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.

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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 Giles Clarke/UNOCHA via Getty Images

Cameroon Holds Vigil to Remember Children Killed in School Attack

Residents in Kumba paid their respects to the seven lives lost, and those injured during the attack over the weekend.

In the latest tragedy to come from Cameroon's historically violent clash between Anglo and Francophone citizens, seven children were murdered after attackers stormed a school with guns and machetes over the weekend.

In what has been deemed as the "darkest and saddest day," by Bishop Agapitus Nfon of Kumba, armed attackers stormed the Mother Francisca International Bilingual Academy, targeting students aged 9 to 12. The tragic event saw dozens of children injured, some critically.

The attack has shocked the nation, with both local and international agencies condemning the horrible offense. On Monday, Cameroonian President Paul Biya denounced the "horrific murder" of the school children, and alluded to the "appropriate measures" being taken in order to bring justice to the families of the victims. Prime Minister Dion Ngute Joseph shared his condolences via a tweet saying, "I bow before the memory of these innocent kids."

The Cameroonian presidency and governing body have blamed Anglophone 'separatists' for the attack, though the group claims no part in the attack.

Human rights groups, however, have blamed both opposing parties, as the conflict has led to the death of over 3,000 deaths and resulted in more than 700,000 Cameroonians fleeing their homes and the country.
Interview

Interview: Meet Velemseni, Eswatini’s Queen of Soul

Soul artist Velemseni's music reflects Eswatini culture and aesthetics. "The Kingdom of Eswatini is a magical and mysterious place, and my music aims to interpret and document that mystique, drawing from genres like Swazi gospel, soul, African soul, cinematic and traditional music," says the artist.

From being a backing vocalist for some of Eswatini's household names like Bholoja, Siyinqaba and Nomalungelo Dladla, Velemseni has gone on to soar to greater heights.

The Eswatini guitarist and soul singer's debut album, We are People (2014), showcased soothing vocals and strong musicality. The project was received well, getting airplay in the country's major radio stations (EBIS1 and 2).

The 11-track project was produced by David F from France, Martin Berauer from Austria and Eswatini's Bholoja. It led to Velemseni embarking on a US mini-tour in 2014.

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Interview
Photo courtesy of the artist.

Interview: 'Carpe Diem' Is Olamide's New Way of Life

Olamide communicates his current mood of living on his own terms, gives us his thoughts on #EndSARS, and tells us about fulfilling his singing desires while introducing the current sound brewing underground in Nigeria.

The death of Dagrin, who through hip-hop championed a course for the underground slums of western Nigeria, was a blow. While Nigeria inadvertently sought a progeny, an underground rapper silently picked up steam through bluetooth shares and word of mouth. By the end of 2010, Olamide broke into mainstream consciousness after releasing "Eni Duro," a street freestyle that caught the attention of ID Cabasa who then signed him to Coded Tunes where he released his debut album, Rapsodi in 2011.

In 2012, Olamide teamed up with a handful of relatively unknown producers, rappers for his sophomore album YBNL, which he also christened his own record label, marking his exit from Coded Tunes. YBNL has now become one of Nigeria's leading record labels having produced talents like Lil Kesh, Adekunle Gold, Fireboy DML, and more. It comes with no surprise that the recording artist born Olamide Adedeji, revered as the "voice of the street" has become one of Nigeria's most successful rappers ever. He's now known for his multilingual tracks which showcase his ability to rap and sing in English, Yoruba, Pidgin. His knack for lacing wordplay into his music stems from experiences of his formative years in Bariga, a rural part of Lagos.

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Watch Burna Boy & Chris Martin's Electric Performance at the BET Hip Hop Awards 2020

The Nigerian star performed "Monsters You Made" in front of a backdrop of #EndSARS protest footage as Coldplay's Chris Martin lent his voice virtually.