Archive for December 2009
Interview with Xernona Clayton
Nigerian chief and Atlanta resident, Tunde Adetunji, learned that Germany would host the 2006 FIFA World Cup while attending the 1999 All-Africa Games in South Africa.
“I was really taken aback,” he told GlobalAtlanta of his sinking feeling at the time because he saw that South Africa had the necessary facilities for a successful World Cup and so many people on the African continent were hoping that the country would be selected.
But when FIFA, the Fédération Internationale de Football, announced in 2004 that South Africa was chosen for the 2010 World Cup, he was overjoyed. “I saw the dream become reality,” he said. “Not just for South Africa but for the entire continent.”
He’s now part of a team to be led by City Councilman Jim Maddox that is organizing a Georgia delegation to attend the event that begins in June.
Although Mr. Maddox is to retire at the end of the year after having served 32 years on the Atlanta City Council, he has no intention of stopping to promote the city that he has served longer than any other elected official in its history.
For years, Mr. Maddox, along with others such as former mayor and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Andrew Young, often have claimed Atlanta is the main U.S. gateway to the continent.
Mr. Tunde, who was born into a royal Yoruba family and earned the title of chief through civic service, founded the Africa Heritage Foundation Inc. here. He arrived in Atlanta for the Summer Olympic Games in 1996 as a cultural ambassador for Africa with his “Celebrate Africa” exhibition consisting of art works from throughout the continent.
Since then, he has been promoting his initiatives “to bridge the gap and build the bridge” between the U.S. and the African continent including a still to be realized educational park featuring its countries.
His Africa World Museum downtown has been a venue for a host of official visits from African dignitaries and a meeting place for local officials interested in learning more about Africa.
Anima Salum Ali of Tanzania, who opened the African Union’s first diplomatic mission in Washington, visited the museum shortly after assuming her responsibilities in 2007. Other AU officials visited the museum later.
In an effort to strengthen the AU’s ties to Georgia, Mr. Tunde presented the Georgia flag at an official meeting of the AU in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Other African Union officials followed her later and Mr. Tunde told GlobalAtlanta that he would press forward Atlanta’s bid for the World Cup in 2018 or 2022 with AU officials and during the events surrounding the World Cup in South Africa.
Atlanta City Council passed a resolution supporting the city’s efforts to attract the World Cup here.
Meanwhile, Mr. Tunde’s initiative to organize a delegation to attend South Africa’s World Cup is backed by endorsements from Mr. Maddox; Charles Whatley, director of commerce and entrepreneurship at the Atlanta Development Authority, Dan Moore Sr., president and CEO of the APEX Museum; John Thomas, chair of the board of trustees of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System and Thomas W. Dortch Jr., chairman emeritus of the 100 Black Men of America Inc.