Muhammad Ali. A sporting legend, boxer, an activist, a proud black man and many more. Ali fought impeccably within the ring and fought against the injustices faced by African-Americans in the United States. He famously denied to fight for the US Army during the Vietnam war on the basis that his true enemy was within America, not the people of Vietnam:

“Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years.” – Muhammad Ali 

He encouraged black people to be strong, proud of their strengths, have courage to fight against social and racial injustice and was like no other of his time. He was outspoken, insightful, courageous and to myself and many others alike, inspirational.

“Life is short; we get old so fast. It doesn’t make sense to waste time on hating.” -Muhammad Ali 

Rumble in the Jungle. Credits: Howard L. Bingham, 1974
Credits: Flip Shulke, 1961
Muhammad Ali in Ghana with Kwame Nkrumah, 1964

Rest in perfect peace.

Tiffany Afia