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Can famous Africans bring peace?

Nyambura Wambugu | 15:56 UK time, Tuesday, 20 July 2010

The African Union has recently announced the appointment of 14 peace ambassadors, to promote the 2010 African year of peace and security.


kidjoandndourcrop.jpgThe list includes famous African sports people and musicians such as Maria Mutola, Angelique Kidjo and Michael Essien. The AU commission chairperson Jean Ping says the peace ambassadors are vital if the year of peace is to succeed.

So Africa Have Your Say is asking, what can we expect these famous names to achieve?  Can Africa's own celebrities be real agents of change on the continent?

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Wednesday 21 July at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.


  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    Exhaustive list of names of the 14 peace ambassaders is necessary.
    If the initiative is from the side of the famous Africans, it may bring some hope. But since the nomination and the appointment is done by AU, it won't bring any change for peaceloving Africans.

  • Comment number 3.

    It seems like a positive idea that might draw people's attention to the issues, so why not get behind it..

  • Comment number 4.

    Essien is the man with the plan! Figures such as him have huge popularity across the continent, they will be bound to have some influence.

  • Comment number 5.

    Yes. I believe that famous non-politicians such as atheletes and musicians can indeed, bring peace where politicians have failed.
    In almost every society, muscians have inspired the masses through their music in touching politicians conciences to do the right thing. Although, dictators often try to suppress freedom of speech and ban songs or lyrics critical of their regime. However, in 1976 and 1978 the late Reggae Superstar- Bob Marley held "Smile Jamaica" and "One Love" concerts to bring Jamaica's political leader and warring factions together. Atheletes can also influence their fans by taking a stand for the masses who denied basic rights.

  • Comment number 6.

    The simple fact that the African Union has named 14 Ambassadors for peace is already laudable. They are just recognizing the fact that this Continent is in dare need for peace. The AU is in itself the obstacle, and these Ambassadors are just another blind folding event to letting us believe they mean it well.
    However, for the benefit of doubt let us hope that these 14 people can at least help change the status quo. They have to be courageous, open-minded, with a long foresight and if need be, go into politics. This Continent has witnessed one of the most ruthless acts of atrocities against journalists, musicians and all human rights fighters. Nevertheless we are hopeful.

  • Comment number 7.

    We each have a stake in peace building. We each have a contribution to make. The AU Commission's foresight has been to recognise this and to co-opt celebrity ambassadors to help popularise peace and to engage large swathes of people, in ways which governments or institutions like the AU Commission, simply cannot do alone.

  • Comment number 8.

    Absolutely!! :-)

  • Comment number 9.

    The Africans celebrities(Ambassadors for Peacce) they will have enormous
    impact on the African people and ultimately will force politicians to
    change their approach in solving African problems from constitutions to food shortage.

  • Comment number 10.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 11.

    Africans have been told constantly and without end that they are somehow inferior, less worthy than Europeans - so much so that many (if not most) Africans have come to believe that they are indeed in some undefinable yet, sadly, also inevitable manner handicapped by their social, cultural and biological background. I believe that this lack of self-esteem and -confidence is one of the main reasons why Africans so often seem so passive in the face of government abuses and tolerant of government excesses - after all, so the reasoning goes, we don't have the right to assert ourselves and to keep our governments and officials accountable for their actions, because we're not entitled to the dignity and respect that such accountability implies. The corollary is, of course, that very few African leaders and celebrities and businessfolk really care about living up to any given standard of morality or behaviour. That is why those African persons who do achieve success and fame in the world (or even just within their own communities or societies) and whose reputations remain beyond reproach, invariably enjoy far more popularity and influence among the African masses than their counterparts in other parts of the world do. Because we know exactly how difficult it is for any politician, businessperson or other leader/celebrity to avoid becoming entrapped by the nepotism, corruption and fraud that have become so deeply entrenched in our state and civil institutions over the decades - and thus, when such a person does avoid those temptations, we know that they are truly remarkable people, and that they are worthy of our attention.

  • Comment number 12.

    Yes Africans can do what assignment given to them, World cup in south Africa has shown africans ability to do what is to be done

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment is awaiting moderation. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    What are we looking for? You can’t teach peace but you can teach mankind or the youth if we stop interfering. We cannot tell people what to do. Live and let’s live. The tradition is older the government. “Peace can only be achieved when cultural differences are respected and the fundamental rights of all are recognised and then upheld NOT through FAMOUS individuals or the barrel of a gun”.

  • Comment number 15.

    Africans are routinely disrespected in foreign press and in certain foreign countries. Peace is an elusive goal without an approach that attempts respect and understanding of the other side. Africans may want peace, but if the other side is opposed to peace with Africans this cannot happen. Certain approaches do not encourage any form of peace.

  • Comment number 16.

    Famous Africans cannot bring peace to Africa unless all Africans decide to be peaceful.

  • Comment number 17.

    Africans should be free to decide their own political fate! Not by foreign interest and lobbyist for their own financial gains thereby installing puppet regimes.Peace ambassadors might have a great impact in Africa but for how long?
    Most African musicians are paid lip service by their various dictatorial States when it comes to politics!Worth giving it a try especially in the Congo Democratic, Sudan Etc.God help Africa.


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