African American History Month in A Decade...?

Brilliance is evenly distributed, opportunity is not” Ms Oluwatobi Otokiti, Product Manager, (co-founded by Nigerian Iyinoluwa Aboyeji) on the BBC’s Digital Planet June 2019

As we close off February’s African American History Month we have a perfect time to celebrate some of great contributors to STEAM including NASA's Katherine Johnson, Victor Glover & Mary W Jackson.

When African American History Month is being celebrated in 10 years time we hope there will be many more names out there from all over the world - let the lions roar! Check out our blogpost below for more and tell us your examples of African American or African STE(A)M champions.

History is not static and things go better with diverse thinking, methods and people, lets remember that ALL the time not just one month :-)

Cake Ventures Monique Woodard is an enthusiastic woman of color and e-commerce geek in the traditionally white, male venture capital space ensuring more people have an opportunity to leverage their tech ideas into a viable businesses.

There are many other African-Americans and Africans using STEM skills that need to be heard about more and us showing some of the truth of Einstein’s quote: “Nationalism is an infantile sickness. It is the measles of the human race

Ethiopian Sara Menker’s Gro Intelligence uses data to enable customers to resolve the tension between ecological preservation and economic growth,

Flutterwave, a digital payments service listed as one of TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential Companies for 2021 has CEO Olugbenga Agbool, an MIT graduate and Google alum.

H3D set up by Professor Kelly Chibale to increase the diversity of clinical trials and thereby improve health outcomes.

Serial investor Nigerian Iyinoluwa Aboyeji co-founded Andela to train African software developers and place them with US firms remotely helping to bridge the digital divide and improve worker prospects.

And the amazing 18 year old Xaviera Nguefo Kowo, a Cameroonian programmer won the top Margaret Junior Awards (promoting digital skills for females) in 2021 for inventing a robot that picks up trash then takes it to a recycling or waste disposal center. (We also salute fellow Cameroonian Estelle Inack launching out of the Perimeter Institute).

Have a listen too to Professor Tom Kariuku (Former director of Alliance for Accelerating Excellence In Science in Africa) talking about successes and challenges on BBC Discovery podcast (contact us if you can’t find the link). And as a side note salute the memory of Bishop Desmond Tutu.

Thankfully there are so many talented, ambitious and capable African-American and African STEAMy people out there but we have presented a few more below with some links:

Professor Tom Kariuki has spent his career battling for science in Africa, both as a leading immunologist and as the former director of the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa. Professor Kariuki talks to leading scientists in Africa about the successes they have achieved as well as the profound challenges they face, from the complexities of international funding to keeping the lights on. In this BBC Discovery podcast here he asks who African science belongs to and benefits, and what needs to happen if its future is to be prosperous.

  • At the University Of South Africa newly installed Professor E F Doungmo showed his love of mathematics on the 14 February by giving an inaugural lecture titled “Impacts of Fractional and Fractal Differential Operators in Applied Science”. He could be mates with the UK's Dr Nira Chamberlain, (President of Institute of Mathematics & Its Applications and inspiration for our design Mathematics is the poetry of logical ideas ) :-) 
  • NASA’s Houston We Have A Podcast’s episode on gets some insight from African-American employees here
  • At we recognize that the STEM world is much enriched with art to create a more enjoyable STEAMy existence so we note the following established and emerging African artists with a link to a great Ozy newsletter featuring some here

The role of Africa, and Africans, has been largely sidelined from the STEAMy story of the making of the modern world. In an acclaimed book Professor Howard French attempts to address this. His Born in Blackness: Africa, Africans and the Making of the Modern World, 1471 to the Second World War is well worth a read and a Late Night Live discussion with Professor French is here.

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