Its a Nigeria Cover stars double, and there is something special about this issue – our last of what has been a very unsettling 2017. The edition’s production came on the heels of the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), which adopted a new set of development goals almost two years ago. But we are publishing at perhaps one of the most uncertain and challenging times in recent history. From climate change to terrorism and violence against women, from health and wellbeing to human rights, everything seems frighteningly disturbing or deeply volatile. And needless to point out that as usual, women and children are bearing the brunt.
These are some of issues that the UN deputy secretary general Amina J. Mohammed discusses in our lead interview. “Most certainly, these are challenging times… it’s a real struggle and the response that we are seeing right now is how countries are grappling with what they are going to do about the current order,” she says.
What is being done is what this Special Edition on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is all about. Collaborating with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, whose annual report Goalkeepers: The Stories Behind The Data we review we also have thought-provoking insights from influential voices including Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organisation regional director for Africa. The full report, which also includes an exclusive interview with Bill Gates himself, is published on our website and in our sister publication New African.
“We can’t put a band-aid on world problems,” as the UN deputy chief states, but it is also clear from this Special Edition that the success of the nascent Sustainable Development Goals, of which Mrs Mohammed has been key in their formulation, is a collective and winnable effort. However, the recognition that women’s rights at all levels are powerful and a must, is crucial to achieving lasting gains.
Our fashion Cover is graced by the supersonically rising Nigerian model Mayowa Nicholas. As we went to press, the 18-year-old, who came onto the fashion scene in 2014, had just been confirmed as one of the angels for the hugely exalted Victoria’s Secret show in Shanghai, China, in November.
Indeed for someone still relatively new in a cutthroat industry notorious for its lack of diversity, Mayowa’s magnetic pull to global fashion brands is mesmerising. Throughout this year’s fashion seasons, you have to count on one hand how many major brands have NOT booked her. Gucci, Chanel, Prada, YSL, Dolce & Gabbana, Oscar de la Renta, you name them – they have all fallen in love with Mayowa, the 2014 Elite Model Look Nigeria.
We cant agree more with Josie Crawley of Elite London who said in an interview with Harpers Bazar:
“Mayowa is one of the most incredible breakout models this season… Not only does she have an incredible walk, but an attitude to match; she is one of the most passionate, fun and loveable models in the industry. Brand and industry heroes alike have all seen what an incredible spark this girls has, so we can expect big things from this little star.”
Elizabeth Elohor, CEO of Mayowa’s mother agency, Nigeria’s Beth Models, who discovered her, is understandbly over the moon, more so with so much promise on the way for her prodigy.
“When I heard the news of Mayowa being confirmed for Victoria’s Secret, it was one of my proudest moments,” she tells N AW, offering words of encouragement to all aspiring African models out there:
“Be humble, be patient, if it’s meant for you it will come to you, and work hard. Rome wasn’t built in a day, everything is in stages.
As we celebrate this rising star and as we approach the festive season, may peace reign and may 2018 bring greater and better tidings.