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POTUS Gets Some Birthday Love in Song at Young African Leaders Initiative Town Hall

The fellows at Wednesday's YALI Town Hall broke into song wishing President Barack Obama a happy birthday.

President Barack Obama started receiving birthday wishes early when the movers and shakers of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) broke out singing “Happy Birthday” just before POTUS began his address at Wednesday’s town hall.


A thousand participants came to the three-day YALI summit in Washington Monday, where in its sixth year, is an initiative to support young African entrepreneurs, activists and public officials who are on the come up.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship, YALI’s flagship program, started two years ago lifting young Africans up via academic courses, leadership training and networking.

In yesterday’s address, Obama told the crowd of his four trips to the continent—which is more than any other U.S. president.

“Today’s Africa is a place of unprecedented prosperity and opportunities," he tells the crowd.

He also notes how imperative it is for First Lady Michelle Obama and himself to instill and teach their diverse cultural heritage to their daughters Malia and Sasha, including POTUS’ Kenyan heritage.

Last year, Okayafrica had Mandela Washington Fellow, Brian ‘B Flow’ Bwembya, join the editorial team, where he brought great content from Zambia to our site. Obama also took some time during the 2015 town hall to give him a shout-out.

Watch below for the full address, where Obama touches on his work to transform America’s relationship with the continent, how America’s learned from the YALI fellows as much as they learn from their own experiences in the States and more.

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Photo: Courtesy of Saphir Niakadie

Meet Four Women Pushing Ivorian Art Forward Through Photography

These young and emerging female photographers from Côte d'Ivoire are shaking up Abidjan's art scene.

There's been a tremendous amount of awe-inspiring art coming from the African continent lately. Photography is no exception. It is one of the most powerful tools used in changing the way in which the West perceives Africa and its diaspora and perhaps the reason why contemporary photography is thriving.

The female gaze is paramount to the way in which the aforementioned visual stories are told and the female photographers here are using their camera lenses to give us glimpses of lands, peoples, histories, and futures unknown. Their individual experiences and perspectives are widening the scope of what is believed to be Côte d'Ivoire. Within the country's capital, Abidjan, there's a creative scene that seems to have sprawled up out of nowhere yet is so rich in its offerings.

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