Miriam “Zenzi” Makeba was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1932 to parents Caswell and Christina Makeba. During the time of her birth the country was facing an economic depression and apartheid. At the age of 18 days Miriam and her mother were imprisoned for illegally brewing beer; her mother was only trying to make sure her children had food to eat. In 1948 South African Prime Minister Daniel Malan made segregation legal, which was oppressive to the South Africans in their own land. Makeba’s father moved their family to Prospect Township which is located just outside of Johannesburg. The Township was rundown without electricity and mostly populated with poor people.
The South American countries of Suriname and French Guiana are home to many groups of people called Maroons who are African people that escaped slavery and created their own societies. The Saramaka People are one of six groups of Maroons who inhabit the two countries, the Ndyuka, Matawari, Paramaka, Aluku, and Kwinti are the other five groups of Maroons; together these six groups of people make up the largest remaining collection of Maroons in the world. The Saramaka are comprised of several Central and Western African cultures who were enslaved by the Dutch and Portuguese to work on plantations that produced sugar, coffee and timber. In the 17th and 18th centuries individuals, as well as groups of African people escaped their plantations and created Maroon societies, the Saramaka being one of the societies. Information suggests that in 1690, a mass of Africans escaped slavery and created the first Saramaka society. Escaping into the dense forest of Suriname and settling along the Suriname River, they organized a society to protect themselves and their freedom against Dutch slavers.
Abram Petrovich Gannibal was born between 1667 and 1669 in the city of Logon near the Mareb River. It is said the city of Logon was located in Eretria, information also exist that suggests Logon was located in Cameroon. Gannibal is said the have been the son of a Prince before he was kidnapped by enemies of a rival culture and taken to Turkey at the age of eight. He was kidnapped again and taken to Moscow, Russia where he would leave his mark on history. Gannibal was sold to the Russian Czar Peter the Great; he was so well-liked that the Czar allowed Gannibal to shadow him during his daily governmental affairs. Gannibal developed a love for math and engineering during his early years of school. His knowledge and gifts were used to construct the fortress town of Kronstadt which was also used as a naval port. Gannibal studied engineering in Paris, France at the request of Peter the Great. He would live in France for six years, during his time he joined the French army. He became a commander and engineer lieutenant in the French army during the Spanish war of the Czar’s Guard.
On the Shoulders of Giants
The mission of On the Shoulders of Giants, Inc. is to provide an innovative and informative approach to educating middle school, high school, college age and young adults, about the history , culture, influence and impact of the heroes and culture of the African diaspora.