News Brief

The Nigeria Men's Bobsled Team Is the First from Africa Set To Compete in the Winter Games So Far

The Bobsled and Skeleton Federation of Nigeria also announced the new roster for the history-making Women's Bobsled Team.

The 2018 Winter Olympics set a precedent for African athletes seeking to make their mark in the Games.

Team Nigeria led the way, with the Women's Bobsled Team breaking barriers becoming the first African athletes to compete in the bobsled competition at the Games. Simi Adeagbo soon joined the Bobsled and Skeleton Federation (BSFN) as Nigeria's first skeleton athlete, finishing in 20th place in Pyongchang.

On Nigeria's Independence Day, the Federation returns with more history-making news, adding a roster of athletes to the country's (and so far Africa's) first Men's Bobsled Team.


"We give all the glory to God for helping us put together a men's team for bobsled," Chief Solomon Ogba, BSFN president, says in a press release. "We hope to move the sports further and we encourage more Nigerians to get involved in the sports of bobsled and skeleton."

Bobsled driver Osazee Ulamen tapped the Federation to inquire about building a men's bobsled team last season.

"I am the happiest man on earth that it has come to Africa and it has come to Nigeria—and Nigerians are making history," Ulamen says.

He recruited brothers Aaron Schernig (driver and brakeman) and Elias Schernig (brakeman) to round out the 2018-2019 team. All three athletes are based in Innsbruck, Austria.

"I'm really, really excited about being a part of the bobsled team," Aaron says. "And I'm so proud to represent my dad's motherland and nation of Nigeria; and to be a part of something big—bigger than sports."

The 2018-2019 women's team will be led by returning Olympian Adeagbo, who will continue to compete in skeleton. She will be joined by Denver-based skeleton April Obiageli Young. This is Young's fourth season in the sport and first season competing for Nigeria.

Houston-based Linda Okoro will be the women's bobsled team's driver. Her brakewoman will be named later this season.

BSFN hosted a one-week camp in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in the beginning of September where the newest members came to test and began their training. Adeagbo was granted a "bye" for the training week to secure her spot on the nation team for the 2018-2019 season, per federation exemptions. Official season training and competitions are set to begin from the end of October.

As these athletes begin their journey to Beijing 2022, keep up with them via Instagram, Twitter and the federation's website.

*

UPDATE 10/03/2018: The headline has been edited to reflect the possibility of another African country joining the Winter Games in the sport of bobsled, as the next Olympics is in 4 years.

Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

Keep reading... Show less
Music

The Fugees Will Be Playing Live Concerts In Ghana & Nigeria

Ready or not.

The legendary Fugees have announced that they will be reuniting for their first shows in 15 years for a string of concerts across North America, Europe and West Africa.

The reunion tour will be celebrating the anniversary of their classic 1996 album, The Score.

Ms. Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean and Pras Michel will be embarking on a 12-city global tour, which will have them landing in Nigeria and Ghana for a pair of December show dates — we'll have more details on those to come.

The tour starts this week with a 'secret' pop-up show at an undisclosed location in New York City on Wednesday (9/22) in support of Global Citizen Live. The rest of the dates will kick-off in November and see The Fugees playing concerts across Chicago Los Angeles, Atlanta, Oakland, Miami, Newark, Paris, London, and Washington DC, before finishing off in Nigeria and Ghana.

Keep reading... Show less
Interview

This Compilation Shines a Light On East African Underground Music

We talk to a few of the artists featured on the Music For the Eagles compilation from Uganda's Nyege Nyege.

Nyege Nyege, a label in Kampala, Uganda is channelling the confidence brimming over a whole continent. Africa is no longer the future. For dance music, its time is right now.

Music For the Eagles is a compilation released in conjunction with Soundcloud to showcase the best new acts that East Africa has to offer outside the mainstream. A new wave of artists firmly blasting non-conformist energy for you to spasm to. Music that takes you places. Otim Alpha's high BPM wedding frenzy of incessant rasping vocals accompanied by feverous violin will have you clawing the walls to oblivion. Anti Vairas' dancehall from a battleship with super galactic intentions doesn't even break a sweat as it ruins you. FLO's beautiful sirens call, is a skittish and detuned nursery rhyme that hints at a yearning for love but reveals something far more unnerving. Ecko Bazz's tough spiralling vocal over sub-bass and devil trap energy is an anthem that can only be bewailed. And Kidane Fighter's tune is more trance-like prayer. These are only some of the highlights for you to shake it out to.

We got to chat with a few of the artists featured on the Music For the Eagles compilation as they took a break from the studio below.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

The 6 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Wavy the Creator x WurlD, Epoque, Tems, Silverstone Barz, Kofi Jamar, Olamide x Jaywillz and more