News Brief

It's #CasterSemenyaDay in South Africa

South Africans rally behind Caster Semenya as the middle-distance star begins her bid for Olympic gold today in round one of the women's 800m.

Caster Semenya hits the track for the first time these Summer Olympic Games today in Rio. Racing in the first round of the women’s 800-metre event, the South African middle-distance runner is just a few hours away from beginning her bid for Olympic gold. The 25-year-old track-and-field star also has her eyes on a 33-year-old world record (a time of 1:53:28, set by Czech runner Jarmila Kratochvilova in 1983).


Semenya’s road to Rio has not been without debate. But as we mentioned over the weekend, she’s backed by a nation of supporters.

On Twitter this morning, many South Africans are calling for #CasterSemenyaDay.

Others are showing love with the hashtag #Caster4Gold.

One Twitter user said her dad wrote a poem for Semenya.

And that wasn’t the only poem. Poet Jackie Mondi's praise poem, "Caster is Mokgadi," is currently making the rounds.

Jackie Mondi's poem, "Caster is Mokgadi"

The first round of the women’s 800m event begins today at 15:55 local SA time. Look out for Semenya in the second heat at 16:02. The finals go down Saturday in Rio (2:15am Sunday in SA).

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Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images.

Angélique Kidjo on Africa Day: 'We demand not to be at the mercy of our circumstances anymore.'

We speak to the inimitable Angélique Kidjo who shares some of her refreshing thoughts on Africa Day.

Today is Africa Day and while primarily a commemoration of the formation of the African Union (AU) back in 1963, it has also become an opportunity to unapologetically celebrate Africa while providing a moment for reflection on how far we've come as a continent and as a people.

With this year's theme focused on "Silencing the Guns in the context of the COVID19", there has never been a more important time for deep reflection on our collective present and future as Africans.

And who better to share in that reflection than the legendary and inimitable Beninese musician Angélique Kidjo? A fierce African and artist who has paved the way for many of her contemporaries including Burna Boy, Davido, Thandiswa Mazwai, and several others, the four-time Grammy award winner emphasises the urgent need for unity among Africans. 'It's about time that people start realising that Africa is a continent. I've been saying this my entire career,' she says passionately.

OkayAfrica spoke briefly to Kidjo who shared some of her refreshing thoughts on this year's Africa Day.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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