DiaspoRAW Heroes and Heroines of 2010!

The year 2010 came and it has now gone, but we cannot not just let it go without reflecting. There were a lot of flag bearers but a few shined. We deliberated on those who did as such and our panel has decided. Here is a list of the individuals who did not only make headlines in the final year of the first decade of the third millenium, but have made a significant mark in history in our eyes. Quoting from yet another World Cup 2010 anthem, “Waka Waka”, the year 2010 was indeed the beginning of the “time for Africa”. Not just locally, but abroad as well. Here are the ones who we think shined outstandingly for Africa the African diaspora in the past year. This will not necessarily reflect the size of achievements but impact and progress made by these individuals.

Ethel Gondwe
Elaka, as she is known on the music scene, is a Singer/Songwriter, Actress and CEO of an Award winning Brand Development Company. With all that on her plate, Elaka also managed to use her wit to pull together resources to stage the first ever “Queen of Zambia UK”, which she confesses is all about bringing not only the beauty of the Zambian woman to the world but the beauty of Zambia and the African continent as whole. The Zambian born star’s aim with the pageant is to remove the stigma of poverty and sickness that surrounds the African continent.


Dereck Chisora
In May 2010, Dereck Chisora won the British heavyweight title after defeating Danny Williams. The Zimbabwe born professional boxer carried on with the momentum for the rest of the year. He was scheduled to face the IBF, IBO, WBO and Ring Magazine heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko on 11 December, before Wladimir pulled out due to health reasons. The fight has since been rescheduled to May 2011 and we will probably witness the “14 Fights, 14 Wins” Dereck deliver a TKO.


Asamoah Gyan
He shined at the 2010 football World Cup in South Africa but fell short of delivering the tally that Ghana needed to progress to the semi finals. This, however did not stop the striker from shining. After the tournament he went on to record a hip-life track that became a hit in Ghana, but the question that remains unanswered is whether it is his dancing and rapping or his skills on the football pitch that earned him the record breaking £13m move from French club Rennes to English club Sunderland. He scored for Sunderland on his debut and continues to do well.


Madeleine Glatz
Her victory in the Miss West Africa International UK beauty pageant was described by the judges as “game changing”. Madeleine Glatz is the dark skinned Cameroon born model who insists on not wearing a weave and is proud of her African features. She was crowned Miss West Africa International UK on 27 November 2010 and has been representing West Africa to the fullest. She is a true ambassador and a symbol of a strong, independent and intelligent African woman. Check out our interview with Madeleine to learn more about the model.


Andella Chileshse Matthews
She is yet another catwalk star, but one with a unique agenda. In the time of her reign as Miss Zambia UK, Andella Chileshe Matthews managed to raise £126,000 (approximately 1 Billion in Zambian Kwachas) for HIV/AIDS orphans and other under privileged children in Zambia. She raised this amount at a charity Fundraising Gala Night held in Hong Kong on Saturday 6 November 2010. This is just one of her many efforts in her goal to help curb diseases and poverty in Zambia. She plays a genuinely strong ambassadorial role for the people of her country.


When she started Ghana UK Based Achievement (GUBA) Awards event, Dentaa’s aim was “to honour the achievements of Ghanaians living in the UK and also to boost the level of successes within the Ghanaian community in the UK”, little did she know that she was actually bringing Ghanaians living in UK together. The event took place in October 2010 and the venue of the event was packed to capacity with ordinary people and luminaries.  The event was a success and this led to one major media outlet branding it the best Ghanaian event of 2010 in the UK.


An Indie rock Zimbawean-born performing artist. Who had ever thought that this would happen in our lifetime. 25 year old Tinashe scored a big career goal in June 2010 with the release of melodious tune, “Saved”. He has displayed his grasp of not only the guitar, but traditional African instruments such as the Plucked Idiophone. He has written and sung about some amazing features of his homeland with a vibe that is synonymous only with legendary acts like “Vampire Weekend” and “The Killers”. We are probably witnessing the birth of an African born Paul McCartney.


Freshly Ground
Afro-fusion South African based band Freshly Ground has been around since 2002 and it has catered for the South African fan-base with its diverse sound. Consisting of members from South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, the group has proven to be strong force on the international music scene with the release of the Shakira powered “Waka Waka – It’s Time For Africa” World Cup 2010 anthem. The video has been watched over 300 million times on youtube and if that is not stardom, can someone tell me what it is? We hope this will pay off really well for the group in 2011.


The “African Queen” singer has come a long way in his musical journey. From making the hits that made the ladies’ hearts melt with love and gentlemen smile, to being shot five times like his near-namesake 2Pac and also going from having to defend a controversial collaboration with his idol, R Kelly to having to finally get a genuine chance work with him in his studio in the USA. 2Face made it to the group ONE8 which comprises of 8 other acts from 8 different African countries. R Kelly and the group released the hit, “Hands Across The World” in November 2010. 


We can sadly admit that we were beaten to honouring this living legend by the Globe and Mail of Canada. The story of K’Naan is probably now imprinted at the back of many people’s minds. He is an African soldier who did not have to wear a uniform and he continues to soldier on with his musical prowess which did not only captivate Canadaians but the entire world with his catchy, African inspired anthem, “Wave Your Flag”. Thankfully he practises what he preaches and he is waving the Somali and African flags up high and with pride.

These are not the only people who made Africa proud in 2010 but the ones who we felt stuck out among others and if there are some whose names you feel we may have missed out, just hope and pray that they will shine again this year and make it to the list of Diaporaw Heroes.

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