Kenyans Elisha Barno and Hellen Jepkurgat Win L.A. Marathon Men’s and Women’s Races

L.A. Marathon Men’s Winner Elisha Barno (photo via latimes.com)

article by Sam Farmer via latimes.com

Elisha Barno and Hellen Jepkurgat, both of Kenya, were the men’s and women’s winners Sunday of the Los Angeles Marathon. Barno, who pulled away from fellow Kenyan Daniel Limo in the final mile, crossed the finish line in Santa Monica in 2 hours, 11 minutes, 53 seconds.

Jepkurgat won the women’s race in 2:34:23, almost two minutes faster than Kenyan Jane Kibii at 2:36:14. More than 24,000 runners from 63 countries are participating in the “Stadium to the Sea” race, the fourth-largest marathon in the U.S. and 10th largest worldwide.

To read more, go to: L.A. Marathon live updates: Kenyans Elisha Barno and Hellen Jepkurgat win men’s and women’s races – LA Times

Halima Aden Makes History as 1st Miss Minnesota USA Contestant to Wear Hijab

Halima Aden (photo via cosmopolitan.com)

article by Gina Mei via cosmopolitan.com

Halima Aden is flawlessly breaking down barriers in the pageant community: Over the weekend, the 19-year-old made history as the first contestant in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant to wear a hijab throughout the competition and a burkini during the swimsuit round. And needless to say, she looked absolutely stunning.

Miss USA Minnesota pageant (photo via twitter.com)

Miss USA Minnesota pageant (photo via twitter.com)

The Somali-American teenager, who was born in a Kenyan refugee camp and moved to America when she was just 6 years old, ultimately made it to the pageant’s semifinals Sunday. But as she told multiple sources both before and after the pageant was over, despite not winning, she hoped her participation would serve as a reminder that beauty comes in many different forms.

“A lot of people will look at you and will fail to see your beauty because you’re covered up and they’re not used to it. So growing up, I just had to work on my people skills and give people a chance to really know me besides the clothing,” she said in an interview with KARE-11. “Be who you are. It’s easy to feel like you have to blend in, but it takes courage to live your life with conviction and embrace the person that you are.”

To read more, go to: Halima Aden Makes History as the First Miss Minnesota USA Contestant to Wear Hijab

Lupita Nyong’o Speaks on Colorism and More Opportunities for People of Color

Lupita Nyong’o (Photo: Courtesy of Vogue)

article by Erica Schwiegershausen via nymag.com

In the October issue of Vogue, three-time cover girl Lupita Nyong’o talks about growing up in Nairobi, and her desire to see more African narratives represented in Hollywood and beyond. “I want to create opportunities for other people of color because I’m fortunate enough to have a platform to do that,” she said.

Recently, Nyong’o starred in “Eclipsed” on Broadway, playing a 15-year-old girl held captive by a rebel officer in Liberia. In her latest film, “Queen of Katwe,” she plays the mother of a Ugandan girl who becomes an international chess master. (The film opens next week.) And she’s also working on the forthcoming film adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “Americanah“— a love story that centers around two Nigerians.

“Being able to use my platform to expand and diversify the African voice … I feel very passionate about that. It feels intentional, meaningful,” Nyong’o said.  She was drawn to “Queen of Katwe,” she said, because it was “based on a true story, an uplifting story out of Africa.”  Nyong’o also reflected — not for the first time — on the significance of seeing darker-skinned women represented and celebrated as beautiful.

Alek Wek changed how dark people saw themselves,” she said. “That I could do the same in a way for somebody somewhere is amazing.” She added, “The European sense of beauty affects us all. I came home from college in the early two-thousands and saw ads on TV with a girl who can’t get a job. She uses this product. She gets her skin lighter. She gets the job. The lording of lighter skin is a common thing growing up in Nairobi. Being called ‘black mamba.’ The slow burn of recognizing something else is better than you.”

Working on the set of “Queen of Katwe,” Nyong’o said a young Ugandan-British woman came up to her and said: “I’ve never had so many people call me beautiful until you showed up. I get called to auditions I never would have been called to before. I know it’s because you exist.”

Source: Lupita Nyong’o Wants Opportunities for People of Color

Jemima Sumgong Wins 1st Gold for Kenya in Olympic Women’s Marathon

Jemima Jelagat Sumgong of Kenya celebrates her victory in the women’s marathon. (Photo: Jack Gruber, USA TODAY Sports)

article via usatoday.com

RIO DE JANEIRO — Accomplishing a distance-running first for Kenya, a nation known for distance running, is no easy feat. So Jemima Sumgong‘s accomplishment Sunday at the Rio Olympics was indeed an accomplishment.Sumgong beat 156 competitors along a picturesque course on the sweltering streets of Rio, surging in the final 2 kilometers to claim Kenya’s first gold in the Olympic women’s marathon.It was an accomplishment that was nearly derailed, and not by the competition. Less than a mile from the finish line, a man with a sign jumped over the railings ahead of Sumgong and dashed onto the course.

Police officers immediately cut off the protester, who leaped over the fence and ran away.”I was scared,” Sumgong said initially. “I thinking he could maybe … he could grab one of my colleagues.”But she ran on undeterred.Sumgong finished in 2 hours, 24 minutes, 4 seconds. Kenya-born Eunice Kirwa of Bahrain was second (2:24:13), and world champion Mare Dibaba of Ethiopia (2:24:30) was third.

Shalane Flanagan (2:25.26), who hung on with the lead pack for about 40 kilometers, finished sixth to lead all three Americans in the top 10.  Des Linden (2:26:08) was seventh, and Amy Cragg (2:28:25) was ninth.

To read full article, got to: Jemima Sumgong of Kenya wins Olympic women’s marathon

World Economic Forum Names Top 5 African Female Innovators

Three of WEF's top five African women innovators (photo via VenturesAfrica.com)

Three of WEF’s top five African women innovators (photo via VenturesAfrica.com)

article by Fumnanya Agbugah via VenturesAfrica.com

On Friday, the World Economic Forum on Africa presented the five winners of the conference’s challenge to find Africa’s top women innovators. The winners, whose innovations were from the areas including mobile health insurance, solar powered vending carts, bio medical materials and IT training as well as food processing, hail from Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.

Currently, Africa has the youngest population in the world and this is expected to double by 2045. In view of this, several global leaders have attested to the fact that Africa’s future lies in the hands of its youthful population. The region’s start-up businesses are gaining confidence and scale with a growing number of innovations achieving recognition beyond the region’s borders. However, a lot still has to be done in order to create an enabling environment that will allow women to flourish. Due to this set back, the World Economic Forum decided to run this competition to find Africa’s top female innovators especially as the potential of women entrepreneurs is far from optimum.

“I strongly believe that the 21st century will be Africa’s century, that its young population has the potential to build a world where they are not only materially better off, but also where things are fairer, more sustainable and more tolerant than at any other time in history. But this will not be achieved unless women are able to make a full contribution. This is why we are showcasing Africa’s best female entrepreneurs in Kigali this week,” said Elsie Kanza, Head of Africa at the World Economic Forum.

Here are Africa’s top female innovators, selected based on the criteria for the WEF Africa challenge. This required entrant companies to be less than three years old, be earning revenue for at least a year and have proven innovation and positive social impact.

Natalie Bitature – Musana Carts, Kampala, Uganda

Natalie Bitature - Musana Carts, Kampala, Uganda

Musana Carts has used frugal innovation to develop environmentally friendly, solar-powered vending carts. With a price point of $400, each Musana Cart saves 3,000 tons of carbon emissions and improves the health of cities by eliminating pollution from charcoal and kerosene stoves.

Audrey Cheng – Moringa School, Nairobi, Kenya

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Audrey Cheng established Moringa School to enable an entire generation gain the skills they need to compete in the digital economy. Two years on, graduates work in the top tech companies in the region, earning, on average, 350 percent more than before they completed the course.

Continue reading

Here are 20 Africans That Should Inspire Your 2016 – The Nerve Africa

article via thenerveafrica.com

The Africa rising narrative has been called into question several times. It was called a myth by former deputy governor of Nigeria’s central bank, Kingsley Moghalu and Tanzanian millionaire Ali Mufuruki called it false.

Although the old clichés of Africa being a continent where war and poverty reign with pestilence have not completely changed as several parts of the continent still grapple with poverty, as well as war and terror, but the continent has one thing going for it,  which makes the hopeful ‘Africa rising’ narrative bold enough to hold on to; its people.

Even if Africa is not rising as claimed by Mufuruki, Africans are rising and are impacting the continent and the world at large. Their lives inspire other Africans to follow their dreams and they are moving Africa closer to the future we all hope for, one step at a time.

Patrick Njoroge

Patrick Njoroge  

When Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed Patrick Njoroge as central bank governor, he was relatively unknown, so the president was criticized over his choice. But getting to know Njoroge changed everything. What struck Kenyans was not his PhD in Economics. It was also not his years of experience working for global lender International Monetary Fund (IMF). What was captivating for most Kenyans was his modest lifestyle. Who rejects the perks of public office? Patrick Njoroge said no to three official cars and a palatial apartment.

It is just six months into his reign as central bank governor but the impact of his ingenuity is already being felt. He brought inflation under control in his first month and helped stabilise the shilling. Banks in Kenya know he is not going to overlook any incontinence and flouting of the law. Two banks have been hammered already. He is not the typical African public office holder. He made Africa proud in 2015.

Akinwumi Adesina

Akinwumi Adesina 

Adesina’s story is a story of sheer determination to succeed. Born to a farmer in southwestern Nigerian State, Ogun, he didn’t quite leave the path he knew from infancy; agriculture was everything. But he would not be the type of farmer his father was, he wanted more and Agricultural Economics seemed perfect. He stayed true to his dream and saw it through. Continue reading

Obama Allocates $300,000,000 to Fight HIV Infections in Young Women in Africa

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President Barack Obama (PHOTO BY ALEX WONG/GETTY IMAGES)

In an effort to combat HIV infections in girls and young women in 10 sub-Saharan African nations hit hardest by the virus, the Obama administration recently announced a $300 million program to help reduce the growing numbers according to The Associated Press.

The administration hopes to see a “25 percent infection reduction in females between ages 15-24 by the end of next year and a 40 percent reduction by the end of 2017,” the report says.

“No greater action is needed right now than empowering adolescent girls and young women to defeat HIV/AIDS,” said National Security Adviser Susan Rice of the program credited with saving millions of lives in Africa, writes The AP.

The new goals represent the next phase of the program, which was started by President George W. Bush and broadened by President Barack Obama, the report says.

The Obama administration releaased the new targets before “a U.N. summit on development goals for lifting people around the world out of poverty. Obama is scheduled to address the development meeting on Sunday,” writes The AP

About half of all new HIV infections among girls and young women last year are from the 10 countries countries targeted by the new initiatives, including Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, The AP says.

Read more at The Associated Press

article by Lynette Holloway via theroot.com