Sunday 10 December 2017
(AFP (eng) 12/04/17)
French President Emmanuel Macron made a surprise announcement during his recent African tour, saying in Burkina Faso's capital that one of his priorities was to restore African cultural treasures. African cultural heritage "should be highlighted in Paris, but also in Dakar, Lagos, Cotonou", Macron told a crowd of students at a university in Ouagadougou. "This will be one of my priorities. In five years, I want the conditions to be met to return African heritage to Africa." Delivered at the end of his speech, this sentence resonated especially in Benin, which in July last year called for France to return treasures taken during French...
(AFP (eng) 12/04/17)
An Egyptian-European mission has discovered 27 fragmented statues of the lion-headed goddess Sekhmet across the Nile from Egypt's southern city of Luxor, the antiquities ministry said on Sunday. The statues of the goddess, known as The Lady of War, were found in the ground at the Colossi of Memnon area on the city's west bank, which used to be a capital for ancient Egypt, the ministry said in a statement. Sekhmet had the body of a woman and the head of a fierce lioness, with a headpiece featuring the sun disk and was one of the goddesses known as Eyes of Ra, the sun god. The newly found statues were about two metres (six and a half feet) high and...
(AFP (eng) 11/28/17)
The home of Boko Haram's founder is to be turned into a museum as part of plans to chart the deadly Islamist insurgency in northeast Nigeria, a government official said on Tuesday. Muhammad Yusuf, a charismatic Muslim preacher, founded the group in 2001 from his base in the Railway suburb of the Borno state capital, Maiduguri. His followers at the time were disgruntled young people, who met at Yusuf's "Markaz" (centre in Arabic), which comprised a mosque and his living quarters.
(AFP (eng) 11/27/17)
Beauties from across the globe converged in Las Vegas Sunday, where Miss South Africa was crowned Miss Universe. Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, 22, edged out her rivals from Colombia and Jamaica to take the crown. Nel-Peters, a graduate in business management, said her disabled half-sister has been among her great inspirations. In the pageant's 66th year, nearly 100 women from around the world -- including first-timers from Cambodia, Laos and Nepal -- took part. The runner-up was actress Laura Gonzalez of Colombia,...
(AFP (eng) 11/22/17)
Egyptian prosecutors have detained a satirist known for his ribald humour on suspicion of joining an "illegal group", his lawyer told AFP on Tuesday. Islam al-Rifai, who has more than 70,000 followers on Twitter were he posts lewd jokes and pictures, was arrested last Thursday, his lawyer Gamal Eid said. Eid said Rifai, who also designs websites, had been lured into being arrested after receiving a phone call from someone who claimed he wanted his help with a website. Prosecutors...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/21/17)
NAIROBI (Reuters) - In a heist reminiscent of a Hollywood movie, Kenyan robbers spent months tunneling into the bowels of a bank located opposite a police station and stole the equivalent of half a million dollars, police said on Tuesday. Police said they had arrested two men and one woman over the robbery but had not recovered the 50 million Kenyan shillings, reported missing by staff at the branch of Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) on Monday when they showed up...
(AFP (eng) 11/16/17)
Human rights groups on Thursday called for the release of a cartoonist in Equatorial Guinea, Ramon Esono Ebale, who has been held by the authorities for two months. Ebale has been living abroad since 2011 but was arrested on September 16 while on a trip to the country to renew his passport, Amnesty International said. "Police then interrogated Mr. Ebale about his drawings of, and blog posts about members of the Equatoguinean leadership," it said in an open letter calling...
(AFP (eng) 11/14/17)
A Russian archaeological team has discovered a well-preserved mummy from the Greco-Roman period in a wooden coffin south of Cairo, Egypt's antiquities ministry said Tuesday. The discovery was made near New Fayoum city, about 80 kilometres (50 miles) south of the Egyptian capital, the ministry said in a statement. The team "found inside the coffin a well-preserved mummy, wrapped in linen, with its face covered by a human mask with drawings in blue and gold," it said. While mummification is mostly associated with ancient Egypt, the practice continued into the Greco-Roman era. The Russian team made its discovery near a monastery in the village of Qalamshah.
(AFP (eng) 11/13/17)
A Tanzanian movie actress was on Monday sentenced to two years in prison for involuntary manslaughter, over the 2012 death of her lover, who was one of the country's most adored stars. Elizabeth Michael, 22, who goes by the stage name "Lulu", admitted to pushing her partner Steven Kanumba during an argument in their home, which resulted in his death. According to the judgement, the court found that "evidence provided during the trial proved the accused involuntarily caused the death"...
(AFP (eng) 11/13/17)
The story of an epic train journey across war-torn Mozambique by a Brazilian director has been awarded the top prize at Tunisia's Carthage Film Festival. "The Train of Salt and Sugar" by Licinio Azevedo, a Brazilian who lives in the African country, received the Tanit d'Or as the festival wrapped up on Saturday. Like a Western, the film follows the perilous journey of a train that sets off across rebel-held areas to exchange salt for sugar in 1989 during Mozambique's...
(AFP (eng) 11/13/17)
Nigerian sensation Wizkid retained his best artist title at this year's African Music Awards, as he carried off a clutch of prizes at a glitzy ceremony in Lagos. The 27-year-old Afrobeats star -- real name Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun -- beat his compatriot Davido and Fally Ipupa from the Democratic Republic of Congo to the top award. He also won the best song category for "Come Closer" and the prize for best West African artist. AFRIMA 2017, now in its fourth...
(AFP (eng) 11/11/17)
A frank documentary about the lives of gay Tunisians received an enthusiastic welcome at a local film festival Friday despite homosexuality being a crime in the North African country. "It's brilliant. If this film made it, then of course we can screen many others," said Sikander, a member of the audience who only gave his first name, as he left the theatre at the Carthage Film Festival. The room of 500 seats was not big enough to fit all those...
(AFP (eng) 11/09/17)
Pop star Davido gets the same reaction wherever he goes in Africa, whether it's in Guinea or Mozambique, Botswana, Kenya or Sierra Leone: teeming crowds and adoring fans. The 24-year-old icon is one of the favourites for best artist at this year's All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA), which take place in Lagos this weekend. AFRIMA -- sponsored by the African Union -- are the continent's equivalent of the American Grammy Awards, with interest reflecting the continent's rich seam of emerging...
(AFP (eng) 11/07/17)
In 2010, a group of Kinshasa street musicians, several of them left paraplegic by childhood polio, caused a sensation in Europe. Calling themselves Staff Benda Bilili, the penurious band wowed audiences with Congolese rumba, combining pounding rhythms with scintillating melodies and solos. As unique as the group's tale of their rise from the streets was their gritty guitar sound -- all the work of a modest, self-taught Congolese luthier, Jean-Luther Misoko Nzalayala, who goes by the trade name of Socklo...
(AFP (eng) 11/06/17)
Egypt has recovered 354 archaeological objects that were seized by authorities in the United Arab Emirates, the antiquities ministry in Cairo said. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed al-Qasimi, ruler of the emirate of Sharjah, had ordered the pieces returned to Egypt after police captured them, the ministry said Saturday. It did not provide any details on where or how the pieces were recovered, or from whom. Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Enany inspected the pieces at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo on Saturday,...
(AFP (eng) 11/06/17)
In a constantly changing country where all eyes are fixed on the future, Nigerian artist Johnson Uwadinma is fixated by the past. "If you do not know where you are coming from, how then do you know where you are going to?" he asks. For his project, "Amnesia", he has stuck together hundreds of balls made from old crumpled up newspaper and painted in bright colours, like a mass of strange molecules. The piece -- symbolising the many unresolved crises...
(AFP (eng) 11/02/17)
Burundi's president, Pierre Nkurunziza, has introduced strict controls over the country's renowned drumming rituals, banning female drummers and limiting the sacred tradition to official events. "It is strictly forbidden to those of the female sex to beat drums. They can however carry out female folk dances accompanying the drums," read a decree seen by AFP Thursday, that was signed late last month. All groups seeking to perform "cultural shows" must from now on register with the ministry of culture and...
(AFP (eng) 11/02/17)
Like the plot in an old-fashioned movie, cinemas in Africa are making a third-reel comeback after years of worrying decline. In many countries south of the Sahara, digital technology, strong investment and modern theatres are bringing about a major revival of movie-going, ending years of cinema closures. But this good news for film-lovers also comes with a drawback: the new cinema complexes tend to give precedence to Hollywood blockbusters rather than films made by African directors. In the 1980s, a...
(AFP (eng) 10/30/17)
In movie theatres, concert halls or out on the streets, culture in Egypt is faced with increasing curbs as the government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi expands censorship, critics say. Hossam Fazulla of the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) said artists were being subjected to increasing limitations. "What the government is trying to do is... to create a model of an obedient citizen who is tame, who is very convenient for this regime," said Fazulla. The curbs have wiped out some art forms, especially street events, which were starting to flourish after the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak, he said. In the turmoil that followed, ex-army chief Sisi led the 2013...
(AFP (eng) 10/30/17)
Paintings by top Egyptian artists shared wall space with hieroglyphs and Pharaonic relics at Cairo's Egyptian Museum this week in an exhibition highlighting ancient influences on contemporary art. Artists, intellectuals and ambassadors from around the world attended the Saturday night opening of "A night with Art at the Egyptian Museum", organised by the private Art D'Egypte organisation. The exhibition, at the museum on Cairo's iconic Tahrir square, will be open to the public until Tuesday. "We wanted to highlight the...

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