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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.

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Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage via Getty.

Michaela Coel Joins the 'Black Panther' Sequel Cast

The upcoming film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, is shaping up.

The sequel to the Oscar-winning Black Panther is only due to debut in July of 2022, but the production is well on its way.

The latest news out of the camp is that Michaela Coel, of I May Destroy You and Chewing Gum fame, has officially joined the cast of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Her character details are still under wraps but according to Variety, Coel has already joined director Ryan Coogler at Atlanta's Pinewood Studios, where production started in late June.

Coel joins original cast members Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, Lupita Nyong'o, Florence Kasumba, and Angela Bassett all reprising their roles. Following the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman, Marvel reportedly chose not to recast the role of T'Challa.

Read: How Michaela Coel's 'I May Destroy You' Makes Space For Black Creators

"It's clearly very emotional without Chad," Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige mentions. "But everyone is also very excited to bring the world of Wakanda back to the public and back to the fans. We're going to do it in a way that would make Chad proud."

Michaela Coel's highly-lauded 2020 series I May Destroy You — which she wrote, directed, produced and stared in — received four Emmy nominations.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is scheduled for wide release on July 8, 2022.

Meet Duro Arts, the Man Behind Your Favorite Afrobeats Album Covers

We talk to the Lagos-based digital artist about his work with Olamide, Phyno, Falz and more.

Duro Arts has found himself illustrating the cover artwork for a new wave of Nigerian musicians. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Oluwadurotimi Bolaji Idowu started digital art in 2010, at a time where afrobeats music was still grasping its feet. Now, 11 years later, he has made covers for heavyweight hitmakers like Peruzzi, Phyno, Olamide, Zlatan, Oxlade, and Davido.

We caught up with Duro Arts on a Sunday afternoon over Zoom. He took the call from Accra, Ghana, where he's currently working. We talked about his journey as a digital artist, his portfolio, creative process, and the changes he'd like to see in the creative industry.

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Series Producer Bonga Percy Vilakazi Is Big On Telling Progressive Stories

The award-winning South African writer and producer cut his teeth in the TV industry washing and drying make-up sponges. Today, he's responsible for entertaining millions of soapie lovers on the African continent.

For someone who has accomplished a lot working behind the scenes of South Africa's television industry, very little is known about Bonga Percy Vilakazi. Well, except that he writes Pulitzer-deserving, essay-esque Instagram captions — the type whose sarcasm is likely to have anyone chuckling from start to finish.

Currently a series producer on The River, one of South Africa's most-awarded TV shows, and creative producer on the new-ish telenovela Legacy, Bonga Percy is ready to shove aside his privacy policy in the hope that someone out there will learn a thing or two from his career journey. "I've become less self-conscious about sharing my story," he explains. "I've always thought I was reachable and approachable, especially on social media, hence the reluctance to put myself out there."

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