Africanness

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“ Every black person should please remember that you are African before you became anything.” Bose Ogulu (2019)

Identity is one of the is the magnet that draw us home. It gives us security and reassurance of who we are and where we belong. With over 3 000 tribes and over 2 000 different languages in Africa, a sense of belonging and being part of a community is comforting. It is home. It is a sacred and magnetic force that beckons us to find our source of peculiarity, knowledge, perseverance, drive and Africanness.

1. Malenga Mulendema.

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Malenga Mulendema is a Zambian writer and creator, whose show, ” Mama K’s Team 4″, was picked as the first ever African original animated series by Netflix. Set in Lusaka, Zambia, Mama K is about 4 black teenage girls who are recruited by a former secret agent -Mama K- to save the universe with limited resources. At the same time, doing their homework and being good citizens.

Based in Lusaka, her animation writing journey started when sh was given a opportunity to pitch an animated TV series to Triggerfish Animation Studios’ Story lab in 2015. She grew up watching movies and series with superheroes, and as an adult, t is still her favourite genre. Her passion for the genre has taught her that anyone can b a superhero, and with a little “extra” something they can do great things. She emphasised on how it was important for African girls to be represented in animation.

2. Simon Petrus.

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Simon Petrus is a Namibian student at Abraham Iyambo based in Oshikunde village, who invented a cellphone that does not use airtime. Whilst in Grade 12, Simon invented the free call mobile which only needs radio frequencies to work, using spares from a phone and television set. Comprehensive with a light bulb, fan and charger socket, the handset fully functions off power dispensed through a radiator and is able to call anywhere through the radio frequencies.

He is reported to have won a gold medal at national level in 2015 for his invention of a two-in-one machine that works as both a seed drier and cooler. He said he invented the phone in the hopes that it would be successful and carried further. Sadly,  he failed to meet the minimum university entry requirements but has registered for two subjects which he will sit for this year. He has also bee raising money for Namcol by driving villagers to town with his uncle’s truck. Despite all these obstacles, he has also invented a free call SIM-free telephone that will also be operate wireless.

3. Flaviana Matata.

Flaviana Matata is a Tanzanian beauty queen and fashion model. She is one of the top Seven list of models that have recorded the highest income in Africa mentioned by Forbes in 2013. The barrier-breaking model competed in the Miss Universe pageant in 2007, making her the first woman from Tanzania ever to do so and to top it off, she did it with a shaved head. She has walked a long list of runways which include Vivienne Westwood, Tommy Hilfiger, Tory Burch and has appeared on campaigns for Topshop, Diesel, Aerie and more.

However she is far from a pretty face, she studied electrical engineering before pursuing her modelling career. She is also an entrepreneur who has launched a non-toxic line of nail polish which is available in six countries, and has also started a non-profit organisation The Flaviana Matata Foundation, which aims at empowering Tanzanian girls through education.

4. Edmund Albius.

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Edmund Albius was born into slavery in St. Suzanne, a French Island and became an important figure in the cultivation of vanilla. At the age of 12, he came up with a method for pollinating vanilla orchids quickly and profitably. In the 1800’s before the revolutionisation of vanilla, the world was producing not more than a thousand vanilla beans, as a result of the pollution of bees. It was Edmund who came up with the practical process for the pollination of vanilla.

The vines in St Suzanne were sterile because no insects would pollinate them. Edmund showed his master Ferreol how to pollinate with a thin stick or blade of grass and a simple thumb gesture. He soon travelled the island teaching other slaves how to pollinate vanilla orchids. His method was used around the world and has been the patents method for hundreds of years.

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