Because of Madiba: 10 South African Personalities on the Legacy of Nelson Mandela

South African personalities reflect on the life and legacy of Tata Madiba in honour of Mandela Day 2016.

South Africa’s freedom came at a high cost. We lost loved ones and heroes who fought so that we could be free. And while we continue to face issues of racism and exclusion, we honour Steve Biko, Tsietsi Mashinini, Oliver Tambo, Solomon Mahlangu and the countless others that took part in the struggle and paved the way. Today, we honour Nelson Mandela on what would have been his 98th birthday. For Mandela Day this year, we asked ten South African artists and personalities to reflect on the life and legacy of Tatat Madiba.

Hlubi Mboya Arnold – Actress, activist

Photo: Paul Paunde

#BecauseofMadiba I have the opportunity to make the world my oyster. I have the privilege of being the best that I can be, but I too, and most importantly, have a responsibility to the next generation to motivate, inspire and empower greatness in the African girl-child.

#ThanksToMadiba for giving me an opportunity to be the best person that I can be, for giving me a sense of responsibility and a sense of purpose to my people, to the African girl child and to the African continent.

–Hlubi Mboya Arnold

Boity Thulo  TV personality

Photo: Paul Paunde

#ThanksToMadiba for right now. I am here because of you. And thank you to the people you trusted to aid our freedom; your comrades, your friends and the people that you worked with because you did not do this alone. I’d like to thank you for trusting and believing in the people who did it with you. For all of you guys coming together to give us an opportunity of experiencing what we are experiencing right now; which is solid freedom. We still have a very very long way to go but we’re getting there!

–Boity Thulo

David Kau – Comedian, entrepreneur

Photo: Paul Paunde

Madiba left the legacy of giving, he left the foundations, the work he did when he was still alive. The work that continues, 67 minutes, at least there’s one thing that all South Africans seem to agree on and that’s definitely Mandela Day. #BecauseOfMadiba people take time off from their work and do some charity work. Right now there’s no Bokke, there’s no Bafana Bafana. It’s probably the only thing that blacks, whites, Indians, coloureds in South Africa, Chinese are going to be doing or that they still have in common today in South Africa.

–David Kau

Du Boiz – Artist, son of an activist

Photo: Paul Paunde

#ThanksToMadiba for freedom of speech. There were times where you couldn’t even say his name and that’s not freedom of speech. Today I am able to say whatever it is that I want to say, freedom to be me; to be a black man and be comfortable in my own skin. I have the freedom to be able to walk around in Joburg and not be afraid. The things that he did and everything that he fought for gives me the opportunity to express myself through my music because he made that possible.

#BecauseofMadiba I am proud to be a South African, I am happy to be an African. I have the opportunity to open each and every door that I wanna go into. Because of Madiba the world respects me, the world sees me.

#ThanksToMadiba for everything! Thanks to Madiba for fighting for me, for standing up for me, not only for me but for my brothers and sisters; for the entire nation and we appreciate you!

–Du Boiz

Celeste Khumalo – Former Miss SA Teen, businesswoman

Photo: Paul Paunde

#ThanksToMadiba I can be whoever I want to be in my own country. #BecauseofMadiba I know that no matter how long it takes to achieve something, it can be achieved.

–Celeste Khumalo

Nasty C – Rapper

Photo: Paul Paunde

Whenever I think of all the things he had to go through just to stand for freedom and happiness I’m reminded that I never have to worry about those two things, yet they’re two of the most important aspects of life. This gives me so much space for my imagination to run free plus the urge to be creative, productive and ambitious.

–Nasty C

Ms Jones – DJ

Photo: Paul Paunde

#BeacauseOfMadiba I am free to live the life purposed to me. I’m free to influence and touch people’s lives through my craft. I am open–minded and I am liberated.

#ThankstoMadiba I have the opportunity to work wherever I want to work. I can take a journey to wherever I wish to go. He gave us a lot of hope and that’s the hope I wish to share with the next generation.

–Ms Jones

Mashayabhuqe KaMamba – Musician

Photo: Paul Paunde

#ThanksToMadiba for being a true believer, striving for better opportunities and a system that has no hatred.

#BecauseOfMadiba now a young man like Mashayabhuqe KaMamba can be able to build something like Digital Maskandi and have access to the necessary tools that are needed to build this empire.

–Mashayabhuqe KaMamba

Antonio David Lyons – Actor, spoken word artist, musician

Photo: Paul Paunde

#ThankstoMadiba I dream bigger and deeper than I ever would have on my own. Through his example I feel I have a responsibility to not only manifest my dreams, but assist others in doing the same.

#BecauseOfMadiba I’ve had the privilege to live in a liberated South Africa that for me still holds the promise of becoming the most equitable nation on the planet. Let us never forget the sacrifice of those known and unknown that have made freedom possible.

–Antonio David Lyons

MarazA – Musician

Photo: Paul Paunde

#BecauseOfMadiba we are [that] much closer to realizing the dream of a truly unified South Africa. We are [that] much closer to seeing young people reach their full potential while they’re young people.

#ThankstoMadiba I can grow up in a village somewhere in the north coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal and I could grow up to [become] the head of MultiChoice. Because one of the cleverest things that the Apartheid government was able to do was convince us that we aren’t the same people, so thanks to Mandela we’re able to break those things down.



Introducing OkayAfrica's 100 Women 2020 List

Celebrating African Women Laying the Groundwork for the Future

It would not be hyperbole to consider the individuals we're honoring for OkayAfrica's 100 Women 2020 list as architects of the future.

This is to say that these women are building infrastructure, both literally and metaphorically, for future generations in Africa and in the Diaspora. And they are doing so intentionally, reaching back, laterally, and forward to bridge gaps and make sure the steps they built—and not without hard work, mines of microaggressions, and challenges—are sturdy enough for the next ascent.

In short, the women on this year's list are laying the groundwork for other women to follow. It's what late author and American novelist Toni Morrison would call your "real job."

"I tell my students, 'When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else."

And that's what inspired us in the curation of this year's list. Our honorees use various mediums to get the job done—DJ's, fashion designers, historians, anthropologists, and even venture capitalists—but each with the mission to clear the road ahead for generations to come. Incredible African women like Eden Ghebreselassie, a marketing lead at ESPN who created a non-profit to fight energy poverty in Eritrea; or Baratang Miya, who is quite literally building technology clubs for disadvantaged youth in South Africa.

There are the builds that aren't physically tangible—movements that inspire women to show up confidently in their skin, like Enam Asiama's quest to normalize plus-sized bodies and Frédérique (Freddie) Harrel's push for Black and African women to embrace the kink and curl of their hair.

And then there are those who use their words to build power, to take control of the narrative, and to usher in true inclusion and equity. Journalists, (sisters Nikki and Lola Ogunnaike), a novelist (Oyinkan Braithwaite), a media maven (Yolisa Phahle), and a number of historians (Nana Oforiatta Ayim, Leïla Sy) to name a few.

In a time of uncertainty in the world, there's assuredness in the mission to bring up our people. We know this moment of global challenge won't last. It is why we are moving forward to share this labor of love with you, our trusted and loyal audience. We hope that this list serves as a beacon for you during this moment—insurance that future generations will be alright. And we have our honorees to thank for securing that future.


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. In the spirit of building infrastructure, this year's list will go beyond the month of March (Women's History Month in America) and close in September during Women's Month in South Africa.

100 women 2020

Burna Boy 'African Giant' money cover art by Sajjad.

The 20 Essential Burna Boy Songs

We comb through the Nigerian star's hit-filled discography to select 20 essential songs from the African Giant.

Since bursting onto the scene in 2012 with his chart-topping single, "Like to Party," and the subsequent release of his debut album, L.I.F.E - Leaving an Impact for eternity, Burna Boy has continued to prove time and again that he is a force to be reckoned with.

The African Giant has, over the years, built a remarkable musical identity around the ardent blend of dancehall, hip-hop, reggae, R&B, and afropop to create a game-changing genre he calls afro-fusion. The result has been top tier singles, phenomenal collaborations, and global stardom—with several accolades under his belt which include a Grammy nomination and African Giant earning a spot on many publications' best albums of 2019.

We thought to delve into his hit-filled discography to bring you The 20 Essential Burna Boy Songs.

This list is in no particular order.

Keep reading... Show less

Davido's Fiancé, Chioma Rowland, Tests Positive For Coronavirus

The Nigerian musician made the announcement via a heartfelt Instagram post on Friday.

Chioma Rowland, the fiancé of star Nigerian musician Davido, has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The artist shared the news via Instagram on Friday, writing that he and 31 people on his team decided to get tested after returning back to Lagos from abroad. While he and the rest of his team received negative results, Rowland's test came back positive.

"Unfortunately, my fiancé's results came back positive while all 31 others tested have come back negative including our baby," wrote Davido. He added that they both showed no systems, but would be self-isolating as a safety measure.

"We are however doing perfectly fine and she is even still yet to show any symptoms whatsoever. She is now being quarantined and I have also gone into full self isolation for the minimum 14 days," he added. "I want to use this opportunity to thank you all for your endless love and prayers in advance and to urge everyone to please stay at home as we control the spread of this virus! Together we can beat this!"

Keep reading... Show less

Juls Drops New Music Video for 'Soweto Blues' Featuring Busiswa and Jaz Karis

The Ghanaian-British producer heads to South Africa for the music video for the amapiano-inspired track.

Heavyweight Ghanaian-British producer Juls shares his first offering of 2020, and it does not disappoint.

The producer enlists South African music star Busiswa and London's Jaz Karis for the jazz-inflected "Soweto Blues," which also boasts elements of South Africa's dominant electronic sound, Amapiano. The slow-burner features airy vocals from Karis who features prominently on the 3-minute track, while Busiswa delivers a standout bridge in her signature high-energy tone.

"The song dubbed "Soweto Blues" is a song depicting the love, sadness and fun times that Soweto tends to offer its people," read the song's YouTube description. The video premiered earlier today on The Fader. "The energy is amazing, the people are lovely and I've found a second home — especially the vibrancy of Soweto," the producer told The Fader about his trip to Soweto for the making of the video "Jaz Karis is singing a love song, which is symbolic of my new love of Soweto and I'm honoured to have worked with Busiswa whom I have been a fan of for a long time."

Fittingly, the music video sees Juls traveling through the township, taking in its sights and energy. The video, directed by Nigel Stöckl, features striking shots of the popular area and its skilled pantsula dancers.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox