Who/What did We Say Goodbye to in Africa in 2018?

In the year 2018, we said goodbye to some people, some events, and some things.  Here are 10 of those:

  1. Winnie Mandela_5
    Winnie Madikizela Mandela

    Winnie Madikizela-Mandela the Great: the Mother of the Nation, and a Warrior like No Other! Everyone celebrates Nelson Mandela, but everybody forgets that without Winnie Mandela, there would have been no Nelson. While he was in jail, she carried on the battle, carried his name high, and carried the nation: Strong African Women and History Amnesia, Patriarchy, Sexism, and Racism: the Case of Winnie Mandela. Below is the strong and powerful eulogy given by Julius Malema,  for an exceptional woman.

  2. The trumpetist Hugh Masekela… no more “Strawberries” for me… but I still love dancing to the sound of the “The Boy is doing it!“. His genius, spirit and music remain with us. So Long to Africa’s Jazz Maestro: Hugh Masekela
  3. Hugh Masekela4
    Hugh Masekela

    Kofi Annan , the previous UN Secretary-General passed away, and was buried in Ghana.

  4.  We said bye-bye to division between Eritrea and Ethiopia, as peace treaties were signed:  Peace at last between the 2 sisters Eritrea and Ethiopia.
  5.  We said goodbye to the name ‘Swaziland‘ for the country Swaziland, and welcomed Eswatini, officially known as the Kingdom of Eswatini.
  6. The world said goodbye to Aretha Franklin, the African American singer, who reveled us with ‘I say a little prayer for you‘, ‘Respect‘, and so many other hit tubes.
  7. Aretha Franklin
    Aretha Franklin

    We also said goodbye to Joseph Kadji Defosso, the great Cameroonian business magnate head of a conglomerate of companies, creator of the Kadji Sport Academy from which world-renowned football player Samuel Eto’o, and others like Idriss Carlos KameniNicolas Nkoulou and Benjamin Moukandjo came out of. Kadji was 95 years old.

  8. The statue of ‘racist’ Gandhi was removed from the University of Ghana campus. It is important to have our own African heroes represented on our campuses and  textbooks.
  9. Over 200 people lost their lives when a ferry capsized on Lake Victoria, in Tanzania. This marked the second-most deadliest ferry disaster in Tanzania.
  10. This was the last world cup for the Egyptian Goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary, who at 45 was the oldest player at the World cup. And lastly, the African Teams at the 2018 FIFA World Cup performed poorly. We wish for a better one next time.

African Women and Revolution

Winnie Mandela_5
Winnie Mandela

Very often history books suffer from amnesia: they forget women’s contributions to revolutions. History acts as if the men had been all alone, as if only men were there, as if only men stood against injustice.

When people talk of the struggle for independence in Africa, and around the world, only the great men are cited. As one browses from country to country, only men are cited, as if women had been silent spectators. Do you think apartheid would have collapsed without the critical and vital input of women? Do you think without Winnie Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s name would have been anchored in our heads today? What do you think these women were doing while their husbands were in prison? History wants us to think that they were ‘just’ raising children as if that was not an enormous contribution already, but in the case of Winnie Mandela and countless others, they took up the fight, and were jailed, harassed, beaten, and humiliated by the system (some were even raped). Yet today, the world acclaims only the men! And when a woman raises too strong a voice, then she is vilified, told that she acts like a man, or is an ‘angry’ woman. How could you face injustice day after day, and just keep quiet? There comes a time when, as Bob Marley says, “You can fool some people some time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time…” people will rise up!”

Thomas Sankara family
Mariam and Thomas Sankara, with their children

I am so sick of the saying, “behind every great man, there is a great woman.” I think it is again quite sexist, and should rather read, “ALONGSIDE EVERY GREAT MAN IS A GREAT WOMAN.” Raising children, and pumping somebody’s ego after a day’s fight, taking up the fights, and then keeping the men’s memory so that the world does not forget them, are no easy fit; these are extraordinary fits. Alongside Nelson Mandela, there is Winnie Mandela. Alongside Thomas Sankara, there is Mariam Sankara. Alongside Patrice Lumumba, there is Pauline Lumumba. Alongside Felix Moumié, there is Marthe MoumiéRosa Parks had to be defiant and sit in the front of the bus, for the movement to be taken over by Martin Luther King Jr.; without her part in the fight, there would have been no movement!

Ernest Ouandié, Marthe Moumié, and Abel Kingue in Geneva after Felix Moumié's death
Ernest Ouandié, Marthe Moumié, and Abel Kingue in Geneva after Felix Moumié’s death

It is our duty to remember this, and to claim it. The world and history wants us to think that men are the only ones in the world, when we know that 50% of the world’s population is female; men are not the only ones fighting for independence, liberation, freedom, revolution, democracy, … Can one make a revolution without the remaining 50%? NO! It is our duty to remember Women’s contributions to history, and stop the global historical amnesia!