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EDUCATION& TECHNOLOGY

Africa Mathematical Games

AFRICAN MATHEMATICAL GAMES Thousands of years ago, Africans were using numbers, algebra, and geometry in daily life activities; such as identifying dates and time for harvesting or reckoning a women’s menstrual cycle. This mechanism influenced the world and has evolved to what is known as Mathematics. The principles of mathematics were introduced into African mathematical games and have been used even before colonization, thousands of years ago. Yes, that's right, for thousands of years! Most African games are either physically drawn on the muddy ground in square board dimensions and multiple squares or “houses” as some would call it. They have a rotational pattern of counting and multiplying with a clap of hand or a jump from one square to another. The games are coupled up with singing from both opponents or cheering from others waiting to participate. Incorporating the style used to play these games on a square board they created actual wooden board games with more complex rules and slightly intense competitions. To get the picture, below is a list of seven mathematical games from Africa and how they originated. SENET This is one of the oldest board games in the world. In the tomb of Nefertari, an Egyptian Queen there is a beautiful painting of her playing Senet in 1295 BC. The original rules were passed along verbally because no written form has been found. The Senet game board is a thirty-square grid, arranged in three rows of ten. The grids are colored in black and white or blue and green. Each player has a set of 5 pawns the chess-shaped dice are moved in 6 paces, one after the other. You can buy Senet on Amazon or download it to your iPhone. BUTTERFLY Butterfly is a skilled board game played in Mozambique. It is similar to checkers but shaped in two triangles that join in the shape of a butterfly. Each player has nine pieces of cubes on each side. You win when you hop over your opponent’s cube, using the 19 intersection points to hop into available empty spaces. FELLI Felli from Morocco is played on a smaller 6x6 board. Games from Everywhere has a lovely board for sale, or you can simply draw the board on a piece of paper and use buttons or coins as pieces. MANCALA Mancala, the “count and capture” game is one of the oldest games in the world. It was improvised in those days by digging up pit holes and picking up pebble stones for the game. There are more than 200 versions in Africa. Ethiopia plays with 3 rows while East and Southern Africa play with four rows. Some games have "stores" at the end of each board, others do not. Currently, you can either make your board, play online, or buy mancala on Amazon. FANARONA Fanarona is a very popular board game in Madagascar. Legends say that in the 1500s, a king's son was so busy playing the game that he missed his chance to inherit land from his father. The board has a 9x5 grid pattern with cube pieces moving both forward and backward. Each player has 22 pieces and the object of the game is to capture all your opponent's pieces. DOKI Doki or Derrah (meaning horse) is an intellectual strategy board game initiated from Hausa, Nigeria in the 19th century. It was also conversant in other African countries like Niger and Burkina Faso. It is very similar to Wali and Dama Tuareg. It is a two-player alignment game related to tic-tac-toe (noughts and crosses) but more complex. On a 5x6 grid square board (sometimes 6x7 grid), each player has 12 stones which they drop into the squares consecutively. A player wins when their opponent cannot form three square stones in a row. SEEGA Seega is played in parts of North and West Africa. It's originated in Egypt in the 1800s but could be much older. The board game is easy to make yourself using pennies and paper. It is for a game designed for two players on a 5x5 board.  Each player has 12 pieces of stones or marbles placed on the board two at a time, consecutively. The capturing begins by "sandwiching" an opponent’s marble. In some African regions, the central square on the board is a safety zone. The African Mathematical games are built to be strategic, pacing the minds of African children, young adults, and the old. It is thrilling and exciting to the extent that many other countries across the globe have introduced these games to their regions and amended them to their taste and trivia!

02 May 2021
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EDUCATION& TECHNOLOGY

What Cities In Africa Are Becoming Africa's Tech Hubs?

It is hard to imagine life without technology and of course Android phones! Some young people may probably go insane! Africa is investing massively in technology and innovation with some cities becoming Africa's major tech hubs. Johannesburg in South Africa and Yabacon Valley, Lagos, Nigeria is seething with the technological revolution and myriads of tech start-ups. Casablanca in Morocco, and Cairo in Egypt, are leading North Africa, growing Its ICT Technological hub to be one of the most enviable in the world. Nairobi (Kenya), Kigali (Rwanda), and Kampala (Uganda) are blazing trails, launching free Wi-Fi zones, all pushing Africa on the tech-savvy frontline.   Science and technology have brought tremendous relief to today's society. It is hard to imagine life without modern-day appliances such as electricity, cars, gas, refrigerators, washing machines, air-conditioners, and of course Android phones! some young persons might probably go insane at the latter. Just the thought is maddening! to almost anyone anyway. These have made life more comfortable, convenient, economically stable, and productive. In recent years technology has taken on a massive and indispensable role cutting across all fields- Aviation, Banking, Agriculture, Medical Services, Education, Biotechnology, Sports, Accounting, Communications, etc. A world without technology is no longer possible as the entire Globe is investing massively in technology and also in innovation. And so should you!   Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Ghana, cote d'Ivoire, Tanzania, Senegal, Uganda, and Mali are some African countries taking the lead in science and technology with some of Its Cities becoming Africa’s technology hub.   1.JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA Johannesburg is a pillar and powerhouse of technology in South Africa, with major tech hubs such as Jozi Hub blazing a trail. It has some of the largest telecommunication industries in Africa with Free Wi-Fi, of over 1000 hotspots, exclusively covering all libraries and clinics existing in the city. The escalating use of android mobile phones at a pace that is greater than the population growth rate of the city is a major indicator of the vast number of active hubs in the city. Johannesburg still has more surprises in store for the future.   2.LAGOS, NIGERIA The tech hub in Lagos Nigerian is a pathfinder. The rush and craze for Technology are ravishing the city as almost no region or demo graph of its population is left out in this technological revolution. There are free Wi-Fi Zones across the city as its availability seems to be a defining factor of a tech-savvy country. Yaba, nicknamed “Yabacon Valley” Nigeria’s Silicon Valley is the leading technology hub boasting over 80 start-ups. Creation Hub (CCHub), one of the famed tech hubs in Yaba has won several awards.  Paga, Fintech Interswitch, Konga, OLX, Play, and Easy Taxi are other tech hubs in Lagos city.   3.NAIROBI, KENYA The unprecedented success of M-Pesa – a breakthrough mobile app for money transfer and financial services, spin-timed a landmark that has poised Nairobi as one of the bubbling tech hubs in Africa. Technology and the success of M-Pesa's have seen the establishment of multiple SMEs across the country elevating the economy of the country. It’s all happening in the city of Nairobi.   4. KIGALI, RWANDA The beaming technology hubs in Kigali are gradually replacing Rwandan’s history of genocide. The capital of Rwanda Kigali boasts of several tech hubs, such as K-Lab, Think, The Office, and Impact Hub Kigali all resulting in massive job creation. The Smart Kigali initiative was launched in 2013, making the capital the first city in East Africa to launch free Wi-Fi zones for its citizens.   5.CASABLANCA, MOROCCO Casablanca Technopark is a hub in the city of Casablanca with over 170 ICT companies. It is a tech cluster focused on e-learning software engineering and ICT ventures. Casablanca is one of Africa’s leading cities in innovation and technology. Morocco was the first country in North Africa to adopt a 3G network, in 2006 and has grown Its ICT Technological hub to be one of the most enviable in the world generating a stable economy for the country, and creating over 1,500 jobs.   6.CAIRO, EGYPT The innovation and tech hub of Egypt is impressive with the country rising as one of the most digital countries in the world.  Instabug, a bug reporting app has hit over 25 million users across 100 countries worldwide asides from winning several awards in 2013.   7.KAMPALA, UGANDA In Kampala Uganda, the Wisenga- award-winning app was created by three university students and in 2012 they won the Imagine Cup, the world's premier student technology competition anchored by Microsoft. The launch of the Village des Technologies de l’Information et de la Biotechnologie in Grand Bassam, the innovation of the educational app Quelasy in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, for school-age children, and the rise of new tech cities in Africa is a sure win for the continent now and in years to come as the seeds of innovation are already being planted in many young minds. Big tech set-up companies such as Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and IBM are the largest sponsors of tech hubs across Africa acting as incubators, accelerators, university-based innovation hubs, maker spaces, etc  

15 Jul 2021
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EDUCATION& TECHNOLOGY

THE SCIENCE BEHIND AFRICA’S VIBRANT FABRIC COLORS

The use of dye in textile manufacturing, hair dying, food coloring (additives), arts and craft extensively in Africa and its production is one of the oldest chemistry-based practices in the continent. Dye is a colored substance that bonds chemically to the substrate to which it is being applied. Dyes are classified according to their solubility and chemical properties. Dyes have their color because their constituent substances can absorb light within the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum (400-700 nm). Dyes exist in Synthetic and natural forms. Sources of Natural dyes include roots (E.g.; Kuntunkuni tree of the Ashanti people).The use of local dye in Africa is as old as the continent. Dye was used as a coloring in the production of one of the earliest kinds of clothing worn in Africa; bark cloth (Bark clothes are clothes made from the trunk of trees). The use of dye in textile manufacturing, hair dying, food coloring (additives), arts and craft as well as its production is one of the oldest chemistry-based practices in the continent. There are both natural and synthetic dyes. In Africa, the majority of natural dyes are derived from locally available raw materials. These include plant sources such as roots, bark, leaves, fruits, wood, and microbial organisms such as lichens and fungi. Rare dyestuffs that produced bright and more stable colors such as the natural invertebrate dyes, Tyrian purple, and crimson kermes were expensive. Dye is a colored substance that bonds chemically to the substrate to which it is being applied.  Pigments are also colors but do not chemically bond to the material they color. Dyes are also different from pigments in that they are usually soluble in water, whereas pigments are insoluble. They can both absorb wavelengths of visible light.  The dye is usually applied in an aqueous solution and may require a caustic agent to improve the fastness of the dye on the textile or substrate. Some dyes can be rendered insoluble with the addition of NaSO4 (salt) to produce a lake pigment. Dyes have their color because their constituent substances can absorb light within the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum (400-700 nm). The theory that dyes are made up of two components, a chromophore that imparted color by absorbing light in the visible region and an auxochrome which serves to deepen the color has been superseded by a recent electronic structured theory which states that the color in dyes is due to excitation of valence π-electrons by visible light. The absorption of electromagnetic radiation by a molecule in the UV and visible regions leads to electronic excitation and an electron moves from a lower to a higher level of electronic energy. Dyes are classified according to their solubility and chemical properties. Most natural dyes are mordant dyes with several dyeing techniques. It is important to note that many mordants, particularly those in the heavy metal category, can be hazardous to health and extreme care must be taken in using them.  It is a wonder that Africa had already figured out this complex chemistry, utilizing it decades before colonization and the introduction of synthetic dyes. The mystery of discovering dye in nature could have only been by mastermind geniuses abundant in the continent from time immemorial.  All through west Africa Indigo was the foundation of numerous textile traditions. From the Tuareg nomads of the Sahara Desert down to the natives of the interior Sub-Saharan western Africa, indigo cloth production was a massive skill, passed down to generations. It signified affluence and wealth. The Manding people of Mali and the Yorubas of Nigeria had many experts and were highly paid. The Yoruba dyers accrued tribute to a patron deity, Iya Mapo to grant them success in the complex dye procedure. Kano city was wealthy and famous for exporting dyed prestigious textiles. They had highly organized, male dyers working at communal dye pits. Sources of Natural dyes include black dye from the roots of the Kuntunkuni tree of the Ashanti people. Indigo from either Indigofera or lonchocarpus cyanescans. Brown dye from Badie tree, Bridelia micrantha (Hochst), and Rhodognaphalon brevicuspe(Sprague). Transforming the raw material into a successful dye vat was a multistage process that involved crushing the leaves, roots, etc., and fermentation or boiling techniques to extract the dye. Clothes were then dipped in the aqueous solution and beaten thereafter for a shiny glaze. It’s hard to imagine a world without colors. Despite the health and environmental risk posed by Synthetic dyes, they are still a threat to natural existing dyes because they are most times cheaper. This has inhibited research into the potentials of other plants being used as a dye.   Traditional outlook enterprises such as the textile dyeing enterprise at Ntonso, Ashanti, Ghana face many challenges in its struggle to keep the use of plant-based dyes alive in the industry. The Ntonso Village continues to hold this tradition as the locally dyed textiles they produced are used in sacred and important ceremonies, such as funerals. Africa is truly a land of great chemistry.

14 Jul 2021
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EDUCATION& TECHNOLOGY

Activism through Technology

In the past two years, African youths have been raising awareness on social issues in Africa via various tech platforms. Through Online Petitions on African petition websites like gopetition.com, people can vote for a cause simply by writing their name, signature, and email. Social Media is Used to share stories, repost a call for help and gain support for issues overlooked by the mainstream. Mobile phones have been used to call for legal action via evidence captured on your mobile phone. Personal blogs, social blogs, etc. are all utilized in many tech-activism campaigns. Most importantly, Hashtags have helped issues get visibility on a global scale.   We can't but give flowers to the young female and teen activists using social media and technology to end systemic and institutionalized social issues such as sexism, harassment, sexual objectification, domestic violence, child molestation, and rape culture. In the past two years, African youths have been raising awareness on social issues in Africa via various tech platforms. The social issues discussed are issues such as climate change, recycling, body dysmorphia, sexual orientations, gender inequality, misogyny, child and human trafficking and abuse, etc. So let’s explore five tech-activism outlets and digital tools used to propagate social change on a global scale.   Online Petitions: On African petition websites like gopetition.com, people are allowed to vote for a cause simply by writing their name, signature, and email. They also go ahead and share the petition on their social media platforms, allowing at least one friend who shares the same interest to support the movement. A petition obtains signatures from supporters allowing them to seek action from an organization concerning a movement. The signatures from a petition must reach a certain number of subscribers to that cause before the organization can act.   Social Media: Social media websites like Instagram, Clubhouse, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook boast od several users globally and can give social issues raised via their platforms global visibility. For years, social media has been used to share stories, repost a call for help and gain support for issues overlooked by the mainstream. On Instagram, there are many non-governmental organizational activist accounts like @naijagirltribe, @womenforwomen, etc creating change via their social media platforms.   Mobile phones: You can now donate money simply by texting a code to an organization. Smartphones are the tool that gives you internet, a camera, voice recorder, and social media. Without a collation of these, it is almost impossible to be informed of any injustice happening around Africa considering that there are rural areas where not everyone has a mobile phone. It would also be hard to call for legal action let alone make people believe your story without evidence captured on this mobile phone.   Blogs: Personal blogs, social blogs, lifestyle, contemporary, are all part of an uncensored, safe space journal. Blogging is writing and anyone can write a blog on any topic, however, they want. In October 2020, the Nigerian lifestyle blogger, Mams Kulture shared a little insight on rape culture and dissociation in rape titling "A year, a Trigger and a Pandemic." Expressions on blogs provide unfiltered communication. They are therefore a great tool in many tech-activism campaigns.   Hashtags: On social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, users can contribute to a multi-user conversation using the hashtag tool to spread a message. Despite the patriarchal culture and traditional respectability in Africa, women in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Egypt, etc. decided to speak against sexual harassment and assault through the #metoo movement on Twitter. MeToo was started in 2006 by Tarana Burke, an African American.   Following the me-too movement, South African women started #MenareTrash, another campaign to challenge men against the epidemic of intimate violence and femicide; where men are going as far as killing their partners. In Egypt,  July 2020, a student Nadeen Ashraf from the American University of Cairo created an anonymous Instagram account @assaultpolice to expose a classmate on several cases of blackmail, sexual harassment, and rape. It was Nadeen's hint with the word "police'' that engaged her outreach.    Other tech outlets for activism are fundraisers, radios, and podcasts. Feasibly, the obvious benefit of tech activism is that it is accessible even in a global pandemic. Schools, organizations, and the government have had to change one or two policies, deal with offenders, create new social structures for a better space in Africa. Many of us have seen our African brothers and sisters learn as they discuss a thing or two about issues in Africa through Activism engagement on these platforms.

13 Jul 2021
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EDUCATION& TECHNOLOGY

LAAWIN- Changing the Narrative

Laawin is an educational app leveraging Africa's budding tech ecosystem to enlighten the young African demographic on everything that concerns Africa. Laawin seeks to solve a social, psychological, and economic need in today's society via education and its inbuilt reward system. To get the best of the app one has to read through the daily articles, purchase quiz credit, participate in the quizzes and earn your rewards. Click below to read more.  WHAT IS LAAWIN? Laawin is an educational and social engagement platform that's leveraging the tech ecosystem in Africa to educate young Africans on everything that concerns the African continent. It is a product of Laawin D’Afrique Limited, a company incorporated under the Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The name LAAWIN is an acronym and stands for "Learn Africa And Win". The main focus of Laawin is repositioning Africa in the minds of Africans. It intends to achieve this by leveraging technology to restore the interest of Africans in reading, studying, researching and appreciating African History, culture, and values. A wise man once said the recipe for success is to first recognize a need and then reach out to meet that need. Laawin is positioned to meet various needs currently present within the African society. These needs can be grouped into: Social Needs Psychological Needs Economic Needs SOCIAL NEEDS Human beings are social beings. The need to have social interactions is essential for human mental, psychological and total wellbeing. When people experience problems, emotional concerns, or life challenges, the first instinct is usually to reach out to someone else for support. Social needs are essential for the progression of the human tribal nature after other basic needs such as the need for security have been met. The importance of social needs which includes a feeling of belonging, connection, love, relationships, is very obvious as no man is an island and we all need people to succeed in life no matter how intellectual we are. This fact has been corroborated by several researchers and explained in various theories of socialization such as Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs concept and Durkheim's theory of collective representation. Via various social media apps and innovations, humans have tried to satisfy the human need for socialization. In Africa, there is a gawking chasm in satiating the social needs of the African people. This is because few exclusively Pan-African Social platforms satisfy the social needs of Africans as a people. There is a deep-seated need for an Afrocentric platform where African youth can cross-fertilize ideas and values that are peculiar to them.  There seems to be a gross deficit of social and cultural connection among African youths. The gap is so pronounced that young people in neighboring countries like Nigeria, Ghana, and Cameroon have no understanding of how deeply connected they are culturally, historically, and otherwise. The invisible bond that holds Africa together has been downplayed for far too long as there is no social platform for Africans to realize, express, and explore their interconnectivity while having fun and creating new well-meaning relationships and connectivity.  A social platform where African like-minds are discussing and making resolutions that will bring advancements and solutions for themselves in a way only Africans can understand is the solution to the problem. LAAWIN is the answer. PSYCHOLOGICAL NEEDS “The pot calling the kettle black.” This is the very expression that describes the psychology of a lot of Africans. Why would a Nigerian boy with big black lips call his Ghanaian brother ugly because he has a big wide nose? For the same physical features which they share. There is an error in our identity. As Africans, we must be united in our mindset; both young and old because everything we see begins from within. Why do racism, xenophobia, and discrimination exist in the world? MINDSET. That’s where alignment starts. Many African youths are not proud of their countries, accents, food smells, clothing, and skin color. Many of us look down on our fellow Africans because of an unconsciously internalized hate for ourselves. Psychology explains that any hate for another person is a projection of our unhealed traumas. As individuals, the way we see ourselves creates an identity. In the world we live in, relationships are created from the little conversations with market sellers, colleagues, neighbors, etc. In these relationships, there is either a dominant and subordinate relationship or mutual respect for one another. Yes, many colonial states and businesses have benefitted from Africa and have taken the dominant role in the relationship by insisting on their ideas and system of doing things. For so long, Africans have taken the subordinate role and patterned their lifestyles to fit into the acceptable practice of the West, while losing the very thing that made Africa great in History- their strong sense of identity and national pride. The first step is to accept that there is a problem. For example, “My name is Serwa and I don’t like my kinky hair because I don’t think it’s cool.” Okay, you’re an African girl with kinky hair but you don't appreciate the texture of your hair. Now, we understand that this is a social problem for Serwa. She wants to be cool to fit into social standards but as an individual, she needs to be seen, appreciated, and valued; in other words, “cool”. Laawin would say to Serwa through short interesting articles; “Three healthy ways to style your kinky hair.” It introduces ways Serwa can love herself and wear on her confidence because that is the core ingredient to beauty, power, and handling every uncomfortable thing in life. It is the role of Laawin to point out these little psychological and identity problems we often overlook intending to change the narrative in our minds. Sometimes, all we need is a little talk, a little read, a little support, and the Laawin app provides a social hub and safe space to learn and discuss the African identity, uniting us and making Africa stronger than ever. ECONOMIC NEEDS The economic sector of many African states is not strong enough to cater to the adult masses which are from the age of 40 and above let alone to cater for the youth (40 and below). A lot of African youths are currently in survival mode. Several platforms have taken advantage of this hunger to succeed and pushed the young population into various Ponzi schemes and non-sustainable survival methods which only succeed in aggravating their already desperate situation. LAAWIN meets the yearning of all African youth as it creates a means of earning that will help one cater for himself and the immediate family. LAAWIN is a platform that is focused on solving many financial challenges via its inbuilt reward system which in turn would boost the economic quality of any African youth that actively participates on the platform.   HOW DOES LAAWIN WORK? To get the best of what LAAWIN has to offer, you have to understand how it works. DAILY ARTICLES & QUIZZES Every day on the Laawin app, articles are populated by our team of seasoned content creators. These articles are stories on various broad categories of interest in Africa. The broad categories include African history and culture, Lifestyle, Human and Natural resources, Education& Technology, Entertainment among others. You can read these articles on the app at any time during the day. You can learn something new each day from any of the articles on the app. Quizzes are attached to each article and are set for certain times of the day. The duration for a quiz is 5 mins and winners are selected by the system based on who finished the quiz in the shortest possible time. You can enter a quiz at any time within the 5 minutes timeframe but you can only win if you finished in the shortest time. Winners are rewarded immediately via a payment into their registered bank accounts. Runners up are also rewarded daily. To participate in a quiz, you have to purchase quiz credit. One quiz credit goes for fifty Naira (N50) and you can buy a maximum of ten quiz credits at any point in time via the pay stack portal on the app. You can also earn quiz credit via our referral system. To earn one (1) quiz credit you would have to refer 5 people to download the using your unique referral code. MEGA QUIZZES Mega quizzes are the weekly highlights of the LAAWIN platform. These quizzes come up every Saturday and are based on all the articles that have been populated on the app within the week. To participate in a Mega quiz would cost you five (5) quiz credits. The rewards on the mega quizzes are grand cash prizes ranging from a hundred and fifty Naira (N150000) to seven hundred thousand Naira (N700000). Academic scholarships can also be won during a Mega quiz. Now you know why we say this quiz is the highlight of the week. BE A LAAWIN CONTENT CONTRIBUTOR You can contribute stories from wherever you are in Africa by signing up to be a LAAWIN contributor. The stories would have to meet the LAAWIN criteria. The LAAWIN criteria for article selection are that articles must be Afrocentric, Original (not plagiarized), Simple, not inciteful, Authentic, and Interesting. Articles that are accepted will attract a fixed remuneration to the writer. LAAWIN is aiming at creating the largest archive of articles about Africa and you can be part of making that come true. 4. ENGAGE OUR SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS Become a Top fan on our social media pages on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and be the first to know about any juicy details about the LAAWIN app. LAAWIN has come to stay and we are changing the narrative one article at a time.    

13 Jul 2021
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EDUCATION& TECHNOLOGY

Cryptocurrency- Exploring the Rave in Africa

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have proven to yield better returns on investments compared to other investments. Global metrics recorded show Nigeria, Africa's largest nation and the world's most populous black nation, as the second-largest in cryptocurrency transactions with the US taking the lead. Other African countries that have made significant progress include following Kenya, Ghana, and South Africa. The success of cryptocurrencies in African nations can be attributed to the willingness among individuals to adopt a more efficient, technology-driven method of payment, an alternative to the weakening local currency of African countries. Africa is championing a cryptocurrency and blockchain revolution!With the increasing rate of adoption of cryptocurrencies, interest in digital assets has grown across the globe. The world’s leading cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, is now considered a peer-to-peer cash system and an alternative to the traditional financial system. With the tremendous increase in the price of cryptocurrencies over the years, particularly during the Covid-19 era, (where the price surged over 1300%) Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have proven to yield better returns on investments compared to other investments. On a more careful look at the modus operandi of banking systems in the transfer of funds, especially between countries, individuals have opted to adopt cryptocurrencies as their preferred mode of transaction due to the speed and cost of transactions. As the crypto market continues to see a surge globally, the African continent is not left. Global metrics show Nigeria, Africa’s largest nation and the world’s most populous black nation, as the second-largest in cryptocurrency transactions with the US taking the lead. Other African countries that have made significant progress include following Kenya, Ghana, and South Africa. The success of cryptocurrencies in these African nations can be attributed to many factors, some of which include the willingness among individuals to adopt a more efficient, technology-driven method of payment for their financial activities which poses as an alternative to the weakening local currency of African countries and difficult bureaucratictic system existing in these countries which make it difficult for individuals to get access to forex among the others.  Across the continent, well-placed citizens in various nations are helping champion the cause of a cryptocurrency and blockchain revolution. Africa is on fire!!

08 Jul 2021
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EDUCATION& TECHNOLOGY

Africa: The Birthplace of Mathematics

Africa has been referred to as quite many things, however, do you know that Africa is also the birthplace of both basic and advanced mathematics? The Evidence? The Lebombo bone estimated to be at least 35000 years was used to calculate menstrual cycles as well as lunar cycles. Similarly, the Ishango Bone was used to construct a numeral system that was used for multiplication and division. The Moscow papyrus found in Egypt, dated 2000 BC, contains several problems in arithmetic, geometry, and algebra. Over 700000 detailed manuscripts containing mathematical and astronomical content were also discovered at the Sankore, Timbuktu.AFRICA: THE BIRTHPLACE OF MATHEMATICS Africa has been referred to as quite many things. It has been called the birthplace of civilization, the ancestral home of all mankind as well as the origin of all languages spoken in the world today, however, do you know that Africa is also seen as the birthplace of both basic and advanced mathematics? Scientific evidence shows that before we had the calculator, our African ancestors had their own calculator! Here are some shocking facts about ancient African mathematics! In the Lebombo mountains, situated between South Africa and Swaziland, a unique piece of scientific evidence was discovered- The Lebombo bone. The Lebombo bone is estimated to be at least 35000 years old and derived from the fibula of a Baboon. On its body are 29 distinct markings which correspond to the lunar cycle. The choice of the bone of a Baboon was significant as the baboon was linked to Khonsu, (the ancient Egyptian god of the moon). The Lebombo bone was used to calculate menstrual cycles as well as lunar cycles, just like a handy calendar. A device similar to the Lebombo bone was discovered in the present-day Democratic Republic of Congo. It has come to be known as the Ishango Bone. This contraption dates back to at least 20,000 BC and was also made from the fibula of the Baboon. The Ishango bone has inscriptions on its surface similar to tally marks (notches). It is believed that the asymmetrically grouped notches are a sign that the implement was used to construct a numeral system or that it was used for multiplication and division. It is also speculated that the markings on the bone showed prime numbers and even numbers. Algebra has also been traced to ancient Africa from evidence written on the Moscow papyrus. Although it is called the Moscow papyrus, it is actually an ancient Egyptian mathematical papyrus. Dated in 2000 BC, this mathematical papyrus contains several problems in arithmetic, geometry, and algebra written in the hieratic form associated with the 13th dynasty in Kemet. It is currently held in the Pushkin state museum in Moscow. Similar to the Moscow Papyrus, is the "Rhind" Mathematical papyrus dated 1650 BC. It was discovered during excavations at the Ramesseum in southern Egypt. It contains 20 arithmetic problems including addition, multiplication of fractions, and 20 algebraic problems including linear equations. Also contained in this papyrus are calculations of volume or rectangular and cylindrical granaries, area of a triangle as well as an octagon. It is currently housed in the British Museum. Housed in one of the world's oldest universities (sankore), located at Timbuktu in Mali are over 700000 detailed manuscripts containing mathematical and astronomical content. These were buried in the basements, attics, and underground the Sankore to prevent European raiders from stealing or destroying them. These documents among others are proof that Africa is more than just the birthplace of civilization, but also the birthplace of mathematics.

21 Jun 2021
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EDUCATION& TECHNOLOGY

MELANIN CHEMISTRY

Melanin and Melanin popping is a trending cool phrase and reality that has majestically gained its way into mainstream entertainment and pop culture. The Melanin popping hashtags on social media would almost make up an ocean. The huge celebration of melanin seemingly dawned magically on the entire universe as it should, because for years melanin and melanin-loaded people have ignorantly been stigmatized and made to feel ashamed while it should have never been so. Melanin is a biological magic and protective blessing of nature responsible for much of skin color in humans, especially dark skin. And beautiful dark skin is synonymous with only Africa! Nothing speaks Africa as much as the dark melanin-popping brown skin girl. But just what is melanin, is melanin worth all the hyping, is it worth the international mesmerizing and sensational waves it's making. The simple answer is found in the chemistry of melanin and it is a firm positive! Melanin is a chemical produced in our body by skin cells called melanocytes. Melanin is a naturally occurring pigment that comes in several forms, it exists in a broad spectrum of pigments found in hair follicles, eyes, on the epidermis (the lowest layer of the skin), and other vital organs of most organisms. It does not exist in the skin alone. The chemical constituents of melanin include a mixture of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. The chemical formula of melanin is C18H10N2O4, giving melanin a molecular weight, or molar mass, of 318 grams per mole (g/mol). A mole of Melanin is a three-dimensional configuration of over 200 individual atoms. Melanin is a life chemical with charges, its absence or deficiency in the body could pose serious skin conditions such as albinism, an autosomal recessive gene, or vitiligo. Melanin is produced in the body through a multistage chemical process known as Melanogenesis. In Melanogenesis, the chemical reactions and biosynthetic pathways where the oxidation of the amino acid tyrosine is followed by polymerization ends in the release of melanin into a specialized group of cells; the keratinocytes and the melanocytes The synthesis of melanin is followed by its storage in the melanosomes, a body within the melanocytes. Melanin comes in various spectrums but the most common type of melanin is eumelanin, the “good melanin’’. Melanin is one of the most significant, though not the only determining factor of skin color. When melanin is present in higher quantities, a darker, more brown skin color results, whereas a low level of melanin means lighter skin. The more melanin you have the darker you are, and the less melanin you have the lighter you are, this explains the melanin popping and glistening of the African skin. This difference in skin color due to the melanin content is determined by the level of chemical reaction and activeness of an individual’s melanocytes. Some people’s melanocytes are more active than those of others hence producing more melanin. Another melanin triumph for  Africa is its ability to protecting our skin from Ultraviolet rays (UV rays) that we get from the sun. Excess UV radiation is associated with an increased risk of malignant melanoma, a cancer of melanocytes (melanin cells), Which results in skin Cancer. But With more exposure to the sun, our bodies produce more melanin because it's melanin's job to protect us from the potentially harmful effects of excessive sunlight. The body's production is specific to our requirements. The more the pigment, the more is the protection from sun rays. That is why black skin has a lesser susceptibility to skin cancer when compared to lighter skin. Its presence in the nervous system, glands, brains, DNA, the intestines, heart, liver, and even plants sustain life. Asides from its deficiency, oxidative stress, an unhealthy diet, and low pH levels can reduce Melanin production in the body. Melanin also increases the transmission rate of neurons and signals throughout the body’s nervous system. Melanin in the blood circulative system of Blacks as well as other factors causes blood crystallization patterns positively different from Caucasians. These are some of the many reasons why Blacks have unique nutritional, medical, and dietary records and also needs. The perspective on skin tones especially from an international viewpoint has been restructured due to Africa discovering the magic chemistry of Melanin. Africans have chosen to showcase and celebrate this knowledge of the abilities and value of Melanin flowing in abundance in the African brown skin. It is a thing of pride as the African color, in all its shade is beautiful and worth celebrating every day!

11 May 2021