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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 | 0 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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National Museum of African American History and Culture Opens Its Doors
September 24, 2016 | 0 Comments

By Marissa Melton*

The Washington Monument rises behind the National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington, Sept. 14, 2016.

The Washington Monument rises behind the National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington, Sept. 14, 2016.

“The timing of this is fascinating,” U.S. President Barack Obama told a group of about 750 guests Friday in the Grand Foyer of the White House, who were gathered to celebrate the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

The crowd, many of whom were African American, laughed and applauded at the understatement.

The city of Charlotte, North Carolina, has been rocked by three nights of protests following the police shooting of a black man Tuesday. Also this week, a court in Tulsa County, Oklahoma, charged a white police officer with manslaughter after she fatally shot an unarmed black man last week.

Continuing his remarks, Obama said, “In so many ways, it is the best of times. But in many ways, these are also troubled times. History doesn’t always move in a straight line. And without vigilance, we can go backward as well as forward.”

U.S. President Barack Obama arrives for a reception marking the opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture at the White House in Washington, Sept. 23, 2016.

U.S. President Barack Obama arrives for a reception marking the opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture at the White House in Washington, Sept. 23, 2016.

The new museum, first proposed by a group of black Civil War veterans in 1915, officially opens Saturday in a central location on Washington’s National Mall — among war memorials and cultural institutions, with a clear sight line to the U.S. Capitol.

“My hope is that, as people are seeing what’s happened in Tulsa or Charlotte on television, and perhaps are less familiar with not only the history of the African-American experience, but also how recent some of these challenges have been, upon visiting the museum may step back and say, ‘I understand. I sympathize. I empathize. I see why folks might feel angry and I want to be part of the solution, as opposed to resisting change,’ ” the president said.

Weekend of celebration

Obama concluded his remarks to a crowd full of African-American luminaries that included music producer Quincy Jones, basketball star Kobe Bryant and Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates: “When I imagine children — white, black, Latino, Native American — wandering through that museum … my hope is that this complicated, difficult, sometimes harrowing but, I believe, ultimately triumphant story, will help us talk to each other … and recognize the common humanity that makes America what it is.”

FILE - A statue of the 1968 Olympics Black Power salute is on display at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, Sept. 14, 2016.

FILE – A statue of the 1968 Olympics Black Power salute is on display at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, Sept. 14, 2016.

Friday’s White House reception — attended by many of the museum’s contributors — was the kickoff event in a weekend of festivities, as the museum opens its doors and throws an outdoor festival as well, to accommodate overflow crowds.

Nicholas Lorenz has been anticipating the opening for a long time.

“I heard about the museum before they broke ground, and we have been following their Facebook page for two or three years,” Lorenz said of himself and his wife, both educators based in Miami, Florida. “We got tickets through the [museum] website the morning they were made available. We got 24 tickets of the 30,000 they made available that day. Apparently, they all sold out within 45 minutes, so we feel lucky!”

The Lorenzes are a mixed-race couple: he is white, and his wife, Liz, is biracial. The distinction is “irrelevant” now, they say, but it would have been illegal in the United States just a few decades ago. To children of today, that part of history may seem unthinkable.

Painful past

Many of the stories in the museum are difficult to think about.

The lowest level of the museum deals with the arrival of Africans in North America — as slaves. Generations of blacks remained in bondage to white farmers for more than two centuries, and the racial divide that system created resonated throughout the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and the Black Lives Matter movement that has sprung up in response to conflicts between white police officers and black civilians today.

FILE - A pair of slave shackles are on display in the Slavery and Freedom Gallery in the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture during the press preview on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Sept. 14, 2016.

FILE – A pair of slave shackles are on display in the Slavery and Freedom Gallery in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture during the press preview on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Sept. 14, 2016.

The museum’s founding director, Lonnie Bunch, has been on the job since 2005 and had a part in deciding the museum’s look: dark bronze-colored layers of metal, in contrast to the white Greek Revival structures that dominate the National Mall.

Bunch has said the building should reflect the troubled past the museum describes.

“I wanted a darker building,” he told the New Yorker magazine in April. “There’s always been a dark presence in America that people undervalue, neglect, overlook. I wanted this building to say that.”

The museum’s very location is a reminder of the dark past. While the National Mall, home to more than half of Washington’s Smithsonian museums, is known as “America’s front yard,” it was also once home to slave pens, where human beings of African origin were held like cattle to be bought and sold.

Upward and outward

Due to height limits designed to preserve views of all the monuments, 60 percent of the museum is underground.

Visitors start in the basement, with the ugly history of the slavery era. As they advance to higher floors, the story grows more uplifting, although still fraught with conflict.

FILE - Civil Rights pioneer Rosa Parks' dress is on display in the concourse galleries at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall Sept. 14, 2016 in Washington, D.C.

FILE – Civil Rights pioneer Rosa Parks’ dress is on display in the concourse galleries at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall Sept. 14, 2016 in Washington, D.C.

The narrative of upward movement is reflected in the architecture designed by British-Ghanaian architect David Adjaye. The building appears to rise from the ground, with exterior panels opening upward and outward toward the blue sky.

Upper levels tell the story of the Civil Rights Movement, when the federal government finally passed laws allowing blacks the same legal rights as whites.

Despite slavery being outlawed in 1864, it took a century for blacks to achieve full legal rights with whites in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Supreme Court decision removing barriers to interracial marriage, the issue that the Lorenzes might have faced, did not happen until 1967.

The top level of the museum, where light pours in and visitors can see a sweeping view of the Mall and the monuments, is a showcase for African-American art.

The Smithsonian Institute has other museums dedicated to American art and African art, but here, the mingled cultures are allowed to shine together.

The museum also features thousands of artifacts from famous African Americans and everyday citizens. There are so many pieces that the museum plans to exhibit them on a rotating basis.

Media mogul Oprah Winfrey, ranked by Forbes magazine as No. 21 of the world’s richest women, is a major donor to the museum, contributing not only $20 million from her charitable foundation, but also a pair of slave shackles from the mid-1800s, donated from her private collection of artifacts.

Ironically, the collection also includes a pair of handcuffs used in the arrest of Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, who was arrested outside his own home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 2009 by an officer mistakenly assuming Gates was a burglar.

FILE - A statue of pioneer Clara Brown, who was born a slave in Virginia around 1800, is on display at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, Sept. 14, 2016.

FILE – A statue of pioneer Clara Brown, who was born a slave in Virginia around 1800, is on display at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, Sept. 14, 2016.

Other artifacts in the collection include:

  • Several items from a sunken slave ship excavated off the coast of South Africa.
  • An entire slave cabin, originally found on Edisto Island in South Carolina.
  • A hymnal and silk shawl owned by Harriet Tubman, an escaped slave who led hundreds of other escaped slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad.
  • The glass-topped casket used to display and bury the body of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African American whose racially motivated torture and murder in 1955 touched off the Civil Rights Movement.
  • A dress belonging to Rosa Parks, the woman who started the Montgomery Bus Boycott, one of the first acts of mass civil disobedience during the civil rights era.
  • A PT-13D Stearman biplane trainer aircraft used by the U.S. Army Air Corps to train the Tuskegee Airmen, the nation’s first black military flying unit.
  • A trumpet played by jazz legend Louis Armstrong.
  • A Cadillac convertible that belonged to rock ‘n’ roll singer Chuck Berry.
  • Muhammad Ali’s boxing gloves.
  • A collection of costumes from the Broadway show “The Wiz.”
  • A pair of size 22 tennis shoes owned by basketball star Shaquille O’Neal.

FILE - Chuck Berry's 1973 Cadillac Eldorado is on display at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, Sept. 14, 2016.

FILE – Chuck Berry’s 1973 Cadillac Eldorado is on display at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, Sept. 14, 2016.

While the story the museum tells is often difficult and sometimes painful, Obama and museum founding director Bunch say the story of black Americans is relevant to all Americans.

Museum-goer Lorenz believes that, as well.

He says understanding the black experience is crucial to understanding what the United States is, even if some of the lessons it teaches are painful for whites to consider.

“This is an essential and foundational aspect of our shared culture and history,” he said. “We welcome the opportunity to engage with all of it — the good and the bad. White guilt and white fragility have kept us from knowing our history for too long as it is.”

More importantly, Lorenz says, ignoring history bars the way to progress. “Naming our history and fully facing its implications is the only way forward.”

*VOA

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Igbo Language Gains Currency In USA
September 22, 2016 | 2 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

Ngozi Noblin Angel

Ngozi Noblin Angel

As the Community College of Baltimore County(CCBC) in the state of Maryland gets ready to start Igbo classes on October 1,2016, there is progress in getting more Colleges across the USA to introduce Igbo into their curriculum says Noblin Ngozi Angel.

Noblin Ngozi Angel, the reigning Miss Igbo USA 2016-2017, is putting her beauty and brains to work with a mission to get American Colleges add the Igbo language and culture on their curriculum. Expressing satisfaction that her proposal to the CCBC was accepted, Ngozi is doubling her efforts to get more Colleges to follow suit.

This is just the beginning says Noblin Ngozi, who is also a Model, actress, and a medical student. The Igbo language is spoken by millions of people in Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea and with fears from UNESCO that the language might go extinct, Ngozi believes that this must not be allowed to happen.

Ms. Ngozi, a few weeks ago there was word out Igbo classes will be taught at the Baltimore Community College, can you confirm this and what role did you play in the process?

It’s actually Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC), It’s different from Baltimore Community College, although I’m working towards establishing the Igbo class in Baltimore Community College. But the two colleges are different colleges. Yes, it’s absolutely true that Igbo class will be taught in this college (Community College of Baltimore County) and other America colleges I’m working towards establishing Igbo language and culture class in America colleges. The role I played is that I’m a 22 years old young lady who’s driving the force of establishing Igbo classes in America colleges. I write and edit my proposals and send it to the world language chairperson of these Colleges after I might have spoken to them on the phone or face to face meeting.

For instance, for the CCBC, I spoke to the World language chairperson, she scheduled a meeting with me, at the meeting, she interviewed me, which afterwards she requested I send her a proposal and the class description, learning objectives and topics that will be covered. I sent everything to her within few days, which she went over, after some weeks I got a call and email congratulating me and breaking the good news that after a very carefully examining my proposal, my interview and the passion for my Igbo community and after reviewing other documents I submitted, which she and the school administration requested of me that the college administration have decided to offer Igbo language and culture class in their college.

What are some of the arguments you used in convincing the College authorities to consider Igbo as a course?

14388934_712531402217903_1090065912_nLike I said earlier, I was interviewed the first day I met the World Language Chairperson of the College. She asked me to tell her everything about the Igbo language and why I have so much passion in establishing such language in their college.

I told her everything she needed to know about the Igbos’. When I was talking about the Igbos,’ I mentioned Nigeria as a country, because there is no way you would talk about the Igbos,’ and never mention Nigeria as a country, I mean when you look at the developing sectors of Nigeria over the years, you will agree with me that the Igbos’ have played a great role in contributing to the development of Nigeria as a country. I told her that foreigners come into Nigeria for different purposes, with entrepreneurship as one of the purposes thereby making Nigeria one of the countries that has so much to offer to the world, making Nigeria a great part of the world, and it will be just right to learn and understand one of the main languages that is used for communication in Nigeria, which is Igbo language.

Not just the language, but the culture. We all know how much culture is of great influence in every sector of our lives. I also went further to let the World language chairperson of the college know that not only will  establishing an Igbo class  be beneficial to the foreigners, but also to Nigerians, especially of Igbo descent who were born and raised in America, who don’t know how to communicate (write, read and speak) Igbo language or know the Igbo culture, I made her realize that there are so many Igbo descents born and raised in Southwestern and North central Nigeria, which is the Yorubaland, who have lost touch with their Igbo culture and language.

These Igbo descents born and raised in the Southwestern and North central Nigeria or in the Diaspora forget their own language and culture adapting that of the Yoruba and that of the white mans,’ and as such the Igbo language and culture is going to an extinct. I made her realize that there are so many Africa-Americans who are married to Nigerians, especially Igbos and some Africa-Americans that have found their ancestry home traced back to the Igbos; so it will be wise if we establish Igbo language and culture class, whereby  Nigeria descent and other ethnic groups will come together and learn the Igbo language, not just the language but the culture because Linguistic isn’t only about the language, but the culture as well and other things that sums up the totality of a certain people, which in this context is the Igbos’ and the Nigerians as a whole. 

Can you situate the significance of the Igbo language for us, many people know that it is spoken by a one part of Nigeria, why should people be curious about learning the language?

14388897_712531695551207_1534530616_ncorrection- Igbo language is spoken by millions of people in Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea. Like I mentioned earlier- Igbo people have made a great impact in every sector of the Nigeria. People from different walks of life come to Nigeria for different purposes, so it will be great if Igbo language, which happens to be one of the languages spoken in Nigeria, is taught so people will be able to communicate with Igbo people in Nigeria and other parts of the world where Nigerians are suited. Now let’s talk about Igbo people born and raised in America and Diaspora as a whole- There are Igbo descents who were born and raised in America, who don’t know how to communicate (write, read and speak) in Igbo language. Some of them only know only a little part of the Igbo culture, I made her realize that there are so many Igbo descent born and raised in Southwestern and North central part of Nigeria, which is the Yorubaland, and tend to forget their own language and culture adapting that of the Yoruba people and as such the Igbo language and culture is going to an extinct. I’m a young lady born and raised in Igbo part of Nigeria, and relocating to the US, I realized that I have so much work to do in re-connecting my Igbo brothers and sisters born and raised in America with their culture and their language.

I want to let my brothers and sisters and the rest of the world realize that Igbos’ are not welcomed anywhere around the world even in their own country Nigeria, this is because Igbos’ are not owning their culture and language. I mean let’s think about it, the Igbos’ are not represented well in the Nigeria government, there are not enough Igbo representatives in the senate or any aspect of governmental positions in Nigeria, only little money is being spent on the Igbos’, etc, which led to the raise of Republic of Biafra, which in turn lead to the raise of Nigeria Civil-war, and as such the conflict between the Nigeria Federal government and the Igbo people in Nigeria. I want Igbo people born and raised in America and Diasporas to re-connect with their culture and language thereby nurturing the younger leaders of tomorrow who will take up the creation of peace and unity between the Igbos’ and the Nigeria Federal government thereby bringing peace, unity and a great development to the country Nigeria.

Furthermore, there are so many Africa-Americans that have found their ancestry home traced back to the Igbos; so it will be wise to establish Igbo language and culture class whereby the African-Americans will learn the language and culture of their ancestry home. African-Americans, Americans and other ethnic groups that have spouses from Igbo part of Nigeria will be comfortable with communicating with their in-laws and establish a longer relationship with the culture of their in-laws, which will create a healthy relationship and the passage of Igbo language and culture to their children.

About the course proper, how is it structured, do you have competent staff in place and any idea on the student intake for the course so far?

 The course is held every Fall, Winter, Summer and Spring depending on the college. But in Community College of Baltimore the course will be starting October 1st 2016. And will be held every Winter and Summer starting from next year 2017. But I believe other colleges will be starting Spring 2017 as I’m still on the process of establishing the class with the college administration and their various World language departments.  And yes, I have very competent staff in place for every America College that I’m working towards establishing the Igbo language and culture class. The student will have to register with the different colleges, and again depending on the colleges, a certificate or credit will be awarded after the completion of the course.

For instance, CCBC, which will be starting the Igbo class on October 1st 2016, students, will be given a Continuing Education Certificate after the completion. Also, the students will be part of my organization, which nurtures Young adults and professional for the movement of Igbo language and culture, which re-connects Young adults and Professionals of Igbo descent with their language and culture and strengthens them to establish the Igbo people including their parents to have a stronger relationship and better understanding with the Nigeria government , this will help develop leadership qualities in this Young adults and Professionals thereby preparing them to creating a better Nigeria, will take time, but I believe with the younger leaders like me coming closer with our language, origin/heritage, history and culture Igbo community and Nigeria as a country will be a great nation.

What has been the reaction of the Nigerian Community to this development?

 Not a lot of people know about this. I’m a young lady that doesn’t believe in too much noise, rather in action. So, not every Nigerians knows me or about this development because I’m not shouting it to the world, I’m truly dedicated to serving my community and I’m doing it and it’s becoming a reality, so just that is enough for me.

14384068_712532068884503_2089637852_n The accomplishment of this mission of establishing Igbo class in America colleges, whereby people from walks of life will learn about my culture and language and the Igbo descents re-connects with their origin-the language and culture is all I need. Like I said, not everyone is aware of this, but so many Nigerians and Non-Nigerians that are aware of  this are so excited and proud of me, especially the Igbo people who understands what this means. This means that we are sure that Igbo language will not die off by the year 2025 as predicted by UNESCO. This shows that Igbo language will never go  extinct.

This shows that the Igbo culture which is gradually being devalued because of civilization will be revived. This means that there will be an understanding relationship between the Igbo people and the Nigeria Federal government, which will bring peace and understanding to the country thereby creating a great nation. So because of this and more, Nigerians are very proud of me, and I’m proud of my people as well.

My mother is super proud of me. My uncle who is an Igbo professor in Nigeria is so super excited because I carried on his legacy. He was scared I would forget my Igbo language and culture when I relocate to the US like so many young people like me do, but I never wished to forget my culture and language because that will be denying my identity- And denying my identity will be lying to myself, which is the greatest harm anyone could do to his/herself. My family members and close friends are very excited.

You are also a model, and actress, can you share the career you have had so far with us?

 I’m not only a model and an actress. I’m also a student in the medical field. The model and actress aspect of my life has been great. And my career as a model and actress has been wonderful because in this career I have traveled and met so many people from all walks of life. From my career as an actress, I have featured in America TV shows, such as Investigation Discovery Show, House of Cards, Outrage and so much more, and also I have featured in couple of Africa films. For my Modeling career, (Laughs), growing up as a child I never saw myself as a model because I’m not tall and don’t have that figure or shape of that of a supposed model. So I never had so much interest in modeling as I had in acting. But as I got into acting, so many people including my mother told me that I could be a model. So, when I realized that there’s more to beauty than your physical appearance, I decided to go into the modeling world. And with the recent change in the modeling industry whereby there’s something for every size and shape, I walked into the modeling industry and I must say it’s been amazing. I have worked with so many American and African designers and I’m grateful to God, for his grace upon my life.

As reigning Miss Igbo America what other activities will you be working on for the rest of your term?

As I mentioned earlier on, I’m the CEO/Founder of an Organization called, “Igbo Amaka Cultural Organization, which has an Igbo institution incorporated into it. I just started this organization, and so far I and my team have been doing an amazing work through the mercy of God in establishing the Igbo culture and language, making sure that Igbo language does not go  extinct as predicated by UNESCO, which predicted in 2012 that Igbo language will be going on an extinct at 2025 if nothing is not done. As the first and current MISS. IGBO AMERICA and as a community leader, I will fight with all my strength to make sure that Igbo language will not go on an exile and that the Igbo culture is revived.

14398044_712531405551236_1055036951_nAlso towards the rest of my term, I’m organizing a medical mission alongside the organization “Igbo Queens & Kings America,”  the  organizers of the Ms. Igbo America pageant I won. We are organizing a medical mission to Nigeria. So, I thought about creating a one week medical mission in one of the Igbo states in Nigeria, which I presented to the Organization (Igbo Queens and Kings America) and they accepted, so right now we are working so hard to get sponsors and funds for the medical mission.

So far, we have picked one Igbo state we will be doing the medical mission, for now we will be doing one Igbo state because of fund and time, however, the medical mission will last for one week. As a Future Medical doctor, I have so much passion in helping to improve the healthcare system in Nigeria, which so many people don’t understand including Peace Corps that Nigeria healthcare system needs so much attention, especially in the rural areas.

When no one wants to stand and speak for my people, I will work hard and speak up for my people. Even after my term as Miss. IGBO AMERICA, with the establishment of my organization I will be recruiting Young adults and Professionals for medical mission to Nigeria, and as a young Igbo lady, we will start with Igbo state. Every year we will organize a medical mission in one Igbo state and then we will take it to the other ethnic groups in Nigeria.

Thanks for talking to PAV

Thanks, for this interview. I appreciate it!

 

 

 

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A United Kingdom: The interracial marriage that made front page news
September 18, 2016 | 0 Comments

By Tim Masters*

Before she began working on her new film A United Kingdom, Amma Asante had never heard of Seretse Khama.

A United Kingdom stars David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike

A United Kingdom stars David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike

Now she’s bringing his story to the big screen and hopes it will illuminate a seemingly forgotten part of British post-war history.

In 1947, Seretse Khama, an African prince training to be a lawyer in London, met and fell in love with Ruth Williams, an English bank clerk.

But their interracial relationship and plans to wed and return to Seretse’s native Bechuanaland (modern Botswana) was greeted by fierce family and political opposition.

“We absolutely admit that none of us knew about this story before it came to us in the form of this project,” says the film’s director Amma Asante.

“Ten years ago financiers were saying we don’t make period projects about unknown people – they wanted Mozarts and Churchills and people that you knew about.

“But that’s been changing over the last few years and film is being allowed to expose stories that people haven’t heard of and audiences are proving that that interests them.”

The project was brought to Asante by David Oyelowo, who plays Seretse in A United Kingdom opposite Rosamund Pike as Ruth.

Introducing the film to the audience at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it had its world premiere, Asante described Seretse and Ruth as “people who held onto life with both hands”.

The film, she added, showed “the fall out that happened when they fell in love”.

Asante expands on the subject when we meet in a Toronto bar the following day.

“Someone described Seretse and Ruth as the Burton and Taylor of their time,” she laughs.

“She was this fashionable creature in these little black suits and he had this trilby hat. They were front page news.”

Based on Susan Williams’ book Colour Bar, A United Kingdom portrays how opposition to Seretse and Ruth’s marriage went much wider than their immediate families.

Amma Asante with David Oyelowo

Amma Asante with David Oyelowo

The South African government – about to introduce apartheid – could not tolerate the idea of an interracial couple ruling a neighbouring country.

It pressured Britain to stop the union by threatening to cut off the supplies of the uranium and gold Britain needed for its nuclear programme and to rebuild its post-war economy.

‘Highly politicised’

Asante, who grew up in south London as the child of Ghanaian immigrants, welcomes the number of other films on this year’s festival circuit – such as The Birth of a Nation and Loving – that examine racial prejudice from a historical perspective.

“We are in highly politicised times,” she says.

“America is just coming out of a period where it had its first black president and it might be about to vote in its first woman president.

“Britain just voted itself out of Europe. Some people said it had nothing to do with xenophobia, some people say it did.

“In these highly politicised times you get polarisation. There is very little in the middle. At that time the job of the film-maker is to reflect society and the conversations that are going on.

“A really tangible way to explore politics is through race.”

It was important to Asante that the African scenes were filmed in Botswana. She used some of the actual locations associated with Seretse and Ruth, such as the house where they first lived.

“We had to put the house back together, literally. It was a derelict shell,” she recalls.

“We recreated the looks of the rooms through old photographs. The hospital in the scene where Ruth gives birth to their baby is the actual hospital where Seretse was born.”

How well is the story known in Botswana?

“Not as well as I thought,” says Asante. “But I’m going to get lashed on Twitter from people saying ‘you didn’t get this right, you didn’t get that right’.

“But, in the way that [Asante’s previous film] Belle is now taught in schools, I hope this will also make a difference too, across Africa.”

_91202706_image1Seretse died in 1980, having been Botswana’s first president since 1966. Ruth, who had been the First Lady of Botswana until her husband’s death, died in 2002.

As our interview comes to an end, Asante reveals that Seretse’s grandson had attended the premiere the previous night.

Furthermore, Seretse’s son, Ian Khama, is now the fourth elected president of Botswana.

“We were in conversation with the president while we were making the film as well as many family members,” says Asante. “They certainly didn’t tell us the kind of film to make.”

She recalls how President Khama arrived in his helicopter while they were filming in a village.

“I remember him looking out of the corner of his eye at Rosamund and David and saying, ‘It’s really weird to see your parents coming back to life’.”

A United Kingdom opens in the UK on 25 November and will open the London Film Festival on 5 October.

*BBC

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Meet Anna Mwalagho, the “Mama Africa” of Washington ,DC
July 4, 2016 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L*

Anna Mwalagho

Anna Mwalagho

Hosting an African or diaspora themed event in Washington, DC, and need someone to create a feel good moment with your audience to set the right tempo? Well, Kenyan born poet,author, and singer Anna Mwalagho may be the person you need.

From the launching of the African House which hosts the African Union in Washington, DC, to a meeting of the African diaspora at the White House, and a forum of the Democratic National Committee, Anna Mwalagho has carved a veritable niche for herself with her brand of poetry.

Her sketches will make you feel good in affirming your African heritage, there will remind you of the amazing leadership role women play in the continent, or jolt your conscience on the very surmountable challenges that the continent faces. Far from just jokes, Anna’s sketches are a blend of education, information, tales of courage, resilience ,African self believe, and entertainment woven into one.

With her growing fame, Anna remains firmly grounded and conscious of her origins. In a recent interview, Anna said it has been a bumpy ride working her way to the top. Whereas she had already built quite a big following and name for herself in Kenya, Anna toiled hard to make the same name when she moved to the USA and her resilience eventually paid off.

Anna Mwalagho on stage with her band

Anna Mwalagho on stage with her band

The cultural shock she went through, and which is identifiable with most other African immigrants is sometimes turned into humorous sketches .In addition to the poetic work, Anna is also into music and plays with her own band. With the band dubbed as Afrofloetry, Anna has shared the scene with African music legends like Hugh Masekela and Oliver Mtukudzi from Zimbabwe.

Notable dignitaries Anna has entertained include, African Union Chair Dlamini Zuma, Noble Prize Winner Wangari Maathi, Actors Forest Whitaker, and Louis Gosset Jr amongst others.

57102Africa could benefit more with stronger support and participation of its diaspora, Anna said. Caught in the political excitement created by Hillary Clinton’s giant strides towards becoming the first female elected President of the USA, Anna Mwalagho said the world must be reminded that African women are all leaders with all they go through to serve as the source of livelihood for their families.

Contacts for bookings: bookanna@gmail.com, Tel:703-899-5549

 

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Kenyan band takes Afro-pop music worldwide
June 10, 2016 | 0 Comments

By Ilya Gridneff*

In this photo taken Wednesday, April 6, 2016, members of the Kenyan music group Sauti Sol, from left to right, Bien-Aime Baraza, Savara Mudigi, and Willis Austin Chimano, perform at an event in Nairobi, Kenya. Not many musicians can boast they’ve made President Barack Obama get up and groove to their tunes but Kenyan band Sauti Sol did just that with their mix of Afro-pop, soul and R&B, which has won a number of international awards. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press)

In this photo taken Wednesday, April 6, 2016, members of the Kenyan music group Sauti Sol, from left to right, Bien-Aime Baraza, Savara Mudigi, and Willis Austin Chimano, perform at an event in Nairobi, Kenya. Not many musicians can boast they’ve made President Barack Obama get up and groove to their tunes but Kenyan band Sauti Sol did just that with their mix of Afro-pop, soul and R&B, which has won a number of international awards. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press)

NAIROBI, Kenya — Not many musicians can boast they’ve made U.S. President Barack Obama get up and groove to their tunes. But Kenya’s Afro-pop band, Sauti Sol, did just that.

Obama, whose father hails from a village in western Kenya, put his heritage on full display at a state dinner in Kenya last July when he boogied down to the traditional Lipala dance that the band revived with their hit song “Sura Yako.”

“Singing and dancing with the world’s most powerful man was incredible,” said Bien-Aime Baraza, a vocalist for the four-man band. “He really was feeling us. It was wonderful for Kenya.”

A savvy mix of catchy tunes, appealing looks and social media promotion has brought success to Sauti Sol, Swahili for voices in the sun. The band has worked to make traditional East African music cool again, said Rand Pearson, who runs Nairobi’s hip monthly, UP Magazine.

“I first remember seeing Sauti Sol in a dingy Nairobi club 10 years ago. My first impression was that finally there it was, a modern pop version of Kenyan music,” he said, crediting the band’s growth internationally to “visionary management, styling and its ever-evolving musical talent.”

Sauti Sol’s have won a number of international awards including the All African Music Awards Best African Group in 2015 and MTV’s Best African Act.

Pop music is big in Africa, where there are more than 200 million in the 15-to-24 year age group. It is also big business. The entertainment and media industries of Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya together will grow to be worth $24 billion in 2018, according to a 2014 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The band recently toured Kenya and performed in South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique.

In November last year Sauti Sol launched their latest album “Live and Die in Afrika” free on their website, the first Kenyan album to be released online. The demand was so high that the site crashed and soon it was offered on the website of Safaricom, East Africa’s biggest mobile-phone operator with more than 25 million subscribers.

“This is testament to the fact that an increasing number of users in this market are using high speed data connectivity to access a whole new world of entertainment,” said Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom,

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta booked the band for his inauguration in 2013. “He definitely likes our music. We’ve even played at his last private birthday party,” said Savara Mudigi, drummer, vocalist and producer for the band.

The band, whose members grew up in modest conditions in Nairobi, are now gaining fame across the continent. Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama invited Sauti Sol to play at the West African country’s national holiday in March.

Social media is one of the main driving forces propelling Sauti Sol to African and worldwide audiences, according to band manager Marek Fuchs.

“Cheaper handsets and data plans have allowed the fans to be continuously in touch with the group and we strive to give them a dynamic and interactive story to follow every day,” he said.

Sauti Sol has a dedicated social media team who, along with the band members themselves, run campaigns on Twitter and Facebook, competitions on Instagram, instrument tutorials, Q&As and behind-the-scenes snippets on Snapchat and YouTube.

“We also have to adjust our strategy to fit the local context, language and time zones. It is a balancing act between posting for our traditional Kenyan base, our pan-African and worldwide fan base in different time zones,” he said.

Willis Austin Chimano, a vocalist, said this strategy is new for Africa.

“You’ve got to get with the times. More and more Africans are online, on their phones, using social media and that’s where we are,” he said.

Despite their international successes Sauti Sol remain with their feet firmly on Kenyan soil. The band members say their latest album is an ode to loving and loathing the good and bad of Kenya and the continent.

 

*Source AP/Washington Post

 

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