During this Black History Month, we are honoring Africans who’ve impacted the lives of millions of people on the continent and around the world. Our first post honors Brenda Fassie, China Achebe, and Kwame Nkrumah.
Brenda Fassie – South Africa’s 1st Pop Star
Brenda was born in Langa, South Africa, on the 3rd of November in 1964, and she was named after the American country singer Brenda Lee. She began singing at church events at four years old and created the “Tiny Tots” group a year later. Renowned producer Koloi Lebona discovered her talents at 16, and she moved in with his family in Soweto to finish school and begin her music career.
- Her album “Too Late for Mama” achieved platinum status in 1989.
- Time magazine featured a special on Brenda, calling her “The Madonna of the Townships.”
- She expressed her anti-apartheid activism through her music, making her an internationally renowned voice for black South Africans.
Chinua Achebe – “Father of African Literature”
Chinua was born in Ogidi, British Nigeria, on the 16th of November in 1930. He attended the University of Ibadan, where he learned English. After graduation, he joined the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation as the director of external broadcasting in 1961. This is where his novel “Things Fall Apart” gained traction after being published in 1958.
- He is Africa’s best-known novelist and the founding father of African fiction.
- He played a significant role during Nigeria’s civil war after joining the Biafra government as an ambassador.
- “Things Fall Apart” remains one of the most taught novels in the world.
- He has received over 30 honorary degrees from universities in 6 different countries, including the U.S.
Kwame Nkrumah – 1st Prime Minister and President of Ghana
Kwame was born in Nkroful, Ghana, on the 21st of September 1909. He was baptized a Roman Catholic and then spent nine years at the Roman Catholic elementary school in Half Assini. In 1930 he graduated from Achimota College and began his career as a teacher in a Catholic school junior school. He later became interested in politics, so he decided to move to the U.S and attend Lincoln University in 1935.
- He was the first Prime Minister and President of Ghana.
- He led Gold Coast (Ghana) to independence from Britain in 1957.
- He was an influential advocate of Pan-Africanism and defined “the ideology of a New Africa.”