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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.

Interview

Interview: Wavy The Creator Is Ready to See You Now

The multidisciplinary Nigerian-American artist on tapping into all her creative outlets, creating interesting things, releasing a new single and life during quarantine.

A trip canceled, plans interrupted, projects stalled. It is six months now since Wavy the Creator has had to make a stop at an undisclosed location to go into quarantine and get away from the eye of the pandemic.

The professional recording artist, photographer, writer, fashion artist, designer, and evolving creative has been spending all of this time in a house occupied by other creatives. This situation is ideal. At least for an artist like Wavy who is always in a rapid motion of creating and bringing interesting things to life. The energy around the house is robust enough to tap from and infuse into any of her numerous creative outlets. Sometimes, they also inspire trips into new creative territories. Most recently, for Wavy, are self-taught lessons on a bass guitar.

Wavy's days in this house are not without a pattern, of course. But some of the rituals and personal rules she drew up for herself, like many of us did for internal direction, at the beginning of the pandemic have been rewritten, adjusted, and sometimes ditched altogether. Some days start early and end late. Some find her at her sewing machine fixing up thrift clothes to fit her taste, a skill she picked up to earn extra cash while in college, others find her hard at work in the studio, writing or recording music.

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(Youtube)

The 10 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Wizkid, Alicia Keys x Diamond Platnumz, Manu WorldStar, Maya Amolo, La Dame Blanche and more.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our best music of the week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here, Apple Music here and YouTube Music here

Check out all of OkayAfrica's playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

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News Brief

Michael Kiwanuka Wins Highly Coveted 2020 Mercury Prize

The British-Ugandan artist proves that staying true to yourself will get you further than you can imagine.

British-Ugandan musician Michael Kiwanuka has gone on to win the 2020 Mercury Prize at this year's virtual awards ceremony.

The win was assigned to Kiwanuka's 2019 album KIWANUKA, produced by Danger Mouse and Inflo. KIWANUKA, Michael's third full-length so far, seems to be the artists' most personal one yet.

In his own words, Kiwanuka told New Statesman, "I thought, what better way to say that you're comfortable with who you are than by using just your name? KIWANUKA goes against fame, it goes against success. It's not in the pocket, it's not a smooth rock'n'roll name that's up in lights. It can be clumsy, if you haven't seen it before."

Well, we are certainly grateful for the singer's personal evolution as it has landed him top honors in the industry, as well as, amongst his die hard fans.

The artist said of his win, "I don't even know what to say - I'm speechless. This is amazing...I don't even have any words. This is ridiculous, it's crazy! I'm so happy. Third time's a charm. It's blown my mind. I'm over the moon, I'm so excited - this is for art, for music, for albums. This is the only thing I've ever wanted to do so to win a Mercury is a dream come true. I'm so happy. Music and art means so much to me and this is an award that celebrates that so I'm over the moon."

Watch Michael Kiwanuka's performance of "You Ain't The Problem" off of his Mercury Prize winning album "KIWANUKA" here.

Mercury Prize 2020 Winner | Michael Kiwanuka - You Ain't The Problem (Later... With Jools Holland) www.youtube.com

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa Supports Removal of Apartheid Statues

This past Heritage Day, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that monuments 'glorifying' the country's 'divisive past' should be repositioned and relocated.