Rooti dolls are HERE!

Meet the Rooti dolls! Talking African figures wearing colourful clothes challenge racial stereotypes by breaking the Barbie mould

  • Dolls created by Chris and Ada Ngoforo who felt their children did not know enough about their roots
  • The couple have now made 12 dolls from different African countries
  • Each doll can speak a range of different African languages


PUBLISHED:  13 March 2013

A range of dolls have been created to help children of African origin to stay in touch with their heritage. The dolls were created by Chris and Ada Ngoforo, from London, who were concerned their children did not know about their West African roots. They decided to take matters into their own hands and what started off as a project to help their family, has now transformed into a business venture.

Ama is described as a 'bubbling dynamic girl' whose 'dream is to be a doctor someday,' says the company's website. She speaks the Ghanaian languages of Twi, Ga, Ewe and Krobo
Nubya is originally from Cape-Town whose parents moved to London years before her birth, say her creators. The doll is programmed to speak Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho, and Afrikaans

Ama is described as a ‘bubbling dynamic girl’ according to the company’s website and speaks the Ghanaian languages of Twi, Ga, Ewe and Krobo while Nubya, whose parents moved to London from Cape Town years before her birth, is programmed to speak Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho, and Afrikaans. They have launched their own range of toys, called Rooti Dolls, which are programmed to speak in several native African languages. The couple have now made 12 dolls from different African countries.

Chris Ngoforo told CNN: ‘We observed that over 90 per cent of children born or living in the diaspora and millions in Africa do not speak or understand their mother tongues.’Our research made us understand that the reason for this is not because our children don’t want to learn their mother tongues, but more because there are not many essential tools that can easily be both educational and fun at the same time.’

Shiroh, of Kenyan and Somali mixed origin can speak a range of languages, including Swahili, Kikuyu and Luganda
Keza parents are from Zimbabwe and Zambia, so she can speak Shona, Ndebele, Bemba, and Nyanja

Shiroh  of Kenyan and Somali origin can speak Swahili, Kikuyu and Luganda while Keza whose parents are originally from Zimbabwe and Zambia can speak Shona, Ndebele, Bemba, and Nyanja, according to the dolls’ creators.

Rooti Dolls was set up by Chris and Ada Ngoforo who were concerned their children were losing touch with their West African roots
Rooti Dolls was set up by Chris and Ada Ngoforo who were concerned their children were losing touch with their West African roots. Among the dolls is Nina, who can speak Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa and Ibibio and loves to watch ‘Nollywood’ – popular term for Nigerian movies. Then there is Ama, who dreams to be a doctor, and can speak the Ghanaian languages of Twi, Ga, Ewe and Krobo.The couple hope the dolls will breakdown stereotypes and provide a more accurate representation of black people.

Debbie Behan Garrett, author of ‘The Definitive Guide to Collecting Black Dolls’, said: ‘Today’s black dolls have evolved from negative caricatures to play-scale representations of haute couture fashion models and other positive images of babies, toddlers and adult black people.’



$765 billion spent annually by Black consumers never touches Black businesses or Black communities

‘Twas the day after Christmas and all through the house, no people were stirring, not even the computer mouse. Handmade jewelry maker Cloeta Sterling thinks that’s because they’re all at the mall buying things either with their own money or gift money.

“People say Black Friday is the best day to shop but I disagree. It’s the two days after Christmas,” insists Sterling.

Black-owned businesses are turning to high tech to boost their bottom line.

She says shoppers armed with gift cards, return items, and newly acquired money pack the malls and swarm the streets.

“It’s when the smart bargain hunters come out to buy stuff at prices up to 75% off.”

Sterling a retired merchandise manager for a national chain says, after Christmas Sales offer some of the lowest prices of the entire fiscal year!

Most retailers start slashing prices on December 26 because they need to clear as much of their inventory as possible before the New Year.

Surrounded by four large containers brimming with ethnic beads including Czech, African and tribal beads, gemstones, silver wire, jewelry making tools, displays, packing and a cell phone, Sterling is on a mission to boost her bottom line and direct some of that money to small businesses in the African American community.

With a simple twice daily text alert Sterling is offering her handmade jewelry and the kind of personal service she says you won’t find at Macy’s.

“A text alert is a highly effective way for customers to interact directly with the entrepreneur who is providing a service or selling a product.” She said shoppers can often receive prices that are significantly more affordable than other alternatives. The challenge Sterling says is convincing Black consumers that “Buying Black” is good for communities of color.

“Black consumers routinely drive pass struggling Black-owned businesses to get to the major malls where they often pay more and get less. It’s a characteristic of the Black community,” said Sterling.

“What we are saying is ‘Buying Black’ has additional benefits to include boosting employment in communities of color, creating health and wellness options, and providing role models and networks for other businesses and start-ups.”

According to Target Market News, there is $850 billion moving through Black consumers’ hands each year, with 90 percent of that amount going to businesses owned and controlled by non-Black businesses. That is a vast amount of revenue that never makes its way to the African American community.

On the flip side of the coin, however, comes bleak statistics pointing to a noticeable lack of support from Black consumers in keeping those Black-owned businesses afloat. Despite significant growth in employment and earnings, Black-owned businesses generated just 0.5 percent of all receipts in 2007, the Census report says.

Based on the special report “African American Consumers: Still Vital, Still Growing” released by Nielsen and the National Newspaper Publishers Association, the African American consumer exerts a large influence on popular culture and trends. The number of Blacks in America has reached almost 43 million. The collective buying power of this population is projected to reach $1.1 trillion by 2015. There are also unique generational characteristics, gender buying behaviors, and cultural distinctions within this market segment.

Critics of the “Buy Black” campaign say tapping into Black dollars is easier said than done.

In open letter to aspiring African American business owners, Khadija Nassif of Black Economic warns that structuring their businesses around African American consumers can be tricky if not downright disastrous.

“I would invite all aspiring Black business owners to look around at the wreckage of most businesses that tried to do business in Black residential areas as visibly Black-owned businesses.”

The primary reason is that African-American consumers don’t want to see visibly Black-owned businesses succeed. The only partial exceptions to this rule were African American owned hair salons and barbershops,” wrote Nassif.

Sterling admits that cultural barriers often prevent sustainability once those businesses have been created.

“This is not to say Blacks should purchase goods and services solely from Black owned businesses. That’s unrealistic. But to sit on the sidelines and do nothing is worst,” said Sterling. That’s why she is preaching the benefits of high tech.

According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, minorities are not only gaining access to the Web, we’re doing it without necessarily having to access a desktop or a laptop.

While African Americans might not being using desktops to access the Web, the mobile sector is a whole new ballgame. According to the report, Latinos and blacks are more likely to own a mobile phone than whites and outpace whites in mobile app use.

Sterling says you can text someone a product or sales alert save money on expensive ad campaigns and create a following based on a personalized messaging – say to African American women.

Take the text message that caught Felicia’s eye.

“A LiL’ Ebony Sparkle for Movers, Shakers and Rainmakers!”

A follow up message read: “For the ones who make it happen, who accomplish great things without losing sight of the important things!”

The message got her attention said the Ontario hospital executive. “That’s me. It spoke to my African roots.”

Felicia was looking for a unique piece of jewelry to wear to a formal holiday dance.

“I didn’t want to see myself coming,” she said of the dazzling earrings handmade of bone, brass, silver and African beads she purchased in November.

The text alerts have also garnered additional sales this month, all of them from African American professionals.

Sterling says although making and selling handmade jewelry can be a lucrative business, it’s also a highly competitive one. She says Black business owners face persist barriers from lending institutions and venture capitalists.

“The business environment can be extremely hostile to even the best prepared, savvy professionals with well structured business models. Some professions are simply un-welcoming to African American entrepreneurship,” said Sterling. “That’s reality.”


P.S.-   To the best of your ability support Black-owned businesses the world over.  All year long of course. 

Open relationships: Part of the cure?

Will open relationships cure the ‘great black love scare’?

by Demetria Irwin | December 19, 2011 at 12:33 PM

Let’s pretend for a moment that the idiotic ‘Great Black Love Scare’ never happened. (The Great Black Love Scare is the approximately 10,589 articles written about the alleged inevitability of spinsterhood for an entire generation of black women.) Those skewed statistics have been exposed as fraudulent many times over by now. But let’s just say that none of that ever happened and there was never any panic among black women about the possibility of finding a lifelong partner.

So now, would you ever seriously consider having an open relationship? The reason I wanted to take out the Great Black Love Scare is because, as far as this conversation is concerned, I don’t want an open relationship to be seen as a last resort or last ditch effort to keep a man…any man. Would you be open to an open relationship just on its on merits? Some celebs seem to have gone that route.

Academy Award winning actress Mo’Nique told Barbara Walters in a 2010 interview that although she has only slept with her husband since she jumped the broom, her husband could step outside of the marriage and she would stay.

“Let me say this: I have not had sex outside my marriage with Sidney. Could Sid have sex outside of his marriage with me? Yes. That’s not a deal-breaker. That’s not something that would make us say, ‘Pack your things and let’s end the marriage.’”

Will Smith and his wife Jada have both made comments that suggest they are in an open marriage and even the much heralded marriage of Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee included a period where being with other people was okay. They discussed that subject in the book they penned together.

“It occurred to us, from observation and reasoning, that extramarital sex was not what really destroyed marriages, but rather the lies and deception that invariably accompanied it — that was the culprit. So we decided to give ourselves permission to sleep with other partners if we wished — as long as what we did was honest as well as private, and that neither of us exposed the family to scandal or disease.” (With Ossie and Ruby: In This Life Together, HarperCollins, 2000) Ruby Dee eventually went on to say that the open marriage thing didn’t really work for them and they did go back to a more traditional monogamous marriage.

Not everyone who dabbles in open marriage goes back to the traditional route though. From looking at the “reality” shows devoted to the significant others of professional athletes and other big timers, it seems that some of these women have (begrudgingly) accepted infidelity as part of the package. They seem to take the MC Lyte “Georgie Porgie” stance.

“As long as he was smart and kept his girls in check/Made sure I never saw them and showed me respect/He didn’t have to be loyal like men should be/I don’t care about the other girls, just be good to me.”

Some argue that a completely monogamous marriage is a fairytale and completely unrealistic. But it seems that a lot of times, when an “open marriage” is the topic of conversation, it’s usually just the man doing whatever (and whomever) he pleases and the wife choosing not to squawk about it. But a truly open marriage would entail both the husband and the wife having the license to sleep with other people.

Attraction to others does not magically cease once a marriage certificate is signed. How we deal with that attraction plays a big factor in how such a scenario impacts our marriages. People in open marriages rationalize such behavior by having “rules” (no overnight stays for instance) and relying on the notion that physically being with someone else does not in any way minimize the love one has for a life-long partner.

I agree that physical and romantic activities can be two very separate things, but please believe, that given enough time, they always collide. A “purely physical relationship” for any extended amount of time always (and I mean always) ends with someone catching feelings one way or another. Someone either wants to take it further or someone feels cheapened/shortchanged by the whole process. There’s always a casualty, especially when such encounters involve a long-term partnership.

So, putting that in the context of a marriage, what’s the point in being married if such a relationship is allowed to intrude upon the marriage? For women married to professional athletes and other rich and powerful men, the largest perk seems to be the guaranteed lifestyle and the public image (though some still chuck deuces).

But for every Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant or former President Bill Clinton, there are 20 guys who are regular Joe Schmoes working at car factories, consulting firms and law offices who don’t have that level of prestige associated with their names or public image. Many women have implicitly agreed to open marriages/relationships by virtue of staying.

To each his/her own, I suppose. What say you Grio fam? Could you see yourself engaging in an open relationship? If so, what types of rules would you impose on such an arrangement?

heart        Kenya Stevens’ (aka JujuMama) interview with a few couples about open relationships & more. Some of what’s shared resonates with me. Not all of it though.

So what do I say? To each their own. To be honest I wonder about the sustainability of these relationships. On a whole do they benefit our communities? I also think about the children that are part of these families. Hmmm. How do they experience it all? What do they have to say?

Breadfruit baby! I sure am!

Breadfruit: The Next Superfood To End World Hunger?

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 11/14/2013 12:47 pm EST  |

breadfruit world hunger

Move over kale, there’s a new superfood in town and it’s here to end world hunger.

The could-be hero is called breadfruit although it doesn’t really seem like a fruit at all. It’s large with prickly skin and tastes like a baked potato or — you guessed it — bread when prepared.

Breadfruit grows on tall trees in tropical areas like Hawaii, Samoa, and the Caribbean. It’s high in energy from carbohydrates, low in fat, and has more potassium than 10 bananas.

But how will this tropical fruit feed the world?

According to the National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG), more than 80% of the world’s hungry live in tropical or subtropical regions — the type of environment that is perfect for growing breadfruit trees. These trees are very easy to maintain and can bear an abundance of fruit for decades.

Organizations like Global Breadfruit and NTBG’s Breadfruit Institute are dedicated to promoting the superfood and spreading it to areas of the world that need it most. “Every time we plant one of these trees, we’re reducing the susceptibility to famine and starvation in the country where the tree is going,” said Josh Schneider a horticulturist and partner to Global Breadfruit.

Schneider has been working with the botanical scientists and the Breadfruit Institute in Hawaii to reproduce breadfruit trees and send them off to some of the world’s poorest areas. The trees have already been introduced to Haiti with the help of theTrees That Feed Foundationwhere the newly planted breadfruit trees are feeding at least 1,000 orphans every day.

Breadfruit, also known as ulu, has been feeding the Hawaiian and Polynesian islands for centuries. An ancient Hawaiian legend tells the story of a god named Ku, who saved his family from starvation by burying himself in the ground and emerging as a healthy breadfruit tree.

Maybe breadfruit can solve the world’s hunger problem, too.
Learn more about how to help the breadfruit distribution efforts by visiting theBreadfruit InstituteGlobal Breadfruit, and Trees That Feed Foundation.

 P.S.- This is nothing new to us. Breadfruit trees grow all over the tropics. Mmmmm!


Solstice traditions: Tree decorating

Never thought Afrikan-centred folks decorated trees for the winter solstice or Christmas/Ka-Rast Mass? Well think again.  It’s a tradition that some look forward to each & every year.  If you’re considering doing the same you may want to employ green practices ie. using a tree/hedge in your yard. Why not reuse the same  lights and decorations each year? Or have 2-3 sets so you can alternate them from year to year.   Love tree lighting parties? Alright now! Don’t hesitate to have your own.   Tips for a tree decorating party. Here’s more:    Set the mood by playing your favourite Christmas/solstice music.         Queen Imakhu speaks about the Kemetic roots of tree decorating  & more. It’s best to watch the whole series.


P.S.-  Yeye Luisah Teish’s book talks about this and lots more.

Dec.25 is …

Heru’s earthday or Ka-Rast Mass (aka Christmas) for some folks.  We celebrate the return of the sun and the Divine child (Heru) within us all.  Immaculate conception? Yes.

nativity    Ashra Kwesi talks about Heru’s earthday     Scroll down to the Christmas clip Queen Imakhu gives you a taste of her celebrations. Tree decorating & more. Check out the entire series if possible.    Ka-Rast Mass

Womb wellness: Sacred moon time

Have you noticed that many sistahs struggle with menstruation? Cramps, bloating, mood swings.  Girlfriends, your moon time can be something to look forward to. It’s meant to be a time of rest.  Better believe it! Take time out and slow down as much as possible. Get those naps in. Note your dreams. Here are a few other tips:

  • Eat well (ideally whole vegan foods). Include lots of raw foods especially greens & seaweeds. Green bananas, okra, yams are awesome womb foods. Superfoods, whole food supplements, herbs are a must. Stay away from drugs & alcohol.
  • Exercise on a regular. Sweat, sweat, sweat!
  • Be very mindful of who you sleep with.
  • Try to wear 100% cotton underwear.
  • Minimize your salt/seaweed intake (especially leading up to/during your menses).
  • Take women’s wellness and nettle teas throughout the month. Drink the teas at least every other day. ie.
  • Drink 6-8 glasses of water daily.
  • Use natural birth control. Condoms when necessary.
  • Fast once a week. Fresh juices, water.
  • Do the Het-Heru dance on a  regular.
  • Keep the wearing of heels and tight clothing to a minimum.
  • Develop a daily yoga practice. My favourite is Kemetic yoga. Note: Some postures aren’t meant to be done while your period is on.
  • Eat very lightly during menses. Lots of raw foods. Minimize starches.
  • Consume PMS tea (consistently for 7-10 days) prior to the onset of menstruation. ie.
  • Enjoy some cocoa 1-2 days before moon time. Consuming it around ovulation may be helpful too. Think: chocolate bars, milk (homemade or bought), cocoa tea etc.
  • Think positively.
  • Use pads like or
  • Lay low on sweets and junk food.
  • Maintain healthy relationships. Toxic vibes? Don’t create ’em. Don’t stand for ’em.
  • If you’re the main cook/uncook (heehee) in the house ask your partner to cover the meals until moon time is over.

rest    I am Womb meditation    A woman’s perspective on how to get rid of cramps    Menarche & more    Spiritual significance of moontime    Moontime in Himba culture  Info. on  vaginal steams


P.S. – Looking for resources? Check out all of Queen Afua’s books. is a great help too.

Our daughters: A coming-of-age celebration

Great news!! A family just welcomed their daughter into womanhood.  The ritual was performed soon after her first moon (aka period). Check this out to get a sense of what took place. Beautiful stuff!!

1. Purification of the home

2. Our daughter was in her room with her  “initiation” group  getting ready.  These girls were either dressed in white (pre-pubescent), or red  (pubescent).

3. Purification ritual with the Mama-Matriarchs (menstruating and menopausal/post-menopausal wombmen)

4. Meditation / Libations

5. Our daughter was escorted into the ritual room with the mamas.

6. A “birthing ritual” (through her many mothers) took place in which our daughter emerged as our Village’s newest young wombman.

7.  Our daughter became encircled with mamas who one-by-one gifted her with their expectations of her. They gave her well wishes and actual gifts.

8. She was escorted back upstairs with attendants.

9. The rest of the community (males included) joined us and was smudged in order to receive and welcome our daughter with a clean heart and body.

10. Drum Call

11. Our daughter “emerged” into the receiving “community village” of friends and family.

12. Statements of commitment and well wishes were given by her Baba and each community member.

13. Final statements were offered by the Matriarchal officiates (including myself and 2 other Matriarchs).

14. Drumming, dancing, eating.

15. …A very Empowered and Happy daughter!

firstmoonpicOne of the Matriarch officiates is sharing a brief message of love right after conducting Libations

Afrikan Self Preservation Summit


 Intense High and The Body Temple Institute have partnered to produce

Afrikan Self-Preservation Summit


Saturday, November 23 and Sunday, November 24, 2013


6pm to 9pm EST both days

Event Purpose Statement: 

The purpose of this summit is to organize and unify the real-life experience and current information regarding survival and self-preservation as it relates to African people in the Maafa. We will come together as a nation builders, teachers of self-defense, educators and urban gardeners to lay down the basic pillars of African self-preservation in preparation for this new era of social collapse.

Event schedule: 

Summit Hosts: Mama Mawusi and Baba Montu Ashshakir of The Body Temple Institute

Saturday, November 23:

Brotha Anton – The Importance of Organizing today as a result of current events and Organizational Leadership. Q&A to follow.

Brotha Cadence – The need for economic stability, new ways to make resources independently. Q&A to follow.

Baba Wekesa Madzimoyo – Afrikan self-sufficient education and its importance for adults and children. Q&A to follow.

Sunday, November 24: 

Brotha Atiba – The importance of small urban farming and food production. Q&A to follow.

HRM Oba Alase Adefunmi II of OyoTunji Village – The need for intentional communities and preservation of culture. Q& A to follow.

Special Guests:


Abiola Kwame Kwatakye (bka Bro Anton) is a husband, father, brother, son, and soldier. He is the founder and an Executive Facilitator of the New Afrikan think tank, policy institute, and operations center: Community Solutions Center for Responsive Black Governance (CSC4RBG). He is a sworn citizen of the Republic of New Afrika and a Deputy Minister of Information in the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika. A dues paying member of the UNIA-ACL and former officer in UNIA-ACL Atlanta Division 421, he is a staunch implementationist of Garveyism, Black/New Afrikan Nationalism and Pan Afrikanism.


Registration cost is $35. Upon receipt of payment, you will receive an email with a link to download the pdf Invite which contains all the information you need to attend this webinar/teleconference.