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Black History Month

The month of February’s significance started in the African American community, but its sentiments and fundamental purpose that echo with Black pride whether it be in America, Jamaica, Trinidad, or Africa are infectious.

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Image: Dr. Maya Angelou
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Hazel Lifa


February is the designated month of African American excellence, a month designated to celebrating the accomplishments and achievements of African Americans in history. Initially called Negro History Week, the idea was formulated by esteemed historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson in 1926, through the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. This tradition has spread to other countries like Canada and United Kingdom; in Ireland and the Netherlands it is observed in October.

Black History Month Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Carter G. Woodson


The month of February’s significance started in the African American community, but its sentiments and fundamental purpose that echo with Black pride whether it be in America, Jamaica, Trinidad, or Africa are infectious. We all share one common thing besides our race, and that is struggle; struggles that have resulted in generational hardships that still plague us today. But still, through the worst of times and disadvantages, we have risen to the occasion and proved our worth. In Africa, our history is often ignored and disregarded for the so-called victor’s version of the story. They say we didn’t have communities or languages; painting the grim picture of rabid lunatics running about and causing chaos. Yes, we had our way of doing things that wasn’t perfect, but we re-evaluated as we evolved, like any other civilisation.


Where African Americans celebrate legends like Martin Luther King Jr. during Black History Month, we have Nelson Mandela. Zora Neale Hurston, we have Emecheta Buchi; Tiger Woods, we give you Samuel Eto’o Fils. Highlighting that we aren’t so different, location is a big factor, but a mere detail in the grand scheme. While our true stories have been altered, we still sing the truth of our past, if you dare to listen. Our future is bright as ever, as we continue to break barriers all round.


Happy Black History Month, learn about your history and its heroes and heroines. Take time to learn about the history and prominent figures in other black communities. In a sense, they are all our stories, and we have to take pride in them.


Let’s beam with pride when we tell the stories of:
The late Oliver Mtukudzi, a Zimbabwean music legend who made the world listen, with over 50 albums under his belt. His music was far from just entertainment, and he used it as a platform to talk about important social issues like HIV/AIDS. Mtukudzi’s music is a source of pride for many of his countrymen who play his tracks at practically any gathering. His music is the soundtrack to many a fan’s lives.

Black History Month Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Oliver Mtukudzi


Celebrated African thinker, Chinua Achebe, whose literature inspired and shaped generations of African scholars. The late Nigerian novelist gave us the masterpiece that is ‘Things Fall Apart, which depicts perfectly the pain and conflict that encompasses the colonial experience. A teacher who not only inspired the students he taught at David and Marianna Fisher University and Brown University, but Africa as a whole, and the rest of the world that cared to take note.


Maya Angelou, a poet and civil rights activist who inspired us all with her command of the English language, and her audacity to speak up. One of her best and impressive abilities was her ability to analyse herself, as shown in her autobiographies. Her first autobiography, ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ covering her early life till the age of 17 years, brought her so much recognition. Her civil rights activism led to working with great black leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.


Clive Sullivan made history when he became the first black rugby captain for the Great Britain Lions in 1972. Sullivan captained the Great Britain Lions to victory winning the world cup. Sullivan was also the first black captain for any sports team in Great Britain. As a sportsman of colour, he not only showed and proved his worth, but also opened young sportsmen’s (male and female) minds to the endless possibilities one can achieve despite their race.

Black History Month Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Clive Sullivan


Robert Nesta Marley, prominently known by his stage name Bob Marley, is a music genius celebrated across the world. A black man who got people of all colours dancing and singing along to anthems like ‘No Woman No Cry’ and ‘One Love’. The Jamaican native has been gone for 40 years, and still his legacy is alive and well. Marley infused his music with a touch of spirituality that propelled his message of love and peace on a global scale.


African American Agricultural Scientist and Inventor, George Washington Carver is a black man who added considerably to the improvement of quality of life. The man who invented peanut butter. With his Master’s in Agricultural Sciences, Carver would go on to teach and research. He is the father of the crop rotation idea which farmers across the world practice today; the idea had been a solution to the low yield which cotton farmers in Carver’s time were facing. Carver would go on to invent numerous addible and none addible products from crops like sweet potatoes and peanuts. He created over 300 products from peanuts. He developed writing inks, dyes, cooking oils, wood stains, and vinegar to mention but a few things from crops.

Black History Month Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: George Washington Carver


Dr. Eric Williams was the first Prime Minister of independent Trinidad and Tobago. He founded the People’s National Movement in 1956, and led his people to independence. Dr. Williams made Trinidad and Tobago the wealthiest commonwealth Caribbean nation through his practice of ‘pragmatic socialism’. The policy focused on social services, improvement of education, and economic development, through the cautious attraction of foreign investment capital. He served as Prime Minister till his death with successful re-elections, proving that when a leader does a good job and puts his people first, there is no need for rigging votes and intimidating opposition that may arise.

Black History Month Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Dr. Eric Williams


From football to politics, George Weah can do it all. The Liberian national rocked the world of football with 193 goals and 411 appearances in his 18-year career. He has played for big football clubs like Manchester City, AC Milan and Chelsea, and has been awarded the FIFA World Player of the Year in 1995, and the Ballon d’Or, making him the first African player to ever win these awards. Weah seems to be good at everything he does; upon retiring from football he began a political career that saw him become the president of Liberia.


Slyvie Kiningi did something for the girlchild and woman of Africa. She showed her how high she could climb in 1994 when she became the acting president of Burundi, during her stint as the country’s Prime Minister. She held the fort down when then-president, Melchior Ndadaye and six of his officials were shot dead. Kiningi picked up without fear after Ndadaye passed, taking over the reins and assembling 15 ministers to continue with the running of the nation of Burundi.

Black History Month Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Sylvie Kiningi


This was just to name a few examples of black excellence, alive or dead. Let us continue penning more black excellence, as today is tomorrow’s past.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Helton Piet King

    February 26, 2021 at 4:36 pm

    Interesting

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Lifestyle

Unprepared and Offended

We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters. ~ Gloria Steinem

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Unprepared and Offended Asante Afrika Magazine
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Hazel Lifa

For years tension has been building between the sexes, a battle line has been drawn, and if we are being honest, noone knows when this happened. It is evident in movements like the Men’s Rights Movement and the christened ‘Third Wave of Feminism’. Somehow it has become a ‘Men vs. Women’ world in a reality where we honestly need each other to evolve and survive.

“It is time that we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals”.

emma watson

In a past article I spoke about how of late we tend to make everything about gender; a man behaves badly, it’s because he is a man. If a woman abuses her spouse, it is because she is a woman and privileged. In our bid to simplify the issues each sex meets in life and figuring out who’s to blame, we have cultivated so much contempt and mistrust. According to actress, Emma Watson, “It is time that we all see gender as a spectrum, instead of two sets of opposing ideals”.

Unprepared and Offended Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Emma Watson 

I recently had a conversation with an educated lady who pointed out a huge factor in the case of the modern woman and man. Men and boys were never prepared for the empowered, educated and powerful woman point-blank. Think about it; when you are born into societies where two parties hold such suspicion and resentment towards each other, what happens when we try to evolve and grow? Further misunderstanding and skepticism, and the game of broken telephone continues.

“…I will go as far as to say the modern woman is seen as less than.”

Whether it be in the African setting or European household, women have generally played the subservient role; treed away from major roles in powerful spaces like politics or law enforcement, asked only to entertain with their feminine appealing looks, and valued for procreation.

With the rise of feminism, women were encouraged to be just as daring as men, confident, and commanding. Women started entering the workforce, voting, started businesses… oh what a time it was! However, no one thought to prepare boys and men for this evolution of the woman, and unfortunately, it has ended in a stand-off.

The modern-day educated and working woman is often persecuted and made to feel guilty for having aspirations beyond a household and a spouse. Speaking from an African perspective, I will go as far as to say the modern woman is seen as less than. I have been genuinely warned to not get ‘too educated’, as I will be hard to marry off.

“We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.”

Gloria Steinem

On a social level, boys and men have and are still being taught that to be a ‘man’, a woman or several have to be at their mercy, inferior, and often in a position of humiliation. A woman being intelligent and insightful is equated to a man being less than. One would think that logically, having a working and educated wife would add to the quality of an ideal spouse and life partner. Many households are plagued with violence of all kinds created by insecurities which young boys are taught and carry into adulthood.

The tension has gotten to a point where women are either taking too long to marry, or forgoing the experience altogether. Such actions will have ramifications on society, but the biggest question is whether they will be positive or negative? One asks, “Ok, we have identified the issue, now how do we correct it?” The truth is that the fix is tedious, and it requires dedication from parents and adults around young boys. In the famous words of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “Culture does not make people. People make culture.”

Unprepared and Offended Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 

The perception of the opposite sex and the dynamics of man and woman are topics taught from the tender stage of infancy, hence the nuclear family unit is where the work should start. Boys should be taught that it’s ok if a girl is better than you in a sport or at a job, her capabilities shouldn’t translate to your self-worth. “We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters,” says Gloria Steinem. 

Let us be brave enough to teach boys to not see girls as the benchmark of weakness and inadequacy. Teach boys to not to be sore losers who rather than be motivated to do better next time, lash out at girls and women who excel. Let us make phrases like ‘throws like a girl‘, ‘fights like a girl’, a positive thing; if I am a girl, how else am I to throw, fight, etc.?

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Lifestyle

#BlackGirlMagic

Zambian professional soccer star, Barbara Banda made history at the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo by becoming the first woman to achieve multiple hat tricks in a single Olympic event.

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Image: Zambian professional football star, Barbara Banda
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Hazel Lifa

They say it’s better late than never. The month of August’s significance is one that originated in South Africa after more than 20 000 women from all walks of life united in a mass demonstration walking towards the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

#BlackGirlMagic Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Women’s March for Human Rights 1956

The strength and audacity exercised by women like Helen Joseph and Albertina Sisulu on August 9th 1956 are virtues that young African and black women alike can look up to in today’s world. For this year’s just ended National Women’s Month, I would like to shine a bright light on the black girl magic that has been going around in Africa and around the globe lately.

It is the time of the black woman to shine, not to say she couldn’t before, but the world right now is giving black women, as they say these days, ‘their roses while they’re alive to smell them’.

I will kick off this magical show with a feat I am sure many will agree is a game-changer. Kamala Devi Harris, the 49th Vice President of U.S.A. This biracial black woman of South Asian descent is moving in circles which women with any trace of melanin complexion couldn’t even dream of being included in for centuries. Harris’ position as Vice President of the most powerful nation on the planet gives women of colour, old and young, a sense of pride.

#BlackGirlMagic Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Vice President Kamala Harris

Her success also gives us another platform to discuss and grow; Harris’ sex and race are not all she is but they play a large role in the world she lives in. With time we can only hope the novelty wears off.

Zambian professional football star, Barbara Banda made history at the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo. She has become the first woman to achieve multiple hat tricks in a single Olympic event. The Zambian Women’s soccer squad’s captain is the first African woman to achieve a hat trick in Olympic history ever. Furthermore, she now holds the women’s record for most Olympic goals scored by an African. The 21-year-old is a striker who began her professional career in 2018 playing with Logrono in Spain; she scored 16 goals in 28 games. Banda came to the Olympics an unknown, but has left a name for the history books.

#BlackGirlMagic Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Barbara Banda in a Zambia vs. China Olympics match

Earlier this year we were impressed and elated to learn that the Miss South Africa pageant would be opening its doors to Transgender participants. Lehlogonolo Machaba took this invitation and ran with it, becoming the first openly transgender participant to make the top 30 of the competition.

#BlackGirlMagic Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Miss SA Finalist Letlogonolo Machaba

“Everything I do as a dark-skinned, transgender woman is a statement. My mere existence in society is threatening, and there’s a lot of closet transgender women who are afraid to come out in fear of receiving hate and even worse, being killed. By doing this I am helping all those women to know that there’s still hope and the world is changing for good, slowly but surely,” Machaba said.

Machaba works as a model booker at Invade Models, and is also the founder of the DeMollies fashion brand. She has a Diploma in Fashion Design technology from the Tshwane University of Technology.

Hailing from the western African nation of Nigeria is innovator and businesswoman, Oluwayimika Angel Adelaja. Adelaja’s two businesses Fresh Direct Produce and We Farm Africa are innovating farming technology, a feat that couldn’t come at a better time considering global warming and all. Adelaja is leading the crowd with her revolutionary stackable container farms that ease the strain on land use and opens up the world of fresh quality food to urban populations.

#BlackGirlMagic Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Oluwayimika Angel Adelaja
#BlackGirlMagic Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Oluwayimika Angel Adelaja at one of her container farms

Adelaja’s organic urban farms require way less land and water in comparison with traditional farming methods, and all while producing a yield 15times higher. Adelaja’s food shortage solutions and farming techniques all work towards creating a cohesive agricultural chain of production and creates opportunities for Africans. Adelaja also works towards the empowerment of women and developmental economics, and still holds positions like Special Assistant to the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Poverty Alleviation and National Coordinator and Consultant to the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Wealth Creation.

In the world of poetry, Dasha Kelly Hamilton is the first black woman to be named the Wisconsin Poet Laureate in its 20years of existence. Her primary objective as the award holder is to be an ambassador who encourages poetry throughout her tenure of 2years. Hamilton will be receiving a stipend of US$2,500 and a residency at Shake Rag Alley Centre for Arts in Mineral Point.

#BlackGirlMagic Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Dasha Kelly Hamilton

Brenda Katwesigye saw something broken in a system and set out to correct it; the result is Wazi Vision. The Ugandan native became concerned with the high cost of eyecare back in 2015 during a personal visit and launched Wazi Vision in 2016. Wazi Vision provides free eyes tests at schools and rural areas; the startup has even developed an app that incorporates virtual reality in visual tests.

#BlackGirlMagic Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Brenda Katwesigye

The company also uses recycled materials in manufacturing their glasses which cuts the cost of glasses. In 2018, Wazi Vision was named in the Forbes Top 60 Woman-led Startups that are shaking up Africa, and Katwesigye was named as one of Quartz Africa’s top 30 Innovators. I could go on and on, black girl magic is upon us, and backwards never my melanin beauties.

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Lifestyle

The Strength Of A Woman – Celebrating National Women’s Month

To be a woman is to reject being known as a strong woman, because our value goes beyond our expectation to be confronted by pain.

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Image: @remyshoots Photography
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Reflections By Rorisang Moyo

Kumkanikazi. Mofumahadi. Mfumukazi. Queen.

You are most of the time overlooked, undermined,
stifled, frustrated. Scorched by fire, dipped in water;
yet pressure does not end you, it elevates you to
your fullest potential.

This does not mean that to be a woman means
pain is romanticised. To be a woman is to reject
being known as a strong woman, because our value
goes beyond our expectation to be confronted by
pain.

The Strength Of A Woman - Celebrating National Women's Month Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: @remyshoots Photography

To be a woman means to feel things deeply in
their entirety, to be at one with the earth and how it
works. After all, it is through us that great men and
women continue to be born, and to take their place
on this earth.

Woman means beauty, strength, community,
trendsetter, lover, and fighter. To be a girl child and
a daughter, means potential and endless possibilities.

The privilege of standing on the shoulders of
giants, a community of other women; women who
have paved the way for you to live without any barriers – ever-changing, limitless and fluid.

The Strength Of A Woman - Celebrating National Women's Month Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: @remyshoots Photography

No person alive can put a lid on the power of woman.

Photography by Jeremy Kupfuwa, IG @remyshoots

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