Zimbabwean businessman Strive Masiyiwa, Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Ugandan LGBT advocate Frank Mugisha have been named among the 50 World’s Greatest Leaders published by Fortune magazine.
Chairman, Econet Wireless Group Strive Masiyiwa led the trio from Africa by ranking 33 for his energetic and well-rounded philanthropy making an impact in Africa, the magazine noted.
Masiyiwa has been lauded for supporting orphans, funding scholarships, and fighting hunger, poverty, and Ebola.
Novelist and Essayist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was ranked 42 for her powerful voice in challenging her audiences to think differently and more expansively about Africa, identity, race, and gender.
Adichie is considered a feminist icon and a fearless political and cultural critic.
Executive Director, Sexual Minorities Uganda Frank Mugisha ranked 44 for speaking out against Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which mandated life in prison for LGBT Ugandans, and led the campaign that eventually led to the bill’s invalidation by the courts.
37-year-old Mugisha came out at age 14 and he leads the LGBT community to face open hostilities.
The three are in the list with other great world leaders including the head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and American basketball star LeBron James.
The Senior Editor of the magazine, Geoff Colvin explained that they were selected for excelling at leadership by acknowledging reality and offering hope, bringing followers physically together and building bridges.
In the dusty, baking emptiness of Leer in South Sudan, bags of British food aid fall from the sky to relieve the hunger below.
It is here in the north of the country that the United Nations has declared a famine. It is here that the fighting between government and rebel forces has driven so many into hunger and homelessness. And it is here that UK aid is being carefully targeted from the air.
To watch these bags of cereal and pulses and food substitutes pour from the bellies of ageing Russian transport planes that have been hired by the aid agencies is to witness an absolute good. For without it, more people in this war-ravaged, hunger-stricken country in central Africa would starve to death.
I watched the Ilyushin planes lumber slowly into view alongside Priti Patel, the International Development Secretary, who had travelled many hours to see what impact the money she had authorised was having on the ground.
Despite the controversy over her £13bn aid budget, Ms Patel insisted that Britain’s humanitarian spending gave it influence in the world.
First the planes practise a low pass over the drop zone, marked by a large white cross. They make another wide circuit to let nearby villages know an aid delivery is on its way. And then, at around 300 metres above the ground, they begin to drop their cargoes.
Each plane can carry about 30 metric tonnes of aid, about 600 sacks. They make three passes, dropping 200 sacks each time. These are not parachute-born crates, just individual bags hurtling towards the ground. Like some dreadful game of pass-the-parcel, each sack is bagged seven times to stop it exploding on impact.
To watch this, to see the gleam of hope in the eyes of those waiting below, is a moving experience. For many of them, without this aid, they would be forced to live off what nuts, leaves and water lilies they can forage, none of which provides adequate nutrition.
“UK aid is providing a much-needed lifeline to people who have been persecuted, driven off their homes, forced to flee,” Ms Patel told me. “The aid that we are providing right now is the difference between life and death.”
Yet the problem is this. Each plane contains food enough for only 2,000 people a month. The cost of the planes is astronomic and there are only seven in the region that the World Food Programme can operate.
There is a scarcity of available food aid because there are so many other droughts in the region. Each drop has to be negotiated with local community leaders and armed groups, whose permission is needed to ensure that any fighting is put on hold. The hungry will come only if they feel safe.
The distribution centre on the ground – a temporary, pop-up affair – can exist only for a few days before the security risks become again too great.
Any food drop in a government-held area has to be matched by one in territory held by the rebels. The amount of aid has to be roughly equal in size to avoid accusations that the aid agencies are taking sides.
In other words, this aid that falls from the sky may help people who are the hardest to reach in a severe humanitarian crisis. But it is expensive, complicated and, as aid workers repeatedly told me, not nearly enough.
There are three road corridors into South Sudan along which aid can travel by truck. And this can be more efficient. One truck alone can carry as much as a Russian transport plane.
Yet trucks have deal with checkpoints, fighting and simple banditry. And soon they will lose the roads when the rains come and render much of the country impassable. So there is, aid workers say, a race against time to build up aid dumps before the weather closes in.
Such is the reality of delivering British and other aid in the north. To the south, in the capital, Juba, the UK is funding much of South Sudan’s only children’s hospital – its medicines, its water tanks, its solar panels. Here doctors are seeing rising numbers of children with acute malnutrition. And inevitably they need more resources, above all more space.
On the day we visited, in one ward alone, there were 43 children sharing 21 beds. I spoke to Rhoda, a 50-year-old woman who had brought in her granddaughter 10 days previously. Cecilia, only 18 months old, arrived severely malnourished. Her mother had died and Rhoda had no milk to feed her. But, she told me, Cecilia’s fever and diarrhoea had abated after a few days of milk and porridge.
Further south, the problem is one of refugees. More than a million South Sudanese have fled the country to escape the fighting. We travelled to northern Uganda where on average 2,000 people are pouring over the border each day. Last week there was one 24-hour period when no fewer than 7,000 refugees came across.
Uganda – unusually – welcomes refugees and gives them a plot of land with shelter and access to services. Here millions of pounds of UK aid is being spent to provide some of the basic infrastructure. Yet here again the scale of the crisis outweighs the humanitarian response. Last August there was next to nothing at the main refugee settlement at Bidibidi. Now, it is the largest such settlement in the world, home to more than 270,000 people.
Clearly, the scale of the humanitarian challenge is huge and growing. But the aid agencies report that the United Nation emergency response for South Sudan is hugely underfunded, with some international donors showing reluctance to stump up the cash. So this is a crisis that many expect to get worse before it gets better.
LONDON CITY!!, we are about to shut you down!
Upfront & Personal Global Management Consultants proudly presents One Africa Music Fest London, UK. One Africa Music Fest is coming to London for the first time ever on Saturday, 13th May 2017.
This event will take place at The SSE, London, UK.
Guests will fill THE SSE ARENA, WEMBLEY to see live performances from Africa’s biggest musical stars.
The first list of confirmed artists – performing on the 13th of May 2017 are Africa’s Energetic Duo, Pop Sensation P-Square, East Africa’s biggest female Afro-pop artist Victoria Kimani, the prince of highlife aka the slow winding – sexy ladies’ man Flavour N’abania, famed “Gongo – Aso” crooner 9ice, Nigeria’s very own ‘Beast from the East’ Phyno. and Nigeria’s Queen of pop music Tiwa Savage
This unforgettable night will be hosted by Africa’s King of R&B, Banky W!
Tickets will go on sale Friday, 20th January 2017 at 10 a.m. and can be purchased by calling +44 844 815 0815 or online at ssearena.co.uk or axs.com. Tickets are also available in person at the SSE Arena Wembley.
This night is one you won’t want to miss!
Meet 45-year-old Edward Kobina Enninful, a Ghanaian-born British-based fashion stylist who has recently made history by becoming the first male, first black, and first Ghanaian editor for British Vogue.
He took over from Alexandra Shulman who is the longest serving editor of British Vogue, having run the publication since 1992.
The chairman and chief executive of Condé Nast International, Jonathan Newhouse, announced Enninful’s appointment on April 10th, calling him “an influential figure in the communities of fashion, Hollywood and music which shape the cultural zeitgeist”, adding that “by virtue of his talent and experience, Edward is supremely prepared to assume the responsibility of British Vogue.”
At a very young age, the brilliant stylist moved to the UK where he got his big break at 16 when he was spotted on a train by fashion stylist, Simon Foxton. As a kid, he lived in Ladbroke Grove, London, where his mother worked as a seamstress. It was her use of bright patterned fabric in the clothing she made that helped inspire his style.
He earned a degree at Goldsmiths, University of London while simultaneously handling a career in fashion. This move paid off at the young age of 18 when he was appointed fashion director at i-D Magazine. The appointment made him the youngest ever fashion director for an international magazine. He has consulted for many fashion brands over the years, some of which include Christian Dior, Dolce and Gabbana, Mulberry, and Giorgio Armani.
Many within the industry see his appointment as a step in the right direction and are confident in his ability to bring an exciting new creative aesthetic to the magazine. His predecessor had this to say about him, “Every Vogue editor arrives with their own range of talents and experience and Edward is very known, respected and liked within the fashion industry.” She then went on to pledge her cooperation in helping him smoothly transition into his new role.
In 2013 Mr Eazi released his debut 13 track mixtape titled “Ready to blow” and what a wonderful last few years this young man has had. He describes his style of music as being a fusion of “Ghanaian bounces, Ghanaian highlife, Nigerian chord progressions, and Nigerian patterns”. The Afropop musician quickly became a fan favourite on the continent with hit releases like ‘Bankulize’ and ‘Skintight’ and has garnered massive international attention.
His recent mixtape: ‘Accra to Lagos’ released in February of this year reached number 4 on the International billboard chart as a testament to his meteoric rise. His song ‘Skintight’, in particular, has earned him a lot of publicity lately — winning an award for the song at WatsUp TV’s maiden Africa Music Video awards in December last year and just last week the song was used in a Ciroc advert featuring P Diddy. P Diddy shared the advert on his Instagram page on the 8th of April and it has already garnered over 140,000 views! It’s safe to say the sky is Mr Eazi’s platform at this stage as his potential is limitless.
Wizkid, who signed Mr Eazi to his Starboy label last year, in an interview with channel 4 a few days ago talked about how he feels Africa is going to take over the world with its sound and I firmly believe Mr Eazi is one of those musicians who has what it takes to be one of the leaders in achieving this, and doing so in ways few before him have ever attempted. He is constantly churning out new music and is clearly a man on a mission—a mission whose goal is worldwide dominance.
Individually, and most practically, you must first understand and accept that you are a target for hatred and violence. This can be a difficult leap to take for those who have invested a great deal of psychological space into the American dream.
Step 2: Protect yourself from psychological harm
As a target, you must find a way to defend yourself both individually and collectively. If these feelings of anger and vulnerability are new to you, know that you can find comfort in places of togetherness. Go with friends and visit mosques and community centers, particularly if you are from a vulnerable group.
While it’s important for one’s self preservation to embrace self-defense, this realization also can negatively impact mental and physical health.
There are many great sources of empowerment. Authors such as Audre Lorde, Isabel Allende, Leslie Marmon Silko, and James Baldwin provide much thought and inspiration for marginalized people living through difficult times. My personal favorite is the Autobiography of Malcolm X because it posits a defensive globally conscious mind-state that is sensitive to the injustices of all people while being harshly critical of white supremacy.
Many of the social movements in America relied on religion for fuel in the face of deeply egoistic antagonisms. While spiritual force can be individual, its power can be used collectively to reinforce or challenge predominant narratives in society. Meditation is also a very powerful tool for self-preservation and community building.
Step 3: Defend your body from physical harm
Taking self-defense classes and lifting weights are ways to learn practical techniques for opposing physical violence, but also empowering oneself in the face of aggression. Carrying pepper spray and mace, depending on the jurisdiction, is also recommended.
All marginalized people should exercise their Second Amendment right, openly, proudly, and without fear. This includes learning how to use a weapon at a firing range, taking a course on gun safety, and possibly forming rifle clubs in your local communities.
If you are worried about potential backlash from asserting the right to bear arms, then you have not accepted the reality that many in America already view your existential presence as a threat. It is not necessary to publicly show gun-ownership, but it is necessary to at least psychologically accept this right and assert it when you feel comfortable doing so.
Step 4: Be vigilant
More than anything we must develop a proactive, vigilant and assertive mentality. Tools for defense are useless unless we are ready to competently employ them.
Step 5: Stand in solidarity with others
On a communal level all marginalized people should express solidarity with each other in the face of basic human rights abuses. As a Muslim, I hold beliefs that I believe prevent me from endorsing certain positions. I can and I will, however, endorse anyone fighting for their right to exist as full human beings/members of society. I will work with anyone looking to create a fair and just society.
Step 6: Organize
On an organizational level we should prepare for a massive legal and public relations battle aimed at plugging up many of the proposals that will come forth under a Trump presidency. The proposed hijab-ban in Georgia was defeated before it even hit paper because of sustained and organized public outrage.
We each should get to know someone who is undocumented. Listen to their stories and provide emotional support. There will be legal battles over DACA and other such executive action that may be overturned by the Trump administration.
Reach out to your local ACLU and pro bono legal services provider for “know your rights” information.
A nationwide directory of legal aid services is available here.
University groups and working professionals can conduct “know your rights” sessions in vulnerable communities using this information with the assistance of legal aid providers and community organizations.
We must reject all American exceptionalism. We must build coalitions with other marginalized groups around the world, both to show that Americans do not endorse this government, and for psychological comfort in the face of aggression. There is a great deal of room for solidarity and collaboration with populations facing right-wing backlash in Europe. We must reflect critically on the ways acting in self-interest has harmed others, particularly in the global south. We must envision ourselves as belonging to a global community.
Different communities that will be harmed by this administration must get to know each other and build strategic bridges based on community organizations and personal relationships. How this looks will be different in different places.
Step 7: Reach across the aisle
When we feel comfortable, we should begin a campaign to reach out to some Trump supporters–particularly those who are working class. This should be a part of a mass grassroots campaign.
A society cannot exist without shared interests and goals.
A genuine movement aimed at countering rightwing extremism cannot be based on crushing the voices of white working class people in response to their injurious support for Trump.
All the socially induced hatreds of white supremacy must be confronted, even and especially at the risk of violent backlash. However, we must remember that ideas can only be overcome by ideas.
Visioning a public good, where we, people ostensibly interested in making change, abandon toxic self-interest in no way means accepting our own oppression or the oppression of those who are casualties of our lifestyle and consumption habits. Changing our own personal narratives about our role in American society does not equate to abandoning aggressive confrontation of injustice in all its forms.
Step 8: Create a new society based on fulfilling mutual needs
Organizing and envisioning a different society not based on exploitation will require people to embrace a deeply anti-establishment, anti-capitalist, pro-community, anti-individualism, almost religious ethos that transcends our lives at every level.
We must face the possibility that there will be tremendous pain and sadness because of the damage that will be done. Our work may be co-opted by the forces of consumerism and empire. We must hold strong together to resist these forces and build even more authentic bonds in the face of increasing hostility.
Let this moment be one of critical self-reflection and community building. The enemy is the same disease that all of us struggle with, unrestrained self-interest. Now we have a dire reason to struggle against it within ourselves and in our world.
Ismaail Qaiyim is a freelance writer with an interest in politics, global affairs, religion, philosophy, and genuine critical engagement. He currently attends law school in New York. Follow him on Twitter @ismaailqaiyim.
On certain days you just need some bright colors in your life, and at times like that, Prince Eric Nichols has got you.
His vibrant illustrations of black public figures are uplifting and engaging; flashy enough to catch your eye, but full of detail to hold your attention. He may not actually be a prince, but he’s certainly familiar with the features of royalty.
While he creates images whenever he sees fit, some even get the blessings of his subjects once they’re done, like Janelle Monae, who reposted her portrait last year. If you want to buy a print, just DM him on the Gram and he’ll hook you up.
Despite heat levels reaching 25 degrees in London, The black lives matter protests are still going strong.
Although there was a shaky start, hundreds of young people marched from Southwark Park to parliament. Twitter played a significant part in directing lost protestors to the bigger group which not only rose awareness to the #black lives matter protest but proved there’s strength in numbers when it comes to issues regarding black communities.
Today’s protest was pleasantly positive and powerful as drivers, and foreigners throughout the city showed support by beeping there cars or chanting along to show that #blacklivematter is open to all races from all walks of life.
Currently #blacklivesmatter is still dominating social media and communities not only in the US but also the UK. The issues regarding equality and racial discrimination is still well and truly active but the question is, will change be on the horizon ?