popular

African Athletes Break Barriers at 2018 Winter Olympics

They did it for the culture.

The 2018 Winter Olympics have undoubtedly been a monumental one for African athletes.

Several national teams from across the continent made their triumphant Olympic debuts, challenging years upon years of white domination at the games. These athletes hail from Eritrea, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa and more.

These athletes had won the games, even before any medals were awarded, solely based on the fact that their achievements have broken ground for future athletes from the continent.


On Tuesday morning, the Nigerian Women's bobsled team, led by Seun Adigun and Akuoma Omeoga became the first Africans in history to compete in the bobsled competition finishing in 52.1 seconds and landing in 20th place in Heat 1. Enthusiastic supporters from across the globe rooted for the team as they wen on to make Olympic history.

They'll compete again tomorrow in a second round of competitions.

Nigeria's first ever skeleton racer, Simi Ageagbo made her Olympic debut last week as well, finishing in 20th place after competing in four heats. She made the trip to Pyeongchang just four months after picking up the sport of skeleton racing. She'll go down as another African athlete who's helped make winter sports that much more accessible for black athletes.

"Ultimately, my journey is about breaking down barriers for future generations of athletes—especially young women everywhere—who are watching athletes like me push the limits through sport during the Games," said Adeagbo afterwards.

OkayAfrica got the chance to catch up with the athlete ahead of the games. Learn more about her story below with the video "60 seconds with Simi."

The same can be said for Ghana's first skeleton athlete, Akwasi Frimpong, who competed last week, finishing last overall, but leaving a huge mark on the sports world nonetheless. Revisit the talk we had with Frimpong just ahead of his first race, where he discusses his transition from track athlete to winter sports trailblazer.

"Everybody has their own story. I am just grateful I didn't give up. I just hope a kid in Ghana sees me sliding today and they will go after their dreams as well," the athlete told ESPN following his race. "They need it, I need it."

Photo courtesy of Akwasi Frimpong.

Eritrea's first Winter Olympian, 21-year-old alpine skier, Shannon-Obgnai Abeda, finished 61st. He's made Eritrea proud by proudly representing his country on a global platform.

"For Eritreans, they're very happy when they see something positive about Eritrea, considering there was a 30 year war of independence," said the athlete, speaking with Global News Canada.

"I think it would be good for me to connect with the youth there and try to promote sports regardless if it's a summer or winter sport."

Sabrina Simander, the first Kenyan woman to compete in the Winter Olympics, and the second Kenyan ever to compete at the games, finished 38th out of 44 in speed skiing. The 19-year-old athlete, who grew up in Austria, has been skiing since the age of three.

"It was pretty cool and amazing to be at my first Olympics at 19 years. I felt really proud and enjoyed it. It was a big deal for me," she told Capital FM.

She, along with the several other African athletes who participated in the Olympic games, wants to giver back to her community in a meaningful way through sports.

"I am ready to share my experience with other Kenyans who are willing to take up winter sports. There are lots of experiences I have picked up from the Olympics and lessons I am certainly hoping to share," she added.

Congrats to all of the history-making African athletes who conquered the Winter Olympics this year.

Photo courtesy of CSA Global.

In Conversation with Congolese NBA Player Emmanuel Mudiay: 'I want more African players in the NBA.'

The Utah Jazz player talks about being African in the NBA, supporting basketball in the DRC and how 'everybody knows about Burna Boy'.

Inspired by his basketball-playing older brothers, by second grade, Emmanuel Mudiay already knew that he wanted to play in the American National Basketball Association. Then in 2001 his family, fleeing the war in Democratic Republic of Congo, sought asylum in the United States.

In America, Mudiay saw basketball as a way for him to improve his situation. After impressive high school and college careers, he moved to China to play pro ball. Picked 7th overall in the 2015 NBA draft, the now 23-year-old guard has made a name for himself this season coming off the bench for the Utah Jazz.

Mudiay attests to the sport having changed not only his life but that of his siblings. Basketball gave them all a chance at a good education and the opportunity to dream without conditions. Now he wants to see other talented African players make it too.

We caught up with him to talk about his experience as an African player in the NBA, his hopes for basketball on the African continent and who he and his teammates jam out to in their locker rooms.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Keep reading...

University lecturer and activist Doctor Stella Nyanzi (L) reacts in court as she attends a trial to face charges for cyber-harassment and offensives communication, in Kampala, on April 10, 2017. (Photo by GAEL GRILHOT/AFP via Getty Images)

Jailed Ugandan Activist, Stella Nyanzi, Wins PEN Prize for Freedom of Expression

The outspoken activist, who is currently serving a prison sentence for a poem she wrote about the president's mother's vagina, won for her resistance "in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her."

Stella Nyanzi, the Ugandan academic, activist, and vocal critic of President Yoweri Museveni has been awarded the 2020 Oxfam Novib/PEN International award for freedom of expression, given to writers who "continue to work for freedom of expression in the face of persecution."

Nyanzi is currently serving a 15 month sentence for "cyber harassment" after she published a poem in which she wrote that she wished "the acidic pus flooding Esiteri's (the president's mother) vaginal canal had burn up your unborn fetus. Burn you up as badly as you have corroded all morality and professionalism out of our public institutions in Uganda."

According to the director of PEN International, Carles Torner, her unfiltered outspokenness around the issues facing her country is what earned her the award. "For her, writing is a permanent form of resistance in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her," said Torner at the award ceremony.

Keep reading...
Photo: Ben Depp.

Watch Yilian Canizares & Paul Beaubrun's Beautiful Video For 'Noyé'

"Cuba and Haiti come together to share the love and heritage of our deep rooted culture and spirituality."

Yilian Canizares and Paul Beaubrun connect for the serene "Noyé," one of the highlights from Canizares' latest album, Erzulie.

The Cuban singer and Haitian artist are now sharing the new Arnaud Robert-directed music video for the single, which we're premiering here today.

"Noyé is a song that comes from our roots," Yilian Canizares tells OkayAfrica. "Inspired by the energy of love. The same love that kept Africa's legacy alive in the hearts of Haiti and Cuba. We wanted to do a stripped down version of only the essential pieces from a musical point of view. Something raw and beautiful where our souls would be naked."

The striking music video follows Canizares and Beaubrun to the waters of New Orleans, the universal Creole capital, where they sing and float until meeting on the Mississippi River.

"Noyé is a cry of love from children of African descent," says Paul Beaubrun. "Cuba and Haiti come together to share the love and heritage of our deep rooted culture and spirituality."

Watch the new music video for "Noyé" below.

Keep reading...

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.