Exclusives

OkayAfrica’s 100 Women

OkayAfrica's 100 Women is our first annual look at the women making an impact on the African continent and in the diaspora. From the biggest names in culture to young up-and-comers, we've got 'em.

In honor of Women's History Month and our March theme, “Black Girls Only" we've put together the first annual "OkayAfrica's 100 Women."


SEE THE LIST HERE

With written and video features, the list pays tribute to 100 African women on the continent and in the diaspora who are leaders in their fields. The feature story highlights the accomplishments and social and cultural impact of renowned figures like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Luvvie Ajayi, Issa Rae, Ruth Negga, Lupita Nyong'o, Iman and Caster Semenya and other major change agents making a difference around the globe.

Included are Phiona Mutesi, chess prodigy from Uganda and subject of the recent Disney Queen of Katwe film; Farida Bedwei, information technology entrepreneur from Ghana, whose cloud software is used by over 100 micro-finance companies in her nation; and Ilwad Elman, human rights and social activist from Somalia, who helps spearhead efforts to assist survivors of domestic violence and street children in Mogadishu, among many others.

“OkayAfrica's 100 Women" was compiled by a group of African women who, after months of research and intense debate, identified an influential group of women who are beacons in their respective industries—each the total personification of #blackgirlmagic. Representation by country and social impact were key factors in decision-making on the #okay100women.

“We proudly present 100 dope women who hail from the continent and the Diaspora—an amazing collective of visionaries, champions, pioneers, and innovators," said Antoinette Isama, OkayAfrica Associate Editor. “These brilliant women, our seestahs, are positively impacting our lives and the lives of others across Africa and around the world."

We're planning a series of events later in the month to honor the women.

With no other platform having yet recognized the accomplishments of such a diverse group of African women globally, OkayAfrica is at the forefront of bringing together a distinct group of women who are marking forward progress in their communities.

Music
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.

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