Popular
Ilwad Elman (Photo by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images for BET)

These Two Young African Women Were Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize

Ilwad Elman and Hajer Sharief have made the favored list for winning the prestigious award.

This year's nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize are out and among the names are Somalian social rights activist Ilwad Elman and Libyan law student Hajer Sharief. The Nobel Peace Prize, first awarded in 1901, is said to honor "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses" according to the Nobel Prize organization. What's even more impressive is that both women are on the short list of the Director for the Peace Research Institute Oslo–the list is thought to highlight the strongest contenders for the prize according to those who work in the field.

The two women, Elman, 29, and Sharief, 26, have been important catalysts for peacebuilding in their respective countries. Both are part of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's initiative Extremely Together, which brings together 10 young change makers from around the world, as well as have appointed positions from former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.


Elman was born in Mogadishu to two parents who were peace activists in their own right, Fartuun Adan and Elman Ali Ahmed. With no signs of the war easing in the early 90's, Elman's mother left with her and her sisters, eventually receiving asylum in Canada some years later. Her father was assassinated for assisting in the rehabilitation of youth co-opted by war. In 2010, at 19, Elman decided to return to Mogadishu and do what she could to further messages of peace. Since then she has led many social programs, particularly those focused on women's rights in Somalia. Her many accomplishments include founding Somalia's first rape crisis center for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.


Sharief has been active in fighting for peace in Libya since 2011 when she witnessed the horrific events of the civil war. Shook by what she saw, that same year Sharief, then 19, started her own organization aimed at supporting a peaceful democratic transition called Together We Build It. The organization focuses on empowering women and youth in Libyan society. In 2013, Sharief co-initiated the 1325 Network project, a collection of organizations and activists across 30 cities in Libya who can work together to raise awareness of women's role in building safe societies. She is currently studying law while.



Hajer Sharief Ryan Lash / TED


Other favored nominees for the prize include Nathan Law Kwun-chung, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, International Rescue Committee and the Control Arms Coalition. A full list of the 301 candidates can be found here. The award will be given on December 10 in Oslo, Norway.

Read: Prominent Somali Activist Almaas Elman Shot and Killed In Mogadishu

Interview
Photo: Shawn Theodore via Schure Media Group/Roc Nation

Interview: Buju Banton Is a Lyrical Purveyor of African Truth

A candid conversation with the Jamaican icon about his new album, Upside Down 2020, his influence on afrobeats, and the new generation of dancehall.

Devout fans of reggae music have been longing for new musical offerings from Mark Anthony Myrie, widely-known as the iconic reggae superstar Buju Banton. A shining son of Jamaican soil, with humble beginnings as one of 15 siblings in the close-knit community of Salt Lane, Kingston, the 46-year-old musician is now a legend in his own right.

Buju Banton has 12 albums under his belt, one Grammy Award win for Best Reggae Album, numerous classic hits and a 30-year domination of the industry. His larger-than-life persona, however, is more than just the string of accolades that follow in the shadows of his career. It is his dutiful, authentic style of Caribbean storytelling that has captured the minds and hearts of those who have joined him on this long career ride.

The current socio-economic climate of uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic has thrusted onto the world, coupled with the intensified fight against racism throughout the diaspora, have taken centre stage within the last few months. Indubitably, this makes Buju—and by extension, his new album—a timely and familiar voice of reason in a revolution that has called for creative evolution.

With his highly-anticipated album, Upside Down 2020, the stage is set for Gargamel. The title of this latest discography feels nothing short of serendipitous, and with tracks such as "Memories" featuring John Legend and the follow-up dancehall single "Blessed," it's clear that this latest body of work is a rare gem that speaks truth to vision and celebrates our polylithic African heritage in its rich fullness and complexities.

Having had an exclusive listen to some other tracks on the album back in April, our candid one-on-one conversation with Buju Banton journeys through his inspiration, collaboration and direction for Upside Down 2020, African cultural linkages and the next generational wave of dancehall and reggae.

This interview has been shortened and edited for clarity.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

[Op-Ed] Speeka: “‘Dankie San’ brought me closer to kasi rap”

A personal reflection on one of South Africa's most influential hip-hop albums, 'Dankie San' by PRO.