Some people have highlighted that Black excellence was at an all-time high in 2018. The Black Panther movie got millions of people across the world crossing their arms over their chest and wearing fabric made in Africa to the cinemas. The movie also made it into the top ten highest grossing movies of all time. 2018 was a year for some real ‘Black Girl Magic’ as ‘Queen Bee’ Beyoncé became the first black female headliner for Coachella, Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka battled it out in the US open for the second all black final in a row and 17 black women were sworn in as judges in the most populated county in Texas, Harris county.
Kendrick Lamar also picked up the Pulitzer award in 2018 for his DAMN album, making him the first non-classical or jazz artiste in history to win this distinguished award for musical composition and songwriting. Jordan Peele made history by becoming the first black writer to win an Oscar for best original screenplay, for his film ‘Get Out’. LeBron James’ I Promise School and Childish Gambino’s video ‘This is America’ were also some of the major highlights of 2018. Some people would also want to tick off Megan Markle’s entry into English royalty as a big win for Black Excellence.
However, let’s not stop at applauding black excellence but also line up the biggest wins by Nigerians and other Africans as whole in 2018:
Super Eagles x Nike
photo source: thelinkup.net
The Super eagles’ collaboration with Nike produced a football jersey that massively appealed to both the fashion and sporting world alike. It set a world record of three million pre-orders even before the official release date and when it was finally released, it sold out in a matter of minutes. Clearly the most stunning jersey at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, this was definitely a big W for Nigeria and the rest of Africa.
Lionheart x Netflix
photo source: imbd.com
Genevieve Nnaji is everybody’s Nollywood sweetheart but more than that she broke new grounds as her directorial debut “Lionheart” was acquired by Netflix for a reported 4.3 million dollars making it the American company’s first original film from Nigeria.
photo source: naijadome.net
In 2018, Wizkid clearly set himself not just as the flag bearer for African music but a worldwide musical figure. In 2018 Wizkid became the first African to sell out the 20,000 capacity O2 arena and also the first to sell out the Royal Albert hall. Wizkid became the first African act to model for D&G when he walked the runway alongside Naomi Campbell. Also, Wizkid’s deal with Nike made him the first artiste to have a football jersey line. Besides numerous international awards Wizkid’s music racked up a total of over 2 Billion streams on Spotify, ranking him among the top 100 worldwide. The ‘Starboy’ was also invited to perform at Coachella and the Global citizens music festival.
Nigerian women make Winter Olympics history
photo source: CNN
Seun Adigun, Akuoma Omeoga and Ngozi Onwumere are the names of the three Nigerian women who etched their names in stone at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang after becoming the first Africans to compete in the bobsled sport in the competition’s history. Their story was one that touched the hearts of people worldwide as they needed a massive crowdfunding in order to participate at the event.
Naspers x Futurebrands
photo source: wsj.com
Naspers was ranked 8th on the list of top 100 brands in 2018 by Futurebrands. The broad-based multinational internet and media group headquartered in South Africa is valued at 107 billion dollars and provides services in over 130 countries, making it the largest African public company. Naspers is on this list amongst the likes of Apple, Nike and Walt Disney.
photo source: ESPN
The Kenyan Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge set a new marathon world record by finishing the Berlin marathon in 2 hours, 1 minute and 29 seconds. He broke the previous world record by over a minute and earned himself a title as the best marathon runner of all time. Africa to the world!
Nigeria named as the country with the highest number of black billionaires and millionaires
Aliko Dangote, Nigeria’s richest man and richest black man. Photo source: Forbes
The gross poverty rate in the country might prove a huge contrast to this information however, according to New World Wealth, Nigeria has 15,700 US Dollar Millionaires making it the country with highest number of black millionaires as well as billionaires in the world.
Silas Adekunle x Apple
photo source: Forbes
Silas Adekunle is a technology entrepreneur and the co-founder of Reach Robotics, an augmented reality gaming company that creates robots for gaming as well as STEM education. In 2018 the Nigerian-British 25-year-old got a dream deal with tech giants Apple, signing an exclusive distribution deal to sell his company’s products in Britain and the United States.
The Tutu painting, Art X Lagos and Access Bank Nigeria
photo source: Reuters
The famous painting “Tutu” of an ancient Yoruba princess by the legendary Ben Enwonwu disappeared for decades shortly after its completion in 1974 and resurfaced mysteriously in London before it was then sold at an auction for a whopping 1.6 million dollars in 2018. This painting which at that price had now become one of the most expensive pieces of modern African art in history was then displayed at the Art X Lagos 2018, West Africa’s largest art fair. This event was majorly sponsored and put together by Access Bank.
Ajayi Akinfolarin, CNN Hero
photo soure: Bellanaija
Ajayi Akinfolarin was named as CNN’s first Hero from Nigeria. A free programme “GirlsCoding” run by her Pearls Africa Foundation educates girls and gets them more interested in computers. Since 2012 the programme has helped more than 400 disadvantaged girls develop technical skills in order to earn a better living.
6 Africans on the Times 100 most influential people
The Times magazine publishes a list of the 100 most influential people every year; a list that is not necessarily an indication of power or wealth but of people whose time is now!
The list of 2018 had 6 Africans on it: Emmerson Mnangagwa who came into power in 2018 thereby ending the 37-year rule of President Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe; Trevor Noah, a South African comedian, writer, producer, actor and television host best known for being the host of The Daily Show; Elon Musk, the world acclaimed inventor and entrepreneur and founder of Paypal, SpaceX, Tesla and OpenAI who was actually born and bred in South Africa ; Nice Nailantel Leng, a women rights activist in Kenya known for challenging several issues concerning sexual health in her home country; Virgil Aboh, an American fashion designer of Ghanaian descent who is the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s men’s wear collection; Kehinde Wiley, an African-American contemporary painter of Nigerian descent who painted a portrait of Former President Barack Obama which appeared in Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.
Six fat W’s for Africa!
Five Nigerian schoolgirls win Silicon Valley prize
photo source: CNN
Team Save-A-Soul which comprises five Nigerian teenagers won first place at the junior division of the Technovation World Pitch Summit in California, the world’s biggest tech entrepreneurship summit for girls, for developing a mobile app called the FD Detector (Fake Drug Detector) which spots counterfeit pharmaceutical products. These girls were mentored by Uchenna Ugwu, a 2017 Mandela Washington Fellow who also founded a STEM centre to educate children and youth in rural communities across Nigeria.
Seun Kuti, Black Times album cover
Seun Kuti joined a few notable Nigerians who have been nominated for world music’s most coveted award. His album “Black Times” was nominated for the 2019 Grammy Awards in the World Music Category alongside some other noteworthy African musical acts. Seun Kuti is the last son of the legendary Fela Anikulapo Kuti. His elder brother Femi Kuti has been nominated for the award in the same category on four occasions.
Njideka Akunyili-Crosby’s record breaking paintings
Bush Babies, 2017. Photo credit: Sotheby’s
At Sotheby’s sometime in 2018, Njideka Akunyili-Crosby, daughter of the late Prof. Dora Akunyili, became the most valuable Nigerian artist ever and one of the most valuable female artists of all time. Her painting Bush Babies, 2017 sold for over 3.3 million dollars at Sotheby’s, New York. This sale eclipsed her previous record when her mixed media painting “The Beautiful Ones” sold for just over 3 million dollars at Christie’s, London in 2017
MTN, one of the world’s largest mobile operator companies
photo source: biztechafrica.com
As of 2018 MTN’s number of subscribers edged closer towards 300 million worldwide making it the 8th largest telecommunications company worldwide. The company whose head office is in Johannesburg has a coverage across Africa and some parts of Europe and Asia.
Cassper Nyovest filling up stadiums like water in a bucket
photo source: Cassper Nyovest via twitter
Cassper Nyovest who is one of the foremost figures of South African and African hip-hop has made selling out stadiums something almost casual in recent times, with the multiple award winning MC selling out four stadiums in four consecutive years. In 2017 he sold out the biggest stadium in Africa the FNB stadium which has a capacity of 75,000 and in 2018, the fourth installment of his ‘Fill Up’ series, he sold out the Moses Mahbida Stadium which has a capacity of about 70,000. This makes it the biggest hip-hop concert series in the world with a single headliner.
Marrakech featured on Forbes’ 18 travel destinations of 2018
Royal Mansour, Marrakech. Photo source: Forbes
Owing partly to the opening of the Yves Saint Laurent Museum in October 2018, the ancient Moroccan city of Marrakech has increasingly become an upscale travel destination in recent times. The beautiful city which also boasts of a number of high end exotic hotels was featured as the tenth top travel destination of 2018 among 17 other cities, with the likes of Prague and Sydney among the ranks.