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Film review: falling in love with Cabo Verdean singer Cesária Évora all over again

Film review: falling in love with Cabo Verdean singer Cesária Évora all over again

ANA SOFIA FONSECA’S feature documentary Cesária Évora opens with hand-held, bootleg-style footage of the legendary Cabo Verdean morna singer in rehearsal. It is visually inauspicious but subtly heralds the film’s great strength. An intimate approach that illuminates Évora’s extraordinary career while staying close to her personal struggles and triumphs. Author IAN-MALCOLM RIJSDIJK, Senior Lecturer in Film and Television Studies, University of Cape Town The combination of the Portuguese director and journalist Fonseca’s storytelling and editor Cláudia Rita Oliveira’s organisation of myriad archival resources results in a film that will fascinate both devoted fans as well as those encountering Évora’s biography…
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What is Afrofuturism? An English professor explains

What is Afrofuturism? An English professor explains

THE new sci-fi musical “Neptune Frost,” set in a Rwandan village constructed with computer parts, tells the story of an intersex hacker and a coltan miner who lead an anarchist uprising against their oppressors. The film – lauded for its “Afrofuturist vision” – is only one of the more recent works to engage in the transformative speculation of Afrofuturism, a cultural movement that pulls from elements of science fiction, magical realism, speculative fiction and African history. Undergirding this movement is a longing to create a more just world. Author JULIAN C. CHAMBLISS, Professor of English, Michigan State University As I…
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Four novelists, one ocean: how Indian Ocean literature can remap the world

Four novelists, one ocean: how Indian Ocean literature can remap the world

NOVELS make worlds. They create an intuitive sense and mental image of a place. And the senses of space produced by fiction shape how readers see the world itself, just like maps do. For early postcolonial literature, the world of the novel was often the nation. Postcolonial novels were usually set within national borders and concerned in some way with national questions. Sometimes the whole story of the novel was taken as an allegory of the nation, whether India or Tanzania. This was important for supporting anti-colonial nationalism, but could also be limiting – land-focused and inward-looking. Author CHARNE LAVERY,…
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Artist Richard Mudariki’s vision for a Zimbabwean contemporary art fair

Artist Richard Mudariki’s vision for a Zimbabwean contemporary art fair

IN the past 20 years, a new generation of Zimbabwean artists has attained international acclaim or emerged as stars with work showing at top galleries and museums, collected by prominent people such as Jay Z. One of these stars, Cape Town-based Richard Mudariki, is now using his growing fame and network to create a contemporary art fair to spotlight emerging artists in Zimbabwe. With it Harare has joined other major African cities like Cape Town, Dakar, Lagos, Marrakech and Kampala in bolstering its contemporary art scene. Author TINASHE MUSHAKAVANHU, Junior Research Fellow, University of Oxford Mudariki co-founded artHARARE Contemporary Art…
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How Kenya’s ‘patriotic’ choral music has been used to embed a skewed version of history

How Kenya’s ‘patriotic’ choral music has been used to embed a skewed version of history

CHORAL music – patriotic choral music in particular – is a significant genre in Kenya’s political history. Authors DOSELINE KIGURU, Research associate, University of Bristol PATRICK ERNEST MONTE, Lecturer of Music, Kabarak University Patriotic music is defined by how it engages citizen to praise and express sentiments of national affiliation. In the Kenyan context patriotic choral music has been used to influence behaviour and the forming of a national identity. We traced the history of the music to explore how it has been used in this way in the country. We found that songs that were composed and performed in…
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Blood Sisters: why the mini-series on Netflix sets a new pace for Nollywood

Blood Sisters: why the mini-series on Netflix sets a new pace for Nollywood

NOLLYWOOD – the Nigerian movie industry – was described as a small screen cinema involving amateurs who produced low budget trashy videos with predictable storylines. But in the intervening decade it’s been transformed into a multi-million dollar industry with rising international interest. For my PhD I interrogated this transformation as a gentrification of the industry due to the apparent displacement of popular viewers who previously formed its audience base. Author EZINNE EZEPUE, Lecturer, University of Nigeria The growth of Nollywood is phenomenal considering its being largely unsupported by the government and grown by private investors. The industry has become a…
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Africa’s streaming wars

Africa’s streaming wars

CONRAD ONYANGO, BIRD STORY AGENCY THE recent entry of streaming service, Disney+ into the African market is the clearest indication yet that multinational players are now looking to the continent as an important area of growth. Africa is largely an undeveloped subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) market but has high prospects for growth, driven by a rising number of subscribers - mostly a youthful and tech-savvy population that is also on the rise. Similarly, more local service players are entering the market as incumbents set out aggressive expansion plans and content strategies to tap the market. All these developments are igniting fierce…
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Will betting on Africa help Nollywood reinvent itself?

Will betting on Africa help Nollywood reinvent itself?

BOB MAJIRIOGHENE ETEMIKU, BIRD STORY AGENCY NOLLYWOOD'S premier film industry event, the Zuma Film Festival, or ZUFF resumed after a two-year hiatus to a changed world… one in which online work and video meetings and the streaming of entertainment have become the norm, globally. And one in which Africa has become a single market, under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, or AfCTFA. Named for Zuma Rock, an inselberg outside of the capital Abuja, May's event, themed "Show me the money" ("Show me di pepper", or "owo", in pidgin), was refreshingly introspective. Up for debate was the uncertainty surrounding the…
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Spirit of Ntu: South African piano maestro Nduduzo Makhathini on his 10th album

Spirit of Ntu: South African piano maestro Nduduzo Makhathini on his 10th album

NDUDUZO MAKHATHINI is a prolific South African pianist, improviser, healer, educator, scholar and storyteller. He possesses a gift that enables him to articulate a distinct and rich identity and genealogy. His sound signifies a deep rootedness in his ethnic identity in the Zulu culture, and an internationalism embodying it. In the Spirit of Ntu is his tenth offering, and his second release under premier US jazz label Blue Note Records and the newly founded Blue Note Africa. Author PHUTI SEPURU, Lecturer in Jazz, University of Pretoria The philosophy of Ntu (stemming from the philosophy of ubuntu) speaks to the merging…
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Nigeria’s Dilomprizulike: artist who mesmerizes and befuddles in equal measure

Nigeria’s Dilomprizulike: artist who mesmerizes and befuddles in equal measure

NIGERIAN artist and lecturer Dilomprizulike, who curated, among other things, the Junkyard Museum of Awkward Things in Lagos, wages a continuous battle on two fronts. First, as an easily misunderstood human being and then as an artist making perplexingly noncommercial art. Author SANYA OSHA, Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Humanities in Africa, University of Cape Town The Alliance Francaise Lagos/Mike Adenuga Centre, is hosting a showing of his works entitled, “Waiting for Bus”. This was a concept first premiered during the globally acclaimed “Africa Remix” exhibition held between 2004 and 2007. It’s his second exhibition at the Alliance Francaise after…
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