Africa meant a lot to Muhammad Ali
—he meant even more to Africa
One of the most iconic catchphrases in the world of boxing in the Lingala language of central Africa, the chants from an enthusiastic crowd in Kinshasa, host to Muhammad Ali’s championship fight with George Foreman in 1974. It epitomized his connection with Africans. Heralded as not just the world champion but their champion, Ali was a towering inspiration to Africans throughout and beyond his fighting career.
Yet, Ali, born in Louisville, Kentucky and as steeped in American culture and mores as any man of his generation, had a connection with Africa that was deep, meaningful, long-term and way ahead of its time for an African American of his generation.
The love and respect was mutual.