Africa

Textile Artist Lizette Chirrime Launches Fashion Line in Cape Town.

In Cape Town, South Africa, renowned abstract textile artist Lizette Chirrime is showcasing her first creative fashion line as part of Art Africa’s inaugural Community Residency program.

Regarding her piece Remember, You are Unique, Chirrime remarked, “I noticed that people reject their own identity and instead embrace Western styles and traditions.”

Her most recent collection features a large assortment of African textiles with patterns influenced by her personal and spiritual travels. It also features metal jewelry that is handmade and native wood items manufactured in Mozambique.

“The pieces are intended to encourage African men and women to embrace their uniqueness – an exciting and thought-provoking alternative to Western and Eurocentric fashion,” Art Africa Founder Suzette Bell-Roberts said.

Of her textile art, Chirrime spoke of how abstract forms “evoke the human body” and how her art was born of pain.

“I re-fashion my self-image and transcend a painful upbringing that left me shattered and broken. I literally ‘re-stitched’ myself together. These liberated ‘souls’ are depicted ‘dancing’ on the canvas, bringing to mind, well-dressed African women celebrating.”

Chirrime was based in Cape Town, South Africa, for 16 years, then returned to her home country of Mozambique in 2021. Her use of art has been described as a “therapeutic and spiritual tool”, and “using after colored thread to inspire hope and healing”.

In keeping with her vision for her fashion line, she chose artists, musicians, celebrities, and everyday people as models for the fashion show, including her son Zawady, Zolani Mahola (The One Who Sings), Ethiopian restauranteur Senait Mekonnen, radio legend Shado Twala, storyteller Philippa Namutebi Kabali-Kagwa, Oliver Barnett (Artist), Nonhlanhala Mditshwa (Artist & Curator), martial arts instructor Márcio Lopes, Freshly Ground guitarist Julio Sigauque, Ernestine Deane (Musician and healer), David Mukania (Uber driver), artist Barbara Wildenboer, and TV journalist Yazeed Kamaldien.

 

Tanzania Sees Mega Projects as Key to Easing Dollar Crunch.

Minister for Finance Mwigulu Nchemba is confident that the supply of dollars in Tanzania will stabilize once mega projects are operational, easing the pressure of importing necessary equipment.

Dr Nchemba remarked during the “2024 Technical Level Strategic Dialogue” meeting that focused on Vision 2050.
The meeting, attended by experts, government officials, and development partners, looked at how Tanzania can accelerate resilience and ensure inclusive development in times of uncertainty.

Stakeholders identified key focus areas crucial for shaping the national development vision for 2050. They emphasized the government’s attention to investing in agriculture, education, and industries and the formulation of favorable policies to attract foreign investments, thereby bolstering the country’s economy.

Dr Nchemba emphasized the ongoing execution of significant projects such as the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) and the Julius Nyerere Hydropower Project, both requiring substantial foreign currency (dollars) for the procurement of raw materials.

“Once these projects conclude, the scarcity of dollars will be history. We are also focused on enhancing crop production and expanding the value chain to facilitate the sale of more products abroad, thereby increasing the availability of dollars,” he said at the meeting.

Tanzania has been grappling with a shortage of dollars since last year, which has largely been attributed to external factors such as the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the war between Russia and Ukraine, the US Federal Reserve’s decision to raise interest rates, and climate change.

Such challenges have recently resulted in the emergence of the black market, which has hit hard at oil suppliers who claim to buy the dollar at higher than displayed prices.
The Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESARF) executive director, Prof Fortunata Makene, urged the government to prioritize sectors where many Tanzanians are employed to elevate their economic standards.

She also highlighted the importance of the education sector, emphasizing its role in stimulating creativity for individual contributions to the country’s development.
“The issue of education is paramount, and while stakeholders acknowledge policy reforms, there are still challenges,” she noted. Prof Makene also advocated for the empowerment of the agricultural sector, encouraging a shift from traditional production methods to align with advancements in science and technology.

Minister for Labour and Investment in Zanzibar, Mr. Sharif Ali Sharif, highlighted the Blue Economy Policy, emphasizing priorities such as fisheries and aquaculture, maritime trade and infrastructure, and energy.
“The recent dialogue with stakeholders emphasized the need for us to find proper channels to enhance the country’s economic performance and build an inclusive and resilient economy,” he remarked.

The Executive Director of the Research on Poverty Alleviation (Repoa), Dr Donald Mmari, acknowledged the Tanzanian achievements in reaching middle-income status but emphasized the persisting challenges. “To improve the business environment and reduce production costs, we need to collectively address challenges, enhance competitiveness and inclusivity, and create more jobs through private sector investments,” he said.

The Tanzania Development Vision for 2025 is concluding, and while progress has been made, concerted efforts are ongoing to overcome challenges and foster a more robust and inclusive economy.

See Upcoming Musicians Showcasing Diverse Genres in Africa.

As they continue to elevate African pop music to unprecedented levels, mainstream African musicians are pushing the creative frontiers of Afrobeats and Amapiano.

The musical landscape of Africa is dominated by Amapiano and Afrobeats, but many other fascinating genres are being explored by gifted up-and-coming musicians.

Africa possesses an amazing array of captivating music genres, ranging from R&B, EDM, Lekompo, Asakaa, Dancehall, Fuji, and Gqom, to name a few. These genres may provide listeners with a satisfying experience that goes beyond the mainstream.

These 11 up-and-coming musicians represent the variety of genres found in sub-Saharan Africa.

Kaestyle

Nigerian recording artist and music producer Kaestyle, who is originally from Port Harcourt, expresses his laid-back attitude in his songs. His soft vocals, which have a strong R&B and soul flavor, have a big impact on his approach. With remarkable handwriting and skill, Kaestyle is making a name for himself in Nigeria’s expanding music scene. ‘Egberi’, his most recent release, is a blend of drill and highlife that displays his inventiveness and adaptability.

Kold AF

Kold AF is a rising star known for her distinctive fusion of dancehall, R&B, and soul. Her two-song EP Kold Szn from 2022 and her joint EP Kollide, published in 2023 with French producer BGRZ, are two of her productions that have left an impression.

Sigag Lauren

Sigag Lauren Nigerian DJ, producer, vocalist, and songwriter of EDM music. He is well known for his creative production methods and ability to seamlessly combine different genres. His ability to create compelling soundscapes and catchy beats has won him a lot of respect from his audience. Sigag has not only published his album but also a number of fresh singles. Listeners will find themselves dancing to the catchy groove of the lively song ‘Minds Already Made Up’.

Kah-lo

Dance music performer Kah-lo is nominated for a Grammy for her collaboration with British DJ Riton on Rinse and Repeat because of her distinctive sound. In 2023, she issued her debut album, ‘Pain and Pleasure’.

Lemon Adisa

Lemon Adisa is a fascinating vocalist known for expertly fusing pop, R&B, hip-hop, and fuji music to create an explosive combination. He recently released an EP titled ‘Yeebo’. 

Kharishma

Kharishma is undoubtedly Lekompo’s main lady; as such, she has been ruling the charts and is currently regarded as one of the genre’s most promising musicians. ‘Matome’ and ‘Sekoloto’ are two of her well-known songs; the latter is credited with bringing her distinctive vocal style to a broader audience. 

Mr. Thela

Mr. Thela is a Gqom DJ and producer who rose to prominence in the genre with the independently released album Tronics Land Series 2 from the mother city. ‘Make Cape Town Great Again’, the record that was nominated for a South African Music Award in 2020, marked his debut in the music industry.

Filah Lah Lah

Renowned for her calming tones, former BET Africa Soul Cypher member Beyond only singing, Filah Lah Lah is a tremendously gifted Rhythm and Blues singer who recently signed a record deal with Sony Africa. Her writing is so compassionate that it is comparable to that of writers from the 1940s and 1960s. ‘Call Me’, her most recent album, is the ideal illustration.

Lwah Ndlunkulu

It’s well known that Lwah Ndlunkulu incorporates traditional aspects into her songs. An excellent illustration of a performer fusing contemporary sounds with traditional music—in her case, Afropop and Maskandi. As a featured artist on the South African Maskandi smash song Paris with Mthandeni SK, she had an amazing year. Her skill is evident in the songs ‘Ngiyeza’ and ‘Ithuba’, which are played everywhere from Kwazulu Natal to Gauteng.

DESIREE

DESIREE is a well-known producer in the EDM scene. Mzansi danced to DESIREE’s “Psilocybin”, a performer well-known for her captivating shows. Around the course of her career, DESIREE has routinely performed dance music at popular music-oriented venues all around the world.

Jay Bhad

Ghanaian musician Jay Bhad is well-known for his work in the Asakaa type of drill music, which combines hip-hop melodies with drill instrumentation. His reality influences his music, as evidenced by hits like “Condemn” and “Y3 Y3 Dom,” which highlight his skill.

While Afrobeats and Amapiano are sweeping the globe, fans should also keep an eye on some of the other fascinating subgenres that have the potential to propel African music’s global ascent.

Kenya Wins Bid To Host 2024 Transform Africa Summit.

Kenya was chosen to host the esteemed Transform Africa Summit (TAS-24) in 2024 on Tuesday.

The news was made public by Smart Africa, the co-ordinating secretariat for ICT programs and activities for the African Continent during the annual Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain.

ICT CS, Eliud Owalo who was president, expressed his happiness, pointing out that the win confirms Kenya’s position as a regional leader in advancing the transformative impact of ICTs on socioeconomic development and as a powerhouse in ICTs, strengthened by President William Ruto’s transformational leadership.

“This win is a testament to the confidence that the Smart Africa Alliance places in Kenya and its leadership. It solidifies our Nation’s tradition as a home for high-profile international conferences, an ICT investment destination of choice, and highlights Kenya’s commitment to advancing the Digital Agenda in Africa,” said Owalo.

Kenya’s determination to win the hosting rights and present the country’s capabilities to the world was evident when the Communication Authority opened the summit bidding process in November of last year.

Every year, the Smart Africa Alliance hosts the Transform Africa Summit, which is the premier continental gathering place for international and regional ICT leaders from business, government, and international organizations.

The goal of this partnership is to investigate novel strategies for directing, propelling, and maintaining Africa’s growing digital revolution.

This year’s Transform Africa Summit is slated to be in Nairobi on August 28–30.

ITU Secretary General Doreen Bogdan-Martin and African Union Commissioner Dr. Amani Abu-Zeid, who oversees infrastructure, energy, and digitization, were present at the ceremony in Spain.

ICT ministers from a number of African nations, including Zimbabwe, Ghana, Madagascar, Gabon, Rwanda, and Burundi, as well as Communications Authority chairperson Mary Wambui and DG David Mugonyi were also in attendance.

South Africa’s Debut AFCFTA Export To Ghana During Global Disruptions.

Philip Myburgh, the executive head of trade and Africa-China business at the Standard Bank Group, highlights the emerging opportunities for intra-African trade development under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. This comes as traditional trade routes face disruptions, shipping times become unpredictable, and freight tariffs soar due to conflicts in the Red Sea region.

With a combined gross GDP of approximately $3.4 trillion and a market connecting 1.3 billion people, the African continent presents lucrative business prospects for buying and trading goods. These opportunities provide alternatives in the current scenario and alleviate the dependence on importing goods from the rest of the world in the future.

In addition to diminishing the necessity for importing goods from beyond Africa, the preferential tariff rates foster the continent’s growth. Myburgh suggests that the AfCFTA holds the potential to enhance South Africa’s economy and generate new employment opportunities through increased economic participation.

In the past month, South Africa initiated its first export to Ghana under the AfCFTA agreement. The exported goods included forged grinding balls and high chrome grinding media products destined for the platinum, gold, ferrochrome, base metal, power generation, and cement industries. Myburgh notes that there are still numerous untapped markets awaiting exploration.

Ghana emerges as a robust trading partner due to its strategic west coast location and the presence of two deepwater ports, Takoradi and Tema. These ports provide logistical benefits for seaborne traffic from South Africa. Often referred to as the ‘Gateway to West Africa,’ Ghana facilitates convenient access not only to its domestic markets but also to other nations in the region.

Myburgh highlights that there are mutually advantageous opportunities between South Africa and Ghana, including:

South African poultry and meat products, where broiler products make up approximately 80% of Ghana’s meat imports, present significant opportunities. Given the substantial Muslim population, there are also prospects for importing halal-certified products.

South African poultry and meat products, where broiler products make up approximately 80% of Ghana’s meat imports, present significant opportunities. Given the substantial Muslim population, there are also prospects for importing halal-certified products.

Cocoa powder and cocoa paste, with an estimated value ranging between $10 million and $15 million.

Frozen fish, with a value of $20 million.

Shea butter, catering to the growing local hair care and skin care markets, witnessed imports of 6.4 million kilograms in 2022, equivalent to approximately $20.4 million.

“Myburgh emphasizes that our engagement with AfCFTA is centered on unleashing Africa’s potential by leveraging digital trade services and cutting-edge technologies such as data science, AI, and blockchain. Collaborating with the AfCFTA steering committee, we aim to offer valuable insights for the effective implementation of digital trade,” states Myburgh.

Our robust connections with Ghana encompass comprehensive banking operations, and notably, the country hosts the headquarters of AfCFTA. Ghana is committed to fostering growth and generating opportunities across the 20 African markets.

Myburgh expresses that with its youthful population, expanding markets, and prospects for intra-African trade, the African continent holds the potential to evolve into a significant global trading bloc. This commitment to the future of AfCFTA underscores our dedication to supporting African countries and their global exports.

 

Rwanda’s Kenza Ameloot Shines as Miss Belgium 2024.

On Saturday, February 24 at the grand finale of the Miss Belgium beauty pageant, Rwandan-Belgian model Kenza Johanna Ameloot was crowned Miss Belgium 2024 which took place at the Proximus Theater.

Julie Mortier and Estelle Toulemonde took first and second runner-up places in a competition that had thirty-two competitors competing for the prestigious title that acts as a gateway to Miss Universe. Arwen Van Gucht and Marie Rousseaux both earned places in the top 5.

After Emilie Vansteenkiste was crowned Miss België and Miss Universe Belgium 2023, the 22-year-old became victorious in the tournament.

Ameloot was born to a Belgian father and a Rwandan mother, and she works as a professional model while studying international business.

The beauty queen named Rwanda as her favorite place to travel, especially on vacations, in a recent interview with Isimbi TV.

She also noted that she was working on a project that aimed to help Belgian students who are having difficulties finishing their education get back into the classroom.

Ameloot succeeds Sonia Rolland, the 2000 Miss France winner, as the second Rwandan to win a major beauty contest.

Born to a Belgian father and a Rwandan mother, Kenza Ameloot is a Belgian model who hails from Sint-Amandsberg, East Flanders. The stunning beauty queen is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in international business.

On winning the national crown, Kenza took to her official social media as she wrote, “I am super proud and extremely grateful that I get the opportunity to make a difference as Miss. I am very proud and grateful that I have this opportunity to invest as Miss. I am beyond proud and grateful for receiving this chance to mean something as a Miss.”

Nigeria: Nollywood Actress Chizzy Alichi Emerges Victorious in Boxing Match Against Laide Bakare.

 

Taking inspiration from Portable and Charles Okocha, Nollywood’s Chizzy Alichi and Laide Bakare resolved their differences in a boxing match.

 

In a sequence of videos circulating on social media on February 25, 2024, actresses Chizzy Alichi and Laide Bakare engaged in a celebrity boxing match. Alichi occupied the red corner, and Bakare took the blue corner. The footage captured the actresses exchanging punches in the ring. Ultimately, Alichi emerged as the winner. She celebrated her victory on Instagram, sharing the triumphant moment with her followers. The event marked a noteworthy spectacle, showcasing the actresses’ resolve to settle their differences through a physical encounter, adding a unique twist to celebrity interactions and garnering attention across social media platforms.

 

Graciously holding her trophy, Chizzy Alichi expressed gratitude to the organizers and spectators of the match. She playfully conveyed appreciation to Laide Bakare, humorously alluding to an anticipated bottle of champagne, adding a lighthearted touch to the post-match acknowledgments.

 

Celebrating her victory, Chizzy Alichi shared a triumphant caption on social media, expressing gratitude to attendees, colleagues, and event organizers. She commended the show’s execution and emphasized the enjoyable experience. Alichi extended love to co-participant Laide Bakare, adding a playful note about awaiting the promised champagne. The post captured the joyous aftermath of the intense match, showcasing friendship amid competition. Alichi’s acknowledgment reflected appreciation for the collaborative effort in organizing the event, reinforcing the positive atmosphere and shared enjoyment among participants, colleagues, and supporters who contributed to the success of the memorable evening.

 

In a delightful exchange following their celebrity boxing match, Chizzy Alichi and Laide Bakare showcased a blend of teamwork and playful banter on social media. Alichi’s gratitude-filled post, celebrating the victory and acknowledging the organizers, garnered a warm response from Bakare. In good humor, Bakare thanked Alichi for making the fight enjoyable and cheekily mentioned feeling the urge to continue the battles. The playful exchange continued with Bakare’s promise to send the awaited champagne and an invitation for Alichi to visit. However, adding a humorous twist, Bakare claimed victory on her post and declared plans for a victory party. The back-and-forth banter highlighted the friendly competition and shared joy between the actresses, creating a lively and entertaining aftermath to their unique celebrity showdown.

 

Announcing her victory, Laide Bakare joyfully proclaimed herself the “Honorable Champion” and revealed plans for a celebratory party in Lekki on Sunday, March 3rd, 2024. Inviting everyone to join the festivities, her post exuded enthusiasm as she embraced the title and prepared to mark the triumph in a lively gathering.

Kenyan Electric Vehicle Company Unveils Latest Model in Rwanda.

Go Electric Ltd, an electrical and solar vehicle dealer, will introduce its newest models in Rwanda, marking a significant step forward in sustainable mobility.

The company reaffirmed its commitment to providing affordable and environmentally friendly transportation options when it received a shipment of several units of its latest model, called UTU saloon automobiles.

Known for being a leader in the electric vehicle industry in East Africa, the company intends to introduce more than 1,000 EVs into the market by 2025 and grow its fleet to meet its customers’ varied demands and preferences. In addition to saloon vehicles, this extensive range will also feature trucks, pick-ups, and three-wheelers.

The business has already arranged loans from several financial organizations to buyers of the units. The unit can be purchased for as little as Sh1.7 million ($12,000).

Go Electric’s Sales Director Evans Komen stated in a speech given in Kigali, Rwanda, that the goal of the UTU electric car line is to hasten the adoption of EVs by providing premium, reasonably priced solutions that meet the varied needs of their clientele.

He declared, “The company’s commitment to a cleaner, greener future for Rwanda and Africa as a whole is emphasized by the arrival of these new models.” As the world’s focus turned to e-mobility, we are investing Sh2.8 billion (USD 20 million) to import more vehicles and support the nation,” he added.

Go Electric recently shipped brand-new saloon cars to Rwanda intending to sell them to corporate fleets and ride-hailing services that are switching from gasoline-powered to electric cars.

According to Mr. Komen, the company sees a time when ecologically friendly and commercially feasible sustainable transportation is the norm.

“In addition to saloon cars, this extensive range will also feature three-wheelers, pick-ups, and trucks, demonstrating the company’s commitment to providing complete and sustainable transportation solutions.

“We will ensure accessibility and affordability in the local market by focusing on importing more vehicles, even as the world embraces e-mobility,” he continued.

The management of the company intends to implement driver training initiatives in East Africa in order to facilitate the shift to electric vehicles.

 

Nigeria: Sequel of Kunle’s Aníkúlápó to Hit Cinema on March 1, 2024.

 

 

Aníkúlápó: Rise of the Spectre’ is the follow-up to Kunle Afolayan’s 2022 Netflix movie, ‘Aníkúlápó.

 

The initial scenes in ‘Aníkúlápó: Rise of the Spectre’ transport viewers back to bustling pre-colonial Yoruba towns, showcasing flourishing trade, friendly travelers, and hospitable communities.

 

In this installment, a continuation of Kunle Afolayan’s 2022 Netflix movie ‘Aníkúlápó,’ the character Saro (played by Kunle Remi), a charming but superficial, uncouth, and not-so-bright protagonist, takes center stage.



After seemingly meeting his demise in ‘Aníkúlápó,’ Saro finds himself brought back to the living by a light-skinned gatekeeper with flowing hair. Is it mere coincidence or a hint that divinity takes diverse forms? The prequel reveals Saro’s past transgressions, having stolen Akala’s gourd to play God in deciding life and death. Now, he’s compelled to settle his debt by returning as a spirit to collect the souls he disrupted. Striking a pact with one of them, Saro transforms into an Akudaya, a Yoruba mythical ghost, tasked with restarting life in a new family, far removed from their place of burial.

 

Despite being granted a second chance, Saro fails to lead a purposeful life and quickly reverts to his old ways. Discovering a friendly town, aided by spectral allies, he promptly establishes a palm wine bar and initiates a pursuit of the village Belle, portrayed by Oyindamola Sanni.

 

In ‘Aníkúlápó: Rise of the Spectre,’ Afolayan explores the historical sexual freedom Yoruba women once enjoyed, contrasting it with present challenges. This narrative thread echoes the shift from a time of freedom to contemporary struggles against harassment in Lagos. Sola Sobowale’s Awarun embarks on a new romantic journey with Basorun, embodying the evolving dynamics within the community.

 

Meanwhile, the film introduces a subplot where a young maiden undergoes her sexual awakening with Saro. Afolayan skillfully navigates the cultural landscape, highlighting a historical lack of emphasis on consent. The storyline raises questions about love and the potential predatory nature of Saro, blurring the lines between willing partners and exploitative relationships.

 

Afolayan handles the “sexual” scenes with nuance, presenting them as a poignant case study in a time when consent has become a prominent societal conversation. The director captures the ambiguity surrounding love and exploitation, portraying Saro as both a potential partner and a force to be reckoned with. This approach invites viewers to contemplate the complexities of consent within a changing cultural context, where traditional norms intersect with contemporary values. The portrayal leaves room for interpretation, emphasizing that the woman involved has experienced more than she bargained for in her interactions with Saro.

 

From the outskirts, where kind travelers and hospitable communities once thrived, a reflective pause prompts contemplation on the path taken over two centuries. The contrast is stark in modern Nigeria, where the hospitality once bestowed upon Saro has dwindled. Attempting to find a house as an Igbo person in Lagos reveals fragments of that generosity, but it’s far from the flagrant warmth of the past. The emergence of apartment ads bearing discriminatory notes like “No Igbos” or “Yoruba preferably” underscores this transformation.

 

Yet, amidst these societal shifts, Afolayan’s adherence to the conventions of old Yoruba language Nollywood production presents a distinct challenge for the series and his directorial journey. The dialogue, at times, feels monotonous, and the themes appear didactic, akin to a sermon on ancient Yoruba morality. This refusal to break free from established norms becomes a stumbling block, potentially impeding the series and hindering Afolayan’s growth as a director.

 

Aníkúlápó: Rise of the Spectre offers reasons for celebration. Afolayan, a master of crafting authentic period sets and sourcing vintage objects, excels in bringing films to life. The opulent halls where the Kabiyesis hold court radiate the essence of the era, and the portrayal of interiors in the tiny huts provides a fascinating glimpse into the world of epic Nollywood movies. While the towns succeed in conveying a sense of grandeur for the time, they may not be Apartment Therapy-ready.

 

As the series begins streaming on March 1, 2024, fans will undoubtedly gravitate towards it, considering its position at the forefront of a new wave of Nollywood production emphasizing excellence. The challenges within Aníkúlápó: Rise of the Spectre are not solely about the series itself or Afolayan’s approach but reflect broader issues within Nollywood. It underscores the considerable strides made by the Nigerian film industry.

South Africa’s Budget2024 Promotes Unity For Lasting Economic Growth.

During the 2024 Budget Speech, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana made numerous promises and unveiled budget allocations for state-owned entities, provinces, and municipalities. The announcements encompass a range of financial commitments, signaling the government’s strategic distribution of resources across various sectors to stimulate economic growth and support local governance.

Russel Morena, Chief Executive Officer of the Southern African Institute of Government Auditors (SAIGA), thoroughly explores the Budget Speech, focusing on South Africa’s capacity to overcome challenges.

In his examination, Morena highlights the numerous weaknesses within the South African system, pinpointing challenges related to economic growth, employment creation, state performance, service delivery, and an escalating debt burden.

According to Morena, the intricate web of challenges suggests that South Africa is grappling with significant issues on multiple fronts. He underscores the ongoing struggle of the economy to achieve sustained growth, accentuated by the imperative need for job creation.

As he scrutinizes the Budget Speech, Morena emphasizes the pressing need for the country to address these complex challenges comprehensively. The analysis reflects a critical evaluation of South Africa’s current situation, emphasizing the importance of a holistic approach to foster robust and sustainable economic development.

Furthermore, the state’s performance and service delivery have raised concerns. Morena emphasizes that the increasing debt burden is exerting substantial pressure on the nation’s financial resources. Despite acknowledging South Africa’s efforts in a positive direction, Morena asserts that the country is essentially in survival mode. He highlights the Minister’s necessity to tap into the golden reserve account to manage state debt and diminish the borrowing requirement, a move aimed at alleviating the anxiety of ordinary citizens. This action serves as a stark indication of the challenging economic circumstances.

While recognizing the steps taken by South Africa, Morena underscores the prevailing survival mindset. The decision to access the Golden Reserve account demonstrates the severity of the situation, portraying the government’s measures to navigate economic challenges while maintaining a delicate balance to avoid unsettling the general populace. Morena’s assessment sheds light on the intricate financial intricacies and the delicate balancing act the country is currently undertaking.

In his evaluation of the Budget Speech, Morena recognizes the attempts to tackle challenges but conveys a perceived lack of urgency and the requirement for decisive action. He notes that utilizing the country’s reserve account to manage state debt signals a stringent fiscal environment and the necessity for prudent financial management. While acknowledging its necessity, Morena suggests that this move could underscore the gravity of the financial constraints confronting the nation. His fiscal critique emphasizes the importance of proactive measures and prudent financial decisions to navigate the challenges effectively.

Additionally, Morena underscored the necessity for efficient policy implementation, especially in crucial sectors like electricity, rail, and port infrastructure. Despite having the appropriate policy framework, he notes that the implementation pace has been sluggish, impeding both progress and economic development. Morena describes this “two steps forward, one step back” approach as worrisome, emphasizing the imperative for heightened efficiency and expediency in propelling economic reforms.

Advocating for economic synergy, Morena, as an auditor, urges a comprehensive strategy to address economic challenges. This involves not only focusing on tax policy and revenue collection but also tackling issues like state capacity, infrastructure investment, and economic growth. SAIGA emphasizes the necessity for a collaborative endeavor involving government, business, and civil society to drive sustainable economic development, fostering opportunities for all citizens. Morena underscores the need for a cohesive and coordinated approach to addressing the root causes of inequality and unemployment, ensuring transparent public expenditure. The institute commits to closely monitoring the country’s economic and fiscal landscape, offering valuable insights for informed decision-making and policy formulation. With concerted efforts, Morena expresses hope that South Africa can overcome financial obstacles and achieve lasting economic growth and development.


 

Egypt to Open Branches of Alexandria University in South Sudan

A pact to establish Alexandria University branches in the South Sudanese capital Juba and the town of Tonj was reached on Monday between Egypt and South Sudan.

South Sudan’s Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Technology, Gabriel Changson Chang, and President of Alexandria University, Abdelaziz Konsowa, signed the Memorandum of Understanding in Cairo, according to a release from Egypt’s Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

“The South Sudan branch will open two campuses, one in Juba and one in Tonj. The message stated in part, “Tonj Campus will open first at any point in 2024.

According to the announcement, among other subjects, the intended university branches will include programs in biotechnology, engineering, business, nursing, veterinary medicine, education, and agriculture.

As per the agreement, students will be admitted in accordance with Alexandria University’s admission standards. If financial resources permit, exceptional students may be permitted to study for a full academic year on the campus in Egypt.

Establishing university branches will pave the way for further collaboration between the two nations in higher education, according to Egyptian Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Ayman Ashour, who made this statement during the signing ceremony in Cairo.

He stated that the Egyptian government is prepared to enhance collaboration between the institutions of the two nations and offer all required accommodations to South Sudanese students studying there.

Gabriel Changson Chang, for his part, thanked Egypt for continuing to support his nation in a number of ways and stated that the deal represents a significant step toward South Sudan’s development of higher education.

He further said this cooperation will strengthen the relationship between the two countries in the education sector. Arguably, he noted that as a result of this cooperation, South Sudan would be able to gain a lot through the exchange programs at the university.

He emphasized that the Memorandum of Understanding might take effect in 2024, but he did not specify when it would go into action. 

The MoU will give optimism to Tonj and South Sudan in general, according to Dr. Anei Mangong Anei, coordinator of the Alexandria University branch in South Sudan.

“As South Sudanese and the people of Tonj in particular, the signed Memorandum of Understanding gave us full hope regarding its nearest opening,” he stated.

The operationalization of Alexandria University in Tonj, he continued, is a much-anticipated initiative

 

Super Falcons Defeat Indomitable Lioness to Keep 2024 Olympics Hopes Alive.

The Super Falcons’ chances of making it to the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris were greatly enhanced after they defeated the Indomitable Lioness of Cameroon 1-0 in yesterday’s crucial match at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja.

Remember that last Friday, coach Randy Waldrum’s team played to a scoreless tie in the first leg in Douala, and they needed to win this match to have one last chance to board the plane to Paris.

Esther Okoronkwo broke the deadlock, giving the Nigerian team the early lead from a goalmouth scramble, after the country had not participated in the Olympics since 2008, sixteen years ago.

When the second half started, the visitors acted unsportsmanlike on two separate occasions. Some of the players looked at their hosts’ goalposts, and Enganemben Annie was given a red card for pushing Nnadozie during an odd rush by Cameroonian players to touch the goalkeeper’s net.

At a press conference following the game, Waldrum stated that the players gave it their all and that they would be ready to play South Africa.

“We created chances and we worked hard to get the result. I am extremely proud of the team. We tried to manage the final minutes of the game. I wasn’t worried,” he said.

In the same spirit, Deborah Abiodun declared that the squad was honored to represent the nation and that they were headed toward breaking the jinx.

“We are grateful for this. We are honored to represent Nigeria, and we’ll follow the instructions of our coaches. In order to secure the ticket, we would rely on the backing of Nigerians and exert every effort to triumph over South Africa,” she proclaimed.

The Nigerian Falcons competed in the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in Australia (2000), Greece (2004), and China (2008), however, they haven’t advanced past their first round appearance in China sixteen years prior.

After this triumph, Nigeria will play in the fourth round of the Caf Women’s Olympic qualifying tournament in April against the winner between South Africa and Tanzania.

There are just two Olympic tickets available for Africa in the 16-nation Women’s Olympic football competition; the victor of the qualifiers’ final round will select the ticket.

 

AngloGold Ashanti Uncovers High-Grade Gold In A Game-Changing Find In The US.

 

AngloGold Ashanti Uncovers High-Grade Gold  In A Game-Changing  Find In The  US.he Obuasi mine in Ghana saw a positive recovery in Q4 2023, gaining momentum after a slowdown in Q3 2023.

AngloGold Ashanti has significantly discovered additional gold, and the quality is notably higher.

The precious metals miner generated $314 million (R6 billion) in cash inflows for the second half of 2023. They’ve unveiled a substantial gold resource discovery, totaling 9.1 million ounces, in Nevada, USA, a sought-after haven for the metal.

The market embraced the announcement, leading to a 3.66% increase in AngloGold shares, closing at R346.84 on Friday. Intra-day, the shares reached a peak of R356.73, marking a 6.6% surge. Over three years, the shares have gained 17.01%.

On Friday, AngloGold revealed that following a $73 million investment in brownfield exploration in Nevada and the completion of 129km of drilling, it has officially verified a substantial inferred mineral deposit of precious metal at the Merlin gold deposit under its Expanded Silicon Project.

The mining company declared the completion of 129 kilometers of drilling in Nevada projects, incurring an exploration cost of $73.9 million, primarily focused on the Merlin deposit within the Expanded Silicon Project. These efforts yielded outstanding results, leading to the confirmation of an initial Inferred Mineral Resource of 9.1 million ounces.

AngloGold Ashanti’s pursuit of heightened cost-efficiency and mine life extension aligns with its decision to migrate its primary listing to the NYSE. This move aims to improve access to the world’s largest capital market and enhance its positioning among the most highly valued companies in the gold industry.

During the quarter ending September 2023, AngloGold Ashanti achieved a 3% rise in gold production, reaching 673,000 ounces compared to the preceding June quarter. This increase is attributed to higher processed ore tonnes, partially offset by lower grades.

Yet, for the nine months leading to September 2023, the production of 1.909 million ounces is less than the 1.971 million ounces from the same period last year. This decline is due to production challenges at the Siguiri mine in Guinea, leading to a loss of approximately 29,000 ounces of gold. Additionally, the suspension of waste deposition at the Cuiabá mine in Brazil resulted in the loss of around 5,000 ounces of gold due to the transition to gold-in-concentrate production.

AngloGold Ashanti CEO Alberto Calderon stated, “Gold production demonstrated improvement in the third quarter of 2023, and we anticipate a further increase throughout the remaining year, aligning with our guidance.

He mentioned that the company is intensifying efforts to boost competitiveness compared to its peers, with a heightened emphasis on the decarbonization of operations.

Advancements in the decarbonization program have been noted at the Geita site in Tanzania and the Tropicana site in Western Australia. AngloGold Ashanti is currently gearing up to link the mine site to the Tanzanian grid, which boasts a significant proportion of its power mix from renewable sources. Simultaneously, at Tropicana, initial project activities have begun for the establishment of a 62MW wind and solar facility.

Ethiopia: ‘First Digital Ethiopia Week to Take Place Next Week.

The Ministry of Innovation and Technology announced that the first national Digital Ethiopia Week will be held from February 26 to March 1, 2024.

The first Digital Ethiopia Week will be held from February 26 to March 1, 2024, with the motto “United efforts for digital Ethiopia,”

In a statement to the media, Yeshurun Alemayehu (PhD), State Minister of Innovation and Technology said that work is being done to enable technology to play a key role in the ten-year development plan. Therefore, Digital Ethiopia Week aims to raise the society’s culture of using technology by creating a movement on digital technology and increasing its contribution to development and the economy.

Yishrun said “We are happy to celebrate the first Digital Ethiopia Week, which aims to spread digital knowledge and empower citizens with technology, and to create the opportunity to increase digital knowledge in the society. Digital Ethiopia Week will play a typical role in informing the society of Ethiopia’s digitization activities to create a citizen who knows and uses digital technology. The world is entering full digitization. It is impossible to live in isolation from the world.”

During the week, a series of forums will be organized where stakeholders, policymakers, and industry leaders meet on one platform and discuss various topics, such as government online services, e-commerce strategy, personal data protection, and more, he stated.

He said that the platform is also an opportunity to create partnerships and collaborations in the use of digital technologies for growth and development. It will also provide an opportunity for participants to meet with various experts in the field, exchange technology demonstrations and learn about digital solutions in various fields.

He called on the media to contribute to the development of digital technology awareness in the society by reporting the events of the week.

Algeria Inaugurates Africa’s Largest Mosque: Great Mosque of Algiers

Ceremonies were held for Algeria’s massive mosque, poised to welcome worshippers during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

After years of political unrest, Algeria has opened the largest mosque in Africa on its Mediterranean coast, despite political setbacks and budget overruns.

According to World Union of Muslim Ulemas General Secretary Ali Mohamed Salabi, the inauguration on Sunday will lead Muslims “toward goodness and moderation.”

The mosque was officially opened by Algerian President Abdelmajid Tebboune, who kept his commitment to do so with much fanfare and ceremony.

However, the major purpose of the occasion was ceremonial. For around five years now, the mosque has been accessible to both foreign visitors and state guests staying in Algeria. There was a postponed ceremony previously.

                       

The schedule enables the mosque to formally open to the public in time for the nightly prayers that will take place during the next Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The Great Mosque of Algiers, which was constructed in the 2010s by a Chinese construction company, has the tallest minaret in the world, standing at 869 feet (265 meters). The $898 million project cost was the official figure.

With a prayer space that can hold 120,000 people, it is the largest mosque outside of the holiest cities of Islam and the third-largest mosque in the world. In addition to a helicopter landing pad and a library with the capacity to hold a million books, its modernist architecture honors Algerian tradition and culture with flourishes from the Arab and North African cultures.

In addition to its enormous size, the mosque is well-known for the controversies and delays that dogged its seven years of construction, including the site selection, which seismic experts cautioned was dangerous.

Former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was the one who originally envisioned the mosque, intending for it to be the biggest in Africa. Like the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco, he named it “Abdelaziz Bouteflika Mosque” because he wanted it to be his legacy. Once recognized as Africa’s largest mosque, it was named for the erstwhile King of Morocco, Algeria’s neighbor and regional competitor.

The demonstrations that erupted in Algeria in 2019 however, and forced Bouteflika to step down after two decades in office, prevented him from carrying out his intentions, naming the mosque after himself, and holding the planned February 2019 opening.

Franco-Senegalese Documentary ‘Dahomey’ Wins Berlin’s Golden Bear.

At the 74th annual event, Lupita Nyong’o, a Kenyan-Mexican Oscar winner and the first black jury president, revealed the seven-member panel’s selection among 20 Golden Bear award nominees during an extravagant ceremony.

The top prize at the Berlin Film Festival went to Mati Diop’s Franco-Senegalese documentary Dahomey, which explores the complex problems surrounding Europe’s return of looted treasures to Africa.

“It honors not just me but the entire visible and invisible community that the film represents,” Diop said of the award.

“Restitution is a prerequisite for rebuilding, but what does it entail? “To restore is to uphold justice,” she continued.

In Diop’s surreal video, 26 priceless treasures from the Dahomey kingdom are tracked as they return to Benin in 2021 from a museum in Paris.

In the film, Diop has one of the statues describe, in an eerie Fon-language voice-over, how the French pillaged his land, how he was forced into exile, and how he was eventually able to return home at the Cotonou museum.

Local students engage in fascinating, spontaneous debates about the historical significance of the restitution act and whether it should be celebrated or met with outrage upon the arrival of the collection.

The documentary was described as “some kind of miracle, packing an extraordinary amount of information, inquiry, and wild, persuasive imagination into a slim, 68-minute runtime” by the New York Times.

Variety described Dahomey as a “striking, stirring example of the poetry that can result when the dead and the dispossessed speak to and through the living”.

Diop became the first black woman to compete in Cannes 2019 when she won the runner-up Grand Prix for her eerie Netflix series Atlantique.

Diop acknowledged the significance of restitution, but she did not plan to “celebrate” the gesture made by French President Emmanuel Macron, she told French news agency AFP at the event.

She pointed out that only 26 antiquities had been returned “against the more than 7,000 works still held captive” in Paris.

Regarding the other awards, South Korean arthouse darling Hong Sang-soo, who has collaborated with French film great Isabelle Huppert on three occasions, won the Grand Jury Prize as runner-up for A Traveler’s Needs.

“Against the more than 7,000 works still held captive” in Paris, she pointed out that only 26 antiquities had been returned.

Regarding the other accolades, South Korean arthouse darling Hong Sang-soo, who has collaborated with French film great Isabelle Huppert on three occasions, won the Grand Jury Prize as runner-up for his film A Traveller’s Needs.

Regular attendee Hong praised the jury, joking, “I don’t know what you saw in this film.”

The Empire, an interplanetary conflict between good and evil that takes place in a French fishing village, won the third-place Jury Prize, which was accepted by French director Bruno Dumont.

The mysterious documentary Pepe, directed by Dominican filmmaker Nelson Carlo de Los Santos Arias, won best director. Pepe features the ghost of a hippopotamus that belonged to the late Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar.

This year’s jury presided over by Lupita Nyong’o, Oscar-winner was made up of actor-directors Brady Corbet and Jasmine Trinca and directors Ann Hui, Petzold, and Albert Serra alongside Ukrainian writer Oksana Zabuzhko.

Lupita Nyongo, who is new to serving on film juries, expressed her enthusiasm for learning from and collaborating with her fellow jurors, saying, “It is an honor to be here, a deep pleasure.”

 

Nigerian Cinema Yields ₦7.2 Billion in 2023, With Akindele’s Film Contributing 14%.

 

 


In 2023, Nigerian cinemas generated over 7.2 billion naira in revenue from 2.6 million admissions, with Nollywood maintaining a 39% market share, as stated in a recent report.

 

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the reported earnings in 2023 exceeded those in 2022 by over 416 million naira, reflecting a 7% year-on-year increase in market share. Notably, the 2022 gross was derived from 64 locations, while the total locations increased to 70 in 2023.

 

Data insights from The Industry, a film insights publication, revealed that within Nollywood, Funke Akindele’s ‘A Tribe Called Judah’ accounted for over 14% of the total gross, marking the first Nollywood film to surpass one billion naira in cinema earnings. The success of this film contributed to the overall revenue growth, primarily attributed to higher ticket prices.

 

Despite the milestone, the journal highlighted that the increase in revenue is not keeping pace with admissions growth, which remains notably low. It’s worth noting that Akindele’s previous film, ‘Omo Ghetto: The Saga’ (2020), still holds the record for the highest number of admissions for a Nollywood film, standing at 449,901. The dynamics of both increased ticket prices and diverse film performances underscore the evolving landscape of the Nigerian cinema industry.

 

The project played a pivotal role in reinvigorating Nigerian cinemas post-lockdown and attracting new audiences. The impact is evident in the audience’s return and the successful conversion of new viewers.

 

Comparing the hypothetical scenario of releasing the project alongside ‘A Tribe Called Judah,’ using an average ticket price of ₦3,700, it suggests potential earnings exceeding ₦1.6 billion. This raises concerns about the relationship between ticket prices and actual cinema habit growth, especially considering the current ₦7,000 ticket prices in most city center cinemas. Despite annual increases in gross revenues, there’s a need to scrutinize whether this growth aligns with audience habits and accessibility.

 

Drawing parallels, the journal highlighted the case of the first Black Panther movie in 2018, which had over 200,000 more admissions than its sequel, ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.’ The latter, however, set a West African record as the first film to gross one billion naira, benefitting from increased ticket prices and expanded screening locations.

 

It’s noteworthy that the first Black Panther, with over 800 million naira in earnings, was released when there were 48 locations in 2018. By 2022, this number had grown to 64. This growth in screening locations underscores the industry’s expansion, reflecting both increased accessibility for audiences and the potential for films to achieve higher earnings.

 

The juxtaposition of ticket prices, audience habits, and location expansion demonstrates the multifaceted dynamics shaping the success of films in Nigerian cinemas, indicating a need for a balanced approach to ensure sustained growth and audience engagement.

 

The journal pointed out that cinemas have been staying afloat by significantly increasing prices, prompting audiences to carefully consider their choices. According to NAN, in 2023, nine additional films, including Malaika, Ada Omo Daddy, Orisa, Merry Men 3, Kesari, Something Like Gold, The Kujus Again, Afamefuna, and A Weekend To Forget, each grossed over 50 million naira in cinemas. 

 

This diverse range of successful films underscores the industry’s ability to attract audiences and achieve substantial earnings despite the challenges posed by escalating ticket prices.

Kenya Makes Efforts to Protect Pangolins from Extinction.

Pangolins are nocturnal, solitary animals that are threatened with extinction due to habitat loss caused by human activity and illegal trafficking. Their meat is regarded as a delicacy in some areas, and their scales are highly prized for use in traditional medicine.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified three pangolin species that are found in Kenya as Critically Endangered: the large ground pangolin, the Temminck’s pangolin, and the tree pangolin. Kenya is stepping up measures to protect its pangolin populations out of dread of what happened to the northern white rhino, of which there are now only two females.

To prevent the extinction of an elusive species pangolin, Kenyan scientists and conservationists are stepping up their efforts.

According to a research scientist at the National Museums of Kenya, Benard Agwanda, in order to understand how the scales lose their weight, we have been able to sacrifice one pangolin. As a result, if you are discovered at the airport carrying a suitcase or a bag of pangolin scales, we will be able to figure out how many pangolins you killed, removed the scales, and are attempting to sell or export. We can identify the species of pangolin if you are found with its scaled skin, and we are working to find out which population you must have taken this one from.

Expert in pangolin tracking Joshua Omele bemoans the problem of misplaced tracking tags: “Since then, we have lost a great deal of tags. This is one of the main obstacles. With only one tag, a pangolin can survive for up to one month before going extinct, which is a terrible loss.”

The Pangolin Project’s programs and habitat manager, Beryl Makori, clarifies the threats that electric fences put up by farmers pose to pangolins: “The Maasai community used to own parcels of land, but this area was recently demarcated and everyone was given their title deed. Everyone surrounded their plot of land with an electric fence. The only defence available to pangolins, who are unaware of this, when they are electrocuted is to curl into a ball. They act in such a way that they suffer constant electrocution until death.”

In order to lessen the threat to pangolins in this Nyakweri forest, Philemon Chebet, head warden at Kenya Wildlife Service Trans Mara Station, emphasizes the importance of raising community awareness before implementing law enforcement measures.

Conservationists are using creative strategies to address these issues, such as tracking pangolins using their scales and working with the local population to establish safe havens. Through the modification of electric fences and the implementation of the Habitat Lease Program, the non-governmental organization Pangolin Project is collaborating with landowners in the Nyakweri Forest to lessen conflicts between pangolins and farmers.

Notwithstanding these challenges, the Nyakweri Forest Conservation Trust was founded to protect the over 2,020 hectares of pangolin habitat. Kenya hopes to ensure that pangolins wander the African wilderness by achieving a balance between pangolin conservation and human needs through these joint efforts.

Kenya’s commitment to pangolin protection is a ray of hope for the future of these amazing animals as the globe marks globe Pangolin Day on February 17.

Afrobeat Singer, Made Kuti Hailed for Electrifying Performance at Zanzibar Festival.

Nigerian Afrobeat singer, Made Kuti performed at the Old Fort Main Stage in Zanzibar to round off the 21st Sauti za Busara festival. Unlike other artists who began with a low tone and vigor, Made Kuti’s performance was a master class in energy. There was an air of excitement about the gathering.

A pure eagerness permeated the air as their joyous yells filled it. Enthusiastically following the music, the fans showed their admiration for the gifted musician’s performance by dancing and cheering.

Made Kuti described his introductory act as a warm-up, introducing the audience to music that will let them let loose and dance.

The audience responded to the unique energy he brought to the stage by nodding their heads, grinning, and swaying their waists and hips in time with the sound design created by Made Kuti’s crew.

To sum up, the opening was a stunning exhibition of energy. It was a difficult accomplishment for Made Kuti to win over so many festivalgoers with his performance.

Attendee Marcus Lewis expressed his enthusiasm and respect for Made Kuti’s seminal work.

“Made Kuti gave a fantastic performance on stage. He was flawless in every manner. I had intended to head back to my hotel room since it was becoming late, but his performance was so engrossing that I lost track of time.”

“He was a master at what he did. This was my first time attending the Sauti za Busara festival, and I am definitely coming back next year,” he said.

Made Kuti and his band showcased their cultural history on a beautifully decorated stage with an amazing performance.

They had a fantastic stage presence and welcomed the crowd with a procession of lights. While the other band members played drums, guitar, and piano, Made Kuti performed on the saxophone.

To enhance the whole atmosphere, three band members danced while costumed in traditional clothing.

The band’s superb synchronization was one of the performance’s most notable aspects. From the beginning, they showcased their vocal, dance, and instrumental talents, creating an incredibly distinctive and remarkable encounter.

Their collaboration improved the show by giving the audience a smooth, unified experience.

The performance was made more captivating and thrilling by the band’s synchronized motions, musical arrangements, and partnership with Made Kuti.

The audience was left with a lasting impression of Made Kuti and his band’s chemistry and synchronization, which improved the overall quality of the performance at the event.

Made Kuti’s expert saxophone playing demonstrated his love for music. They were so smooth with the instruments that it seemed like they were singing over live music.

Made Kuti expressed his appreciation to the crowd with a great deal of gratitude and sincerity. He felt their love and connection, and he truly treasured the time he spent with them.

“Being at Sauti za Busara was an amazing experience. I, together with the band, had a wonderful time. The energy and connection with the crowd were wonderful. Everything was right.”

“We had a wonderful time on stage. We can only enjoy ourselves if we feel that the crowd is enjoying it. I want to say a big thank you to all of you amazing people. It’s my first time here, and I’ve had a wonderful time with wonderful people,” he said.

 

AFC,clubHouse Ghana Ltd Refurbish Ghan’s First Nursery School.

Accra Financial Centre (AFC) and Clubhouse Ghana Limited joined forces to give a makeover to Ghana’s inaugural nursery school, the Queen Elizabeth II Educational Foundation, located in Accra, which was previously in a dilapidated state.

AFC and Clubhouse Ghana Limited collaborated to renovate Ghana’s first nursery school, the Queen Elizabeth II Educational Foundation in Accra, rescuing it from a deteriorated condition.

 

The school building block, housing a crèche and two kindergarten streams underwent extensive renovations, including roof replacement, ceiling refurbishment, floor re-tiling, installation of new toilets and sinks, and the addition of ceiling fans in all classrooms and offices.

 

Each classroom received a new set of furniture, including storage units. Last Tuesday, the renovated school infrastructure and equipment, valued at $12,000, were officially handed over to the administrator of the 74-year-old early childhood learning institution. This initiative aimed not only to preserve the school, named after the late Queen of England but also to improve the overall teaching and learning environment.

 

Founded in 1950, the Queen Elizabeth II Educational Foundation is a private community school. Lady Arden-Clarke, wife of the last Governor of the then Gold Coast, Sir Charles Noble Arden-Clarke, spearheaded a philanthropic initiative to establish an educational facility for children. Initially named the Accra Day Nursery, it has since evolved into the Queen Elizabeth II Educational Foundation.


Entrusted to the local community under the patronage of the overlord of the Gbese, the Accra Day Nursery was the country’s pioneering institution of its kind.


In 1961, the school underwent a name change to ‘Queen Elizabeth II Educational Foundation.’ This transformation followed a historic visit by the British monarch, accompanied by Ghana’s first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, to engage with the children at the school.


Initially focused on a crèche and Kindergarten during its prime years, the school has evolved, expanding beyond its nursery status to encompass primary and basic education. Its primary beneficiaries include families in the Gbese community, children, and dependents of Makola traders, along with some market porters.

 

Financial limitations have hindered substantial renovations, especially in the nursery department of the school, which presently accommodates more than 150 pupils.

 

George Adjei-Ampofo, Regional Head for West Africa at Lango Real Estate, expressed his honor in inaugurating the renovated building, emphasizing the significance of assisting the school that played a foundational role in the country’s educational system.

 

“Being able to assist this esteemed school is an honor for us. As a part of our dedication to contribute to society, we are pleased to present the management with a fully refurbished facility,” stated Mr. Adjei-Ampofo.

 

During the handover of the renovated building to the school’s management, leaders of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative, Janet Ghartey (AFC) and Alice Esi Coleman (Clubhouse Ghana) expressed being profoundly moved by the extent of disrepair at the nursery school. This realization occurred during their initial contact with school authorities and inspection of the existing infrastructure last year.

 

The decision to refurbish this historical element of Ghana aligns with the policy of both companies to promote basic education whenever feasible.



Rwanda: Miss Black Festival to Be Held in Kigali.

The first-ever ‘Miss Black Festival‘ is scheduled to take place in Rwanda, bringing together international black girls to honor the intelligence, beauty, and cultural diversity of black women worldwide.

The inaugural competition, which was revealed on Thursday, February 15, aims to elevate the voices of black women by supporting their representation in a variety of industries and showcasing their accomplishments, resiliency, and goals in order to motivate future generations.

The initiative, which was organized by Imanzi Ltd. in cooperation with the Ministry of Youth and Arts because of their shared dedication to philanthropy, education, and cultural awareness, aims to dispel negative perceptions about women of African heritage and bring about good change.

As demonstrated by the crowning of “Miss Black USA” and “Miss Black France” in the United States and France, respectively, this competition serves as a springboard for competitors to advance to subsequent international competitions.

Assistant Director of Imanzi Ltd. Chear Sebudwege stated that the decision was driven by two urgent concerns: resolving the problem of black girls feeling self-conscious about their attractive skin tones and guaranteeing fair competition for those who dare to compete but might encounter obstacles based solely on their race, impeding worthy individuals from triumphing.”

“Therefore, we aim to uplift their black skin colour pride and values as well as offering them a platform to be recognized wherever they are,” he added.

“During the festival, there will be different activities, including the exhibition of various cultures from different countries, performances from artists, among other activities that will be presented,” said Honorine Ruzigamanzi, the Spokesperson of Imanzi Ltd.

There are now clear rules and standards in place, guaranteeing openness in the choice procedure and allaying any worries about prejudice.

Applications are accepted from February 16 to March 16 from any legally single, black woman who is between the ages of 18 and 35 and has completed high school, regardless of where she was born. Participants must be working on initiatives that advance awareness of the black community throughout the world and actively back the Pan-African movement.

How the auditions will be conducted

“On March 23, the first audition’s initial stage will be conducted virtually. Contestants will undergo detailed interviews with judges, selecting 20 for the second stage.”

“Similarly, the second auditions, on April 20, will also be virtual, with detailed interviews selecting 10 contestants for the in-person Boot Camp that will be held in Rwanda on May 20.”

“In this regard, participants will experience Rwanda’s development in security, governance, and tourism, preparing for the final phase. This stage, on May 25, will feature cultural performances, dances, demonstrations, and discussions promoting black movement dignity.”

“The grand finale will see three winners walk away with prizes of USD15,000 for the winner, USD5,000 for the first runner-up and second runner-up, offering them opportunities to represent black women worldwide.”

Lupita Nyong’o Makes History as First African Jury President at Berlinale 2024.

  • Lupita Nyong’o made history by heading the Berlinale’s international jury.

At the 74th Berlinale Film Festival which began on February 15th with the presentation of the international jury, Academy Awards-winning Kenyan-Mexican Lupita Nyong’o made history by heading the Berlinale’s international jury.

The international jury in 2023 was presided over by US actress Kristen Sewart making it the second time in a row the jury is headed by a woman expert. 

This year’s jury presided over by Lupita Nyong’o, Oscar-winner was made up of actor-directors Brady Corbet and Jasmine Trinca and directors Ann Hui, Petzold, and Albert Serra alongside Ukrainian writer Oksana Zabuzhko.

Lupita Nyongo, who is new to serving on film juries, expressed her enthusiasm for learning from and collaborating with her fellow jurors, saying, “It is an honor to be here, a deep pleasure.”

“This is my first time attending the Berlin Film Festival. And I feel greatly honored to be the president of this year’s festival,” she said.

“It’s a chance to get to experience a whole lot of films from around the world. There’s quite the selection here, that is representative of a lot of world perspectives. And I get to do it with prolific artists, that I deeply respect and who have a whole lot more experience doing this kind of thing than I do. So, this is a chance for me to learn a lot about the world of cinema and to celebrate it,” she told the opening presser.

Twenty films that are vying for the Silver and Golden Bears, which will be given to the winners at the Award Ceremony on February 24, must be screened by the panel.

Director Tim Mielants’ Irish-Belgian drama “Small Things Like These” kicked off the festival on February 15. Producer Matt Damon and leading actor Cillian Murphy are both nominated for an Oscar for their roles in “Oppenheimer.” The festival will run through February 25th. 

About 200 films in all genres, lengths, and formats are reportedly screened in the festival’s many categories and special presentations, according to the Berlinale.

Versatile and Consistent Actress

Nyong’o makes history as the first African chairperson of the Berlinale jury that chooses the Golden and Silver Bear top honors. Most of the festival’s jury presidents have come from France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Late last year, Berlinale directors Mariëtte Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian said, “Lupita Nyong’o embodies what we like in cinema: versatility in embracing different projects, addressing different audiences, and consistency to one idea that is quite recognizable in her characters, as diverse as they may look.”

The forty-year-old producer, who won an Oscar in 2014, has seen great success since. She has portrayed warrior Nakia in “Black Panther” and its sequel, Adelaide Wilson in the horror film “Us,” Nakku Harriet in “Queen of Katwe,” and she has even dabbled in children’s books with “Sulwe.”

Nyong’o, who portrayed Patsey in “12 Years a Slave,” won the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role. She has won numerous honors, including two Black Reel awards, an Image Award, an NAACP Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

Nollywood 100 Celebrates Nollywood Actors with Legacy Awards.

The ‘Nollywood 100’ honored the legacy of veteran actors who have set the pace to become trailblazers.

At ‘The Nollywood 100’, award-winning actors, the likes of Richard Mofe-Damijo, Chidi Mokeme, and Funke Akindele were among those who were honored with the Legacy Award.

The Nollywood 100 honors the industry’s ingenuity, inventiveness, and tenacity. It carries on YNaija’s ten-year legacy of highlighting and highlighting the achievements of Nigerians in all significant industries through qualitative lists that honor individual accomplishments from the previous year.

In light of the ongoing changes in Nigeria’s film industry, “The Nollywood 100″ honors individuals who have set the path for upcoming generations of directors. It also gives newcomers to the industry and rising stars a platform to showcase their voices and abilities.

The event held on Thursday night was organized by Ynaija and saw to the celebration and honoring of a total of 100 actors who made an indelible mark in the industry in the past year.

The event was an inspiring evening honoring the diverse range of narratives that make up Nollywood. It celebrated the trailblazers, visionaries, and trendsetters who have shaped and continue to shape the ever-changing Nigerian film industry. It was a salute to Nollywood’s history, present, and future.

According to Ynaija, the prestigious award was bestowed on those who have contributed to the growth of the industry, acknowledging renowned actors and those working behind the scenes.

Some actors who were honored with the award include; Nse Ikpe-Etim, Daniel Effiong, Bimbo Ademoye, Timni Egbuson, and Ini Edo. Other included, Ruth Kadiri, Olarotimi Fakunle, Bolaji Ogunmola, Femi Adebayo, Eku Edewor, and Lateef Adedimeji, amongst others. 

Uganda Signs $400m Deal for Green Hydrogen Fertiliser Plant.

Uganda’s Energy Minister Ms Ruth Nankabirwa on Thursday signed a joint development agreement with Industrial Promotion Services (IPS) and Westgass International for a green hydrogen fertiliser plant.

The plant will be strategically located at Karuma, Kiryandogo District, within the Bunyoro sub-region to leverage its proximity with the 600 megawatts Karuma Hydropower Plant.

According to Nankabirwa, the significance of the project extends far beyond the realm of agriculture.

She said the project aims to reduce the country’s dependence on imported fertilizers, therefore strengthening economic resilience and sovereignty with an estimated investment of about $400 million (Ush1.55 trillion).

The minister further explained that the project seeks to increase the production of nitrogen fertilizer to about 200,000 tonnes annually and will take up to 100 megawatts of electricity from the Karuma hydroelectric power station.

“This aligns with the energy policy that seeks to support industrialization through electrification,” Ms Nankabirwa said.

She also added that the initiative is expected to create over 300 direct jobs.

Speaking signing event, IPS CEO Galeb Gulam said as a long-term investor, they develop businesses to be vehicles that create economic value by improving people’s quality of life and restoring and protecting nature.

 “This hydrogen-based fertilizer project will use Uganda’s abundant renewable energy resources to produce green hydrogen to be used for the manufacture of fertilizer,” Gulam said.

He said they are excited to be part of the catalytical project that reflects commitment to climate action and the overall sustainable development agenda.

He also said the project would contribute to fostering low-carbon development and promoting sustainable agriculture as it has already been articulated.

Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID Uganda) Chairman Odrek Rwabwogo emphasized that the project supports Uganda’s export goals, utilizing rich natural resources and innovative technologies.

Rwabwogo said the project aims at propelling the agricultural sector towards achieving the ambitious $6 billion export target.

Aga Khan Development Network has maintained its engagement in Uganda continuing to invest in education, healthcare, economic development, and cultural activities. Upholding its mandate of improving the quality of life of the communities in which it operates.

IPS is the Industrial and infrastructure development arm of the Aga Khan Fund for the economic development and agency of the Aga Khan Development Network.

IPS has developed a wide range of businesses spanning multiple sectors such as energy, telecommunications, agro-based industries, pharmaceuticals, printing, and packaging among others.

Africa Movie Academy Awards Returns for its 20th Edition.

This edition will commemorate the legacy of the AMAA’s founder and its 20th anniversary.

The 20th edition of the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) call for entries has been released by the Africa Film Academy (AFA). The yearly award ceremony’s planners have also made their ideas and schedule for the 2024 edition public.

 

Shaibu Husseni, the director-general of the Nigeria Film and Video Censor Board, will lead AMAA’s college of screeners once again for the 20th edition. The AFA board’s chosen CEO, Raymond Anyiam-Osigwe, said that it was intentional to reveal the activities in advance of AMAA 2024 to include all African and diasporan filmmakers.

 

Mr. Raymond said this year’s edition would celebrate the late founder Peace Anyiam-Osigwe and also the contributions the academy has made to the African film industry since its inception.

 

“This is an avenue to officially end the 19th edition of the AMAAs under the supervision of the Africa Film Academy and begin the journey to AMAA 2024. The 20th Edition of the AMAA will serve as a testimony to African Creativity as we celebrate and toast not just the founder, Peace Anyiam-Osigwe of blessed memory and her contribution in placing African film and filmmakers on the Global stage [and] also 20 years of AMAA which showcases the finest in African Film and Cinematography,” he said.

 

The 20th edition of the AMAAs will be hosted by Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, whose entry period for all award categories ends in April. For consideration in over thirty film categories of the awards, the Africa Film Academy welcomes filmmakers to submit their feature, film shorts, animation, and documentary work. The Africa Movie Academy Awards’ 20th edition is now accepting submissions.

 

African filmmakers and practitioners will be able to connect and network with the African Film Academy (AFA) and receive recognition for their originality, professionalism, authenticity, and inventiveness. The AMAA organizers emphasized that the competition is a professional one that honors professionalism throughout Africa and the Diaspora based on merit and best practices, not popularity.

 

Great films from African filmmakers are anticipated by the jury and the college of screeners. They made it clear that they support no films that are directed by or feature no Africans. You can upload movies to the Film Freeway.

 

In addition to honoring Founder Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, the 20th edition of the AMAA is expected to serve as a testament to African creativity as it marks 20 years of the organization, showcasing the best of African cinematography and film, and introducing the world to the art of African cinema and filmmakers.

 

Nollywood, Kazakhstani Movie Industries Collaborate On Debut Film ‘Adam BOL.

 

 

In a groundbreaking collaboration, Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry, and the Kazakhstani film industry joined forces for the first time to create a shared project named “Adam BOL,” filmed in both Kazakhstan and Lagos.

 

Principal photography for the film “Adam BOL” has concluded in Lagos, featuring a cast representing both Nigeria and Kazakhstan. Co-directed by Cheta Chukwu from Nigeria and Almaz Alimzhanov from Kazakhstan, the action comedy narrates the misadventures of three adventurous Kazakhstani men on a journey to America. However, an emergency landing in Nigeria unfolds a series of events that challenge their life ideals, resulting in profound personal lessons.

 

Documenting their experiences in Lagos, the film unfolds the challenges faced by the protagonists as they navigate the vibrant hustle and bustle of the West African city, showcasing their journey back to America. The ensemble cast of “Adam BOL” features renowned Nigerian actors including Chimezie Imo, Bisola Aiyeola, Broda Shaggi, Ebele Okaro-Onyiuke, Victor Udochukwu Nwaogu, Charles Inojie, and Toyin Oshinaike. 

 

On the Kazakhstani side, the cast includes Kuanysh Kudaibergen, Ryskul Konakbayev, and Roman Rauan. Co-directed by Cheta Chukwu and Almaz Alimzhanov, the film promises a blend of cultural perspectives, humor, and a narrative that captures the essence of their journey amidst the contrasting landscapes of Lagos and America. As the characters grapple with unforeseen challenges, “Adam BOL” explores the universal themes of self-discovery and personal growth.

 

Before taking on “Adam BOL,” Nigerian director Cheta Chukwu lent his writing talents to Nollywood endeavors, such as “Payday” and the short film “Deranged.” Echoing the thematic parallels found in “Adam BOL,” “Payday,” released in 2018 and featuring Bisola Aiyeola, unravels a narrative where protagonists confront unexpected situations, mirroring the essence of “Adam BOL.” 

 

The film introduces two flatmates entangled in an overnight misadventure following an extravagant night out, as they strive to recover their rent money to pay their deceased landlord’s daughter. Chukwu’s storytelling prowess shines through in both projects, showcasing a penchant for crafting engaging narratives within the realms of unforeseen circumstances and humorous escapades. Through “Payday,” he skillfully weaves a comedic yet relatable tale that explores the complexities of life’s unexpected twists, leaving audiences entertained and introspective. 

 

This narrative dexterity evident in “Payday” foreshadows Chukwu’s ability to navigate similar thematic terrain in “Adam BOL,” promising a cinematic journey filled with humor, challenges, and insightful storytelling.

Nigerian Musical Company Eulogises Late Victor Olaiya Four Years After.

 

On Tuesday, the Evergreen Musical Company eulogised late veteran trumpeter and highlife musician, Victor Olaiya, four years after his death. According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the music legend died on 12 February 2023 at the age of 89 after a brief illness.

The Evergreen Musical Company is the biggest custodian of Nigeria’s traditional music, ranging from highlife to Juju music, Apala, Fuji, and many other genres. The Managing Director of Evergreen Musical Company, Bimbo Esho in a statement recalled the late Olaiya as having a unique dress sense.

“Dr. Victor Olaiya was the Evil Genius with a unique dress sense with his golden trumpet and white handkerchief, symbolizing his success.

“His ability to pen down philosophical melodies, love songs, and songs touching on socio-economic issues and vanities of life stood him out.

“He was one musician able to adapt traditional music of different tribes in his highlife repertoire,” she said.

Ms Esho noted that the late Olaiya, with fans among all socio-economic classes and age groups, dominates the highlife music terrain, affecting generations with his melodic and soothing evergreen songs.

She said that during his active years, he dictated the pace of highlife music with his calm and ballad-like orchestration.

“It didn’t take him long as he took center stage during the visit of Queen Elizabeth 11 to Nigeria in 1956. In 1960, his band was the official band that played during Nigeria’s Independence. Also, 1963, when Nigeria became a republic, he shared the same stage with Louis Armstrong.

“I have some of my all-time favorites among his songs, like ‘Ilu Le’, first released in the ’60s, which talks about the adverse austerity biting hard on the Nigerian masses and the different coping strategies taken to overcome it.

“In ‘Aiye Soro’, he admonished those with everything going for them to soft-pedal because nobody knows when the pendulum can swing back. The song ‘Gbasolode’, sung in Urhobo, is a love song where the lover man Victor tells his lover to stay with him through thick and thin,” she said.

More accolades

Ms. Esho also highlighted ‘Adogan’, where he lamented the perceived sweet pain of pint-sized men who are into relationships with fat women, satirizing their perceived suffering.

She said the song ‘Se Fun Mi’, which he dedicated to one of his wives, showed the late Olaiya professing intense love and affection to his wife, Bimbo.

“One could feel a sizzling thrill in his Ghanaian songs like ‘Yabonsa, Anyako koro’, done in collaboration with ET Mensah. His song ‘Iye Jemila’, sung in the Ijebu dialect, talks about Bride Price, and his lamentation for the dead could be felt in the dirge ‘Ewele We Ku Ewele’. One will feel a touch of folklore in songs like ‘Pariboto Riboto’ and ‘Lekeleke’.

“Soro Jeje Fun Arugbo’ is a song that should prick the conscience of those who carelessly disregard the aged in society. He dedicated a love song titled ‘Omo Pupa’ to fair-skinned ladies and promised them ticket money to meet him in London. One can never get tired of listening to his ‘Baby Jowo’, sung and rebranded by different artistes and bands.

“It has been four years without our Victor, but his memory lingers on,” she said.

 

Morocco Powers 90% of its Electric Trains with Renewables.

In an effort to decarbonize and reach its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2035, the Moroccan National Railways Office (ONCF) says it has successfully transitioned 90% of its electric trains to run on “green” energy by the start of 2024.

The ONCF launched its energy transition plan in January 2022 with the initial objective of operating 25% of all trains on renewable energy.

The feat was made known in a recent statement by authorities of the ONCF, stating that 90% of its electric trains are now powered by renewable energy, specifically electricity generated from wind power.

This achievement, according to the statement raises the overall percentage of renewable energy-powered locomotives in ONCF’s entire fleet to 25%.

Concurrently, the ONCF has been diligently working on greening and decarbonizing every facet of its operations.

This includes the gradual certification of rail sites to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and thorough impact assessments for major projects.

It was gathered that the company has also implemented an eco-driving system, integrated photovoltaic (solar) energy technologies into its buildings and stations, and consistently conducted an annual assessment of its carbon footprint.

In January 2024, the ONCF received confirmation of the certification for its MAD 1 billion ($99 thousand) green bond, issued in July 2022.

This momentous achievement underscored the company’s compliance with global guidelines for low-carbon, sustainable transportation and its alignment with the “Green Bonds Framework.”

Morocco has been demonstrating a strong commitment to renewable energy in recent years. According to Energy Minister, Leila Benali, the country is expected to experience a significant increase in green energy investments by 2027.

The government has prioritized stimulating growth in private sector investment in the green energy sector, with a forecasted fourfold growth compared to the 2009-2022 period.

The progress made by ONCF in transitioning to renewable energy aligns with Morocco’s broader efforts to embrace sustainable and environmentally friendly practices in the transportation sector.

Roam Raises $24M to Scale Electric Vehicle Production in Kenya.

In order to expand the manufacturing of electric buses and motorbikes, Kenyan EV startup Roam has raised $24 million in a Series A round, with the International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) of the United States pledging up to $10 million in loans.

The round was led by Equator, an Africa-focused climate innovation venture capital firm, and included participation from At One Ventures, TES Ventures, Renew Capital, The World We Want, and One Small Planet, among other investors.

The investment is made at a time when Roam is intensifying the construction of its Move bus model, which was introduced in the previous year, just months after establishing a larger and new motorbike assembly facility.

Albin Wilson, Roam’s Chief Product and Strategy Officer stated that “the goal this year is to increase and get stability in terms of production to meet demand. We want to get to a monthly production rate of 1,000 motorcycles because we think that is where we can start filling the market with the relevant amount of motorcycles”.

For its motorbike customers, Roam has developed a hybrid solution that allows them to charge their batteries at home or one of its switch stations.

At full production capacity, Roam originally claimed to be able to construct 40 Move buses every month. The 200-kilometer-range, 42-seater buses are intended for use in public transportation and educational institutions. They are put together in Kenya utilizing Chinese components. 

According to Roam, the buses have features including high-ground clearances that are designed to suit local conditions and use. As part of its strategy to strengthen the vertical integration of its products, the company also plans to invest in research and tooling.

“we’re going deeper into owning more and more designs instead of buying off-the-shelf components. Right now, we have 275 purchase components which means that we can cut down margins on our suppliers, and in the long-term, we can provide a cost-effective product to the market,” said Wilson.

Formed in 2017, Roam is a player in Kenya’s electric mobility market, having been formed by Gardler, Filip Lövström, and Mikael Gånge. Prior to transitioning to assembly in 2021, with substantial venture capital support, it was an expert in electric vehicle conversions.

The business intends to increase manufacturing as the continent of Africa continues to push for the adoption of electric vehicles, despite several obstacles impeding the shift away from fossil fuels, such as inadequate charging infrastructure, unstable electrical grids, and high EV acquisition costs.

EV startups in Africa have been driving this steady change, despite the difficulties. For example, BasiGo has been leading the charge in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, in the introduction of commercial electric mass transit buses, assisting some operators in making the switch to greener forms of transportation.

The other company that serves the expanding EV market, particularly in Rwanda and Kenya, is Ampersand, which is situated in Rwanda. At the end of the previous year, the company raised $19.5 million in debt-equity capital in order to increase its manufacture of electric motorcycle batteries and develop its network of exchanging stations throughout the two East African nations.

The companies behind new EV motorbike brands and the expanding battery swapping network throughout important African markets are Kiri EV, Arc Ride, Ebee, Ampersand, Spiro, Kofa, Ecobodaa, and Stimaboda. The African climate sector continues to attract investor attention, which is shown in these companies.

 

South African Airways Marks Nine Decades Of Excellence In Operations.


South Africa airways commemorates 90 years of resilience and excellence since its establishment on February 1, 1934, making it one of Africa’s oldest and most enduring airlines.

Globally celebrated at its destinations, South African Airways marked the occasion with a movie reception and get-together for top travel agents at its Lagos office in Nigeria.

In an earlier statement, the airline’s CEO, John Lamola, acknowledged South African Airways’ history, acknowledging both its challenges and triumphs. He expressed the commitment to celebrate and reflect on this heritage throughout February while striving to advance SAA’s story as a premier world-class African airline.

Commencing the celebration of the airline’s impressive 90-year journey, Kemi Leke-Bamtefa, the Country Manager in Lagos, expressed gratitude to travel agents, recognizing their exceptional contributions. Their remarkable efforts, acknowledged as pivotal to the airline’s success, place them at the heart of the festivities, and their support is sincerely appreciated.

Reflecting on her decade-long business journey, Abosede Yusuf from Quantum Travels commends South African Airways (SAA) for its consistent support. In the travel industry for the past 10 years, Yusuf appreciates SAA’s dedicated staff who have been instrumental in resolving issues promptly and facilitating smoother sales processes.

She expresses admiration for the airline’s assistance, acknowledging its positive impact on her business. Yusuf extends her best wishes for SAA’s continued growth and success in the industry. While acknowledging the support received, she also encourages the airline not to overlook the interests of travel agents, emphasizing the importance of improved commissions and additional benefits. Her hopeful message signals appreciation for the existing collaboration while advocating for ongoing enhancements that benefit both parties.

Affirming the airline’s longstanding service excellence, Surline Isiagu, CEO of Luchia Travels, highlights a five-year partnership with South African Airways (SAA). Describing SAA as a supportive ally, Isiagu expresses well wishes for the airline’s 90th anniversary. She hopes for SAA’s continued expansion in both fleet and destinations, anticipating ongoing prosperity for their business.

Expressing satisfaction with South African Airways, the speaker praises the airline for its remarkable responsiveness. They commend the efficient and supportive staff, emphasizing the quick and attentive response to customer requests. The speaker declares their intent to continue choosing SAA for travel and extends wishes for the airline’s continued success, saying, “More grease to their elbows.”

Rwanda: New Festival to Position Kigali As a Global Cultural Hub.

The inaugural edition of the “Kigali Triennial Festival,” a celebration of African arts and culture that intends to establish the Rwandan capital as a global cultural hub, will bring together over 200 artists from 25 different countries in Kigali from February 16–25.

Every three years, the Ministry of Youth and Arts will jointly organize the Kigali Triennial with the assistance of the Rwanda Arts Initiative, the City of Kigali, and other partners.

The event, themed “Where art, knowledge, and economy converge,” aims to promote Kigali as a worldwide cultural hub, showcase dynamic artistic talent, and inspire international collaboration.

At a news conference on Monday, February 12, City Mayor Samuel Dusengiyumva said, “This festival coming to Rwanda demonstrates the country’s commitment to fostering arts.”

The government’s dedication to advancing youth development through the arts is demonstrated by the festival’s hosting, according to Sandrine Umutoni, Minister of State for Youth and the Arts.

“The Government of Rwanda acknowledges the vital role of arts in youth development and actively supports artistic endeavors such as the Kigali Triennial,” Umutoni stated.

“Art can be an important force capable of strengthening our national unity, while also acting as a catalyst for job creation, economic prosperity, and contributing to the overall enrichment of our society’s cultural heritage.”

According to Umutoni, the festival offers Kigali a chance to demonstrate the extent to which art can foster cross-cultural understanding. It presents a chance to forge solid international alliances in addition to showcasing Rwanda’s artistic offerings.

Several locations, including the Car Free Zone Center, Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village (formerly Camp Kigali), Canal Olympia, Club Rafiki, and Cine Elmay (Mayaka), will host the first Kigali Triennial Festival.

A wide range of performances, exhibitions, and activities spanning music, dance, fashion, theater, film, gastronomy, and visual arts will be offered to the audience throughout the festival.

In addition to the performances by national and international artists, the Kigali Triennial Festival will provide conferences, master courses, and workshops for both the general public and cultural professionals.

Dusengiyumva urged city dwellers to attend in large numbers and explore the entertainment options the city has to offer while outlining the festival’s significance.

“We encourage city residents to show up in big numbers for performances that will take place and, given the variety of the schedule, we are confident they will discover something that suits them perfectly,” said Dusengiyumva.

The Kigali Triennial will improve Rwanda’s entertainment landscape in addition to bringing a vibrant atmosphere to Kigali. The City Mayor continued, “it is also anticipated to position Kigali as a hub for services and conferences as well as for entertainment.”

 

SADC Endorses Liberation Museum in Southern Africa.

According to SADC, the Museum of African Liberation is essential to Southern Africa because it honors and recognizes the region’s founders for their role in the formation of the organization and the quest for regional integration.

Inspired by the proposal, SADC is about to ink a Memorandum of Understanding with the Institute of African Knowledge, which is leading the way on the Museum’s construction.

A draft MoU was given during a recent meeting between President Mnangagwa’s special envoy, Ambassador Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, and the SADC secretariat in Botswana.

Instak chief executive Ambassador Kwame Muzawazi said they had a very successful engagement with the secretariat in Gaborone.

“We are now preparing to formalize the relationship by signing a memorandum of understanding. His Excellency was briefed on Wednesday by the special envoy and the Head of State was very well pleased by the ongoing international engagement and response.

“There has been a positive response from countries that have been engaged so far, that is 20 of them and we continue,” he said.

Zimbabwe is the home of the African story, according to Ambassador Muzawazi, and this pan-African vision is the foundation of the engagement that the President entrusted his special envoy to undertake.

He claimed that the goal of this effort is to guarantee that the African narrative is institutionalized, protected, propagated, and unassailable.

With the exception of two or three, all of the nations that engaged in the armed battle for liberation are part of the SADC area, according to Ambassador Muzawazi, who expressed encouragement over the region’s support.

“The center for the armed struggle was 90 percent in Southern Africa in terms of the African continent. So naturally SADC is an ally.

“A lot of countries in the SADC region were members of the liberation committee of the Organisation of African Unity and also members of the Frontline States,” he said.

Posting on its website, SADC said its executive secretary, Elias Magosi, is keen on supporting the project.

“The project resonates with the region’s objectives, amongst others the operationalization of the mechanism to recognize and honor the founders of SADC for their contribution to the establishment of the organization and pursuit of regional integration,” reads the post.

“The envoy presented a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which outlines areas of mutual agreement and diplomatic support in the construction, including the contribution of archival materials for exhibition in the Museum.”

SADC stated that follow-ups and discussions about the project and Memorandum of Understanding will take place between SADC and INSTAK in coordination with the Zimbabwean Embassy in Botswana.

Situated on a 103-hectare plot of land known as Liberation City, on which building has already begun, is the Museum of African Liberation.

The Liberation City is a vast tract of land situated along the busy Samora Machel Avenue, named after the late Cde Samora Machel, the founding father of Mozambique, about 7 km southwest of Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe.

The Liberation Museum will be the focal point of The Liberation City, a new city inside the city of Harare. Other attractions include a 5-star hotel, a theme park, an animal park, a theme park, and several national monuments, including a heritage village.

It is anticipated that local, regional, and foreign tourists will find Liberation City to be a family-friendly destination, enjoying the historical and cultural sites as well as the commercial, recreational, and entertainment offerings that will be built in the new city.

 

South African Government Commemorates World Radio Day.

The South African government is celebrating World Radio Day today, February 13, 2024, with the theme “Radio: A Century Informing, Entertaining, and Educating,” together with the rest of the world. The topic for this year emphasizes radio’s long history and wide range of social contributions.

Radio has been a vital source of information, entertainment, and education for societies for more than a century. It has been an essential instrument for communication, bridging gaps in knowledge and cultural differences. Its capacity to cut over linguistic and geographic divides makes it an effective tool for advancing inclusivity and building harmony among the nation’s varied communities.

Radio has long been a pillar of democracy in South Africa, providing a forum for discussion, debate, and the sharing of ideas. It has been vital in furthering human rights, strengthening social cohesiveness, and giving voice to underrepresented communities.

Nomonde Mnukwa, the acting director-general of GCIS, stated: “Radio continues to be a dependable information source and a catalyst for positive change.” Millions of South Africans have also depended on it constantly for important news, entertainment, and instructional materials. Significantly, radio is a vital medium because of its accessibility and cost, especially in isolated and underprivileged areas.”

The Government honors the priceless efforts of broadcasters, journalists, and producers who toil diligently to provide top-notch content every day, coinciding with the world’s celebration of World Radio Day.

Let’s work together to maintain and advance this enduring medium as we work to create a society that is more open, knowledgeable, and enlightened for all South Africans.

 

Cheers to World Radio Day!

 

Nigerian Veteran Actress Joke Silva Calls On Government To Invest Funds In Nollywood.

 

Joke Silva, a seasoned Nollywood actress, urged the Federal Government to facilitate convenient access to funds for filmmakers in Nigeria during her Tuesday conversation with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

 

“In recent years, filmmakers have faced challenges in obtaining funds for film production, and it is essential for the government to intervene and support filmmakers,” she stated. She highlighted that the primary source of funds for filmmakers is the Bank of Industry (BOI), emphasizing the need to establish additional avenues.

 

Joke Silva, an esteemed figure in Nollywood, has emphasized the pressing need for simplified access to funds for film production. She underscores that the current hurdles are overly cumbersome and stresses the importance of establishing effective mechanisms for fund repayment to ensure a sustainable source.

 

Silva urges the government to reconsider imposing consistently high-interest rates, emphasizing that the primary focus should be the timely return of funds. She advises filmmakers to recognize their role in this process, encouraging them to prioritize repaying funds promptly to enable continued accessibility for others in the industry.

 

In addition to loans, Silva advocates for the creation of grants specifically tailored to the creative industry. These grants, she contends, would provide a crucial soft landing for filmmakers, fostering the expansion of businesses within the creative space.

 

To further fortify the creative sector, Silva calls on the government to enhance distribution channels for cinemas and theatrical exhibitions. Recognizing the logistical challenges, she proposes that the federal government could play a pivotal role by assisting in the form of buses and security to facilitate the seamless transport of works across the country.

 

Silva’s overarching message emphasizes collaboration between filmmakers and the government, striving to create an environment conducive to creativity, financial sustainability, and widespread accessibility within the Nigerian film industry. By addressing these multifaceted challenges, she envisions a thriving creative landscape where filmmakers can flourish and contribute to the cultural and economic growth of the nation.

 

Joke Silva emphasizes the crucial role of government support in enabling creatives to produce and sustain their work for extended periods. According to her, the longevity of works directly correlates with increased revenue for producers. In light of the current economic challenges, Silva advocates for collaborative efforts among colleagues, urging practitioners to pool resources and explore innovative strategies within the creative space.

 

While acknowledging the government’s efforts to stabilize the economy, Silva stresses the importance of self-reliance within the creative industry. She proposes that through collaboration, where four practitioners join forces instead of two, the industry can broaden its reach, leading to potentially higher earnings for actors. 

 

  • In essence, Silva highlights the power of collective action and strategic partnerships in navigating economic uncertainties and fostering sustained growth within the Nigerian creative sector.

Untold Story of Super Eagles Captain, Troost-Ekong.

William Paul Troost-Ekong was born on 1st September 1993 in the Netherlands, to a Dutch mother and a Nigerian father from Akwa Ibom. He is a professional footballer who captains the Nigerian national football team and plays as a center-back for Super League Greece club PAOK. 

Troost-Ekong has always had a knack for football since his childhood, however, unlike the regular grass-to-grace story of most footballers, his love for football was forbidden in his family. He was born into a well-to-do family and his Nigerian father wanted him to have a good education and success in life. Troost’s father didn’t take his passion for football seriously as he never saw a future in football for his son. 

At age 12, Troost was sent to a boarding school in England, the Hockeril Anglo-European College in Bishop’s Stortford. While he attended there, he played football at the youth level in England for Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur instead of focusing on his studies. After three years in England, Troost returned home to his father who was expecting a university admission, with a document of admission into the football academy.

His father who was so furious about his decision refused to sign the document. Troost’s mother, however, took the bull by the horns and signed the documents, as she had always supported Troost’s football dreams. This later led to the divorce of his parents and a dispute between him and his father.

It wasn’t all rosy for Troost after he joined the Tottenham Football Academy in London as things became quite difficult for him. He was even advised by coaches to give up on football because he wasn’t good enough to be a footballer. Troost damned the odds and continued to pursue his football career. He left the football academy and joined a small team in the Netherlands in 2013.

He started his senior career with FC Groningen and FC Dordrecht. After that, Troost had a series of transfers, in 2015 he was signed by Belgian club KAA Gent and was immediately loaned out to Norwegian club FK Haugesund. The year 2015 was a limelight year for him, as he made his debut for the Nigerian national team. 

Troost later moved to the Turkish Super Lig club, Bursaspor in 2017. He later earned himself a move to join the Italian Serie A club, Udinese in 2018 after a year in Turkey. In the same year after the World Cup, Troost hatched the long dispute between him and his father who saw he was doing well.

Troost became a revered member of the Udinese team after he made 35 league appearances and was booked four times, helping Udinese to the 12th position. His diligence and hard work paid off as he earned a dream move to England where he was signed for EFL Championship side Watford on a five-year contract deal. 

Ever since Troost has had a successful international football career. He played for the Nigerian team at the AFCON competition and his efforts of taking the country to the finals against Ivory Coast earned him the Player of the Tournament. He was seen as the Best Central Defender of the tournament, scoring three high-pressure penalties during the games. 

Rwanda, Ethiopia with View to Strengthen Bilateral Ties.

The 3rd Joint Ministerial Commission meeting between Rwanda and Ethiopia is underway in Addis Ababa intending to strengthen bilateral ties and signing new cooperation agreements across various sectors, according to officials.

A Rwandan Embassy in Ethiopia statement indicates that the 3rd JMC between the two countries was officially opened on Sunday, February 11, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The 3-day meeting began with a session of experts from the two countries.

The statement observed that with a focus on fostering shared prosperity and leveraging cooperation, the discussions aim at deepening existing historical ties and paving the way for transformative partnerships.

Central to the proceedings will be the review of the implementation of the resolutions of the 2nd JMC (which was held in 2017 in Kigali), consideration of more areas of cooperation, and the signing of new cooperation agreements.

These agreements span a wide range of fields, including trade, investment, agriculture, defense, education, political and diplomatic cooperation, immigration, and tourism, among others, according to the statement.

“These agreements are expected to streamline regulatory frameworks, reduce trade barriers, and create opportunities for businesses to expand their presence in each other’s markets,” the statement reads in part.

The statement indicated that by sharing best practices and leveraging each other’s expertise, Rwanda and Ethiopia seek to reaffirm their commitment to building a prosperous future based on mutual cooperation, solidarity, and shared aspirations.

Meanwhile, the statement said that the Heads of both delegations for the 3rd JMC commended the positive and vibrant relations between Rwanda and Ethiopia and reiterated the continued unwavering dedication of both countries to bolstering bilateral relations and exploring new avenues of cooperation.

The JMC is a pivotal moment for Rwanda and Ethiopia as leaders from both sides gather to chart the course for enhanced collaboration across various sectors, it pointed out.

 

‘Freeman’ Documentary Scenes On Igbo Apprenticeship System Sets To Premiere.

 

The official teaser for the upcoming documentary series “Freeman,” based on the Igbo apprenticeship system, has been released by Showmax.

 

 The “Freeman” teaser takes a look at the Igbo apprenticeship system, showcasing affluent businessmen who approach parents to mentor young individuals in trade. These mentors play a vital role in guiding apprentices on their vocational journey, revealing a dynamic relationship. The teaser offers a snapshot of this connection, emphasizing cultural nuances and traditions inherent in the Igbo apprenticeship system.

 

“Freemen” features esteemed Igbo entrepreneurs such as Dr. Anene Okeke, Dr. Cosmas Maduka (Coscharis), Obinna Iyiegbu (Obi Cubana), Ndubuisi Ekekwe, Okey Japan, Bartholomew Duru Nwanguma, and his son Peter Nwanguma, among other notable figures. Throughout the series, these influential business leaders share personal anecdotes and reflections on how the Igbo apprenticeship system has played a transformative role in shaping their careers and fostering entrepreneurial success. The documentary, co-produced by rapper Tobechukwu Ejiofor, known as ILLBLiSS (King of Boys), also features his contribution to the series’ soundtrack. “Freemen” promises an intimate exploration of the profound impact of mentorship within the Igbo cultural context, unveiling the narratives behind the success stories of these prominent entrepreneurs.

 

Busola Tejumola, MultiChoice’s Executive Head of Content and West Africa Channels conveyed in a press release that the “Freemen” project aims to showcase Nigeria’s rich culture. She emphasized that beyond being a documentary on the Igbo Apprenticeship System, it serves as a spotlight on the nation’s diverse narrative and heritage. Tejumola expressed excitement at Showmax for the opportunity to narrate the vibrant story of a system that has transcended cultural boundaries.

 

Daro Umaigba, the director and co-producer of “Freemen,” echoed Tejumola’s enthusiasm. Umaigba highlighted that the documentary opens a window into the world of the Igbo Apprenticeship System, providing viewers with an intimate look at how astute business minds are nurtured and developed. He underlined that “Freemen” goes beyond showcasing Igbo cultural heritage; it also serves as a valuable resource for business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs seeking mentorship insights.

 

The documentary is meticulously structured into four distinct parts, offering an in-depth exploration of the Igbo apprenticeship system. These segments include the Pick-Up and Negotiations Period, Trial Period, Solidification of Agreement and Work Period, and Settlement Period. Each phase contributes to providing a comprehensive and unique perspective on the journey of apprentices, offering insights into the intricacies of their development and the cultural significance embedded in each stage. 

 

Overall, “Freemen” is poised not only to illuminate the nuances of the Igbo Apprenticeship System but also to contribute to a broader understanding of Nigeria’s cultural richness and its impact on entrepreneurial development.

 

Starting February 12, “Freemen” will be available exclusively for streaming on Showmax, and new episodes will be released every Wednesday.

Malawi Record Label, Soulamp to Promote Malawian Upcoming Artists

Through its Soul Art-Reach program, Malawi-based record label Soulamp Entertainment will host the second installment of Soul Sundays, a night of music and art for up-and-coming artists, on February 25 at The Shack in Lilongwe.

The final winning applications of Soulamp Entertainment’s call-out will be showcased at the event, according to Kananji Msaka, project manager for the Soul Art-Reach initiative.

“The energy of our first event was perfect; the artists were eager to present themselves, and the audience was enthralled with what they had to offer.

“We were thrilled to witness Malawians go to hear musicians that were unfamiliar to them and sincerely offering them an opportunity to dazzle them. We anticipate experiencing the same vigor at the second event,” Msaka said.

This time, Ill Nate, Mzembe the Poet, and 16 Bazz will light up the stage with a mix of poetry and hip-hop. The King’s Rifles, the main act, will perform to close the evening.

In addition to Ill Nate, Mzembe The Poet, 16 Bazz, Phrone99, Tiya Joan, and Mave Bakali, Soulamp Entertainment issued a call for emerging talent last year. These all secured slots to play at two Soul Art-Reach gatherings.

The inaugural event took place at Story Club on Sunday, October 1, 2023, and included Phrone99, Tiya Joan, and Mave Bakali. D.O. Dub was the main attraction.

“Soul Sundays was more than just an event, it was a platform where I got to express myself as a music artist/poet as well as forge new friendships and meaningful connections in the industry.”

Tiya Joan, who performed at the first event, said, “It essentially encapsulated a full package of empowerment and inspiration, affirming the validity of my artistic journey.”

Partners in the Soul Art-Reach program, Kweza Arts and Story Club FM, have also provided support in the form of top-notch sound equipment and media for the second event, which may feature new performers.

Soulamp Entertainment developed Soul Art-Reach with funding from the COSOMA Copyright Fund.

Through a number of events, the program hopes to give Malawi’s young and aspiring creatives a platform for expression and talent.

With Soulamp Entertainment, local artists will get the chance to show off their skills, get paid for them, and connect with influential people in the business. The goal is to provide up-and-coming local talent with the resources, visibility, and content they need to realize their full potential.

This group of gifted young Malawians was founded in 2013 and produces, writes, and records online and graphic design in addition to Conscious Hip-Hop, Afro-Pop, R&B/Soul, and other music.

The performers of the ensemble have appeared at a number of esteemed occasions, including Tumaini Festival (2022), Zomba City Festival (2021), and Lake of Stars (2019).

 

Ghanaian Agriculturalist To Discuss Latest Advancement In Agricultural policy.

Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the ex-Minister of Food and Agriculture, is slated to be the ‘Guest Speaker’ during the 70th-anniversary festivities of the Faculty of Agriculture at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).

The distinguished Ghanaian agriculture economist, renowned for his substantial expertise in agriculture and related fields, is scheduled to discuss the theme “Commemorating 70 Years of KNUST’s Global Influence on Agriculture” on Tuesday, February 13, 2024. The prestigious institution of higher learning has formally invited him to speak.

 

The invitation expressed, “The 70th Anniversary Celebration marks a significant milestone for the Faculty, and we are confident that your insights and expertise will greatly enrich the occasion.” It further stated, “Your notable contributions to the agricultural sector and outstanding achievements have left a profound impact on the nation, and we anticipate that your presence and insights will elevate the importance of this special event.”

 

Running from February 13 to February 17, 2024, the week-long festivities will unite alumni, students, faculty, staff, distinguished guests, and other contributors pivotal to the success of the Faculty.

Dr. Akoto’s upcoming presentation will be his fifth public lecture within eleven months, following his March 2023 lecture at the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA). During that event, he delved into “The Future of the Economy of Ghana,” offering insights on leveraging the agricultural sector as a cornerstone for funding the development of other sectors in the Ghanaian economy.

 

During that same month, Dr. Akoto was invited as the Guest of Honour at the Zimbabwe-Ghana Business Forum. On this occasion, he encouraged both nations to enhance their trade activities within the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) framework.

 

On June 6, 2023, the ex-two-term Member of Parliament took the stage as the Special Guest of Honour, addressing leaders in the Turkish Agribusiness industry at the African Agriculture, Food, and Industry Forum in Istanbul & Tekirdağ, Turkey. This invitation came from the African Investors Council (AIC).

 

A Cambridge scholar holding MSc. and PhD degrees, Dr. Akoto brings over 18 years of experience in the UN systems. On July 23, 2023, he presented at the Mensah Sarbah Hall Biannual Alumni Celebrity Lecture, hosted by the Mensah Sarbah Hall Alumni Association. The lecture centered on “Leveraging Agricultural Diversification for Financing Economic Development in Ghana.”



Nigeria: TikTok Creator Awards – Asake, Adekunle Gold, Ola of Lagos, Others Bag Nominations.

The Sub-Saharan Africa TikTok Creator Awards, in its second edition, has nine Nigerian creators nominated. The event is set to take place in South Africa on February 9th.

According to TikTok, the awards are a celebration of the people who are reshaping Sub-Saharan Africa’s digital and cultural scene, establishing new trends, and affecting societal narratives.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Bianca Sibiya, head of content operations for TikTok in Sub-Saharan Africa, stated that the platform will hold its inaugural “Top Creator Awards” at Vodaword in Midrand, Johannesburg, to honor the accomplishments of its most gifted producers.

Beyond honoring specific creators, Ms. Sibiya continued, the awards also serve to draw attention to the developing digital entertainment market and the booming creative sector in Africa.

Part of the statement read: “TikTok champions creativity and connects people globally. Our platform empowers anyone to become a creator and share their stories. These awards are designed to inspire, guide, and empower the next generation of talent to take Africa to the world. This is the second year of the eagerly awaited award ceremony, celebrating TikTok creators for their talent and creativity.

“During December 2023, TikTok fans were asked to vote for their favorite creators on the TikTok app, and winners were chosen by public vote and a TikTok judging panel, with one winner emerging from each category.

“Beyond entertainment, these awards underscore the economic empowerment fostered by TikTok. They highlight the platform’s role in nurturing diverse talents from various backgrounds and countries, contributing significantly to the burgeoning digital economy in Africa.”

Lagos resident Waris Akinwade, also known as Ola, was nominated for Trailblazer of the Year.

Tacticalceza and Khalamanja, two sensational players, received nominations for Gaming Creator of the Year.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, singers Adekunle Gold, Asake, and Spyro were nominated for Song of the Year. The nominated songs are Adekunle Gold’s “Party No Dey Stop”, Asake’s “Lonely At The Top”, and Spyro’s “Who Is Your Guy”.

According to TikTok, the awards are a celebration of the people who are reshaping Sub-Saharan Africa’s digital and cultural scene, establishing new trends, and affecting societal narratives.

See the full list of nominees

Sports creator of the year in Sub-Saharan Africa

Nezcatt (South Africa)

Stoneavenuee (Nigeria)

 

Gaming creator of the year in Sub-Saharan Africa

Khalamanja_ (Nigeria)

_someothergirl (Kenya)

Tacticalceza (Nigeria)

 

Entertainment creator of the year in Sub-Saharan Africa

Sachi_himes96 (South Africa)

Lifestory328 (Kenya)

 

Lifestyle and Education creator of the year in Sub-Saharan Africa

Foodstakenya (Kenya)

_iremide (Nigeria)

SiyaBunny (South Africa)

 

Trailblazer of the Year in Sub-Saharan Africa

OfficialKinuthia (Kenya)

Olaoflagos_ (Nigeria)

 

Africa Rising creator of the year in Sub-Saharan Africa

Afrolecia (Haircare South Africa)

Nairobidisclosure (Food Kenya)

 

Publisher of the Year in Sub-Saharan Africa

PulseNigeria247 (Nigeria)

Startimeskenya (Kenya)

Foodiesofsa (South Africa)

WWTaste (South Africa)

PulseSports (Nigeria)

jointribe_gg (Nigeria)

Netflixnigeria (Nigeria)

 

Song of the Year in Sub-Saharan Africa

Tyler ICU, DJ Maphorisa, Nandipha808, Ceeka RSA, Tyron & Tumelo Za – ‘Mnike’

Inkabi Zezwe, Sjava & Big Zulu – ‘Umbayimbayi’

Uncle Waffles, Tony Duardo, Pcee, EeQue, Chley & Justin 99 – ‘Yahyuppiyah’

Guchi & Loud Behaviour – ‘Notice Me’

Pcee, S’gija Disciples, Justin 99, Mema Percent, MrJazziQ & Zan’Ten – ‘Kilimanjaro’

Khaid & Boy Spyce – ‘Carry Me Go (Sped Up)’

Khaid – ‘Anabella (Sped Up)’

Asake – ‘Lonely At the Top’

Spyro – ‘Who is Your Guy’

Adekunle Gold & Zinoleesky – ‘Party No Dey Stop’

Jux & Diamond Platnumz – ‘Enjoy’

Jay Melody – ‘Sawa’

Platform TZ – ‘Wivu’

Alikiba – ‘Mahaba’

Bruce Africa – ‘You’

 

Seychelles Coast Guard Rescues “Lorenzo Putha 4” in the Arabian Sea.

The government has received a piece of information that the vessel “Lorenzo Putha 4” previously lost in the Arabian Sea, has been successfully rescued by the Seychelles Coast Guard.

The Seychelles Navy officially communicated this information to Mr. Sagala Ratnayaka, Chief of Presidential Staff and Senior Advisor to the President on National Security, today (29).

The multi-day fishing vessel “Lorenzo Putha 4” commenced its maiden voyage from the Dikovita fishing harbor on January 12, carrying six fishermen. According to the Department of Fisheries, the vessel was hijacked by Somali pirates in the Arabian Sea, approximately 1,160 nautical miles from land.

Consequently, the Sri Lanka Navy informed the Combined Maritime Forces, consisting of 40 countries located in Bahrain, to investigate the missing vessel. The Seychelles Coast Guard initiated a special operation to locate the “Lorenzo Putha 4,” successfully finding the vessel in the possession of Somali pirates.

In a commendable effort, the Seychelles Coast Guard arrested three Somali pirates, and all six fishermen aboard the “Lorenzo Putha 4” were safely rescued. Under the guidance of Mr. Sagala Ratnayaka, the President’s Senior Adviser on National Security and Chief of Staff to the President, operations have been launched to bring the fishing vessel back to the country.

The Sri Lanka Navy, with special supervision, is overseeing this operation, and the Seychelles Coast Guard has informed that the vessel is currently en route to Victoria Port in Seychelles.

 

Madagascar Enacts New Legislation to Castrate Paedophiles.

A new law that will see paedophiles surgically castrated for their crimes was adopted by the parliament of Madagascar. The National Assembly of Madagascar passed a law on February 2 that made it lawful for child rapists to be castrated.

Only a few days ago, Kazakhstan unveiled a law akin to this one, stating that the nation’s worst juvenile sexual offenders will have their genitalia surgically removed.

According to the previous legislation, someone convicted of raping a minor could spend five to twenty years in forced labor. But according to this new rule, anyone found guilty of raping a child under the age of 10 will receive a life sentence and have their castration surgically performed. 

In contrast, if the victim is between the ages of ten and thirteen, they will undergo chemical castration and endure fifteen to twenty years of forced labor. Castration will not be applied to the rapist if they are also minors.

Landy Randriamanantenasoa, Minister of Justice, spoke in support of the bill. “Society must know what they did and who they are,” Ms. Randriamanantenasoa reportedly stated, according to the French-language publication Le Quotidien.

Andry Rajoelina, the president of Madagascar, made the measure a major campaign pledge when he ran for reelection last year. He proposed it last month.

Organizations around the world have condemned the new law. The BBC reports that in a statement, Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty’s regional director for East and Southern Africa, said: ‘In Madagascar, rape cases remain under-reported, and perpetrators often go free due to the victims’ and their families’ fear of retaliation, stigmatization, and a lack of trust in the judicial system.

‘Implementing chemical and surgical castration, which constitutes cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, as a punishment for those found guilty of raping minors will not solve this and is inconsistent with Malagasy constitutional provisions against torture and other ill-treatment, as well as regional and international human rights standards.’

Ms. Randriamanantenasoa has refuted comparable criticism regarding the observance of human rights by asserting that Madagascar is an independent nation.  

Following MPs’ complaints that the current rule, which requires paedophiles to be chemically castrated, was not deterring child sex offenders, Kazakhstan revealed on February 6 its draft law to remove the genitals of perpetrators. 

Following the death of five-year-old Erkezhan Nurmakhan, who was tricked into going to the home of a paedophile after he paid her money for ice cream, the law has been tightened.

48-year-old Saidolim Gayibnazarov was given a life sentence and a chemical castration due to his prior offenses.

Igor Lepikha, Kazakhstan’s Deputy Interior Minister, described surgical castration as “controversial.”It’s a complex subject when it comes to ethics and the human aspect.

“In addition, we talk about life sentences for these offenders, so there’s no use in [castration] at that point.”

 

South-African Gold Mining Industry Strive to Build on Sustainability Strides.

Thriving for sustainability in every facet of the gold mining industry’s value chain is imperative and while considerable progress has been made in several areas, including responsible practices and reporting, as well as decarbonization, there is still work to be done in other areas, such as gender parity and bolstering the involvement of junior miners.

This was noted by industry organization World Gold Council (WGC) climate change lead and market relations director John Mulligan.

Speaking to Mining Weekly from the Investing in African Mining Indaba, in Cape Town, Mulligan averred that the gold mining industry represented by the WGC’s member, had shown “great awareness” of most of the key aspects of sustainability because investors and local stakeholders had demanded it, while societal expectations for this increasing over the past few years had also played a key driving force.

He emphasized that gold and the gold mining industry had a crucial, two-fold role to play in the just energy transition.

Firstly, while the resource is not part of the basket of critical minerals that many governments identify as key inputs in renewable energy technologies, it certainly has a role to play in facilitating both local decarbonization and resilience.

Secondly, and importantly, Mulligan highlighted the significant role that gold mining could and had played in actually delivering renewable energy projects, with many companies undertaking projects on or adjacent to their operations.

He cited the example of a large-scale solar plant at Gold Fields’ South Deep gold mine, in South Africa, where the mining sector exerted pressure on the government to change regulation to allow for self-generation of energy.

In the country, investing in renewable energy projects for their generation has allowed mining companies to decarbonize their operations, buffered them somewhat from the impacts of the country’s energy crisis, and, as Mulligan pointed out, introduced renewable technologies into areas in the country that may otherwise have been economically unviable.

Mining companies are therefore able to decarbonize their own operations, while at the same time bringing cleaner energy to remote and rural areas that may not otherwise have had capacity and access,” Mulligan acclaimed, adding that this was playing out across the continent as well.

Gold miners can lay claim to being leaders in having brought renewable energy at an industrial scale to the process and having demonstrated to other parts of the South African economy that it is viable.”

To engender sustainability in other areas of the gold mining value chain, Mulligan pointed out that the key for the WGC had been the launch of the Responsible Gold Mining Principles (RGMPs) in 2019.

Compulsory for all WGC members, these are 51 principles and ten overarching principles, which seek to encourage good practice and high standards of performance, across the entire spectrum of responsible business practice.

Mulligan highlighted that this provided tangible proof of responsible mining, as companies had to demonstrate what responsibility meant, and the performance they were designed to encourage was also independently verified.

With the WGC members representing about two-thirds of all global corporate gold mining production, Mulligan asserted that, over the next reporting cycle, a considerable percentage of gold would have been demonstrated to have been produced under transparent conditions in terms of high-quality sustainability responsibility practices.

He informed that reporting began gathering pace last year, after a delay from the pandemic, with about half of the members now reporting full adherence to the cycle.

He also attested to the meticulousness of the RGMPs, with the council undertaking a very “consultative process” in its development – liaising with members about their performance on specific issues, as well as engagements with hundreds of organizations and local communities around the principles and what their aspirations for it were. 

The WGC has been engaging with mining investors at the Investing in African Mining Indaba that is currently underway in Cape Town, around the RMGPs, to encourage them to have it as part of their considerations when choosing companies to invest in.

It has also been educating attendees about another area of progress after the WGC and the London Bullion Market Association convened industry bodies across the world to agree on the Gold Industry Declaration of Responsibility and Sustainability Principles, Mulligan highlighted.

This brings together several key participants in the global gold industry who have committed to operating responsibly and sustainably, from mine to market, with the declaration setting out the principles that guide this commitment.

Mulligan described this as “significant”, as it allowed the entire gold value chain to talk to each other.

Meanwhile, central banks continued to remain key buyers of gold owing to it being a risk mitigation asset. The WGC engaged these entities in several ways, including a central bank training program which included an environmental, social, and governance component, Mulligan informed.

Moreover, the WGC engages with central banks to try and encourage them to be positive actors in the buying of artisanal small-scale gold mining, intending to have this support engender better practices in this particular industry.

The WGC has also engaged individual central banks on the social and environmental impacts of their reserve assets, with awareness around this increasing.

The WGC is further undertaking collaborative work with the World Bank to address artisanal and illegal mining and is engaging with this entity to define what good practice looks like.

The latter is leveraging its global presence to encourage government perspectives to be brought to the table, while the former is tapping into the support of its members as such artisanal mining often happens adjacent to their operations.

Mulligan pointed out that this issue required long-term commitments, as well as both global and local solutions, given that each mining jurisdiction was different.

AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT 

Mulligan mentioned an area that needed more work was ensuring that junior miners were brought along in the reporting process, with this culture already entrenched in midtier and major mining companies.

Therefore, he called for sustainability to be embedded into projects from the onset of exploration.

Another area of focus needs to be improving gender parity, with this being a challenge for the entire mining sector. While the gold mining industry was slightly ahead of the average, it still had a long way to go, Mulligan emphasized.

He mentioned that there was also a rising awareness of the need to be committed to preserving nature in a more detailed way, with more progress anticipated on this in the coming years. The WGC was actively pursuing this at present, and considerable data from the gold mining community had already been garnered, Mulligan said.

In a similar vein to the RMGPs, smaller mining companies are lagging and need to be brought along on this process as well.

EFFECTING BROADER CHANGE
On a global level, Mulligan said instability and uncertainty were major impediments to furthering the sustainability agenda, as this made it difficult to commit to strategic, structural, and long-term change.

“At a very high level, sustainability will be challenged if there are no long-term commitments from both the public and private sectors,” Mulligan warned.

He highlighted the need to accelerate the climate agenda considerably, with a concerning gap in reaching the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, and also cautioned against a “business as usual” approach.

Mulligan added that mineral-rich economies could adopt a leapfrog approach, capitalizing on the growth opportunities from these endowments while simultaneously using them to further sustainability goals.

“There is huge opportunity for  economic growth and socio-economic development in ways that really haven’t been seen before, because of dependency and legacy issues.”

In the vein of effecting change at a high level, the WGC attends forums like the yearly Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to engage with large institutional investors and their intermediaries and advisers, as well as stakeholders operating in the policy space.

Mulligan explained that these were the entities the WGC perceived to be driving the climate agenda, with governments lagging.

He pointed out that the mining sector had been fairly quiet at the past few COPs, and needed to be more ambitious in engaging and telling its story.

For example, there were considerable discussions around critical minerals at COP28 last year, with an acknowledgment that more mining was needed. However, there was insufficient clarity on what this meant in practice, and whether the shifts in capital that would be needed for the transition would also be reflected in mining investment, Mulligan explained.

He noted that there was still much discomfort around mining, with many seeing it as having solely negative impacts, and the positive ones not highlighted.

This underscored the need for the sector to be more vocal at COP and other forums about its potential as a driver of socioeconomic development, and to engage more around the catalytic role it could play in the transition, as the gold industry did in terms of renewable energy, Mulligan averred.

One alternative method that the WGC recently undertook to showcase Gold’s full story was the release of ‘Gold: A Journey with Idris Elba’, a documentary created in partnership with Pioneer Productions.

In the documentary, gold’s relationship with sustainability and its influence on this is one of the themes explored by movie star Elba. He also delves into the history of gold, as well as the relationships and impacts engendered by this precious metal – spanning from beauty to health, community, power, technology, and financial security.

Mulligan said that the documentary had piqued interest in the commodity and its influence. Moreover, a screening was held in South Africa with academics and non-governmental organizations, who were often skeptical of the industry, with some positive feedback and shifts in opinions noted after the screening.

The documentary is available on YouTube and the WGC’s website.

It followed the release of ‘The Golden Thread’ documentary, which was released in 2021 and showcased gold’s utility. 

Celebrating Omotola Jalade Ekeinde: Unveiling Her Top 5 Movies.

 

Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, born on February 7, 1978, is a Nigerian actress, singer, philanthropist, and former model. Widely regarded as one of Africa’s leading actresses, she began her acting career in the mid-1990s and quickly gained prominence for her exceptional talent. Omotola has featured in numerous Nollywood and international films, earning accolades and awards for her outstanding performances.

 

Beyond her acting prowess, she is an influential figure in Nigeria, advocating for social issues and women’s rights. Omotola is actively involved in humanitarian work, focusing on health and empowerment initiatives. In 2013, she was honored by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

 

Omotola Jalade Ekeinde continues to inspire and contribute significantly to the entertainment industry and societal progress, leaving an indelible mark on the cultural landscape of Nigeria and beyond.

 

Today marks the celebration of the birthday of Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, one of Nollywood’s most iconic figures.

With a career spanning two decades, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, also known as “Omosexy,” has left an indelible mark on both Nigerian and global audiences. Beyond winning hearts worldwide, she has been instrumental in shaping Nollywood. On her birthday, Pulse Nigeria spotlights her top 5 movies, acknowledging her immense contributions to the film industry. Omotola’s versatility and talent have made her a celebrated icon, and her impact continues to resonate, cementing her status as one of Nollywood’s enduring and influential figures.

 

Moral Intelligence (1998)

Highlighted as one of the films that paved the way for Omotola’s success, “Mortal Inheritance” portrays her as a young woman facing sickle cell disease, determined to overcome challenges and find love and happiness. Her groundbreaking performance in this movie garnered critical acclaim, establishing her as a formidable presence in Nollywood and solidifying her influential role in the industry.

 

The Prostitute (1998)

In “The Prostitute,” Omotola embraced a demanding role that defied conventional expectations of Nigerian women in cinema. Portraying a character who opts for a life as a prostitute in response to life’s hardships, Omotola delivered a compelling performance, delving into themes of survival, love, and redemption.

 

Ije: The Journey (2010)

“Ije: The Journey” holds a pivotal place in Omotola’s career, signifying her shift towards intricate roles in the evolving landscape of Nollywood cinema. Teaming up with Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola portrayed a Nigerian woman journeying to the United States to aid her sister in legal struggles and establish her innocence. The film garnered immense success, resonating both domestically and internationally, underscoring the richness of Nigerian storytelling.

 

Last Flight to Abuja (2012)

Drawn from a real-life incident, “Last Flight to Abuja” emerges as an enthralling masterpiece, featuring Omotola as a passenger on a Nigerian flight confronted with a life-threatening situation. Her performance, both gripping and emotionally evocative, underscores her skill in forging a deep connection with the audience.

 

Alter Ego (2017)

In “Alter Ego,” Omotola made a powerful return to the silver screen, breaking her hiatus with a portrayal of a successful lawyer by day and a vigilante by night. This role underscored her versatility as an actress, navigating a character with a nuanced dual life. The film achieved both critical acclaim and commercial success, earning Omotola numerous accolades for her outstanding performance.

 

Omotola Jalade Ekeinde’s career speaks volumes about her talent, resilience, and unwavering dedication to her craft. On this celebratory occasion of her birthday, we acknowledge her substantial contributions to the film industry, both domestically and internationally. Happy Birthday, Omotola, and cheers to many more years of enthralling performances!



AFCON 2023: People Behind Curtains.

As Nigeria – the Super Eagles advance to the finals of the 2023 AFCON tournament, after a victorious and thrilling win against their opponent South Africa – Bafana Bafana in a 4-2 match on a penalty shoot-out, the Nigerian national team will go head-on with the Elephants of Ivory Coast, who played against DR Congo in a 1-0 match at the Abidjan Stadium.

Nigeria’s inexplicable performance which secured them a spot in the final against South Africa has brought joy and happiness to the faces and hearts of Nigerians in the country and the diaspora. 

Social media platforms, especially X formerly known as Twitter are buzzing with celebration tweets from Nigerians. There has also been banter between Nigerians and South Africans. South Africans are being dragged for expecting to win the semi-finals following their win at the Grammy Awards with Tyla’s ‘Water’ for Best Africa Music Performance.

Since their most recent triumph in 2013, Nigeria has booked their place in the AFCON finals for the first time, edging past South Africa 4-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in a thrilling semi-final clash.

However, there would not be a successful match without the people behind the scenes who are not often talked about and applauded.

The VAR, media, security, and commentators of the 2023 AFCON competition are also to be commended as much as accolades are been given to referees, coaches, and players, for a job well done during and after the matches of AFCON 2023. They all played crucial roles in ensuring the excellence and success of the games played.

Nigeria’s ‘Man of the Match’, goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali was raised as the hero for Nigeria after he saved efforts by Teboho Mokoena and Evidence Makgopa in a 4-2 shoot-out win, which only provided a partial account of an incredible match in which VAR was the center of attention.

 

VAR – Video Assistant Referee

Alongside the game officials, the VAR operated in tandem as a team.

In the 85th minute of Nigeria & South Africa match, Nigeria thought they had secured their place in the final when Victor Osimhen tapped home to add another goal to William Troost-Ekong’s second-half penalty, but referee Amin Omar was told to intervene. 

The VAR revealed that South Africa’s Percy Tau had been fouled inside the penalty area at the start of the move and the score went from 2-0 for Nigeria to 1-1.

Also, after the full time of the Nigeria match, during the extra-time, Osimhen was substituted with Terem Moffi, whose first involvement resulted in Kekana being sent off. Moffi had a collision with Kekana just outside the box.

VAR was again required and the referee Omar decided Kekana had fouled Moffi but the contact was just outside the area. Grant Kekana was given a red flag.

 

SECURITY

The AFCON Security team is also to be acknowledged for ensuring the safety of those who visited the venue and also the footballer’s safety. The security team of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) provided stricter measures to ensure that visitors and football enthusiasts experienced a safer and more secure stay. 

According to the Head of Safety and Security at CAF, Dr. Emeruwa Christian, they worked closely with the Local Organising Committee, Government, Safety and Security Agencies to guarantee visitors’ safety at the AFCON matches.

 

MEDIA

CAF General Secretary, Veron Mosengo-Omba said: “Media plays an important role in making the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations a success. It is important for the CAF to introduce the best possible conditions for the media to do its work. The Main Media Centre will centralize media events and services. This means media do not need to travel between the two venues for pre-match media conferences.”

The Main Media Center (MMC) was introduced for media services during the games. It provided the media including photographers and broadcasters with a unique working environment. It also ensured that the media in Abidjan were able to follow press conferences from other venues daily.

 

COMMENTATORS

The commentators also did explicitly well in reporting the activities on the pitch. Even without visuals of the games, one could understand and visualize the game from the reports of the commentators. From the passes of the players to the dribbling of the ball, and netting the ball, the commentators did an excellent job of reporting. 

 

In a final heat, the Super Eagles and Elephants go head-on against each other on Sunday, February 11, 2024, at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium Abidjan. Africans eagerly anticipate this brutal battle, which will reveal the might of the Ivory Coast’s elephants and Nigeria’s tenacious Eagles.

 

Somalia Becomes Latest African Country to Ban Single-use Plastic.

Somalia is the latest African country to ban single-use plastics, potentially boosting the growing campaign to limit the use of non-biodegradable packaging material in the war against global warming.

A decree was issued on Thursday by the Environment and Climate Change Ministry which indicated that the country will stop single-use plastics from June 30, 2024, providing a five-month grace period for importers and users to adjust.

“All businesspeople engaged in bag importation, manufacturers, retailers, and commercial establishments within the country are at this moment notified that as of June 30, 2024, the importation and use of single-use bags shall be prohibited,” read a statement issued by the Ministry.

Somalia said the grace period should also give firms involved in the production or importation of plastics time “to explore environmentally friendly alternatives to plastic bags” and that it will work with stakeholders to identify options.

Somalia’s move is significant because it joins other East African Community (EAC) member states Kenya and Rwanda which completely banned single-use plastics.

Uganda and Tanzania have also technically banned the plastics but have struggled with implementing the ban and the smuggling of the carrier bags between neighboring countries.

Like peers in the EAC, the ban means that the production, importation, trading, or distribution of single-use plastics is prohibited after June 30, 2024.

Environment and Climate Change Minister Khadija Mohamed Al-Makhzoumi said the move is part of local efforts by her country to “proactively address environmental challenges.”

A study by the Geneva Environmental Network shows plastics have toxic chemical additives and pollutants that threaten human health with health effects including causing cancer or changing hormones that can affect reproductive, growth, and cognitive impairment.

South Africa Welcomes World’s Largest Coffee Company.

Pret A Manger, a popular fresh food and coffee chain, is set to make its debut in South Africa, marking its first entry into the African continent.

Pret is globally acclaimed, celebrated for its widespread recognition, and renowned for offering freshly made food along with organic coffee.

 

Pret boasts almost 650 shops across the globe, employing 9,500 team members in 18 international markets, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, United States, Hong Kong, France, UAE, Kuwait, India, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Belgium, Singapore, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

 

South Africa is set for substantial growth in the next decade, with ambitious expansion plans already in place. This strategic development coincides with the promising prospect that the cost of one coffee in the United States equals the affordability of three in South Africa. The coffee culture is expected to thrive as the nation becomes a focal point for increased investment and presence by global chains. These expansion initiatives signal a dynamic period for South Africa’s culinary landscape, with the potential to reshape the local coffee scene and provide consumers with an enriched experience over the coming years.

The Millat Group recently inked a groundbreaking development deal with Pret A Manger, granting Millat the exclusive license to run Pret shops in Southern Africa.

 

Following Millat’s successful introduction of the Circle K forecourt convenience store brand to South Africa, this agreement aligns with the company’s extended strategy to enter and expand in this sector. The overarching goal is to provide customers with opportunities to access a range of fresh, organic, and sustainable food and beverage options as part of Millat’s long-term expansion plan in the region.

 

Millat Group CEO, Hamza Farooqui, states that Pret A Manger’s outstanding organic grab-and-go and distinctive food service align perfectly with Millat’s strategy of introducing top-tier global brands to South Africa.

 

The inaugural Pret A Manger store is poised to launch in Johannesburg, strategically positioned to serve the vibrant and fast-paced community of the city. In the ensuing months, more establishments are slated to open in strategic locations within South Africa’s major cities, including Cape Town, Durban, and Pretoria.

Pret A Manger is renowned for its premium, freshly crafted items and organic coffee. The brand presents an extensive menu comprising sandwiches, salads, wraps, baked goods, and snacks, featuring a variety of vegetarian and vegan choices. In addition to Pret’s diverse food selection, there is a lineup of organic coffees, teas, and various hot and cold beverages to complement the overall offering.

Pano Christou, CEO of Pret A Manger, expressed the significance of introducing Pret’s freshly prepared food and organic coffee to the African continent, marking a pivotal moment in their global expansion. The collaboration with the Millat Group to introduce Pret to South Africa is highly anticipated, with the Johannesburg store being the initial step in a broader expansion within the South African market. This partnership aligns with Millat’s commitment to promoting entrepreneurship, driving economic growth, and delivering a service that enhances the daily lives of South Africans. Christou looks forward to welcoming customers across the country in the upcoming months and years.

American Rapper, Busta Rhymes Reveals Plan to Visit Ghana.

Busta Rhymes, an American rapper and songwriter, has revealed that he will take a vacation to Ghana later this year.

At the pre-66th Grammy event in Los Angeles, comedian Dave Chappelle extended an invitation to Grammy nominee Berla Mundi in an exclusive interview. However, the musician was unable to attend because of prior commitments.

He did, however, indicate that he would be open to spending the holidays in Ghana this year.

“I actually had plans to come to Ghana last year during Christmas. David Chappelle was trying to bring me but I had other commitments. I am not going to promise but that is the goal, to be in Ghana this year,” he shared during the interview with Berla Mundi.

The rapper also discussed his most recent work on the song “Roboshotta,” which is part of his eleventh studio album, Blockbuster, alongside Nigerian Afrobeats sensation Burna Boy.

On November 24, 2023, the album was made available via his Conglomerate Entertainment label, with distribution handled by Epic Records.

In addition to expressing his delight for the partnership with Burna Boy, Busta Rhymes made hints about his wish to work with additional African musicians in the future.

“It was amazing, beautiful. The energy is good. The Burna Boy moment happened at the right time and right place,” he said.

EFA Announces Football Sensation, Record Scorer, Hossam Hassan as New Coach.

Egyptian all-time top scorer, Hossam Hassan has been appointed the new coach of the country’s national football team. In a brief statement, the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) made the announcement, revealing the appointment of Hassan’s twin brother as Egpyt’s team director.

 

Hassan replaced Vitoria, who was fired on Sunday after the Pharaohs lost the Africa Cup of Nations in the round of sixteen, even though the EFA had earlier stated that they were exploring foreign applicants for the position.

Hassan has repeatedly expressed his willingness to accept the position and lamented that, despite his qualifications, he was frequently passed over for the position. His fierce temper and history of disciplinary issues have been mentioned by critics as the reason he was not hired in the past.

 

In 2016, when he was in charge of Al Masry, he was momentarily placed under arrest after chasing and assaulting a photographer following the conclusion of a local league match. He was most recently penalized for tampering with the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) monitor in early 2023, during a league game.

 

Despite not winning any titles during his management tenures, Hassan was frequently recognized with making underdog teams perform better than expected. Several months after hanging up his boots in 2008, he started his coaching career and has since led a few Egyptian clubs, including Cairo giants Zamalek.

 

During his illustrious playing career, the 57-year-old Cairo clubs Al Ahly and Zamalek won multiple trophies. He led Egypt’s assault at the 1990 World Cup and helped the country win three Cup of Nations championships.

 

With 68 goals, he is Egypt’s all-time top scorer, 14 goals ahead of Mohamed Salah of Liverpool. 

 

South Africans recall Hassan as the player that finished the 1998 Nations Cup in Burkina Faso tied for first place with Benni McCarthy. In the championship match, Egypt defeated Bafana Bafana 2-0; neither striker scored.

 

“Do not miss events” in Egypt this Week.

Ahram Online recently highlighted a selection of do-not-miss events this week (7-13 February 2024) in Cairo, Alexandria, Mansoura, Ismailia and Luxor​. These events are listed as follows;

Last days of Japanese Film Week 2024
This will be held from 3rd-8th February at the Artistic Creativity Center, Cairo Opera House Grounds, Zamalek, Cairo. The Japanese Film Week will present a selection of Japanese films spanning animation, comedy, drama, history, autobiography, mystery, and thriller. A few films are being screened daily, and the full program can be found on the Japan Foundation Facebook 

Last days of Hakawy International Arts Festival for Children

The festival already kicked off in Port Said, then moved to Cairo where it will continue until 9 February, with performances, masterclasses, and workshops presented in Falaki Theater, Hanager Theatre, the Italian Institute, and the Goethe Institut-Kairo. The activities will then move to Ismailia on 8 and 9 February where the performances will take place in Misr Public Library. Check the festival’s program for more details.

Last days of Alexandria Photo Week

The inaugural edition of Alexandria Photo Week presents eight group and individual exhibitions and 40 lectures between 1-10 February. Events are held in seven major cultural centers around Alexandria: Jesuit Cultural Center, Bsarya for Arts, Graeco-Roman Museum, Amideast, 6 Bab Sharq, French Institute, and Greek Cultural Center. The event is being organized by Photopia in cooperation with numerous entities. It is Photopia’s extension to the already highly popular annual Photo Week in Cairo.

El-System – film
This will be held on Wednesday 7 February across cinemas. A man suffers from failure in romantic relationships and his inability to deal with women. He asks his friend for help whose advice is based on his previous emotional experiences. The film stars Tarek Lotfy, Nesreen Tafesh, and Ahmed El-Fishawy.

Folklorita – concert
Will be held on Wednesday 7th February at 7 pm at Mansoura, Um Kalthoum Sq, in front of the Governorate Building. The newly established group Folklorita will perform during the celebrations of Dakahlia governorate’s National Day, which falls on 8 February. The troupe consists of 14 artists: singers and percussionists using duff, darbouka, dohola, accompanied by a few instrumentalists on kawala, keyboard, etc.  

Anf Wa Thalath Oyoon (A Nose and Three Eyes) – film
Will be held on Thursday, 8th February across cinemas.

Dr. Hashem, a renowned plastic surgeon in his mid-40s is single despite having been in two long-term relationships before. When he meets Ruba, 25 years his junior, he cannot resist her charms despite the age gap. The film stars Amina Khalil, Saba Mubarak, and Dhafer L’Abidine.

Abu Shaar Brothers – concert
Will be held on Thursday, 8th February, at 7:30 pm at El-Sawy Culturewheel, Wisdom Hall, 26th of July Street, Zamalek, Cairo. Formed in the 1980s with new generations subsequently entering the ensemble, Abu Shaar Bro (El Ekhwa Abu Shaar), are internationally renowned Syrian performers whose music and lyrics focus on a religious repertoire including songs praising Prophet Muhammad. The Abu Shaar brothers currently reside in Egypt, where they hold many concerts.

Luxor African Film Festival

Focusing on the cinematic gems from the African continent, the festival kicks off on 9th February and runs through 15 February in the historic Egyptian city of Luxor. The festival is the brainchild of Egyptian screenwriter and actor Sayed Fouad – currently serving as its president – and Egyptian actress and film director Azza El Hosseiny.

Hamza Namira – concert
This will be held on Friday 9th February at 8 pm at Zed Park, Sheikh Zayed. Zed entrance Gates open at 2 pm, concert gates open starting at 4 pm. The concert will mark Hamza Namira’s release of his latest album Raye’ (Cool). Namira began releasing the songs from his 13-track album online in July 2023. Some of the compositions include titles such as the title song Raye’’, Ghoroub (Sunset), Iskandareya (Alexandria), and Reyah Al-Haya (Winds of Life).  Namira, born in 1980, is a popular musician in the Arab world whose musical journey started during his teenage years when he began playing guitar, keyboard, and oud. Namira’s unique style that meanders across genres such as light rock, jazz, Latin music, and above all Arab music has made him more accessible to Western audiences, and the subject of a dedicated fan base.

El Dor El Awal – concert
This will be held on Friday 9th February at 8 pm at the El-Sawy Culture Wheel, Wisdom Hall, 26th of July Street, Zamalek, Cairo. Founded in 2003, El Dor El Awal’s line-up, which consists of six musicians, is a melting pot of cultural and musical backgrounds who express their creativity through tunes that carry a strong rock base (bass, drums, electric guitar) topped with instruments such as the violin, the saxophone, or the flute.

Emel Mathlouthi – concert
This will be held on Friday 9th February at 8 pm at Kundalini, a venue located at the feet of the Grand Pyramid and the venue does not allow entry to persons under 18 years. Singer Emel Mathlouthi is a Tunisian-American singer-songwriter, musician, arranger and producer. She rose to fame with her protest song Kelmti Horra, which became an anthem for the Tunisian Revolution and the Arab Spring.  To date she released a few albums including Kelmti Horra (2012), Ensen (2017), Ensenity (Remix Album, 2018), Everywhere We Looked Was Burning (2019), and The Tunis Diaries (2020).

Accordionella and Reem Ezzeldin – concert
This will be held on Monday, 12th February at 9 pm (doors open at 8.30 pm) at Room Art Space – New Cairo. Trio Accordionella and singer Reem Ezzeldin join hands in their first-ever collaboration. Accordionella’s line-up consists of Rafiq Gamal on accordion, guitarist Daniel Joseph, and drummer Ahmed Adel. Since 2020, they have performed in numerous venues across Egypt attracting audiences to their unique and at times highly energetic arrangements of well-known hits. Reem has performed since an early age, including her collaboration with Mohsen Farouk, followed by Ayamna Helwa for over a decade. In 2013, she formed her band with which she gave several concerts in Cairo. She now joins Accordionella in an evening filled with a lot of emotions, and well-known songs. 

Ritmo Band – concert
This will be held on Tuesday, 13th February, at 9 pm (doors open at 8.30 pm) at the Room Art Space – New Cairo. Ritmo’s band consists of girls performing well-known covers. The line-up includes Myrna Shalaby (main vocal), Ghadeer El-Gamal (keyboard), Nour Ahmed (guitar), Hadeer El-Gamal (tabla) and Mimi Ayad (drums).

Miss Agriculture Ghana Increases Enthusiasm Among Women in Agriculture.

In 2018, Oheneba Akosua Kyerewaa Yeboah-Ghansah, the 2nd Runner-up of the TV3 reality show Ghana Most Beautiful, embarked on a mission to transform the perception of agriculture among women in the nation.

She believes that women can actively participate in agriculture while maintaining their beauty. To promote this idea, she introduced a reality show named Miss Agriculture Ghana.

The program encompasses more than just agriculture, incorporating elements typical of beauty reality shows, including catwalk, fashion, eloquence, and stunning appearances.

 

The motivation behind the show is the recognition that farming is no longer limited to the elderly, the uneducated, or school dropouts; instead, it has evolved into a substantial business for generating significant income.

 

The criteria for the reality show fundamentally depict that young women can engage in farming while maintaining their beauty, even in farm attire.


To enter the competition, a participant must express a passion for agriculture, have initiated a venture within the agribusiness value chain, or show an interest in starting one. Additionally, they should be between the ages of 18 and 30.

In the past five years, there has been a burgeoning enthusiasm among young women for the show. Many contestants hail from diverse tertiary educational institutions; some are actively involved in agricultural projects across the agricultural value chain.


Utilizing beauty pageantry to rally and mentor youth and women towards improved agripreneurship, wealth generation, employment, and food security, the reality show draws in young women from all 16 regions. They bring forth varied ideas, projects, and innovative initiatives to foster extensive participation and advancement of women and youth in agribusiness within the nation.

 

Starting with 25 contestants in the inaugural reality show in 2018, the number surged to 45 in 2019, reached 65 in 2020, escalated to 83 in 2021, and peaked at 103 in 2022. The trend continued in 2023, with the highest participation of 113 contestants. Notably, all the winners from the show’s inception are currently thriving in pursuits such as mainstream farming, animal rearing, processing, packaging, or marketing agricultural products.

 

In the roll call of winners, Afriyie Obeng-Fosu, the inaugural edition winner, combines mushroom production with his role as an agricultural economist and Agric Officer at the Adenta Municipal Authority (AdMA). Margaret Afriyie, the 2019 winner, is engaged in vegetable production. Miss Agriculture 2020, Naliz Sakitey, manages a poultry farm and produces chicken spice, focusing on animal rearing. Rendy Abam, the 2021 winner, has found success as a greenhouse vegetable farmer.

 

Hannah Larten, the 2022 winner, excels in cassava value-chain production, while the current champion, Ruth Adolwina Awintanga, focuses on guinea fowl farming. Their substantial contributions to the agricultural value chain have a cascading impact on sector growth, as they serve as influential role models, drawing young women into the sector.

 

The seventh edition of the 2024 competition has commenced, with the deadline set for next Monday, February 12. After this date, a panel of judges will evaluate the link established for applicants to submit their candidacy for the awards and proceed to shortlist successful candidates