Swahili News

October 23, 2014


2014 › Recipes ›

Spice Up Thanksgiving with Ethiopian Mashed Vegetables

Already planning your Thanksgiving menu? This colorful dish from Marcus Samuelsson elevates sweet potatoes into a sensational side dish with Ethiopian flare. It's kid-friendly, vegetarian, and absolutely delicious!

The recipe is from Samuelsson's book The Soul of a New Cuisine, which is being sold in our Fifth Street Market Store and will be featured in our upcoming gift baskets.  

Photo Credit: Lindsay Hunt

Chunky Mashed Vegetables Recipe

Servings: 4-6


  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup peanut oil
  • 1 lb green beans, ends trimmed and cut into quarters, or frozen green beans
  • 8 tbsp or (1 stick) butter
  • One 3-inch piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno chilies, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Toss the garlic and sweet potatoes with the peanut oil in a roasting pan. Roast for 20 minutes, or until the garlic is tender. Remove and reserve the garlic. Continue roasting the sweet potatoes until tender, about 25 minutes.

2. While the sweet potatoes are roasting, if using fresh green beans, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water. Add the beans to the boiling water and blanch for 2 minutes. Drain the beans and plunge into the ice bath to stop the cooking and set the color. Drain and set aside.

3. When the sweet potatoes are done, transfer them to a large bowl, add the roasted garlic, and mash with a fork to a chunky consistency.

4. Melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the ginger, carrots, onion, and jalapeanos and saute, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in the water and bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat and simmer gently until the carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. (If using frozen green beans, add them with the carrots.)

5. Stir in the berbere or chili powder and mashed sweet potatoes, then add the blanched green beans and cook, stirring, until heated through. Stir in the chives and salt and transfer to a serving bowl.

6. Drizzle the vegetables with the olive oil and serve.


Coming soon!

October 17, 2014


2014 ›

The Call of Africa

For those who have traveled to or aspire to travel to Africa, please enjoy this beautiful poem by C. Emily-Dibb. 

When you’ve acquired a taste for dust,
The scent of our first rain,
You’re hooked for life on Africa
And you’ll not be right again
Till you can watch the setting moon
And hear the jackals bark
And know that they’re around you,
Waiting in the dark.

When you long to see the elephants.
Or to hear the coucal’s song,
When the moonrise sets your blood on fire,
You’ve been away too long
It’s time to cut the traces loose
And let your heart go free
Beyond that far horizon,
Where your spirit yearns to be.

Africa is waiting – come!
Since you’ve touched the open sky
And learned to love the rustling grass,
The wild fish-eagles cry.
You’ll always hunger for the bush,
For the lion’s rasping roar,
To camp at last beneath the stars
And to be at peace once more.

Win a Maasai Beaded Leather Pet Collar!

Congratulations to Jennifer D. and her ninja dog for winning this contest!

A special thank you to Lucky Contests, Contest Girl, ContestBee, SweepsAdvantage, About.com Contests & Sweepstakes,SweepstakesBug, InfiniteSweeps, OnlineSweepstakes, DoublePrizes, and Reddit Contests, Pinterest, for helping us to promote for this contest!

Enter to Win Three African Brass Wine Stoppers!

Recently sold (and sold out) at Anthropologie, these South African wine stoppers add safari style to your wine routine. The animal sculptures are cast from zinc and electroplated with an antique brass finish. Each animal sits atop a standard sized cork, with the stoppers measuring 1.75"T.

Enter to win a set of three stoppers. You'll receive a cheetah, hippo, and elephant stopper, each with a personality of its own.

Retail value is $24. Thanks for entering and checking out our site!

Update 10/14: Congratulations to Susan C. for winning this contest.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A special thank you to Lucky Contests, Contest Girl, ContestBee, SweepstakesBug, InfiniteSweeps, OnlineSweepstakes, SweetiesSweeps, DoublePrizes, and Reddit Contests, Pinterest, for helping us to promote for this contest!

September 19, 2014


2014 › Elephants ›

Yao Ming Sets Out to Save Africa's Elephants from the Ivory Trade

Yao Ming, best known for his 7'6" height and NBA career, has turned into one of the world's most powerful animal activists.

Yao’s transformation began in 2006 when he was waylaid from the basketball court with an injury and he met with staff members from WildAid, a San Francisco-based charity. WildAid persuaded the man who began his career with the Shanghai Sharks to join their campaign to save the world’s actual sharks by pressing the Chinese people to give up their beloved shark fin soup.

Amazingly, through a series of TV commercials and countless public appearances, Yao convinced his fellow Chinese countrymen that eating shark fin soup is not a sign of sophistication but an act that is wiping out some of the ocean's most elegant and vital creatures. Today, sales of shark fins in China down by 50 to 70 percent (wow!).


In 2012, Yao visited Africa and became impassioned with saving rhinos and elephants from the raw reality of poaching, a trade that is largely supported by Chinese demand. The carving of elephant horn ivory not only has deep roots in Chinese history, but demand has exploded in recent years due to the nations booming economy. In the past three years alone, about 100,000 elephants have been poached for their tusks.

A documentary screened in China in August and scheduled to be presented in the US in November shows the usually collected Yao choking back tears as he stands above an elephant’s rotting carcass, its face brutally mangled to remove its tusks. Visiting the "Ivory Room" at the Kenya Wildlife Service was also a sobering experience. 

Today, Yao's efforts to end elephant (and rhino) poaching includes more public appearances and commercials (beware: some graphic content), aiding elephant orphanages, and joining the efforts of The Yao Ming Foundation with WildAid, Save the Elephants, and the African Wildlife Foundation

“Before [visiting Africa], it was more of a number for me — how many tons of ivory, how much money comes out of this business. Sometimes the number is cold,” he said. “After you visit Africa, it is very unique. I felt that I built some kind of special connection with the animals.”

Hilariously, Yao also commented he had also connected with Africa because “many animals there are bigger than me."

We can't express enough admiration and support for Yao's efforts. He is working against powerful forces: deeply embedded traditions, big money on both sides of the trade, and even NRA supporters here in the US who want ivory-handled rifles. But this big man with an even bigger heart might just be the right person save some of the world's most special creatures. 

September 06, 2014


2014 › Kenya ›

Brave Mongoose Versus Lions in the Masai Mara National Reserve

We love this action-packed video of a single mongoose fighting off four lions! The video was filmed in Masai Mara in 2011, but just recently released. Be sure to watch the video with volume on to hear the narration.

The determination and boldness of little mongoose is inspiring and showcases the wild beauty of this amazing reserve in Kenya. 

The Making of Ghanaian Xylophones

We are fortunate to carry Percussion Xylophones by world-famous musician and master xylophone maker, Christopher Doozie. Despite his humble, outdoor workshop in Accra, Ghana, Doozie makes some of the most highly desired xylophones in the world. You can find his xylophones sold at US museums and even used in the Broadway production of The Lion King.

Doozie is proud of his craft and shares his trade secrets in this ten minute video. We get a first-hand look at the making of these amazing instruments that Doozie crafts using only gourds, wood, and twine. 

Doozie also plays a different sized xylophones to demonstrate their varying sounds. It is a joy to hear this master musician play an instrument made with his own hands, and we are left in appreciation that these traditional Ghanaian instruments have stood the test of time and are still gracing the world with their peaceful, joyful music. 

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