News Brief

Cameroon’s Champion Google Coder Is Blocked From the Internet

Nji Collins is Africa's first Google coding contest winner, but his home in North West Cameroon is still blocked from the Internet.

Despite the political uproar currently taking place in their nation, Cameroonians remain resolute. Just last week the country's football team took home its fifth AFCON title and now, the country is home to Africa's first Google Coding champion.

Seventeen-year-old, Nji Collins, is one of the competition's 34 grand prize winners. The contest is open to students world-wide, ages 13 to 17. In order to qualify, Collins had to complete a series of coding tasks that stretched 5 categories. To win, he used the knowledge he had picked up from two years of learning how to code by reading books and utilizing online resources, reports the BBC.

Collins is from the city of Bemenda in Cameroon's predominantly Anglophone North-West region— the very same region that has been without Internet for nearly a month now due to government interference. The outage occurred just a day after Collins sent in his final submission for the competition. The government's Internet block came uncomfortably close to preventing Collins' success.

Thankfully it didn't. For now, Collins is staying with his cousin in the capital, Yaounde—a seven hour drive from his hometown. "I wanted to get a connection so I could continue studying and keep in touch with Google," said Collins' of the trip.

His talent and resilience are exemplary, and while it's great that he's been able to continue coding, wouldn't it be ideal if the young tech hero were able to do so from his own home?

Just bring back the damn Internet already.


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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