I'm getting older. Very soon I'll understand my mother, that's what they say.
In her office, my mother has calendars with pictures of the African Nobel Prize winners. Well, today I checked online and here are the Africans awarded Nobel Prizes in the last eight years.
2005: Mohammed ElBaradei of Egypt/ The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
2004: Wangari Maathai of Kenya
2003: John Maxwell Coetzee of South Africa
2001: Kofi Annan of Ghana/ The United Nations
If you go as far back as the 1990s, then you find
Egyptian Ahmed Zewail for Chemistry
South Africans F. W. de Klerk / Nelson Mandela for Peace
South African Nadine Gordimer in Literature
Zewail is a Caltech prof., and there's a street named for him near my work in Cairo.
Before that, there were Naguib Mahfouz, Wole Soyinka, Desmond Tutu, and Anwar El-Sadat. KhalaS. I think that's it.
There have been more USA Nobel prize winners in Economics alone from 2000-2007, or in Physics alone in the same period.
I do understand my father. When I was a kid, he loved being a fan - of Sugar Ray Leonard and black boxers, of his daughters, of Nigerian football. My father believes that, in competition, there should be a hefty ass-whooping, and YOU should be the one giving it - end of story.
(Love you dad, sorry I haven't called. It's been quiet time around here.)
It's birthday season again and I wonder if my busy little friend - the one I was in love with circa January 2005 - will win the physics prize someday. While I can attest that winning a Nobel Prize is far from "the measure of a man" it's still really cool, you know? Me, I'll get a few. Girls would win more if they cared to.