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Google Honors Late South African Child Activist, Nkosi Johnson, With Doodle

Today's Google Doodle celebrates the life and work of Nkosi Johnson, a child HIV/AIDS activist, who passed away at the age of 12.

Today marks what would have been the 31st birthday of South African child activist Nkosi Johnson.

Johnson, whose work focused on raising awareness around HIV/AIDs in the early 2000s, at a time when the disease was still incredibly stigmatised and seen as a "death sentence", passed away from complications related to AIDS at the age of 12.

He was the longest-surviving HIV-positive born child at that time.


Johnson received international attention following his address to thousands of delegates at the 13th International Aids Conference in Durban back in 2001. There, his heartfelt words which centred on dispelling the stigma and superstitions around the illness captured the world. "Hi, my name is Nkosi Johnson," He began. "I am 11 years old and I have full-blown Aids. I was born HIV-positive...Care for us and accept us – we are all human beings. We are normal. We have hands. We have feet. We can walk, we can talk, we have needs just like everyone else. Don't be afraid of us – we are all the same."

He took his message across the world, travelling to an AIDS conference held in Atlanta, Georgia in the US at one point. Following his death, his adopted mother, Gail Johnson, established Nkosi's Haven, a non-profit organisation (NPO) which has carried on his legacy through providing a sanctuary for mothers and children affected by HIV/AIDS.

OkayAfrica spoke briefly to Johnson who, while delighted by Google honoring her son, paints a grim picture not only for the future of Nkosi's Haven, but for NPOs in general based in South Africa. "Where we're at with [Nkosi's] legacy is exhaustion, running out of money...but we're coping."

Tasked with answering what South Africans could do to better the situation, she says, "Non-profits just do such necessary work because they've been established because there's a gap in the community. Every one of the non-profits that I deal with or know of—everyone needs help. While AIDS is now a chronic, manageable disease and people might not think that it's urgent, there are children who are suffering. There are children who are in need and still you have to beg for support. That's a bitter pill to swallow."

Describing her biggest hope for Nkosi's legacy, Johnson concludes by saying, "I hope that we survive...that I can retire in peace. Whoever takes over from me and keeps Nkosi's legacy going, [I hope] that they have the same passion and energy to keep it going because he stood for so much."

To learn more about Nkosi's Haven and how you can support their work, click here.

(YouTube)

The 10 Best Ghanaian Songs of the Month (July)

Featuring Black Sherif, Sarkodie, Stonebwoy, M3NSA x M.anifest, and more.

As the summer winds down releases have slowed down just a tad, but it's nothing to fear because a number of our Ghanaian music faves are in album mode, and it's only a matter of time before they let loose! In the meantime the rest of our faves have been steady dishing out that fire, making for another month of dope releases. Want the scoop? Check out the best Ghanaian songs of the month below!

Follow our GHANA WAVE playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

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(YouTube)

The 7 Best East African Songs of the Month (July)

Featuring Nandy, Juicee Mann, Alikiba, Diamond Platnumz and more.

July featured an array of incredible releases from East Africa's pop royalty as well as promising newbies.

Follow our East African Grooves playlist on Spotify and Apple Music.

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Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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