Popular
Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images

CNN Names Ethiopian Innovator Freweini Mebrahtu This Year's 'Hero of the Year'

Freweini Mebrahtu designed a reusable sanitary pad to help keep girls in school and has fought to end the cultural stigma around menstruation.

Last night, Ethiopia's Freweini Mebrahtu was been named CNN's "Hero of the Year". The award was in recognition of her work on menstruation and keeping girls in school as well as fighting to end the cultural stigma still attached to menstruation. Mebrahtu was also awarded USD 100 000 to help in expanding her work.


Upon receiving her award, Mebrahtu said that, "I don't even know what to say. I am so humbled and grateful for CNN ... this is for all the girls and women everywhere. Dignity for all."

Ethiopian women freweini mebrahtu won CNN hero of 2019 www.youtube.com

In 2005, the Ethiopian innovator designed a reusable sanitary pad which she mass produced at her factory in Ethiopia and went on to help 800 000 women and girls as a result. Speaking from her own experience, Mebrahtu has since described what drove her to design the reusable sanitary pad saying, "I remembered (hearing) that it's actually a curse to have a period...or that it meant I am ready to be married, or (that) I'm being bad."

It is commonplace for girls in especially low to middle income countries to miss school or even drop out entirely because of their periods. Sanitary wear is largely inaccessible to these girls and usually because of financial constraints. According to UNESCO, of the 131 million girls who are currently out of school, 100 million of them are of high school age and one of the major reasons for this is periods.

Just last year, the South African government announced that it would scrap the tax on sanitary pads while in 2017, Botswana's government launched the nation-wide provision of free sanitary pads for schoolgirls in both public and private schools.

Interview
Image courtesy of Jay Trigga.

Interview: Get to Know Rising Zambian Artist Jay Trigga

Jay Trigga could very well be Zambian music's next big thing—and he's doing it all from China.

Zambia has relentlessly developed a vibrant music scene in recent times, instigating new genres like Zambian Rock (Zamrock), Trapundula (a music genre following the driving element of Kalindula) and putting their own spin on afrobeats. This has all been possible through the collective effort of young Zambian artists wanting to create music that is authentic, different, bold, and purely African.

For 21-year-old Zambian hip-hop artist Jack Lumbeta Kafukwilwa also known as Jay Trigga, the need to showcase Africa to the world through music has been his greatest motivation. "I would define my sound as afro-fusion as it is a mix. I am quite versatile so finding a word to define my sound is tricky because I do trap music as well. In clear terms, my sound is chill, youthful and futuristic," Jay Trigga tells me over our virtual conversation from China where he is currently studying a masters degree in business management.

Following collaborations with Ice Prince and Davido's DMW rapper Dremo, the young star is significantly bent on shooting for the stars in Zambia's music scene. We sat down with Jay Trigga to talk about his journey, new single, his influences in music and more.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Freddie Harrel Is Building Conscious Beauty For and With the African Diaspora

Formerly known as "Big Hair Don't Care", creator Freddie Harrel and her team have released 3 new wig shapes called the "RadShapes" available now.