AFRICA'S GIFTS TO THE WORLD ; THE AFRICA ISSUE Pride of a Continent from Music through Literature to Politics and Science, Men and Women Who Have Battled Tough Upbringings Are Now Leaders in Their Fields. : This Article Is from the (RED) Edition of the Independent of 21 September 2006, Guest- Designed by Giorgio Armani. Half the Revenue from the Edition Will Be Donated to the Global Fund to Fight Aids
Jonathan Brown and Jerome Taylor, The Independent (London, England)
When the credibility of last year's Live8 festival threatened to be undermined following accusations that the concerts for Africa were excluding those they were meant to help, Bob Geldof could point with some relief to the participation of Youssou N'Dour.
Although he may only have come to the attention of white audiences when he started recording with the likes of Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush and Neneh Cherry in the 1980s, N'Dour was a star in his native Dakar from the age of 12. Fusing traditional Senegalese pop or mbalax, with his own distinctive style, the Grammy-winning singer has become a beacon for West African musical culture - which embraces musicians like fellow Senegalese Baaba Maal or Malian guitarist Afel Bocoum.
But N'Dour, who wrote the official music for the 1998 football World Cup, has deployed his feme to highlight issues from human rights to political prisoners. His Project Joko aims to link Senegalese communities across Africa and around the world through a network of internet cafes.
CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE (RIGHT)' NGUGI WA THIONG'O
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, is already earning the 29-year-old Nigerian comparisons with Africa's best writers. Despite having lived in the United States for the past decade, she continues to draw her inspiration from her home country. Her latest book, published last month, is set before the devastating Biafran war. Adichie made it to the final of the Orange Prize in 2004 with her first novel Purple Hibiscus.
The world has waited 20 years for the novel from Ngugi wa Thiong'o, 68. The former professor, dissident, prisoner and exile did not disappoint critics. Wizard of the Crow was published to strong reviews in the US in August where it was translated from his once-banned language of Gikuyu into English by the author. Set in a fictional African country, Ngugi describes a land "of crooked roads, robberies, runaway viruses of death, hospitals without medicine, rampant unemployment without relief, daily insecurity, epidemic alcoholism."
ELLEN JOHNSON-SIRLEAF (RIGHT)' JOAQUIM CHISSANO
Hopes are high in Liberia that Africa's first democratically elected black female president can deliver reform to a country long ravaged by civil war. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, a 68-year-grandmother of six, has already earned the nickname "Iron Lady" and, according to Forbes, is the 51st most powerful woman in the world.
A role model for the former Citibank accountant is the onetime Frelimo guerrilla Joaquim Chissano, who led his country for nearly two decades. After fighting against the Portuguese in the 1970s he became one of Africa's most powerful voices for peace, reconciling factions in Mozambique and his party, winning multi-party elections in 1994 and 1999 before stepping down from office in 2005.
This year he will collect the second annual Chatham House Prize to mark his achievements, not only in delivering political and military stability but for turning Mozambique into an economic success story with an impressive growth rate.
JOHN SENTAMU (ABOVE)' FR MATTHEW KUKAH
Born in a village outside Kampala, the sixth of 13 children, John Sentamu has risen to become the second most powerful man in the Church of England, the mother church of a family of 38 churches. A former High Court judge who, at the age of 24, defied the Ugandan despot Idi Amin with his staunch independence, his enthronement at York Minster was accompanied by African singing and dancing. The archbishop played the drums. In August a vigil of prayer and fasting for peace in the Middle East generated international media coverage.
Meanwhile, Father Matthew Kukah, a Nigerian, has been acclaimed as an "extraordinary" moral leader in the fight for freedom …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: AFRICA'S GIFTS TO THE WORLD ; THE AFRICA ISSUE Pride of a Continent from Music through Literature to Politics and Science, Men and Women Who Have Battled Tough Upbringings Are Now Leaders in Their Fields. : This Article Is from the (RED) Edition of the Independent of 21 September 2006, Guest- Designed by Giorgio Armani. Half the Revenue from the Edition Will Be Donated to the Global Fund to Fight Aids. Contributors: Jonathan Brown and Jerome Taylor - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: September 21, 2006. Page number: 36. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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