Happy Kwanzaa! Celebrating African culture at Eurovision

Every day until December 24, we’re stuffing your stockings with a new Eurovision poll and asking you to name the most Christmassy Eurovision song and Finland’s best entry in past ten years, among other things. Consider this our advent calendar for 2015. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, you can let us know your thoughts each and every day by sounding off in our comments section.

Day 23: Eurovision artists of African descent

Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26 to January 1. It’s America’s biggest celebration honouring African heritage within African-American culture. Even though the celebration hasn’t reached Europe yet, we at wiwibloggs want to acknowledge the contributions that artists of African descent have made at Eurovision over the years.

Below we’ve listed the best entries from singers of African descent. This time we aren’t asking you to vote, so just enjoy the music! However, if you want to let us know which song you love most, feel free to sound off in the comments box.

Norway 2011: Stella Mwangi

Kenyan-born Stella Mwangi moved to Norway at the age of five and her entry “Haba Haba” was the first Eurovision song to include some lines in Swahili. Despite being one of the pre-contest favourites in 2011, Norway failed to qualify for the final. But the publicity surrounding her bid helped raise awareness about Norwegian hip-hop and the country’s vibrant immigrant communities.

Portugal 1967: Eduardo Nascimento

Eduardo Nascimento was the first black male to sing at Eurovision, just a year after the first black female singer Milly Scott sang for the Netherlands. Eduardo was born in Angola, when it was still a Portuguese territory. Eduardo placed 12th with his entry “O vento mudou”.

Morocco 1980: Samira Bensaïd

In 1980 Morocco became the only African country ever to compete in the contest when Samira Bensaïd sang for the country. She delivered the first song performed in Arabic. Morocco finished second to last and hasn’t competed since.

Portugal 1995: Tó Cruz


Tó Cruz — a Portuguese singer of Cape Verdean descent — sang for Portugal at the 40th Eurovision Song Contest. His song “Baunilha e chocolate” was all about interracial relationships. He didn’t impress the juries and placed only 21st.

Latvia 2015: Aminata

Aminata Savadogo served some Burkina Faso realness at Eurovision 2015. Aminata was born in Latvia, but her father is from the West African nation of Burkina Faso. Aminata earned Latvia its best result in years when she placed sixth.

Estonia 2001: Dave Benton


Born in Aruba, Afro-Caribbean singer Dave Benton moved to the Netherlands in the 1980s where he met his Estonian wife Maris. The two relocated to Estonia in 1997. Dave went on to win Eurovision 2001 along with Tanel Padar and boyband 2XL. Given his backstory, their song “Everybody” is, in some ways, an anthem of inclusivity.

France 2010: Jessy Matador

Jessy Kimbangi — better known as Jessy Matador — was born in Zaire, which is now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. His entry “Allez Ola Olé” finished 12th in the contest and charted all over the Europe with its catchy, African-inspired rhythms.

Armenia 2015: Vahe Tilbian (as part of Genealogy)

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, Armenia formed a supergroup for Eurovision 2015. Every continent was represented by the group’s members. Ethiopian born Vahe Tilbian was chosen from Africa. Armenia qualified to the final and finished 16th.

Sweden 2012: Loreen

Eurovision 2012 winner Loreen is the daughter of Moroccan Berber immigrant parents. She brought even more African flavour to the performance with her dancer Ausben Jordan, who has African American and Native American roots. Loreen won the contest in a landslide with 372 points.

France 1977: Marie Myriam

Eurovision 1977 winner Marie Myriam was born in the Congo when it was still a Belgian colony. Marie is a very international lady and also has Portuguese blood. She won the contest for France singing “L’oiseau et l’enfant”.

Malta JESC 2015: Destiny Chukunyere

Destiny Chukunyere won the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2015 just last month. Her father is former Nigerian footballer Ndubisi Chukunyere, who we spoke with during the contest. Destiny placed first with both the jury and televoters, earning an impressive 185 points.