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Meet Sarah Forbes Bonetta: Queen Victoria’s Goddaughter

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Sarah Forbes Bonetta was originally born ‘Aina’ in 1843 to Egbado parents of the Yoruba ethnic group . Her father was the high chief of Oke-Odan, an Egbado village in western Nigeria, till he was killed in 1848 when King Gezo of Dahomey , one of the notorious slave raiders in the 19th century , raided his village. 
Sarah’s parents and siblings whose names are unknown were killed in the raid which turned Sarah, an Egbado princess, into a slave. Many of the villagers captured during the raid were made slaves and sacrificed to the gods of Dahomey but fortunately for Sarah, she was saved by the quick intervention of Captain Frederick E. Forbes , a British naval officer who was on a visit to Dahomey kingdom to persuade King Gezo to abolish slave trade. Captain Frederick E. Forbes persuaded King Gezo to present Sarah (then Aina) as a gift to Queen Victoria, he said: “ 
She would be a present from the King of the Blacks to the Queen of the Whites. ” King Gezo agreed and thus Sarah’s life was spared and subsequently she was named Sarah, Forbes, the captain’s surname and Bonetta which was the name of his ship (HMS Bonetta).
On the 9th of November, 1850, Captain Frederick Forbes took Sarah to Great Britain to meet Queen Victoria at Windsor castle. The Queen admired Sarah’s intelligence and ability to learn quickly. Even Captain Frederick wrote: “ She is a perfect genius; she now speaks English well, and has great talent for music… She is far in advance of any white child of her age in aptness of learning, and strength of mind and affection…” Shortly after, Captain Frederick Forbes died and so Sarah was sent to the Schoen family in Palm Cottage, Gillingham. Queen Victoria adopted Sarah as her goddaughter and sponsored her education. Being the Queen’s goddaughter, Sarah had unlimited access to Windsor castle like other members of the royal family. Shortly after Sarah began to live with the Schoen family, she developed a health problem due to the damp weather of Britain. Queen Victoria arranged for her migration to Sierra Leone to continue her education at the Female Institution, a CMS school in Freetown where she excelled in music and her academics. In 1855, Sarah returned to Great Britain.
In January 1862, Sarah Forbes Bonetta, now 19 years old, attended the wedding of the Queen’s eldest child, Princess Royal Victoria, as a guest. Seven months later, she was offered a marriage to Captain James Labulo Davies , a 31-year-old wealthy Yoruba businessman who lives in Britain. Sarah was reluctant to accept the offer due to reasons known to her but she eventually accepted after much persuasion. The wedding took place in August 1862 at the St. Nicholas Church in Brighton, England. It was such an extravagant one; dignitaries from different parts of the world were in attendance.
The new couple moved back to Africa and settled in the town of Badagary in Lagos, Nigeria. Shortly after her marriage, Sarah Forbes Davies had her first daughter and requested for permission from Queen Victoria to name her Victoria. The Queen granted the permission and also adopted baby Victoria as her goddaughter. In 1867, Sarah and her daughter visited the Queen then returned to Lagos where she had two more children named Arthur and Stella. Sarah was diagonised with tuberculosis and later died on August 15, 1880 at the age of 37. She was buried in Funchal, Madiera Island, Portugal. It was such a sad moment for her family. Queen Victoria wrote in her diary, “ Saw poor Victoria Davies, my black godchild, who learnt this morning of the death of her dear mother ”. Queen Victoria took good care of Sarah’s children and maintained close contact with them. Till today, the decendants of James Labulo Davies and Sarah Forbes Bonetta Davies lived in England, Sierra Leone and Lagos, Nigeria.

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AMVCA 2024: Full Winners List

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Below are the list of winners👇

  • Best Movie: Breath of Life
  • Best Lead Actor: Wale Ojo(Breath of Life)
  • Best Lead Actress: Kehinde Bankole (Adire)
  • Best Indigenous West Africa. Femi Adebayo Jagun Jagun
  • Best writing movie: Fumilayo Rans0me Kuti
  • Best Scripted: Slùm King
  • Best Costume Design: Jagun Jagun (Lola Awe)
  • Best Supporting Actress: Genoveva Umeh (Breath of Life
  • Best Supporting Actor: Ademola Adedoyin (Breath of Life)
  • Best MultiChoice Talent Factory Movie: Our Dàrk Past
  • Best Makeup: Mami Wata (Campbell Precious Arebamen
  • Industry Merit Awards: Iya Rainbow aka Idowu Philips and Richard Mofe Damijo
  • Best Writing Award: Volume
  • Best Director: BB Sasore (Breath of Life)
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Governor Sanwo-Olu Receives Prince Harry & Meghan Markle (Photos) 

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Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, received the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, on Sunday.

The British Royal couple was received by Governor Sanwo-Olu; his wife, Dr. Ibijoke, and some members of the State Executive Council during a courtesy visit at Lagos House, Marina.

Prince Harry, accompanied by his wife, Meghan, is on a three-day visit to Nigeria to promote the Invictus Games, which he founded in 2014. The couples had a stopover in Lagos on Sunday.

The Invictus Games are aimed at raising funds and supporting serving members of the military as well as veterans to overcome their physical and mental illness or injuries, which would help them to develop a sense of belonging and increased self-esteem.

Speaking to journalists after a closed door meeting with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Governor Sanwo-Olu praised the British Royal couple for the work they are doing with Nigeria’s military men, especially on issues around mental health.

He said: “We are honoured to receive them (Prince Harry and Meghan Markle) at the Lagos House, Marina. We are excited about the ideas and what they are planning to do, especially with the office of the Chief of Defense Staff, General Christopher Musa, and his wife, Mrs. Lilian Musa.

“For Prince Harry, it has been a very interesting and informative trip to the country. He has seen a lot. And part of the things we are hoping he will take away is the diversity and extent of how big our country is, how we continue to ensure that we live together in peace and harmony, and what role Lagos plays in the whole conversation.

“They have been to Kano, Abuja, and now Lagos. I am sure they have their own experience of what Nigeria looks like. We have extended an additional invitation to them that they can always come back when they want to.

“We are indeed happy for what they are doing, especially for our military men, on the conversation around mental health issues and how they can galvanise their various NGOs to ensure that people who require their support, both in the military and private, can seek that support.

“Mental health issues are all around us. Denial and stigmatisation, are some of the things we talked about. And more importantly, at what point in Nigeria can we have the Invictus Games that Prince Harry is known for so that the true Nigerian competitiveness can also be reflected in those games”

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US Announces African Infrastructure Venture Amid China’s Belt and Road Scrutiny

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In recent developments, the United States has announced plans to embark on its own infrastructure project in Africa, particularly in Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Angola. This initiative aims to refurbish and extend the Lobito Corridor, a railway system that will stretch through mineral-rich regions, linking Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo to an Atlantic port in Angola.

This move comes at a time when China’s efforts to expand its influence in Africa through infrastructure investments, notably its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), have faced scrutiny. Despite China’s investments, criticisms have emerged regarding the sustainability and completion of projects, prompting a shift in focus towards more manageable and sustainable initiatives.

The U.S, in collaboration with the European Union and African nations, is taking a proactive approach to ensure the success of the Lobito Corridor project. Key aspects include the involvement of private partners like the Africa Finance Corp., plans for long-term operation and maintenance, and capacity development strategies. This signifies a departure from past approaches and a commitment to transparent and sustainable infrastructure development.

Reflecting on China’s BRI, the U.S initiative seeks to learn from past experiences and avoid pitfalls encountered in previous projects. While China denies accusations of creating spheres of influence through its initiatives, concerns persist regarding the social, environmental, and economic impacts of its projects.

As the Lobito Corridor project progresses, attention is drawn to its potential connection with existing Chinese-built railways in the region, such as the Tazara railway linking Zambia and Tanzania. While the specifics are yet to be determined, the focus remains on practical and sustainable solutions that promote economic growth and benefit local communities.

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