The continent’s most prestigious awards, African Genius Awards have released its 2023 list of winners and achievers today May 25 2023 – Africa Day.
The African Genius Awards, run by Priority Performance Projects, was first launched in 2021 to celebrate and recognize exceptional African geniuses whose contributions to the African community have been instrumental in making their communities better.
Prior to this year’s awards, the African Genius Awards have been held virtually at the University of Pretoria’s Future Africa Campus. But this year, a report, which gives insight on the nomination, judging and awarding of awards, what the African Genius Awards are and why the African Genius Awards, is being put together by the organizers. The report is being made available online.
Who Can Be Considered A Genius?
In the report, a genius is defined as “an individual with an exceptional ability and exceptional intelligence.” It goes beyond to describe a genius as someone who “possesses a natural aptitude for a variety of things, often showing advanced abilities in numerous areas beyond the average person’s capabilities.”
Conclusively, the African Genius Awards does not limit a genius to a single designated area or specialty or skill. A genius could be found in all walks of life. It could be Academics and Literature, Technology and Innovation, Science and Mathematics, Business and Commerce, Sports, Music, Arts and Drama, Social Entrepreneurs and Activists, Earth and Environment. One could be a genius in any of these categories, thus the need for the African Genius Awards to recognize individuals who falls within the aforementioned categories.
To buttress who a genius is in the context of the awards, Dr Sifiso Falala, the pioneer of the African Genius Awards, says one is considered an African Genius if the individual possesses problem solving skills to solve problems affecting the continent, shows patriotism and execute global competitiveness.
Nominations were done in two folds: public nominations and judges nominations. Public nominations were opened to the public for a period of six months. The public were allowed to nominate their nominees on the Priority Performance Projects website. This process lasted for six months (August 2022 to January 2023). The other fold, which is the nomination done by the judges were done for the same period. The nomination requirements were embedded in the nomination form on the website. (Read more in the report HERE).
A total of 121 nominations were received. Of these, 111 came from the public, and 10 came from the judges. After rigorous screening by the judges and research made by one of South Africa’s leading market research companies, Plus94, a total of 25 nominees were shortlisted.
The judging panel constitutes of judges from South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria. The judges were screened before appointed to avoid or mitigate the risks of bias. These judges have demonstrated professionalism and competence in their various fields of study.
They are as follow:
Professor Steven Friedman, South Africa – Director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy at Rhodes University and the University of Johannesburg
Mr. Fulufhelo Ntsandeni, South Africa – CEO of MIH Advisory
Dr. Pulane Molokwane, South Africa – Nuclear Physicist and Environmental Specialist
Dr. Rosaire Ifedi, Nigeria – Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Foundations and Instruction, Ashland University
Mr. Simon Gathua – Thinker and Author
The African Genius Awards created two categories: one is the primary African Genius Awards and the secondary is the Outstanding African Achievers category. The Outstanding African Achievers are drawn from the outstanding African Genius Awards nominees that the judges deemed to be exceptional achievers “but have not quite met the requirements in the consideration period to be awarded genius status.”
17 Africans are awarded the Outstanding African Achievers award; two are named winners of the 2023 African Genius Award.
The Outstanding African Achievers are as follow:
Sadio Mane – Senegal
Arthur Zang – Cameroon
Professor Abdulrazak Gurnah – Tanzania
Wangari Maathai – Kenya
Zakes Mda – South Africa
Danai Jekesai Gurira – Zimbabwe
Aisha Yesufu – Nigeria
Agnes Matilda Kalibata – Rwanda
Eliud Kipchoge – Kenya
Dr. Bibi Ameenah Firdaus Gurib-Fakim – Mauritius
Dr. Asmeret Asefaw Berhe – Eritrea
Lupita Amondi Nyong’o – Kenya
Eric Yirenkyi Danquah – Ghana
Didier Drogba – Ivory Coast
Leymah Gbowee – Liberia
Dr. Helena Ndume – Namibia
Ouided Bouchamaoui – Tunisia
The 2023 African Genius Award Winners Are:
Dr. Denis Mukwege – Democratic Republic of Congo
Professor Tshilidzi Marwala – South Africa