The idea that modern people evolved in a single “cradle of humanity” in East Africa some 200,000 years ago is no longer tenable, new research suggests.
Fossils of five early humans have been found in North Africa that show Homo sapiens emerged at least 100,000 years earlier than previously recognised.
It suggests that our species evolved all across the continent, the scientists involved say.
Their work is published in the journal Nature.
Prof Jean-Jacques Hublin, of the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, told me that the discovery would “rewrite the textbooks” about our emergence as a species.
“It is not the story of it happening in a rapid way in a ‘Garden of Eden’ somewhere in Africa. Our view is that it was a more gradual development and it involved the whole continent. So if there was a Garden of Eden, it was all of Africa.”

Mercy Kitomari - the brains behind Tanzanian organic ice cream company Nelwa’s Gelato - shares her top 10 social media marketing tips for aspiring entrepreneurs:

Start with a goal. Why are you active on social media? There are only three acceptable answers: a) increase brand awareness by growing your reach, b) build customer loyalty by providing more support, or c) increase sales by getting more people to purchase, more frequently. Don’t even start unless you can answer this question
Ignore your competitors. Trying to poach other people’s fans and followers is a flawed tactic. You’ll start making bad decisions because you’re trying to “keep up”. The best ideas and campaigns haven’t happened in your industry yet. See what untapped opportunities you can seize and gain an early lead. Look at what people are doing in other industries and try to experiment with similar tactics
Don’t be on every social network. Community management will deplete all of your resources. Each social network you manage will cost you exponentially more time, money and energy, so prioritise

Ed’s Note: She’s making so much sense, here are all the rest on BBC!


AFRICA (BBC):  Picathartes - The Birds That Have Lived for 44 Million Years

w/ David Attenborrough

The Picathartes, or White-necked Rockfowl, is an enigmatic and rarely seen bird, that has lived in the Congo for 44 million years. When these birds mate they mate for life therefore they have to make a good team.

This is really remarkable footage, that I doubt anyone else has captured!

(via: BBC Earth )

Africa’s week in pictures 6/11/2015 to 12/11/2015

Zimbabwe’s wicketkeeper Regis Chakabva cups his hands to catch the ball during a one-day cricket match against Bangladesh in Dhaka, on Wednesday.

This Moroccan protester takes part in a demonstration marking the 40th anniversary of Morocco’s annexation of Western Sahara on Saturday.

On Wednesday, protesting South African students from the University of Western Cape clash with police during a demonstration against tuition fees.

Protesters also take to the streets in Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh to convey a positive message about the Red Sea resort and encourage tourism after a Russian passenger jet crashed, with many suspecting a bomb.

Nigerian flutists perform in front of the entourage of Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi II after a polo match in northern Kaduna state on Saturday.

Ghanaian artist Kofi Dennis shows parents how to adapt songs and rituals from other cultures during an art workshop in Washington on Saturday.

A Congolese boy Andre, six, receives a warm welcome after arriving in the US city of Virginia on Wednesday with his adopted American parents. DR Congo had put a freeze on international adoptions until a new law was passed but this week allowed 72 children to leave.

Nigeria’s new Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun takes her oath of office during the swearing-in ceremony in the capital, Abuja, on Wednesday.

On the same day, people attend a night vigil to pray for rain at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa.

Harouna Diarra, who returned from Libya, harvests a maize close to the Malian village of Kodjan on Saturday. Many youths have left the town to look for better fortunes in Europe.

A Kenyan tailor shows vestments to be worn by Pope Francis during his visit to the country in Nairobi’s Kangemi neighbourhood on Friday.

A member of the Ethiopian Jewish community in Israel prays during a ceremony marking the holiday of Sigd in Jerusalem on Wednesday…

On the same day, these young Ethiopian Jewish women pose to take selfies during the same ceremony.

On Saturday, these women celebrate in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown as the country is declared Ebola free.

Dancers dressed as Egyptian pharaohs perform during the opening ceremony of the 37th Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF), in Cairo, on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets receive a heroes’ welcome on their return to Abuja following their victory at the Fifa U-17 World Cup in Chile.

by the BBC
"Mental health is an illness like any", Focus on Africa - BBC World Service

[Video] “When Sitawa Wafula was diagnosed as having bi-polar disorder and epilepsy, she struggled to find support online that spoke to her as a young African woman. So she set up her own online blog and YouTube channel, ‘My Mind, My Funk’, to share her experiences with others and tackle the taboo around mental health in Kenya - and beyond. As part of the BBC’s mental health series, Ms Wafula explains why giving a "human touch” to the story was so important.“

[Image description: African Woman with short hair, wearing dangling earrings and a nose ring with green red and brown bottles sitting on a red shelf in the background]

Nigeria experts don't exist

I’ve seen a proliferation of “Nigeria Experts” in the last year due to Boko Haram’s insurgency (only after the Chibok kidnappings, not prior) and the upcoming elections. Much like the war on terror gave us an unending supply of pundits, commentators and analysts on terrorism, I see the same with Nigeria sociopolitics.

The peculiar thing is that many of them are not Nigerian. You certainly don’t have to be a Nigerian to be knowledgeable about Nigeria or offer news (i.e. Will Ross from BBC), but you need a connection or some type of base knowledge beyond things you read on the internet. These people have zero connection to Nigeria and in some cases, have never even been to Nigeria. What then makes them an expert? Why are they always on news programs? Their nonsensical articles continue to get the green light. They really have no idea what they’re talking or writing about, but the danger is that because they have a platform, many people think they do. A platform means legitimacy in the eyes of the unaware, which is understandable. They are coming to you for information. The problem is that many with platforms have no idea what they’re talking about.

I recently read an article on Yahoo that said Umaru Yar'Adua and Buhari were Hausa.  They are not. They are Fulani men. If a major news outlet cannot get something as basic as the ethnicity of former heads of state right, then I cannot trust their analysis. What else is wrong?

Here’s the thing you all need to understand; no one is an expert on Nigeria. You can be well read, have a lot of cursory knowledge or be well versed in the history and politics (your views will also depend on how much objectivity your ethnic prism allows - this matters), but this doesn’t mean you have your finger on everything. 

Steer clear of anyone who claims to be an expert on Nigeria. It’s virtually impossible to be one, including for Nigerians themselves. No one knows all the Nigerian perspectives. 

This is part of the problem I see so glaringly whenever I come online and I see what passes to be the “pulse of the nation” and all the reporters are in Lagos. That’s the pulse of Lagos, not Nigeria. Diaspora voices outside of Nigeria are also a big part of Nigerians online. We shouldn’t forget it. I’m part of that.

With regards to the “pulse of the nation”, this also manifests itself not just on the internet, but in media reports where a large percentage of the people talking are in Lagos (and Abuja). It creates a skewed view of what people assume is representative of Nigeria. Many don’t even examine that online voices and offline voices are not the same. For one thing, if you’re online, it means you have a computer/laptop, tablet or smart phone. Most people in the village don’t. Many poor people in the cities don’t. The houseboy or market woman likely does not have a macbook and they’re probably not on twitter. You’re not hearing from the majority of the country, and with that you’re not hearing their perspectives. So take that into consideration when you look at online voices of Nigerians. I know many of the “new media” types do nothing but glean and copy, then water down what Nigerians are saying into digestible bits for their audiences.

What I find funny about all this is that sometimes, these new Nigeria pundits and commentators will engage and talk down to you as a Nigerian like they know more about you than you do. They aren’t abrasive like the conscious ankhs who will argue with you about your identity, but they will think like they know all there is to know because they took a course in school, watched some videos, read BBC Africa, have some Nigerians friends, maybe even dated a Nigerian or two, or went on holiday once somewhere in Africa.

At a recent event, I had one of these new media types ask me if I was Nigerian when he saw my name tag. I told him yes, then he started asking me about Yoruba people (this happens frequently). I told him I wouldn’t know the intricacies of Yoruba culture because I am half Andoni and half Igbo, not Yoruba. Igbo people he knew. Andoni people he didn’t. No big deal, many people don’t (Nigerians included). He asked me where they were in Nigeria, I said in Rivers State, not far Abia and Akwa Ibom. He had no idea what Rivers, Abia and Akwa Ibom were. He asked if they were near Boko Haram activities. I said Rivers State is literally at the bottom of Nigeria, at the other end of where Boko Haram is waging their terror. After Rivers State, it’s the Atlantic Ocean. There’s nothing else.

So I guess he was curious because he asked about Andoni people. I assumed if I said Ijaw he would have some idea, but unsurprisingly he didn’t know what Ijaw was either. I’m not even sure why I continued to entertain this convo, but I named ethnic groups near the Andoni people. I mentioned the Ogoni and Kalabari. He thought Kalabari was Calabar (not the 1st time this has happened either) and started talking about Carnival. He said “you mean Calabar, where they have the Carnival?” I said no, that Calabar and the Carnival is in Cross River State. I’m talking about Kalabari people, as in of the Ijaw extraction in Rivers State, but he didn’t know what Ijaw was, so this was a pointless conversation. Anyway, this white man really asked me if I’m sure of what I’m saying and that I should double check because he saw Calabar Carnival pictures on Flickr and he’s pretty sure about it. 

These are the new media types giving commentary on Nigeria. It’s so laughable.

Africa’s Week in Pictures by the BBC 8-15 May 2015

Nigeria’s commercial, capital, Lagos, held its annual carnival on Saturday…

Some students watched performances through the school fence…

A comedian entertained the crowd by “eating” broken glass…

While these young people chose to enjoy the day by rollerskating…

Four days later, an Egyptian singer celebrates the birthday of Zeinab, the granddaughter of Prophet Mohammad, near her shrine in Cairo

On Friday, a piece entitled “Slave Chain with Four Yokes” from a vodou convent in Benin, is displayed a museum in Point-a-Pitre in France to commemorate the abolition of the slave trade

The next day, refugees sit on a wall with a mural on hygiene at the Dadaab camp in north-eastern Kenyan. It is the world’s largest refugee camp, accommodating mainly Somalis

While on Wednesday, Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong'o poses as she arrives for the opening ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival in south-eastern France

On Saturday, Bastia’s Ivory Coast striker Giovanni Sio heads the ball next to Rennes’ French Senegalese defender Cheik Mbengue. Bastia won the match, played in Rennes, 1-0

By the BBC


Sherlock Fandom Survey - The Results

(Open the images in new tab for high resolution.)

In July and August 2014, I conducted a survey amongst Sherlock fans, in part for my essay, in part for the fun of it. And thanks to whatsonhannibal, I can present the results in beautiful graphics! 

I have split the result evaluation into six parts: 

  1. The participants
  2. Fandom
  3. Shipping
  4. Favourite characters and episodes
  5. Misc
  6. Fandom and The Johnlock Conspiracy

Each part will be a separate posts for easier consumption. Enjoy!


Part 1 - The Participants

There were 2,018 in total (yay, so many!) Most participants identify as female (90% - 1,809), while the rest identify as genderqueer (3% - 52), male (3% - 38), genderfluid (2% - 35), non-binary (1% - 16), agender (1% - 14) and trans man (1% - 13). 1% (23) did not want to answer while 1% (18) cited “other”. 

46% (919) of the 2,018 participants identify as heterosexual, 13% (262) as bisexual, 8% (154) as asexual, 6% (130) as pansexual, 5% (109) as bi-curious, 5% (97) as demisexual,3% (68) as homosexual, 3% (66) as other and 9% (178) clicked “questioning/undecided”. 3% (66) did not want to answer. 

The majority (32% - 636) of respondents are between 18 and 25 years old, closely followed by the 15-18 year-olds (27% - 546). 3 participants are under 12, 78 (4%) over 50. 9% (176) are 12-15, 11% (212) are between 15 and 30, 12% (237) between 30 and 40 and 6% (130) between 40 and 50.

More than half (52% - 1053) participants completed the survey in North America. 21% (417) are from Europe in addition to 14% (282) from the UK. South America (7% -137), Australia (3% - 69), Asia (3% 56) and Africa (0% - 4) are also home to Sherlock fans. 

As expected - since I mostly used this website to distribute the survey link - most respondents heard of the survey via Tumblr (68% - 1379), 16% (332) found it through Twitter, 6% (120) via Facebook, 5% (96) through fan sites, 4% (87) had great friends who shared the link with them and 4% (81) found the survey through “other” means. 

Now that we have a bit of background about who these 2,018 people are, we can move on to the real fun stuff - fandom related questions!

Part 2 - Fandom

Mandla Maseko: The first black African heading into space

A 25-year-old DJ from South Africa is set to become the first black African to go into space. Mandla Maseko is one of 23 people who won a seat on an hour-long sub-orbital trip in 2015. 

I first saw an advert for the competition on television and then heard another ad on the radio. I had to send a photo of myself jumping from anywhere, so I chose to jump off a wall and my friend captured me in mid-air. I had to answer a couple of questions and explain why I wanted to go into space. My response was: “I want to defy the laws of gravity, and go down history as the first black South African in space.

I wanted to do something that will motivate and inspire the youth of South Africa and Africa as a whole, and hopefully to some extent, the youth worldwide, and show that it doesn’t matter what background you come from, you can have whatever you want as long as you put hard work and determination into it.

After I go into space I am hoping to finish my civil engineering studies. I had to put them on hold before the competition because I didn’t have enough money to fund them.

I would also like to study aeronautical engineering and hopefully qualify as a mission specialist, and then next time, go to the moon to plant the South African flag there.