Written by Gael Masengi
The year 2011 wasn’t a really amazing one for Africans as many can remember the “Arab Spring” that swept the entire Northern region of the continent and yet 2012 hasn’t had a good start either with a series of coup d’état in Mali and Guinea Bissau but the people of Africa have made it somehow to be distinguished among the most influential folks in the world.
Time magazine announced its annual list of “the 100 Most Influential people in the world” on Wednesday which includes entertainers, politicians, sportsmen and women, CEOs and scientists. The 2012 issue includes celebrities like Rihanna, Lionel Messi, Adele, Academy Award® nominee Viola Davis, Kate and sister Pippa Middleton. Here are African people who made the cut include:
Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan.Whom Ellen Johnson Sirleaf described as “an example of African political renaissance.” The Nobel Peace Prize laureate praises Jonathan as she wrote “President Jonathan possesses the qualities needed at this moment of great challenges, having come to power at crucial moment in the history of Nigeria. The country has grown out of its past corruption, mismanagement and brutality, but the foundation of good governance is still fragile.”
Rached Ghannouchi, a Tunisian politician came into spotlight last year when He returned home from a long exile in Europe after the former dictator Zin El AbidineBen Ali was toppled. Time Magazine’s editor-at-large Bobby Gosh profiles Ghannouchi as a moderate, modern Muslim. He, himself claims to represent a progressive strain in Islamic reformism, and continuously stresses the need for innovation against social injustice.One his remarkable act is when He chose not to take office for himself after his co-founded political party, Ennahda won a resounding election victory. He once predicted that Israel will soon come to an end.
Fatou Bensouda is a Gambian born lawyer, former government civil servant. She will succeed Luis Morena Ocampo as chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), her term as Prosecutor is expected to begin in June. “As the court’s second prosecutor and the first African woman to assume the top job at an international tribunal, she faces daunting challenges in advancing the court’s significant, but still fragile, progress.” wrote Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch “Her mission is to prosecute those responsible for the most serious crimes – genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity – when domestic courts and prosecutors fail. Bensouda, 51, brings many years of experience to the job, as a prosecutor in Gambia, on the international tribunal prosecuting Rwanda’s genocidaires and as a deputy ICC prosecutor for eight years. Thoughtful, soft-spoken yet determined and forceful, Bensouda has been a leading voice pressing governments to support the quest for justice, particularly in Africa.”
Samira Ibrahim, 25, is a brave Egyptian young woman who took the military-led government in court over the practice of virginity test. After Egyptian soldiers arrested her, she and other female protesters were subjected to forced virginity tests. The 25 year-old marketing manager refused to stay silent. She sued the military, and in December last year a civilian judge ruled the humiliating practice illegal. Academy Award winning actress, CharlizeTheron wrote on Samira “When I first heard Samira’s story, it moved me. Not simply because of the abhorrent injustice she experienced but also because of her bravery to speak the truth and to face those who would tell her to stay quiet. It takes a stronger person to stand up for what is right in the face of ostracism and public scrutiny. Samira represents the model of how to stand to fear, and the impact she has made reaches far beyond Egypt. It takes just one woman to speak out, and thousands of others around the world will listen and feel inspired to act.”
Known as the “Blade Runner” and “the fastest man on no legs”, Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorious, the double amputee sprint runner from South Africa has achieved what many on his physical condition wouldn’t. Oscar who holds the world record in the 100, 200, and 400 metres appears for his second time at Time 100. He was ban in 2007 from competing with able-bodied athletes; the International Association of Athletics amended its competition rules to ban “any technical device that provides a user with an advantage over another athlete not using that device.” He kept on pushing; now he’s won the right to run with the able-bodied at the summer Olympics games in London.
What about Wall Street occupiers? Some may ask. The answer is NO; they aren’t influential according to the Time. Known as Indignants or simply as “OWS” protesters, this leaderless movement saw the light of day in September last year and it’s still going strong despite clashes with police. Inspired by Spain’s the “indignados” as well as the Arab Spring protests in the Middle East, these brave New Yorkers have been camping outside in Zuccoti Park to demand social and economic equality among other things, one thing we should all remember is that activists within this movement have successfully called for an ‘Anti Corporate influence over government’world-wide march and global demonstrations were held on October 15th 2011 in more than 950 cities (include Johannesburg, South Africa). Today term such as “We are the 99%” has become a common word used everywhere in the world to describe social injustice between the impoverished majority and the ever wealthiest minority. These folks should have been included
In contrast to the “OWS” case, Oprah Winfrey also has been dropped from the Time 100 most influential people in the world. Oprah who ended her talk show last year to concentrate on her embattling new television channel ‘Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN)’ has appeared on every issue since it became annual in 2004. US president, Barack Obama is featured in the list for his seventh times along with his soon to be opponent on this year’s presidential election, Mitt Romney.
The full list can be seen here