Five Africans (pasts & present) who inspire me
If you ask me which people I find inspiring or look up to, I’m more likely to mention names from outside the continent because of their global impact. Thus, upon seeing this prompt, I had to pause and reflect on which persons whose stories teach me valuable lessons about life.
May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace. He is one of the people I wish I could have met before he passed but it’s all good. His life story projects genuine love for his country, peace and a gentle spirit. He risked his life to fight for independence for South Africa, his home country. And after watching his youth pass him by behind bars, he only ruled as president for one term. Who does that?! When most of his counterparts of his time are still holding on to the seat as if it is a throne to be sit on till death do them part…Mandela was indeed one of a kind.
His life teaches me that do all you can when you can for what you believe in. And when you’ve done your part, move aside and help someone else to do same. Mandela’s memory will forever be celebrated and he surely deserves it.
Another gentle soul who has left us. He was one person who made Ghana and Africa at large, proud of being UN Secretary General from 1997 to 2006. He always wore this calm and controlled composure and though he was ambitious in achieving the height he attained, he never lost his cool personality.
Sometimes it appears that to make it to the top, you have to put on this aggressive attitude to reach and stay at the top but Kofi Annan’s life teaches me otherwise.
Why is he on my list? Because to me, he’s one of the greatest writers who ever lived. From the classic ‘Things Fall Apart’, to ‘No longer At Ease’, and ‘There Was A Country’, he has proved himself to be a great storyteller. I’m yet to read his other books. I’ve quite a number in queue but I’m sure to get to them soon.
Ama Ata Aidoo
She is a Ghanaian author, poet, playwright and academic. The one book of hers I remember ever reading is Anowa back in my school days. She just didn’t write but she also taught creative writing both at home and abroad. She even served as Minister of Education at a point. She is passionate about supporting female African writers and I find that very inspiring.
Genevieve has been one person I’ve always admired for her acting prowess and her warm personality. And after directing Lionheart, my respect for her even went higher! I was afraid she would only be referred to her past achievements but for her directing debut project to be picked up by Netflix, I’m super proud of her. She’s graceful now more than ever. Many more feats to come!
© Josephine Amoako 2019