On May 25 2022, on Africa Day at the Future Africa Institute, University of Pretoria, South Africa, the second edition of the 2022 African Genius Awards took place virtually where winners of the second edition were announced. The event was hosted by one of South Africa’s biggest media personalities Bongani Bingwa. 31 out of 69 nominations from 10 African countries made it to the final shortlist.
The African Genius Awards, which reward exceptional Africans working to advance Africa’s competitiveness, problem-solving skills, and self-love, are run in a partnership between Plus 94 Research and Priority Performance Projects and the University of Pretoria (UP). It was the second edition of one of Africa’s most prestigious accolades. The event was held virtual at the Future Africa Institute, University of Pretoria, South Africa. Three outstanding Africans out of a record number of 69 nominations were pronounced as winners. These three Africans have contributed immensely to the growth of the continent and their works have been a source of motivation for many young Africans. Since the start of their careers, these men have made it possible to believe and dream. Their fight to rebrand and uplift Africa through their work is a force to reckon with. They have been at the centre of popularity, global recognition, and of course success. Africans, your 2022 African Genius Awards winners are; Professor Wole Soyinka, Professor Ngugi wa Thiong’o, and Professor Ali Mazrui who won the award posthumously.
According to the founder of the awards, Dr Sifiso Falala, CEO of Plus 94 Research and Priority Performance Projects, “An ‘African Genius’ is defined as any individual who possesses unique characteristics and skills and has used them to address challenges or to impact African societies in ways that are uplifting, transformative and build the esteem of Africans, and that inspire them to make significant contributions to the continent and its countries’ development in different ways.”
the event started with a sterling performance from the Ovuwa UP Youth Choir, and an introduction of the speakers for the event was made by the host, Bongani Bingwa. Dr Sifiso Falala, founder of the African Genius Awards open the podium of speakers by recommending and appreciating the work of some of the amazing people behind the scenes who made it possible for the event to come to past – institutions and people like Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Johannesburg; Professor Tawana Kupe, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria; members of The African Dream Media; Plus94 Research; Priority Performance Project; Gordon Institute of Business; 702; University of Pretoria; University of Johannesburg; and many more.
In his opening speech, Dr Sifiso Falala stressed the significance of the awards. He said the continent of Africa has for way too long been tagged as a developing continent even though the continent is the richest in the world in terms of mineral wealth but yet still we as people are yet to utilize these. He went on to say due to the nature of our early formal education system in Africa, has not prepared us to solve our current problems on the continent. He furthered by saying Africans should not be following instructions blindly but creating our own instructions. Owing to the fact that the educational system in Africa is designed to make graduates job seekers instead of job makers, Dr Sifiso Falala has during his speech at the live event of the 2022 African Genius Awards proposed a new form of education that should be enacted in Africa. He called it ‘Praducation’. In his own words, Praducation is “a type of education whose practicality empowers children from the age of 5 to acquire non-negotiable skills for Africa.” He added, “these skills are; visualization and conceptualization of phenomenon, ethics, situational analysis and diagnosis, and finally problem resolution and implementation.”
Among other speakers was Dr Pulane Molokwane, one of the judges of the awards. Dr Molokwane gave an overview of how the judging process was made and how the winners were selected. She said all nominees were rigorously scrutinized by the research team set up by the judging committee and that verification of nominees’ credentials and portfolios was conducted. She lasted with a note of consolation to all shortlisted nominees whereby she said they were all winners irrespective of what the outcome may be.
After Dr Molokwane had spoken, Mccoy Mrubata, a multi-award-winning South African jazz saxophonist gave the live audience a sumptuous live band performance before the host Bongani Bingwa transferred the podium to Dr Rosaire Ifedi, a scholar, educator, associate professor of education at Ashland University and community activist who holds leadership positions in several academic as well as not for profit organizations, to finally announce the winners. Dr Rosaire Ifedi said it was a tough task to select the winners as all the nominees received are outstanding and change-makers in their respective countries. First set on the list of the awardees were the 2022 Outstanding African Achievers as 10 Africans were given the prestigious accolade. They are Dr Akniwumi Adesina from Nigeria; Dr David Moinina Sengeh from Sierra Leone; Dr Ngalula Sandrine Mubenga from the Democratic Republic of Congo; Ms Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu from Ethiopia; Mr Joseph-Achille Mbembe from Cameroon; Mr Kelvin Doe from Sierra Leone; Mr Paulin J. Hountondji from Benin; Professor PLO Lumumba from Kenya; Mr Nana Kwame Bediako from Ghana; Mr Vusi Thembekwayo from South Africa; and MrRunice C.W. Chidibe from Nigeria.
The 2023 African Genius Awards, according to Dr Sifiso Falala, will be an in-person event, and the nomination portal will open in August 2022.
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THE WINNERS AND ALL THE NOMINEES! IN THE END, IT IS AFRICA THAT WON.