Who / What did we Celebrate in Africa in 2019?

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Laurent Gbagbo

1. The liberation of President Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé (How long shall they kill our prophets…?) from the Hague after 8 years unjustly accused of crimes against humanity. All charges were dropped, Laurent Gbagbo, Former President of Cote d’Ivoire, was acquitted of War Crimes, yet Blé Goudé and him are still persecuted by the prosecutor, and Blé Goudé is still stuck in the Hague unjustly, while Gbagbo is in Belgium; both are unable to return home to Côte d’Ivoire. This is another case of Deportation of African Heads of States. Our prayers have been answered, and we will continue until they can both return home, and until Côte d’Ivoire is rid of all the nonsense brought by France there.  As Agostinho Neto Neto said: “La luta continua e la victoria e certa!”

2. Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)‘s first democratically elected president, Felix Tshisekedi, was invested on 24 January which marked a historic day in the life of the DRC. Félix Antoine Tshilombo Tshisekedi marked the first peaceful transfer of power in the history of the DRC in 60 years, since the Belgium granted it independence.

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Abiy Ahmed, Prime minister of Ethiopia (Source: sa.breakingnews.co.za)

3. Abiy Ahmed, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize this year. We celebrate it, but it has become quite controversial as he was awarded the Nobel for his work in ending the 20-year post-war territorial stalemate between Ethiopia and Eritrea…. the question remains as to why wasn’t his Eritrean counterpart recognized as well … doesn’t it take two to tango? Remember how F. de Klerk and Mandela were both awarded the Nobel peace prize for the end of apartheid? Both sides were recognized… so why not in the case of Ethiopia and Eritrea?

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Kais Saied,  new president of Tunisia getting sworn in (Source: Al Jazeera)

4. Tunisia celebrated the election of Kais Saied aka ‘The Robot’: The Political Outsider Who Won the Tunisian Presidential Election. Saied, a political outsider and retired law professor, won the presidential election with a landslide victory. We cheered with the Tunisian people for a good election and hopefully a good choice.

5. Cameroon’s opposition leader Maurice Kamto was freed after almost 10 months of unjust arrest. This has helped us all uncover yet another scandal: Cameroon and the Double Standard of the ‘International Community’. Kamto had been locked up with over 200 of his supporters at the capital’s maximum security prison for a peaceful march. He has now been freed, and all charges dropped, while the situation in Cameroon keeps disintegrating under the leadership of France’s puppet Paul Biya and his croonies.

6. Rwanda announced the opening of the first mobile phone manufacturing plant in Africa. The mobile phones will be entirely made in Rwanda… for Rwandans. Rwanda opens first entirely homemade smartphone factory. The Mara Group, a pan-African business headquartered in Dubai, says the factory will deliver “high quality smartphones at an affordable price.” Volkswagen will also open its first ever car assembly factory in Africa in Rwanda.

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Eliud Kipchoge after crossing the sub-2hour marathon line (Source: Standard.co.uk)

7. Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya ran a sub-2 hour marathon to become the first person in recorded history to run a marathon in such times.

7. Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei set a jaw-dropping new women’s world record at the Chicago marathon with a time of 2:14:04, breaking the record set by British runner Paula Radcliffe in 200316 years ago.

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The Fennecs of Algeria celebrating their title at the CAN 2019 (Source: The Guardian)

8. The Fennecs of Algeria won the African Cup of Nations 2019 in Cairo, Egypt. The Fennecs of Algeria defeated the Lions of the Teranga of Senegal 1-0 to become Africa’s new champions. This was their second title since 1990. They were clearly the tournament’s best team. The revelation of CAN 2019 tournament was the Barea of Madagascar which for their first participation ever to the African Cup of Nations, performed extremely well, and went as far as the quarter finals.

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Alvin Zhakata in Khartoum, Sudan (Source: Alvin Zhakata)

9. This year also saw several fans attempt the journey from Cape to Cairo: Trekking 10,000 km for the African Cup of Nations. One of them finished: Alvin Zhakata, of Zimbabwe, trekked 10,000 km to cheer for the Zimbabwean warriors at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Cairo. Even though he arrived late, after his team had been eliminated, he was offered a VIP ticket to the final. What Zhakata did was no easy feat: he traveled from Cape Town to Cairo by foot enduring visa delays, internet blackouts and revolutionary protests all for the love of football. This was also a bold political statement to all African leaderswe need roads to connect each other; we need better visa system for Africans, safer travel, and increased trade among each otherwe need a united AfricaZhakata’s statement is one of Unity, … African Unity

10. To end the year in fanfare, Ethiopia celebrated the launch of its first satellite. This is an outstanding feat and we are happy to celebrate with Ethiopian scientists and all Ethiopians.

A Weekend of Firsts in Sports set by … Africans and Afro-Descendants

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Eliud Kipchoge after crossing the sub-2hour marathon line (Source: Standard.co.uk)

This past weekend was a weekend of firsts in sports, firsts set by African and Afro-descendant athletes. It was also a strong weekend for Black female athletes, with dominant, outstanding, and even historic performances by world record marathoner Brigid Kosgei, tennis champion Coco Gauff and Simone Biles, the greatest gymnast in the history of the sport. We watched with great joy when:

 

Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya ran a sub-2 hour marathon to become the first person in recorded history to run a marathon in such times. On 12 October 2019, Kipchoge ran the marathon distance on a special course in Vienna, Austria, achieving a time of 1:59:40 in the Ineos 1:59 Challenge. However, his record will not go down as a world record, because this technical feat required unprecedented planning and support, and was heavily engineered. We nonetheless celebrate the history and meaning for mankind.

 

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Simone Biles breaking all records at the World championships in Stuttgart (Source: time.com)

Simone Biles became the most decorated gymnast of all times. The four-time Olympic gold medalist, at 22, broke a world championships record with her medals on Sunday. Winning gold medals for both her floor routine and the balance beam, Biles became the most-decorated gymnast at the world championship amassing 25 medals, breaking the long-held record of 23, which was set by male gymnast Vitaly Scherbo back in the 1990s. She is not only the most decorated in history, but the highest and fastest champion the sport has ever seen.

 

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Brigid Kosgei at the Chicago Marathon showing her record (Source: Reuters)

Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei set a jaw-dropping new women’s world record in Chicago over the weekend with a time of 2:14:04, breaking the record set by British runner Paula Radcliffe in 2003, 16 years ago. Unlike Kipchoge’s record, whose effort employed rotating pacers and just one “racer,” this one will count as a world record. Kosgei removed 81 seconds from the previous record, an unprecedented feat!

 

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Coco Gauff after winning her first WTA title (Source: cbc.ca)

Tennis player Coco Gauff  became the youngest singles champion, at 15, in 15 years and the youngest American to win a singles title on the tour since 1991. She became the youngest woman to win Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) title since 2004 (and the youngest American to do so in 28 years) by winning Austria’s Linz Open on Sunday. I love the advice her dad who is her coach gave her: “Just relax, you’re not going to sprint to the finish line,… We’re going to walk to the finish line, OK?” And relaxed she got, in order to cruise to victory.

 

It was truly a weekend of Firsts, unprecedented, and of course Outstanding performances!!!

 

Final African Tally at the Rio 2016 Olympics

Rio2016_145 medals for Africa this year. A record. Wayde Van Niekerk, the South African, being the first African to win a gold medal in sprint, and also broke the world record established by Michael Johnson in 1999 on 400 m. Ethiopian Almaz Ayana also broke the 1993 record in 10000m.  Here are the remaining medals from the tally I published before the end of the games.

Cheikh Salla Cisse gave Côte d’Ivoire its very first Gold medal (in less than 80 kg Taekwondo men)

 

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Cheikh Salla Cisse

Caster Semenya – 800 m women (South Africa) – Gold

 

Ruth Gbagbi – Taekwondo less than 67 kg women (Côte d’Ivoire) – Bronze

Francine Niyonsaba – 800 m women (Burundi) – Silver

Margaret Nyairera Wambui – 800 m women (Kenya) – Bronze

Nigeria men Soccer team – Bronze

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Caster Semenya

Eliud Kipchoge – Men Marathon (Kenya) – Gold

Julius Yego – Men Javelin (Kenya) – Silver

Almaz Ayana – 5000 m women (Ethiopia) – Bronze

Hagos Gebrhiwet – 5000 m men (Ethiopia)- Bronze

Feyisa Lilesa – Men Marathon (Ethiopia) – Silver

Taoufik Makhloufi – 1500 m Men (Algeria) – Silver

Abdoulrazak Issoufou Alfaga – over 80kg Taekwondo men (Niger) – Silver

Oussama Oueslati – less than 80 kg Taekwondo men (Tunisia) – Bronze

Hellen Obiri – 5000 m women (Kenya) – Silver

Vivian Cheruiyot – 5000 m women (Kenya) – Gold