News

These 10 African Innovators Are Among the New TEDGlobal 2017 Fellows

TED returns to Tanzania for TEDGlobal 2017—meet the 10 African innovators among their new class of TED Fellows.

TANZANIA—This August, Arusha, Tanzania will be the hub for new ideas worth spreading for the TEDGlobal 2017 Conference. On the cusp of the highly anticipated event, TED just announced the 21 young innovators from around the world who will deliver a talk on the famous TED stage. Among the 21, 10 fellows are representing Uganda, Egypt, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Somalia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Liberia and Kenya.


TED returns to Arusha after hosting the 2007 TEDGlobal Conference, where the organization gathered 100 of the sharpest young leaders to meet in person for the first time. This group was a precursor to the Fellows program, including OkayAfrica 100 Women honoree Juliana Rotich, Patrick Awuah, Erik Hersman, William Kamkwamba and Fred Swaniker.

Since 2009, the program has presented talks from over 400 Fellows from 94 countries, whose talks have collectively been viewed more than 155 million times. The program continues to create a powerful, far-reaching network of scientists, doctors, activists, artists, photographers, filmmakers, entrepreneurs, inventors, journalists and more.

Meet the 10 African TED Fellows below, who will be joining leading policymakers, business people, academics and activists from across the continent and around the world. Be sure to check back at OkayAfrica for more leading up to TEDGlobal 2017.

Abdigani Diriye (Somalia | UK) - Tech entrepreneur + Inventor

Photo courtesy of TED.

Somali computer scientist catalyzing the tech-scene in Somalia and Somaliland through coding camps, incubators, and accelerator programs. An inventor and advocate for innovation and research in Africa.

Mennat El Ghalid (France | Egypt) - Mycologist

Photo courtesy of TED.

Egyptian microbiologist studying fungal infections in humans, in an effort to discover their causes and develop new treatments and co-founder of ConScience, a non-profit dedicated to science education.

Robert Hakiza (DRC | Uganda) - Urban Refugee Expert

Photo courtesy of TED.

Congolese co-founder of the Young African Refugees for Integral Development (YARID) which empowers refugees and builds community through vocational education, English classes, access to sports and computer literacy skills.

Saran Kaba Jones (Liberia | USA) - Clean Water Advocate

Photo courtesy of TED.

Liberian founder and CEO of FACE Africa which strengthens water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure in rural communities in Sub-Saharan Africa through the establishment of community-based WASH Committees and post-implementation support services.

Adong Judith (Uganda) - Director + Playwright

Photo courtesy of TED.

Ugandan director and playwright creating theater that promotes social change and provokes dialogue on issues from LGBTQ rights to war crimes.

Yasin Kakande (Uganda) - Investigative Journalist + Author

Photo courtesy of TED.

Ugandan journalist working undercover in the Middle East to uncover the human rights abuses of migrant workers.

Katlego Kolanyane-Kesupile (Botswana) - Performance Artist + Activist

Photo courtesy of TED.

Writer, educator, and founder of the Queer Shorts Showcase Festival, Botswana's first and only LGBT themed theatre festival.

Kasiva Mutua (Kenya) - Percussionist

Photo courtesy of TED.

International touring percussionist working to elevate the place of the African woman in music. Her performance style integrates African traditional music with modern styles such as Jazz, Hip-hop, Reggae, and Zouk.

Carl Joshua Ncube (Zimbabwe) - Comedian

Photo courtesy of TED.

Zimbabwean stand up comic who uses his creative work to approach culturally taboo topics on the African continent.

Wale Oyéjidé (Nigeria | USA) - Fashion Designer + Artist

Photo courtesy of TED.

Nigerian fashion designer and artist that uses textile and apparel design to convey stories about immigrant populations to the Western world through his brand, Ikiré Jones.

Check out our interviews with this year's TED Fellows here.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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