America's African heritage; 1 And 2
The National Association of educational broadcasters presents America's African heritage recorded in Africa by Skip Westfall program one loading cargo for Africa. Here is Skip Westfall. We are speaking to you today aboard the freighter the African Patriot which is taking on cargo at the foot of Thirty third Street in Brooklyn New York. You know few hours we will be sailing for the west coast of Africa. Our destination Isma tadi West Coast port of the Belgian Congo. I am one of nine passengers who will be making the trip. The others have not yet come aboard. My purpose in making this voyage is to do a series of twenty six radio programs for the National Association of educational broadcasters. This series of tape recordings is entitled Americans African heritage. Its purpose is to show the many ways in which the 20th century American is influenced by the great continent of Africa.
The concept which many Americans have of the people of Africa is that they are an educated uncivilized savages who contributed little or nothing to modern society. While you still see in parts of Africa a primitive native tribes poison the snakes and wild animals. You can also find grocery supermarkets skyscrapers paved roads and all of the modern conveniences which we enjoy in America. That faraway continent plays a very important part in the activities of our everyday lives. There is something of Africa in our television sets our radios our telephones and our automobiles for it is from Africa that come 95 percent of the industrial diamonds which go into the diamond impregnated to be used in the manufacture of these and many other modern conveniences. There are many millions of Americans who seldom sit down to the table over a meal without eating something which comes from Africa in the flavorings which go into their food when
they watch their faces or take a bath. They use a product containing perfume from Morocco from Algeria Egypt Madagascar and many other parts of Africa. And it is the African workman who helps gather the flowers the leaves the bark and the roots of trees which go into the making of medicines to relieve our pains and cure our diseases. The man from Africa is even the silent partner in our love affair and our marriage is where it is he who digs from the earth the diamonds which go into our engagement rings and he gives to us most of the gold of which our wedding rings are made to get the story behind the gold the diamonds the palm oil the perfumes and the medicines which come from Africa. We will visit Monrovia in Liberia Takoradi in Ghana Lagos in Nigeria and the tide in the Belgian Congo. From there we will travel by train to Leopoldville and by river boat for a six day trip
up the Congo in Kasai rivers continuing through the heart of the Belgian Congo. We will travel into northern and southern would be easy and down through South Africa to Cape Town. We are recording today aboard the African patriot will be devoted to a description of the loading of the cargo bound for West Africa. About 30 seconds after I set foot on the deck of a ship here this afternoon I had a rather frightening experience. In fact I think I came near to heart failure at that moment. Then I did two years ago when I had the exciting experience of being charged by a rhino in the wilds of ten can yank it. As I stood at the foot of a very steep gangplank wondering how I was going to get my two suitcases aboard one of the crew offered to send them up on a platform beside a crated automobile that sounded like a good idea to me so I turned the suitcases over to him and walked up the gangplank. When I stepped on deck I glanced down on the pier to see how my baggage was fairing.
To my consternation I saw that the boy I had placed my two suitcases on the top of the huge crate and that the wench was already hoisting it from the pier. Had the cable has been placed on the crate evenly. There perhaps would have been nothing to worry about. But as the crane lifted the cargo from the pier the crate begin to tilt at an alarming angle with my two suitcases perched on the lower edge. I knew that if those bags slipped off and fell 20 feet to the pier my $500 tape recorder and a $300 camera would be smashed to bits. I realized too that they might not hit the pier they might drop into the murky waters between the dock and the ship. Well just as a huge crate tipped to such a crazy angle that I expected to see those bags slide off at any moment. To my great relief the crate began to straighten out and my precious luggage reached the deck safely. Well with that hair raising experience is any indication of what is going to happen on this trip.
My next five months should be exciting ones to say the least. I've learned one lesson in the future I'll carry my own luggage aboard and if even if I've got to scale the side of the ship on a rope ladder to do it. My voice sounds a bit quavering as I endevour to describe the loading of the cargo here today. You will understand the reason for it. The business of loading an ocean going freighter is an exciting operation from the upper deck of the pilot house you can look down into those gaping holes in the deck. As the morning went to wind the cables around and around. Then you see them slowly on one end as they lowered through the hatches or the cargo through the hatch is far down below into the very bowels of the ship. You hear the hoarse shouts of the stevedores directing the loading and the sound of hammer and saw on the deck far below. Let's listen to it for a moment.
Now I hear the snatch of a song or one of the men whistling a bit of a tune.
Standing beside me at the moment is Bernard would serve me the only African he can do with what is your cargo consist of for the most part. OK I can just mostly manufacture products by machinery tractors off of the old. We also have quite a few trucks avoid. Then there's a considerable amount of the doctor will steal what is used for the ship in the form of huge goods which are used in general building history. We are located but only a part of what was used in our I think there is some flour being questioned for where that bound for was if attacking rowdy and crying Ana and Lagos Nigeria. What is that huge crate just coming on board that an awful deal. Are the automobiles always crated know about it to send a ship crate far. But the damage to the cabinet knockdown create.
One that hammering and sawing going on in our day with minute villany grip. And we know dangerous cargo or dangerous cargo. I am prayers to just what that mind me here no secret about it. Not close never taken a one off out of a higher power. What will expose you for one layering Africa will be used in the making in my own brain. Liberia. Be a director being with the board. Have you any idea where he is going to have it here on the Ivory Coast. Oh so now you wrote. Were. They also go on board again and go. I notice there are many smaller breakers. What do they contain. Mostly some of those bottles. Again you're far wrong put my faith
on you know the rack and if you let equipment be used to cool off some of Africa's grass huts. I don't mean the West all the good you are using many of the homes of the average of quite a number. Yeah we were doing live on the house. Oh sure that here you go. Into the homes of European hospitals the large hotel I can see out there must be a great need for air conditioning units in Africa especially at this time of the year. Quite a lot of Africa right now isn't it. Sure it is the hottest time of the year now. We find it very cool to see it was beginning to what we really feel the heat. In the Congo is not unusual for the mama to get up to 110 115 degree a hundred fifteen degrees. Man that's really hot. Shortly after I arrived in Makati I'll be taking a six day boat trip up the Congo River. You know most people seem to have the idea that these jaunts to the far corners of the earth are one big thing I don't know how many of my friends have almost turned green with them
when I mention that the Congo River. I'm not expecting it to be a pleasure by any life that I don't have the one month out of the world are they away from this harmony between the rain the heat probably much happier back in Iowa. Well it hit you know the downloading of what had gone down that path. OK Mr. Alexander thanks very much for the information. As we watch those automobiles and tractors being lowered into the hold It was rather interesting to speculate about where the materials came from for making them. We do know that 85 percent of the manganese without which steel could not be made comes from abroad. No doubt some of those automobiles and tractors contain manganese which came from the mines of Africa. They send us the manganese and we ship it back to them in the form of tractors and automobile.
This interchange of products dinners and services have become a very important part of our economy. According to the latest figures over five million Americans are employed in jobs having to do directly with foreign trade. Then of course there are millions more whose income is in part dependent upon the importing or exporting business. Just to cite one example one of the main cargoes on this ship consists of several hundred tons of flour destined for the west coast of Africa. How many Americans have been involved in the job of producing those bags of flour. There are the farmers out in the Kansas wheat fields who sow the wheat and harvested it. There are many thousands of men employed in the factories which produce the farm implements needed to produce that wheat. And then there are the people who work in the flour mills and those employed in the factories which make the flour bags. How dependent we are for our prosperity and thanked for our very existence on countries located far across the seas. Well loading just about completed now and soon our ship will be moving away from the pier and headed for the
open seas. Look out over the harbor and you see little ships and big ships some creeping into the docks others moving out to sea. It's amazing to realize that every nine minutes a ship enters New York Harbor or leaves for a foreign port. We will soon be visiting some of those ports across the seas and judging by the sights we've seen here today it should be a most interesting adventure.
This has been Program one of America's African heritage. These programs feature recordings made by world traveler skip Westfall on a recent tour to Africa. This eries is made possible by a grant in aid to radio station w all Iowa State College from the educational television and radio center production is under the direction of Norman B Clary. This is reggae Zee speaking for the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the Radio Network. I think a great deal of empathy I think you can or cannot go back to any good beer drinking a cup player the National Association of educational rod castors presents America's African heritage recorded in Africa by Skip Westfall program to what we can learn
from the people of Africa. And now here is Kip Westfall. We are speaking today aboard the ferry line's freighter the African patriot. Somewhere out in mid-Atlantic bound for the west coast of Africa. On our last broadcast we describe some of the freight which was being loaded aboard ship in New York Harbor. Today I'd like to talk about a different type of cargo I suppose you could call it cargo. Certainly it is much more important than the flour or the air conditioning units automobiles and the tractors which we saw taken aboard in New York Harbor. I referred to the passengers. There are only 10 passengers aboard this freighter and all of them with the exception of myself are missionaries. Being sent from America as an ambassador is of goodwill and there job among other things is to help promote friendly relations between the people of the United States and the people of Africa. The vital importance of the task which confronts them was highlighted by an article I read in a New
York City newspaper just before we embark on this story reported that the British government fear that the Soviet Union you see do seen the new independent Commonwealth of gotten to use it as a base to create unrest throughout Africa. There seems to be indisputable evidence that the Russians are making desperate efforts to substitute communism for Western influence due to the vast mineral resources of the African continent is that it is of tremendous importance to the security of America and to the peace of the whole world that the spread of communism be checked in Africa. And I am sure that most of us would agree that if we had enough intelligent Christian missionaries that work in that faraway land atheistic communism would have a chance. Now obviously time does not permit us to interview all of the passengers aboard the ship so we will be content to talk with one of them who is I'm sure a representative of the others. She is a Salvation Army
lassie with the name Margaret Moore and comes from the state of Arkansas. What is your rank in the Salvation Army Miss Moore. I have the rank of captain. Then I suppose we should refer to you as Captain Moore. Or should I be informal like most folks from Iowa and call you Margaret if you ate with folks from Arkansas live informative. OK well the first question which comes to my mind is this. What has led you to leave your native state of Arkansas and sailed far across the seas to Nigeria. I believe that God wants me to use my training as a Christian teaching to have any education of African your people. Is this your first trip to Nigeria. No three years ago I helped to found a boys high school to which I am returning then I suppose you're quite familiar with the habits and customs of the people of Nigeria. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that I know something about the customs of one small I am Nigeria as you know is a large country.
I have heard that there are some alarming indications of the spread of communism in Africa. If you noticed this at all in Nigeria. Yes the companies seem to have a mission here problem to the West Africans are hungry for reading material and in the CAN have seen young boys distributing can be staged here. How is this program actually carried out. I don't really know how it is organized. Now we know that when we go to the town to get half the plans we see these boys at Santa's stores and in the markets since they are too young to understand the contents of the books. We can only suppose if they are paid wages and they are given the books in an ad taking the profit. Why is that the only method of spreading communist propaganda that you have observed. No there's another way in which companies track intially stand here that has been driving me into communist countries for university training. I believe that we in America could do a lot more than we are doing to meet this coming challenge. Well you're certainly right about that. We've got to redouble our efforts if we hope to save
Africa for the democratic way of life and aiding students to attend American colleges and universities is one very effective way of making our influence felt. Actually Skip What is your purpose in going to Africa. Except for a piece from your Alan Horn Trio. It's a fur piece All right. Well I'm planning to do a series of radio programs in Africa concerning its contribution to the American way of life. What contribution have you in mind. Well I'm especially interested in the medicines which come from Africa cocoa palm oil and Guinea the diamonds in the gold and other minerals which are vital to our American economy base things are important very important. But it seems to me that the greatest gift Africa has given us in Concho runs such as a Negro spirituals in the folk tale. You're never very happy to talk baby. I think that the contributions of the early 30s and their descendants to our American way of life and then most important into somewhat modern jazz much of our
American music came recently. Mecca Yes that's true even of some of our musical instruments. Did you know for instance that the xylophone originated in Africa. Not liking. Yes that beautiful musical instrument came originally from Africa. I suppose we could devote several radio programs discussing Africa's contribution to the music of America. However all we can do today is to briefly refer to it. Now. I agree with you Margaret that the historical contributions of Africa to our culture are very important. But what about the present. What can we learn today from the lives of the African people. If I had to choose one thing I would say the greatest thing we can or can African in that religion has meaning in every part of life. For instance a football game may begin with prayer and in battle when you're singing praise God in a moment if you know what do the losers saying. Where do they usually feel like singing. Oh yes they think probably let your duping hearts be doing
everything to not be sacred to the African. Then another quality African has is the ability to laugh at himself. His troubles and his mistakes. I remember one day our cook came back from the market and found that he had forgotten the eggs we needed for the next day the market was three miles away and the Vatican was out of order so he had what six now in the dust in the heat to get through to an age when he's covered his mistake. What do you think even if he probably used some language the Salvation Army wouldn't approve. Eat it now. He sat down on the kitchen steps and shook with laughter shaking his head he chuckled to see the big fella hang him instead he jumped to his feet. Can't you tell me that several would be like starting out again remarking as he ran to the bin in the road. I could still hear him chuckling. Could you do that again. Could I do what could you let him think like that. Well I think I'll have to admit that I wouldn't start out on that three mile trip to the village chuckling
over my stupidity but I agree with you Margaret that we Americans need more of that kind of a sense of humor and we've also learned something from the way the Nigerian enjoys music in rhythm. Only on special occasions but constantly. One of the features which is clearest in my memory is in the evenings when we sit on the other hand waiting for dinner to be here at the house for it comes from the kitchen. His arms never leave the place in Belo and we hear him singing something we don't know. He does a bit of a disability seems to me that I missed your call and you might say that Americans send us yours. He has and perhaps a few nervous breakdowns and some heart attack that's one of the things which has impressed me most during the three trips I've made to Africa the way the people love to sing at their work. I recall on one occasion of the port of Mombasa in Kenya. I've gone down to the dock to try to get some pictures of the dock hands unloading the boat climbing painfully up the steps to the waterfront was a man who looked as if he were at least 70
years of age on his back he carried several pole so heavy that he staggered under their weight. But he sang a song as he climbed those stairs on each step he would pause for a moment to do a bit of a chant and he would take another step and do another little chant all the way to the top of the steps. I'm sure that song helped to make his Burton seem a bit lighter. Of course the cheerful if you must be common to all of Africa but we get it in and you're into if you know that at our school during early morning Georgetown and you could hear a group of boys drumming there on their buckets and went to the river for a boy swishing a broom vigorously and making up a song goes something in that I have troubles in my life and one is my mother and one's not why our Brest tell another that the cleaning of that noise and singing songs on account of God and it is always there. Now what a wonderful way to go about the tasks of everyday living with a song in your heart. What else do you feel we have to learn from the people of Africa whether they something our
forefathers knew which the African not yet blessed in return for women used to sacrifice for the things we need indeed. I've seen a schoolteacher already there and also a financial burden to give a month's salary to him for his church. I've seen women carrying up heal from this during all of this a need for concrete school building. Literally hundreds of barrels carried a bucket at a time when they're here and I see no women in you know wrath long before they can walk in or 59 if you know anything of a maternity clinic paid for by years of study in other words if the African is enthusiastic about something he's willing to pay any price to see it through. That's right and I'm here in France. I frankly as anyone can see who visits that developing country but they have an amazing patience about things I can't change. What sound was summoned to the Calabar court with instructions to be present. I can climb getting there involved in a car. You'll
run in from there to our trip than on the first launch was due to the you know on it and you come and well before that time I was waiting at the pier. All around me were Nigerians also going to Calabar. Some had their children. Some carried on there he is he notes of union Heartsease for sale in market. Just before I got an official appeared to announce that there would be no already know we would have to wait for the entire event. I walked about impatiently shoving the hands in our pockets and getting indigestion and thought of the day all around me to cram a city ranking checking even safety. The market women whose profits go windowed with each passing hour. I think I should be against their now have finally won a women of the ME and in me is the county count she said but it's a matter of can't help a matter of can't help. That's a good phrase to remember. It reminds me of a good patient from Shakespeare which has always been a favorite of mine. What's gone and what's past help
should be past grief. I wish we could go deeper into this fascinating subject but we have time for just one more question in our discussion today we've brought out the interesting observation that while the people of Africa need our help we also need their help. They have something very important to contribute to our culture. The question is how can we get it. Let me say first I think that the people of America should make much more effort to make it possible for the African Christian to add to his faith and knowledge in the skills he needs in order to help his people tackle their many problems to return to an earlier point. We could bring me more to our colleges and universities in America. I certainly agree with you on that point and that it seems to me is one of the most effective methods in the world to fight atheistic countries. As for how we are to learn from the Africans we can do something about fact right now here. Americans abroad can seek to learn from as well as share with other people
and Americans at home can make an effort to get it treated with the African students. Now teaming or ecology invite them into our homes. I seem to speak to a lot of groups in that way. We may catch from the him some of their admirable qualities which we have just been talking about. That's an excellent suggestion. And how much that kind of an effort could add to the enrichment of our daily lives as well as that of our foreign friends. Thank you very much Margaret for this. In lightning discussion and the best of luck to you as you return to the land and the people you love. This has been programmed to of Americas African heritage. These programs feature recordings made by world traveler skip Westfall on a recent trip to Africa. The series is made possible by a grant in aid to radio station WOIO Iowa State College from the educational television and radio center production is under the direction of Norman B Cleary. This is Reagan
- America's African heritage
- Episode Number
- 1 And 2
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 4893 (University of Maryland)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- MLA: “America's African heritage; 1 And 2.” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. February 4, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-8g8fk81p>.
- APA: America's African heritage; 1 And 2. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-8g8fk81p