Friday 20 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 01/23/18)
South African jazz legend Hugh Masekela died on Tuesday aged 78, his family announced, triggering an outpouring of tributes to his music, his long career and his anti-apartheid activism. "After a protracted and courageous battle with prostate cancer, he passed peacefully in Johannesburg," Masekela's family said in a statement. It hailed his "activist contribution" to music, which it said "was contained in the minds and memory of millions." South African President Jacob Zuma praised Masekela as a "jazz artist, legendary trumpeter, cultural activist and liberation struggle veteran." "He kept the torch of freedom alive globally fighting apartheid through his music and mobilising international support," Zuma said.
(Reuters (Eng) 01/23/18)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Trumpeter and singer Hugh Masekela, known as the “father of South African jazz” who used his music in the fight against apartheid, has died from prostate cancer, his family said on Tuesday. He was 78. In a career spanning more than five decades, Masekela gained international recognition with his distinctive Afro-Jazz sound and hits such as “Soweto Blues”, which served as one of the soundtracks to the anti-apartheid movement. Following the end of white-minority rule, he opened the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup Kick-Off Concert and performed at the event’s opening ceremony in Johannesburg’s Soccer City stadium. “Hugh’s global and activist contribution to and participation in the areas of music, theater, and the arts in general is...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
The first ever film festival celebrating the LGBT community is underway in Tunisia, a Muslim country where homosexuals can face up to three years in prison. Twelve short and medium-length films produced in Tunisia and across the Middle East and North Africa are being shown at the "Mawjoudin Queer Film Festival" that opened Monday. The four-day event is organised by Mawjoudin, Arabic for "We Exist", a Tunisian non-governmental association which defends the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. It is the first event of its kind in Tunisia and the organisers say the "festival conceives of itself as audacious".
(AFP (eng) 12/18/17)
Mention Nigerian literature and the first names likely to spring to mind are Chinua Achebe, the author of "Things Fall Apart", or the venerable Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka. But Africa's most populous nation has a new crop of writers whose work is a far cry from the post-colonial era of their esteemed predecessors. Olumide Popoola's novel "When We Speak Of Nothing", for example, tells the story of a gay teenager seeking the father he never knew in the southern oil city of Port Harcourt. The book, which was published earlier this year, is written in a language mixing African pidgin with London slang, and includes comical descriptions and textspeak. For Emeka Nwankwo, from Nigerian publisher Cassava Republic, breaking conventions and...
(AFP (eng) 12/16/17)
A coming-of-age film which explores the taboos around gay love and sex has won plaudits and awards abroad, and is now in the running for an Oscar. But back home in South Africa, the movie is under fire for lifting the veil on secret initiation rites practised by one of the country's largest ethnic groups. The trailer alone led to its stars receiving death threats, and opponents have fought to stop it from being screened in local cinemas. "The Wound" delves into the world of ritual initiations in the country's Xhosa community, following the experiences of an initiate and two older men who all experience same-sex attraction. Acclaimed by critics, the film was last week short-listed for the "best foreign...
(Jeune Afrique 12/13/17)
Un tribunal du Caire a condamné mardi une jeune chanteuse égyptienne à deux ans de prison pour "incitation à la débauche", après son apparition dans un clip particulièrement suggestif. L’histoire a commencé par un simple clip musical. Shyma, chanteuse de 21 ans, apparaît dans le clip de sa chanson « Andy Zoroof » (« J’ai des problèmes »), en multipliant les postures lascives dans ce qui semble être une salle de classe. Elle est ensuite arrêtée le 18 novembre après le dépôt de plaintes contre le clip, selon des sources sécuritaires. Un tribunal du Caire l’a condamnée mardi 12 décembre à deux ans de prison et à une amende de 10 000 livres égyptiennes (480 euros). Le réalisateur du clip,...
(AFP (eng) 12/13/17)
Cameroonian author Patrice Nganang has had his custody extended by 48 hours by the authorities, his lawyer said Tuesday, nearly a week after his arrest for publishing an article critical of the country's president. "His detention was extended (Monday) for 48 hours by the state prosecutor," lawyer Emmanuel Simh told AFP, adding that Nganang would "in principle" appear before the prosecutor after its expiry. Simh said the detention was "illegal" because Nganang was not initially notified he was being placed in custody. Police say Nganang made an online death threat against President Paul Biya, but Cameroon writers and activists have called for his unconditional release. Nganang, who teaches literature at New York University, published last Tuesday an opinion piece in...
(AFP (eng) 12/13/17)
A court in Cairo on Tuesday sentenced an Egyptian pop singer to two years in prison for "inciting debauchery" over a racy music video clip, a judicial source said. Shyma, a little-known 21-year-old singer, was also fined 10,000 pounds ($560). The director of the clip, Mohamed Gamal, received the same sentence. Both can appeal the ruling. Shyma was arrested on November 18, police said, following complaints about the video for her song "I Have Issues". In the video, she appears in a mock classroom licking an apple and appearing to mimic fellatio on a banana in front of a chalkboard scrawled with "Class #69". "Singer Shyma presents a lesson in depravity to youths," said the Youm 7 newspaper in an...
(AFP (eng) 12/13/17)
A live performance of an aria from an Italian opera, sung by a professional soprano, isn't a common sound in Nigeria's bustling commercial and entertainment capital, Lagos. But it's not the most surprising thing for the performer, Omo Bello. News of her appearance at the MUSON School of Music has attracted a crowd, even when it's only for a short rehearsal. "I didn't realise to what extent I was recognised in Nigeria," the 33-year-old admitted after singing "O mio babbino caro", from Giacomo Puccini's 1918 opera "Gianni Schicchi". "I've been away for over a decade and I guess things have changed and I didn't realise how much. When I was told that lots of people were coming, I was a...
(AFP (eng) 12/11/17)
Egyptian archaeologists have discovered a mummy in one of two previously unexplored tombs across the Nile from the southern city of Luxor, the antiquities ministry said Saturday. The tombs were found in the 1990s by German archaeologist Frederica Kampp, though she had only reached the entrance gate "but never entered", the ministry said. It said that both tombs, which were given numbers by Kampp, were likely to date back to dynasties of the New Kingdom, which lasted several centuries until about 3,000 years ago. Since Kampp's discovery, "both tombs were left untouched" an Egyptian archaeological mission started work. Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Enany was in Luxor to announce the discovery in Draa Abul Nagaa necropolis near the famed Valley of the...
(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, who was followed by second runner-up Davina Bennett of Jamaica. The current Miss Universe, Iris Mittenaere from France, crowned her successor to a din of squeals and cheers. American comic turned TV host Steve Harvey hosted the event for the...
(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 then charged him with belonging to an "illegal group", the lawyer said. It was not immediately clear what group prosecutors suspected him of joining. Rifai's arrest led to supporters launching Twitter hashtags reading in Arabic "Freedom for Khorm" and "Khorm...
(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 to work. “We have not recovered the stolen money,” said Simba Willy, sub-county police commander in the town of Thika, northeast of Nairobi, where the heist took place. “We suspect the robbers hired one of the shops near the bank...
(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 for his release. The letter was co-signed by Human Rights Watch, PEN International Amnesty International, Reporters without Borders and Transparency International among others. On September 19, state television said Ebale had been arrested for "money-laundering and counterfeiting" after fake banknotes...
(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" of Kanumba, a rising young star in the country at the time. Michael had said Kanumba, 28, was drunk and beating her at the time of the incident. An investigation found that he died of a head injury. Judge Sam...
(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 civil war. The Tanit d'Argent went to South Africa's John Trengove for his first feature "The Wound", which has sparked controversy at home over its portrayal of homosexual love and an ancestral initiation rite. Veteran Moroccan director Faouzi Bensaidi received...

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