This feature is part of Blavity’s African Spotlight series, which highlights heads of state, as well as other politicians and societal leaders, who are currently in power or influencing change on the continent. African leaders are making a significant impact both in their own countries and internationally. Growing diasporas and increasing interconnectivity make developments on the continent more relevant to Black America and people everywhere than ever before.

Many people have never heard of Equatorial Guinea, a nation of 1.5 million people on the west coast of Africa. Fewer still know the name of its president, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the man who seized power from his own uncle in 1979 and has held it ever since. Having already been in power for 43 years, Obiang just won an election – if that is the proper word in a circumstance where the president holds unchecked power – to rule for six more years. And by placing his own son as vice president, Obiang has all but guaranteed that ruling the small nation will remain a family affair.