Wednesday 25 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 03/22/18)
Claudia Cardinale, the Tunis-born Italian movie star, was the guest of honour on Wednesday as Tunisia inaugurated a long-awaited complex to showcase its cultural wealth. The richly equipped City of Culture complex, launched a decade ago but long stalled, incorporates a modern art museum, a 1,800-seat opera, two theatres, a cinema, library and studios to host festivals. "Every Tunisian should be proud of this project, culture is the main tool with which we will fight terrorism," President Beji Caid Essebsi said at the opening ceremony. "Tunisians have to dream and have confidence in themselves." The project was initially launched under president Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, who was overthrown in a 2011 revolution. Located in...
(AFP (eng) 03/19/18)
Oozing charm and confidence, 22-year-old Sithembiso Mutukura beat 12 other contestants in Zimbabwe's first Miss Albinism beauty contest aimed at reducing stigma and increasing awareness about the condition. Friday's "Beauty Beyond the Skin" pageant was held in a Harare nightclub, making Zimbabwe the second African country after Kenya to host such an event. Many African countries have a dark relationship with albinism -- a genetic disorder inherited from parents who both carry a faulty gene that prevents the skin from making melanin properly and thereby giving it colour. They are hunted down in some African countries by witch doctors for their body parts which are used in potions to bring good luck or riches. Some are even kidnapped and sold...
(AFP (eng) 03/19/18)
Very modern tales of religious intolerance, Islamist terrorism and illegal immigration are being heard as African story-tellers tackle the burning issues of today far from the traditional bedtime stories for children. Story-telling had top billing this week at the 10th edition of the biannual Market for African Performing Arts, known by its French acronym MASA. About 1,000 artists from over 50 countries gathered in Ivory coast for a week-long festival of music, theatre, dance, comedy, slam poetry and story-telling that...
(AFP (eng) 03/12/18)
Filmmakers in Egypt are defying a largely conservative society with television series and movies that deal with modern relationships between men and women and the empowerment of the young. In its heyday between the 1950s and the 1970s, Egypt had one of the largest and most dynamic movie industries in the world. The golden age of Egyptian cinema starred fiery, determined women and love scenes that rivalled those of Western movies at the time. "Things started to change in the 1980s" as social freedoms regressed and society grew more puritanical, leading Arab film critic Tarek El Shenawi told AFP. Under the growing influence of the Muslim Brotherhood group and Arab Gulf countries...
(AFP (eng) 03/12/18)
If you've ever dreamt of playing alongside Afro-jazz legend Oliver "Tuku" Mtukudzi, just drop into his studio in Zimbabwe and pick up an instrument. Mtukudzi -- one of Africa's most famous and admired musicians -- has an open-door policy at his arts centre in Norton, 50 kilometres (30 miles) west of Harare. Aged 65 and with more than 60 albums under his belt, the self-taught singer and guitarist says the centre provides a home for all musicians, particularly youngsters who...
(AFP (eng) 03/09/18)
A thousand artists from over 50 countries will gather in Ivory Coast on Saturday for a week-long festival of African music, theatre, dance, comedy, slam poetry and storytelling. The 10th edition of the biannual Market for African Performing Arts, known by its French initials as MASA, will mark the 25th anniversary of the event. This year's crop of artists come from all over Africa and the African diaspora in Japan, Haiti and Canada, performing in the economic capital Abidjan and...
(AFP (eng) 03/08/18)
A cartoonist who was held in custody for more than five months in Equatorial Guinea was released on Wednesday, an NGO said. Ramon Esono Ebale, who works under the pseudonym "Ham and Cheese", was arrested for works "that regularly criticise the government of Equatorial Guinea", the African Union previously said. Confirming his release, director of the US-based rights group EG Justice, Tutu Alicante, said in a statement: "The release of Ramon is proof of the power of the collective work...
(AFP (eng) 03/01/18)
Tunisia's ministry of culture has banned the Oscar-nominated film "Call Me By Your Name", a love story between two men, one of its main distributors said on Wednesday. The feature film was due to be screened on Wednesday night in the capital Tunis but the venue announced on Facebook that the event had been "cancelled". It was "banned," the distributor Lassaad Goubantini told AFP, denouncing the decision as "an attack on liberties" motivated by "the subject of the film". A...
(AFP (eng) 03/01/18)
A long-lost portrait of a Nigerian princess dubbed the "African Mona Lisa" sold at auction in London on Wednesday for £1.2 million (1.4 million euros, $1.7 million), exceeding estimates and setting a record for the artist. The 1974 painting of Adetutu "Tutu" Ademiluyi, by Nigerian artist Ben Enwonwu, was expected to fetch up to £300,000 (339,000 euros, $414,000) when it went under the hammer at Bonhams auction house. It described the painting of an Ife royal princess which recently turned...
(AFP (eng) 02/27/18)
An Egyptian court sentenced pop star Sherine to six months in prison on Tuesday for suggesting drinking from the Nile River leads to illness, although she will remain free pending an appeal. Sherine Abdel Wahab, known simply as Sherine, had apologised after being caught on tape joking with concert goers that Nile water could give them parasites. The Cairo misdemeanour court convicted her of having spread "false news". Judicial officials said she would remain free on bail pending an appeal...
(AFP (eng) 02/24/18)
She's been described as "the African Mona Lisa", the subject of a long-lost series of three paintings by the artist considered the father of Nigerian modernism. But like Leonardo da Vinci's most famous portrait, finding out more about the woman in Ben Enwonwu's "Tutu" has so far been elusive, even for her extensive extended family. One of the missing works, which was discovered in a north London flat, goes on sale in the British capital on Wednesday and is expected...
(AFP (eng) 02/19/18)
The Egyptian Museum in Cairo has put on display the "Screaming Mummy" of the son of a pharaoh who may have been hanged for plotting his father's murder. Dubbed "the unknown man E", the mummy which is not usually exhibited appears to be of a man who died an agonising death. Egypt's antiquities ministry has said DNA analysis confirmed the mummy was a son of Ramses III, who ruled between 1186 BC and 1155 BC. It showed signs that the...
(AFP (eng) 02/19/18)
Burkinabe filmmaker Idrissa Ouedraogo, a towering figure in African cinema, died Sunday at the age of 64, the national film makers guild announced in a statement. Ouedraogo produced or directed some 40 films from the 1980s to the 2000s, set in Africa and often exploring the strains between modern urban and traditional rural lifestyles. In 1990, he won the Grand Prix award at the Cannes Film Festival for "Tilai", an African version of a Greek tragedy about family dishonour, which...
(AFP (eng) 02/16/18)
The release this week of Marvel Studios' latest superhero outing, "Black Panther", has triggered the enthusiasm of African movie fans and a sense of pride that Hollywood has finally plugged a gap. With an almost entirely black cast and a young African-American director, Ryan Coogler, the film has already won rave reviews for its stereotype-busting portrayal of Africa. After all the hype, select audiences in African countries have got a sneak preview of the new blockbuster -- and many agree...
(AFP (eng) 02/14/18)
South Africa's film censorship authorities on Wednesday elevated the age restriction imposed on a controversial Oscar-shortlisted coming-of-age film, effectively banning it from being screened at public cinemas. The film came under fire for lifting the veil on secret initiation rites practised by one of the country's largest ethnic groups and exposing taboos around gay love and sex. In a statement the film and publication board tribunal said it has re-classified the age rating of the movie "Inxeba – The Wound",...
(AFP (eng) 02/08/18)
"I think of it as the African Mona Lisa," said award-winning novelist Ben Okri, gazing at the long-lost portrait of a Nigerian princess which recently turned up in a London flat. Ben Enwonwu's 1974 painting of Adetutu "Tutu" Ademiluyi, daughter of a Yoruba king, has taken on almost mythical status in the painter's native Nigeria. It was last seen in 1975 but is now up for sale after its surprise rediscovery. "It has been a legendary painting for 40 years,...
(AFP (eng) 02/05/18)
Egyptian archaeologists on Saturday unveiled the tomb of an Old Kingdom priestess adorned with well-preserved and rare wall paintings. Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Enany told reporters that the tomb on the Giza plateau near Cairo was built for Hetpet, a priestess to Hathor, the goddess of fertility, who assisted women in childbirth. The tomb was found during excavation work in Giza's western cemetery by a team of Egyptian archaeologists led by Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities...
(AFP (eng) 01/30/18)
"Are there bookshops in Nigeria?" The question posed by a French journalist last week incensed acclaimed Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. At an event held in a ritzy Paris government building under crystal chandeliers, Adichie launched a blistering assault on perceived French arrogance. "I think it reflects very poorly on French people that you have to ask me that question," said Adichie. "My books are read in Nigeria. They are studied in schools. Not just Nigeria, across the continent in...
(AFP (eng) 01/30/18)
Like most youngsters in Nairobi's largest slum, Henry Ohanga grew up believing he would never amount to anything. Making it big, even leaving Kibera: these weren't things that happened to an orphan who once robbed people to buy food. Now 29, he is Octopizzo, one of East Africa's most recognised hip-hop stars, and is using his success to break down stigma around the slum and inspire kids in a world devoid of successful role models. Clad in a black Adidas...
(AFP (eng) 01/25/18)
Egypt on Thursday shifted a colossal statue of legendary Pharoah Ramses II into place at the entrance to a new museum in Cairo that officials hope can help win back tourists. The iconic 3,200-year-old monument will begin welcoming visitors to the Grand Egyptian Museum by the Giza pyramids when it is scheduled to open partially within the next 12 months, after years of delays. A military band played as the 83-tonne statue was slowly driven some 400 metres (yards) into...

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