The African Genius Awards is an initiative that was launched in South Africa in 2021 by Priority Performance Projects in partnership with the University of Pretoria (UP) to celebrate and recognize outstanding achievements in science, technology, arts, and culture across the African continent.
The awards seek to promote and inspire excellence, innovation, and creativity among Africans, and to showcase the talent and ingenuity of the continent’s people.
Steve Bantu Biko, Aliko Dangote, and Chinua Achebe were the first to win the African Genius Awards. The 2023 African Genius Awards is scheduled to take place on the 25th of May 2023 in South Africa.
Winners will be given trophies inscribed with the African Genius Awards logo and their name on it, whilst the top finalists will receive a medal of honour.
Here are some of the nominees for the 2023 African Genius Awards:
- Sadio Mane – Sadio Manè is a professional football player from Senegal who currently plays as a forward for FC Bayern München in the German Bundesliga and the Senegal national team. In 2016, he signed with Liverpool for a transfer fee of around £34 million, making him the most expensive African player in history at the time. Manè helped Liverpool to win the UEFA Champions League in 2019 and the Premier League in 2020. He is known for his speed, skill, and goal-scoring ability, and has been recognized with numerous individual awards, including the African Footballer of the Year award in 2019. Manè is known for his philanthropic work, particularly in his home country of Senegal, where he has funded the construction of schools, mosques, and hospitals, as well as providing financial support to families in need.
Dr. Angela Nyambura Gichaga – Dr. Angela Nyambura Gichaga is the CEO of the Financing Alliance for Health. The Financing Alliance for Health is a partnership of over 40 organizations, including governments, multilateral institutions, foundations, and private sector organizations, that work together to improve health outcomes and achieve universal health coverage. Dr. Gichaga has extensive experience in global health and healthcare financing, having worked in various leadership positions at organizations such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the World Health Organization, and the United Nations Development Programme. She holds a medical degree from the University of Nairobi, a Master of Science in Health Economics from the University of York, and a PhD in Health Economics from the University of Cape Town.
Arthur Zang – Arthur Zang is a Cameroonian engineer and entrepreneur who is best known for inventing the Cardiopad, a touch screen medical tablet that enables remote heart examinations. He was inspired to invent the Cardiopad after witnessing the difficulties faced by people in rural areas of Cameroon who needed heart examinations but did not have access to the necessary medical equipment or specialists. The Cardiopad enables a patient’s heart examination data to be captured and transmitted to a specialist in another location, who can then provide a diagnosis and treatment recommendations. The device has the potential to greatly improve access to healthcare for people living in remote areas. Zang’s invention has received numerous accolades, including the Rolex Award for Enterprise in 2014 and the African Innovation Prize in 2013.
Didier Drogba – Didier Drogba is a retired professional footballer considered to be who played as a striker. Drogba began his professional career in France with Le Mans and later moved to Guingamp, where he scored 17 goals in his first season. In 2004, he joined Chelsea for a fee of £24 million, which was then a record for an African player. Drogba also represented Côte d’Ivoire national team, where he is the all-time top scorer with 65 goals in 104 appearances. He played in three World Cups and two Africa Cup of Nations tournaments for his country. Drogba had a highly successful career at Chelsea, winning four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, and the UEFA Champions League in 2012, where he scored the winning goal in the final against Bayern Munich. After leaving Chelsea in 2012, Drogba played for Shanghai Shenhua, Galatasaray, and the Montreal Impact before retiring in 2018. He has since been involved in various charitable and philanthropic efforts, including the Didier Drogba Foundation, which aims to provide healthcare and education to underprivileged children in Africa.
Tony Elumelu – Tony Elumelu is a Nigerian businessman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He is the founder and chairman of Heirs Holdings, a family-owned investment company, and the Tony Elumelu Foundation, a philanthropic organization focused on empowering African entrepreneurs. He began his career in the banking industry, working for Union Bank of Nigeria before joining Standard Trust Bank, where he rose to become the CEO. He later merged Standard Trust Bank with United Bank for Africa (UBA) to create one of Africa’s largest financial institutions.
Zakes Mda – Zakes Mda is a South African novelist, playwright, and poet. Mda is known for his powerful and thought-provoking works that explore issues of race, identity, and politics in South Africa. He has written several novels, including “Ways of Dying,” “The Heart of Redness,” “The Madonna of Excelsior,” and “Black Diamond.” His works have been translated into numerous languages and have won many awards, including the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Sunday Times Literary Award. Mda’s works have been praised for their insight into South African society and their ability to capture the complexity of the country’s history and culture. He remains a prominent figure in the South African literary community and beyond.
Wangarĩ Muta Maathai – Wangarĩ Muta Maathai was a Kenyan environmental and political activist. She founded the Green Belt Movement in 1977, an organization aimed at empowering rural women in Kenya through environmental conservation and community development. The organization has since planted over 50 million trees in Kenya and trained thousands of women in sustainable agriculture and forestry practices. Throughout her life, Maathai was a vocal critic of the Kenyan government’s policies, particularly regarding environmental protection and human rights. In addition to the Nobel Peace Prize, Maathai was recognized with numerous awards and honors for her work, including the Right Livelihood Award, the National Geographic Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She passed away in 2011 at the age of 71.
Professor Abdulrazak Gurnah – Professor Abdulrazak Gurnah is a Tanzanian-British novelist, academic, and literary critic. He has published several critically acclaimed novels, including “Paradise,” “Desertion,” “By the Sea,” and “Afterlives,” which was shortlisted for the 2021 Booker Prize. In addition to his literary work, Professor Gurnah has had a distinguished academic career. He has held teaching positions at universities in Tanzania, England, and the United States, and has published widely on African and postcolonial literature. He was awarded a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 2006 for his services to literature, and in 2020 he was elected as a Fellow of the British Academy.
More names set to be released by the event organisers. In the meantime, you can watch last year’s African Genius Awards event here.