INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Check out some prominent African deaths of 2020

As 2020 draws to a close, it is time to remember some of the iconic figures on the African continent who died this year.

Here is a look back at 10 of those to whom we have said farewell from the worlds of football, science, music, business, medicine, politics, activism, and the arts.

Football: Papa Bouba Diop, 42

The Senegalese footballer, who died in November after a long illness, was feted for his performance in the 2002 World Cup where he scored his team’s winning goal against France and went on to see Senegal go on to the quarter-finals.

No African team has gone further.

Papa Bouba Diop

The highlight of his club career was winning the 2008 FA Cup with Portsmouth. He also played for Fulham, West Ham United, Birmingham City and French club Lens.

We also lost:  Leon Mokuna, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Gambian Alhaji Momodu  (popularly known as “Biri Biri”), who were both pioneering in terms of Africans playing in Europe – and Cameroon’s Stephen Tataw, who was a player who also grabbed global headlines for his World Cup feats.

Science: Gita Ramjee, 63

The world-renowned Ugandan-born South African scientist died in March of Covid-19 complications.

Gita Ramjee

She was best known for her research on reducing the risk of HIV transmission among female sex workers. Two years ago she was given the Outstanding Female Scientist Award by the European Development Clinical Trials Partnerships.

We also lost: Simon Mallam, the head of the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission, who died in a gas explosion in Kaduna.

Music: Manu Dibango, 86

The Cameroonian saxophonist died in March from Covid-19. He fused jazz and funk music with traditional sounds and was best known for his 1972 song Soul Makossa.

Emmanuel N"Djoke Dibango, known as Manu Dibango performs during his concert at the Ivory Hotel Abidjan in 2018

Football: Papa Bouba Diop, 42

The Senegalese footballer, who died in November after a long illness, was feted for his performance in the 2002 World Cup where he scored his team’s winning goal against France and went on to see Senegal go on to the quarter-finals.

No African team has gone further.

Papa Bouba Diop

The highlight of his club career was winning the 2008 FA Cup with Portsmouth. He also played for Fulham, West Ham United, Birmingham City and French club Lens.

We also lost: Leon Mokuna, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Gambian Alhaji Momodu Njie (popularly known as “Biri Biri”), who were both pioneering in terms of Africans playing in Europe – and Cameroon’s Stephen Tataw, who was a player who also grabbed global headlines for his World Cup feats.

Science: Gita Ramjee, 63

The world-renowned Ugandan-born South African scientist died in March of Covid-19 complications.

Gita Ramjee

She was best known for her research on reducing the risk of HIV transmission among female sex workers. Two years ago she was given the Outstanding Female Scientist Award by the European Development Clinical Trials Partnerships.

We also lost: Simon Mallam, the head of the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission, who died in a gas explosion in Kaduna.

Music: Manu Dibango, 86

The Cameroonian saxophonist died in March from Covid-19. He fused jazz and funk music with traditional sounds and was best known for his 1972 song Soul Makossa.

Emmanuel N"Djoke Dibango, known as Manu Dibango performs during his concert at the Ivory Hotel Abidjan in 2018

He famously filed a lawsuit in 2009 saying Michael Jackson had stolen a hook from it for two tracks on the world’s best-selling album, Thriller. The case was settled out of court.

We also lost: Afrobeat pioneer Tony Allen, Congolese greats Aurlus Mabele and Kasongo wa KanemaBalla Sidibé, a founding member of Senegal’s Orchestra Baoba, Somalia’s “king of the oud”Ahmed Ismail Hussein Hudeidi, Kenya’s John Nzenze, Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder Joseph Shabalala, Rwandan gospel singer Kizito Mihigo, Algerian singer Hamid Cheriet, better known as Idir, Nigerian reggae legend Majek Fashek and Hachalu Hundessa (see below).

Business: Richard Maponya, 99

The entrepreneur, who died in January, was known as the the father of black retail in South Africa, defying apartheid restrictions to build up his business empire.

Richard Maponya at the Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa on 27 January 2011.

In Soweto, the country’s largest black township, he established the first BMW dealership and developed the Maponya Mall.

Medicine: Hawa Abdi, 73

The Somali doctor and human rights activist, who died in August, was known as the “Mother Teresa of Somalia”.

Hawa Abdi

When her hospital was attacked in 2011 in the Lower Shabelle region by Islamist militants, she stood her ground and the insurgents withdrew following a protest by hundreds of local women.

We also lost: Renowned Sudanese surgeon Adil El Tayar, Nigerian Emeka ChugboAshraf Emarah, an Egyptian plastic and reconstructive surgeon who worked in Kenya, and Cameroon’s Tchouamo Michel, who all died from coronavirus. Catherine Hamlin, an Australian gynecologist who became an honorary Ethiopian citizen for her fistula work, also passed away.

He famously filed a lawsuit in 2009 saying Michael Jackson had stolen a hook from it for two tracks on the world’s best-selling album, Thriller. The case was settled out of court.

We also lost: Afrobeat pioneer Tony Allen, Congolese greats Aurlus Mabele and Kasongo wa KanemaBalla Sidibé, a founding member of Senegal’s Orchestra Baoba, Somalia’s “king of the oud”Ahmed Ismail Hussein Hudeidi, Kenya’s John Nzenze, Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder Joseph Shabalala, Rwandan gospel singer Kizito Mihigo, Algerian singer Hamid Cheriet, better known as Idir, Nigerian reggae legend Majek Fashek and Hachalu Hundessa (see below).

Business: Richard Maponya, 99

The entrepreneur, who died in January, was known as the the father of black retail in South Africa, defying apartheid restrictions to build up his business empire.

Richard Maponya at the Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa on 27 January 2011.

In Soweto, the country’s largest black township, he established the first BMW dealership and developed the Maponya Mall.

Medicine: Hawa Abdi, 73

The Somali doctor and human rights activist, who died in August, was known as the “Mother Teresa of Somalia”.

Hawa Abdi

When her hospital was attacked in 2011 in the Lower Shabelle region by Islamist militants, she stood her ground and the insurgents withdrew following a protest by hundreds of local women.

We also lost: Renowned Sudanese surgeon Adil El Tayar, Nigerian Emeka ChugboAshraf Emarah, an Egyptian plastic and reconstructive surgeon who worked in Kenya, and Cameroon’s Tchouamo Michel, who all died from coronavirus. Catherine Hamlin, an Australian gynecologist who became an honorary Ethiopian citizen for her fistula work, also passed away.

The arts: Nikita Pearl Waligwa, 15

The Ugandan child actress died in February from a brain tumour. The star of the Disney film Queen of Katwe, about a chess prodigy, was first diagnosed with a tumour in 2016 and the film’s director reportedly mobilised people to help fund her treatment in India. A year later she was given the all clear, but she was found to have another tumour in 2019.

A photo of Nikita Pearl Waligwa at her funeral

Her co-star David Oyelowo said she had been a “ball of light” in the film and in her life: “Her battle with a brain tumour was humbling to witness.”

We also lost: Two literary greats from Nigeria, author Chukwuemeka Ike and poet John Pepper Clark; Kenyan Swahili author Ken Walibora, prominent Egyptian actor Mahmoud Yassine and celebrated South African photographer Santu Mofokeng.

Activism: Lina Ben Mhenni, 36

The Tunisian blogger and civil rights activist died in January following a long battle with the auto-immune disease lupus.

Human rights defender, internet-activist and blogger Lina Ben Mhenni

She rose to prominence in the early days of the 2011 revolution through her blog Tunisian Girl. She was one of the few people to document a crackdown on protesters in Sidi Bouzid – where the uprising that eventually toppled autocratic President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali began, sparking the Arab Spring.

We also lost: Uganda’s Barbara Allimadi, famous for her “bra protest”, Libyan anti-rape activist Hanan al-Barassi, and Nigerian #EndSars protester Anthony Unuode.

Biggest impact: Hachalu Hundessa, 34

The killing of the popular Ethiopian musician in June led to a wave of ethnic unrest, leaving more than 160 people dead and prominent opposition figures, including Jawar Mohammed, facing terrorism charges.

Hachalu Hundessa

Hachalu’s songs focused on the rights of the country’s Oromo people, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, and became anthems in a wave of protests that led to the downfall of the previous prime minister in 2018.

We also lost: Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza, who had been in power for 15 years. When the ex-rebel leader first came into office after the civil war, he seemed committed to peace, but his campaign for a third term in office in 2015 plunged the country into chaos. He had been preparing to step down as president to become Burundi’s “supreme guide to patriotism”.

Source: BBC

Joseph

Joseph Asare, a freelance journalist, a blogger and loves the internet

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button