroid belts to name. So here I am growing like a textbook with living pages and a mobile spine; breathing life when I’m thumbed through. It’s an exciting time for growth for me and those around me, as I’m experimenting with my own reality, trying to see old things with new eyes and looking for adventures in each new day. I am a writer. Currently I’m working on a volume of poetry I have titled, “The World, The Devil and The Flesh.” It’s my most exciting and experimental work yet.

I am also a writer for Associated Content and in 2007 I won the AC Award for having the most subscribers ( I’ve also written for publications such as LACMA Magazine; CYH Magazine, and The Daily Titan. I am the author of the books, “Oh Yeah,” “Growth Spurt,” “Say it! Say Gen-o-cide!!” and “The Hodaoa-Anibo Dictionary.” I am an actress. I studied at the Gloria Gifford Conservatory for Performing Arts. I can be seen in the horror film “Dark Town” and the comedy “Messed in the Head,” and in the independent short “Sunday Morning Striper” – which is probably not what you think it is. I am currently represented by Brand Models and Talent Agency.

I am an artist. More recently, I’ve been incorporating the Hodaoa-Anibo language into my work – like in my oil pastel pieces titled, “Pa Sya Vi Hum;” “Rokoze;” “Balpa Giye;” and “Bademieka.” The Hodaoa-Anibo language is a work of art itself. It was created (by me) in 2003 in dedication to the African captives brought to America beginning in 1619, who were not allowed to keep their native languages to pass down to their posterity. Every second Saturday of the month is now called “Hodaoa (Sho. DOE. ah) Saturdays. This is the time those understanding, interested in or fascinated by the language can consciously share bits of the language to make other people aware of its existence.

Peace Kobina Wright

Kobina on YouTube:
Growth Spurt
Clueless monologue

Diane Cameron (Daughter of Diaspora)


Singer, Songwriter Diane Cameron returns for the 2008 Gospel & Racines Festival in the Republic of Benin, West Africa on July 27th. This will be the 3rd appearance for this Chicago native. She will once again reach out to Benin’s abundance of talented musicians for accompaniment during her appearance. Diane is affectionately called the “Daughter of Diaspora” because her writing and singing passion is mostly set to African themes and history. In 2005 she was nominated by the KORA AWARDS for her original song “Come Back Home To Africa” from “The Reconciliation” CD.

Ms. Cameron will debut her new CD “Diaspora Child” at the festival. “I look forward to once again collaborating with my Beninese musical family, Christi VI, Okine, Mathias Dangbe and the heavenly vocals of K-Sim and others. Music is spiritual,” she continues, “it permeates the soul and feeds the spirit. As musical artist, we must sing songs that uplift the nations. In the sometimes chaotic world we live in, music can be a soothing balm. I am thankful to God that he allows me to be a conduit to his healing essence. It unites us all, superseding religion, race and locality.”

While in Benin, she will visit orphanages and schools demonstrating her “Diaspora’s Child” youth cultural programs created out of her love for the young people of Benin. Ms. Cameron has also been invited by Community Connections Organization in Togo and plans to visit schools in Togo and Ghana as well. As Executive Director of the Alabama Benin Forum her attendance in Benin will also focus on the economic exchange between the business community of both the State of Alabama and the Republic of Benin.

"We live in a Global Society...Our neighbors are next door or a continent away. Our prayers should not be just for our children...but also for the children we may never meet. When I eat a meal and drink clean water, I should be mindful that my neighbors across the waters may not have eaten in a week. When I am tempted to complain about the rain, I repent and remember that my sisters and brothers in other countries may be praying for rain. As musical artists, we are the modern day griot....we must sing the stories…….the mantle is in our hands. Music is my contribution to my collective earth family...It’s the least I can do....." Diane Cameron.

For booking information call 678-389-8094