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Euro 2020: Blacks in the European Nations’ Cup by Lambert Mbom.

The 2020 European Nations’ soccer jamboree enters its second phase today with the knock off round of 16. Given Europe’s checkered history with Africa especially with respect to colonialism and racism, it seems fitting to enjoy the beauty of the European competition within the backdrop of the current Black Lives Matter Movement and anti-racial sentiments. How is Europe fighting racism, neocolonialism through its much-coveted soccer competition is a question whose answer is blowing in the wind.

It seems worthwhile mentioning in passing that the corporate world’s penchant or seeming pivot to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is not applicable to such realities. Notice that of all the teams participating at the European Nations Tournament there is not a single African coaching any of them. Fast forward to 2022 when Africa will hold a similar competition, the African Nations Cup and more than half of the coaches would be European and/or white and majority of the African players will be coming from Europe based clubs. One has often had to ask what is African about the African Nations’ Cup?

It seems fitting to attempt to scratch the surface of this million “M-PESA” question by looking at the players of the teams and the countries they represent. Today’s matches will feature four teams namely Wales vs Denmark and Italy vs Austria.

Wales

Wales is part of the United Kingdom that comprises England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Outside the world of soccer not much is known about Wales apart from its rich culture, especially its language. Interestingly, there is a Wales-Africa partnership detailed in the following document: https://gov.wales/sites/default/files/publications/2020-11/wales-and-africa.pdf According to this publication, “Wales has been developing and deepening community or institution based links and partnerships with sub-Saharan Africa”

“The African community in Wales, which hails from a number of countries including Somaliland, Nigeria, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, plays an important role in building and sustaining these relationships particularly through the Sub-Sahara Advisory Panel. A significant and increasing number of people come from sub-Saharan Africa to work in our health and social care services often maintaining strong links with their homeland.”

“To this end, we fund and partner with a civil society partnership operating under the umbrella of Hub Cymru Africa who are able to offer that critical support and tailor it towards different specialist groups ranging from bodies operating in health and education to those working on climate change and equalities issues to diaspora groups”

The current Welsh squad has two players with African genealogy namely Ethan Ampadu who is the son of Kwame Ampadu and is of Ghanaian parentage. Born in Exeter, he currently plays for Chelsea while Benjamin Cabango born in Cardiff and has Angolan heritage. There is Tyler D’Whyte Roberts of Jamaican heritage too.

Denmark

The roster of Denmark has one African namely Yussuf Poulsen 27-year-old born in Copenhagen to a Tanzanian father and a Danish mother. He currently plays for the German side RB Leipzig. There is a large presence of Africans in Denmark. There is a Danish embassy in Algeria, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Morocco and Nigeria.

History records reveal that Danes were involved in the slave trade from the mid-17th century until the 19th century. Randi Marselis notes in his essay “Descendants of slaves”

From the beginning of the 17th century Denmark took part in the Transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans by shipping them and establishing forts on the African Gold Coast (now Ghana). Later the colony of the Danish West Indies, was established on the three Caribbean Islands, St Thomas (from 1671), St John (from 1718) and St Croix(from 1733) and the slavery system functioned until emancipation in 1848. The Islands stayed under Danish rule until 1917 when they were sold to the US and renamed U.S. Virgin Islands. Due to the sale of the islands, Denmark has never received a substantial flow of immigrants from its former slave colonies as has been the case in Great Britain and Netherlands where descendants of enslaved Africans can be said to have formed minority group

Paul Tizibong Atang honors Msgr. Patrick Lafon’s legacy. By Lambert Mbom

Three months after the passing to eternity of Msgr. Patrick Lafon, American business magnate and philanthropist, Paul Atang recently donated lifesaving medical equipment to the St Blaise Catholic hospital, Mankon in the archdiocese of Bamenda, Cameroon.

COVID19 exposed and exacerbated the huge health deficits of healthcare systems especially in Africa and while the tsunami of deaths many feared would sweep through Africa did not come to fruition, its tragedy continues to reverberate.

The lack of oxygen at the St Blaise hospital, a few meters away from Fr Lafon’s residence on the hallowed Cathedral grounds led to his demise given that by the time he got to the Regional hospital in Bamenda, it was late. Learning about this, that one who had dedicated his entire life serving God’s people would exit so unceremoniously moved Paul to tears and catapulted him to action.

He immediately set out to work and sought first to establish the whys and wherefores and discovered the dire needs of the budding hospital. Upon receiving a laundry list of things that this hospital needed, Atang had the privilege of his classmate Dr Moka Lantum, a medical doctor, cum social entrepreneur based in Nairobi, Kenya, offering his expertise to guide the selection of appropriate medical devices. Not only did he make the selection, but also availed of his business acumen to handle the logistics of obtaining this equipment.

On Wednesday May 26th, 23 boxes full of medical equipment arrived Bamenda and the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Bamenda, the Very Rev William Neba in awe and admiration at the magnanimity of Mr. Atang received the donation.  

“What else but immense gratitude to Paul for coming to the aid of the less privileged. Many lives will be saved by the generosity of Paul,” noted Fr Neba.

The consignment of goods includes one transport ventilator, four oxygen concentrators, 197 oxygen concentrator accessories, four vital sign monitors, five suction machines and five pulse oxymeters all purchased brand new and cleared at the Douala port at cut throat custom duties.

“Our intention is that if only one person can be saved as a result of this gesture, then we would have achieved what we set out to do,” declared Mr. Atang.

Archbishop Nkea, archbishop of Bamenda unavoidably absent due to pastoral commitments in Kom received the gifts officially on Wednesday June 3rd and handed them over to the matron, Sr Therese Bih and staff of St Blaise hospital. St Blaise hospital is managed by the Sisters of St Therese of the child Jesus.

“Amen to God Almighty we give all the glory. We are merely instruments He uses at His Will to achieve His Divine Desires,”   Mr. Atang wrote in a message to the Vicar General.

Mr. Paul Atang is the owner of Capital Care Inc – a renowned healthcare provider within the District of Columbia and Maryland that employs over 600 Africans and African Americans. It has had the enviable distinction of providing superlative services, maintaining excellence and integrity. True to the philosophy of the company he leads, these gifts are from “Gentle hearts and hands that care.”

Mr. Atang Paul is a “son of the soil’ with intimate roots to the Cathedral parish. His great grand father served as the first catechist of the cathedral parish. One cannot fail to notice that Mr. Atang’s unalloyed generosity brings home Pope Francis’ message on the 29th World Day of the Sick celebrated last February 11, 2021 where he noted: The theme of this Day is drawn from the Gospel passage in which Jesus criticizes the hypocrisy of those who fail to practise what they preach (cf. Mt 23:1-12). When our faith is reduced to empty words, unconcerned with the lives and needs of others, the creed we profess proves inconsistent with the life we lead. The danger is real. That is why Jesus uses strong language about the peril of falling into self-idolatry. He tells us: “You have but one teacher and you are all brothers”(v. 8).                                                                                                                                                

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