Note: I wrote this yesterday morning at six in Cape Town and the plan was to have it posted by last night, so it is a little bit late. Sorry :)
So, happy Africa Day. Hope you’re feeling good about your heritage if you have some African in you. Yeah yeah, “everybody” does, but I am not trying to crawl back into the womb of human history here. If you don’t have some African in you… better luck in your next incarnation. ;)
I have just come back from three days of some heavy, heavy Africa dialogue. You’ll be hearing about it soon soon but for now I just want to give you a heads-up. Sickle Cell Awareness Day is on the 2nd of June, and this is of particular relevance to us:
“Last year Dr. Julie Makani won the Royal Society Pfizer Award, which recognizes outstanding research contributions by scientists working in Africa. Over the past seven years she has developed the largest single research group of Sickle Cell patients, now exceeding two thousand. Dr. Makani is also a member of the Sickle Cell Disease Research Network of Central Africa (alias le Réseau D’étude de La Drépanocytose en Afrique Centrale, (REDAC) which was established in 2009. It is a network dedicated to combating Sickle Cell Disease in East and Central Africa, and this year they are holding The 3rd REDAC Symposium in Dar-es-Salaam on the 1st to 2nd June.
On the second day of the Symposium, Sickle Cell Awareness Day, they will be holding an event at Muhimbili National Hospital to raise awareness about this disease in the public. If you have been wondering about a substantive way to contribute to African welfare, this could be an excellent opportunity. The work that Dr. Makani and her colleagues in the same field do is of great relevance to us both at the very personal, familial level and at the global level.”
Sometimes this writing life makes me want to tear my hair out. This week has been particularly challenging- overstimulated brain, too many threads, too many deadlines, too little time. And I had, as usual, promised too many people that I would show up/write a thing/ help out or whatever. But it was a particular pleasure to write this week’s article because it allowed me to celebrate female achievement, to highlight African scientists, to contribute to a cause that is quite likely literally in our blood and to thread Africanism throughout the whole endeavor. If you can go to the symposium, do. If you can’t, think about supporting Sickle Cell Disease organizations in your country of residence.