As we’re inching closer to ending the decade that was the 2010s, we have been blessed with victorious news about 3 Africans ending the decade with a bang. A bang that’s full of goodness, hope, and triumph.
The 3 Africans are Zozibini Tunzi, Dr. Abiy Ahmed, and Freweini Mebrahtu.
The Beauty Queen
On December 8th, Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa was crowned 2019 Miss Universe. At the competition held at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Zozibini beat out a fierce lineup of competitors for the top spot.
“I grew up in a world where a woman who looks like me — with my kind of skin and my kind of hair — was never considered to be beautiful,” Zozibini said. “I think it is time that that stops today. I want children to look at me and see my face and I want them to see their faces reflected in mine.”
For the first time in history, Miss Teen USA, Miss America, Miss USA, and Miss Universe are all black women in the same year.
— Miss Universe (@MissUniverse) December 9, 2019
On December 10th, Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed traveled to Oslo, Norway to accept his Nobel Peace Prize. Africa’s youngest leader won the coveted prize for his efforts to resolve the border issue with neighboring country Eritrea as well as bringing a sense of forgiveness and cooperation after taking over leadership last year.
Although Ethiopia still faces turmoil that bas been festering for the last few years, Dr. Ahmed’s efforts to bring everybody to the table has been recognized by many and led to him winning the Peace Prize.
On a very emotional night of human kindness, Ethiopian Freweini Mebrahtu was named the 2019 CNN Hero of the Year. Freweini, who studied chemical engineering int he US, has made it her mission to keep girls in school who would otherwise be missing days or dropping out simply because of their periods.
In a culture where periods are taboo, girls grow up feeling as if their periods are shameful. “I remembered (hearing) that it’s actually a curse to have a period … or that it meant I am ready to be married, or (that) I’m being bad,” Freweini told CNN.
Her solution is one that mixes education and ingenuity. Freweini designed and patented a reusable mensural pad in 2005. About 750,000 reusable pads are produced in her factory in Ethiopia each year and distributed for free through non-government organizations.
Along with this practical solution, Freweini also wants to dismantle the shame associated with periods. “The whole goal was not only making the pads, but also attacking the cultural baggage to it,” Freweini said.
As the CNN Hero of the Year, Freweini Mebrahtu will receive $100,000 towards her cause.