African Football Stars: The heroes of decolonization, civil rights and black pride

African Football Stars: Heroes of decolonization & civil rights

June 20, 2020

African Football Stars: Heroes of decolonization & civil rights: In a series of paintings and ยูฟ่าเบท collages, the Ghanaian artist Godfried Donkor has cast the African footballer of the mid-to-late twentieth century as a saint, and presented him like a Russian icon, head surrounded and illuminated by a halo of light.

African Football Stars: Heroes of decolonization & civil rights

African Football Stars: The heroes of decolonization, civil rights and black pride

In Santo Eusebio, the Mozambican, who played his whole career for Benfica and Portugal, is set against the share prices of the Financial Times. In Santo Omam, we see François Omam-Biyik, the player who put Africa on the world’s football map when he scored ยูฟ่าเบท Cameroon’s winner against Argentina in the opening game of the 1990 World Cup, with covers of Ebony magazine, a style and political trend-setter amongst midcentury African Americans and the wider African diaspora, floating behind him in space.

These works of art feature the heroes of decolonization, civil rights and black pride: Haile Selassie, Jackie Robinson and Duke Ellington. Donkor’s pictures capture the African stars of another age: today’s icons would have to put the African footballer in the context of more ufabet contemporary models of success – TV stars and rappers, the slick preachers of prosperity and the real-estate hustlers – but the esteem in which they have been held in Africa has not diminished. If anything it is much greater.

Wage slavery is long gone for those who play at the peak of European football. A backdrop of the Financial Times’s luxury-goods supplement ‘How to Spend It might be more fitting. In either case, the era of print is closing; for today’s players, fame and presence has been multiplied a thousand times by the arrival of the digital screen in all its forms, and the ways in which the newly liberalized African media has embraced the multi-faceted celebrity of these football icons.

Of all the African players who have straddled these multiple worlds and meanings, Didier Drogba is without peer. Drogba’s occupation of local media space was comprehensive – a survey of the Ivorian sports press found that he featured in 80 per cent of ufabet player photographs and nearly two-thirds of front pages. At his peak 2009, his presence in the urban spaces of Côte d’Ivoire was pervasive.

The wooden walls of barbers’ shops in the slums featured his carefully painted image. A thousand shacks were enlivened by posters of him in flight; so too the battered doors of Abidjan’s gbakas, the vans that serve as the city’s buses. A local brewery served up Drogba beer, and his name became a synonym in nochui, the local Franco-African slang, for ‘strong’ or ‘tough’.