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UNIVERSAL MUSIC AFRICA EXPANDS EXCLUSIVE DISTRIBUTION PARTNERSHIP WITH LEADING FRENCH RAPPER BOOBA ACROSS AFRICA .
July 13, 2021 | 0 Comments

Deal encompasses distribution of Booba’s acclaimed catalog and future releases throughout the continent for the first time.

UMA And Booba launch 92i AFRICA Label to support African rap talent with marquee signings Dopeboy Dmg (Senegal) & Didi B (Cote D’ivoire)

Abidjan & Paris, 13 July 2021 – Universal Music Africa (UMA), a division of Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based entertainment, today announced an exclusive strategic pan-African distribution partnership with leading French rapper and entrepreneur, Booba and his Tallac Records label. The deal will see the acclaimed artists’ entire catalog, spanning 10 albums and almost two decades, available for the first time across the continent and will also include future releases.

The deal also marks the launch of the 92i Africa – a new division of his 92 i brand, in partnership with UMA and Universal Music France (UMF), his long-term distributor and partner in his Tallac Records and 92i brands. The label will focus on signing and developing the best in African rap and hip-hop talent and launches with the marquee signings of DopeBoy DMG (Senegal) and Didi B (Côte d’Ivoire). 92i Africa will also provide a suite of services for its artists including brand and marketing partnerships, live music production and touring services, and will be based out of UMA’s regional headquarters in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

Booba, a French native of Senegalese descent, is one of French rap’s most successful artists of all time, breaking domestic sales records, whilst achieving numerous Diamond (x 8), Platinum (x 17) and Gold (x 15) certified records in France, selling in-excess of 10 million albums. His live performances have also broken records in France, becoming the first rapper to sell out both Paris’ 20,000 capacity Accor Arena (twice), and the 40,000 capacity La Défense Arena. His latest album ‘Ultra‘, released in March 2021 via Tallac Records/UMF, has already achieved more than 300 million streams worldwide in its first few months since release.

An acclaimed record producer, Booba has discovered, recorded, and released successful artists including: Damso, Shay and Bramsitothrough his labels. With deep links to Africa, Booba will use 92i Africa and his partnership with UMA, as a building platform to help elevate African music talent to new audiences around the world, support and boost the local music ecosystem within French-speaking Africa and help shine a spotlight on the rich music culture and talent from the continent.

Booba is known for being an outstanding businessman and entrepreneur, having launched several successful clothing brands and stores including La Piraterie, Unkut and Disconnected. He also owns his own whiskey brand, D.U.C.

92i Africa launches with the marquee signing of Senegalese rapper, Dopeboy DMG – A skilled and versatile artist who both raps and sings in the Senegalese Wolof dialect, English and French. Dopeboy DMG is a part of one of Senegal’s most influential rap crews Reptyl Music. His debut single as a solo artist, ‘Respect’, will be released on July 23 via 92i Africa/Universal Music Africa, with an EP entitled ‘TMD’ to follow. He is joined on the roster by Ivorian rapper Didi B, already a prominent figure in African hip-hop. A former member of the band Kiff No Beat, known for a decade of French and pan-African hits. Didi’s first single with 92 I Africa, ‘Big Boss’ is out now.

In making the announcement, Franck Kacou, Managing Director, Universal Music Africa said, “Booba has been one of the most important and influential rap artists, inspiring new generations of French and African hip-hop talent for decades. He is an artist and entrepreneur that Africa is so proud of, so it is an honor to help make his deep catalog of groundbreaking music available across the continent for the first time. We are excited to work together with him to make 92i Africa, a home for some of Africa’s most exciting artists, and to help give them a step-forward onto the global stage.”

Olivier Nusse, CEO, Universal Music France said, “Booba is an outstanding artist who has dominated the urban music market in France for over 20 years. He is a mega star, and he is also a great talent scout. We are extremely happy to have him as a very privileged partner for many years. Booba is an incredible reference beyond the French borders and particularly in West Africa. We are very proud and excited that he has decided to share his genius and experience with our teams at Universal Music Africa to make his talent shine brighter than ever on the African continent, and highlight the fantastic creative breeding ground of this region.”

Launched in 2018 with a regional headquarters in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire – Universal Music Africa’s scope encompasses 25 French, Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries across the continent, and represents more than 50 artists, including some of the most respected and acclaimed artists from across Africa. Now with additional divisions in Dakar, Senegal and Doula, Cameroon, all under the leadership of UMA’s Managing Director Franck Kacou – UMA operates a wide-ranging suite of services for its recording artists and labels including: music production and publishing, live event production and brand partnerships. In recent years, UMA has launched several frontline labels – Def Jam Africa, the iconic hip-hop brand as a new standalone label on the continent, with resources across five countries, dedicated to discovering the best in African hip-hop, Afrobeats and Trap music. UMA also brought the historic Motown label to Africa with the launch of Motown Gospel Africa.

In March 2021, UMG signed a landmark deal with Boomplay, Africa’s leading domestic streaming service Boomplay to expand its distribution license for the UMG catalog to cover 47 countries within the continent. In Africa, UMG has led the industry, working hand in hand with both domestic and international platforms and Telco’s to help bring the best in global music to music fans across Africa.

UMG remains committed to helping bolster the wider local ecosystem, with continued focus on building a fair and prosperous market for all through better understanding and management of copyright and royalty distribution, and through the development of strong partnerships with platforms throughout the region which will be integral to introducing African music to a wider audience in years to come.

UMA works closely with UMG’s operations in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya & Morocco. UMG has divisions in 7 countries in Africa, with others scheduled to launch in the coming months.

UMG is also working closely in partnership with parent company Vivendi, and several of Vivendi’s divisions, including CanalOlympia, Olympia Production, Vivendi and Canal+ to support and develop the live music industry throughout Africa.

About Universal Music Group

Universal Music Group (UMG) is the world leader in music-based entertainment, with a broad array of businesses engaged in recorded music, music publishing, merchandising and audiovisual content in more than 60 countries. Featuring the most comprehensive catalog of recordings and songs across every musical genre, UMG identifies and develops artists and produces and distributes the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful music in the world. Committed to artistry, innovation and entrepreneurship, UMG fosters the development of services, platforms and business models in order to broaden artistic and commercial opportunities for our artists and create new experiences for fans. Universal Music Group is a Vivendi company.

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Pete Townshend’s Music Amplifies African World Blood Donor Day Celebrations
June 10, 2021 | 0 Comments
  • Musician Pete Townshend has given permission for his classic song ‘Give Blood’ (hear on Spotify and YouTube) to be used for the first time to promote blood donation on 14 June. Global Blood Fund, a charity focused on encouraging voluntary blood donation, has produced world-music interpretations in multiple languages for international use to inspire a new generation of blood donors.
  • World Blood Donor Day is one of only 9 official WHO Global Health Days, celebrating each year the vital contributions of tens of millions of blood donors around the world in enabling hospital procedures and saving lives. This year’s event is especially important as the global pandemic has devastated worldwide blood collection.

NAIROBI, Kenya, 10 June 2021-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- To celebrate World Blood Donor Day on 14 June, Global Blood Fund (GBF) has partnered with the Africa Society for Blood Transfusion (AfSBT), and the Coalition of Blood for Africa (CoBA) to release multiple interpretations of Pete Townshend’s song ‘Give Blood’, performed by leading African artists.

The videos can be shared on social media and through other channels, and are being donated by the charity free-of-charge to blood services across Africa (and Latin America and the Middle East) for use on and around World Blood Donor Day.

Pete Townshend, guitarist and principal songwriter for the legendary rock band, The Who, comments; “Although it is now more than 35 years since I wrote the song ‘Give Blood’, this is the first time it has actually been used to encourage blood donation. Shortage of blood around the world is a huge issue, particularly in poorer countries, and so I was delighted to give permission for Global Blood Fund to use my work to help communicate the need for more donors to come forward.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that the minimum number of units of blood needed to sustain an adequate level of health equals 1% of a nation’s population – 10 units per 1000 people. Yet many African countries fall well short of this minimum goal. The lack of infrastructure and equipment for collection and processing of blood components is a key impediment to providing a sustainable blood supply, as is a shortage of volunteer donors. Though blood and safe transfusion services are essential parts of any strong health system, the safety, sustainability and adequacy of blood remains a major health challenge in many African countries.

GBF’s Executive Director, Gavin Evans, explains the thinking behind the approach. “Each year it becomes harder for messages about the importance of blood donation to cut through to the public, even though tens of thousands tragically die because of blood shortages. But with music such an influential part of people’s lives – especially in many of those countries that struggle most to collect enough blood – for 2021 we are using lyrics and melody to highlight the extraordinary impact of donor generosity. Not only do these individuals help save the lives of those in need of a blood transfusion, but the benefit to family, friends and the wider community of helping that patient recover is also profound. Using music as the medium, we think we have really powerful messaging – and a great set of songs that people will enjoy in their own right.” 

Working closely with national and regional blood services across Africa, the music tracks will be released through multiple channels in the run up to 14 June, with national blood services encouraged to ‘get creative’ in how they use materials; as Bungoma County in Kenya did here

Evans adds; “Our hope is that thousands of new life-saving blood donors will come forward in all the countries using these materials.”

The following versions of the song, which are featured in a purpose-made video, are being released:

As well as YouTube links above, all materials can also be accessed via https://globalbloodfund.org/wbdd-resources/

Distributed by African Media Agencyfor Global Blood Fund.

About Global Blood Fund
GBF is a charity registered in Oklahoma, US, and England, UK. Each year around 120 million units of blood are collected worldwide, but poorer parts of the world – home to 84% of the population – collect only just over half of this. Shortages in low-HDI countries are common and lack of availability for transfusion leads to tens of thousands of premature deaths; particularly among young children experiencing complications from malaria and mothers in childbirth. GBF aims to re-balance these inequalities. It does this by providing training, equipment, money and other forms of support. It is particularly focused on encouraging voluntary donation, recognized by the WHO as the most effective and cost-efficient of all possible interventions. More at https://globalbloodfund.org/

About the Africa Society for Blood Transfusion
AfSBT is the Africa’s leading professional organization serving the blood banking community. Its mission is to advocate for the highest ethical and professional standards and skills in blood transfusion across the continent; enabling safe, universally accessible and sustainable national blood programmes in participating countries. More at https://afsbt.org/

About the Coalition of Blood for Africa
CoBA was launched in 2020 with the goal of finding solutions to the perennial challenges of sufficient, safe blood on the continent. The coalition brings together an unprecedented array of health experts, including public-sector research institutes, ministries of health, academia, not-for-profit research and development organisations, NGOs, international organizations and private sector organisations all committed to one goal: access to safe, sustainable blood in Africa. More at https://cobaafrica.org/

For Further Information
Gavin Evans, gavin.evans@globalbloodfund.org, (+44)7711 447242

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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Award-winning movie Eyimofe returns to Nigeria after successful run at world’s top film festivals
March 30, 2021 | 0 Comments
* Acclaimed Nigerian film to premiere in Lagos on Sunday April 18

GDN Studios, part of The Guardian Group, has announced the premiere and cinema release of its debut film Eyimofe (This is My Desire), following an extensive tour of the global film festival circuit. The movie will have its Nigerian premiere on Sunday, April 18, just days before opening in cinemas on Friday, April 23.

Eyimofe has been praised by international audiences, festival directors, critics and industry media as an outstanding effort by Arie and Chuko Esiri, brothers and co-directors of their first feature film. The movie takes an unflinching look at the pressures of everyday life in Nigeria, the desperate measures people take to survive, and the unrelenting desire to escape to a better life abroad, by whatever means. It traces the parallel lives of Mofe, a stoic electrician and part-time security guard, and Rosa, a struggling hairdresser, both trying to navigate illegal ways of fleeing the country.

Eyimofe has represented Nigeria globally, having been selected for festivals in twenty countries to date. These include the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival 2020, where it had its World Premiere; the British Film Institute’s London Film Festival; and the American Film Institute (AFI) Film Festival. It has garnered several festival awards including ‘Winner, Best Fiction, New Filmmakers’ at the São Paulo International Film Festival (Brazil), and ‘Winner, Achille Valdata Award’ at the Torino Film Festival (Italy).

According to executive producer Toke Alex Ibru, the film has exceeded expectations. “We’ve been encouraged by the tremendous reception the film has received in London, Berlin, São Paolo (Brazil), Los Angeles and other cities. It’s really exciting to bring Eyimofe home to Nigeria and see how audiences react to seeing our lives portrayed onscreen in such a realistic way.”

Co-directors Arie & Chuko issued a statement to mark the film’s release. “Eyimofe is very special to both of us – not just because it’s our first full-length feature, but due to the amazing support we have received from the cast, crew, and a host of backers. We’re grateful to GDN Studios for allowing us to tell this touching story without compromising on production values and for helping to give the film the global exposure it has received. Audiences abroad have taken this movie to their hearts and we look forward to having Nigerians embrace it, even as they discuss some of the issues it raises about the human condition.”


Some of the film industry’s leading international publications have been very positive about Eyimofe. Variety (USA) said that the film is “a clear-eyed portrait of a vibrant informed by two talented native sons”; the British Film Institute’s Sight & Sound called it a “stunning feature debut” and Frieze (UK) suggested it was “an outstanding story of interwoven tales”. The Hollywood Reporter said it was “carefully observed and well-performed drama… a love-hate letter to a great and flawed city, from two talented young filmmakers”.

The premiere of Eyimofe – This is My Desire takes place on Sunday, April 18, at EbonyLife Place in Victoria Island, Lagos, and opens in cinemas on Friday, April 23 in selected cinemas across Nigeria. For further information, visit www.Eyimofe.film.

Synopsis:
Tragedy and fate intervene as two Nigerians try to better the lives of their families. Eyimofe (This is My Desire) is a film about two people’s quest for what they believe will be a better life on foreign shores.

After Mofe loses his family and Rosa fails to deliver on a promise, their travel plans collapse forcing them to reconsider living abroad. As time passes and wounds heal, they learn the future they desperately seek can be built at home.

About GDN:
An extensive range of locations, production services and post-production services under one roof. We also offer much more to cover all your project needs.

We enable and facilitate entertainment, media and creative projects in Nigeria for production or co-production. This is made possible by our ecosystem of partners, deep knowledge of the market, government support, and access to funding participation from major banks and institutional partners.

Our dedicated team will help you take care of end-to-end needs including legal and permits, security, medical assistance, insurance and logistic requirements to ensure every aspect of your experience with us is world class. Whatever your production needs, GDN Studios will deliver.

About The Guardian:
The Guardian 
is an independent newspaper, established for the purpose of presenting balanced coverage of events, and of promoting the best interests of

Nigeria. It owes allegiance to no political party, ethnic community, religious or other interest group. Its primary commitment is to the integrity and sovereignty of the Federation of Nigeria and beyond that to the unity and sovereignty of Africa.

The Guardian is a liberal newspaper, committed to the best traditions and ideals of republican democracy. It believes that it is the responsibility of the state not only to protect and defend the citizens, but also to create the conditions, political, social, economic and cultural, in which all citizens have duties as well as rights.

The Guardian does not, in principle, object to the ideology of the free enterprise, since this would be inconsistent with its commitment to individual liberty and freedom. But it believes that the state must intervene judiciously in the economic life of the nation, in order to minimise the adverse effects of free enterprise without prejudice to the right of individual citizens to exploit labour and capacity for their own benefit.

The Guardian believes it is the duty of the state to ensure that less privileged citizens have reasonable and fair access to the basic necessities of life.

The Guardian will at all times uphold the need for justice, probity in public life, equal access to the nation’s resources, and equal protection under the laws of Nigeria for all citizens.

The Guardian believes that Nigeria is a legitimate member of the international community, but holds that she can best fulfil her international obligations only if her own security and integrity are assured.

The Motto of The Guardian is Conscience, Nurtured by Truth.

The Guardian was first published a weekly on February 27, 1983. It went daily five months later on Monday, July 4, 1983.

SOURCE
GDN Studios

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Africa CDC, African Union, WHO, The Rockefeller Foundation, Join the ‘One by One: Target COVID-19 Campaign’ to launch: ‘AfricaCovidChampions’ And for a Virtual Workshop for Celebrity Influencers, Business Leaders, Media Houses, and Journalists.
March 30, 2021 | 0 Comments
Martha Kay, Ugandan performer / Music artist has agreed to use her platforms to fight covid as part of #AfricaCOVIDChampions

Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Brazzaville (Republic of Congo), Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo), Lusaka (Zambia), New York, NY (USA) , 30th March 2021 -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- In order to combat the spread of misinformation and to mitigate the deadly spread of COVID-19, the One by One: Target COVID-19 Campaign, alongside the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, Regional Office for Africa, the African Union, and The Rockefeller Foundation today launched ‘AfricaCOVIDChampions.’

  
AfricaCovidChampions is a new initiative which includes some of the most prominent African celebrities, media personalities, journalists, and influencers from the sports, entertainment, business, cultural and faith communities. The prominent figures include Heritier Wanabe (Musician), Simon Mwewa Lane (TV Show Host), Joseph Kusaga (Media Owner), Jeff Koinange (Journalist/Talk Show Host) and Gift Ali (Ugandan Football player / Sports Personality). These influencers have committed to serve as powerful public health advocates and will help reach people with the essential information needed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We thank the powerful AfricaCovidChampions who are lending their voices to our critical public health efforts. Through AfricaCovidChampions, we plan to reach millions of people with messages delivered by trusted community, faith and cultural leaders. When people hear common sense advice from the celebrities they see every day, and from trusted faith leaders, they will take appropriate action to prevent COVID-19,” said Dr. John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa CDC.

The AfricaCovidChampions kicked off with a virtual influencer workshop which was designed to offer all influencers the tools needed to be effective COVID-19 ambassadors.  The workshop included hundreds of influencers from across the continent, including artists, media personalities and business leaders. 

The workshop – through which more than 400 multi-sector influencers were mobilized to join the fight against COVID – kicked off with remarks from Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa CDC, and H.E. Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, Former President of Tanzania. Additionally, technical insights into best viral protection practices and vaccine rollout were provided via the expertise of Dr. Ahmed E. Ogwell, OUMA, Deputy Director at Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and Dr. Richard Mihigo, Program Area Manager, Immunization and Vaccine Development Programme Coordinator, WHO Regional Office for Africa. 

The workshop succeeded in its dual mission to: 

1) Galvanize an elite cadre of influential and prominent celebrities to become AfricaCovidChampions to help combat COVID-19 and 
2) Equip and empower these champions with the accurate COVID-19 information they’ll need to help save lives. 

Heritier Wantanabe a music artist from DRC has agreed to use his platforms to fight covid as part of #AfricaCOVIDChampions

At the end of the workshop, all champions will receive a technical toolkit to help them reach out to their target audiences.  

“This initiative is predicted to have lasting impact, not only for stopping the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa, but by forming an influential communication pipeline to impact ongoing health engagement across the continent. The AfricaCovidChampions’ commitment to stopping the spread of misinformation, particularly as vaccine roll-out begins, marks a significant milestone in the African response to COVID-19,” said Dr. Mihigo of the World Health Organization’s Regional Office in Africa

Today at the influencer workshop, Dr. Moeti announced the launch of the ‘WHO Viral Facts Africa’ which will disseminate verified health information and facts about protecting individuals and communities from COVID-19, as well as scientifically-proven facts about COVID-19 vaccines. 

As Dr. Moeti told the virtual audience, “We’re not just facing a pandemic; We’re facing an infodemic.” She continued to explain: “Viral health misinformation costs lives. False claims spread online and offline spread faster than the coronavirus, itself….Together, we can stop viral rumors by sharing Viral Facts.” 
The timing of AfricaCovidChampions campaign is critical as 90 million doses of vaccines are arriving in the coming weeks, according to Dr. Mihigo. 

Simultaneously, the Siya Kolisi Foundation and Roche launched a children’s book that will help parents and caregivers explain COVID-19 to children by sharing scientific facts in age-appropriate language. The book is available for free download on both the Kolisi Foundation’s and Roche’s websites and digital channels, and a limited number of free printed copies will be distributed throughout Africa in seven languages. The Kolisi Foundation was founded by South Africa’s 2019 World Cup-winning captain, Siya, and his wife Rachel, and seeks to support people living in under-resourced communities in South Africa. Together, Roche and the Kolisi Foundation aim to contribute to the AfricaCovidChampions campaign efforts to spread reliable information about COVID-19. 

The launch of AfricaCovidChampions is made possible by the generous support of The Rockefeller Foundation, who recently committed nearly USD $35 million to COVID-19 response efforts in Africa. “We are pleased to support the launch of AfricaCovidChampions to ensure that communities across Africa are empowered to make informed decisions to protect themselves and their loved ones,” said William Asiko, Managing Director and Head of The Rockefeller Foundation’s Africa Regional Office. 

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of Access Challenge.

One by One: Target COVID-19
One by One: Target COVID-19 is a pan-African, coalition-driven communications and advocacy campaign created by The Access Challenge, the African Union and the Africa CDC. The Coalition supports the African Union in its COVID-19 response by advocating for increased financing for the Africa COVID-19 Response Fund to strengthen the Africa CDC’s capacity for securing essential diagnostics and medical supplies. The Campaign also includes various mass media campaigns to mobilize influencers from all sectors to use their viral platforms to promote increased testing, vaccine uptake, and general COVID-19 prevention measures across Africa.

The Africa CDC
Africa CDC is a specialized technical institution of the African Union that strengthens the capacity and capability of Africa’s public health institutions as well as partnerships to detect and respond quickly and effectively to disease threats and outbreaks, based on data-driven interventions and programmes. Learn more at: http://www.africacdc.org

The Rockefeller Foundation 
The Rockefeller Foundation advances new frontiers of science, data, and innovation to solve global challenges related to health, food, power, and economic mobility. As a science-driven philanthropy focused on building collaborative relationships with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation seeks to inspire and foster large-scale human impact that promotes the well-being of humanity throughout the world by identifying and accelerating breakthrough solutions, ideas, and conversations. For more information, sign up for our newsletter at rockefellerfoundation.org and follow us on Twitter @RockefellerFdn

For media inquiries, please contact:
Cordelia Kwon, Partnership and Communications Associate, The Access Challenge,cordelia.kwon@accesschallenge.org

Raïssa Litete Beyande, Campaign and Promotion Support officer, Africa CDC, LiteteR@africa-union.org

Umuliza M. Njiru, Manager of Communications, Policy and Advocacy, The Rockefeller Foundation (Nairobi), unjiru@rockfound.org

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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The British Council joins the movement to shift stereotypical narratives about Africa
March 24, 2021 | 0 Comments

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, 24, March 2021 -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Africa No Filter today announced that the British Council, the UK-based organisation that supports arts, culture, and education initiatives globally, has come on board to fund its work to shift harmful and stereotypical narratives about Africa.

The British Council will join seven other organisations – Ford Foundation, Bloomberg, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Luminate, Open Society Foundations, Comic Relief, and the Hilton Foundation – who are all committed to seeing narratives change on the continent. Africa No Filter’s pooled funding now tops USD 5million. The funds are used for grant-making, research and advocacy campaigns that highlight narratives and their impact on the continent.

“New Narratives between the countries of Africa and the UK will not be achieved by any one organisation. The opportunity to work with the ANF collective on this important area allows us to harness our different strengths and networks to achieve a whole that is more than the sum of its parts. I am excited by the possibility and look forward to working with the ANF team in the coming years,” says Ojoma Ochai, New Narratives programme director at the British Council.

The partnership comes at an important time for Africa No Filter as awareness of its work is growing. The organisation will celebrate its first anniversary in May. It has already made an impact on understanding the role of narrative on perceptions that exist about Africa and Africans, including the release of the How the Media in Africa Covers Africa report. The report found that a third of all stories found in African outlets about other African countries are sourced from western media outlets, 63% of outlets surveyed don’t have correspondents in other countries in Africa, and 81% of the stories analysed were classified as “hard news” and largely political in nature.

Africa No Filter (ANF) also announced arts, culture, and media grants to support disruptive storytelling about Africa within Africa. In February, ANF announced its first cohort of Academic Fellowswho have joined forces to investigate narratives about Africa.

ANF’s executive director Moky Makura welcomed the addition of the British Council to the donor collaborative. “It’s amazing that we are able to bring on new partners at this time, given the global disruption the world is experiencing with COVID. It shows the work we are doing to shift narratives is important. Narratives matter, how the world sees Africa and how Africa sees itself has an impact on development – on how aid, investment, and intra-Africa trade works.”

Makura added: “The British Council brings immense expertise to the collaborative given its track record and expertise in supporting storytellers – especially young and emerging talent on the continent. New partners mean new funding for us to give to storytellers and for creative projects. They also understand that the success of their work on the continent is underpinned by our ability as Africans to believe in ourselves and not in the stereotypical narratives about and within Africa.”

Moses Anibaba, regional director for sub-Saharan Africa at the British Council, said, “Gaps in perceptions are the root cause of misunderstanding in all sort of situations: from friends and family, to relationships between countries. We need to tackle outdated, incorrect and incomplete pictures from Africa and the UK – and the best way to do this is to support and amplify young new voices and creativity.”

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of Africa No Filter.

Notes to editors:

About Africa No Filter

Africa No Filter is a donor collaborative that’s working to shift stereotypical and harmful narratives within and about Africa. Through research, grant-making and advocacy our objective is to build the field of narrative change-makers by supporting storytellers, investing in media platforms and driving disruption campaigns. ANF’s goal over time is to leave an empowered narrative change ecosystem and an informed community of storytellers who work more deliberately to change harmful narratives within and about Africa. The donor collaborative is funded by Ford Foundation, Bloomberg, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Luminate, Open Society Foundations, Comic Relief, the Hilton Foundation and the British Council. www.africanofilter.org

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We build connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English language. Last year we reached over 80 million people directly and 791 million people overall including online broadcasts and publications. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive a 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government. www.britishcouncil.org

Contact lerato@africanofilter.org for more information about ANF’s work.

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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Fisherman’s Diary Puts Cameroon Film Industry on Global Map With Oscars Representation
January 11, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Cameroonian Movie The Fisherman's Diary picks up from where it left in 2020
Cameroonian Movie The Fisherman’s Diary picks up from where it left in 2020

Picking up from where it left behind in 2020, Cameroonian movie The Fisherman’s Diary is going full steam ahead in 2021. The movie fronted by Kang Quintus and Faith Fidel and Directed by Enah Johnscott has been accepted to represent Cameroon at the 93rd edition of the Oscars.

“The movie becomes the 1st ever Cameroon film to achieve this milestone. Thank you to the Cameroon Oscars committee and CFI,” Kang Quintus posted.

“It is a statement that the Cameroonian film industry is doing a lot of work. We have stepped up the game a little bit and it is quite a humble experience that the Fisherman’s Diary is the first-ever Cameroonian film to be accepted into the Oscars to represent Cameroon,” Kang Quintus told Pan African Visions in a telephone interview. 

“I am very humble and it tells us that whatever we are doing here we are doing the right thing and a lot of work is to be done. I can tell you that this is the beginning of many great films as we are heading to August and we are open to partway for that to be possible.”

With the Fisherman’s Diary already making headways, Kang Quintus is already envisaging the production of a new movie before the year ends. “The Fisherman’s Diary is the beginning of many films to come from Kang Quintus Films,” Kang Quintus said.

“As soon as we are done with the marketing and distribution of this film we are getting to preproduction for the next film and all of that is in the pipeline. We have to put all energy behind the Fisherman’s Diary right now because it has to get all the attention it deserves.”

“There are many awards that we have submitted this film to and as soon as the good news comes in we are going to make it public,” Kang Quintus, the Best actor of the 2020 Golden Movie Awards said. 

Last year the Fisherman’s Diary was one of the major success stories for the Cameroonian movie industry picking up awards in the country and beyond. At the Golden Movie Awards in Ghana and the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) in Nigeria, the Film snapped up 10 awards, adding to awards in Instanbul, Cameroon, and a host of other countries.

The movie fronted by Kang Quintus and Faith Fidel has won big at the Golden Movie Awards in Ghana and the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) in Nigeria.
The movie fronted by Kang Quintus and Faith Fidel has won big at the Golden Movie Awards in Ghana and the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) in Nigeria.

An insight into The Fisherman’s Diary

The movie directed by Enah Johnscott and produced by Kang Quintus is a storey of a 12-year-old Ekah (Faith Fidel) who got inspired by Malala Yousalzai, the youngest noble prize winner.

She is determined to go to school in a village of fishermen where it is considered as taboo. He drives to break this adage gets her embroiled with her father Solomon (Kang Quintus) experience with girl child education, critiqsite reported.

The film features other actors such as Ramses Nouah, Onyama Laura, Neba Godwill, Mayohchu and Daphne Njie.

The film has won best film in India and New York, picking up Best director, best film, best soundtrack and best production nominations at the prestigious PAMA in Paris, France.

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Cameroon: The Fisherman’s Diary Wins Big at AMA, Golden Movie Awards
December 21, 2020 | 1 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

The Fisherman's Diary continues to soar across the world

The Fisherman’s Diary continues to soar across the world

 

Cameroonian movie of the year The Fisherman’s Diary’s rise shows no sign of stopping. The movie fronted by Kang Quintus and Faith Fidel has won big at the Golden Movie Awards in Ghana and the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) in Nigeria. At the two awards, the Film snapped up 10 awards.

At the AMAA, which is seen as the “African Oscars”, The Fisherman’s Diary picked up 2 awards after being nominated in 9 categories. Faith Fide won Best Young Actress, while Enah Johnscott and Buh Melvin “Baba Prox” won the award for Best Screenplay.

For the Golden Movie Awards in Ghana, the movie was nominated in 15 categories, succeeded in winning 8. Kang Quintus and Faith Fidel, lead actor and actress were the two standout winners of the Golden Movie Awards.

Kang Quintus who was nominated as Best Actor did succeed in winning the award. He also went home with the award for Best Sound Editor.  Faith Fidel took home two awards, one for Best Actress and Discovery of the Year.

The Fisherman’s Diary who was nominated for Best Film did also succeed in winning the award for Best Film. Enah Johnscott and Buh Melvin “Baba Prox” won the award for Best Screenplay. Rene Etta took home the award for Best Cinematographer; the Best indigenous Film category was won by The Fisherman’s Diary.

“We have made waves in 29 countries and 6 nominations in a festival like that with other great films in Africa and we dominating the entire festival is an honour for not just me but the entire country Cameroon. It tells us that the Cameroonian cinema is there and we are ready to compete with any other country and not just in Africa but the world at large,” Kang Quintus told Pan African Visions after the nominations were made public.

“… It was a lot of time and talent that went into the project and this is just a reflection of hard work that went into the film.”

An insight into The Fisherman’s Diary

The movie directed by Enah Johnscott and produced by Kang Quintus is a storey of a 12-year-old Ekah (Faith Fidel) who got inspired by Malala Yousalzai, the youngest noble prize winner.

She is determined to go to school in a village of fishermen where it is considered as taboo. He drives to break this adage gets her embroiled with her father Solomon (Kang Quintus) experience with girl child education, critiqsite reported.

The film features other actors such as Ramses Nouah, Onyama Laura, Neba Godwill, Mayohchu and Daphne Njie.

The film has won best film in India and New York, picking up Best director, best film, best soundtrack and best production nominations at the prestigious PAMA in Paris, France.

 

 

 

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Infinix partners with Sally Karagon a Renowned Fashion icon on Zero 8 Launch in the Kenyan market
September 18, 2020 | 0 Comments

NAIROBI, Kenya, September 18 2020, -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Infinix, a global leader in consumer electronics market, has launched the ZERO 8 in the Kenyan market. ZERO 8 is the company’s flagship series for 2020/21. Though targeting the high-end market, Zero 8 will retail at a relatively affordable price of Kshs 28,999.

The launch has been conducted in partnership with Sally Karago, a renowned international fashion designer. This partnership with a high-end designer is geared towards raising the Infinix’s brand position and perception in the market as a high end phone. This is also part of a broader push to combine tech with fashion to create products that are a fusion of design and innovation.

“Infinix is taking a step to be more premium and able to compete and be the face of this new direction as a fashion-conscious brand. This direction is very much in tandem with our target customers, whose lifestyle can be described as image and fashion-conscious and trendy, with a taste for high end gadgets”, said Mike Zhang, Infinix Kenya Brand Manager.

Using her international acclaim and experience, Sally has designed garments for the three celebrities who graced the launch, namely the gorgeous songstress Tanasha Donna, celebrated chef Ali Mandhry and Catherine Kamau, an award-winning actress. Inspired by the Turkana culture, Sally’s fashion collection has been made using local African fabrics and beads for accessories (all drawn from the Turkana culture). The design features diamond-shaped elements which are the main design concept for the Zero 8 smartphone.

(From left, singer Tanasha Donna, Chef Ali Mandhry and actress Catherine Kamau)

The accessories, including beads, also drawn from Sally’s Turkana collection experience, feature the main colours of the Infinix brand, which are green, black, and white.

Explore more about the story https://youtu.be/ByjWM1xkf70

Tanasha Donna wearing the Sally Karago designed garment for Infinix Zero 8 Launch

Sally also designed special shirts as uniforms to be worn by Infinix sales representatives in various Infinix outlets. These feature an ethnic fabric strip on the button section of the shirt. The ethnic fabric color drawn from the Turkana culture is close to green, a key Infinix brand color. They spot the Infinix brand logo across the chest pocket region giving a simplistic finish and an appealing look. These uniforms communicate a much-improved customer care approach to Infinix consumers and are a symbol of improved brand professionalism.

Infinix sales representatives wearing the Sally Karago designed shirts

The stylish and fashion-focused Infinix Zero 8 runs on Android v10 operating system, with its key feature being the presence of a Media Tek Helio G90 processor. This, combined with 128 GB ROM and 8 GB RAM, will enable consumers to experience improved speeds and overall device performance, including quick upload and download times and an amazing experience with the apps, compared to the Zero 6. The 90Hz Full HD Display and G90T processor also means enhanced performance on the screen and for the cameras, including the wide angle, ultra-wide angle and rear cameras that will take photographic performance to a new level.
On the front, for the first time ever, Infinix has released a device with two selfie cameras (48 + 8MP), fitting them in a punch-hole setup. At the back, there’s a 64-megapixel main sensor headlining the quad-camera setup housed in the diamond-style bump.

Smartphones have become a key aspect in everyday life, enabling many people to run their businesses from the comforts of their seats and giving them access to the outside world. Over the last few years, the partnership between tech companies (especially device manufacturers), and fashion houses has witnessed a tremendous growth.

Infinix is also set to venture into a new product category with launched Infinix TV, aimed at fulfilling smart lifestyle living in accordance with modern trends. With Android TV™, the high-quality viewing experience, and the AIoT technology, the new smart TV will develop the new business line for the company and take the entertainment of local customers to a new level.

The Infinix X1 will retail at a relatively affordable price of KES 31,990(43-inch)/KES 19,490(32-inch) and will be covered by a guarantee policy of up to 24 months.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of Infinix Mobile.

About Infinix

Infinix Mobile is a Shenzhen-based smartphone company founded in 2013 and a subsidiary of Transsion. The brand was born after the French mobile manufacturer Sagem Wireless was acquired in 2011. The company has Research and Development (R&D) centres sprawling between France and Korea and designs its phones in France.

Infinix is committed to building cutting-edge technology and fashionably designed dynamic mobile devices to create globally-focused intelligent life experiences through a merging of fashion + technology.

With the brand spirit of challenging the norms, Infinix smart devices are designed specifically for young people who want to stand out, reach out and be in sync with the world.

Media Contact:
Zachary Ochieng
Tel: 0726 473 388
Email: zachary@expressddb.co.ke

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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Youth activist-led social enterprise inspires next generation of female leaders
September 16, 2020 | 0 Comments

Blackboard Africa tackles gender-based violence by inspiring, empowering young girls with leadership skills and practical tools for building a better future.

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, September 16 2020 -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Looking out over the skyline of the vibrant city of Johannesburg, one youth activist considers the work that still lies ahead to safeguard women’s rights and safety. In a country with one of the world’s highest rates of gender-based violence, Amonge Sinxoto is making sure young women are empowered to effect change in their communities.

“Globally, women’s safety remains in peril, and they often bear the brunt of gender-based violence. We need to work with young women and cultivate their talent, so they feel confident to help build a safer, more just society.”

Amonge Sinxoto is the co-founder of Blackboard Africa, a 2019 Global Teen Leader and current Allan Gray Candidate Fellow. She has lent her voice to speak on issues related to youth activism on programmes by Google, Facebook, and TEDx. And she’s only 19 years old.

In 2019, Sinxoto attended the Social Enterprise World Forum in Addis Ababa, where she met SAP Head of Global CSR Alexandra van der Ploeg. After Sinxoto shared a proposal of their plans for 2020, Blackboard Africa was awarded an SAP grant for €15,000 to help fund some of the planned activities. “Alexandra has been a mentor and helped guide us through the disruption from Covid-19 to ensure we can continue our programmes despite lockdown. She has also helped guide us as we make changes to our organisation to ensure we can continue delivering on our purpose, which is more relevant than ever.”

Sinxoto says the statistics speak for themselves: “South African women feel unsafe, bear the brunt of gender-based attacks, and often live in fear even as they contend with immense socio-economic challenges. It’s time to lean into young women and empower them to become the next generation of leaders in our country.”

Accurate figures over South Africa’s rate of gender-based violence are hard to come by, partly because most incidents are not reported. However, in one local study in 2011, data revealed that more than one in every three (37.7%) women in the country’s economic hub of Gauteng have experienced intimate partner violence. And last year, a study by StatsSA found that 43% of women surveyed reported feeling unsafe.

Blackboard Africa is a registered non-profit organisation based in Johannesburg, South Africa. The brainchild of youth activists and social entrepreneurs Amonge Sinxoto and Zingisa Socikwa, Blackboard Africa aims to bridge the leadership gap among young people aged 13 to 25 with a view to addressing Africa’s challenges.

The organisation runs a number of projects, including the Fan Her Flame leadership programme, a Boys Will Not Be Boys outreach programme for young men, and Pass The Baton, which aims to prepare young people aged 12 to 25 to overcome life’s hurdles in the pursuit of social impact.

Sinxoto and her team are currently working with two groups of girls as part of the Fan Her Flame programme, one group from Soweto and another from Alexandra township. “Many of these girls live in trying circumstances with daily battles against poverty and hunger. Despite this, the girls are incredibly bright, but their confidence levels are low. We want to inspire them to see themselves in situations where they can achieve more and make a positive change in the community around them.”

The Fan Her Flame programme takes the format of a series of workshops hosted over several weeks. The goal is for young women to understand their value, learn to better express their challenges and maximise their contribution to the development of their communities. “We want to show these young women that there is power in their voice,” says Sinxoto. “And we want to give them practical tools to help them build a better future, including planning techniques that help them set short and long-term goals that bring them closer to their vision.”

She adds that it’s important that the next generation of female leaders and role models don’t live in fear of violence and abuse. “Tackling the issue of gender-based violence requires interventions at multiple levels. Policy reform is needed to improve the structures that govern women’s rights. Police need to be trained to deal with gender-based issues and increase the intensity at which they investigate gender-based violence. And we need an honest conversation with men, many of whom continue to wage war against the women in our society.”

South Africa’s government is taking the matter seriously. It released a National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide in 2020, which features a detailed action plan built on four strategic pillars: Accountability Coordination and Leadership; Prevention and Rebuilding of Social Cohesion; Justice, Safety and Protection; and Response, Care, Support and Healing.

“The challenges are immense,” says Sinxoto. “In one of our communities, up to ten families share a single outdoor toilet. This means young girls often have to walk in the dark of night as far as 1km to use the bathroom, which puts them at incredible risk. These are not problems that will disappear overnight, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t meaningful actions we can take now to improve the lives of these young girls and inspire hope.”

To help deliver on its purpose, Blackboard Africa often works with partners and volunteers to help drive the success of its programmes. “We are always seeking more industry support, particularly to bring in relevant mentors that can inspire and guide the girls on their journey. Funding is always a challenge: some of the communities in which we work face abject poverty. You can’t learn when you’re distracted by hunger, so we work with partners to meet some basic needs within our communities.”

Global head of CSR for SAP, Alexandra van der Ploeg says young women such as Amonge and her colleagues at Blackboard Africa hold the promise of a bright future for the African continent. “Undaunted by the scale of the challenges, Amonge and the Blackboard Africa team work tirelessly to support one of the most vulnerable communities, inspiring hope and creating opportunities for meaningful change in their communities. As a purpose-led organisation, SAP is proud to support the vital work they are doing and will continue working with them to create sustainable, positive impact.”

For more information about Blackboard Africa’s initiatives, please visit www.blackboardafrica.com and here are further links to video content of these young women in action:

Visit the SAP News Center. Follow SAP on Twitter at @SAPNews.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of SAP Africa.

About SAP
As the Experience Company powered by the Intelligent Enterprise, SAP is the market leader in enterprise application software, helping companies of all sizes and in all industries run at their best: 77% of the world’s transaction revenue touches an SAP® system. Our machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced analytics technologies help turn customers’ businesses into intelligent enterprises. SAP helps give people and organizations deep business insight and fosters collaboration that helps them stay ahead of their competition. We simplify technology for companies so they can consume our software the way they want – without disruption. Our end-to-end suite of applications and services enables more than 440,000 business and public customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and make a difference. With a global network of customers, partners, employees, and thought leaders, SAP helps the world run better and improve people’s lives. For more information, visit www.sap.com.

Any statements contained in this document that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements as defined in the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “forecast,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “project,” “predict,” “should” and “will” and similar expressions as they relate to SAP are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. SAP undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations. The factors that could affect SAP’s future financial results are discussed more fully in SAP’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including SAP’s most recent Annual Report on Form 20-F filed with the SEC. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of their dates.
© 2020 SAP SE. All rights reserved.
SAP and other SAP products and services mentioned herein as well as their respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP SE in Germany and other countries. Please see https://www.sap.com/copyright for additional trademark information and notices.

Note to editors:
To preview and download broadcast-standard stock footage and press photos digitally, please visit www.sap.com/photos. On this platform, you can find high resolution material for your media channels. To view video stories on diverse topics, visit www.sap-tv.com. From this site, you can embed videos into your own Web pages, share video via email links, and subscribe to RSS feeds from SAP TV.

For customers interested in learning more about SAP products:
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United States Only: 1 (800) 872-1SAP (1-800-872-1727)

For more information, press only:
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Adam Hunter, SAP Africa, +27 (711) 787 035, adam.hunter@sap.com

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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Infinix to feature a Prominent Kenyan designer for the Zero 8 Launch
August 31, 2020 | 0 Comments

NAIROBI, Kenya, August 31, 2020 -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Infinix, a global leader in consumer electronics market, is tipped to partner with Sally Karago, an award-winning international fashion designer, to launch the Zero 8 smartphone in the Kenyan market. This partnership with a high-end designer is geared towards raising the Infinix’s brand position and perception in the market as a high end phone. This is also part of a broader push to combine tech with fashion to create products that are a fusion of design and innovation.

According to the company, Infinix is taking a step to be more premium and able to compete and be the face of this new direction as a fashion-conscious brand. This direction is very much in tandem with the expected target customers, whose lifestyle could be described as image and fashion-conscious and trendy, with a taste for high end gadgets.

“Infinix will continue to play its key role in developing devices that meet the market needs as well as technology of the day that endear users to the future lifestyle aspirations”, said Mike Zhang, Infinix Kenya Brand Manager.

With her international acclaim, Sally will be a sure bet in designing garments to be worn by three celebrities currently working with Infinix. Inspired by the Turkana culture, Sally’s fashion collection will be made using local African fabrics and beads for accessories (all drawn from the Turkana culture). The design will feature diamond shaped elements which is the main design concept for the Zero 8 smartphone. Below is a sneak peek of how the garments will appear.

The accessories, including beads, which will also be drawn from Sally’s Turkana collection experience, would feature the main colors of the Infinix brand, which are green, black and white. Sally will also design shirts to be won by Infinix sales representatives, these will feature the diamond shaped elements, as well as ethnic fabrics that resonate with the Infinix brand colors, thus creating an integration between the local fashion and technology, in this case represented by the Infinix Zero 8 smartphone.

The stylish and fashion focused Infinix Zero 8 is speculated to be launched in Kenya in September and may come in black colours. An expected key feature of the phone is the presence of a Media Tek Helio G90 processor. Infinix Zero 8 is touted to redefine the company’s image when thinking about their devices. A salient feature that Infinix is set to brag about is the device’s cameras, both on the front and at the back. On the front, for the first time ever, Infinix is poised to release a device with two selfie cameras (48 + 8MP), fitting them in a punch-hole setup. At the back, there’s a 64-megapixel main sensor headlining the quad-camera setup housed in the diamond-style bump.

Still on the design, Infinix Zero 8 is expected to have a dual-punch hole cut-out for the selfie snapper, present at the top left corner. These will include a 48MP primary lens and an 8MP wide-angle lens. It will have a 90Hz refresh rate and 180Hz touch sampling rate display. As far as cameras are concerned, the Infinix ZERO 8 will feature a 64MP quad-camera setup, in a prism-shaped module. The handset has a USB Type-C port for charging and data transfer. Below are some teaser images of the device.

Smartphones have become a key aspect in everyday life, enabling many people to run their businesses from the comforts of their seats and giving them access to the outside world.Over the last few years, the partnership between tech companies (especially device manufacturers), and fashion houses has witnessed a tremendous growth.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of Infinix.

About Infinix

Infinix Mobile is a Shenzhen-based smartphone company founded in 2013 and a subsidiary of Transsion. The brand was born after the French mobile manufacturer Sagem Wireless was acquired in 2011. The company has Research and Development (R&D) centres sprawling between France and Korea and designs its phones in France.

Infinix is committed to building cutting-edge technology and fashionably designed dynamic mobile devices to create globally-focused intelligent life experiences through a merging of fashion + technology.

With the brand spirit of challenging the norms, Infinix smart devices are designed specifically for young people who want to stand out, reach out and be in sync with the world.

For media enquiries or to book interviews, please contact Zachary Ochieng on 0726 473 388

Email: zachary@expressddb.co.ke

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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DEF JAM AFRICA ANNOUNCES FURTHER EXPANSION INTO CÔTE D’IVOIRE, CAMEROON AND SENEGAL
July 24, 2020 | 0 Comments
First new artist signings include respected rappers; Tenor (Cameroon), Suspect 95 (Côte d’Ivoire), & Omzo Dollar (Senegal)

Universal Music Group’s label dedicated to supporting the best in African hip-hop talent and culture across the continent, extends reach into French-speaking Africa.

ABIDJAN, July 24, 2020– Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based entertainment, today announced the further expansion of its Def Jam Africa division into three new markets within French-speaking Africa; Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Cameroon, effective immediately.

Def Jam Africa launched in May 2020, as the first label dedicated to representing the best hip-hop, Afrobeats and trap talent in Africa, and follows the blueprint of the iconic Def Jam Recordings label, which has led and influenced the cutting-edge in hip-hop and urban culture for more than 35 years.

Def Jam Africa will now have additional A&R, marketing and digital resources based within UMG’s offices in Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), Dakar (Senegal) and Douala (Cameroon), dedicated to discovering hip-hop talent across all French-speaking African markets and will operate under the leadership of Franck Kacou, Directeur Général, Universal Music Africa.

Kacou will work closely with Sipho Dlamini, CEO, Universal Music Sub-Saharan Africa & South Africa and Def Jam Africa teams in Johannesburg, South Africa and Lagos, Nigeria, to ensure the Def Jam Africa continues to identify and sign the best artist talent from across the entire continent.

The first flagship artist signings to join Def Jam Africa from these countries are highly respected and hugely popular rappers; Tenor (Cameroon), Suspect 95 (Côte d’Ivoire), & Omzo Dollar (Senegal), The trio joins some of Africa’s most influential artists and MC’s already on the label including: Cassper Nyovest, Nasty C, Larry Gaaga, Boity, Nadia Nakai, Tellaman, Tshego, Ricky Tyler & Vector.

In making the announcement, Franck Kacou said, “We are excited to launch Def Jam Africa in Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Cameroon with three of Africa’s most exciting hip-hop artists; Tenor, Suspect 95 and Omzo Dollar. There is a wealth of domestic hip-hop talent here and in the surrounding countries, that has the potential to transcend language and geographical boundaries to appeal to audiences throughout Africa, France and beyond. I look forward to working alongside Sipho to expand our community of artists across the continent, and to help elevate hip-hop from Africa to new heights.

Jeff Harleston, interim Chairman & CEO, Def Jam Recordings said, “The reaction to the recent launch of Def Jam Africa showed the weight and respect that the Def Jam name and brand carries globally. We are excited to welcome these new markets to the Def Jam Family. It provides an important opportunity for audiences worldwide to discover the incredibly talented hip-hop artists emerging throughout the continent.”

Olivier Nusse, Chairman & CEO, Universal Music France said, “African hip-hop is one of the most exciting movements in music today. In recent years we have seen an increase in its popularity in France, but the appetite for African hip-hop continues to grow amongst audiences around the world. We are excited to further expand Def Jam Africa into Cameroon, Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire, and for these incredible artists to help build Def Jam Africa into the authentic and collaborative home of hip-hop across all of Africa.”

New tracks from Suspect 95 – ‘Merc*On’; Tenor – ‘Ce Que Je Veux’ and Omzo Dollar – ‘Dictature 1’ are released today on Def Jam Africa.

Click HERE to download artist images and label assets.

About Def Jam Recordings

Founded in 1984, Def Jam Recordings has represented the cutting-edge in hip-hop music for more than 35 years. Def Jam began as a maverick independent label inspired by downtown New York City’s vibrant street culture and the emerging sound of hip-hop, pioneered by iconic stars like LL Cool J, Slick Rick, The Beastie Boys and Public Enemy. Over the following two decades, Def Jam established its dominance with superstar acts like Jay-Z, DMX, Ja Rule, Method Man & Redman, Ludacris, Rihanna, Jeezy, and the inimitable Kanye West. Now in its fourth decade, Def Jam’s music and lifestyle has grown into a global brand – synonymous with creativity, quality and authenticity – encompassing a diverse roster of marquee and emerging stars like West, Justin Bieber, Alessia Cara, Logic, Pusha T, Jadakiss, Vince Staples, Jeremih, Big Sean, YG, 2 Chainz, Dave East, and Jhene Aiko, among others. Today, Def Jam has reaffirmed its passion for and commitment to hip-hop culture and has expanded its global brand reach to become the most-followed major label on all major social media platforms.

About Universal Music Group

Universal Music Group (UMG) is the world leader in music-based entertainment, with a broad array of businesses engaged in recorded music, music publishing, merchandising and audiovisual content in more than 60 countries. Featuring the most comprehensive catalog of recordings and songs across every musical genre, UMG identifies and develops artists and produces and distributes the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful music in the world. Committed to artistry, innovation and entrepreneurship, UMG fosters the development of services, platforms and business models in order to broaden artistic and commercial opportunities for our artists and create new experiences for fans. Universal Music Group is a Vivendi company.

Def Jam Africa artists on social media

Tenor https://www.instagram.com/tenorofficiel/?hl=fr

Suspect 95 https://www.instagram.com/suspect95_/?hl=fr

Omzo Dollar https://www.instagram.com/omzodollar/?hl=fr

Cassper Nyovest https://www.instagram.com/casspernyovest/?hl=en

Nasty C https://www.instagram.com/nasty_csa/?hl=en

Boity https://www.instagram.com/boity/?hl=en

Nadia Nakai https://www.instagram.com/nadianakai/?hl=en

Vector https://www.instagram.com/vectorthaviper/?hl=en

Larry Gaaga https://www.instagram.com/larrygaaga/?hl=en

Tellaman https://www.instagram.com/tellamanofficial/?hl=en

Tshego https://www.instagram.com/tshego_worldwide/?hl=en

Ricky Tyler https://www.instagram.com/rickytylershow/?hl=en

www.defjam.africa

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SyncFloor Partners with Mavin Records, Launches Afropop-centric SyncSite
June 30, 2020 | 0 Comments
Afropop is golden, and Mavin Records is a powerhouse of African talent,” explains SyncFloor CEO Kirt Debique

SyncFloor, the commercial music marketplace, is announcing its partnership with Mavin Records, bringing the label’s catalog to more potential sync buyers via syncfloor.com and its newly launched Mavin Records SyncSite. SyncFloor’s SyncSites allow its rights holder partners to surface a sync-oriented website that presents thematic, customized blocks of tracks and allows potential users to search for and find tracks from within the partner’s one-stop catalog, using natural language and cultural references.

“Afropop is golden, and Mavin Records is a powerhouse of African talent,” explains SyncFloor CEO Kirt Debique. “We are honored to get their beautiful music in front of production professionals worldwide.”

SyncFloor recently launched its commercial marketplace, along with a sister site SongsForPodcasters. Mavin’s one-stop catalog will also be featured in the podcast focused marketplace, making their infectious sounds and rhythmic vibrations accessible to the growing podcast phenomenon.

"SyncFloor's groundbreaking service promises immense access, making them fitting partners to expand our dealings in commercial music licensing," says Oghenejobo P. Tega, Chief Operating Officer, Mavin Records
“SyncFloor’s groundbreaking service promises immense access, making them fitting partners to expand our dealings in commercial music licensing,” says Oghenejobo P. Tega, Chief Operating Officer, Mavin Records

“SyncFloor’s groundbreaking service promises immense access, making them fitting partners to expand our dealings in commercial music licensing,” says Oghenejobo P. Tega, Chief Operating Officer, Mavin Records, “Over time, Afrobeats, and African culture, in general, have converted audiences across the globe with massive moments. We’re glad to offer our vast catalogue to brands and platforms looking to tell global stories in film and digital content.”

About SyncFloor

SyncFloor is a revolutionary new marketplace designed to unleash the full potential of music in commerce. We are revolutionizing music licensing, from music discovery through license clearance, for advertisements, film, TV, video games, and more. 

About SongsForPodcasters

SongsForPodcasters is a marketplace of commercial music to be used in podcasts of all types.  Built on the SyncFloor platform, SongsForPodcasters simplifies the discovery and licensing of music for podcast creators and producers through customized discovery, pricing, and licensing workflows.

About Mavin Records

Mavin Records was founded in 2012 by legendary Afrobeats producer, Don Jazzy, and produced some of the definitive music and artists such as Wande Cole, Tiwa Savage, and Reekado Banks. Currently, its roster spans a variety of genres with artists including Korede Bello, Johnny Drille, Di’ja, D’Prince, Dr. SID, LadiPoe, DNA, Rema, Crayon and DJ Big N. Today, Mavin is a community of amazing people dedicated to creativity, innovation and breaking new frontiers.

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British-Gambian Rap Star Pa Salieu unveils ‘Bang Out’ music video
June 4, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

PA Salieu

Becoming one of the hottest names in the UK, PA Salieu presents two new singles, “Betty” and “Bang Out”.

Aged 22, young British-Gambian rapper PA Salieu made a name for himself in January 2020 with his track “Frontline” which went viral via the YouTube channel Mixtape Madness.

The track is set to become the anthem of the poorest suburb of Coventry, Birmingham, where the rapper comes from.

After working with several well-known artists such as SL, AMbush and the talented Yussef Dayes, Pa Salieu shares “Betty” and “Bang Out” with its visuals. The two tracks underline his unique style, blending his Gambian roots with the British rap scene.

To go further in Pa Salieu’s universe, listen to his tribute playlist to his African heritage he made for the Black History Month, featuring greats musicians like Amadou & Mariam, Habib Koité, Ismaël Lô or Youssou N’Dour.


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ADVERTISING WEEK FORMS GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP WITH COMEDIAN KEVIN HART’S LAUGH OUT LOUD
March 5, 2020 | 1 Comments

The comedian will also keynote Advertising Week New York in October.

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, March 4th, 2020, -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Advertising Week has teamed up with Laugh Out Loud, the entertainment company founded by comedian Kevin Hart, to create a global partnership that will include a new b-to-b podcast, the launch of a LOL-branded content studio and more.

“Comedy has always been on our front burner. We’re excited to partner with LOL on this global alliance in 2020 to expand our comedy footprint and extend what we are doing to advance the ball on diversity and inclusion from top to bottom across our industry,” said AW Global CEO Matt Scheckner in a statement.

As part of the multi-year collaboration, which will expand LOL’s “Comedy in Color” standup and content program to markets outside of North America, Hart will serve as the keynote speaker for Advertising Week New York this October. The alliance also will put LOL talent on Advertising Week stages around the world, with the partnership extending to London and Sydney this year.

“Bringing ‘Comedy in Color’ to Advertising Week and extending our offerings in the b-to-b space with this alliance is an exciting and progressive move for LOL. We will bring an approach that is thoughtful, irreverent and – as always – hilarious. Comedy brings the world together and, more than ever, we all need to laugh,” said Thai Randolph, LOL’s EVP and GM, in a statement.

She added: “Bottling the power of laughter for brands and the broader creative community is at the heart of what we are doing here, and we’re excited about it and the opportunity to further extend our brand worldwide.”

In addition to the LOL news, Advertising Week is announcing that TV personality and comedian Steve Harvey will keynote the inaugural Advertising Week Africa in Johannesburg in May. Harvey will take the main stage in South Africa alongside LOL President Jeff Clanagan. Steve Harvey Global is also bringing Family Feud to Africa.

“We can’t wait to welcome Kevin Hart and Steve Harvey, two of the biggest comedy superstars on the planet, to the Advertising Week stages,” said Scheckner.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of Advertising Week Global

Media contact:
Lasi Mashaba on Behalf of AdWeek Global
+27 717919818
Lasi@africacommunicationsgroup.com

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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Sierra Leone: Mind Game sets to be premiere on 1st Feb at Waterloo
January 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

After re-scheduling the premiering  of the block buster movie Mind Game  last December in Waterloo by Jusas Global, one of  the leading  entertainment companies  based in the United States, is all set to give the people of Waterloo their bite as part of their nationwide premiering on February 1st, 2020  at the Porsh Entertainment 5’5 under the Distinguished Grand Chief Patron of Med Porsh.

The movie, which is staged around unconditional love, suspense, wrangling’s and more, captures the story of the Dowsabel in the family, who got or perceived pregnancy and the quest to unravel the misery, takes a U-turn, pointing accusations to the overprotective father. The closest to her starred stars like Desmond Finney, Randa Sheriff, Salim Sahid Kamara , Kindo  Armani, TJ Cole ,China Nicky , Hamid Marah, Boss Lady ,Aline and many more.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Pan African Visions online , the Executive Producer Abdul Sigismond Sesay,  said they had to re-schedule the movie premier in Waterloo in order to fully prepare and allow more people to attend the movie program adding that because of the holiday most of the movie stars were not in town and that he needed them to be around so that people will have the opportunity of meeting them in person.

“Waterloo environs get ready for Sierra Leone’s blockbuster movie Mind Game…save the date Feb. 1, 2020 @ Med Porsh Entertainment, 5’5 Waterloo.
Let’s link up again! Waterloo environs get ready for Mind Game the official rated best Movie in Sierra Leone 2019/20. I am expressing the obvious and what it is…fact,’’he wrote on his Facebook account.

He said the movie Mind Game, is one of  Sierra Leone’s blockbuster is a phenomenal one , reigning best in terms of the production effect and team before being crowned the first rated in the Republic.

“Mind Game, the mind blower is on a mission to raise the nationwide awareness and campaign that the time has come for Sierra Leoneans to embrace the Film production fully the same way as the Music Industry. The movie has enjoyed global traction prior to its official VIP launch on July 27, 2019 at Golden Tulip under the Distinguished Grand Chief Patronage of Hon. Umaru Napoleon Koroma Esq. The Deputy Minister of Justice, 10 highly respected statesmen as Chief Patrons drawn across the board, dignitaries, celebrities, entrepreneur’s and entertainment Lovers to celebrate and appreciate this masterpiece,’’Sigismond boasted.

Sigismond went on to say Sierra Leoneans at  home and abroad know a quality product when they see or experienced one as in the case of this masterpiece movie  hence the acceptability by all and sundry.

“The assemblage of some of the finest crew and casts prided this movie not just the best but the potential, attention and accolades as the game changer and now leading the narrative both national and international. Only a movie with such potency can drive an ongoing nationwide tour and, on the verge, to challenge the ‘Global iconic red carpet and screening in the USA and UK sending a louder message that ‘Sollywood’ is ready to compete worldwide,’’ The Mind Game Executive Producer added.

The Mind Game Executive Producer called on the people of Waterloo and its environs to come out in their hundreds , thousands to support the country’ movie industry adding that it was high time citizens embrace good things which will sell the image of the country.

“Waterloo municipality is time for your own slice of the “Best Film of the Year”…yours truly Mind Game. Feb. 1, 2020 is the date, venue Porsh Entertainment 5’5 Waterloo and under the Distinguished Grand Chief Patron of Med Porsh.

Let’s link up again! The Quiet Corner,’’

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A Tale of Courage, Resilience & Hope For Justice in Wendy Bangura’s “Tears, Trials, and Triumphs”
January 14, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

With roles in successful  movies like Entrapped, Blood Brothers, Koming from Africa, Twisted Brain, Royal Dilemma 2, Diary of a serial Killer, Njidika in America, Busted Life, Greedy Realtor, and Ekei among many others, Award winning actress Wendy Bangura  has carved a niche for herself on the International and African film scene. From her native Sierra Leone to stardom in the USA, it has been an agonizing tale of heart-breaking experiences, courage, and resilience for the sultry actress chronicled in  her book titled “Tears, Trials, and Triumphs.”

According to Wendy Bangura, the book is a true-life story of the unexpected tragedy that struck her family during the calamitous civil war of the 90s in Sierra Leone. In the book, Wendy Bangura shares the tears, and tribulations she went through and how prayers, great determination, hope and big dreams ultimately led her to triumph in the face of all odds.

Wendy’s triumph is a reminder to always have faith, believe in divine providence, have hope, work hard and even the worse adversity would be overcome

While she talks a lot about the divine provision of God, Wendy Bangura dedicates her triumph to the memory of her late father Captain Hancil Bangura, a man she considers as her hero. The man described in the book as noble, hardworking, generous, patriotic, and a most loving husband to his wife and kids was summarily executed on 29 December 1992. Captain Bangura, Quartermaster of the Sierra Leone Army was executed alongside 29 other individuals without a trial or any due process.

Accustomed to living a stress-free life with all the pecks from her doting father, Wendy’s world came crashing. She gives graphic details of family activities on the day of the incident up to the point where a group of soldiers came and took her father to the military headquarters for a meeting. A meeting he never came back from.

Initial efforts by the family to get answers yielded no fruits, no one had answers for anything. To make matters worse, her family was not only placed under house arrest, but everything was also carted away by the power drunk soldiers. Vehicles were seized, property confiscated, and bank accounts frozen.

Wendy Bangura dedicates her triumph to the memory of her late father Captain Hancil Bangura, a man she considers as her hero

For the young girl that Wendy Bangura was, the experience was traumatizing. A good Samaritan working in the military learnt of additional plans by the military government to further hurt the family and facilitated their escape.

Later in the book, Bangura says several sources eventually fingered a certain Sergeant Musa of the NPRC regime as the brain behind the killing of her father and other Northerners in the army as a way of trying to restore Southern (Mende) rule. The book details the reign of terror of the NPRC and its eventual collapse.

From 1992 when tragedy struck to 1997 when the family had the opportunity to move to the USA thanks to the Diversity Visa Lottery program, Wendy Bangura sheds light on the challenges faced by her family to survive. While  Bangura again gives top credit to divine providence for the survival of her family under the miserable conditions which stood in stack contrast to the princely life they had when her father was alive, a number of benefactors are equally acknowledged for been there for them.

While Wendy and her family may have braved the ordeal, their hope for some form of justice remains largely unfulfilled. In January 2013, a delegation of families of victims of the December 1992 massacre led by Julius Bombay Kamara Jr son of the Former Inspector General of Police James Bombay Kamara tabled their case before then President Ernest Bai Koroma.

Under the canopy of the 29 Memorial Foundation for Justice and Development. The group indicated that the families had suffered for so long and it was time  to serve justice by atleast seeking to get the truth of what actually happened. From the book, we learn that President Koroma attributed inaction to the politicization of the issue. He assured the families that he understood their emotions and sorrow and pledged to do all in his second term to address the issues ……

Despite the palpable pain and sorrow manifested by Wendy Bangura in the book, one can see in her the proud and patriotic flare she probably inherited from Captain Hancil Bangura. For those who know nothing about Sierra Leone, the book gives 101 lessons on the rich history and culture of that West African country. From the people to its own tales of slavery, colonial legacy, and checkered political history, Bangura gives the reader a good feel of the history of her country.

Intended or not, Wendy Bangura equally gives the reader a reason to be curious about visiting Sierra Leone. From its healthy cuisine, the unparalleled beauty of its women, spectacular beaches, great view of the Atlantic Ocean, Bangura’s description of Sierra Leone is one of a country that lovers of tourism must add to their list. The depiction of Sierra Leonians as Killers in the movie Blood Diamond is wrong says Bangura.

“It is hard to see my people scorned by the world when the majority of us are peaceful, fun-loving, and God-fearing people,’ she writes.

The multi talented Wendy Bangura does is not only a famed actress but a talented producer as well.

Wendy Bangura who has equally produced successful movies like The Unforgettable Words ends the 142-page book with pictures of her family and some of her works. The book is easy to read. Been the fiercely ambitious and goal getter that Wendy Bangura is, one would not be surprised if someday the book is adapted to film.

As Sierra Leone continues its march forward from the chaotic past with despicable acts from the civil war, Bangura’s book is a reminder that nothing should ever be taken for granted. It is a call for introspection on values that should guide a modern society, a society where tribalism has no place, a society which recognizes and encourages hard work, one where people are not sentenced and killed without trial and one where justice delayed is justice denied. Wendy’s triumph   is a reminder to always have faith, believe in divine providence, have hope, work hard and even the worse adversity would be overcome.

Tears, Trials, and Triumphs,” is available on Amazon , and other online book distribution networks.For information on how to get autographed copies from the author, contact bwendy2012@gmail.com

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German based Sierra-Leone Praise worship leader Out with New single ‘Bow and Worship’
January 6, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Cyrus Richard Togba popularly known as Cyrus Richie is a praise-worship leader, singer-songwriter and a recording artist currently based in Germany.

Born in Sierra Leone, Cyrus grew up in a God-fearing home where Christian values were instilled in him from a very tender age.

His commitment to Church activities which always kept him around the environ, helped him quickly discover his love for music and calling as a minister. Ever since Cyrus Richie became actively involved in the choir of every Church he joined.

According to him, “His journey with the Lord hasn’t been a smooth one,” but life experiences and challenges have strengthened his resolve to serve Him (God) more.

Having served in various ministries for years, Cyrus Richie made his official debut as a recording artist in 2018 after storming the gospel music scene with his first single “Most High God”.

He followed the well-received track with “Hallowed Be Thy Name,” released in January 2019.

The talented worshiper is set to kick-off the coming new year (2020) on a high note as he recently announced the release of a brand new single “Bow and Worship” featuring Gambia-based music minister Kalusian. 

Anticipation among fans has been heightened towards the upcoming release due on January 11th, 2020.

Cyrus Richie is happily married to Mrs. Fatmata Togba and they are blessed with four lovely children.

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Gambia:Brikama Boyo Ready to Launch ‘Gambiana’ album
December 5, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

ST, alias Brikama Boyo, awards winning Gambia’s afro-Manding is expected to launch his much anticipated album called ‘Gambiana’ on 7th December, 2019  at the Independence stadium, Bakau.

The launching will be in a form of concert, with tens of thousands of tickets already sold out, this eight- track-masterpiece describes as one of his best artwork.

Filled with a diverse collection of songs, the ‘Gambiana’ album title speaks for itself, as it is a masterpiece that every Gambian can relate to no matter what, while reminding fans of the country’s vast cultures and traditional norms. It also takes listeners through a musical enlightenment, career growth and pure cultural vibes.

ST told journalists at a press conference ahead of the album launch that: “Gambiana consists of 8 songs and all of the eight tracks are different in genre, message and vibes of music. Also, this album is different because there is lot of expressions on The Gambian way of life, with lots of typical Gambian stories. What I do is to represent my people in all the ways and more so when I do my music, I want it to be something that people can always relate to. There are lots of fusions and local instruments in it, which makes this album a masterpiece,”

He explained that the album is a Gambian thing as the name depicts, adding that the album is just amazing, as it talks about Gambia and its people’s ways of life’s.

 He continued: “Honestly, December 7 is the much-anticipated event in the country right now and I myself cannot wait personally.”

He urged Gambians to embrace local artistes and give them all the support needed in a bid to propel the industry and promote Gambian music stars on the global stage.

“Since 2013 I have been out there on the top spot of Gambian music and of course I must say that I will be happier to see more stars hitting up the chart because Gambia needs more stars in the industry. It is now time for Gambia to have more stars so that we will not depend on only one star. This is good for the industry and the artists” the hit maker said.

He emphasized that Gambia music industry needs lots of stars that Gambians can rely on instead of only one star.

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Gambia’s Dancehall Artist Explore Europe with Positive Vibes
November 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

ENC, alias Worldvibe General one of Gambia’s finest reggae dancehall artiste is currently on European where he played three successful shows in Germany in the cities of Duisburg, Bremen and Karlshue.

He is booked to perform in Italy, Malta, Finland and Austria, the tour is organised by Masta Lion Promotions, ENC this Friday he will be performing in Finland Helsinki

Masta Lion Touray, ENC’s tour manager said that;”Gambian Dancehall Superstar ENC is fully loaded to explore Europe from 31st October to 7th December 2019.

According to him, they are preparing for five shows in Italy, one in Malta and one in Austria

“We’re calling the entire Gambians and beyond to show some love and support the movements in promoting and exposing our music to global audiences,” the Brikama born veteran DJ said.

ENC Di Real (real name Essa Colley) is a reggae and dancehall artist from The Gambia. He was born in 1988 and ventured on the country’s music scene in 2005. In early 2006, he released two singles called ‘Money’ and ‘Nyamabakawass’. Some of the songs on the album received huge local airplay from the country’s DJs such as Fire Man and Dj G Faal.

In 2008, he participated at a TV show music competition called Gamcel Chart and made it to the final top ten. In 2009, he started deejaying and this gave him the opportunity of becoming a radio presenter on West Coast Radio. He introduced a dancehall show on radio called Back Stage Show. The platform allows young upcoming artists to get exposure by giving them a huge airplay and exclusive interviews.

Between 2010 and 2011, he released songs such as ‘Money’, ‘Nyamba Kawass’, ‘Spotlight’, and ‘December Energy’. In 2012, he did a collaborated with Amie Dibba on ‘Wanna Love You’ and Aria, a Jamaican dancehall artist on a song called ‘Rough up The Party’. In 2012, these songs made the star to make it to the international dancehall mainstreams in the world. That same year, he represented his country at the South America’s festivals held in Venezuela.

In 2012, he dropped a first dancehall mixtape called ‘Triple Action’. The project features 25 tracks which were presented and mixed by Rico Vibes. In 2013, he launched a 17-track mixtape called ‘Girls Segment’.

In August, 2015 he founded World Vibe Records to help local musicians produce good and quality music.

ENC Di Real became opened the annual Open Mic Festival. He has worked on a number of projects by other artists. He featured on songs such as ‘Soccalyoso Rhythm’, ‘Nice Again Rhythm’, ‘One Step Rhythm’ and ‘Nice Up Rhythm’.

In 2018, he release his debut album called ‘VICTORY’ comprise of 12 tracks. He is gearing up to launch a new EP called Cloud on 14th of December 2019 at Willy’s night club in lamin village.

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Marahaba Music Expo Commends Burundi President for the support
November 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Marahaba Music Expo is an international music forum for Africa has commended Brundi’s president Pierre Nkurunziza for his support to Marahaba Music Expo for the second time to participate in Visa for Music in Morocco from 20 to 23 November 2019.

 Visa For Music, the leading platform for music from Africa and the Middle East, is also a socio-cultural project that promotes strong human values and launches a debate on the recognition of the artist’s social and economic utility.

 Shabani  Jam, Director of Marahaba Music Expo said: “It is our pleasure to say thank you so much in Burundi to be proud for Mr. president of republic of Burundi to contribute the development of music industry of Burundi to support artists all the time, we are received full sponsorship from Excellence President Pierre Nkurunziza to participate at visa for music in Morocco from 20 to 23 November 2019. 

About -Marahaba Music Expo is an international music forum for Africa that happening every after two years involving musicians, organizers, agent bookers, producers and media at large from Africa and rest over the world.

 It is committed in facilitating dialogue between artists in Africa and from other parts of the world. The Expo comprises of workshops program, discussions, lectures and stage performances.

 The Marahaba Music Expo aims at educating the public, sharing innovation, promoting progress and fostering cooperation through music. The Expo invites other countries, companies, international organizations, the private sector, the civil society and the general public to participate in the music event.

 Marahaba Music Expo is a unique brand, rooted in the African Great Lakes region which includes Kenya, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, and Tanzania with links across the region and beyond. For brands looking to create support based on a home-grown solution that speaks to identity and culture of not just the Great Lakes region, but Africa as a whole continent, Marahaba Music Expo is the right place to begin with. The African Great Lakes region is a true hub of trade, communication and cultural melting point.

 And Marahaba Music Expo is one of the top regions of entertainment and showbiz destinations and a cultural calendar with thousands of people attending every after two years. Musicians, producers, record label owners, agents, festival organizers, booking agents, music-lovers, tourists, entrepreneurs and local citizens all flock to this major fair of music in the region.

 Vision-Establish a vibrant major music forum contributing to sustainable development of the music industry in the African Great Lakes region.

 Mission- Our mission is to create and enhance a very important network and growth opportunities for musicians in the African Great Lakes region.

Objectives- Social and cultural aims To promote the appreciation of traditional culture and heritage.  To support music and the arts as effective educational tools.  To ensure access to the music and the arts for all.  To inspire creativity and cultivating emerging talent. Tourism and economic aims to increase music business opportunities for music makers.

To extend tourists length of stay during the music expo season. To showcase local and international music. To become a market place of world music of every kind.

Philosophical Direction Marahaba Music Expo will showcase music acts that not only entertain, but also progressive that empower, build capacity, educate, and seek to bring better and positive transformational changes for society through music performance and dialogue.

Thus, it is keen to collaborate with other organizations that contribute to Societies sustainable development.

 Core Values: Work in partnership with the communities in the African Great Lakes region to achieve desired goals.  Undertake genuine consultation on key issues as part of our decision-making processes to improve the quality, accountability and transparency of those decisions.  Promote a culture in which our services respond to community needs and aspirations.  Network for the growth of music in the African Great Lakes region.

The Founder Marahaba Music Expo is founded by Shabani  Jam, who is also an artist musician and festivals organizer who has participated in many music projects in Tanzania and International, like Visa for music in Morocco who is an ambassador, Dreams African festival in France as an committee member, so he has decided to create this music trade fair to showcase and contribute to the music industry and entertainment show biz of the region to a worldwide music scenario.

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‘Feel Africa’ As AFRIMA Unveils Exciting Events for 2019
November 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

All road leads to Lagos State, Nigeria as music lovers, cultural enthusiast and African stars in Africa and Diaspora gear up towards the upcoming 6th edition of the All Africa Music Awards, AFRIMA, the continent’s biggest music event with the theme ‘Feel Africa’ is set to hold from November 20 to November 23, 2019.

The awards show will feature four days of thrilling and innovative programme of activities set to cater to a wide range of audiences from entertainment to music business to tourism and destination marketing.

Kicking off the 6th AFRIMA events is the AFRIMA Welcome Soiree on Wednesday, November 20 at the poolside of Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos from 6:00pm; a reception in honour of arriving AFRIMA nominees and delegates, African Union officials, members of the International Committee of AFRIMA, international and local media as well as other invited guests.

As part of its Social Responsibility Initiative, AFRIMA will visit a primary school situated in Lagos state on Thursday, November 21 to sustain the drive begun by the International Committee of AFRIMA in Gambia in 2015 to raise consciousness for the African child’s education and literacy on the continent. 

AFRIMA will be donating educational materials and musical instruments to a selected public school in Lagos. The visit also creates opportunities for motivational conversations between the pupils and the delegation consisting of various African music super stars, Nigerian government officials, African Union officials, AFRIMA executives, and many other invited guests.

Setting the stage for the entertainment value the awards brings with each edition, is the AFRIMA Music Village with a change in venue to the Agege stadium, Agege Lagos, slated for Thursday, November 21.

The AFRIMA Music Village is a 12-hour concert-style music festival which starts at 6.00p.m. with live performances from A-list and upcoming artistes including AFRIMA nominees, as well as past AFRIMA winners. This is will be opened to devoted music lovers and promises to be an evening of high euphoria and invigorating energy.

This year, the African Union, AU and International Committee of AFRIMA have decided to take the music village to the community where the people reside. For gate entry to the music concert, get a branded AFRIMA T-shirt at just N2,000 = (USD5.5) on the AFRIMA website www.afrima.org or at the concert venue. Event will be broadcast live on DSTV channel 198, GOTV channel 29, Africa Independent Television (AIT), Raypower FM Network, Kennis FM, Silverbird Television (STV), HIP TV, amongst over 84 stations across the world.

Following on Friday, November 22 at the Grand Ballroom, Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, is the Africa Music Business Summit (AMBS) an annual summit of networking and interaction among music professionals, music executives, government officials and other stakeholders in the music, media and financial sectors of Africa. It sets an atmosphere for discussions on the potentials present in the African music industry and ways to harness its socio-economic gains. Attendance registration for AMBS is now open on the AFRIMA website, www.afrima.org

Later in the evening of Friday, the 6th AFRIMA Nominees party will hold. Tagged ‘Fire and Ice’, the exclusive party for this year’s nominees has a few surprises in store for the guests and it promises to be a night of extreme fun and social interactions.

Saturday, November 23 ushers in the main awards event at Eko Convention Centre, Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, which commences at 4.00 p.m. with the live Red Carpet where African music stars and other invited guests display their glamour and impeccable African fashion sense for the audience watching around the world while being interviewed by the 6th AFRIMA celebrity red carpet hosts. The live broadcast main awards ceremony following at 7.30 p.m. is conceptualised to celebrate African creativity and culture in all its splendour as well as reward African artistes who emerge winners in the 36 AFRIMA continental and regional categories ranging from the classic, contemporary to traditional genres of music. The awards ceremony programme will also specially recognise and honour African music veterans with the 2019 AFRIMA Legend Award.

Sharing her excitement, Associate Producer, AFRIMA, Adenrele Niyi said “we are excited about this year’s AFRIMA events as these are interesting times for African music and creatives. The entire music world is looking forward to November 20 to 23 in Lagos, Nigeria. I especially look forward to the Music Summit, where every attendee gets to part with some new knowledge of the African Music Industry. And we still reminisce on the high energy from the last Music Village experience in Ghana, with over 60,000 people packed in the Independence Square, Accra, the largest arena in Ghana. Lagos will surely leave us spellbound.”

 Also expressing huge expectations for the 2019 events, International Advisor to AFRIMA, Rikki Stein said, “AFRIMA has never disappointed my expectations, and I know that this year will reflect even more Africanness, as the theme for 2019 goes ‘Feel Africa’ the unique and beautiful essence of African music and culture will be portrayed to its fullest during the events”.

The British music executive has explored many parts of the African continent in his over 50 years career in the music industry. “Culture is a living, breathing ever-evolving entity. I’m amongst those who consider that Africa has a tremendous contribution to make in the world. Nowhere is this clearer than through its cultural manifestations, evidenced by the burgeoning global interest in its art, fashion, literature and, particularly, music.”, he added.

The premium 6th AFRIMA events will be star-studded with attendance from award-winning recording artistes, African celebrities, music professionals, creative/cultural industry experts, media practitioners, and public officials amongst others.

 The events will be broadcast live on DSTV channel 198, GOTV channel 29, Africa Independent Television (AIT), Raypower FM Network, Kennis FM, Silverbird Television (STV), HIP TV, amongst over 84 stations across the world and fans of African music globally can also catch the frenzy via the AFRIMA social media handles, live stream on the AFRIMA website, and the AFRIMA App. 

In partnership with the African Union Commission, AFRIMA is committed to the stimulation of conversations among Africans and between Africa and the rest of the world about the potentials of the cultural and creative economy for real enterprise on the continent, contributing significantly to social cohesion and continental integration as well as sustainable economic growth and development in Africa by lending its voice to promotion of education and campaign against extreme poverty and preventable diseases.

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Global superstar Akon confirmed for ACCES 2019 in Ghana
October 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Akon

Senegalese-American musician and entrepreneur Akon will be at the ACCES 2019 music conference in Accra, Ghana, where he will take part in an informative Question and answers session about his career takes place at the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences on 28, 29 and 30 November 2019. 

The five-time Grammy nominee joins a roster of over 80 prominent musicians and industry experts who will speak at the pan-African conference, including Ghanaians Sarkodie and Samini as well as TRUE Africa founder and editor-in-chief Claude Grunitzky (Togo/UK), Chocolate City vice-president Aibee Abidoye (Nigeria), Boomplay Ghana manager Elizabeth Ntiamoah (Ghana), Simfy OTT music services head Oye Akideinde (Nigeria), Ditto Music Founder Lee Parsons (UK) and Grammy-nominated musician, author and rights activist Mark Levine (US).

Akon’s session on 30 November will focus on the star’s illustrious career, including his latest music projects and his evolution toward becoming a successful record label owner and philanthropist. The session is part of the ACCES Conversations series where leading industry figures talk about the complexities of the business and give important advice on how to navigate this competitive space.

The session is presented by ACCES in collaboration with BMG – an international music company offering publishing and recording under one roof, and services in audiovisual, books and film.

ACCES Conversations have previously featured renowned music industry professionals such as Mr EaziBlinky BillBlick Bassy and former Fela Kuti manager Rikki Stein.

Akon, who is releasing three albums in October this year, (KonnectEl Negreeto and Akonda), will share his experiences with delegates from more than 50 countries, including musicians, composers, record label executives, festival bookers, event organisers, digital distributors, artist managers and music activists.

Akon’s story is an inspirational one. Apart from conquering the charts on numerous occasions, selling more than 35 million albums worldwide and seeing four of his songs certified as triple-platinum, he is also responsible for launching the careers of Lady Gaga, T-Pain, R City, Karindall Offishall and Red Café through his Konvict Muzik and KonLive Distribution labels.

Akon recently announced the formation of Akonik Label Group, in partnership with BMG. The artist-founded operation is comprised of four distinct record labels: Akonda (Afrobeats), Akonik (US), Jamakon (Caribbean) and Ke Lo Ke (Latin America). 

He is also the founder of Akon Lighting Africa, a project started in 2014 that has provided solar street lights and small energy systems in countries such as Guinea, Senegal, Mali, Niger, Benin and Sierra Leone. According to Akon, the project has reached 100 000 households and installed 13 000 streetlights since its inception.

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About ACCES

ACCES is a pan-African trade event for music industry players to exchange ideas, discover new talent and create business linkages. ACCES is held in a different African city every year, attracting active music industry players from across the globe.

ACCES is organised by the Music In Africa Foundation, a non-profit and pan-African organisation, in partnership and with the support of Siemens Stiftung, Goethe-InstitutAfrikayna, Reeperbahn Festival, Alliance Française, BMG, Africa Art Lines, Afrikayna, MediaSound Hamburg, the Gold Coast Hub, the Prince Claus Fund and the ANT Mobility Grant from Pro Helvetia Johannesburg, financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

Reeperbahn Festival International

This year ACCES has a partnership with Reeperbahn Festival – one of the most important meeting places for the music industry worldwide and Europe’s largest club festival based in Hamburg, Germany. The partnership creates a framework for the festival to collaborate with ACCES in facilitating sustainable business engagements and exchange between European and African music businesses and professionals, as well as the provision of performance opportunities to musicians in both territories.

BMG

BMG is the new model music company founded in 2008 as a response to the challenges of the digital revolution in the music industry. As part of its unique approach, BMG represents the traditionally separate music publishing and recording rights off the same platform internationally. The company is the world’s fourth biggest music publisher and one of the first new global players in the recordings business. BMG has 15 offices across 12 core music markets, representing over 3 million songs and recordings, including the catalogues of global stars such as Chrysalis, Bug, Virgin, Mute, Sanctuary, Primary Wave and Talpa Music, as well as thousands of artists and songwriters.

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Gambia to Host Drama Fest-Gambia 2019
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Drama Fest 2019

Drama Fest 2019

Gambia is expected to host maiden edition of Drama Fest-Gambia 2019 on 25-26 October, 2019 at Ebunjan Theatre in Kanifing.

Organised by Stage and Screen Entertainment Africa is a premium Entertainment Art network that seeks to nurture, promote, develop and engage the vision of creative and performing art in Africa.

This was revealed during a press conference which attracts writers, playwrights, directors, actors at West Africa Insurance Institute on 7th September, 2019.

Milton Kamanda, coordinator of Stage and Screen Entertainment Africa The Gambia explained that the event will showcase an array of cultural diversity through drama, music, dance poetry and arts exhibition which will feature creative and literary work done by renowned playwrights and directors from the Gambia.

According to him, this year the festival will show case home grown talents from the different facets of art.

He added that: “Our goal is to use Art Edutainment as a means of sustainable livelihood for upcoming and established artist, artiste thereby showcasing the work of creativity, craft and art to the world”

Miss Monica Davies, Chairperson Drama Fest-Gambia said they want to empower the next generation of art through leadership training.

She pointed out that Drama Fest want to promote arts entrepreneurship in Africa, through training, mentorship and networking platforms, to appreciate and celebrate the diversity of African arts.

“Recognizing distinguished accomplished personalities in the arts fraternity in the Gambia and Africa at large. Promote arts as a positive tool for social and economic transformation in Africa. To use creative and performing arts to address the ills in our communities. Giving preferences to promote and support local talents. Engage relevant stakeholders in the arts industry within the region with the implementation of policies that benefits its people,” Davies a prominent actress in Gambia said.

She noted that the event will be in a form of trade fares, concerts and art exhibition as one of the medium to showcase African arts to the world, by encouraging government to create state funds to support arts in school and tertiary levels.

 

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Rachid Taha leaves us Je Suis Africain
August 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

Rachid TAHA, Paris, 2004

Rachid TAHA, Paris, 2004

A posthumous record? “Nothing to declare!” as Rachid would have said, leaning on the bar counter, with messy hair, bright eyes, and a raspy voice. He’s there, you can’t miss him. He may be laid to rest in Algeria, but he hasn’t left us. He knew that those who are allegedly missing are well and alive: “Do you really know the others?” the master of rock-Chaâbi once asked, quoting the greats Johnny Cash, Oum Kalthoum, and Andy Warhol in a prophetic song titled Andy Walhoo. He wrote this arabic-punk-electro piece with guitars, balafon, and mouth harp before succumbing to a heart attack on September 12, 2018. “I was there with you last night, you told me to come. Every week you tell me, I’m waiting for you in my slum, there’s a Picasso exhibition, go see him. What a bastard, he had a nice mirror, I saw Jean Cocteau kissing Jean Marais,” he sings, ending with a big laugh. So nobody is gone, they live on in us.

With boundless energy, Taha wrote eleven songs together with Toma Feterman for his eleventh solo album, diving deep into his roots as usual. First, Algerian Chaâbi, so subtle, yet so complex. Then rock, which took the world by storm during the postwar period, and punk, its offshoot, in the style of The Clash. Finally, electronica, the musical revolution of the late twentieth century, as hypnotic as the Gnawas guembris or Sufi trance sounds. Rachid was influenced by all of it.

Youyous, flutes, women’s choirs, metal riffs: the French-Algerian, however weakened by the paralyzing effects of Chiari malformation, which he suffered from, created whirlpools, deluges, torrents. He invited us to dance with Andy Walhoo, and also with Like a Dervish, his “first song in English, I know I’m cheating, my English is not so rich.” His plays on words were irresistible: English, backich, dervish, merlich… The troublemaker of the “alternative Koran” also used to speak francarabe, a mix of French and Arabic, which he used to both celebrate and mock the Jewish masters (Lili Boniche, Reinette l’Oranaise, Line Monty…), humming their oriental boleros, such as Chérie je t’aimechérie je t’adore and Bambino.

That’s why his new record, which he had been working on for two years before he was buried in the Sidi Benziane cemetery, had to be in mandoline-embellished French. One of the songs is called Minouche: “Minouche ma minouche, pourquoi tu te fâches, ne prends pas la mouche, ma jolie peau de vache… Minouche, donne-moi ta bouche” (Minouche, my little Minouche, why are you upset, don’t get into a huff, my pretty vixen… Minouche, let me kiss you). A popular dance tune for sure, with words sculpted by Jean Fauque, who worked closely with Bashung and Erwan Séguillon.

The rough voice and wild blend of styles don’t give an accurate description of this son of immigrants (born near Oran, Algeria, he was raised in eastern France and later settled down in Lyon). Rachid the rebel built bridges, “introducing beautiful people to the world” by singing Charles Trenet’s Douce France with his first band, Carte de séjour (French for “resident permit”), in 1986 to mock French integration while the Marche des Beurs (March of the French Arabs) was being broken up and François Mitterrand was celebrating the creation of SOS-Racisme (a movement of anti-racist NGOs founded in France in 1984). In 1998, he created a transgenerational hit with the album Diwân, which included a cover of Ya Rayah, the anthem of Algerian immigrants composed by the Chaâbi idol Dahmane El-Harrachi (1925-1980).

Throughout these years of experience—which also marked the rise of Oranian Rai music, which Rachid sang the traditional way, following in the footsteps of the great Cheikha Rimitti—he worked with Steve Hillage, whom he met in 1984. The former Gong guitarist was a lover of looped electronic rhythms, and starting in 1997, he infused his energy into the creation of Voilà, voilà, an anti–Front National, anti-xenophobic song that Rachid would never stop singing.

And ever since this sensory overload, Rachid continued to speak to us, and jostle us, in Arabic, French, Franglish, and even Spanish, through the limpid voice of the young Flèche Love (Amina Cadelli, born in Geneva of an Algerian mother), whom he discovered on YouTube after finally being introduced to the digital tablet. This extraordinary tattooed and esoteric artist accompanied him on Wahdi, a song with Gnawa rhythms, to which he added a Mexican trumpet, evoking Ennio Morricone.

The album was produced and co-written by Toma Feterman, a gifted multi-instrumentalist and founder of La Caravane Passe, a band that mixes rap, gypsy jazz, Balkan fanfare, alternative rock, and electro.

Toma and Rachid hung out at the same bars and clubs in the north of Paris (Bellevilloise, Cabaret Sauvage), following their friend Remy Kolpa Kopoul of Radio Nova (a French radio station created in 1981, which played non-mainstream and underground artists of various musical genres), whose death in 2015 left Rachid feeling orphaned.

Toma then asked him to sing Baba, a song that he had just written for Canis Carmina, his band’s next album. Over the course of one night, the two friends recorded a dozen tracks. “I used the recordings from this first session,” Toma said, “without needing to make him sing again, because there was nothing to change.” They improvised, and it was the beginning of a frenetic, productive adventure, of nights partying at Toma’s or Rachid’s, or spent in the studio. Hours of creation and surprises shared with his son Lyes, his friend Toufik, his mandolin player Hakim Hamadouche, and his former keyboard player Yves Fredj Aouizerate, who was also his last manager.

It was a club, a family, a community, a trip. The adventure even passed through studios in Bamako, because Rachid is African, having been born in Algeria, bordering Mali, the Mandingo musical empire. Je suis africain(I am African), the song that gives its name to the album, is an homage to the sounds of this great continent, that weaves together soukouss guitars, an Arab-Andalusian orchestra, Middle Eastern violins, balafon, and talking drums. “I am African, from Paris to Bamako, from New York to Congo”—the magnificent joker is having fun, playing with elegance. He takes the accent of a “fantastical” Africa and quotes Marley and Malcom X, Kateb Yacine, Franz Fanon, Patrice Lumumba, Angela Davis—all of them “African.”

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Africa: Shortlist Announced for €20.000 Henrike Grohs Art Award
February 27, 2018 | 0 Comments

The winner will be announced on 6 March and awarded on 13 March in Abidjan

Em’kal Eyongakpa (Cameroon)

Em’kal Eyongakpa (Cameroon)

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, February 26, 2018/ — Em’kal Eyongakpa (Cameroon), Georgina Maxim (Zimbabwe) and Makouvia Kokou Ferdinand (Togo) have been shortlisted for the first Henrike Grohs Art Award, conceived by the Goethe-Institut (https://goo.gl/nKYUpW) and the Grohs family. The winner will be announced on 6 March and awarded on 13 March in Abidjan.

Em’kal Eyongakpa is an intermedia artist who approaches the experienced, the unknown, as well as collective histories through a ritual use of repetition and transformation. His recent ideas draw from indigenous knowledge systems and aesthetics, ethnobotany, applied mycology as well as technology.

Georgina Maxim’s work combines weaving, stitch work and the utilisation of found textiles creating objects that evade definition. The dresses are deconstructed, and at times reconstructed to find new ways of giving tribute to and reflection upon the person that owned the original garment.

In Makouvia Kokou Ferdinand’s sculptural and performance work, he plays with borders and mixes memories, materials and cultural references. Building on traditional Mina culture, his gaze on contemporary society is unique, sometimes ironic and often moving.

The Henrike Grohs Art Award is a biennial prize dedicated to artists who are living and working in Africa and practicing in the field of visual arts. It recognises the lifetime achievements of the former Head of the Goethe-Institut in Abidjan, Henrike Grohs, who was killed on 13 March 2016 in a terrorist attack in Grand-Bassam, Côte d’Ivoire.

The prize “aims at strengthening artists and encouraging them in their quest for a world of togetherness and dialogue”, said jury members Koyo Kouoh (Artistic Director, RAW Material Company, Dakar), Laurence Bonvin (artist and representative of the Grohs family, Berlin), Raphael Chikukwa (Chief Curator, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare) and Simon Njami (Curator, Paris).

More about the shortlisted artists

Em’kal Eyongakpa
Video portrait:

 https://youtu.be/xkagubNL6ZA 

Em’kal Eyongakpa (born 1981 in Mamfe, Cameroon) is an intermedia artist who approaches the experienced, the unknown, as well as collective histories through a ritual use of repetition and transformation. His recent ideas increasingly draw from indigenous knowledge systems and aesthetics, ethnobotany, applied mycology as well as technology in his explorations of the personal and the universal. Eyongakpa is also known for self-organised community research projects and autonomous art hubs like KHaL!SHRINE in Yaoundé (2007-2012) and the recently launched sound art and music platform ɛfúkúyú. He holds degrees in Plant biology and Ecology from the University of Yaoundé and was a resident at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam.

Eyongakpa’s work has recently been exhibited at the Jakarta Biennale (2017), the 13th Sharjah Biennial (2017), La Biennale de Montreal (2016), the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo (2016), the 9th and 10th Bamako Encounters (2011, 2015), the 10th Biennale de l’art africain contemporain, Dak’art (2012) and at several international art spaces and museums around the world.

More information: https://goo.gl/aT7aWZ  

Georgina Maxim 
Video portrait: https://youtu.be/2sTfNETFLM4 

Georgina Maxim (Zimbabwe) - Photo by Cynthia Matonhodze

Georgina Maxim (Zimbabwe) – Photo by Cynthia Matonhodze

Georgina Maxim was born 1980 in Harare, Zimbabwe. Maxim is known for both working as artist and curator with over a decade of arts management and curatorial practice. Maxim together with two other artists (Misheck Masamvu and Gareth Nyandoro) co-founded Village Unhu in 2012, an artist collective space that has been providing studio spaces, exhibitions, workshops and residency programs for artists – young and professional.

Georgina Maxim’s work combines weaving, stitch work and the utilisation of found textiles creating objects that evade definition. The dresses are deconstructed, and at times reconstructed to find new ways of giving tribute to and reflection upon the person that owned the original garment. Maxim describes it as ‘the memory of’. Currently, Maxim studies African Verbal and Visual Arts – Languages, Curation and Arts at the University of Bayreuth in Germany.

Makouvia Kokou Ferdinand 
Video portrait: https://youtu.be/lZCcRSab2hA

Makouvia Kokou Ferdinand – a student at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris – shares his life and work between Lomé and Paris. Both his sculptural and performance work emanate from the personal experiences of the artist. He plays with borders and mixes memories, materials and cultural references. Building on traditional Mina culture, his gaze on contemporary society is unique, sometimes ironic and often moving. He is a recipient of the Dauphine Prize for Contemporary Art, the Young Talent Revelation Prize for Plastic Arts ADAGP as well as the Aurige Finance and the Amis des Beaux-Arts et Juvenars-IESA Prize. His work will be displayed at Du Salon Du Dessin in Paris (23-25 March, 2018), as part of a group exhibition at Anne de Villepoix Gallery during the first half of 2018 and in a solo show at Vincent Sator Gallery in April and May 2019.

About the Henrike Grohs Art Award

“The Henrike Grohs Art Award is a biennial award dedicated to artists living and working in Africa. Yet the message sent goes far beyond the continent. It is a universal address, a call for reflection and action”, said the jury members Koyo Kouoh (Artistic Director, RAW Material Company, Dakar), Laurence Bonvin (artist and representative of the Grohs family, Berlin), Raphael Chikukwa (Chief Curator, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare) and Simon Njami (Curator, Paris).

The prize recognises the lifetime achievements of the former Head of the Goethe-Institut in Abidjan, Henrike Grohs, who was killed on 13 March 2016 in a terrorist attack in Grand-Bassam, Côte d’Ivoire. The award intends to continue her special commitment to support artists in Africa and make a contribution towards international dialogue.

The award will be awarded biennially to an artist or an arts collective practicing in the field of visual arts. Artistic quality is the most important criteria for the award. Collaborative partnership, imparting knowledge to other artists and social engagement are decisive elements for recognition.

Makouvia Kokou Ferdinand (Togo) - Photo by Peter Houston

Makouvia Kokou Ferdinand (Togo) – Photo by Peter Houston

Henrike Grohs Art Award: Mission Statement

“On 13 March 2016 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, Henrike Grohs was killed by the blindest hatred as she was spending time with friends at the beach. Two months before, a young photographer, Leila Alaoui, 32, was shot in Burkina Faso by the ‘same people’. Many more, too many more, have fallen simply because they were at the wrong place at the wrong time; simply because a handful of fundamentalists started a war of terror. We are facing troublesome times and it is our duty to refuse to surrender to fatalism. All those deaths must be transformed into something stronger than death, into something bigger than ourselves. Henrike was working for a better world. A world where, ‘a proud heart can survive a general failure because such failure does not prick its pride.’” (Chinua Achebe: Things Fall Apart).

The Henrike Grohs Art Award is established as an answer to all those who think that we cannot live together in a world where sharing would be the main aim. Where borders would have no meaning and where humanity would be the only matter to fight for – that is humanity as a whole, as something that cannot be destroyed and that remains untouched. The message is clear: we shall not surrender. We shall, as Henrike did, stand for what we believe in, without any compromise.

The award is dedicated to artists practicing in Africa. Yet the message that is sent is a universal address, a call for reflection and action. Art is probably the one field where no translation is needed. It is that universal language which transforms the ‘chaotic world of sensations’ that we all share, into forms of representations and relations. The Henrike Grohs Art Award aims at strengthening artists and encouraging them in their quest for a world of togetherness and dialogue. Art knows neither borders nor religion. It is the very expression of that flame that keeps us going, from North to South and East to West. It is the best expression of our unbreakable faith in our humanity.”

The Jury members:
Koyo Kouoh, Laurence Bonvin, Raphael Chikukwa and Simon Njami


Henrike Grohs Art Award: video statements about the prize

Johannes Ebert (Secretary General of the Goethe-Institut, Munich): https://youtu.be/uAmVNxggLek
Koyo Kouoh (Jury member; Artistic Director, RAW Material Company, Dakar): https://youtu.be/lXnerwvJea4 
Laurence Bonvin (Jury member; artist, representative of the Grohs family, Berlin): https://youtu.be/HHrUN1-UqsA
Raphael Chikukwa (Jury member; Chief Curator, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare): https://youtu.be/pIzNF5waGGQ 
Simon Njami (Jury member; Curator, Paris): https://youtu.be/wPWqYf0ETsQ 

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Juliet Mbonu Targets Human Trafficking In Latest Movie
November 15, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

Governments, institutions, and parents in Africa and other developing countries, all have a role to play in fighting human trafficking says Juliet Mbonu

Governments, institutions, and parents in Africa and other developing countries, all have a role to play in fighting human trafficking says Juliet Mbonu

The fight against human trafficking will get a serious boast when “Break Out”, a movie produced by Juliet Mbonu   premieres on Nov 17 at Bowie Performance Arts Center, in MD, USA.With a cast from Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Senegal, Gambia, Ethiopia, South Africa, Togo, Liberia, and  Sierra Leone, the movie paints a gory picture of human trafficking especially with young women who are lured from developing countries into prostitution.Shot in several locations across Nigeria and the USA,the movie sends a strong message of deterrence to young women who may become unwitting victims of human trafficking ,says Juliet Mbonu.

Your latest movie Break Out is set to premiere on Nov 17, what is the movie about?

Juliet Mbonu: The movie is about Human Trafficking on the international stage, particularly as it affects women in many developing countries, who are lured into prostitution in developed countries

What message do you seek to send to the public with the movie?

Juliet Mbonu:  The movie conveys the many complicated and horrific aspects of being lured into prostitution, outside one’s home country, and delivers a powerful message to deter young women from being victims of human & sex trafficking

Where was the movie shot and how long did it take you get it to this level?

Juliet Mbonu: The movie was shot in multiple locations in Nigeria/Africa and the United States.  It took about one year to complete the research, shooting, and editing of the movie.  Technical crews were flown from the US to Nigeria to capture authentic rarely seen footages in Nigeria.  High-end technology was used in the US to capture the latest cinematography.

 

https://youtu.be/S7jaf1S60EM

 

As you Break Out gets set for its big release, could you introduce the cast for us?

Juliet Mbonu:  Certainly, the most exciting aspect of the movie is that the cast was recruited from the US and at least ten different African countries, in order to capture the diversity of international sex & human trafficking. The cast countries of origin include: Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Senegal, Gambia, Ethiopia, South Africa, Togo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and others..

In Break Out ,Juliet Mbonu delivers a powerful message to deter young women from being victims of human & sex trafficking

In Break Out ,Juliet Mbonu delivers a powerful message to deter young women from being victims of human & sex trafficking

What are some of the challenges that you faced in the production of Break Out?

Juliet Mbonu. The Budget: Raising money for such a huge project was a big challenge, however, where there is a will, there is a way.  My faith in God propelled the movie from a dream to a reality. 2.  Moving a technical production team around the world from the US to Nigeria, and back to the US, represented serious logistical challenges, but it turned out to be a great and exotic adventure.

Any plans for distribution especially in Africa with its huge market and the relevance of the movie’s theme?

Juliet Mbonu: Absolutely, there are Theater Premieres coming up in DC (November 17th), then NY, LA, and other US Cities, after which the Movie moves to South Africa, Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, and others

With regards the issue of child trafficking, how serious is this in Africa and what more could be done to get it under control?

Juliet Mbonu: Governments, institutions, and parents in Africa and other developing countries, all have a role to play.  Parents must be restrained in their expectations from their children, and in becoming tacit enablers for child sexual trafficking.  Even though we’ve seen reports of very poor people who give tacit approval to their daughters traveling abroad, with unclear perceptions of various employment opportunities; however a cursory look should alert people to dangers lurking in the horizon.  Finally, young women should be extremely careful in their personal expectations…… there is no glamorous life waiting out there, for people who have not paid their dues in education, training, and other tutelage.

To those who do not know Juliet Mbonu, Producer of Break Out, who is she and how did she find herself in the movie industry?

Juliet Mbonu:  Great question, I actually started out as a computer major in college, I then veered out into the Health Sciences & Nursing Informatics, ultimately getting a doctorate in Nursing Practice.  I was consulting in the area of Healthcare Informatics before diverting my passion and zeal to Movie Productions.  I have a great passion for women and children’s issues.  I also run “Arise” a non-profit that focuses on women and girls issues.

What is your take on the African Movie Industry as it stands today?

Juliet:  Africa has unbelievable talent in the Arts.  The quality is gradually catching up with universal standards.  Those of us who have recent roots in Africa, and are out here in the West, have a duty to move the industry to a world-class level

Break Out premieres on Nov 17 at Bowie Performance Arts Center, in MD, USA

Break Out premieres on Nov 17 at Bowie Performance Arts Center, in MD, USA

What next for you after Break Out, any other projects movie related or otherwise that Juliet Mbonu will be working on?

Juliet Mbonu: Absolutely, my Talk-Show, “Let’s Talk It Out with Juliet Mbonu” will debut in first quarter of 2018. Our Production Company (RFP) is also developing other relevant stories for a world-wide audience.

We end with more information on the movie premiere, venue, cost, and any special guests that people may run into, what will the premiere of Break Out reserve for its audience?

Juliet Mbonu: The DC area (DMV) Premiere, coming up on November 17th, 2017 at 7pm, will be at the full-size Theater “Bowie Performance Arts Center” just outside DC.  The program starts at 7pm, a robust pre-show entertainment, featuring popular artists, and various entertainments.  A guest list of dignitaries and the public are expected.

Tickets for the premiere of Break Out are available at the following link:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/breakout-movie-premiere-tickets-38464495341?aff=es2#tickets

 

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Africa: Opio – the Ugandan Writing Jokes for Trevor Noah and the Daily Show
April 3, 2017 | 0 Comments

Joseph Opio

Joseph Opio

Joseph Opio has always been serious about comedy. So serious, in fact, that he walked away from a promising newspaper job in Kampala, borrowed a large sum of money, and went to America to try and make people laugh.

Some people end up in comedy the way a drunkard stumbles into a previously unknown tavern on his way home. Others linger in comedy, waiting for an opportunity to move on to acting or a proper job. For Opio, comedy was the journey and the destination.

We meet in a small busy restaurant in mid-town Manhattan after a live recording of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. Opio’s fortunes are closely hitched to the South Africa-born comedian’s wagon but he has laced his bootstraps himself.

The making of Opio

He had been one of the best A-Level students in Uganda and, after reading a law degree Opio had landed a job with a major audit firm in Kampala. But the life of stuffy suits did not sound appealing and he had been drawn to comedy in his early teens when he watched Bernie Mac and ‘The Original Kings of Comedy’.

He had dabbled in sports journalism at the New Vision newspaper in Kampala where he landed a sub-editing job at 17 while still a student, but the newspaper world, away from the sports pages, was full of grim news stories.

“Instead of complaining I decided to vent using comedy,” says Opio. The result was a comedy show, LOL Uganda, on Urban TV, a small station in Kampala, which Opio wrote, edited, directed, produced and presented.

Although only in his 20s and despite the show being only mildly popular on a small, start-up station, Opio quickly became, he says, the highest-paid television presenter in the country.

But it was not enough.

“Most people want to be the biggest fish in the small pond,” he says, “and the problem with [many] Ugandans is thinking small.”

His first big break

Opio’s first break came during a visit to South Africa to attend a reception for the Late Night Show comedy. He met the right people and made such an impression with his jokes during the chitchat that he was invited back to work on the South African comedy circuit. Within a month of moving to South Africa he had become the first foreigner to win the Nando’s Showdown, a stand-up comedy face-off in Johannesburg.

Opio was tempted to lay down roots and try to make a comedy career in Johannesburg but he learnt that the SA show he had written some jokes for on his earlier visit had been nominated for an international Emmy and its host, Trevor Noah, had moved to America to try his luck on a bigger stage.

Coming to America

Never short of confidence, Opio returned to Uganda, worked on a screenplay, looked for money and applied for a visa to America. Soon after, armed with a fistful of borrowed dollars and a suitcase of dreams, Opio landed in New York.

 In November 2014, Opio met Noah at the Comedy Cellar in New York, a popular venue for comedians trying to get into the business. Opio had had to cajole and beg a bouncer to let him in, and then cajoled some more to get a chance at the microphone.

They had never met but Noah had heard about Opio in the SA comedy circuit and they hit it off immediately, chatting from 8pm to 3am.

A few months later, Noah was handed The Daily Show, replacing Jon Stewart. Although Noah had, by that time, spent six years playing the stand-up circuit in America, it was a gamble by Comedy Central to put a foreign comedian with a distinctive accent (and who speaks six languages) in one of the most coveted late-night TV seats.

To add to the complexity, Noah decided to give the show a more global appeal, embracing diversity and bringing in writers who knew about American issues, but also about the world. Opio was hired as one of the writers.

What it is means for Opio

His impact was almost immediate, lampooning Donald Trump, then a long shot in the Republican primaries, as potentially America’s first African president in the mould of former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin – but it wasn’t all smooth sailing.

Nightly ratings dropped as American audiences struggled to come to terms with the exotic humour and accents on the show. Fortuitously, Trump would become the gift that kept on giving and as he gained momentum in the presidential race, so did the show in the nightly ratings.

 In October 2016, just before the US election, The Daily Show was both the highest-rated and most-watched ad-supported late-night talk show among millennial men (both 18-34 and 18-24), the group Comedy Central most aggressively targets, according to The Hollywood Reporter, an entertainment website.

Joseph Opio left, and Trevor Noah at a game of football in New York.

Joseph Opio left, and Trevor Noah at a game of football in New York.

It has more non-white viewers and its overall viewership has become younger and more diverse, as it spreads out across platforms and geographical boundaries.

As the show rises, so have Opio’s fortunes; he paid off the loan within weeks of being hired and he describes living in Manhattan, where he rents an apartment, as “mind-blowing”.

We find a tiny table in the crowded restaurant and Opio orders a cappuccino. I order a draught beer. It is a popular pit stop for the workers on the show including Noah (he doesn’t show this evening) and Opio points out some of his fellow writers.

“Everyone at work has an Emmy,” he says, looking around the dimly-lit bar.

“Except the new guys.” It can only be a matter of time.

New developments and the future

Opio and his fellow writers on The Daily Show have been nominated for the 68th annual Writer’s Guild of America awards next month in the comedy category. Just joining the Guild is an achievement in itself, Opio says, pointing out that it has 300 members while the National Football League has 3,000 players.

“There is a higher statistical chance of joining the NFL than the Writer’s Guild.”

It is a long way from Kampala to Manhattan but Opio’s journey might still have some miles in it, from the east coast to Hollywood, with dreams of writing movies, screenplays and sitcoms. It is a journey with many stops and a constant loop of challenging oneself.

“That’s how you know that you are growing – when you look back at things you did a few months ago and you are embarrassed.”

Does he not worry about failing? About the career he turned his back to?

“If I can go and perform at the same club as Chris Rock and I am not laughed out of the place then I’ll take my chances,” he says. “If you are rejected at Barcelona you can always go back to Mamelodi Sundowns,” he adds in a football reference to the Spanish side and a smaller club in South Africa.

“My family has always been proud of me,” he adds suddenly, with introspection. “Being good in school helped, that’s probably why I have no self-doubt – it is something I’ve never had.”

He speaks a lot, and quickly, his mouth a wrestling arena between an American and a thick Ugandan accent. I ask if the Ugandan accent makes it easier for him to write jokes rather than perform them in stand-up comedy clubs.

“There are only two things Uganda has given me,” he says bursting out with laughter, “a bad accent and trouble at immigration…”

“Seriously though,” he adds, “As a Ugandan you have to fly just to get what an American gets by just walking. You already have an accent, so you have to make sense when you speak.”

I pick up the tab and we walk out into the crisp autumn night. We shake hands and I watch Opio as he walks towards the bright lights of mid-town Manhattan. It is not Fifth Avenue and there is no walking cane by his side but you can hear it in his accent when he talks; Joseph Opio is a Ugandan in New York. He’s hungry, ambitious and funny as hell.

Quick notes

Joseph Opio is a Ugandan now based in New York. He is the former host of the political satire talk show LOL Uganda since 2014.

Opio and his fellow writers on The Daily Show have been nominated for the 68th annual Writer’s Guild of America awards in February in the comedy category.

In November 2014, Opio met Noah at the Comedy Cellar in New York, a popular venue for comedians trying to get into the business.

Opio’s first break came during a visit to South Africa to attend a reception for the Late Night Show comedy.

*Monitor/Allafrica

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Star studded Kgalagadi Soul to tour SADC for workshops and performances
March 20, 2017 | 0 Comments

Kgalagadi Soul is a collaboration of three top artists – Mumba Yachi of Zambia, Sereetsi from Botswana and Austebza a South African. The trio has acquired a wealth of experience wowing their fans all over the world on big and small stages. Kgalagadi Soul will present a rich repertoire drawn from the trio’s individual projects using one international band comprising musicians from Congo (Nseka Bienvenu – guitar), South Africa (Bokang Kupa – keyboards), Zimbabwe (Leroy Nyoni – drums) as well as the USA (Terry Lewis – saxophone) that makes the tour a strong collaborative affair.

Music Workshops

Kgalagadi Soul will be doing workshops during the tour in cities they will be performing at to share their knowledge with young and aspiring musicians. The one-day workshops will be structured in this way:

Sereetsi whose 83 page four string folk guitar instructional book/CD has been approved by Botswana Education Ministry to be taught in schools, will be leading the workshops. He will be teaching the technique of playing a modern guitar on four strings. A tradition originally used by herdboys on a self-made tin guitar.

Mumba Yachi will be sharing his experiences in the international music business scene.

Austebza will also share her experiences as a performer, a session musician and a bandleader as a woman in the tough music industry.

The artists

MUMBA YACHI is a folk musician born in Mokambo, a border town with the DRC Congo. He developed interest in music at a tender age while listening to his mother singing in a church choir and his father playing his various records of African musicians

Mumba Yachi seriously involved with music after spending just one day at the university. He quit university to follow his music call. He has been active on the music scene since 2009 and has released four albums – I am Lenshina (1st May 2015), Mongu Rice (2013), Mokambo (2012) and Inspire Me (2010).

Mumba Yachi has won several awards in the Zambian music scene
including Best Traditional Album for his Mokambo album and Best Live Recording Album for I am Lenshina album. He has become a household name in Zambia and is considered the leading voice in traditional/folk music of his generation. He is also a UN Ambassador for Gender Equality.

He has already collaborated and shared the stage with a number of well known artists such as Femi Kuti, Mokoomba, Hugh Masekela, Joss Stone, Mama Sibongile Khumalo and Hope Masike. He recently shared the stage with Sereetsi and the Natives and Jonathan Butler in Gaborone.

SEREETSI has just won four awards out five nominations at the BOMU Awards 2016. He is considered a pioneer on the cultural landscape in Botswana. His 83 page guitar instructional book/CD on the local folk guitar tradition entitled The Solo Four String Guitar of Botswana is a groundbreaking first. He continues to present workshops on the folk guitar tradition in Botswana and internationally. His book has been assessed and approved for use in schools by Botswana’s education ministry.

Only over a year after the release of his debut album, Four String Confessions, the act has already shared stages with established names like Jonathan Butler, Oliver Mtukudzi, Caiphus Semenya, Jaziel Brothers, Letta Mbulu and McCoy Mrubata. Sereetsi is the first Botswana act to embark on a month-long tour of South African (2016).

Sereetsi has also played Chicago, USA, Planeta World Music Festival in Gothenburg, Sweden, the Mahika Mahikeng Jazz festival for two years in succession, Kgalagadi Jazz Festival and the Cultural Calabash Fest in Durban, South Africa. This is in addition to a busy festival and corporate gig schedule in Botswana. Among festivals Sereetsi & the Natives has played in Botswana are the Maun International Arts Festival, The Hamptons International Jazz Festival, Son of the Soil and the President’s Concert.

Born in Krugersdorp and bred between Boons and Mafikeng, AUSTEBZA is a vibrant, energetic, incredible musician. She started her music career after her parents couldn’t afford to pay her university fees, but she has always been involved in music throughout her middle and high school. She then went to join the music department at the Mmabana Cultural Centre in Mafikeng, where she learned how to play the acoustic guitar.

Austebza has just landed the musical directorship of Feather Awards 2016. She has also worked with various artists such as HHP, Gang of Instrumentals, Maxhoba., Wanda Baloyi, Swazi Dlamini, KB Motsilenyane. While working with these top musicians, Austebza managed to travel Nigeria, Botswana, Mozambique, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, USA, Germany, Namibia, Jamaica.

 

Her debut album, Make a Difference has been well received. She is constantly performing with her band around South Africa.

The Kgalagadi Soul Tour 2017 is supported by an ANT Funding Grant from Pro Helvetia Johannesburg financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

Confirmed Shows

30 March – Pretoria – African Chef – Performance

31 March – Pretoria – Bentley’s Country Lodge

04 April – Gaborone – Maitisong Festival – Workshops and performance

05 April – Pretoria – Solomon Mahlangu Arts Centre

13 April – Kuruman – Kgalagadi Jazz Festival – Workshops

15 April – Kuruman – Kgalagadi Jazz Festival – Performance

02 May – Johannesburg – Wits School of Arts – Workshops

03 May – Pretoria – Tshwane School of Music – Workshops

17 May – Durban – UKZN Jazz Centre – Performance & workshops

More shows to be confirmed.

For Kgalagadi Soul Bookings and Media enquiries:

BakTu Musik
C: +27 83 750 5764
E: tumi@baktumusik.co.za
F: 086 692 0360
T: @BakTu_Musik
W: www.baktumusik.co.za

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The plucky African film industry defying the odds
February 27, 2017 | 0 Comments

By *

Thousands of miles from the glamour and riches of the Western film industry, determined filmmakers in Malawi are winning hearts and acclaim as they Make Mollywood.

Award-winning director Shemu Joyah at his editing desk. Credit: Lameck Masina.

Award-winning director Shemu Joyah at his editing desk. Credit: Lameck Masina.

As the film awards season heats up in the US and UK, Africa’s talents are once again hugely under-represented. Beyond some best actress nominations for Ethiopian-Irish Ruth Negga, there are few chances for the continent to add to Lupita Nyong’o’s sparkling successes from 2014.

However, away from the glitz and glamour of the red carpet and multi-billion-dollar Western film industry, African filmmakers continue to battle against tough odds to make ground-breaking pieces of work – not least in Malawi.

In this small southern African nation, there are hardly any opportunities for formal training in film production, few cinemas, and scant funding. Yet the film industry has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years as several local directors have taken it upon themselves to learn the necessary skills to tell their stories.

Moreover,the films that have been made in this fledgling ‘Mollywood’ industry have enjoyed wide acclaim.

Last year, for example, actress and director Joyce Chavula’s Lilongwe, an engaging thriller about a young woman haunted by her past, won the Best Southern Africa Movie Award at the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice film festival in Lagos – a first for Malawi. Meanwhile, Flora Suya’s My Mother’s Story, a personal story about the role and plight of women in African society, won a Special Recognition award at the Silicon Valley African Film Festival held in California.

 

These female artists were following in the footsteps of Malawi’s celebrated filmmaker Shemu Joyah, who had scooped another first for Malawi two years previously when his examination of the cultural clash between traditional African values and modernisation in The Last Fishing Boat won the Best Narrative Feature Film prize at the same awards. In 2008, his moving work about sexual abuse and justice in Malawi, Seasons of Life , had won six awards at various international film festivals.

Challenges in close-up

The successes of Malawi’s burgeoning film industry have been built on the back of the determination and sweat of those involved, and directors have often had to bring over trained technicians from neighbouring countries.

They have also required many sacrifices – including financially.

“To make a good film, you really need to have good money at your disposal,” says Joyah. “Here in Malawi to raise money to make a film is a big challenge…In the West…there are some institutions that are there to fund film productions. But unfortunately here in Malawi, we don’t have those institutions.”

Filmmakers like Joyah therefore have often had to fund their own films. This can be a considerable risk, especially given that it is difficult to make any returns on the finished product.

This was not always the case. From the early-1980s to mid-1990s, Malawi witnessed a sprouting of small video viewing shops in township and peri-urban market centres. These provided a highly popular way to watch films at a grassroots level, and by 1996, the country had 13 big cinema companies such as Apollo Cinema, Rainbow Cinema, and Queens Cinema.

However, a worsening economic situation, the proliferation of video rental stores, and later the rise of new technologies and the illegal pirating of films, made these models difficult to maintain.

“All the cinemas closed because people would rather sit in their homes watch films on their computer or even on their phones”, says Joyah. “This denied the filmmaker the ability to make proper revenue that he needs to sustain himself.”

Others, such as academic Mufunanji Magalasi, also point to the influx of foreign films – “whether it is from the British colonial films, moving to Hollywood, the injection of Chinese karate movies and of late the popular Nollywood video films” – as another factor hindering the growth of Malawi’s home-grown industry.

Meanwhile, Suya explains that even the rise of local television networks has not helped provide a viable space for Malawian films.

“I learnt that in some local TV stations, to have the movie screened you have to pay,” says the director. “In other countries it is done differently; you give out the movie and they pay you.”

A producer at a local network confirmed that this is the case, but said the reason is that most Malawian films are still of a poor quality, an observation with which Suya concurs.

“Some of the movies that we give them are not really something that people can sit down and watch for maybe two hours. So if we can improve, I am sure they’ll start loving us and embrace what we do.”

Making Mollywood

However, in the face of these difficulties, Malawi’s struggling directors are continuing to make critically-acclaimed works, and there are some efforts underway to help support the national industry.

For example in 2014, UNESCO launched a five-year project entitled Building a Viable and Sustainable Film industry in Malawi, aimed at creating a strategy for investment and development.

A year into the programme, the UN body explained that it had convened a meeting in which “Key players of the audiovisual industry from public institutions, civil society and cultural operators met to raise the main issues in the sector and elaborate a development plan”.

“Our project for Malawi’s film industry has led to the adoption of a whole new national cultural policy,” it stated.

Meanwhile, Ezaius Mkandawire, Chairperson for the Film Association of Malawi, says that the Malawian government has earmarked some funding  for the arts and, for example, allocated about $7 million to the Integrated Arts Development Fund.  But he emphasises that this is far from sufficient. “The unfortunate part is that the money is for the whole creative sector not only the film industry”, he says, adding that “we are dying for a scenario” in which there is comprehensive funding specifically for films.

Despite the difficulties, risks and relative lack of help though, Malawian filmmakers such as Chavula, Suya and Joyah have made Mollywood one of the most exciting film industries on the continent, attracting the attention of film festivals around Africa and beyond. As one looks across at the billions flowing around film industries in the West, one only wonders what would be possible with a fraction of that investment and support in Malawi.

*African Arguments.Lameck Masina is a Malawian journalist.

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Africa-America Institute Hosts Private Screening of A United Kingdom
February 10, 2017 | 0 Comments

-Kofi Appenteng, AAI CEO Moderates Panel Discussion with Director Amma Asante, Actor David Oyelowo and Ambassador Michelle Gavin at the Paley Center

New York, NY - 2/7/17 - Actor and Producer David Oyelowo, Former U.S. Ambassador Michelle Gavin, Director Amma Asante and AAI CEO and President Kofi Appenteng Discuss A United Kingdom and the stories of Africa's diaspora. - Photo by: Dave Allocca/Starpix -Location: The Paley Center for Media

New York, NY – 2/7/17 – Actor and Producer David Oyelowo, Former U.S. Ambassador Michelle Gavin, Director Amma Asante and AAI CEO and President Kofi Appenteng Discuss A United Kingdom and the stories of Africa’s diaspora. – Photo by: Dave Allocca/Starpix -Location: The Paley Center for Media

In advance of the US premiere of the critically acclaimed film A United Kingdom opening in select theaters February 10th, dignitaries from the African Diplomatic Corps, led by the UN Missions of Botswana, Nigeria and Ghana, along with special guests of the Africa-America Institute engaged in a panel discussion following a private screening at the Paley Center for Media in New York.  The panel featured comments on stories of the diaspora such as this feature about the captivating love story of Seretse and Ruth Khama and the geopolitical context that led to the independence of Botswana.

Gavin, who served as US Ambassador to Botswana during the Obama Administration, highlighted Botswana’s meteoric rise from the bottom to the top of every major development index following the powerful leadership of Seretse Khama, Botswana’s Founding President.
David Oyelowo stars as Khama and was also the Executive Producer of the film.  He spoke of his passion for the project and his commitment to elevating voices of the African Diaspora and the unique nuances achieved by Director Asante.
Rounding out the international panel, Amma offered insightful commentary on the byproduct of colonialism which rendered much of African history, secondary to that of the colonialists.  She recounted the surprise reception of Botswanans who were unfamiliar with the story of A United Kingdom which is based on true events and chronicled in the book Colour Bar: The Triumph of Seretse Khama and his Nation by Susan Williams.
Continuing AAI’s commitment to enlightened engagement between Africa and America, Appenteng capped the discussion sharing a reprint of a 1966 story and speech by Seretse Khama that was published by AAI in the Africa Report.  A copy of the report can be found at The New Republic of Botswana.

Founded in 1953, The Africa-America Institute (AAI) is a premier U.S.-based international organization that promotes enlightened engagement between Africa and America through education, dialogue and special events.  AAI is dedicated to strengthening human capacity of Africans and promoting the continent’s development through higher education and skills training, convening activities, program implementation and management.

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