Six Africans, including Uganda’s opposition leader, Bobi Wine, has been named as one of the most influential people in the world by TIME.
This is the first-ever TIME 100 Next list; it is a new expansion of the TIME 100 list of the most influential people in the world. The list highlights 100 rising stars who are shaping the future of business, entertainment, sports, politics, health, science and activism, and more.
Speaking on this year’s list, Edward Felsenthal, Editor-in-Chief and CEO of TIME said in his editorial published yesterday that:
“When we first published our TIME 100 list of the world’s most influential people 15 years ago, it was dominated by individuals who rose through traditional power structures: heads of state, CEOs of public companies, actors from big-budget blockbusters, leaders of global foundations.
“What has been striking about more recent editions is the growing number of individuals who did not need an establishment to command international attention—people like the Parkland, Fla., students who mobilized against gun violence (in 2018) and the climate activist Greta Thunberg (in 2019)."
Below are the names and bio of the six Africans who made the list.
Born in Nairobi, Kenya in 1980, Wanuri Kahiu is a film director, producer, and author. Her short film Pumzi, which was screened at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival as part of its New African Cinema program, earned the recommendation of American filmmaker and writer dream Hampton who is a brief tribute to Kahiu described it as "characteristic" over her work for its portrayal of black women.
Kahiu also earned recognition for her 2018 feature, Rafiki, which, despite its initial ban in Kenya over its depiction of a same-sex relationship, made history as the first film from that nation to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. It was also screened at the 2018 London Film Festival.
South Sudan-born model Adut Akech has been hailed by Times' Cady Lang as the embodiment of the future of fashion. Raised in Kakuma, Kenya, the 19-year-old started her modelling career in Australia three years ago and has shot editorials for American Vogue, Le Monde M Magazine and T Magazine, among other publications.
Her meteoric rise has come with several achievements, including closing the Chanel haute couture show as the "bride" - a highly coveted role featuring a supermodel wearing a wedding dress - and being one of fifteen women selected to appear on the cover of the September 2019 issue of British Vogue. Akech also champions social justice by casting light on racism in the fashion industry as well as providing a platform for her fellow refugees.
Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi
Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi is the founder of Stand to End Rape (STER). A survivor of sexual assault, she told Time's Suyin Haynes: "Telling my story as a survivor, that comes with a lot of stigma." STER's services, which include training for health workers and counselling for survivors, have reached nearly 200,000 people across Nigeria.
Osowobi holds a master's degree in International Relations from Swansea University in the United Kingdom and has also been honoured as one of 200 emerging leaders from across Africa by the Obama Foundation. What's next for her in 2020? Lobbying the Nigerian government to draft a stronger bill to address harassment at universities.
Njideka Akunyili Crosby
Having produced works valued in millions of dollars at auction, Nigerian-born Njideka Akunyili Crosby is an award-winning visual artist. Two of her works, for example - Drown and The Beautiful Ones - were sold for U.S.$900,000 and U.S.$3 million respectively.
Crosby has, among many accomplishments, earned a Master of Fine Arts degree at Yale University and was the second artist to be selected to design a mural on the walls of the Los Angeles' Museum of Contemporary Art. She has been recognized for creating scenes that depict brightly coloured scenes of domestic life that are autobiographical in nature and that incorporate elements of both Nigeria and the United States, according to Time reporter Madeleine Carlisle.
Born in Somalia in 1989, Magid Magid fled the country in 1994, along with his mother and five siblings to escape the civil war. After spending six months in an Ethiopian refugee camp, the family moved to Sheffield, England in hopes of finding a better life.
Today, Magid is a Member of the European Parliament who aims to make politics more accessible to youth. He sits on the main committee responding to the migration crisis in Europe and works to prevent the deaths of migrants and refugees travelling across the Mediterranean. His historic 2018 appointment as the Lord Mayor of Sheffield gained significant media attention as he is the first ethnic Somali and the youngest-ever person to assume the role. Speaking to Time's Suyin Haynes, Magid said: "My story is important in the current climate that we're living in where refugees and migrants are dehumanized."
Robert 'Bobi Wine' Kyagulanyi Ssentamu
Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, better known as Bobi Wine, decided to go beyond the Ugandan entertainment industry when he ran for and won a seat in parliament. Afterwards, he set his sights on the presidency, declaring in July 2019 he would challenge incumbent leader Yoweri Museveni himself. "Eighty percent of our population is under the age of 35. They deserve a leader who works for the future of Uganda, not for himself," he told Time magazine's Africa correspondent Aryn Baker.
The 37-year-old is outspoken about political and social issues in Uganda and is no stranger to controversy. Despite being jailed, beaten and charged with treason over during his political career, he told Time's Aryn Baker that President Museveni fears the outcome of the country's 2021 elections.
Header Image Credit: TIME