; ; ; Role Models
Colors: Blue Color

Just a mere 27 months after the untimely death of our Great Mother of Africa, Winnie Madikizela Mandela, who transitioned on 2 April 2018, her youngest daughter, Zindzi Mandela, made so much in her image, was laid to rest right next to her mother in Johannesburg, South Africa on 17 July 2020.

Zindzi’s death will, of a surety, be felt by her family, the people of South Africa, and the world at large for years to come.

I was so blessed to have met Zindzi when she was a young woman, and what amazing times we had over the years.

No matter whether eating some of the best food in the world prepared by none other than Mama Winnie, falling out laughing on the veranda in Orlando West at some anecdote that Mama Winnie told us, anxiously awaiting results of medical tests, flying across the world, walking the plains of the Holy Land, or hearing her strong and kind laughter on the Thursday before she transitioned as she thanked me for the 1000th time for taking such good care of her mom and reminding me of how much my beloved BFF loved me, followed by a kind and loving text assuring me of how much she loved me and signed “your daughter Zindzi,” Zin always showed care and love and respect for those who shared the walk of life with her.

And as much as I ascribe to the reality that we never really die as long as we are held in the hearts and spirits of those who remain, I AM going to miss Zin for all that she was, for all that she is, and for all the hope and promise she was in the process of giving to the legacy of her Great Mother and for the benefit of our nation -- really and truly she is gone way too soon.

When I consider the fire in her belly, the passion in her heart for justice, fairness and well-being for others, the power in her soul, I am reminded of so many strong, courageous Black warrior women, who were created for and destined for unravelling the status quo as was she.

Great women like The Dahomey Amazons: The All-Female Warriors of Benin in West Africa; Sojourner Truth, the African American warrior who spoke out and stood against racial and sexual inequalities; Harriet Tubman, an African American abolitionist who risked her life time and time again to free more than 300 enslaved men, women and children, and was a Union spy during the American Civil War; Seh-Dong-Hong-Beh one of the great leaders of the Mino.

In 1890, King Behanzin used his female Mino fighters alongside the male soldiers to battle the French forces during the First Franco-Dahomean War, wherein the French army lost many battles because of the female warrior’s skill in battle.

Queen Mother Yaa Asantewaa of the Edweso tribe of the Asante, who fought and beat the British; Queen Nanny, a Jamaican national hero, a well-known leader of the Jamaican Maroons in the 18th century.

Amanirenas, one of the greatest queen mothers, who ruled over the Meroitic Kingdom of Kush in northeast Africa and led her army against the Roman Emperor Augustus and won.

Carlota Lukumí, a Yoruba captured and taken to Cuba to work on a sugar plantation who in 1843, along with another enslaved woman named Fermina, led an organized rebellion at the Triumvarato sugar plantation and won.

I think of Queen Nzinga Mbande, a highly intelligent and powerful 17th-century ruler of the Ndongo and Matamba Kingdoms (modern-day Angola), who around the turn of the 17th century fearlessly and cleverly fought for the freedom of her kingdoms against the Portuguese.

I think of Muhumusa, a feared leader of the East African Nyabingi priestesses who was influential in Rwanda and Uganda and in 1911, she proclaimed “she would drive out the Europeans” and “that the bullets of the Wazungu would turn to water against her.”

I think of my BFF, Nomzamo Winifred (Winnie) Zanyiwe Madikizela Mandela her intelligence, beauty, fearlessness, and courage that kept a freedom movement alive with her capacity to inspire millions to be free.

And now added to the annuals of Great Warrior Women is Zindziswa (Zindzi) Mandela, who possessed the fearlessness to battle against apartheid, the fortitude to resist against injustices, and the fervor to defy inequality.

So big is Zindzi’s life, so powerful her own voice that I hesitate to speak of her in the past tense, for I know while the body expires, when we are in God, our spirit never dies, rather we merely transition to a higher plane.

Zindzi was a fortress of passion and energy. She was charming, eloquent, very funny, often making fun of the past hurts and troubles she and her family endured, when she allowed herself to think about them at all, and she was very, very brave.

Zindzi was a strong, bold and valiant activist for righteousness, the courageous defender of the weak, an unafraid protector of the downtrodden, and an audacious voice for the forgotten, no matter the cost.

A survivor, who endured unutterable trauma and indescribable horrors at the hands of the heinous apartheid system.

Often branded a terrorist, a troublemaker, names called to deflect from the malevolent behaviours of the oppressor who in truth and fact were the real terrorists, killers and looters, but no matter what the enemy called her, Zindzi rose to the challenges and contended against the oppressors, heroically.

In her beloved and cherished role as mother, she was deeply divided with the tasks of balancing the responsibility of caring for herself, giving to her children, and fighting for her nation and its freedom.

Zindzi fought for the needs of millions of other children, not born of her body, but born in and of her spirit.

Having seen and heard firsthand of unspeakable things done to her mother, that no child should have to endure, memories etched permanently in her spirit, although needing care for her tattered heart, Zindzi always found a way to prevail.

Even though scarred from the pain of her past and bearing a responsibility to right the wrongs, almost too heavy for a mere mortal to bear, Zindzi carried her load with dignity and grace.

Amazingly, she had compassion for others, even those who disappointed her, optimistically trusting that maybe they just did not understand the miles of bad road she had traversed.

No matter the cost, Zindzi lived in the framing of a sublime truth uttered eons ago by Galileo: “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.”

How blessed we have been, even for too short a time, to have been graced by Zindzi’s use of good sense, kindness, forbearance, amazing reason, and sharp intellect.

Truly, she has left a path of positive action, courage, fortitude and loving care for us to follow allowing us the material of her life’s living to forge a bridge of justice, peace and well- being for our people.

“For the righteous will never be moved; they will be remembered forever… Their righteousness endures forever.”

VIVA ZINDZI VIVA!

 

For the righteous will never be moved; they will be remembered forever. They are not afraid of evil tidings; their hearts are firm, secure in the Lord. Their hearts are steady, they will not be afraid; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes. They have distributed freely; they have given to the poor; their righteousness endures forever…”.

 

He’s one of the world’s greatest singer/rappers, yet, despite being best known for making great, popular music, Akon is decided to ‘sharing’ his power.

Away from regularly filling dancefloors and stadiums, the Senegalese-American superstar is dedicating his life to bringing solar energy to people living in rural Africa.

And, under his Akon Lighting Africa initiative, he recently teamed up with Shell to create an innovative football pitch in Nigeria that allowed the local community to play football at night.

The singer has recently opened a Solar Academy as part of his effort to bring electricity to 600 million people in rural communities across Africa.

Located in Bamako, in Mali, the academy’s aim is to help engineers produce solar power.
The organisation states that the continent averages 320 days of sunshine a year.

He said: “I think with people you have to motivate people to want to do better, motivate them to want to believe that they can do it themselves, and more than anything you have to be in a position to empower them so they can do it themselves.”

Growing up in a town without electricity, Akon has also spoken about how he finds charity in Africa problematic; “From the time I was born to now, I’ve seen a number of charity organisations come into Africa just to constantly give,” he says. “There hasn’t been any structure building, no environmental development – none of that.

Rep John Lewis, a leader in the civil rights movement and later US congressman, has died.

One of the ‘Big Six’ Civil Rights leaders, which included Martin Luther King Jr, he helped organise the historic 1963 March on Washington.

As a congressman he was a Georgia Democrat, and represented an area which covered most of its capital Atlanta.

In December 2019 Lewis announced that he had been diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

"I have been in some kind of fight - for freedom, equality, basic human rights - for nearly my entire life," he said in a statement released at the time. "I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now."

During the civil rights movement, Lewis was one of the founders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and then became its chairman from 1963 to 1966. He co-organised and spoke at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the rally at which Dr King delivered his historic I Have a Dream speech. Lewis was the last surviving speaker from the march.

Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi confirmed Lewis's death in a statement posted on her website and on social media writing that Lewis ‘was a titan of the civil rights movement whose goodness, faith and bravery transformed our nation’, and that as a congressman he was ‘revered and beloved on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Capitol’.

"Every day of John Lewis's life was dedicated to bringing freedom and justice to all," she said. "As he declared 57 years ago during the March on Washington, standing in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial: 'Our minds, souls, and hearts cannot rest until freedom and justice exist for all the people.'

"How fitting it is that even in the last weeks of his battle with cancer, John summoned the strength to visit the peaceful protests where the newest generation of Americans had poured into the streets to take up the unfinished work of racial justice."

Upon news of his death, civil rights group the NAACP tweeted that they were "deeply saddened. His life-long mission for justice, equality and freedom left a permanent impression on our nation and world," the organisation said. "The NAACP extends our sincerest condolences to his family, and we send prayers of comfort and strength to all."

In a statement, former President Barack Obama said he had spoken with Lewis after a virtual town hall with a group of activists following the death of George Floyd. Obama said Lewis could not have been prouder of their efforts - "a new generation standing up for freedom and equality".

"Not many of us get to live to see our own legacy play out in such a meaningful, remarkable way. John Lewis did," he said. "And thanks to him, we now all have our marching orders — to keep believing in the possibility of remaking this country we love until it lives up to its full promise."

Former presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren tweeted that Lewis "was a true American hero and the moral compass of our nation".

Lewis's death comes on the same day as the death of fellow civil rights leader C T Vivian at the age of 95. Vivian helped organise the Freedom Rides - a protest to integrate buses in the south - and later went on to lead the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).

He was 80.

Sixteen extraordinary individuals including innovators, activists and entrepreneurs from 12 countries have been shortlisted for this year’s Commonwealth Youth Awards.

A pan-Commonwealth judging panel met last week and selected the top individuals in each of the award’s four regional categories.

This year, the awards received more than 500 entries from 40 countries. Of those shortlisted, the top candidate from each region will be named as a regional winner. One of these four regional winners will become the Commonwealth Young Person of the Year 2020.

All 16 finalists will each receive a trophy, a certificate and £1,000 to expand the scope of their projects.

The regional winners will each earn a trip to London to attend the awards ceremony on 11 March 2020 and will receive £3,000. The overall pan-Commonwealth winner will take home a total of £5,000.

The judging panel included high commissioners, development experts and youth leaders from across the Commonwealth.

The awards recognise outstanding young people whose innovative projects have made a real impact in helping their countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

The Commonwealth’s head of social policy development Layne Robinson said: “Their talent paired with tangible solutions sends a strong signal that they should be equal partners in the development agenda, not passive allies.

“With now only 10 years remaining to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Commonwealth takes great pleasure in bringing these young people’s invaluable efforts to the global stage so their leadership can inspire others and accelerate meaningful youth participation.”

The 2020 finalists, in alphabetical order by region and individual surname, are:

AFRICA AND EUROPE

Joshua Ebin (Nigeria)

Focus: SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production

Joshua is the founder of ‘Jumela Limited’; an agro-technology venture which specialises in the production of plant-based compost and novel agro-products for crop production farmers in Nigeria. The venture aims to tackle poor food waste management, pollution problems and low agricultural yield in the country. The venture has so far produced two metric tonnes of compost for sale to national clients and created jobs for more than 25 workers.

Galabuzi Brian Kakembo (Uganda)

Focus: SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth

Brian is the founder of ‘WEYE Clean Energy’; a social enterprise that produces and sells eco-friendly briquettes (blocks of compressed charcoal) made from biodegradable plastics and organic waste to home, schools and local institutions. Profits are used to fund community outreach programmes and training for young people and women in smart agriculture. The enterprise’s work has reached more than 800 women and young people of which 600 are now earning income from briquette making or plastic waste recycling.

Salvatory Kessy (Tanzania)

Focus: SDG 4 – Quality Education

Salvatory is the founder of ‘SmartClass’; an online platform which matches low-cost qualified and vetted tutors to students interested in learning basic skills such as numeracy, literacy, computing, agriculture and languages. The offline platform allows users to book face-to-face tuition through a text and the group tuition model allows learners to book tutors collectively and reduce costs. The platform has 5,000 active registered tutors and 20,000 learners in Tanzania.

Elizabeth Wanjiru Wathuti (Kenya)

Focus: SDG 13 – Climate Action

Elizabeth is the founder of the ‘Green Generation Initiative’ which focuses on promoting environmental education and food security in schools, particularly by encouraging a tree growing culture and through its ‘adopt a tree’ campaign. The initiative has so far helped plant 30,000 tree seedlings in more than 40 schools. In addition, more than 20,000 school children have been trained to be environmentally conscious across seven Kenyan counties.

ASIA

Sheikh Inzamamuzzaman (Bangladesh)

Focus: SDG 4 – Quality Education

Sheikh is the founder of ‘Study Buddy’; a start-up that provides an alternative learning platform to children with learning difficulties and their parents. Using interactive approaches such as augmented reality and gaming, the platform conducts personal assessments to match each child with unique learning methodologies and then connects the child with relevant learning tools and special needs professionals. The programme has so far supported more than 800 children and more than 1000 parents.

Vedant Jain (India)

Focus: SDG 4 – Quality Education

Vedant is a co-founder of the ‘Labhya Foundation’; a non-profit that aims to equip children from low socio-economic with critical social and emotional skills. In partnership with the national government and partnered non-governmental organisations, the foundation co-created the ‘Happiness Curriculum’ to educate children in schools on universal human values, emotional wellbeing and mindfulness, and to enhance their critical thinking and soft skills. The curriculum has so far positively impacted more than 1 million students in more than 20,000 schools in India.

Jaya Rajwani (Pakistan)

Focus: SDG 5 – Gender Equality

Jaya is the technical lead for ‘Aurat Raaj’; a social enterprise which creates technology-based products and services to educate girls on health, hygiene and safety. Jaya has led the development of the enterprise’s chat-bot, a tool which uses artificial intelligence to provide young girls with accessible and non-judgmental information on reproductive health. Jaya’s work has seen the ongoing development of the chat-bot to include local languages and videos while in-school training workshops have helped increase the tool’s reach and impact.

Hafiz Usama Tanveer (Pakistan)

Focus: SDG 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation

Hafiz is the founder of ‘PakVitae’; a social enterprise that produces and supplies water treatment products to provide clean and accessible drinking water to rural communities and refugee camps in Pakistan. PakVitae has so far reached over 11,000 people including victims of the Kerala flood, Afghan refugee camps and remote schools in rural areas.

CARIBBEAN AND CANADA

Lalita Gopaul (Guyana)

Focus: SDG 13 – Climate Action

Lalita is an environmental sustainability activist and researcher by profession. Her research work covers eco-friendly agricultural methods, clean energy solutions and green technologies which have been used in Guyana. Her work has educated more than 100 farmers in the country to adopt more sustainable and environmentally-friendly farming methods to boost production and improve livelihoods in a changing climate. Lalita is also the founder of ‘Eco Club’ which mentors young people on environmental education. The club also runs coastal clean-up activities, tree planting sessions and climate-action walks.

Sowmyan Jegatheesan (Canada)

Focus: SDG 15 – Life on Land

Sowmyan is the founder of ‘SystemaNaturae.org’; one of the largest online information sources for global wildlife projects, research and datasets. The platform creates awareness and helps communities build resilience by better understanding global activities around climate change, migration patterns and human-wildlife conflict through the sourced material. The platform has reached more than 100 countries and has been used by research centres, think tanks and universities across the world.

Stephen McCubbin (Jamaica)

Focus: SDG 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Stephen is the founder of ‘Cheer Sensation JA’; a youth non-profit which works to foster holistic development through the sport of cheer. Through its cheerleading programmes and competitions, the organisation provides a safe space for children and adults to become physically active whilst working as a violence prevention tool in volatile communities in Jamaica. Stephen’s work has enabled him to attract international cheerleading bodies to Jamaica to provide technical support to the organisation, further increasing awareness and support for the sport.

Samuel Neil (Jamaica)

Focus: SDG 4 – Quality Education

Samuel is the founder of ‘The Aviation Club of Jamaica’; a national initiative which encourages young people to enter the aviation sector. The programme provides student members with scholarship opportunities and training programmes through its partnerships with training institutions. The programme has introduced hundreds of local young people to the world of aviation and supported many to go on to become qualified aviation professionals.

PACIFIC

Sagufta Janif (Fiji)

Focus: SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production

Sagufta is the founder of ‘The Fusion Hub’; a social enterprise focused on addressing a lack of access to proper waste disposal methods in remote islands by upcycling waste materials and selling them as furniture, home items and accessories. The Fusion Hub has so far upcycled more than 400 tonnes of waste selling hundreds of items to clients. The Hub also employs single mothers giving them a sustainable livelihood and has helped set up two formal businesses that are now part of its supply chain.

Broderick John Mervyn (Fiji)

Focus: SDG 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Broderick is the current President of ‘Ignite4Change’; a youth-led initiative which works to empower and educate underprivileged women and youths to grow inclusive governance, equality, participation and cultural preservation within local communities. The initiative runs several programmes including on public speaking training, local governance awareness, climate change advocacy, youth leadership and the protection of the Rotuman Language and Heritage.

Rinesh Sharma (Fiji)

Focus: SDG 2 – Zero Hunger

Rinesh is the founder of ‘Smart Farms Fiji’; an initiative that aims to provide a sustainable food production system by growing fruits and vegetables in a controlled environment all year round. The Smart Farm system’s produce is monitored through smartphone technology and saves up to 70 per cent more water than traditional farming methods. Smart Farms Fiji also runs the country’s first hydroponics course that teaches local communities to embrace modern farming practices.

Fusi Masina Tietie (Samoa)

Focus: SDG 5 – Gender Equality

Fusi is the founder of ‘Her Voice’; an online initiative that aims to empower young women in the local community by sharing their personal stories through art and videography. The project works in partnership with volunteer photographers, make-up artists, bloggers and fashion designers to curate each young woman’s story and share to Her Voice’s online community. Fusi also provides national training to young women on leadership and gender equality.

By: Emeka Alex Akwaeze

 

With the prevailing circumstance in which the most Nigerian youths find themselves, it becomes necessary for both the private and public sector partner together into finding lasting solution to lack of unemployment opportunity and waste of untapped talents, it is in this light that the founder, of face of made in Nigeria, Mr. Rikki Chinedu Nwajiofor explains the difference his foundation is out to make by providing the enabling environment for Nigerian youth to showcase their talents and also the discovery of wasted talent littering round the streets.

He noted that the entertainment industry in Nigeria has contributed immensely in ameliorating the menace of unemployment and has given a considerable sense of direction to the teeming talented Youth of Nigeria. It has contributed immeasurably to the growth of our nation’s GDP.

Unfortunately, these highly condensed and untapped talents are being wasted daily as some of these talented youth take to social ills and misdemeanors, sequel to joblessness and unavailability of “Entertainment Hubs” that are ready to extract these talents, sieve and showcase them. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop, they say. When these youth are idle and unengaged, they take to the negative way of life, along which some of them lose their lives.

There is no gainsaying in the fact that no government in the world can provide employment for every one of its citizens. What a people-oriented government does, aside from providing sufficient employment opportunities as much as it can, is to provide support and an enabling environment for private sectors and entrepreneurs to thrive.

Suffice it to say that, aside white collar jobs, citizens can fend for themselves through their given talents and skills. So many talents and skills abound, however, there is a goldmine in the entertainment-oriented talents. The entertainment industry is a goldmine and has the capacity of meaningfully engaging millions of people, especially the Youth.

In line with the above thought, Face of Made in Nigeria has embarked on a Talent Hunt across the Nation. It intends to go round the country on Talent Hunt in the fields of Creative Arts and Entrepreneurship, to fish out those talented Youth who are languishing in waste, because they have no means of reaching out to some record labels or production houses that would help to nurture and shoot them to limelight, and those aspiring to be Entrepreneurs but have no one to mentor them.

 

The Search and Development of Young Entrepreneurs, Actors, Artistes, Comedians and Dancers, is our aim. When we discover the talented Youth, we intend to have training sessions where the “Music Stars”, “Nollywood Veterans”, “Renowned Comedians”, “Professional Dancers” and some “Entrepreneur Technocrats” would train, mentor and groom them to stardom and into financial independence. This will be done in collaboration with the African Youth Entertainment Hub and National Youth Council Of Nigeria.

 

 

This project will reduce the rate of Youth’s engagement in criminal acts such as banditry, kidnapping, thuggery, drug abuse, rape and other social vices and crimes as the Youth will be meaningfully engaged, giving no room to be used as the “devil’s workshop”. When the Youth are meaningfully engaged, their minds will be too occupied to tilt towards crime and other vices. When the Youth are idle and unemployed or unengaged, they take to the negative way of life along which some of them lose their lives

 

It will curb the menace of illegal migration and “brain-drain” syndrome. Some highly talented Youth have lost their lives in the Mediterranean Sea because they believed that their talents would have been well harnessed, and greener pastures found, if they crossed over to Europe or other developed countries. Some are still on their way to that point of no-return-journey, even amidst all warnings. Yes, according to some of them, “it is better to die trying to crossover than to languish in nothingness and idleness in Nigeria.” Thus, this Nation-wide talent hunt will give these Youth a hope and a future.

 

It will engage the young ladies and will serve as a means of sensitization and re-orientation against prostitution and related vices. It will give the young ladies the encouragement to be more creative and toe the path of Entrepreneurship as against being dependent, which makes them vulnerable. This project will save the young ladies from the assaults they meet while trying to find a connection that will showcase them in the entertainment industry. Often times, in their zeal to join the entertainment industry, most of them are abused and an undue advantage is often taken over them. In this project, they will have an equal fair playing ground to showcase their talents and get shot to limelight.

 

 

As the Youth are empowered and groomed into financial independence, the economy of our dear nation will grow stronger and better, invariably.

“We beckon on well-meaning Nigerians, both at home and in diaspora, to be part of this patriotic vision and life-saving project! We need your voice, support and encouragement! Be part of this epoch making salvation of the Nigerian Youth and save the Youth from perishing in the Mediterranean Sea and wallowing aimlessly in the streets. If the Youth see opportunities of getting themselves positively engaged here in Nigeria, nothing will instill the ugly desire of crossing the desert and Mediterranean Sea, in their minds.”

 

Paraphrasing Kofi Annan, the 7th Secretary General of United Nation, “Young people should be at the forefront of global change and innovation. Empowered, they can be key agents for development and peace. If, however, they are left on society’s margins, all of us will be impoverished. Let us ensure that all young people have every opportunity to participate fully in the lives of their societies”.

 

A new Black British history series exploring subjects from Afrobeats to the power movement is underway.

‘A Quick Ting On’, a ground-breaking new non-fiction series focuses on the Black British community, all written by young Black British writers.

Created by 24-year-old publisher Magdalene Abraha, the series is the first of its kind and will cover topics from grime music to bamboo earrings, plantain to the Black British power movement, Afrobeats to Black British business.

A Quick Ting On is published by Jacaranda Books, the award-winning independent publisher dedicated to diverse books, with new titles to come out over the following year.

One author is Zainab Kwaw-Swanzy who says she loves that the series could help readers outside Black British communities understand the importance of their culture.

“Black history tends to be focused around slavery – which was such a big part – but to be able to say there are so many other things that are important to this culture and this country, that’s something I would have loved to know more about in school. It wasn’t until I got to uni’ that I started to find myself

It would be great if some of this stuff was covered earlier.”

Abraha said: “There’s nothing like this out there – that’s one of the reasons why I had to do it.

“I created this series to provide a space that can celebrate, pay homage and explore culture. It’s about the everyday conversations that we have about art, music, hair, history, politics, food and so much more.

“The whole point of the series is that the subjects are limitless, it can last forever”.

Other writers set to contribute include Chanté Joseph, Tobi Kyeremateng, Rui Da Silva, Tskenya-Sarah Frazer and Franklyn Addo.

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