As we let our light shine, we consciously give other people to do the same. – Nelson Mandela.
Identity is something African people have been deeply rooted in. Our identity is not only defined by race, tribe or language, but by a cryptic pull that draws us together. The same pull has been misunderstood, corrupted redefined over generations. Over the past decades, there has been a renaissance that has swayed us on the political, economic and social front. We have been demoralised, attacked and tramped by those from the West, East and even by our own.
However, our resilience and optimism, has made us fight and come out victorious. Our self-awareness of deserving the same respect and opportunities as every other race or nationality has succoured us and those before to open doors and lay a foundation for us. Great African women and men who have duly set firm foundations of self-awareness and self-worth such as Wangaari Mathaai, Nelson Mandela, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Koffi Anan to name a few.
This post focuses on some Africans from different eras who have stayed true to themselves and helped most to know who they are.Image from Google
BOU BOU is a Senegalese artist who has left many people from around the world amazed by his skills. He can paint with literally anything, from dumbbells, basketball, shoes even his own ears with his eyes covered.
Residing in Dakar, Senegal, Bou Bou who is quite private with his personal life has said that art is like freedom. He feels liberated and at one with himself when he paints. Many have thought him to be crazy or fugazi, but his videos which he posts on his social media accounts show his authenticity and rawness. He has also revealed that painting upside down is much quicker and easier for him. He has been recognised by a myriad of celebrities and has his own art studio in Senegal.Image from Google.
FATIMA BINT MUHAMMAD AL-FIHRIYA AL-QURASHIYA was also known as Umm al-Banayn was born in Tunisia in 800 AD and is the founder of the oldest University in the world, The University of Al Qarawiyyin which is located in modern-day Fez, Morocco.
Fatima did not come from a rich family but she was well educated. Though little is known about her personal life due to a fire that destroyed the Al-Qurashiya library, it is on record that her father and husband died soon after her wedding. Her father left her and her sister some money, which she later used to buy a mosque which was rebuilt in the university. It is the oldest continually operating educational institution and university in the world, being the first institution to award degrees indicative of different levels of studies.Image from Google.
KING Mansa Musa or MUSA I of Mali from the 14th century, is the richest person to ever live on planet earth, with a net worth of $400 billion. Born in 1280, he ruled the Malian Empire, which during his reign, consisted of territories belonging to the Ghana Empire.
During his reign, Mali may have been the largest producer of gold in the world, which is where he acquired most of his wealth, from production, trade of gold and salt, to more than half of the world back then. He traded so much gold in Egypt and other parts of North Africa, he made it worthless for several years. The Times Magazine reported that there was no way to put an accurate number on his wealth, which is why even having been dead many centuries ago, he is still deemed to be the richest man to ever live to date.
GLORIA NANSUBUGA is an 18 year old Ugandan and the new World Chess Olympiad champion (2019). Also born in Katwe, the same town as Phiona Mutesi, the Women Chess Grandmaster, Gloria started playing chess at the age of 4. In 2018, she became the Women’s FIDE Master, the third-highest rank in chess.
She has the most impressive ranking, at 13 years old, she dominated the top Under 14 player and 6th overall, also amongst the Under 14 girls in Africa, she ranked 4th out of 25. Worldwide, Gloria ranked 6 205 out of 168 055 female chess player by the FIDE.