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KOFI ANNAN; The First Black Secretary of the United Nations

Kofi Annan joined the United Nations in 1962 when he went to work for the World Health Organization (WHO) as a budget officer. After a while he was involved with the United Nations in a number of different branches; serving as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the UN Emergency Force in Ismailia, Egypt….

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AFRICA AND CHOCOLATE

Cocoa, a native to the Americas, was a valuable crop in the earliest South American cultures. The term cocoa originated from the Nahuatl word “cacahuatl”. Many believe that the plant first grew in the Amazon and upper Orinoco basins but the Mayans and the Aztecs eventually developed techniques to cultivate cocoa successfully. The plant was…

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THE GOLDEN STOOL of the Ashanti nation

The Golden Stool (full title, Sika Dwa Kofi) has been the symbol of power in the Ashanti Kingdom since the 17th century. According to oral tradition, Okomfo Anokye, a High Priest and one of the two founders of the Ashanti Confederacy, conjured the Golden Stool, decorated with golden bells, and caused it to descend from…

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SHAKA ZULU; founder of Southern Africa’s Zulu Empire

Shaka Zulu established the Zulu Empire and revolutionized warfare in Southern Africa in the early 19th Century. Shaka was born in 1787. His father, Senzangakhona, was a minor chief of one of the Zulu-speaking clans and his mother, Nandi, was daughter of Chief Mbhengi of the rival clan. Shaka’s birth was considered a sin because…

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YITYISH “TITI” AYNAW; the first Ethiopian Jew and black Israeli to win Miss Israel Contest

Yityish “Titi” Aynaw was crowned Miss Israel on February 27, 2013. She made history when she became the first Miss Israel of African ancestry. Born in Gondar Province, Ethiopia, Aynaw arrived in Israel in March 2003 along with her older brother and grandparents at the age of 12 after the death of her mother in…

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YAA ASANTEWAA; a politician, human right activist, queen and a leader

Yaa Asantewaa was an influential Ashanti queen at the beginning of the twentieth century who remains a powerful symbol today. Her birthdate is contested; she is generally believed to be born between the 1840s to 1860s in the Ashanti Confederacy in present-day Ghana. She was a skilled farmer before ascending to the title Queen Mother…

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The Ancient Kano City Walls

The Ancient City Walls of Kano. Described, at a time, as “the most impressive monument in West Africa,” the Ancient Kano City Walls were defensive walls built to protect the lives inhabiting the city of Kano. Built in the year 1095 through 1134 and completed in the middle of the 14th century, the wall, during…

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QUEEN NZINGA MBANDE;a powerful 17th-century female African ruler of the Ndongo and Matamba Kingdoms.

Queen Nzinga (Nzinga Mbande), the monarch of the Mbundu people, was a resilient leader who fought against the Portuguese and their expanding slave trade in Central Africa. She was a military strategist and powerful 17th-century female African ruler of the Ndongo and Matamba Kingdoms. During the late 16th Century, the French and the English threatened…

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DENIS MUKWEGE; Nobel Peace laureate from East Congo

Dr. Denis Mukwege is a Nobel Prize-winning gynecologist, human rights activist, and Pentecostal pastor from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). He specializes in the treatment of women who have experienced sexual violence during armed conflicts. The recipient of numerous international honors and awards, Mukwege is a leading advocate for ending the use of…

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WANGARI MUTA MAATHAI; first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize

Sixty-four-year-old Wangari Maathai, the most prominent environmental activist in Africa, was the 2004 recipient of the Alfred Nobel Peace Prize. Wangari Muta was born on April 1, 1940, in Ihithe, Nyeri Province, Kenya during British colonial rule. Her family was of Kikuyu origin, and her father was polygamous. As a child Muta, was permitted a…

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