Who/ What did we say goodbye to in Africa in 2013?

'Things Fall Apart' by Chinua Achebe
‘Things Fall Apart’ by Chinua Achebe

In the year 2013, we said goodbye to some people, some events, and some things.  Here are 10 of those:

– Well, in January, we said goodbye to rebels in Mali thanks to the French intervention with the Operation Serval (the Françafrique is back, and very well).

– The South African athlete, Oscar Pistorius made us almost regret ever celebrating Valentine’s Day with his arrest for the murder (or not?) of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on 14 February.

– On 5 March, El Commandante, Hugo Chavez left us.  Lots of tears cannot express how we all felt, and how many Africans felt about his passing.

Kofi Awoonor
Kofi Awoonor

Chinua Achebe made our world fall apart when he left us on 22 March.  We did cry, but above all we reconnected with his great work so that ‘Things [would not] fall apart.”

– On 3 July, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was ousted by the army which was supported by millions of people.

– There were another rebels in Central African Republic (CAR) with the ousting of president François Bozizé.

– We said goodbye to yet another writer, this time Ghanaian writer/diplomat Kofi Awoonor who was killed during the scandalous Westgate shopping mall shootings in Nairobi on 21 September.

Tabu Ley Rochereau
Tabu Ley Rochereau

– In 3 October, a boat carrying 500 illegal immigrants toppled in the Mediterranean sea near Lampedusa killing 366 people.  Italy declared a national day of mourning.

– The M23 rebels in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were defeated by the Kabila government with help from the UN troops (remember the UN used to be in the region, and never did anything – I wonder what changed this time) at the end of October and beginning of November.

Nelson Rohlilahla Mandela
Nelson Rohlilahla Mandela

– Le ‘Seigneur’ Tabu Ley Rochereau left us on 30 November 2013.  We are still celebrating the maestro’s work and his influence on generations of Congolese and African artists.

– We said goodbye to Nelson Mandela on 5 Dec. 2013Madiba left us, and we all cried for this great symbol of strength, forgiveness, and greatness in Africa.


African Athletes to Watch for at the 2012 London Olympics

2012 London Olympics
2012 London Olympics

With the start of the 2012 London Olympics, I thought about giving you a hint as to who to look out for, and who are those brilliant athletes representing the continent at the Olympics.  Here is a list of some of the outstanding ones… There is no particular order.  If I have missed a big one, please send me his/her name.


Athletes Country Discipline Achievements
Kenenisa Bekele Ethiopia 5,000m & 10,000m Reigning world and Olympic champion (male)
Tirunesh Dibaba Ethiopia 5,000m & 10,000m Reigning world and Olympic champion (female)
Cameron van der Burgh South Africa Swimming Gold medalist 100 m breaststroke 2012 olympics
Amantle Montsho Botswana 400 m & 800 m track & field African champion
Jonathan Akinyemi Nigeria Canoe-Kayak
Blessing Okagbare Nigeria 100 m, long and triple jump 2008 Olympics Bronze medalist long jump
Caster Semenya South Africa 800 m, 1500 m 2011 World Champion Silver medal (800m)
Vivian Cheruiyot Kenya 5000 m 2009 world champion
Silas Kiplagat Kenya 1500 m 2010 Commonwealth gold champion
Tosin Oke Nigeria Triple jump 2011 All-African Games gold medalist
Ruddy Zang Milama Gabon 100 m 2012 African champion
Taoufik Makhloufi Algeria 800 m, 1500 m 2012 African champion (800 m)
Alaaedin Abouelkassem Egypt Men’s Fencing 2010 World Junior champion
Ndiss Kaba Badji Senegal Long jump 2012 African champion
Pamela Jelimo Kenya 800 m 2008 Olympic Gold medalist
Kirsty Coventry Zimbabwe Swimming Olympic Gold medalist 2004, 2008 (2 gold, 4 silver, & 1 bronze olympic medals)
Khotso Mokoena South Africa Long jumper 2008 Olympic silver medalist
Antonia de Fatima Faia Angola Judo Bronze medalist World champion
Zersenay Tadese Erithrea 10,000 m 2004 Olympic bronze medalist
Wilson Kipsang Kenya Marathon 2012 London Marathon winner
Mary Keitany Kenya Marathon 2012 London Marathon winner
Amaechi Morton Nigeria 400 m hurdles 2012 African championship gold medalist
Oscar Pistorius South Africa 100m, 200m, 400 m 2004, 2008 paralympic gold medalist
Samuel Kamau Wanjiru Kenya Marathon 2008 Olympic gold medalist
Chad le Clos South Africa Swimming (200 m butterfly) Commonwealth gold medalist
Benjamin Boukpeti Togo Canoe (K-1 Kayak single) 2008 Olympic bronze medalist
Oussama Mellouli Tunisia 1500 m freestyle swimming 2008 olympic Gold medalist