How a new alphabet is helping an ancient people write its own future
When they were 10 and 14, brothers Abdoulaye and Ibrahima Barry set out to invent an alphabet for their native language, Fulfulde, which had been spoken by millions of people for centuries but never had its own writing system. While their friends were out playing in the neighborhood, Ibrahima, the older brother, and Abdoulaye would shut themselves in their room in the family’s house in Nzérékoré, Guinea, close their eyes and draw shapes on paper.
The Botswana-born painter, whose depictions of daily life in Southern Africa are underpinned by political history and critical theory, has exploded on the U.S. museum scene. He’s had recent solo shows at the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Fowler Museum in Los Angeles, the Smart Museum in Chicago, and has another, beginning next February, at the Pérez Art Museum in Miami.
Adebayo O Ogunlesi born December 20, 1953 is a Nigerian lawyer and investment banker. Ogunlesi is currently Chairman and Managing Partner at the private equity firm Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP). Ogunlesi was the former head of Global Investment Banking at Credit Suisse First Boston before being promoted to Chief Client Officer and Executive Vice Chairman. Ogunlesi is from Makun, Sagamu, Ogun State in Nigeria.
Adesola Adedewe may be thousands of miles from his native Nigeria while attending Rochester Institute of Technology, but that doesn’t stop him from being recognized by other international students who watched him as a contestant on The Voice: Nigeria, which aired throughout the African continent in 2016.
When Berhana, the 27-year-old singer born Amain Berhane, finished his film program at the New School, he did what a lot of young artistic people in New York City do: He started working at a restaurant. During his time as a chef and assistant manager at Robataya, a now-defunct Japanese spot in the East Village, the recent graduate undertook a new, informal curriculum in Japanese culture; he was even tasked with learning to speak the language.
When Magic forward Al-Farouq Aminu entered the NBA with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2010, he stood in front of the team and talked about himself as part of his indoctrination into the league. One of the factoids that Aminu mentioned was that his surname, Oloyede, means “Chief has arrived” in his family’s native Nigeria.
Samba Schutte is an actor, comedian and writer who was born in Mauritania and grew up in Ethiopia until the age of 18. He is known for playing in NBC Sunnyside comedy TV series (2019), Netflix The Tiger Hunter (2016), and for writing acclaimed video game Battlefield V (2018). He also performed in award-winning games, namely Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (2019), Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (2018) and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (2017). Samba speaks 4 languages: English, French, Dutch and Amharic.
Some people set records by jumping the highest or running the fastest.
But for Jessica Nabongo, a UN employee turned travel blogger, it’s by becoming the first black woman to visit every country on Earth.
She set out to visit all 193 countries in the world in 2016, and on October 6 arrived the last on her list, Seychelles, according to a post on her Instagram page. She also clocked up a couple of what the UN calls “non-observer status” territories, taking her total to 195, reported CNN.
Cross the Atlantic Ocean from his native homeland Liberia, Mr. Peter Massaquoi, had big dreams of becoming successful in the United State but had no idea of venturing into the insurance business.
Peter like many other Liberians and decedents of African, Asian, European countries who come to the USA via the Diversity Visa Program only think of working for other people or companies and earning money to improve their living conditions.
Ali Basel came to the United States from South Africa without her parents and overcame shoulder surgery her sophomore year. Now a senior, Basel is looking to help lead her team in what she calls a “comeback season.”
A funny thing happened to Folake Olowofoyeku on the way to a career in law: She became a theater major against her parents’ wishes and headed straight into the business after earning her undergraduate degree. Her Nigerian parents were so hell-bent on launching her into the family profession of law that they named her after the first female Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a title conferred on legal practitioners who have distinguished themselves.
A similar scenario is present for Olowofoyeku in “Bob Hearts Abishola,” her CBS comedy series.