Nigerian-born Freeman Osonuga is on the verge of becoming the first Black African to travel to space. Freeman is a Medicine and Surgery graduate from Olabisi Onabanjo University. He was selected as one of the 30 people to participate in the Rising Star programme which was launched at the One Young World Summit 2014 in Dublin.
He will be travelling to Bangkok, Thailand with two other finalists Keren Jackson of Ireland and Hussain Manawer of the United Kingdom to address about 1,300 delegates and a panel of renowned judges. This will take place at a special session of the 2015 One Young World Summit next month, from 18-21 November, 2015. A session which will be live-streamed to a global audience after which the winner of the space trip will be announced. The winner will undergo a G-Force training in the Netherlands to prepare them for an experience outside Earth.
If selected, this space trip will add to Freeman’s list of achievements to include a Meritorious Service Award from President Bai Ernest Koroma of Sierra Leone for a 6-month Medical Humanitarian Mission to Sierra Leone during the Ebola crisis. Freeman Osonuga is a WIRED 2015 Innovation Fellow, an Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society, a One Young World Ambassador and Founder & Executive Director, Heal The World Foundation Nigeria. He is also a 2014 TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year and one of the 2013 Ten Outstanding Young Persons In Nigeria.
Although Freeman could be the first black African, it is also worthy to note that a White South African entrepreneur, Mark Shuttleworth is widely acknowledged as the first African to go to space after he returned in April 2012. Currently, there are speculations that Freeman may not be the first Black African to go to space. This is due to the fact that a South African DJ, Mandla Maseko is also in the race to go to space in 2016 after winning a different talent competition in late 2013.
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