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Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has Been Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

The prize acknowledges his efforts to "achieve peace and international cooperation".

According to the BBC, there were 301 candidates, 223 individuals and 78 organizations, that were nominated for this year's Nobel Peace Prize. In the running was Germany's Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and activists involved in the current Hong Kong protests. The prestigious Swedish academy has, however, awarded the prize to Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, for the work he has done since taking up office in March of last year. Ahmed joins a number of notable Africans who've won the prize including South Africa's late former president Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the late Ghanaian former UN Secretary-General, Koffi Annan.


In a little over a year, Ahmed, who is the youngest head of government in Africa, has made significant changes within Ethiopia. After a two-decade long border conflict with Eritrea, Ahmed has smoothed over relations with the neighboring country and also committed to allowing multiparty elections to take place in Ethiopia where in the past, any political dissidents or critics of the government were thrown into jail. More recently, Ethiopia broke the world record for the most trees planted in a single day (350 million) as part of the "green legacy" initiative established by Ahmed back in May. Additionally, Ahmed also elected his cabinet, half of which were women, while the country obtained its first ever woman president in Sahle-Work Zewde. On the other hand, Ahmed's reforms, however, have lifted the lid on ethnic tensions within the country that have ultimately led to at least 2.9 million Ethiopians being displaced from their homes.

READ: Veteran Kenyan Writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o has Been Snubbed Again for this Year's Nobel Literature Prize

Responding to the recent announcement, Ahmed said that, "I am so humbled and thrilled. Thank you very much. It is a prize given to Africa, given to Ethiopia, and I can imagine how the rest of Africa's leaders will take it positively to work on peace-building process in our continent."

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Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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