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Silver Linings In The Doom And Gloom

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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I may have been in a gloomy, grumpy mood last weekend, sending the world we live in on a downward spiral into the Middle Ages.

While, yes, the news as we scroll down social media feeds are not always encouraging, there are occasional rays of sunshine. So this week I do apologise for my mood of doom and gloom last week and I turn that frown upside down, sharing with you some silver linings. For it lifts the spirit to remember that, every now and again, good things are happening too.

South Africa makes history as women make up half of cabinet for first time
Women will now make up half of South Africa’s new cabinet for the first time in the country’s history.
President Cyril Ramaphosa who announced the move on Wednesday said the decision was to create a line of leaders that would advance the country’s future.

Sahle-Work Zewde becomes Ethiopia’s first female president
Not only was South Africa making strides towards gender equality in the cabinet, Ethiopia made history with the country’s first ever female president, Sahle-Work Zewde.

Her election to the ceremonial position comes a week after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed appointed a cabinet with half the posts taken up by women.

Chimamanda makes history as first African to speak at Yale’s Class Day
On 20 May 2019, celebrated writer and speaker, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has become the first African to deliver the Class Day Speech of the Yale College at New Haven, Connecticut.

In announcing her selection as speaker, the Class Day 2019 Planning Committee described Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie as “an inspiring global citizen whose words, teaching, and social activism have had an indelible impact on the diaspora and broader contemporary culture.”

In an inspiring speech full of wisdom and humour, she advised the graduates, “Be open to changing your mind. It is often a sign of growth. Be open to the possibility that you might be wrong. Ideology is a good thing but if you find that you yield unquestioningly to every orthodoxy of the ideology you subscribe to, then maybe it is time for some agility in your thinking.”

America’s richest black man Robert F. Smith pledges to pay off students’ debts
A day before Adichie took to the stage at Yale, another inspirational figure – perhaps not as well-known – gave the commencement address to the graduating class of Morehouse College. Robert F. Smith, the richest black man in America, also delivered a surprise He would be paying off the student loans of the roughly 400 graduates.

Though he shunned the spotlight for many years, he has recently embraced a more public role, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and making major charitable contributions.

Cornell renamed its School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering after Mr. Smith, and he has made major gifts to the National Museum of African American History and Culture and other cultural institutions. In January, Mr. Smith donated $1.5 million to Morehouse to fund student scholarships and a new park on campus.

8-year-old living in homeless shelter wins New York chess championship
Tanitoluwa placed first in the New York State Scholastic Championships tournament for kindergarten through third grade — a remarkable win for anyone.

“I want to be the youngest grandmaster,” Tanitoluwa Adewumi, a Nigerian refugee, told The New York Times.

His family left northern Nigeria in 2017 fearing attacks on Christians, The New York Times reports, and moved to New York City over a year ago where they live in a homeless shelter.

It was the school chess coach Shawn Martinez who discovered Tanitoluwa’s potential after observing him excel in the game a few weeks after first learning it early last year.

These are just a few snippets from the week’s scroll on social media. See? It’s not all doom and gloom after all. Even though it may look like we are hurtling towards the dark ages some days, there are also silver linings to be found.


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