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South African Long Jumper Luvo Manyonga Overcame Demons to Win Silver at Rio Olympics

Long jumper Luvo Manyonga leapt his way to South Africa’s sixth medal of the 2016 Summer Olympics. His journey to Rio is the ultimate comeback story.

25-year-old long jumper Luvo Manyonga leapt his way to South Africa’s sixth medal of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games Saturday in Rio. Manyonga placed second in the men’s long jump with a personal best of 8.37m. He was in the lead until American Jeff Henderson eclipsed him on his sixth and final attempt with 8.38. In third place was Great Britain’s Greg Rutherford with a distance of 8.29m, followed by America’s Jarrison Lawson in fourth with 8.25m.


The long jump is an event Americans have historically dominated, with Carl Lewis leading the way with four golds in a row from 1984-1996. Henderson’s win marks the 22nd men’s long jump gold for the U.S. (their first since 2004).

Manyonga’s showing continues to put South Africa on the world long jump map. Godfrey Khotso Mokoena, who competes in the men’s triple jump on Monday, earned the country their first long jump medal in Olympic history when he placed second in the event at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. Manyonga’s silver-place finish marks Team SA's second Olympic long jump medal.

Of course, Manyonga is no newcomer to the world of long jump. His career started off on an exceptional note. The Mbekweni-raised athlete found success early on, placing third at the African Junior Championships in 2009 before taking home gold at the 2010 IAAF Junior World Championships and another gold at the 2012 All-Africa Games in Maputo.

But then things took a turn for the worse. Success and money came with a cost for Manyonga. He began using tik (the South African street name for crystal methamphetamine). In 2012, he tested positive for the drug and was banned from the sport for 18 months.

His issues with the drug continued into 2014. Tragedy struck when Manyonga’s longtime coach and mentor, Mario Smith, was killed in a car accident while on the way to Manyonga’s house. The athlete’s life continued to spiral out of control.

It was during that same year that he began his journey to Rio. In 2016, he returned to competition after a four-year hiatus. (Check out this story on Daily Maverick for a more in-depth discussion of Manyonga's comeback)

"The demons have been trying to pull me down but look at my face ... look at me standing here," Manyonga told SASCOC after the event on Saturday. He also thanked his mom and his five-year-old son, Lindokhule. “It’s too early in the morning SA time to phone them but they’ll be hearing from me very soon,” he said.

Manyonga’s coach had quite the whirlwind day as well. After his Uber car broke down en route to the Olympic Stadium, Neil Cornelius was forced to catch another taxi in a bad part of town and then sprint 2km to catch Manyonga in time for the long jump final. He made it. And after the event, he told Sport24 that there's no limit to what Manyonga can achieve. “I honestly don't want to put a distance on it. If I put a distance on him I'm limiting him. At the moment his potential is limitless," he said.

Could a world record be next? He’ll need to outjump American Mike Powell’s 8.95m, a distance he set in 1991. Until that day comes, Manyonga's given South Africa plenty reason to be proud.

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Photo: Kate Green via OISPhotos.

Ayomide Bello Is the First Nigerian Woman Canoeist to Qualify for the Olympics

The young athlete is headed for Olympic gold at the 2020 games in Tokyo.

Nigerian woman are making their mark across all areas of sport, and now for the first time ever the country will be sending its first ever woman canoeist to the Olympics.

At just 17, Ayomide Bello will become the first female Nigerian canoeist to compete at the Olympic games when they head to Tokyo in 2020. The teenager beat out other African contenders at the C1 200 event at Africa's Tokyo 2020 qualifiers in Morocco last week to claim the spot, according to BBC Sport.

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Zimbabwe's National Women's Soccer Team Boycotted Their Olympics Qualifying Match

The team abandoned its match with Zambia in protest of unpaid fees from last month.

The Mighty Warriors, Zimbabwe's national women's soccer team, were scheduled to play against Zambia in the second leg of their qualifying rounds for the 2020 Summer Olympics being held in Tokyo, Japan. However, a half hour prior to the match kicking off at the National Sports Stadium yesterday, it was called off entirely. This comes after the team also failed to show up for the official Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) camp ahead of the qualifying games. It is reported that the Zimbabwean players were protesting unpaid allowances from last month's matches in the 2019 COSAFA Cup which was held in South Africa. However, Zifa alleges that the players are in breach of their contract, according to BBC Sport.

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#BuyBlack: The 8 Black-Owned Brands To Shop For On Black Friday

It's that time of year again, here is OkayAfrica's 2019 gift guide for you to #BuyBlack this Friday.

You know we're near the end of 2019 once the holiday season comes back around. Thanksgiving is upon us and the bargain shopping and gift-giving is set to commence thereafter. Despite this American holiday being questionable in of itself, Black Friday is a prime occasion to highlight, support and spend exclusively with black-owned businesses.

Just like we mentioned last year, let's keep the 'for us, by us' energy going. Even beyond the hustle and bustle of Black Friday, tap into the businesses that continue to contribute to wealth-building, development and employment in Black communities around the world.

Here is OkayAfrica's curated shortlist of black-owned brands to take note of this Black Friday—including some standout home decor, fashion, skincare and beauty brands you should know.

Take a look below.

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Burna Boy Samples Fela's 'Shakara' on New Track, 'My Money, My Baby' From 'Queen & Slim' Soundtrack

The film's official soundtrack also features tracks from Lauryn Hill, Blood Orange, Megan Thee Stallion and more.

The official soundtrack for Queen & Slim has arrived, and it features a standout solo track from none other than Burna Boy.

"My Money, My Baby" is a heavily Afrobeat-tinged track that features a prominent sample of Fela Kuti's 1972 song "Shakara." The pulsating track also sees the singer, channeling Fela's signature talk-style of singing and repetition. Check it out below.

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