World Refugee Day commemorates the obstacles refugees face each year, while also celebrating their courage and strength. Since 2001, the United Nations and more than 100 countries have observed World Refugee Day annually on June 20th

On average, 42,500 people per day flee their homes to seek protection within the borders of their own country or other countries.

To commemorate World Refugee Day, EDOOFA celebrates famous africans who were once refugees but who over came various challenges and today stand as beacons of hope to many people all over the world.


1) Alek Wek


Top model Alek Wek is a former refugee from Sudan.

Civil war broke out in the African country when Wek was just nine years old, and her family left their village and traveled through the bush to get to the country’s capital. “Our parents tried to shield us from the conflict but the sounds of gunfire and the vibrations of explosions filled us with dread,” Wek told the UNHRC.




2) Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma


Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is a South African politican. In the early 1970s, Dlamini-Zuma became an active underground member of the (then banned) African National Congress (ANC). During the same year Dr. Dlamini-Zuma faced persecution and fled into exile. Dr Zuma is the first female chairperson of the African Union.

She said, “The choice of African Union’s theme this year is indeed an opportunity for us to demonstrate our commitment to the empowerment of African women to make it a reality.”



3) Freddie Mercury


The Queen frontman was born on the African island of Zanzibar, and he grew up splitting his time between Zanzibar and India. A revolution broke out on the island when the family was living there in 1964, and Mercury’s family moved to London when the future rockstar was still a teen.




4) Maryam Mursal




Maryam Mursal is a renouned Somali musician who as a teenager, broke tradition and began singing professionally. Later in her music career, she criticized Somalia’s then ruling government, and was banned from singing for two years, and made her living driving a taxi. During the civil war in Somalia, Mursal and her children moved to Djibouti, where she found asylum in the Danish embassy.

She said, “We as artists are responsible if something wrong is taking place in our society. It’s very important for us to speak up, even though we may have to do it with a double tongue. We have to speak out for our people.”


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