Thursday, November 8, 7:00-8:00pm

Title of Talk: The Southern African Past Is Another “Country”?

Douglas Wheeler | Durham, New Hampshire

Doug Wheeler will discuss his observations of life in the region of Southern Africa in 1966-67 and the changes that occurred following independence from their colonial status.  During this time, this region–from the south Atlantic to Indian Ocean and from Cape Town to the frontiers of independent Republic of Congo (on the Kinshasa side), including Angola, Mozambique,  Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa–was still under European rule  while the rest of Africa had become independent.  Wheeler will talk and use slides to illustrate the trajectory of changes in that region following the independence of these countries, including European attitudes, African struggles, and the results in the 1975-94 period.  One of Wheeler’s unexpected observations in Angola was that the Portuguese colonial government in charge of Angola was liked neither by the white, European settlers nor by the Africans and that the presence of large numbers of Portuguese soldiers kept the lid on underlying unrest.” Wheeler has traveled throughout the area and lived in Angola while he taught African and World history. 

Douglas “Doug” Wheeler biography.  Wheeler is Professor of History Emeritus at University of New Hampshire in Durham.  From 1965 to 2002, he taught African history as well as World history, European history, and the history of intelligence and espionage.  Wheeler‘s area of specialty was contemporary Angolan political history, within the framework of the region of southern Africa.  He traveled to southern Africa, including Angola, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, in 1966 and 1967 and in Spring 1967, Wheeler taught history in Angola.  He is currently an instructor at Granite State College, where he teaches the winter terms (when he is not traveling).

Thursday, November 15, 7:00-8:00pm

Title of Talk:  From Rwanda to Dover, New Hampshire:  A New Life Awaited

Francine Ndayisaba | Dover, New Hampshire

Francine Ndayisaba will discuss the rewards and challenges she and her family have faced when they left their native Rwanda and came to the United States, as refugees, to begin a new life.  Having lived in the U.S. for 14 years now, it is her home but Rwanda and her family who still reside there are never far from her thoughts.

Francine Ndayisaba biography.  Ndayisaba was born in Kigali, Rwanda.  She has three brothers, one older, two younger. Her brothers and her mother still live in Kigali.   In 1996, she married Narcisse Rugira with whom she had one daughter, Tara in 1997. After being granted political asylum in 1998, Francine and her daughter came to New Hampshire in 1999 for her to attend the University of New Hampshire.  Her husband would not join them until 2009.

Ndayisaba received a bachelor’s degree in accounting at the University of New Hampshire in 2002, and recently, an MBA from Plymouth State University.  She is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Internal Auditor. She works as Principal Auditor at the University System of New Hampshire.  She enjoys long walks, reading, road trips, and spending time with family and friends.

Thursday, November 29, 7:00-8:00pm

Title of Talk: Searching for Crosses in Communist Ethiopia

Lisa S. Harper | Rockville, Maryland

Christianity dates back at least as early as the 4thcentury in Ethiopia when Emperor Ezana Aksum adopted this religion, making this country one of the oldest Christian countries in the world.   The image of the cross has been part of Ethiopian Christianity and culture since this time, first on coins and then as processional, hand, and neck crosses.

The last Christian emperor Haile Selassie was overthrown in 1974 by a Communist military coup that remained in power until 1991.  At that time, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front took over as the ruling party under Prime Minister Meles Zenawi who died on August 20th of this year.  An interim Prime Minister has been appointed.   About 60% of the population is Christian.

Harper will discuss the aesthetic qualities of Ethiopian crosses; what drew her to them while she lived in Addis, Ethiopia; and her adventures acquiring them in a country under communist rule.

To benefit SAACC, Harper will auction a cross from her collection after her talk.

Lisa Harper biography.  Harper grew up overseas with her brother, William Manfull of Portsmouth. Their father, Melvin L. Manfull, had a distinguished career in the Foreign Service, including tours as Ambassador to Liberia and the Central African Republic. 

Having enjoyed that life, Harper headed back overseas after graduating from Brown University.  Early in her career, she was lucky enough to spend three years each serving in U.S. Embassies in Bujumbura, Burundi; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; and Dakar, Senegal.  She also had the occasion to work temporarily in many countries in East, West and Central  Africa.  During that time, she developed a great affection for Africa, its landscapes, its peoples and its forms of religious expression.  While living in Addis, she developed a particular attraction to Ethiopian crosses.

After her African stints, Harper served in Paris, France; Buenos Aires,  Argentina; and San Salvador, El Salvador.   Since her retirement from the Federal Government Senior Executive Service in 1999, Harper has worked as an interpreter and corporate trainer in the U.S. and abroad.  She currently lives in Rockville, Maryland with her second husband.  In 2013, they plan to retire and share their time between the U.S. and their traditional home (riad) in Tangiers, Morocco.


Saturday, November 17, 7:00-9:00pm

Title of Movie: Agadez, the Music and the Rebellion

Agadez, the Music and the Rebellion, a documentary film about the Tuareg culture of the Sahara Desert features the music of the extraordinary Tuareg musician, Omara Moctar, “Bombino” – one of the great guitar players and performers in the Sahara and Sahel regions of Africa.


I first heard Bombino’s music two years ago while I was finishing a documentary with the Tuareg nomads in the Agadez region of Niger. Our driver had one cassette; Bombino’s music. We listened to it over and over for about two weeks! It never got old and became the soundtrack for traveling in one of the most magnificent regions in the world; the edge of the Sahara Desert and the Air Mountains.

Soon after we finished filming and returned to the U.S., this region became inaccessible due to a rebellion that the Tuareg staged against the Nigerian government.

Bombino’s guitar playing is exquisite and the rhythms are infectious. I decided then that I had to track him down and explore the idea of producing a film about him and the Tuareg culture. When we got back to Agadez, I realized that Bombino had a cult like following; everyone loved his music. His cassettes and CDs were all home made – he did not have a record label or any ‘produced’ recordings – but his music was everywhere.

During the most recent Tuareg rebellion the military executed two of his musicians, driving Bombino into exile for several years. He has now returned home to Agadez.  In January, 2010, with the Sultan’s blessing, he staged a concert outside the Grande Mosque to celebrate the end of the war and the beginning of a lasting peace. A thousand people showed up, and after three years of rebellions, drought and a devastating flood, Agadez found a reason to celebrate.  His soaring guitar solos brought the entire crowd to their feet dancing.

Ron Wyman – Producer