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Soweto, South Africa. Photo courtesy of Jessica Nabongo

Uganda’s Jessica Nabongo Is the First Black Woman to Visit Every Country in the World

Jessica Nabongo is a true, record-setting globe trotter.

Cue the parade, it's finally happened. Jessica Nabongo has officially become the first black woman to have visited every single country in the world. The Ugandan-American touched down in Seychelles on Sunday—the last to be visited on the long list of 195 countries. Over 50 friends and family members traveled with her to the East African archipelago to mark the historic event.


Nabongo has been traveling since the age of 6. Though she was born in the US, her parents are Ugandan and she's used both passports to travel the world. What's most remarkable is the frequency with which she's done so. As Africa News reports, Nabongo made the decision to attempt the global feat in 2017. At the time she had only traveled to 60 countries–-meaning she's travelled to 135 countries in just 2-and-a-half years, an average of just under 7 days per country.

Nabongo was chosen as one of our 100 Women of 2019, a list of impressive and impactful women from the continent and across the diaspora. When we interviewed her for the list, she told us the motivation behind her traveling:

"I began my journey to every country in the world because I am a geography nerd, curious about other cultures, and want to show the world through a lens that we rarely view it from—that of a black woman."

She also elaborated on her desire to alter the global narrative and perception surrounding of a lot of destinations–particularly in Africa–and highlight "that many countries are dangerous, that people are miserable, that you cannot have nice, luxury, vacations on the continent."

If Nabongo inspires you to get off your couch, grab your passport, pick a destination and just go–she's already made ways to help you out. Check out this article she penned for OkayAfrica about her tips for first-time solo travelers. Keep up with her journey and catch her if you can via her Instagram.

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Harmonize, Diamond Platnumz, Burna Boy "Kainama" (Youtube)

The 20 Best East African Songs of 2019

Featuring tracks from Harmonize, Diamond Platnumz, Sauti Sol, Irene Ntale, Ethic, Vanessa Mdee and many more.

2019 was a year full of positive growth for East African music. It saw many artists from the region make the necessary strides to take East African music to the next level.

The launch of new independent imprints continued to develop a class of budding stars. Sauti Sol's new Sol Generation label, for example, boasts a stellar roster that includes artists like Bensoul and Nviiri the Storyteller, who have topped the charts this year. =Tanzanian bongo flava heavyweight Harmonize left Diamond Platnumz' WCB Wasafi records and set up his own independent imprint called Konde Gang Music Worldwide. This is a dramatic move from the bongo flava superstar but it's exciting to see what he and his new label will offer in the coming year.

Follow our East African Grooves playlist on Spotify and Apple Music.

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Photo by Jaco Marais/Foto24/Gallo Images for Getty Images

This Politician Says the UK Treats South African Travelers Like 'Terrorists'

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa says that the UK needs to relax its strict restrictions around South African travelers.

Bantu Holomisa, the leader of the opposition party United Democratic Movement (UDM), has criticized the UK for their strict traveling restrictions around South African travelers. Holomisa says the UK treats South African travelers like 'terrorists' although South Africa is committed to allowing travelers from the UK visa-free entry into the country, according to Business Tech.

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Photo by Lana Haroun

From #FeesMustFall to #BlueforSudan: OkayAfrica's Guide to a Decade of African Hashtag Activism

The 2010s saw protest movements across the continent embrace social media in their quest to make change.

The Internet and its persistent, attention-seeking child, Social Media has changed the way we live, think and interact on a daily basis. But as this decade comes to a close, we want to highlight the ways in which people have merged digital technology, social media and ingenuity to fight for change using one of the world's newest and most potent devices—the hashtag.

What used to simply be the "pound sign," the beginning of a tic-tac-toe game or what you'd have to enter when interacting with an automated telephone service, the hashtag has become a vital aspect of the digital sphere operating with both form and function. What began in 2007 as a metadata tag used to categorize and group content on social media, the term 'hashtag' has now grown to refer to memes (#GeraraHere), movements (#AmINext), events (#InsertFriendsWeddingHere) and is often used in everyday conversation ("That situation was hashtag awkward").

The power of the hashtag in the mobility of people and ideas truly came to light during the #ArabSpring, which began one year into the new decade. As Tunisia kicked off a revolution against oppressive regimes that spread throughout North Africa and the Middle East, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook played a crucial role in the development and progress of the movements. The hashtag, however, helped for activists, journalists and supporters of causes. It not only helped to source information quickly, but it also acted as a way to create a motto, a war cry, that could spread farther and faster than protestors own voices and faster than a broadcasted news cycle. As The Guardian wrote in 2016, "At times during 2011, the term Arab Spring became interchangeable with 'Twitter uprising' or 'Facebook revolution,' as global media tried to make sense of what was going on."

From there, the hashtag grew to be omnipresent in modern society. It has given us global news, as well as strong comedic relief and continues to play a crucial role in our lives. As the decade comes to a close, here are some of the most impactful hashtags from Africans and for Africans that used the medium well.

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Screenshot from the upcoming film Warriors of a Beautiful Game

In Conversation: Pelé's Daughter is Making a Documentary About Women's Soccer Around the World

In this exclusive interview, Kely Nascimento-DeLuca shares the story behind filming Warriors of a Beautiful Game in Tanzania, Brazil and other countries.

It may surprise you to know that women's soccer was illegal in Brazil until 1981. And in the UK until 1971. And in Germany until 1970. You may have read that Sudan made its first-ever women's league earlier this year. Whatever the case, women and soccer have always had a rocky relationship.

It wasn't what women wanted. It certainly wasn't what they needed. However, society had its own ideas and placed obstacle after obstacle in front of women to keep ladies from playing the game. Just this year the US national team has shown the world that women can be international champions in the sport and not get paid fairly compared to their male counterparts who lose.

Kely Nascimento-DeLuca is looking to change that. As the daughter of international soccer legend Pelé, she is no stranger to the game. Growing up surrounded by the sport, she was actually unaware of the experiences women around the world were having with it. It was only recently that she discovered the hardships around women in soccer and how much it mirrored women's rights more generally.

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