Africa 2.0 Lifetime Achievement nominees announced

Nelson Mandela (Image credit: South Africa The Good News /

The Africa 2.0 Awards have been established to encourage Africans to acknowledge leaders and champions who have contributed to the upliftment of the continent.

The Africa 2.0  Awards ceremony event will be celebrating outstanding achievements and excellence by citizens of the African continent over the last decade.   The Awards will be the platform to recognize and commend those who have pushed the limit of the unknown or the Not-Yet-Done in the business, social, cultural and institutional arena over the past decade or more.

This is the first Annual Awards that Africa 2.0 will be holding.

The Africa 2.0 Awards aims at being original and broadbased:  Africa 2.0 has opened the voting process to the population across Africa and in the Diaspora to allow the youth and senior Africans to vote and take part in the process. The Africa 2.0 2011 Award campaign is also an opportunity for young Africans to enquire and learn more about African role models and African success stories in order to inspire the youth into a positive thinking and can-do attitude. For the greater benefit of this continent we need to “Be the change we want to see”.

The nominees in Category 4: Lifetime Achievement are;

1) Nelson Mandela – Former President of South Africa

Commonly acknowledged as one of the greatest leaders in African history, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, born 18 July 1918, served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, and was the first South African president to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. Before his presidency, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist and a leader of the African National Congress (ANC). In 1962, he was arrested and sentenced to life in prison. Mandela served 27 years in prison.

Following his release from prison on 11 February 1990, Mandela led his party in the negotiations that led to multi-racial democracy in 1994. As president from 1994 to 1999, he gave priority to reconciliation and unification of South Africa. During his years in prison, Nelson Mandela’s reputation grew steadily nationwide and globally.

He became a potent symbol of resistance as the anti-apartheid movement gathered strength. He consistently refused to compromise his political position to obtain his freedom. Mandela received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. Mandela Day on 18 July is an annual international day adopted by the United Nations. Individuals, communities and organizations are asked to donate 67 minutes to doing something for others, commemorating the 67 years that Nelson Mandela gave to the struggle for social justice.

2) President Kwame Nkrumah, Former President of Ghana (Ghana)

One of the most famous quotes of Nkrumah to be remembered by all Africans is “We face neither East nor West; we face Forward”. Kwame Nkrumah (1909-1972), was the leader of Ghana and its predecessor state, the Gold Coast, from 1952 to 1966. He was the first President and Prime Minister of Ghana. As a leader of this government, Nkrumah faced many challenges: first, to learn to govern; second, to unify the four territories of the Gold Coast; third, to win his nation’s complete independence from the United Kingdom. Nkrumah was successful at all three goals. Within six years of his release from prison, he was the leader of an independent nation. He was part of the Freedom fighters for Ghana and the continent of Africa as a whole. As an influential 20th century advocate of Pan-Africanism, he was a founding member of the Organization of African Unity and was the winner of the Lenin Peace Prize in 1963. He was also very instrumental in the fight against the Smith administration in Zimbabwe, then known as Rhodesia.

3) Gamal  Abdel  Nasser (Egypt)

Nasser was the second President of Egypt from 1956 until his death. Along with Muhammad Naguib, the first President, he led the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, which overthrew the monarchy of Egypt and Sudan, and heralded a new period of modernization and reform in Egypt. Nasser is seen as one of the most important political figures in both modern Arab and African history and third world politics in the 20th century. Under his leadership, Egypt nationalised the Suez Canal and came to play a central role in anti-colonialist efforts in the Arab World and Africa. He was also instrumental in the establishment of the international Non-Aligned Movement. He is well known for his nationalist policies and version of pan-Arabism. Many in the general Arab population still view Nasser as a symbol of Arab dignity and freedom.

4) Cheikh Anta Diop (Senegal)

Cheikh Anta Diop was a historian, anthropologist, physicist, and politician who studied the human race’s origins and pre-colonial African culture. Dr. Diop received his Ph.D. from Sorbonne University in Paris. He demonstrated that the scope of Africa’s contribution to world civilization was considerably larger than heretofore acknowledged, in particular for his theory that the Ancient Egyptians were Black Africans.

He was the director of the Radiocarbon Laboratory at the Fundamental Institute of Black Africa (IFAN) at the University of Dakar. He sat on numerous international scientific committees and achieved recognition as one of the leading historians, Egyptologists, linguists and anthropologists in the world. He traveled widely, lectured constantly and was cited and quoted voluminously. He was regarded by many as the modern `pharaoh’ of African studies. Diop became a member of a UNESCO committee charged with the creation of a general history of Africa (published in 1974). Cheikh Anta Diop held many lectures in African and American universities.

5) President Julius Nyerere – Former President of Tanzania

One of Africa’s most respected figures, Julius Nyerere (1922 – 1999) was a politician of principle and intelligence. Known as Mwalimu or teacher he had a vision of education and social action that was rich with possibility. He became President of Tanzania   in 1962. Nyerere’s integrity, ability as a political orator and organizer, and readiness to work with different groupings was a significant factor in independence being achieved without bloodshed. A committed pan-Africanist, Nyerere provided a home for a number of African liberation movements fighters many of whom ultimately became leaders including the African National Congress (ANC) and the Pan African Congress (PAC) of South Africa, Frelimo when seeking to resist Portuguese rule in Mozambique, Zanla  in their struggle to unseat British colonization in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).

The Africa 2.0 Awards ceremony will be held at a gala dinner on 16 June 2011 in Mombasa, Kenya during the Africa 2.0 Leadership Symposium gathering young emerging leaders and senior leaders from across the continent to set up and propose a Vision 2020 for Africa.  The Africa 2.0 Symposium will take place with the support of  the official sponsors MTN & OCP Group.

Voting can be done on the website as well as on the Mobisite allowing access to people from all walks of life.

By Angela Meadon