On April 1, 2023, the former President of Tanzania, the Late John Magufuli, the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame and the former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, among many others, are set to be awarded the African Icon Award at the African Heritage Concert and Awards, an event set to be held in Kigali, Rwanda.
This maiden concert, dubbed “a celebration and global recognition of outstanding achievements made by African leaders”, will honour African phenoms in the fields of Business, Politics, Philanthropy, Entertainment, Arts and Culture, Science and Technology, and Social Innovation, with hopes of accommodating more fields in the future.
“The event is intended to celebrate and honour personalities of African heritage who have distinguished themselves through remarkable achievements across the globe,” according to the organisers.
Though it has not been bluntly spelt out, the use of the word ‘maiden’ suggests that the event is hopefully just the first of many and that more iconic Africans shall continue to be awarded.
The world gains much from the good deeds of everyone in society. However, it is important to recognise the monumental achievements that positively impact the lives of millions. It is more of a show of gratitude than it is a reward, to honour and thank distinguished African icons who, through their great works, have continued to promote the African culture of excellence and Afrocentrism.
The award will focus on Africans who have empowered people and sparked sustainable and equitable development while furthering the dreams and aspirations of Africans, recognising the important role that leadership plays in socioeconomic and political advancement.
By bringing together people from all over Africa and the world at large, the event aims to promote cultural exchanges and peer review activities, build multi-stakeholder engagement in community participation, foster partnerships and international support for development, showcase Africa's prospects and potentials and also harness cultural, political and developmental ideas.
The event also hopes to change the perception of Africa and its people by letting the world know about the great strides Africans are making towards making the world a better place, along with setting the ball rolling for cultural evolution and a revolution in sustainable development.
The event organiser, Heritage Times, is a media company committed to advancing transparency and accountability in Africa to promote justice, economic development and good governance. Heritage Times aspires to carry out its mission through objective and investigative journalism that is further strengthened by reporting credited analyses, the end goal being to positively revolutionise the African continent into a place where sustainable democracy thrives.
This awards ceremony shall not be Heritage Times' first rodeo. They have previously organised events such as International Action on Illegal Migration, African Local Content Roundtable, African Local Content Investment Forum, African Young Professional events in London, UK and New York, USA and many more, which, as you might have noticed, are all geared towards positively transforming Africa.
The event will be a game-changer for Africa, assuming that with the new and positive perception of Africa, Africans abroad shall not have to endure negative and untrue stereotypes and shall have an easier time thriving. Hopefully, the recognition of these extraordinary Africans will inspire many others to improve themselves and influence those around them. I am reminded of a poem by Henry Wordsworth Longfellow that goes;
Lives of great men all remind us,
That we can make our lives sublime,
And departing leave behind us,
Footprints on the sands of time,
Footprints that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing shall take heart again.