African Voices: Episode 16!

Happy New Year’s! We hope your year is prosperous and full of happiness!

  • Top news stories from Chicago and the African continent
  • Upcoming Events
  • Advice Box: Temporary Vistor’s Driver’s License
  • Banga Soup Recipe from Nigeria
  • Africans in Chicago interview and music from Chibbz

If you would like to contribute news, events, issues, interviews or music to our podcast, email us: or call: (312) 949 9980 between 9am-5pm, Mon-Fri.

Happy New Year and welcome to African Voices, episode 16! In this episode, we highlight local news as well as news from the African Continent, upcoming events, Advice on Driver’s Licenses for ALL immigrants, a Nigerian soup recipe, and an African in Chicago interview with musician Chibbz, a new talent originally from Nigeria.

Local News:

Driver’s Licenses for All Immigrants passes out of Illinois House
The Illinois House voted 65-46 on January 8th 2013 in favor of a bill to give driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, after advocates argued that the legislation could make the roads safer and prevent people from driving without insurance.

The bill will now go to the desk of Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who plans to sign it. The state Senate already approved the measure, also with bipartisan support.

“I want to commend members of the Illinois House for their bipartisan passage of legislation that will help ensure every Illinois motorist is properly licensed and empower more immigrants to become stronger contributors to our economy,” Quinn said in a statement after the vote. “Not only will Senate Bill 957 save lives, it will save Illinois motorists $46 million a year in insurance premiums by making sure every driver is properly insured.”

During debate preceding the vote, opponents of the bill argued it should include fingerprinting to deter fraud. Others said the bill could be violating the Constitution by granting a form of “amnesty” to undocumented immigrants.

But others within the Republican party were swayed by arguments about public safety, which proponents said would be improved by ensuring more drivers have insurance and have passed driving tests.

African Immigrant Community featured in Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune reporter Antonio Olivo featured Chicago’s fastest growing immigrant population: Africans. In his article, Olivo touches on African migration patterns within the Chicagoland area:

Since 1990, the number of African immigrants in the Chicago area has quadrupled to an estimated 42,300, now the country’s fifth-largest African population behind New York, Los Angeles, Washington and Minneapolis, U.S. census figures show.
“For decades, African immigrants have been concentrated in North Side neighborhoods such as Uptown and Edgewater, where refugees from Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia moved to be close to the many social service agencies based there.

While those communities continue to grow, Africans from Senegal, Nigeria, Mali and Ghana have been moving to the South Side, where rents and home prices are cheaper, community leaders say. Others have been moving to the southwest suburbs.”

The Senegalese shop owners on 79th Street want to reinvigorate their Chatham neighborhood business district and give it a distinct identity.

The African Vision:

Keba Mbungue, 58, who moved to Chatham in 2007, said he envisions an African version of Chinatown or Little Village’s 26th Street shopping district around his shop, which sells both West African and American fashions.

“When you go to a Chinese neighborhood, they got it. When you go to a Spanish neighborhood, they got it,” Mbungue said, his deep voice competing with the sound of a French news anchor on a radio in his shop. “Why not African people?”,0,4005838.story?dssReturn

African News:
Mali: U.S. Prepares to Support French Military Intervention in Mali
U.S. Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta has applauded France’s surprise airstrikes on Islamist rebels in northern Mali that began late last week and continued over the weekend.

Panetta added that the U.S. government is readying plans for assistance in the ongoing operations, which scholars and human rights workers worry could continue for an extended period.

“I commend France for taking the steps that it has, and we have promised…to provide whatever assistance we can to try to help them in that effort,” Panetta told reporters on Monday.

On Friday, the French government authorised airstrikes and ordered 550 French troops into Mali, where for 10 months the massive northern section of the country has been under the control of a combination of Islamists, ethnic Tuareg nationalists and criminal gangs. In March, the weak government in Bamako fell to a military coup, creating a power vacuum in the north.

Countries joining France and the U.S. in their efforts to intervene in Mali’s civil war include: Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Benin, Ghana, Niger, Senegal, Guinea, Burkina Faso, and Togo.

South Africa: South African miner Amplats closes shafts and cuts jobs
Anglo American Platinum has said it will cease production at four mine shafts in the Rustenburg region of South Africa, which could lead to the loss of almost 14,000 jobs.

The world’s biggest platinum producer said lower demand for the precious metal and higher costs meant the shafts were unprofitable.

Amplats said it proposed to create 14,000 jobs to balance the cuts. Last October, the company fired 12,000 workers after a strike over wages.

It said at the time that weeks of illegal strikes had cost it 700m rand ($80m; £50m) in revenue. The workers were reinstated three weeks later following negotiations with unions.

A number of South Africa’s miners were hit by a wave of wildcat strikes in which miners and officials were killed.

On Tuesday, Amplats said it had reviewed its entire business in response to a “number of structural changes” in the industry.

“We must evolve to align the business with our expectations of the platinum market’s long-term dynamics and address the structural changes that have eroded profitability over time.”

Any employees or communities affected by the changes would be provided with “a comprehensive package of support”.

Egypt: Court in Egypt orders retrial for Mubarak after appeal 

A court in Egypt has ordered a retrial for ex-President Hosni Mubarak after accepting an appeal against his life sentence over the deaths of protesters.

Mubarak, 84, was overthrown in 2011 after mass street protests, and jailed in June. About 850 people were killed in a crackdown by security forces.

The ex-leader, who remains in custody, will also be retried on corruption charges for which he was acquitted.

Former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly will be retried on the same charges.
Mubarak’s sons Gamal and Alaa, and fugitive businessman Hussein Salem also had their acquittals on corruption charges overturned and will be retried.

No specific reason was given for Sunday’s rulings, but legal experts said procedural issues with the original trials were a factor, the Associated Press news agency reported.

A retrial cannot result in a harsher penalty, but could re-impose a maximum life sentence or even lead to an acquittal. No date for the retrial has been set.

African Sports:
Ghana: Boateng gets support from Racism Stance
Ghana player Kevin-Prince Boateng and his AC Milan teammates including Sulley Muntari receive massive backing for their stance on racism issues.

An exhibition game at fourth-tier side Pro Patria was halted in the first half when Milan’s midfielder Boateng kicked the ball at the stand in protest and walked off the pitch, soon followed by his team-mates.

With the Italian Football Association launching an immediate inquiry into Thursday’s unfortunate incident, support continues to come in for Boateng, Muntari and the rest of their black colleagues.

Piara Powar, executive director of European anti-discrimination group FARE, demanded strong action from the Italian governing body.

He said: “We salute Kevin-Prince Boateng for his actions and his team-mates for their support. This is the not the first time a player has walked off in Italy – if the situation continues it may not be the last.

“Italy, as much as any country in Europe, has a serious problem of racism to deal with. Football infrastructure is in need of renewal and at serious odds with the changing nature of Italian society. We look forward to strong action by the FIGC (Italian FA).”

Upcoming Events:
ICIRR Immigration Integration Summit:
Hosted by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), the Immigrant Integration Policy Symposium is an annual gathering of key stakeholders in 5 policy areas most crucial to the integration and prosperity of immigrant families in Illinois. Our goal is to engage the best minds from diverse fields – government, business, social services, philanthropy, labor, and the community – in conversations that produce serious policy goals and direction for moving towards those goals.


Join us for the launch of the Illinois Immigrant Integration Policy Institute

And A Conversation on Immigrants Building the Illinois Economy and Immigration Reform with:

Plenary Keynote Speaker

John W. Rowe, Chairman Emeritus, Exelon Corporation

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Reception: 1:00 pm – 1:30 pm

Policy Dialogue: 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm

Chicago Cultural Center

GAR Rotunda and GAR Hall

78 East Washington St Chicago, IL 60602

Citizenship Workshop:
If you have been a Legal Permanent Resident (Green card Holder) for at least 5 years, (or) 3 years and you are married to a U.S. Citizen, then you are eligible to apply to become a U.S. Citizen.

Saturday, January 26
Truman College Students Cafeteria
1145 W. Wilson Ave. Chicago Il 60640

Advice Box:
What does Driver’s Licenses for all immigrants actually mean?

Recipe: Banga Soup
The Nigerian Banga Soup or Ofe Akwu is native to the Niger Delta and the South Eastern parts of Nigeria. In the Niger Delta areas, Banga soup is commonly eaten with various fufu recipes: Starch, Pounded Yam, Semolina, Garri and Cassava Fufu. In the South Eastern parts of Nigeria, Banga Soup is referred to as Ofe Akwu where Ofe means Soup / Stew and Akwu means palm fruit and is used mainly as stew for the White Rice recipe.


  • 2 pounds of Palm Fruits
  • Beef
  • Dry Fish
  • Vegetable: Scent Leaves for Ofe Akwu or dried and crushed bitterleaves for Banga Soup
  • 2 medium onions
  • A handful crayfish or 2 tablespoons of ground Crayfish
  • Salt and Chilli Pepper (to taste)
  • Ogiri Okpei (Iru)
  • 1-2 big stock cubes

Before you get started…


  1. Extract the palm fruit concentrate from the palm fruits. If using the tinned palm fruit concentrate, open the tin and set aside.
  2. Cook the beef and the dry fish with 1 bulb of diced onion and the stock cubes till done.
  3. Wash and cut the scent leaves into tiny pieces. The scent leaves give the Banga Stew (Ofe Akwu) its unique aroma and taste. If you are outside Nigeria, this may be hard to find, so you can use pumpkin leaves or any other vegetable in place of scent leaves. If cooking Banga Soup for starch, you should either cook this soup without vegetables or use dried and crushed bitter leaves.
  4. Cut the remaining bulb of onion. Pound the crayfish, ogiri okpei and pepper in a mortar and set aside. You can also grind them with a dry mill.

Cooking Directors 

  1. Set the pot of palm fruit extract on the stove and start cooking at high heat. Leave to boil till you notice come red oil at the surface of the Banga Stew. If you think that the Banga Soup is watery, cook till the soup has thickened to the consistency you like for your stews.
  2. Now, add the beef, dry fish and stock, the onions, crayfish and pepper and leave to boil very well.
  3. Add the scent leaves or other vegetable and salt to taste. Leave to simmer for about 2 mins. The Banga Soup is done. Serve with White Rice or use the Banga Soup to eat Starch, Garri, Semolina, Amala or Pounded Yam.


In this episode, we feature an exclusive interview with Chibbz, a Chicago-based musician, originally from Nigeria. In late 2012, Chibbz was recieved the covetted Best Male Artist title at the 2012 Afro Entertainment Awards in Chicago. Now, after the whirlwind, Chibbz sits down with us to talk about his musical beginnings, what inspires him, and his newest single and video “Lovin’ You Right’.

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