Wild Unicorn Herd

A POC/non-white/mixie nerd scrapbook. Because we’re awesome.





My next movie: www.powderroomfilms.com/afronauts

Ghanaian filmmaker Frances Bodomo (Director of the Sundance film Boneshaker starring Quvenzhane Wallis) is seeking support for her next film project, Afronauts. Based on a true story, Afronauts tells an alternative history of the 1960s Space Race:

It’s July 16th 1969 and, as America prepares to send Apollo 11 to the moon, a group of exiles in the Zambian desert are rushing to launch their rocket first.





Let’s help Frances get this baby made!



Abina and the important men: Getz and the new African history

Writing and analyzing the history of sub-Saharan Africa — especially the history prior to the decolonization of African countries and their emergence as independent nations — is especially difficult. Part of the reason of course lies with legacy. In the thrall of racism, either conscious or unconscious, historians prior to the early 1960s often imposes blatant biases and prejudices on African experience. Though not as flagrant in their abuses as, say, anthropologists, professional historians were often trapped in a manner of thinking that led them to conclude that Africans lacked their own histories.

If Africans did suffer from a deficit, the deficit was not history, but historical materials of the conventional sort: records, diaries, letters, reports, and the like. Such staples of literate societies were absent for various reasons in the sub-Saharan. And the records which did exist often were generated by colonizers and adventurers, interlopers with an agenda that rarely included fairness to Africans — or the impulse to document their authentic voices.

A new generation of historians of Africa are building into their scholarship innovative and creative ways of giving voice to the African voiceless. One of the most spectacular examples of such scholarship is the new book, Abina and the Important Men, by historian Trevor Getz, of San Francisco State University.

Drawing extensively on the trial transcript of a Ghanaian woman illegally enslaved in the 1870s by another Ghanaian, Getz creates a deeply informed and revelatory work of narrative history and nuanced interpretation. Treating his book as a mosaic of independent elements, he even enlists the help of a talented graphic artist to create a beautifully-drawn 75-page “graphic history” that seems ideal for pre-university students. When the graphic story is paired with the actual trial transcript, which Getz found in Ghana, and with lucid essays by Getz on the historical context of the trial and a “reading guide” that explores the “authenticity” of his own narrative, Abina and the Important Men presents a stunning multi-faceted experience of an African past that remains so foggy as to appear to be irretrievably lost. While prominent gaps in the evidence and his narrative and analysis remain, Getz tries to compensate in an unusually interesting ways. His big-hearted and perceptive “letter to the reader,” which opens Abina and the Important Men is worth quoting at length — for its insights into how creative scholars are trying to address a crisis of relevance, not only of African history but for the field of history in general:

Abina and the Important Men is one of a number of projects that seeks to find a middle ground between scholarly and popular histories of regular people. [My book] is not a work of historical fiction, but instead a history because it aims for accuracy and authenticity even while recognizing that all historical works are at some level speculative and subjective. It is neither completely celebratory not holly critical; instead it attempts to show how these two impulses can be linked together…. [R]ather than seeking to be the final authorities on this story, we invite the reader to … see this work as a conversation we are having with Abina Mansah.”

Bringing African voices of the past, into the present, is a project of great significance. May Abina and the Important Men inspire more multi-dimensional studies of this sort.


Hi Cosmic Yoruba! I have a question regarding Africa and you seem to be very knowledgeable about Africa. Do you know what the naming system is like among African tribes? Were surnames in existence prior to the colonization by Europeans? I’ve heard that in some tribes, last names didn’t exist. Did people go by the name of their tribe or clan, in addition to their personal/given name like how we do in the west? Thanks!

To answer you question. There is a giant tree that grows in the middle of Africa. This tree is miraculous because it sprouts leaves with names on them. When African parents have children, they travel to this tree to pluck a leaf and name their children after what is written on the leaf.

Ah, maybe I should take you seriously and you’re just naive. Do you know how many “tribes” exist in Africa? In Nigeria alone there are over 200, so how exactly am I supposed to know what the naming system is like “among African tribes”. Do you think that there are any people in this world who did not refer to themselves by some sort of name? That in pre-colonial Africa, people just danced and pointed at folks to get their attention?

Or you can just use this all-knowing powerful source, you’ll learn a lot from it.

cosmicyoruba's answers are the best.


Why Vikings and Scots and THE REST OF EUROPE should not be portrayed as only white folk!



An African king named Gormund ruled Ireland during the Anglo-Saxon period in England reports the medieval historian Geoffrey of Monmouth. 

Halfdan the Black was the first Africoid king to unite Norway. 

When the British Isles were invaded by the Vikings some of these Norse raiders were Africoid.  In fact, different varieties of ‘Viking’ Africans lived in Scandinavia during the middle ages and are frequently mentioned in Viking sagas. 

There were Black Huns!  The dictionary describes the Huns as “a fierce barbaric race of Asiatic nomads who led by Attila, ravaged Europe I the 4th and 5th centuries A.D.”  The Gothic writer Jordannes described their infamous leader, Attila the Hun as having “a flat nose and swarthy complexion.”  He describes the types of Huns he had seen as “of dark complexion, almost black… broad shoulder, flat noses and small eyres.” 

The African Moors dominated southwest Europe during the
 Middle Ages for 700 years: 711-1492 A.D. African Moors ruling southwest Europe centuries, darkened whites in this area, especially Portal, which was “the first example of a Negrito (African) republic in Europe?” 

Moors ruling Scotland in the 10th century mixed with whites until the black skin color disappeared.


Black Celts (Silures) & Black Vikings vexed with the Scandinavia people.  A prominent Viking of the eleventh century was Thorhall, who was aboard the ship that carried the early Vikings to the shores of North America. Thorhall was “the huntsman in summer and in winter the steward of Eric the Red.  He was a large man and strong, black, and like a giant, silent, and foul-mouthed in his speech, and always egged on Eric to the worst; he was a bad Christian.”

Another Viking, more notable than Thorhall, was Earl Thorfinn, “the most distinguished of all the earls in the Islands.”  Thorfinn ruled over nine earldoms in Scotland and Ireland, and died at the age of seventy-five.  His widow married the king of Scotland. Thorfinn was described as “one of the largest men in point of stature, and ugly, sharp featured, and somewhat tawny, and the most martial looking man. It has been related that he was the foremost of all his men.”

The black blood type is common even in Nordic Europe where intermixing has been happening since antiquity. 

Black slavery lasted in England for about 400 years (1440-1834), during which time much intermixing occurred.

(more at the link)

In other words: yes, there should be PoC in movies that take place in Europe in any time period.

; ; none of this is well researched! That link is mostly a bunch of made up things @_@!! The original “knights” of England were Black! —including the knights of King Arthur’s Round Table!  That’s why they were called “knights” after the night or darkness of their skin. <—- @_@ WHAT. No that’s…not the etymology of that word AT ALL. Knight is from the Old English for servant @__@ What. It has no connection to the word for “night” at all, which has a Greek and Latin origin in nyx/nox.

Vikings like to go around and set up colonies. Gormund was from an African settlement by the vikings in North Africa, these dudes were white but yeah they probably made out with some black people.

Halfdan the Black was called that because he had black hair (just like Eric the Red). Same goes with Thorhall and Thorfinn, black hair, not black skin.

Attila the Hun was probably more like Asian + Middle Eastern.

Moors were a large presence in medieval Europe, yes, this is one of the few things that are correct here.

I don’t understand the impulse here for “black vikings”. Those guys weren’t particularly nice or anything, why would you want them to be a part of your culture? Vikings were raiders, not some bastions of civilization. This desire for inclusion in these cultures only gives them more prominence. Vikings would invade Roman settlements and then leave all the Roman stuff instead of replacing it with their own thing (Roman bathhouses, for example).

I have no idea where this person is getting the “black people took over Scotland” idea. What. No one wants Scotland or Ireland. It’s the other way around. People from those places invaded Roman settlements. Rome built a wall (Hadrian’s Wall) just to keep them out. It was not worth their time and effort to conquer those areas. Seriously, stop givign a shit about Europe so much, especially NORTHERN Europe. All the cool stuff was happening in Italy, Spain and France in the middle ages. Which is where, surprise, all the black people went. But people ignore those places in favor of this Anglo-Saxon view focusing on what the Vikings were doing, what were the Saxons doing, etc…  If you’re going to move to somewhere, why would you move to a place that has fewer resources??? Why would Africans go out of their way to conquer some people while on the way passing a bunch of way nicer places?

Is it the castle thing? Do you want castles? Black people made castles.


This is a castle in Gondar, Ethiopia, built circa 1600 CE.


this is “Great Zimbabwe” from the 11th century BCE. 


not old enough? here’s a temple from Ethiopia circa 800 BCE


Nubian pyramids in what is present day Sudan.

Africans didn’t give a shit about Vikings, ok? They didn’t need them.

But they WERE in Europe, times a million. I just don’t like seeing this sort of thing to loop back around to disregarding poc accomplishments.

"Is it the castle thing? Do you want castles?"

lol, anyone after 1200 CE treating Geoffrey of Monmouth as a legitimate source


Byline Beat’s Shanley Knox Sits Down With Evelyn Namara

In today’s interview Shanley Knox of Byline Beat discusses the growing effects of information communication technologies in Africa with Evelyn Namara. The two discuss Evelyn’s recent trip to the United States, mobile apps improving day to day lives in Africa and the community that it has helped cultivate.

Shanley Knox’s five piece series on ‘How Communication and Technology are Changing the Faces of Africa’ can be found on Byline Beat and you can also find her on Twitter at @ShanleyKnox.

Special thanks to Evelyn Namara who can be found online at http://EvelynNamara.com and on Twitter at @enamara.




Hi. I know this is slightly outside of the realm of this blog, but I could really use your help. Can you recommend any books about daily life in medieval sub-saharan Africa? Anything about how people lived on the ground, day to day, in the Ghana/Mali/Songhai empires, would be incredible. There are so many books about the daily lives of Ancient Egyptians, and so few about the regular lives of the REST of the continent.

Short of that (a difficult request, I know), know any good books on contemporary daily rural/tribal life (basically, outside of cities) in sub-saharan Africa? If you could point in me in the right direction, I would be greatly appreciative.

Thanks, for both your help, and for running this great (and much needed) blog.

Not sure about this one if anyone knows please help baltimoresci-fi out

Hey, researchy people! Anyone?

The success of “District 9” has paved the way for more African-made sci-fi movies which all sound better than “District 9”. »

Zoo City (an adaptation of Lauren Beukes’s book), Tok Tokkie and The Windmill are all South African projects; I dunno about the Who Fears Death movie, which is based off a book by a Nigerian-American author, has an American producer and Kenyan director, and is set in far-future Sudan.

Via io9.