Introducing OkayAfrica's 100 Women 2019 List

Our annual celebration of incredible African women

Calling on the spirit of their ancestors before them, generations of young people have historically been able to overcome insurmountable challenges to push the culture forward. What's more, young women are not only the backbone of each movement for change and progress, they are the executors and the soul.

Nigerian women's right activist Funmilayo Ransome Kuti was only in her 20s when she organized literacy classes for women, a pathway that eventually led to her playing an integral role in women's right to vote. South Africa's Prudence Mabele was just 22 years old when, in 1992, she decided to publicly disclose her HIV status—the first Black woman in South Africa to do so—to create and promote policy that would support women living with the virus. A number of African youth around the continent, some even younger, have literally put their bodies and freedoms on the line to create more inclusive spaces. More lucrative opportunities. More accessible education.


SEE THE ENTIRE 100 WOMEN 2O19 LIST HERE

It is why this year, we have dedicated the OkayAfrica 100 Women list to those daughters who embody the fortitude of their continental mothers, paired with a sovereignty that is wholly unique to today's youth culture. Freedom of minds, agency over our bodies, and equity for all is not a choice. It's the only way.

Youth culture, as we interpret it, does not subscribe to the idea that those who are participants are young in their stage of life. This list of women—carefully curated from over 500 nominations—is one that spans over two generations of changemakers and is not beholden to age. These are individuals who are both youth peers actively working to undo generational oppression in all forms and women who have dedicated their lives to investing in young people.

As much as the world has relied on a reserve of young people to progress, we, as a global nation, have forgotten to pour back into them. Africa, as always, has the most potential for exponential growth and change of any of the continents. We have the resources and the minds. With the youngest population in the world, progression is inevitable. But with many of our young people still underserved in many areas, we must continue to empower, bankroll, educate, and provide opportunity.

That's exactly what this year's list has done.

Honorees like Ghana's outspoken model Adwoa Aboah—who has created a safe online community for young girls and women to discuss range of issues from mental health to sexuality—and 18-year-old Olympic short track speed skater Maame Biney are advocating for autonomy through sex positivity and sports.

Fashion designers like Nigeria's 21-year-old Teni (Tia) Adeola of SlashedByTia and south Sudanese beauty blogger Nyma Tang are utilizing the tools of social media to create visibility for young African entrepreneurs like never before.

From Hollywood (Zimbabwe-American Danai Gurira and Senegal's Anna Diop) to literature (Nigerian-American Tomi Adeyemi and Cape Verde's Shauna Barbosa), African women are creating narratives for young Black girls that rival if not surpass mainstream.

And Ilhan Omar, America's first Somali-American Congresswoman (and one of two Muslim Congresswoman) is stoking fire in the U.S. to finally challenge the archaic and white supremacy patriarchy of its government.

These women are disrupting the status quo socially, economically, and politically. They are creating safe spaces for African women globally, driving technological and scientific advancements, pushing for inclusivity in television, film, art and media and steering us toward a more sustainable way of living.

The annual OkayAfrica 100 Women List is our effort to acknowledge and uplift African women, not only as a resource that has and will continue to enrich the world we live in, but as a group that deserves to be recognized, reinforced and treasured on a global scale.

The youth will lead the way. This is our ode to them.

—Christina Coleman

Music
Image: Nabsolute Media

Reekado Banks Recalls The Carnage of The #EndSARS Protests In Single 'Ozumba Mbadiwe'

The Nigerian singer pays his respects to those lost during last year's #EndSARS protests.

Nigerian singer and songwriter Reekado Banks is back with a track that is as socially important as it is a banger. It seems fitting for the singer's first solo release of the year to be a tribute to his fellow countrypeople fighting for a country that they all wish to live in. The 27-year-old Afrobeats crooner has returned with endearing track 'Ozumba Mbadiwe', honoring the one-year anniversary of the #EndSARS protests that saw the Nigerian government authorize an onslaught of attacks on Nigerian citizens for their anti-government demonstrations.

The protests took the world by storm, additionally because the Nigerian government insists that none of the police brutality happened. In an attempt to gaslight the globe, Nigerian officials have come out to hoards to deny any and all accusations of unlawfully killing peaceful protesters. Banks mentions the absurd denials in the track, singing "October 20, 2020 something happened with the government, they think say we forget," in the second verse. Reekado's reflective lyrics blend smoothly and are supported by the upbeat, effortless Afrobeat rhythm.

In another reflective shoutout to his home, 'Ozumba Mbadiwe' is named after a popular expressway on Lagos Island that leads to the infamous Lekki Toll Gate where protesters were shot at, traumatized, and murdered. Although packed with conscious references, the P.Priime produced track is a perfect amalgamation of the talents that Reekado Banks has to offer; a wispy opening verse, a hook to kill, and an ethereal aura to mark this as a song as a hit. On "Ozumba Mbadiwe," all the elements align for Reekado's signature unsinkable sound to take flight.

Check out Reekado Bank's lyric video for his single 'Ozumba Mbadiwe'

Reekado Banks - Ozumba Mbadiwe (Lyric Video) www.youtube.com

Popular
Photo credits: Deeds Art

Tems Is Just Doing Her Thang In New Music Video 'Crazy Tings'

The Nigerian songstress is hell bent on taking over your summer playlist and it's getting harder to resist.

It has been a fantastic year for Tems. The Nigerian singer, producer, and songwriter achieved a platinum record for eternal banger Essence, her collaboration with fellow Nigerian superstar Wizkid, an MTV EMA nomination for Best African Artist, a billion worldwide video views, and over 350 million audio streams. Not to mention featuring on Canadian rapper Drake's blowout album Certified Lover Boy, the singer has also sold out every show she's booked.

The release of Tems's sophomore EP If Orange Was a Place solidified her place amongst the greats and it was received with gusto by fans and international audiences. A month after the release the Afrobeats singer has graced fans with a sultry music video to go along with equally as tantalizing lead single Crazy Tings. Conceptualized by the multitalented Tems, and directed by UAX, the music video follows a sensual Tems as she sings about needing space from a lying partner.

International audiences continue to rave over the songstress, with Tems delivering an impressive US TV debut on late-night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live! this month. Essence continues to top international charts. While becoming the official song of the summer, the track peaked on the Billboard 100 Top 10, becoming the most Shazamed song in the United States and was remixed by Canadian musical heavyweight Justin Bieber, becoming the first song written by Nigerian artists to hit No.1 on Urban Radio.

Tems has been producing consistent hits since her debut in September 2020, and a year later, the singer's immense talent is securing her reputation as a world-class superstar.

Check out Tem's music video for single 'Crazy Tings' below

Tems - Crazy Tings (Official Video) www.youtube.com

News Brief
Image: Getty

Eswatini Is Trying To Dethrone Africa's Last Standing King

Africa's last absolute monarchy is being challenged by pro-democracy protests and an army of youths ready to fight back.

Pro-democracy protests in Southern African country Eswatini (previously Swaziland) have intensified as police and army forces meet unarmed protesters with tear gas and water cannons. National anger and dissatisfaction with King Mswati III are not revolutionary and have been building up for years. Advocates say that the 53-year-old ruler has consistently ignored cries for reform and a move towards a democratic political system. Protests have been going on since June, however, the violence has increased in recent weeks.

For years, King Mswati has boasted a lavish life filled with private planes, expensive vacations, and designer clothing. He has ruled over Eswatini since 1986. King Mswati has denied the accusations of autocratic rule and of using public money to fund his lifestyle for years. In July, he called protests against his ruling "satanic" and bemoaned that the protests have taken the country backward.

This year's protests were sparked by Eswatini students, who wanted better learning conditions, free education, as well as a demand for political reform. The army was sent to "intimidate, but that has not deterred the students," Lucky Lukhele, spokesman for the pro-democracy Swaziland Solidarity Network, told the AFP news agency. On Saturday, the government shut down its schools "indefinitely with immediate effect" as the country faces a wave of protests. At least 28 people have been killed with countless arrests having been made throughout the weeks.

The King owns shares in all of the country's telecoms Eswatini shut the internet down for 2 hours over the weekend, and MTN Eswatini and other mobile network operators revealed that they have been told to suspend access to Facebook and its messenger app until further notice. "The business has implemented the directive and access to Facebook and Facebook Messenger has been suspended. ... We will continue engaging with the relevant stakeholders to minimize the impact and duration of the service disruption," MTN Eswatini said in a statement. They did not say why it had been told to suspend access to Facebook.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who currently chairs the security organ of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), has ordered high-level representatives to fly to Eswatini to meet with the King to discuss "security and political developments".

Young Swazis have taken to Twitter to share their views on the matter:

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#EndSARS: 1 Year Later And It's Business As Usual For The Nigerian Government

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