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Nobel Peace Prize Nod to African and Arab Women


Today it was announced that two African women, both from Liberia, have been honored with the Nobel Peace Prize. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (above), the first female elected president in Africa, and the peace activist Leymah Gbowee (now based in Ghana) have accepted the prize on "behalf of the Liberian people." Not only was today's announcement a boost to Africa and gender equality (most of the previous winners have been men), it was also a nod to the Arab world. A third recipient of the award is Tawakul Karman, a 32 year old Yemeni woman whose arrest in January spurred widespread protests in Yemen.

Leymah Gbowee's win is an obvious choice as she is a force to be reckoned with. She's a badass when it comes to organizing and thinking outside of the box, or rather, closing up the box. Check her out on The Colbert Report talking about the sex strike she organized to end the civil war in Liberia. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's win comes a week before Liberians go to the polls to decide her re-election. Even though the Nobel Committee contends that her selection for the Prize had nothing to do with her re-election campaign, the award could still be viewed as an international endorsement of the President, whose popularity is waning at home where mass poverty is a pervasive issue.

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Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images.

Angélique Kidjo on Africa Day: 'We demand not to be at the mercy of our circumstances anymore.'

We speak to the inimitable Angélique Kidjo who shares some of her refreshing thoughts on Africa Day.

Today is Africa Day and while primarily a commemoration of the formation of the African Union (AU) back in 1963, it has also become an opportunity to unapologetically celebrate Africa while providing a moment for reflection on how far we've come as a continent and as a people.

With this year's theme focused on "Silencing the Guns in the context of the COVID19", there has never been a more important time for deep reflection on our collective present and future as Africans.

And who better to share in that reflection than the legendary and inimitable Beninese musician Angélique Kidjo? A fierce African and artist who has paved the way for many of her contemporaries including Burna Boy, Davido, Thandiswa Mazwai, and several others, the four-time Grammy award winner emphasises the urgent need for unity among Africans. 'It's about time that people start realising that Africa is a continent. I've been saying this my entire career,' she says passionately.

OkayAfrica spoke briefly to Kidjo who shared some of her refreshing thoughts on this year's Africa Day.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Thandiswa Mazwai to Host 'Play Your Part Africa' Virtual Concert

'King Tha' will commemorate Africa Day with a virtual concert set to take place on May 30th.