The annual Pride of Africa Asia Pacific Awards took place this month and saw 20+ young Africans in China and across Asia celebrated for their successes and contributions to their community throughout the year.
The awards were created by Zimbabwean entrepreneur and educator Samantha Sibanda under the Appreciate Africa Network, a charitable organisation created to challenge negative perceptions around Africa and its people. Unlike previous years though, this year was forced to go online due to Covid-19.
We spoke to two of the winners this year to find out more about their wins and why the Pride of Africa Awards matter to them!
Scroll to the bottom to see all of this year’s winners.
Maryam Hamdu Khalfan, Tanzania. Outstanding African Student Award
“I was a Student in China Women’s University located at Chaoyang District, Beijing from September 2018 – July 2020. I studied in the Faculty of Social work on their two-year master program in ‘Women’s Leadership and Social Development’, thanks to the MOFCOM Sponsorship. I was also the Vice President of the Tanzanian Student Union (TZSUB) 2019-2020.
To win this Award for me represents more than just my own talent, I want to tell the story of my family, my colleagues in China Women’s University, China Women’s University administration. My supervisor Professor L.Ying, my colleagues and nominees of this Award, my Chinese friends and all Africans living in China.
The Award also is an icon of African solidarity. In this world as Africans wherever we go we must stand together and speak in one voice to make our nations proud and defend the best continent in the world.
In these hard times of the Global Covid- 19 pandemic, I was one of the many victims affected psychologically due to a long lockdown period of almost 7 months. This award is also a gift and a symbol of love and sorrow for all those who lost their lives due to Covid -19.
Thank you 🙏”
Eva Fitness – Cameroon, Outstanding Achievement in Sports
Eva won the Sports Personality of the year award. She lives and studies in Jinhua and is a fitness enthusiast.
It all began in my country, I lacked self-esteem and confidence because I was overweight. The only time I managed to go out was every Sunday evening to go to church. I used to envy everyone’s body around me and I used to refuse to watch films or series because the stars would make me cry.
All this pushed me to work hard, and I transformed my body to the dream body I wanted by going to the gym every day. When I acquired my dream body I didn’t want people to go through the same pains so I thought it right to became a sport coach, working in a local gym before I came over to China.
In China I noticed student life was mostly school and dormitory, I told myself “why not create a regular activity to divert their mind” and since I was good at sports, I opened a group chat and to share some tips. From there I started physical activities with few people, following them to reach their body goals, until corona forced us into lockdown and I had to start coaching online .. this is how I started… not easy but worth it [Rose]
Winning Pride of Asia Awards was completely unexpected, it was as if I was dreaming. I couldn’t believe it, I checked back myself and I asked which work did I accomplish that made me win this award 🥇.. I noticed it’s the little thing I did daily which made me grow and reach this state. I’m not rich, I’m not poor, I wake up every morning and take a step to my goal. This award means a lot to me, it doesn’t define my success because I still have a long way to go, it defines my hard work and sleepless nights, it tells me every next step to reach your goal deserves an award.. keep up and keep striving for the best.. you ain’t there yet.
I want to thank Dr Sammy for this opportunity, my mentor, family, friends and all my supporters for believing in me… Thanks 😊 “one step at the time”.
Who were the other winners of the 2020 Pride of Africa Asia Pacific Awards?
Runako Celina is the co-founder of Black Livity China. She holds an MA in International Politics and African Studies from Peking University. She spent two years working for China's largest Digital TV platform broadcasting in African countries and currently lives and works in Beijing. During her time at Peking University, she sat on the committee for the Peking University Africa Think Tank.