Thanks to social media and the rise of people voicing out their opinions about injustice and other situations in general, the year 2017 will forever go down as a critical one in the demand from citizens all over the world for fair treatment and judgment, most especially black citizens. As a reaction to that cause, movements like #BlackLivesMatter shook media outlets as well as the streets.
If you have never been outside the country Nigeria, you will barely face the issue that apparentlycomes with your skin colour. The reality is that black people across the world have been victims of racism, stereotypes and unfair treatment for decades.
Speaking up in it own way against this is the Black History Month which is celebrated in February in the USA and October in the UK. The celebration of this month, however, is not limited to the USA and the UK, as the general idea is to recognise black people who have impacted their society positively.
In light of the 2017 Felabration, events took place worldwide, as a celebration of the king of Afrobeat, Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Fela was a multi-instrumentalist, musician, and composer but he was more than that; he was also a human rights activist who used his music and lifestyle as a demand for change. Twenty years later, the story of the legend lives on. Last week, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, the Governor of Lagos state unveiled an effigy called the Liberation Statue which was done in honour of the legend and located at Allen Roundabout. Talking about the lifestyle of the icon, Ambode described it as one encapsulated in music, art, and entertainment that spoke tirelessly of the struggle for freedom, fight for human dignity, the need to be socially conscious, courage and Pan-Africanism.
On the other end of the map is Nelson Mandela who was South Africa's first black head of state and the first to be chosen in a fully representative democratic election. Before he was elected as head of state, he was an anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician, and philanthropist. He basically stood as an instrument to take South Africa from their bleak past to the bright future the country currently possesses. His sacrifice of 27 years of his life and his high moral compass cannot be overemphasised in the growth of the country. Mandela became a symbol of hope on what can be achieved through
dedication and morality. He transformed from just being the former president of South Africa to a global figure respected just like Martin Luther King Jr and Mahatma Gandhi.
These global heroes and much more not listed highlight why we as Nigerians and Africans have a reason to celebrate Black History Month as we find that the oppressors don’t necessarily have to be
of a different race. Sometimes the oppressors are home and there is the need to speak up and speak out, not just with our words, but with our actions and contributions to our immediate society just like Fela and Mandela.