The 2020 Freedom Awards Honour LGBTQ & Feminist Advocates

Olumide Makanjuola, Matthew Blaise, Mariam Sule, Zikoko Magazine, and State of Emergency GBV Movement named winners by TIERS.
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The activist Matthew Blaise at a WHER Initiative event. Credit to @rakelphotography1 on Instagram

The activist Matthew Blaise at a WHER Initiative event. Credit: @rakelphotography1 on Instagram.

Last year, The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIERS), a Nigerian human rights group advocating for the empowerment and safety of sexual minorities, created The Freedom Awards. Through public nomination, outstanding Nigerian activists and advocates who work to create an equal society are selected and recognized in different categories.

The winners last year included the broadcast journalist Kiki Mordi, for Freedom Fighter of the Year; the culture journalist Vincent Desmond, for The Young Activist Award; and the writer Ani Kayode Somtochukwu, for SOGIESC Rights Activist of the Year.

Here are the 2020 winners.

Women’s Rights of the Year

STATE OF EMERGENCY GBV (GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE) MOVEMENT

The Trailblazer Award

OLUMIDE MAKANJUOLA

The Young Activist Award

MARIAM SULE

SOGIESC Rights Activist of the Year

MATTHEW BLAISE

The Allyship Award

ZIKOKO

Open Country congratulates the winners.

Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young, a writer, culture journalist, curator, and media consultant, is the founder and editor of Open Country Mag. He was editor of Folio Nigeria, CNN’s exclusive media affiliate in Africa, and has led or joined editorial teams at a host of platforms and projects in African literature. He has written about the Nigerian culture scene, covering innovation in over 20 fields including art, music, tech, sports, cuisine, fashion, journalism, sculpture, beauty, health, and activism. In literature, his Profile subjects have included Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Teju Cole, Damon Galgut, and Tsitsi Dangarembga. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He sat on the judging panel of The Morland Scholarship, a British grant for African writers, and currently chairs the panel of The Gerald Kraak Prize, a South African initiative for storytelling about gender, sexuality, and social justice. He has an MA in African Studies and a BA in English and History from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. He is currently studying for an MFA at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. In 2019, he received the inaugural The Future Awards Africa Prize for Literature. In 2020, he was named among “The 100 Most Influential Young Nigerians” by Avance Media. Twitter & Instagram: @otosirieze. Website: otosirieze.com.

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