What did we celebrate in 2013 in Africa?

Super Eagles lifting the trophy
Super Eagles lifting the trophy
Pretty Yende
Pretty Yende

There was a lot to celebrate in Africa in 2013.  Here are some of those things.

– In January, South African opera singer, Pretty Yende, was the first African to perform at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.  You can watch her interview on BBC.

– On February 10, Nigeria’s Super Eagles won this year’s African Cup of Nations.  Stephen Keshi’s team made us all proud.

– In MarchFESPACO 2013 was a success and featured movies and documentaries from across the continent.


– On March 14, Uhuru Kenyatta won Kenya’s presidential elections.  These elections were the people’s choice, and Uhuru Kenyatta defeated the ‘machine’-chose guy Raila Odinga (Obama’s cousin); a very good example of democracy by Africans for Africans.

– In April, Cecile Kyenge became the first Black minister nominated in Italy.  Dr. Kyenge is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

– On 31 July, Zimbabwe general and presidential elections went peacefully with the full re-election of Robert Mugabe.

– In August, 12 political figures from Laurent Gbagbo‘s FPI were released in Côte d’Ivoire.  Among them was Pascal Affi N’Guessan, previous prime minister of Gbagbo, who was unjustly detained without hearing for 2 years.

Samuel Eto'o Fils 'Birth of a Champion'
Samuel Eto’o Fils ‘Birth of a Champion’

NoViolet Bulawayo was the first black African woman and Zimbabwean author to be shortlisted for the prestigious Man Booker Prize for her novel We need new names.

– In September, Samuel Eto’o Fils (Cameroonian and one of Africa’s best soccer forward) came out with an autobiographic comic book.  Birth of a Champion is the first comic book on an African football player, and will hopefully inspire many youths around the globe.

– In November, Cameroonian author Léonora Miano won the 2013 Feminina Prize for her novel La Saison de l’Ombre, which talks about slavery from those who lived after seeing their relatives captured.

Aliko Dangote
Aliko Dangote

– Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, vowed to build the largest privately owned refinery in Nigeria, which produces more oil than any other African country but must import most of the motor fuel and diesel it uses because existing refineries are dilapidated and inefficient.

Folorunsho Alakija
Folorunsho Alakija

– This year also saw two African women cross the billionaire bar: Isabel Dos Santos of Angola, and Folorunsho Alakija of Nigeria.  Alakija is actually the richest black woman billionaire ahead of Oprah.

– Five (5) African nations won their tickets to the World cup in Brazil 2014.  The 5 countries are: Algeria, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria.

Freedom at last? 12 high political figures freed in Côte d’Ivoire

Affi N'Guessan (Source: Le Nouveau Courrier)
Affi N’Guessan (Source: Le Nouveau Courrier)

Freedom at last for 12 high political figures in Côte d’Ivoire.  These were members of the FPI, Laurent Gbagbo‘s who had been detained without any hearing for the past 2 years.  This is a sign that truth and justice always wins.  I have translated here a speech by Pascal Affi N’Guessan, one of the detainees and once prime minister of Côte d’Ivoire.  This was published on the website of Le Nouveau Courrier. For the audio and integral text, go to Le Nouveau Courrier. Thank goodness for this… and let us keep fighting for freedom and true democracy (not the one manufactured by the IMF, in Europe or the US, but what will work for us).


Président Laurent GBAGBO
Président Laurent GBAGBO

I would like to, before giving any speech, first greet you and thank you wholeheartedly.  If we can stand here today in front of you, don’t be fooled. There are no three explanations. There are no two explanations. There is only one explanation. It’s your engagement, it is your determination, your strength, it is your rejection of an unfair situation that was made in Côte d’Ivoire which explains why we can stand before you today. This explains why yesterday other comrades were released. This explains why yesterday Bê Diabaté and other comrades […] have been released. And it is this mobilization which will explain tomorrow’s  normalization in Côte d’Ivoire, the release of all our comrades who are still detained, the return from exile of all our comrades who were forced to flee their own country, and the return to us of President Laurent Gbagbo.

… The original project [Ouattara regime] is not to let the FPI exists as a political party. The ambition nurtured by those who came to power under the conditions that we know is not to reinstate democracy. It is not to let a party as powerful as the Ivorian Popular Front party exist. (…)

Cote d'Ivoire
Cote d’Ivoire

Dear Comrades, you defeated the odds. You have proven that the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) was intractable. You have proven that the Ivorian Popular Front was a spirit. You have proven that the people of Côte d’Ivoire did not want to backtrack. And its course is determined to be democracy, to be progress, to be freedom. And it is because our opponents have realized this fact, because we have imposed this reality, that we stand here today in front of you.

Today is a day of rejoicing. A day to celebrate this milestone in our struggle. That is why it may be too risky to go further. But know that we do not have three programs, we do not have two programs, we have one program. And this program is the program of the people of Côte d’Ivoire. And this program are the aspirations of the people of Côte d’Ivoire. And this program is to resolve all the problems that prevent this country from becoming a modern and prosperous country. This is our program!

We’re here to straighten out. As the old of Ménékré says it, “twisted politics”, we are here to rectify. Continue reading “Freedom at last? 12 high political figures freed in Côte d’Ivoire”