Malawian actress and singer Lily Banda is among 34 leading young changemakers in Africa according to a list compiled by The Africa 35.35 Awards.
The list of the most inspiring young people in Africa is meant to celebrate African youths and Afro-diaspora excellence. The list, released annually, considers personalities aged between 18 and 35 who stand out in Africa and around the world.
Banda’s artistic profile was enhanced by featuring as Anne Kamkwamba in the Netflix movie The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind, which is among the three most watched movies in Africa and for her role as Aicha Konate in British television series Deep State.
Apart from acting and singing, the artist has also been singled out as a champion for women and girls mainly for her humanitarian efforts demonstrated through various initiatives she has undertaken in partnership with Kamuzu Central Hospital, a local initiative Maphunziro 265 and Chikwawa-based organisation Yaed.
In an interview, Banda described her recognition as a special honour in a challenging year for the whole world because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
She said she is grateful for the opportunity and the moments that life presented her.
“This award means that Africa is calling on all its young people to participate, come together and embrace our cultural diversity and use that as a tool to propel the population towards a better life,” she said.
She said she draws inspiration from the women themselves and she believes there is a lot which needs to be done in different areas to bring out positivity among young women and girls.
Banda said: “The real champions are the women and the girls themselves. I continue to learn from women around me every day. The fearlessness they possess is a source of constant inspiration to me.”
According to the list, Banda was named alongside other accomplished young personalities such as Aya Chebbi, the African Union’s special envoy for youth, Canary Mugume, the Ugandan investigative journalist and Africa’s youngest cabinet minister Namibia’s Deputy Minister of Information Emma Theofelus.
The list also has Ivorian Joseph Biley, who is credited for revolutionalising agriculture using drones.
According to the commissioner general of the Africa 35.35 Awards Richard Seshie, the initiative represents an opportunity to celebrate innovations by young Africans and Afro-diaspora: “We want to inspire the greatest number of young Africans to emulate their example.”
The Africa 35.35 Awards are a brainchild of Association 35.35, a pan-African organisation of young professionals in 30 African countries supported by several institutional partners and the media. The awards were established in 2016 and are in their fifth consecutive year.