African Culture and Traditions

NIGERIA: Akwa Ibom Reveals Plans to Commemorate 2023 Christmas Festivities.

In Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State Government has announced its comprehensive schedule for observing the month-long 2023 Christmas and Carol Festival.

During yesterday’s presentation of the scheduled Christmas festival at the Ibom Icon Hotel and Golf Resort in Uyo, Mr. Charles Udoh, the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, announced that the 2023 Christmas Park festivities would take place from December 1, 2023, to January 2, 2024, at Unity Park on Udo Udoma Avenue in Uyo.

Udoh suggested that the 2023 version of the initiative, which commenced seven years prior, has undergone a “rebranding” and a complete infusion of local content to cater predominantly to the younger demographic.

He provided assurance that the event has been meticulously designed to highlight Governor Umo Eno’s entrepreneurial efforts and to enhance the marketability of Akwa Ibom State.

Additionally, he mentioned that the 2023 annual carol festival, scheduled for December 15, will be themed “Arise, Shine, for Thy Light has Come,” inspired by Isaiah 60:1.

As per his statement, the extended month of festivities would grant every local government area the chance to showcase their talents and distinctive characteristics.

The commissioner also emphasized that specific days would be designated for gatherings involving various sectors of the state, including the governor, commissioners, their spouses, the legislature, journalists, ALGON, the elderly, and families, including the Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo communities, as well as the Niger Delta. The program will feature a ‘Happy Hour’ segment, where selected kiosks will be granted an initial sales boost of N100,000 to promote the event.

Additional highlights encompass traditional wrestling, tombola night, pageants, and fashion shows, as well as twin night and a tribute to Bob Marley, among various other events.

The commissioner urged business owners within the state to take advantage of this special occasion by pre-registering and showcasing their businesses and talents.

In a statement, Mr. Ini Ememobong, the Commissioner for Information, affirmed his ministry’s preparedness to collaborate with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and other event stakeholders to guarantee a comprehensive success.

Represented by the Permanent Secretary in his Ministry of Information, Mr. James Edet, Ememebong urged various media platforms to highlight the state positively on a global scale by promoting its local content.

Furthermore, the Commissioner for Power, Mr. Camillius Umoh, as well as his counterparts in the transport sector, Mr. Orman Esin and Mr. Aity Dennis Inyang, all members of the planning committee, pledged their full support in realizing the event’s blueprint and presenting the state’s rich content to a global audience.

Previously, the Director of Administration at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Mr. Anthony Isonguyo, remarked that this year’s celebration would stand out notably due to its abundant local content.

He affirmed that the festival aimed to seek, mentor, and exhibit local talents and the abundant heritage of the state.

Double Celebration as Oba’s Birthday Coincides with Seventh Coronation Anniversary.

The Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II recently celebrated the 7th anniversary of the throne of his forebears in Benin. This royal celebration also doubled as his birthday celebration as his birthday was coincidentally on the same day. 

Every available space at the palace was filled by the friends and well-wishers of the Oba from all walks of life.


The celebration started with two days of free healthcare and ended with Thanksgiving on Saturday at the National Church in Benin.


Omo N’Oba Ewuare on Saturday rose from the inner chambers amidst drumming and praise singing by Iweguae society, waving to the seated audience who responded with a thunderous ovation.


The Friday event ended in the early hours of Saturday before the Thanksgiving service.

The royal father sat on the ancient throne of his ancestors at the Aruo- Ozolua axis of the palace where he received homages.


The traditional homages were paid for by different traditional rulers, dignitaries, palace chiefs and functionaries, native doctors of various classifications, priests, and priestesses of different deities, traditional worshipers, and a host of others.


The Inne Theatre Troupe, Efesoghoba Palace Troupe, Epko-Avbiama, Igbabonelimi from Esan land, and others from different states took turns to perform to the delight of the audience.


Oba Ewuare, who was full of praises to almighty God and ancestors, thanked everyone for celebrating with him. Traditional Chiefs, including Osaro Idah, the Obazelu of Benin Ozigbo Esere, and the Osuma Of Benin, hailed the Benin king for his achievements since ascending the throne of his ancestors.


However, the Benin ruler urged members of the Edo State House of Assembly to consider some important cultural bills that would promote and strengthen cultural norms and value systems in the land.

According to Oba Ewuare, such bills would in no small measure curtail the surging social crimes amongst youths in the country. The royal father made the call when the speaker of Edo House of Assembly Mr Blessing Agbebaku led principal officials of the house to celebrate with Oba at his palace.


He admonished Edo lawmakers to be focused on their legislative business rather than being tied to the apron string of the executive arm of government. Omo N’Oba posited that the independence of the legislature was key to robust democracy, insisting that the lawmakers must live up to the expectations of the people who voted them into power.

Oba Ewuare hailed the assembly’s leadership, just as he pledged palace support for the lawmakers.


The speaker, Agbebaku had told the monarch that they were at his palace to congratulate him on the occasion of his birthday and the 7th coronation anniversary on the throne.


Agbebaku also pledged the Edo assembly’s loyalty and promised to work with the palace for the overall development of the state. 

Residues From 2,500-year-old Ceramic Vessels Contain Ancient Embalming Ingredients.

Ancient Egypt left lasting gems, this can be seen around the world as most art and architecture are derivative of ancient Egypt. Even its antiquities can be found in museums in crooks and crannies of the world.

The one thing ancient Egypt is famous for is its gigantic pyramids, but equally long-lasting are its many mummies, including those of great pharaohs embalmed many thousands of years ago. Even though we’ve come a long way in understanding how the ancients prepared bodies for mummification, many of the fine details have been unknown.

Recently, a new study has made exciting new revelations about this ancient practice of preserving the dead. A German-Egyptian team of researchers analyzed chemical residues from vessels unearthed at an embalming workshop in Saqqara, close to the pyramid of Unas in Lower Egypt, where ancient Egyptians used to embalm the corpses of the elite more than 2,500 years ago, during the 26th Dynasty of Egypt (664-525 B.C.).

In the process, the chemical analysis of the 31 ceramic vessels revealed the nature of many embalming ingredients that were previously cryptic in recipes from surviving ancient papyrus texts. By identifying these substances, the researchers not only enriched our understanding of the complex mummification process but also inferred a rich cultural story, deciphering the meaning of some terms used in ancient texts and demonstrating the role that mummification had in fostering long-distance trade from as far as South-East Asia.

“For me, the most fascinating result was the chemical knowledge of the ancient embalmers without having any idea about microbiology – they just had centuries of experience and observation of which substances contribute to better preservation of the human body,” Philipp Stockhammer, Professor of archaeology at Ludwig-Maximilians-University and co-author of the new study told ZME Science.

Mummification involves removing moisture from the body and applying certain chemicals and natural preservatives to desiccate the flesh and organs. Many ancient cultures employed this time-honored tradition, imbued with deep religious significance, including the Chinese and many pre-Columbian societies in South America. But it was in ancient Egypt that mummification reached its pinnacle, a sophistication that mirrored the ancient Egyptians’ obsession with the afterlife.

The ancient Egyptians strongly believed that when a person died, their spiritual essence would survive and immediately embark on a journey where they would encounter various divine and demonic entities. Ultimately, the traveling soul would meet Osiris, the god of the dead, who would judge if the wandering spirit is worthy of joining the gods in an eternal paradise.

But for this spiritual journey to be successful, the physical body had to remain intact for as long as possible, much to the distress of the common folk who were too poor to afford this very expensive embalming.

“It is clear that only a small (rich) part of the Egyptian elite was mummified. The poor farmers were just buried in pits in the desert. Moreover, we know from ancient texts that depending on your financial possibilities, you could invest in different “quality packages” for the mummification/embalming,” Stockhammer said.

Since mummification was a matter of life after death, great care and much deliberation were put into this process, which was refined over the centuries to perfection — despite the lack of formal knowledge of what we would call today microbiology. Indeed, the ancient Egyptians had no idea that microbes even existed, but through much trial and error, they found the right mixtures and procedures that preserved thousands of mummies even to this very day.

Unfortunately, the exact steps in this mortuary practice are largely a mystery. We know more about the rituals involved in mummification rather than the actual process itself. The little we know from the particularities of the practice comes from a few surviving texts, and largely from non-Egyptian sources to boot, such as The Histories by Herodotus, which describes three levels of mummification.

However, the researchers of the new study came across the finding of a lifetime. Traveling to Egypt to the Saqqara workshop, they were amazed to find numerous vessels employed by skilled craftsmen to mummify the dead. The remarkable vessels still contained evidence of their past contents, no doubt ingredients used in embalming.

That’s not all. These vessels were also labeled with their contents and even had instructions for use, such as “substance for the head” or “for making beautiful skin”.

The researchers analyzed the chemical residues in the vessels and then compared the molecular remains to the actual ingredients listed on them.

This is how they came to learn that the substance labeled as anti, previously translated as myrrh or frankincense, is a mixture of many different ingredients. The blend that the craftsmen in Saqqara called antiu contained cedar oil, juniper, cypress oil, and animal fats.

“For the first time, we know what terms like “anti” mean (at least in the early 1st mill BC in our workshop), as Egyptologists could only speculate about its meaning for the last almost 200 years. This will enable/force a new reading of many Egyptian texts,” Stockhammer said.

The pistachio resin and castor oil were used only to preserve the head, while other mixtures were used to wash the body or soften the skin. The pistachio resin, cedar oil, and bitumen were probably sourced locally in the Levant. Other identified ingredients, such as dammar gum and elemi resin, could only come from tropical Africa and Southeast Asia.

Without explicitly mentioning this, the ancient residues and labels on the ceramic vessels thereby paint a remarkable picture of extensive and sophisticated trade networks that connected Egypt with tropical Africa and Southeast Asia. These trade networks were already cemented nearly 3,000 years ago.

“Egyptian embalming was probably a driver forward towards early globalization and long-distance trade. Now, we have to rethink the intensity and complexity of early globalization and rethink our dominating notion that global connectedness is a phenomenon limited to modernity,” the German archaeologist said.

All of this is quite consequential for archaeology and the study is bound to cause waves in Egyptology for many years to come — and it’s all thanks to a couple of dozen seemingly unsuspecting old pieces of pottery. But the authors would also like to remind us all that such invaluable work is not always without sacrifice.

“By far the biggest challenge was the premature death of the excavator of the embalmers’ workshop, Ramadan Hussein, in March 2022. Maxime, Ramadan, and I had already finished large parts of the manuscript and it was very much Ramadan’s last wish to see the fruits of his years of research getting published. We are happy that this has now become possible in such a wonderful way,” Stockhammer said.


Katara Opens ‘Sudan, Land of Colors’ Exhibition.

The Katara Cultural Village Foundation in Doha, Qatar has announced the opening of an exhibition titled “Sudan, Land of Colors” by Sudanese artist, Nour El Hadi.

The 47 paintings at the exhibition, which runs through September 17, according to the artist Nour El Hadi, “embody the most wonderful aspects of Sudanese culture and heritage” through their vivid colors and intricate details.


Despite the difficulties they are currently facing, he continued, the exhibition shows how united the Sudanese people are in their hope for a better future and our interconnectedness as a single, interwoven thread.

Nour El Hadi stressed that his works of art convey his yearning for Sudan, with its rich cultural and physical diversity. Because he thinks that strong women create strong nations, he noticed that most of his paintings feature women.

According to the artist, the vivid and varied colors he utilized to create his works of art represent the substantial diversity of Sudan’s features, from north to south and from east to west, in terms of diversity, dialects, and civilizations.

Notably, Nour El Hadi has taken part in a number of group exhibitions and is a member of the Qatar Fine Arts Association. He has also contributed to Katara’s mural initiative.

Along with ambassadors, representatives from diplomatic missions, a group of artists, and fans, the opening was attended by HE Ahmed Abdel Rahman Mohamed Hassan Siwar Al Dahab, ambassador of the Republic of Sudan to the State of Qatar, and Dr. Khalid Ibrahim Al Sulaiti, general manager of Katara. 

Also known as Katara, Katara Cultural Village was soft-launched in October 2010 at the Doha Tribeca Film Festival. It is a cultural and commercial complex in Doha that is located on the eastern coast between West Bay and the Pearl.

Rwanda Celebrates 19th ‘Kwita Izina’, Attracts World’s Prominent People.

The 19th Gorilla Naming Ceremony, locally known as Kwita Izina took place on Friday in Kinigi, northern Rwanda. The event is not just a name but an homage to Rwandan culture, signifying respect and importance. Kwita Izina salutes conservation heroes, pays tribute to nearby communities, and appreciates nature.

The yearly Gorilla Naming Ceremony highlights Rwanda’s conservation efforts and its sustainable approach to gorilla tourism, both of which have contributed to the survival of the gorilla population and the communities that live among them. 10% of the money made from wildlife tourism is put back into the neighborhood. 

The celebration of the nation’s success in safeguarding the critically endangered mountain gorilla species is in its 19th year and brought together celebrities, philanthropists, and diplomats.

The star-studded line-up to name baby gorillas at the foothills of the Volcanoes National Park includes British Actor – Idris Elba and his wife Sabrina Dhowere Elba, who is a model, activist and UN Goodwill Ambassador for Ifad, Nigerian-French Singer -Songwriter Bukola Elemidie, (aka Asa), American comedian and actor Kevin Hart.  

The list also includes foreign government officials, business leaders as well and creative artists including the UK’s Minister for Africa Andrew Mitchell, Ambassador Hazza Alqahtani, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Rwanda, Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary General, United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO),  Audrey Azoulay, Director General of United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), Prof Ozlem Tureci, Chief Medical Officer, BioNtech SE and Dr Sierk Poetting, Chief Operating Officer BioNtech SE among others.

The duo, Prof. Ozlem Tureci, and Dr. Sierk Poetting named a gorilla, ‘Intiganda’. “The name captures the essence of someone who has the courage to face challenges and pursue ambitious goals while maintaining a sense of humility and selflessness”.

The ceremony saw the naming of 23 newborn mountain gorillas born in the previous 12 months, bringing the total number of baby gorillas named since the naming ceremony’s start in 2005 to 374. The baby gorillas are members of the Agashya, Muhoza, Mutobo, Hirwa, Pablo, Ntambara, Dushishoze, Segasira, Isimbi, Musirikari, Kwitonda, Igisha and Sabyinyo families.

At Kwita Izina, everyone was in a good mood. As they enjoyed enthralling performances by our very own gifted artists, the audience was humming with excitement. It celebrates how community, culture, wildlife, and conservation efforts can come together for a good cause.


Congolese Sculptors Showcase Wood Carving Skills.

An astonishing sculpture show takes place at the Place du Jardin des Droits de l’Homme, a peaceful area in the heart of Brazzaville, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

It is the third Woodworking Trade Fair that has drawn artists from all across the city to display their creations. They create a range of lovely items using indigenous woods including limba, kambala, ayous, and wengé or ironwood.

Magloire Ndassa, a master craftsman, showcases his most recent creation in an interview with African News. He says, “This is an elephant. It is gentle and friendly to everyone. Even foreigners who come to Africa, love to see the elephant. This one’s made from grey ebony, a very precious wood, very rare in the world, but found here in the Congo.”

The trade fair offers numerous options available for individuals interested in purchasing. Along with animals, you may also discover culinary items and a variety of other ornaments. Many find inspiration in this genre of work, including the artist Ludovic Mboum.

Ndassa explains “When you carve on wood, you find it precious. There’s not only its charm and the stripes of certain woods. But there’s also its softness. It’s beautiful because of its nature. The beauty of nature is priceless.”

Hundreds of sculptors are participating in the fair and showing not only their talents but also the rich legacy of their nation. 

Another participant at the trade fair, Christian Sanga Pamba says “We create art to elevate our culture and our creations. Although I do not personally create sculptures, the items I’m displaying here were left by our forefathers. They display a past way of life. We live the lifestyles we do now because of them.”

With wood being the second-largest sector of the Congolese economy, shaping this precious raw material is a significant source of employment. 

The National Artisans Agency organized the event, whose director general is Mireille Opa Elion. She says “You can see all the beautiful carvings we have. The country has a law requiring state buildings to be decorated or adorned with the work of Congolese craftsmen.”

Sculptors are participating in the event from six additional African nations.

Tanzanian Plans to Market Fashion as New Tourism Draw.

The Tanzanian government plans to give more push to fashion as a tourism product with great potential. This will be a component of efforts to diversify the nation’s current abundance of wildlife-centric tourist attractions.“We want to see cultural tourism climbing higher. It can turn around our tourism,” said the deputy minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Mary Masanja.

When the Tourism Deputy Minister attended the Maasai Fashion Night at the Gran Melia Arusha, she noted the vibrant Maasai traditional fashion as something that ought to be conserved and promoted for both the benefit of future generations and tourists.

Ms. Masanja, who was dressed as a Maasai woman and joined in the traditional dance, was certain about the importance of promoting cultural tourism.“The government will fully support such initiatives. We should position cultural tourism as top of our priorities,” she explained.

The Maasai Festival, which will take place in Arusha in October of this year, is preceded by the Maasai Fashion Night, which drew large numbers of members of the ethnic community dressed in elaborate garb.

The Festival will be put on by Wonderland Travel, a Dar es Salaam-based company whose CEO and founder Saidi Rukemo stated: “Culture should complement wildlife in Tanzania’s tourism scene. Today is a day to honor Maasai attire. Any of our 120 tribes should represent us the following time.

He claimed that if they are not kept or passed down from one generation to the next, Tanzanian cultural artifacts such as music, clothing, and artifacts may be lost. An exhibition of decorated Maasai cultural artifacts, including headdresses, necklaces, earrings, and ankle bracelets, took center stage at the fashion show.

The vibrant event drew supporters of the cause from as far away as Houston, Texas in the United States of America (USA). Ms. Asia Idarus Khamsin, who owns a store in the US named “Mother of Fashion Tanzania,” did not try to hide how pleased she was by “the beauty of the Maasai.” “The Maasais are rich in culture. Let us stick to our culture. Many artists here are putting on nothing else but the colorful Maasai attire,” she told The Citizen.

The Zanzibar-born Ms. Khamsin dressed out in all the typical Maasai celebration decorations, including jewelry, necklaces, earrings, headbands, and other items. Given Tanzania’s vast collection of cultural artifacts, the 64-year-old fashion designer claimed that the fashion business holds significant economic potential for the nation.

For the past 15 years, she has spent her time in the US, Tanzania’s top source market for tourists, promoting the nation’s fashion designs. She has worked in the fashion industry for nearly 40 years in total.

The director of Maasai Fashion, Mr. Lekoko Lepilal, spoke at the well-attended event and pleaded with the tourism stakeholders to support cultural trends in addition to wildlife-based tourism. He pointed out that “Cultural tourism is not confined to fashion (traditional attire) but cuisine, songs, lyrics, and artifacts.”

According to him, Tanzania won’t reach its goal of five million tourists (per year) by 2025 unless it adds some fresh products to the state’s well-known tourist attractions, adding that the promotion of Tanzania as a top tourist destination in Africa would be sparked by fashion designs and other elements of cultural tourism.

Without introducing some new items alongside the well-known tourist sites, he claimed Tanzania will not reach its goal of five million tourists (per year) by 2025.

He pointed out that the promotion of Tanzania as a top tourist destination in Africa would be sparked by fashion designs and other aspects of cultural tourism. Mr. Lepilal asserts that the fashion sector has the ability to employ fashion designers and other individuals involved in its value chain.


Ivory Coast: Toumodi Town Hosts First Edition of Nzramah Festival.

The Lake District is believed to have enormous cultural and economic potential. The initiators of the N’Zrama Festival at the stadium in Toumodi, a town in the center of the Ivory Coast, see it as a cultural showcase more than that, it is also an economic pillar providing a solution to unemployment.

In central Ivory Coast, the town of Toumodi hosted the first edition of the Nzrama Festival, attempting to position the Ivorian Lake district as a major economic hub.

This festival which has been dubbed a cultural showcase by its creators, enabled the region’s cooperatives to display their craft, derived from local cultures aiming to source funding to industrialize their labor.

“We’re looking for and finding structures to help us process our products. Because we process our products by hand. If we have someone, a company or the state can help us with the processing,” shares Dorothée Ando, Boutique Manager

“We manufacture cassava and other food products, and we process them, not without difficulty. We lack the proper material. We need help,” added Kouamé Akissi, Cooperative President. 

These requests are at the heart of the Lake District’s new policy, which aims to breathe new life into what was formerly known as the prosperous cocoa loop.

”We have a duty to bring in investors, encourage our people, and help the young, after all, it’s the year of youth, so we must help young people achieve their goals and continue to empower women,” shares Dr. Raymonde Goudou Coffie, Minister-Governor of the Lake District. 

In recent years, the Ivorian government has launched an extensive regional empowerment project. With more than 60% of its land being arable, the Lake District holds an untapped economic potential.

Oyo, Brazil to Collaborate for Black Heritage Day.

In 1500, Pedro Alvares Cabral on his way to South Africa with 1,200 Portuguese adventurers badly missed his way and arrived in Brazil. The Portuguese immediately claimed this colony and it earned a unique identity.

The colonizers realized this gem was a lucrative find so they introduced the industrial production of Brazilwood and established feitorias and engehnos for sugar production. With these recources, there was a necessity for labor to facilitate processes of exportation. This made slavery the pillar that held this colonial economic system together, even becoming more significant with the later discovery of gold in Minas Gerais and also playing a role in later political uprisings against the Portuguese.

Brazilians were able to fight their way out of colonialization and they celebrate this annually by having a Black Heritage Day.

Oba Awurela, a paternal descendant of Awe in Oyo, a custodian of culture from Brazil, said he was in the state to propagate the image of his household and further build cultural ties between Oyo State and Brazil.

He sought an alliance with the Oyo State Government in the celebration of Black Heritage Day which is also known as “Searchie November”. While talking about the existing cultural integration he said Brazil and all Diasporans in South America have an Academy that integrates religion and cultural heritage.

The Oyo State Government recently concluded arrangements with the Brazilian to jointly host the Black Heritage Day with the Brazilian Custodian of Culture, Oba Awurela, Sangokunle Alayande. 

This was divulged by the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Dr. Wasiu Olatunbosun while receiving Oba Awurela in his office. He appreciated the delegation for the visit and the hand of fellowship extended to Oyo state and noted that the Oyo state government was ready to parley with Brazil on the promotion of culture and tourism.

Oba Awurela plans to expand the frontiers of tourism in Oyo State using culture as a tool, which will in turn boost revenue in the State. This plan was received with open arms as Olatunbosun applauded it. Oba Awurela spoke on the plan to create the Oyo Empire in Brazil, which will be known as ‘Oyotedo’.

The Commissioner further shed light on the mapped-out strategies to drive tourism in the state, through cultural heritage. He also acknowledged that to harness the state’s tourism potential, there’ll be a need for investments so he called for further international investments and cooperation.

Cameroonian Sculptor Turns Trash into Art.

In the capital city of Cameroon, Yaounde comes a painter and sculptor who makes intriguing art sculptures out of garbage. The self-taught artist, Joseph Francis Sumegne displays his art exhibition, “La Citadelle des anciens” which translates to ‘The Citadel of the Elders.’

The sculpture is a half-man, half-animal made from objects of all kinds and its end product is a stunning display of extraterrestrial artwork.

A visitor at the exhibition asserts that “the artist uses banal materials to sublimate them and when you look at them, you are really amazed by the details, and it also contributes to preserving the environment.”

The artist, Joseph Francis sees waste in a different light as the raw materials for his art sculpture comes from garbage dumps. His use of trash for sculpting protects the environment. According to Francis, “It is not the rubbish, nor the salvaged material, it is the utensils of creation”. 

His “9 Notables” collection of enormous mannequins, which started in 1988, is the centerpiece of his art. They oppose contemporary civilization and are arranged here to resemble a conference of dignitaries from the traditional Bamilékés societies of West Cameroon.

Francis explains “It’s to draw attention to the rupture between the two societies. To enable man to assess which of the two societies is favorable to his happiness, the old one and the new one that manages us today”.

It is the life’s labor of the sculptor. And you must travel to Yaoundé’s 6th arrondissement to find the birthplace of his creative output. SUMEGNE describes himself as a creator of the “Jala’a” school of thought, which is concerned with exceeding oneself. He refers to the mediatory as the workshop where he started his work (the nine notables).

According to him, it is here that the 9 Notables were born, because at the time i was working on an experiment with motor oil cans, and this experiment lead me into a direction of research that resulted in what today we call the Notables”. 

The work of this self-taught artist has already been displayed in the Netherlands, Dak’art Biennial in Senegal, and Osaka, Japan.

South African Zulu King Undergoes Medical Examinations Admist Suspected Poisoning

Prince Africa Zulu, spokesperson for South African Zulu King Misuzulu kaZwelithini, released an update Sunday, stating that the monarch had undergone “thorough” medical examinations in neighbouring Eswatini, following the sudden death of his close adviser Douglas Xaba.



This suspected poisoning and subsequent testing occurred after six weeks of feuding within the royal family over the succession from the previous monarch, King Zwelithini who passed away in March 2021 after more than 50 years in charge.



Reports confirm that Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, influential prime minister of the Zulu family, said Xaba passed away “quite suddenly” and “there are suspicions he was poisoned”.



Yet the royal spokesman assured that King Misuzulu is currently in perfect health and not hospitalized. He criticised the claim as an “orchestrated agenda” to circulate “baseless claims of His Majesty’s ill health”.



Multiple security sources in Eswatini reported heavy security at a nearby private hospital due to the royal visit.



King Zwelithini left six wives and 28 children, and with his passing, left a will naming his third wife as regent of Misuzulu, the chosen successor.



However, the Queen unfortunately died a month later, leading to further complexities of succession. Additionally, in September 2020, another counsellor was shot dead on the sidelines of a traditional ceremony.



Though the title of King of the Zulu nation doesn’t carry executive power, the monarchy wields great moral influence over 11 million Zulus out of South Africa’s entire population of 60 million.



As this news story arises, many royal family followers and South African citizens await further updates.



Sierra Leoneans Mourn Colossus “Cotton Tree”, National Symbol of Freedom.

Sierra Leone’s colossus tree which towered over the country’s capital Freetown for centuries and symbolized freedom to its early residents tumbled down overnight after a heavy thunder and rainstorm. Sierra Leoneans mourned the toppling of the beloved ancient tree as it stood as a national symbol and had a historic connection to the liberated slaves who founded the country.

The giant 70-meter cotton tree represented what is said to have been the first place of contact between Canada and Africa. It has a history of where the 1,200 freed African American slaves who traveled from Halifax to Sierra Leone held a prayer meeting to give thanks for their safety and then named their new home “Free Town”. 

Because of the significance of the tree and how revered it is to Sierra Leoneans, people have been trekking to the location to homage to it. The picture of the tree was used on the country’s banknotes, medals, and stamps and is celebrated in the children’s nursery rhymes. 

Ali Bangura, who took pictures with his phone as workers removed the remains of the tree with chainsaws said “This is like New York losing the Statue of Liberty, or if the Eiffel Tower in Paris fell”.

Julius Maada Bio, the President of Sierra Leone visited the site and called the toppling of the famed tree “a great loss to the nation”. He promised that the tree will be preserved in some way in a museum. “For centuries it has been a proud emblem of our nation, a symbol of a nation that has grown to provide shelter for many”, the president said.

The cotton tree was an important landmark in the West African Country and was regarded as a symbol of liberty and freedom by early settlers according to the president.

“We have to see what we are going to do to make sure that we keep the history of this tree here. I want to have a piece of this history wherever I find myself, at the state house, the museum, or the city hall”, he said.

The kapok tree stood in the center of a roundabout in central Freetown, its topmost branches extending above the neighboring tower blocks, until the storm snapped its 70-meter-tall trunk near the base. It has endured lightning and fires for many years. Sometimes, people gathered under the tree to pray for the nation.

The tree, whose base was roughly 20 meters wide, is thought to be 400 years old. Although the cotton-like fuzz on the seed pods of Ceiba pentandra, a kapok tree, gave rise to the nickname “Cotton Tree.” Slaves who had been set free would have been familiar with cotton grown on Southern American farms.

“For us,” the President tweeted, “the Cotton Tree wasn’t just a tree, it was a connection between the past, present, and the future and we must strive to immortalize it.”

Zimbabwe: Mashonaland Hosts First Lady Cookout Competition.

One unique characteristic of Africans is that their love for art extends even to their food. With different cultures come different kinds of meals, and most Africans showcase their creativity through their meals.  Every traditional African meal is usually tasty, colorful, and rich in nutrients, and Africans these days are working towards showcasing this proudly to the whole world. 

The first lady of Zimbabwe launched her traditional meal cookout competition in 2020 to promote the uptake of indigenous dishes and ensure citizens benefit from their nutritional values and medicinal properties. The competition is first held in the province then the winner and the runner-up go ahead to represent the province in the national competition. After the successful 2021 cookout, she handed this program over to the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism, and Hospitality Industry.

On Tuesday, 2nd of May 2023, the provincial cookout competition was held at Kotwa High in Mudzi district. It was food galore as women from Mashonaland showcased their cooking skills. This competition drew participants from the province’s nine districts.

This successful program has attracted local people in large numbers and also attracted those in the Southern African Development Community.

“I am really grateful today, Mashonaland East, you have indeed demonstrated that you are moving on with the Traditional Cookout program to another level. The traditional Cookout concept seeks to restore the traditional and cultural values of the nation using readily available resources.

“I continue to urge the people of Zimbabwe to embrace the traditional diet as a way of boosting the immune system and maintaining a healthy lifestyle as they are food and herbal. The medicinal effects of such foods help to keep our bodies healthy and less vulnerable to different diseases.

Minister Ndlovu added that traditional cuisine is now becoming common in many countries and is being used as a tool to attract tourists particularly those who are health-conscious and cognisant of the value embedded in traditional foods. “To this end, Amai tasked the Ministry responsible for Tourism to work together with Provinces to promote gastronomy tourism, attracting both the domestic and international markets. Let me bring to your attention that the previous editions of Traditional Cookout competitions in the provinces created a platform for knowledge and skills sharing on how to prepare traditional meals.

“In addition, a Traditional Cookout Recipe Book was compiled with traditional recipes from all the ten provinces and it was launched by Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa in August 2022. This was undertaken to ensure sustainability, as well as ensure that we preserve the recipes for future generations. 2023 is the year we are rolling out the Third Edition of the Traditional Cookout Competitions to the people of Zimbabwe moving with the same objective, to ensure a healthy living as we journey towards the attainment of an upper middle-income society by 2030.” He commended the province for taking a step further to value-add its traditional products.

In a speech read on his behalf by the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Mashonaland East Province, Dr Aplonia Munzverengwi during the competitions, Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality industry Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu called for everyone to continue embracing traditional dietary.

Ms Emmah Chikamhi from Goromonzi emerged as the winner of the provincial competition and will go ahead to represent the province in the national competition and she is confident of getting the winning title. She said, “I’m confident of winning in Chinhoyi and l want to thank Amai for affording us this platform.” “I cannot believe that I won today. I cooked my traditional meals with all my heart and I put my mind to it. Winning in this competition has motivated me to even work hard since I will be representing my province at the national level. “I will work hard and win again at the national level. Thank you Amai Mnangagwa for this wonderful and educative program which is empowering women across the country. We are grateful for your wisdom and support. she said.
Mrs Mutekedza, who is the wife to Chief Mutekedza from Chikomba district said the programme has taught them a lot and is benefiting many households. This program is important, especially for us women. We are now empowered. As for me, I now bake cakes using traditional and indigenous ingredients and they are delicious. These cakes are loved by many to the extent that people make orders and I get money from that. I want to call upon other women out there to come and join this program, they will not regret it,” she said.

The other participants including runner-up and Chief Mutoko’s wife thanked the First Lady, Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa for coming up with the initiative. “Our traditional foods were under threat from extinction but they have now been revived by this competition,” states a contestant. Another contestant Ms Tichafara Ngoma from Marondera district, who is also a youth as well as a Hospitality Management student said she is learning a lot about traditional foods through Amai Manganwa’s cook-out program. “I am so happy. Amai Mnangagwa’s program is educative and beneficial, especially to our youths. It is important for us to know about our traditional foods. I have always wanted to cook these foods so joining this program is a plus for me. “Through this program, l am now aware of healthy food to eat and this is all because of Amai Mnangagwa. I want to thank her for this and I am encouraging other young women to embrace this program, she said

Mashonaland East province was commended for embracing the program and using locally available resources. “Since the start of the program, Mashonaland East has been a prominent feature at the national finals, which shows the seriousness the province attaches to the event,” noted Mashonaland East Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Senator Aplonia Munzverengwi. 

There are preparations ongoing for the upcoming regional competition that will be held in Masvingo Province. Several countries in SADC have been invited to showcase their traditional cuisines. 

Jebet, Naibet win as African, world athletes partake in maiden Abuja International Marathon.

  • Again, Kenya’s Emmanuel Naibet has won a marathon in Nigeria. His first was in Lagos, and the Abuja International Marathon is his second.
  • Ruth Jebet, a Bahrain runner of Kenyan ancestry, defied previous career challenges to win her first international full marathon.
  • Other elite runners and fun seekers from other African cities and the rest of the world converged to take part in the inaugural and historic Abuja International Marathon; they left with prizes and happiness.

On the 29th of April 2023, Kenya’s Emmanuel Naibet and Bahrain runner Ruth Jebet emerged inaugural winners of the men’s and women’s respective categories of the first international full marathon in the FCT, the historic Abuja International Marathon, backed by the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, with routes calculated and calibrated by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races, AIMS, and approved by World Athletics, with the theme ‘Celebrating the Best of FCT’.


Ruth Jebet, winner of the women’s full marathon. Source:


According to the Race Director, Olukayode Thomas, “About 50 foreign elite runners and 120 local elites registered to participate in the race’’. They were joined by thousands of Nigerian runners that registered to participate in the three categories. The race, a first of its kind in Abuja, was earlier slated for the 17th of December 2022 but was later rescheduled to hold on the 29th of April 2023, with the weather showing kindness to the notable event.  The lovely city of Abuja typically experiences torrential rainfall in April but on the 29th, the city offered the ideal weather making it more convenient for Kenya’s Naibet as well as Jebet, Kenyan-born long-distance runner and steeplechase specialist who competes internationally for the Asian country Bahrain, to win the two categories respectively.


Emmanuel Naibet, winner of the men’s full marathon. Source:


Naibet won with a time of 2:13:45, a winning time considered the best ever documented in any first edition of Marathon races in Nigeria. This is his second marathon win in Nigeria having also won the 2021 edition of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon. “It was a great race for me though a bit challenging with some hilly parts on the routes, but overall, I am happy to win this race and add it to my achievements,” the animated titleholder said in a chat with journalists. Benard Sang finished in second position with a time of 2:13:49 while Ezekiel Koech secured his third place to seal up the win for Kenyans in the men’s category with a time of 2:13:51.


Athletes from around the world gather in Abuja for the maiden Abuja International Marathon. Photo by Light Oriye. Source:


In the women’s category, though her first attempt at the full marathon after dominating in other long-distance races, Ruth Jebet from Bahrain dwarfed other runners to grab the number one spot with a time of 2.36.08, Mercy Kwambai from Kenya finished second with a time of 2:38:17, while Ethiopia’s Dida Negasa held on to the third place with a time of 2:40: 16. An excited Jebet says, “I can never forget the Abuja International Marathon, it is my first full marathon and I won it, I hope to be back next year to defend my title”.


Three different races took place in Abuja. Apart from the elite runners who took part in the full marathon that spanned about 42.195 kilometres, students from across the Abuja metropolis as well as fun contenders also keenly competed for prizes in the 5-kilometre and 10-kilometre races. Thomas, the race director, pointed out that one of the big ideas behind the racing event is the establishment of an elite athletes’ development program to groom exceptional local athletes. “What makes the race unique is that it is the first race that will give local athletes recognition not just in terms of appearance fee or bonuses, but we are trying to set up elite athletes development program because we believe that Nigerians have what it takes to do what the Kenyans and Ethiopians are doing,” he said. All finishers of the Abuja International Marathon got medals and certificates signed by the FCT Minister of State.


Cross section of runners at the Abuja International Marathon. Source:


Also, the Managing Director of Abuja International Marathon, Mrs.  Zsuzsanna Ogunmiloyo mentioned the available incentives for young participants. She said “We also want to encourage the culture of running because the youths have to be encouraged. Sports bring the community together. It is something we want embedded in the youths to know that hard work and determination count.”


Activities that led to the Saturday Marathon began on Friday with an expo at The Pavillion, beside the International Conference Centre, opposite Radio House, Abuja. According to Race Director, Olukayode Thomas, the Marathon Expo, with the theme ‘Showcasing the best of FCT,’ prepped the participants for the event. There was refreshment, entertainment from the FCT Arts and Culture Department, and prizes for participants. Visitors were also treated to a city-wide tour. “For those interested in FCT landmarks and tourist attraction centres, officials of the FCT Tourism Department will be on ground to take them around the FCT with tour guides that will answer their questions.”


Route Calibration by Norrie Williamson of the World Athletics/AIMS A Grade South Africa, together with his team. Source:


Thomas highlighted the gains of the Abuja Marathon pointing out that they outweigh the few road closures and other inconveniences that came with the event. He said, just before the event, that: “We need to start telling our stories with activities like Abuja International Marathon. Abuja is a beautiful city, no doubt, but how many times have we showcased the city to the world? This is probably the first time that Abuja will be beamed to the world for four hours. This race will show the best part of Abuja and its landmarks to the world for hours so let us all work with the FCTA to make the epoch event a huge success.’’


A week-long Marathon Expo preceded the race with numerous lead-up activities, including the unveiling of the Marathon Logo, the High School that won in the production of the theme song for the Abuja International Marathon, and the presentation of race ambassadors. The event attracted stakeholders in the industry including fun runners, FCTA officials, sponsors, and elite runners abroad and at home. Abuja International Marathon seeks to be the first race in the world to win the prestigious World Athletics Label after its first edition. The majority of elite runners officially invited for the race are Gold Label Runners.


Participants at the maiden Abuja International Marathon. Source:


Abuja, a stunning city with an excellent network of roads, while playing host to the international marathon, did a good job showcasing her beauty to the world. Another big idea behind the Abuja International Marathon (AIM) is to make the FCT more beautiful and tourist-friendly, even as it presents new and thrilling experiences to both fun and elite runners, in and outside Nigeria.  Abuja International Marathon (AIM) aims to become a qualifier for the Olympics Games, World Athletics Championships, and the Abbott World Marathon Majors (Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago Tokyo and New York City), within three years. The National Hospital Abuja and other prominent hospitals partnered as reference centers for the race. African News media have kept up with updates before, during, and after the event. It would seem like Kenyans are built for races seeing that they sweep key prizes anywhere races are organized in the continent, and indeed around the word. What do you think? Share with us in the comment section.



ZITF Attracts Exhibitors, Boosts Businesses in Bulawayo.

  • The Zimbabwe International Trade Fair drew and gathered about 600 international and local exhibitors.

  • NUST was present at the fair to exhibit one of its innovations.

  • The fair gave business owners and residents in Bulawayo a boost.

The 63rd edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) which began on Tuesday at its customary location in Bulawayo attracted and gathered international and local exhibitors, as it ran through Saturday. Many residents in Bulawayo and business owners were excited at the end of the five-day showcase which brought good business.

According to ZITF officials, the annual event held under the theme “Transformative Innovation, Global Competitiveness” gathered 600 exhibitors with set up stalls including foreign embassies and various universities showcasing their innovations.

The National University of Science and Technology was one of the exhibitors from the educational sector. Its Communications and Marketing Director, Thabani Mpofu said “As NUST, we are exhibiting here to market our products and also to market some innovations that have been produced by our students and academics”. The  “Crop Doctor Solutions” is one of the innovations the NUST exhibited at the fair.

The innovation is a mobile application that has already been piloted that helps to diagnose diseases from crops by merely scanning the leaves of any particular crop and then disclosing the disease affecting the crop.

The Zimbabwe International Trade Fair is one of the biggest intra-regional trade fairs South of the Sahara. The multi-sector, multi-national expo, which takes place every year and offers exposure to both trade and general visitors, serves as a practical commerce hub for the area.

At the event, there were also various exhibitors from different sectors of the economy such as mining, farming, finance, and the hospitality industry. The fair started with three business forums which took place on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday before it opened up to the public on the final two days, Friday and Saturday.

Additionally, residents and business owners in the city benefited greatly from the fair’s presence in Bulawayo. Ambrose Sibindi, Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association Chairperson said ZITF brought a huge deal of business to the city as some businesses closed late during the week.

The Chairperson said “Hotels were fully booked. Transporters were kept very busy, and vendors also made brisk business, even those in the business of wood carving near City Hall. shops were closing very late trying to capitalize on the situation. Sibindi added that compared to last year, business was better, and hopes it will keep getting better in order to promote economic growth.

The hospitality industry’s stakeholders also expressed their satisfaction with achieving the desired level of traffic. Sibusisiwe Zhou, the Sales and Marketing Manager of the recently opened Sterling Hotel, reported that the initial days of operation were challenging. However, she claimed that during the final three days of the trade show, they were able to obtain their fair share.


Tanzania Film Industry Sees “New Dawn” with BFIC.

  • Chana says the film industry is heading for a new dawn because of the agreement. 
  • The agreement through film production will bring about the visibility of the country’s culture and tourism worldwide.

A partnership agreement has been signed by Tanzania through the Film Board with the Institute of International Cooperation (BFIC) from South Korea to improve the country’s film industry by organizing and producing quality films.

The Minister for Culture, Arts and Sports, Pindi Chana who witnessed the signing of the agreement in Dodoma said that the agreement will help to create opportunities for film stakeholders to get professional training on how to make films quality enough to win markets in domestic and foreign countries.

While giving her remarks, Chana expressed appreciation to the President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan for giving priority to the film industry, noting that the agreement will give rise to the number and quality of films produced due to the use of modern technology. She said in Africa the Tanzania film industry is among the best, heralded by Nigeria, “producing four films per day”.

She established that by reason of the agreement being concluded, “the film industry is heading for a new dawn” because the films support the introduction of the country’s culture and tourism worldwide. She noted that the agreement is quite beneficial, as it will benefit all the stakeholders of the industry.

In order for the world to have a better understanding of Tanzania, Chana urged the film production companies to make sure the films reflect Tanzania’s ideals and support the Kiswahili language and culture.

According to Chi Lee, Deputy Secretary General of the Institute, the institute is prepared to assist Tanzania in the film business by providing professionals who will train Tanzania actors and producers. “The agreement is a huge success enhanced by good cooperation between Tanzania and South Korea, which has shown commitment to cooperate with Tanzania in the development of the film industry”, he said.

On the part of the Institute, he said that the agreement will be of great benefit to them as it will provide a chance to learn how to create films that have value in Tanzania.

He concluded by saying “Films can be used as initial instruction or building. During facilitation, students may need background information or interest-building activities, and adding a movie can build interest in a topic that is learned while providing a huge knowledge to the students more on what is been taught”.


King of Morocco Appoints New Second-in-Command

  • Inspector General Mohammed Berid succeeds General Belkhir El Farouk as the King’s new number two.

  • The appointment comes amid months of heightened tensions with Algeria over Western Sahara.

A statement from the royal palace indicated that despite tensions with Algeria over Western Sahara, King Mohammed VI of Morocco selected a new second-in-command of the armed forces on Saturday. For a long time, the Algiers-backed Polisario Front sought independence for Western Sahara, which Rabat’s capital city claims is Moroccan territory.

In accordance with the Moroccan constitution, the King himself commands the armed forces, with his new number two as Inspector General Mohammed Berid who succeeded General Belkhir El Farouk. Mohammed Berid is seven years younger than 75-year-old El Farouk, although there was no reason for the change in the announcement by the official MAP news agency. Berid was formerly in charge of the zone that includes disputed Western Sahara.

The shift that took place on Saturday comes amid months of escalating tensions with Algeria following the breakdown of a long-standing truce in Western Sahara and Morocco’s normalization of relations with Israel in late 2020 as part of the historic Abraham Accords. The Global Firepower website reported that Morocco has about 310,000 regular soldiers and 150,000 reservists.

Moreso, while the Algerian armed forces primarily rely on Russian-made equipment, the United States has just given Morocco permission to purchase 18 HIMARS precision missile systems to Morocco, as the rivalry between the two Maghreb states is also fuelling the regional weapons race.

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Cancer treatment: Ugandan joins African scientists improving cancer care in Africa.

  • Cancer care in Africa has received a shot in the arm after an indigenous invention sprang up in Uganda.
  • African scientists should be proud of their Ugandan colleagues who put together this health innovation.
  • Dr William Wasswa says the components of this machine are mostly sourced from the African continent.


In the western Ugandan city of Mbarara, the second largest city in Uganda after Kampala, Dr William Wasswa, an African scientist from Mbarara University of Science and Technology, commonly known as Mbarara University, has contributed to the newest treatments for cancer by manufacturing an automated digital microscope for the uncovering of cervical cancer to check the rising number of death cases.


Arial view of the western Ugandan city of Mbarara. Source:


Last month, in a chat with an online medium, Dr Wasswa mentioned that the affordable machine has several software and hardware inventions that make cancer diagnosis and patient record management quicker and more effective. According to a report published by a scientific journal, the innovative machine has an accuracy of around 97 per cent in detecting cervical cancer from body samples. According to Dr Wasswa, cancer samples in the country are currently analysed manually, and this, he said, is time-consuming, error-prone and has to be done by a trained cytopathologist – an expert in analysing body cells to diagnose disease. “This new technology can take five minutes for you to get the test results”, he said.


Explaining how the machine works, Dr Wasswa said, “You load the pap smear (tissue sample from the body) for cervical cancer test under the microscope and the computer does the analysis and gives you the results.” Dr Nixon Niyonzima who is the head of research at the Uganda Cancer Institute, UCI, said that he knows about the invention but is yet to use it to see how well it works. The World Health Organization estimates that in 2014 approximately 3,915 Ugandan women were diagnosed with cervical cancer and that 2,160, representing 55 per cent, died from the disease.


Sophisticated radiotherapy machine in a hospital in Uganda. Source:


The microscope is made up of main components including the camera for digitizing the sample’s image, the lead array for lighting, motors for driving the stage, which is where the sample is put, and electronics. “The software for analyzing the sample is the core part which takes most of the work,” Dr Wasswa said. He also mentioned that he put five years into developing the technology. “It was part of my PhD project, and I started a company out of it,” he said, adding, “The new tech also has software which keeps track of all patient’s details, sending them reminders. I have six of them [the microscopes] at the moment. But I am still improving the accuracy. The sensitivity is at 94 per cent and specificity is at 96 per cent.” Sensitivity here refers to the capacity to designate an individual with the disease as positive, while specificity is its ability to designate a person who does not have the disease as negative.


Also, artificial intelligence technology forms a part of the new device; the more tests it performs the more it trains itself to achieve more accuracy. “We are making the machine locally. All these things [parts] are 3d printed, and the electronics are assembled locally, so we just get a few motors and a camera. You do most of the work on the software,” Dr Wasswa said. He also pointed out that they are still in the primary phase of the clinical trial. “The trial is being sponsored by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the UK Royal Academy of Engineering. We got some funds from USAID that was the first batch for piloting the platform, the software part,” he said. He went on: “But then we are working with the Royal Academy to improve the microscope. We have Shs32m for the trial [so far]. I have tried to approach the government but I have received good feedback.”


Cancer care machine. Source:


As soon as the new tech passes all three stages of clinical trial and is approved by the National Drug Authority, NDA, it could be more affordable for hospitals in different parts of the country to begin cancer screening and diagnosis in their facilities. “My machine costs around $300 (Shs1.1m) to $500 (Shs1.8m). The current (imported) microscope they use is about $21,000 (Shs78.1m). The new machine will be five to seven times cheaper than the current microscopes,” Dr Wasswa clarified.  With this innovation, not only Dr Wasswa put his name on the health map, but he also solved a significant African healthcare problem.


AMVCA 2023: RMD, Brotherhood, others eye best movie, actor as full nominees list emerges.

  • The full list of nominees for the 9th edition of the AMVCA has since been generating a lot of reactions from lovers of entertainment and the screen.
  • The organizers of the event, the contenders, and the voters or viewers are all hyped up for the big day.
  • The voting categories are open to the public on AMVCA (


Stars headlining nominations for the highly awaited 9th Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards, AMVCA, 2023 include Chidi Mokeme, Tobi Bakare, Bimbo Ademoye, and others. MultiChoice, the organizers of the awards, on the evening of Sunday, April 16, 2023, released a comprehensive list detailing the various categories and the nominees ahead of the significant event, and different African news platforms have since been stirred.


Chidi Mokeme in Shanty Town. Source:


AfriSQuare gathered that digital content creators in Nollywood, and in Africa generally, have also earned recognition; this shows an expansion in the annual event’s scope, which traditionally recognizes outstanding performances in film, television, and entertainment.  The nominees are spread across more than 30 award categories, some of the categories, about ten of them, are open to the public; voters from the general public can choose their preferred nominees, while some other categories are to be decided by a panel of judges set up by the organizers. The event itself is scheduled to hold from the 18th to the 20th of May 2023, in Lagos State, Nigeria, and will be broadcast live on Africa Magic channels.

Source: AMVCA (


The AMVCA has grown into a premium event that acknowledges outstanding accomplishments in African television and film. This year, numerous talented actors and actresses across Africa, all contending for awards in different categories, will feature. The list of nominees contains talented film makers as well as prominent actors and actresses such as Nkem Owoh, Mercy Johnson, Chinedu Ikedieze, Chidi Mokeme, Richard Mofe Damijo, and several others. A number of movies and television series have also been nominated for awards, including ‘Brotherhood’ directed by Jade Osiberu, ‘Ile Owo’ directed by Kayode Kasum, among others.


According to the organizers, talented Big Brother Naija alumnus, Bisola Aiyeola and Ghanaian actor, Adjetey Anang, will be the main hosts for this year’s award show. There are several ways to vote for nominees of different categories. Members of the public are encouraged to cast their votes for their favorites as this could make them big winners of any of the public voting categories on awards night. To vote, one must register first before they can get behind their favorite nominees for the ninth edition of the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards.

Adjetey Anang and Bisola Aiyeola, the event’s hosts. Source: AMVCA (  


To see the full list of nominees, as well as to register and vote for your favorites, the AMVCA site AMVCA ( will come in handy. Feel free to visit. Also, share with us, here in the comment section under this post, who you think should win what awards. Is anyone on the nominees list who should not be there? Is there someone who should have been on the list? What do you think of the nominees and the categories? What do you think about the inclusion of online content makers in the mix? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section, even as you share the post with your friends.



National Arts and Cultural Fund Launched to Preserve Seychellois Cultural Heritage.

  • Seychelles launches National Arts and Cultural Fund to support the protection and promotion of the Seychellois culture and heritage.

  • The launch was held at the State House in Seychelles as it coincided with the 110th anniversary of the State House.

At the State House on Saturday, the National Arts and Cultural Fund was launched to permit interested persons both in Seychelles and abroad to support protecting and promoting the Seychellois culture and heritage. Also present at the launch were potential partners and philanthropists to make contributions to the fund.

The fund raised will help to create a national collection of Seychellois artworks and purchase properties and artifacts of national cultural and heritage significance. However, the total amount of the funds raised has yet to be revealed. The fund will operate under the direction of the Ministry of Finance as government institutions are not permitted to have accounts in private banks.

While speaking to reporters, Seychelles National Institute for Culture, Heritage and the Arts (SNICHA) Secretary General, David Andre said “Culture belongs to everyone, therefore those who are able to do so should contribute to the fund, as this is our heritage, and we should all lend a hand to promote it”. 

Seychelles National Institute for Culture, Heritage, and Arts as a governing body.

In 2021, the Seychelles National Institute for Culture, Heritage and the Arts was created to replace the non-functioning Department of Culture as the new institution of policy-making on the country’s culture, heritage, and arts. It is a self-governing and independent body in Seychelles under the auspicious of the Head of State. It is also the highest policy-making entity saddled with the responsibility for the preservation, protection, promotion, and appreciation of Seychellois cultural heritage.

Reason for the launch at the State House.

While giving his remark, President Wavel Ramkalawan disclosed the reason for holding the launch at the State House, as the launching of the fund coincided with the 110th anniversary of the State House, described as a historical monument built in 1910, formerly known as the Governor’s House during the British colonial period. The president said, “The building belongs to all Seychellois and is where culture should be encouraged”. 

The State House is a known cultural heritage site of Seychelles which boasts a garden full of colorful flowers and shrubs, including the endemic coco de mer palms, and a pen with Aldabra giant tortoises. It also has a cemetery with tombs and graves of some important historical figures in the history of Seychelles. 

Various artists were in attendance at the State House grounds painting, crocheting, and making vacoa bags to attract prospective contributors’ attention to the fund. There were also paintings on display aside from artifacts being created on-site, for those who were willing to own artworks. 

Mr. Andre explained that it would be a consultative effort of a Seychelles National Institute for Culture, Heritage and Arts committee that will deliberate on the priority of the various projects presented to the fund. “This is when we will decide if want to send money for example to the marine museum”, he said. 

Lesotho: Prime Minister Commemorates National Tree Planting Day

During National Tree Planting Day which is usually held annually on March 21 to fight land degradation and improve the wild environment, Lesotho Prime Minister, Mr. Samuel Ntsokoane Matekane preceded the planting of 6000 indigenous trees at Thaba-Chitja in Thabana-Morena on Friday.




During the commemoration of the Nation Tree Planting Day, Mr. Matekane, addressing residents of the community said trees are essential for various activities to people thus the need to plant them in great numbers across the country.




According to him, planting trees will help address the issue of high temperatures brought on by climate change by, among other things, giving shade to the herders and children as they travel from their houses to various locations. He urged members of the community to work with the local authority in the area to protect the trees since they are the first people to benefit after three years of maturity.




Giving his remark on the occasion, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s office, Mr. Limpho Tau appreciated members of the community for taking part in planting trees, noting that they are taking up the responsibility for protecting the environment while at the same time enhancing community livelihoods.




In order for the country to serve as a source of fruits for the global market, Mr. Tau recommended that fruit trees be planted in all open spaces, especially throughout the nation. This is in contrast to the existing scenario where trees are only sporadically planted, he added. According to the minister, if the nation can plant more trees, it will be able to create a variety of goods, including paper and timber for creating furniture and wood, and cease importing unnecessary wood products.




Also speaking, Mr. Selibe Mochoboroane Health Minister for Thabana-Morena said through the production of fruit trees, unemployed community members will get jobs near homes while at the same time producing food for consumption. He stated that trees are essential for the survival of both human beings and livestock since they provide oxygen.




Olive, Beefwood, and grass trees are a few of the planted trees.


Egyptian craftsmen remain mosaic tradition custodians.

  • Craftsmen have continued to keep ancient Egyptian arts alive.
  • Mosaic designs are an integral part of the time-tested civilization of Egypt.
  • From tables to chess boards, beautiful everyday items keep emerging from seashells.

In the Egyptian town of Sakiet Al-Mankadi, little wrecks of seashells turn into beautiful works of art after groups of creative men go through hassles to collect small shards of the seashells, and artistically employ them in the making of decorative materials. After years of diligently making arts from seashell, the town of Sakiet Al-Mankadi has become well-known for this seemingly growing seashell industry because numerous items produced in this town from seashells are stocked up in shops in the Khan Khalili bazaar in Cairo, and even sent out of Egypt to patrons from beyond the shores.


The shells eventually end up as embellishments on boards that are used to decorate walls. The craftsmen are an essential factor in the making of these beautiful arts. In sourcing the shred of shells, they develop an eye for aesthetics; they know what shell works best. Then they deploy the requisite skillset to transform the wrecked shells into artistic masterpieces.




But, beyond skill, another quality is essential: “you have to be patient so that you can create the design, a design can take an hour while another can take a day or even a month,” Kareem Saeed said. His workshop has continued to stand tall as one of the 40 workshops in the village where the craft is not only held high but also handed down from one generation to the next. Saeed went further: “you could say I was born here; I grew up here in my father’s workshop, in here I learnt all from A to Z.”


Designing in this type of craft has many stages that demand skills of cutting, designing and making the shell materials. The shells are collected and assembled from different countries including Oman, Australia, and sometimes Japan. The wood is from Domyat, or Damietta, a port city and capital of the Damietta Governorate in Egypt. A craftsman, Ahmed Ali, using a specific type of machine, cuts the shells into usable pieces for the designers: “I am an expert here on this machine, I cut the seashells for the workers in all the different sizes and shapes we need, “Ali explains.


A lot comes from this raw material. Among other things, furniture, chess boards, tables, and gift boxes are just some of the marketable items that can be made. The tools and other items used to make this traditional craft are not cheap.




Ammar, a craftsman who has worked in the industry for more than 40 years, is optimistic that the trade will get more recognition soon; he hopes for better acknowledgement of the craft pointing out that things had been tougher since COVID-19 and the attendant lull in tourism. “This craft is beautiful, I wish that the government and even the governorate would take more interest in it – especially the Menoufia governorate, because this industry here is considered a treasure in this governorate,” he says.


Creations from these pearls and shells are major items to be sold in Cairo shops. The craft is believed to be a durable type of décor, and this is gradually drawing people in from Dubai, Saudi Arabia, France, and Germany. The craftsmen also sell bespoke material designed based on preorder.



  • The president of Uganda went on a 3-day visit to Algiers, during which two agreements and five MoUs were signed.
  • Algeria had shown a willingness to buy powdered milk worth $500 million and Uganda in turn will buy animal health drugs and others.
  • There will be improvements in production and quality of products to match the market requirements.


The president of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni was in Algiers for a 3-day visit, and during his meeting with the delegations, it was revealed that at least 150 Algerian representatives of private and public organizations are to visit Uganda soon to explore available business opportunities. During the course of the visit, two agreements and five memoranda of understanding were signed between the two countries.




In light of partnering together and growing the resources of Africa, the two countries have decided to partner up. Museveni said “We discussed issues on growing the prosperity of Africa; agreed to work together in the areas of trade, energy, education, agriculture, and counter-terrorism where they have experience in this, just like us.


We are looking at powdered milk which is already coming here, coffee, tea, and then products from Algeria of petroleum and petrochemicals.” Uganda is hoping to increase its agricultural exports to Algeria.



Algeria had also shown a willingness to buy powdered milk worth $500 million from Uganda, this was announced late last year after a meeting with the Algerian ambassador to Uganda.


Frank Tumwebaze, the minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries said apart from milk, the MoUs signed cover several other items, like education, animal health, oil and gas, tourism, and trade. “They will buy our powdered milk and coffee and later bananas. We shall in turn buy from them animal health drugs and others,” he said.



There will also be improvements in production and the quality of products in order to match the requirements of the market, this was confirmed by Tumwebaze. He further stated “Worry not anymore about the market for our dairy. The only condition is to perfect our value chain standards which so far have been approved!”

AFRICA: IFC Support Women-Led Businesses With 25 million Euros

  • In order to assist medium-sized and women-led businesses in Africa, the International Finance Corporation plans to make an equity investment of 25 million euros.



World Bank Group financing arm, International Finance Corporation (IFC) made an announcement on Wednesday, during its Vice President Sergio Pimenta’s two-day visit to Cairo that it plans to make an equity investment of about 25 million euros in Mediterrania Capital Partners’ Mediterrania MC IV fund, as it also looking to invest another 20 million euros subsequently. The two-day visit concluded on Tuesday.




The investment is to support the development of medium-sized companies in Africa, most especially firms being run or led by women. According to IFC, at least 25% of the money in the Mediterrania MC IV fund will go into companies or business run or owned by women. Only 6% of all private equity capital is distributed to women-led businesses in both the Middle East and Africa.



Private equity company Mediterrania Capital Partners is based in Malta and was established in 2013. It concentrated on growth investments in African mid-cap and small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). The company makes investments in consolidated and expanding businesses with annual turnover ranging from $20 million to $300 million with market expansion plans in North and Sub-Saharan Africa.



Mediterrania IV will provide medium-sized businesses in the manufacturing, healthcare, fast-moving consumer goods, and financial services industries crucial growth capital, as these industries are all crucial to the expansion of African economies. Albert Alsina, the founder, and CEO of Mediterrania IV said they are providing assistance to thousands of people in Africa to have a better life thanks to the IFC’s trust in their investments.



Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation, Rania Al-Mashat said that “the agreement supports IFC efforts with Mediterrania to boost development in manufacturing, finance, and healthcare, not only in Egypt but also in North and Sub-Saharan Africa”.



He continued by saying “Through this partnership, there is more potential to share knowledge and success stories in the continent to accelerate economic growth and poverty reduction as we work to create an enabling business environment in collaboration with the private sector”.



With a local presence in Morocco, Egypt, and Côte d’Ivoire, Mediterrania adopts a hands-on investment approach and offers its portfolio firms financial, strategic, and operational support to assist them in becoming regional or national leaders. More than 20,000 people are employed by the portfolio companies of Mediterrania Capital.To support Mediterrania in increasing the gender diversity of its investment team and portfolio companies, the IFC will offer training and advisory services. IFC’s third commitment to funds administered by Mediterrania Capital is the new investment. In 2013 and 2017, IFC made prior investments in Mediterrania II and Mediterrania III.


Couscous is a traditional North African dish of small steamed granules of rolled semolina that is mostly served with a stew spooned on top or a range of ingredients depending on region and individual tastes. It is a main dish throughout the Maghrebi cuisines of Algeria, Tunisia, Mauritania, Morocco, and Libya. In 2020 UNESCO added couscous to its Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

Chefs in Libya held a massive cooking competition featuring the country’s most popular dish couscous, at the historic Roman theater of Sabratha west of Tripoli. This was done in an effort to gain international recognition for their country’s beloved dish which is a main course in most homes in Libya.

An enormous inflatable swimming pool-sized platter of couscous, the chefs combined 2,400 kilograms of semolina with mutton, pumpkin, and caramelized onions which are the signature touch of the Libyan couscous. Spectators watched the four-meter (13-foot) diameter semolina dish take shape. A spectator Ahlam Fakhri said, “it is part of our identity, our culture, our heritage and we are proud of it”.

Couscous is often identified with Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia, as Libya is yet to ratify the UN’s cultural heritage agreement, and UNESCO has not acknowledged its couscous legacy.

Ali Messaoud Al Ftimi is the organiser of the giant couscous cook-up. He usually hosts similar events every year at various historical sites in a bid to send “a message to parliament” that Libya should have its couscous recognized as well. He is also the head of an association that encourages tourism and preserves Libya’s heritage. 

He told AFP that the efforts come from “a popular impulse” and he hopes lawmakers will ratify the international UN convention “in the near future”. Al Ftimi explained that “adhering to this convention will not only preserve couscous but also culture. Libya is rich in culture and this heritage is not protected”.

“A designation does not mean ownership or exclusivity to a country”, according to UNESCO there is no barrier to Libya ratifying the convention on cultural heritage and later adding its name to its couscous dossier.

According to Monira Zwait, a chef in Tripoli, she hopes that authorities will achieve the goal. “Couscous is not just a dish that we eat, it is the mirror of a civilization and a knowledge transmitted from generation to generation”, Zwait said.

Côte d’Ivoire’s fashion week showcases 30 African designers.


  • The 16th annual Afrik Fashion week took place in cote d’Ivoire’s commercial capital, Abidjan 
  • The fashion event brought together 30 designers and 60 models from several African countries.
  • Julianna Gnepa, a makeup artist said that it was an opportunity to meet other designers and models.




It was all flashiness and beauty at the 16th annual Afrik Fashion Week which took place this week in Côte d’Ivoire’s commercial capital, Abidjan.




The major fashion event brought together 30 designers and 60 models from several African countries, around the theme “Youth, Fashion and Cultural Diversity”.




“We think that Africa and even Côte d’Ivoire deserve to host a fashion week and for this edition, we tried to put our best foot forward by inviting African designers to share the stage with local designers,” said Isabelle Anoh, the event organizer.




And it wasn’t just about clothing. Handbags Jewelry, shoes – there was plenty to be seen and enjoyed by all.




For fashion designer Nancy, the event was also an opportunity for someone like herself, who wants to enter the fashion world, to learn and gain a little more visibility.




“Through fashion shows we see what others create and through that we get inspiration. And for us also to exchange with other stylists and other designers and of course to make ourselves known,” she said.




The event was widely seen as a wonderful opportunity to network with others in the industry from across the continent.




“It’s an opportunity for me to meet several designers, to get to know different models and creators. And also, participating in this event has been a great joy for me and it allows me to value my work,” said make-up artist, Julianna Gnépa.




Afrik Fashion Week was a stunning showcase for a celebration of the diversity of styles and materials of African fashion.


Tunisia: Kais Saied appoints new Interior minister


  • Termination of Charfeddine duties and recent appointment of Kamel Feki.
  • Charfeddine appreciates the president for his understanding and allowing him to be relieved of his duties.
  • Charfeddine was the key figure in the election campaign that propelled Saied becoming the president. 




President Saied issued two decrees, the first terminating Charfeddine’s duties and a second appointing Kamel Feki as Interior Minister, the presidency said in a statement on Friday night.




Mr. Feki is a law graduate and a former executive of the Ministry of Finance. He has held the post of prefect of Tunis since late 2021.




His nomination comes a few hours after Taoufik Charfeddine, a close aide of President Kais Saied, announced he had resigned to spend more time with his children following the death of his wife last year.




Charfeddine, 54, who had held his post since October 2021, told reporters he wished to thank the president for “his understanding and for allowing me to be relieved of my duties”.




The minister’s wife died in a fire caused by a gas leak in their home in June last year.




A former lawyer, Charfeddine was a key figure in the election campaign that propelled the previously little known Saied to the presidency in 2019.




After Saied froze parliament and sacked the then government in a dramatic July 2021 move against the sole democracy to emerge from the Arab Spring uprisings, Charfeddine became a close adviser.




As the president pushed through sweeping changes to the country’s political system, concentrating near-total power in his office, Charfeddine was one of the most outspoken defenders of his power grab.




Saied’s office regularly released video footage of the two men’s frequent meetings in the presidential palace.




On March 8, more than 30 Tunisian non-governmental organizations demanded an apology from the minister after he was branded as “traitors” by the president’s many critics in the private sector, the media and trade unions.




They accused him of using the “language of threat and intimidation” to “sow division” among Tunisians as part of a “dangerous populist discourse that foreshadows a police state” like the one overthrown in the country’s 2011 uprising.


Green Ghana 2023: Queen Mothers encouraged to begin bamboo farms.

  • Ghana’s potential in the area of agriculture is undisputed.
  • The authorities are making efforts to maximize Ghanian green lands for subsistence and commercial purposes.
  • Bamboo and rattan are invaluable plants grown in Africa.
  • Demand has been placed on the influences of the Queen Mothers of Ghana to enhance the growing of the cash plants.

Efforts are going into the restoration of Ghana’s landscapes, as well as into the lasting fight against global warming; and the country’s Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, in collab­oration with the Forest Plantation Fund Board, organized a two-day preparation workshop for Asanteman queen mothers on bamboo farms development.


This supports the government’s tree planting works, as at least 22,671,696 trees planted in 2022 outdid the government’s target of 20 million trees across the 16 regions of Ghana. The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources of Ghana, Samuel Abu Jinapor, said that the government hopes to plant no fewer than 10 million trees this year under the Green Ghana program. Speaking on the downward review of the number of trees to be planted, the Minister said that government wants to be more dedicated and devoted to nurturing the over 30 million trees planted already in recent years so that all the trees can reach maturity as soon as possible.


The workshop, strategically placed to leverage on the immense traditional and political powers of the revered queen mothers’ stools, follows the  government’s prior regeneration moves, and comes after the Minister had visited Ashanti Region in De­cember last year to enlist the support of the queen mothers in fighting against unlawful mining, and to promise them that they will be integral parts of the 2023 Green Ghana agenda aimed at planting bam­boos in marketable amounts.


While speaking with the queen mothers at the workshop, in Kumasi, on the 9th of March, the Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources responsible for Lands and For­estry, Mr. Benito Owusu-Bio, expanded on the pertinence of the workshop to the govern­ment since it acknowledges the potential of bamboo and rattan resources as valuable materials that can better the live­lihoods of several scores of inhabitants around forest ecosystems.


He went on to expound the benefits of the workshop, among other things, clarifying that queen mothers will be armed with good knowledge and insight into the degree to which bamboo and rattan in Ghana could aid sustenance of communities; he pointed to the vast prospects in the area of job creation, especially for youngies and women alike. He believed that the workshop would birth critical outcomes as it would increase the number of stakeholders, in government and private settings, putting in efforts to meet the planting goals in the country’s Forest Plantation Strate­gy, which plans to establish more than 500,000 hectares of new bamboo plantations between 2015 -2040.


Owusu-Bio reassured the queen mothers that the first sensitization package was simply to kick off, that the Minis­try would assemble more resources to spread the program to other regions so as to optimize the bamboo industry. “I wish to assure you of the unflinching support of my Minister and the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to support this initiative. We will do our maximum best to provide the necessary technical and logistical support to promote this bamboo plantation development enter­prise,” he said. He also counselled the Forestry Commission, the Director of In­ternational Association of Bam­boo and Rattan Development, INBAR, and the Plantation Fund Board to continue providing the needed backing to ensure that the program succeeds.


The queen mother of the Mampong traditional area, Nana Agyakuma Difie II and Chairman admonished the queen mothers to see the programs as an opportunity to advance, as well as a responsibility to their children and yet-to-come generations seeing that with one swoop, global warming is reduced and the government’s reafforesta­tion agenda gets a shot in the arm. While motivating them to take up the project heartily and make it a reality, she stressed that the bamboo project was not exclusive to Asanteman queen mothers but for all Ghanian queen mothers and women traditional authority figures countrywide.


In his own statement, the Board Chairman of the Forestry Plantation Fund Board and Chief of Chiraa traditional area, Nana Osei Yaw Barima, promised a smooth and cooperative partnership with the queen mothers to see the bamboo project through to a resoundingly successful end. Mr Joseph Osiakwan, the Technical Director for Forestry at the Ministry, in his short presentation on the justification for the workshop, expressed hope that queen mothers will have adequate knowledge on growing healthy bam­boo and making vital marketable products from the plant by the end of the two-day workshop.


Bamboo and rattan come in handy in the making of fanciful Furnitures, mats, decorations, as well as other household and fashion items, and with these products boldly taking their places in the global market, producers of bamboo and rattan are in for a swell time. With about one million hectares of home-grown bamboo, Ethiopia sits kingly as the biggest bamboo grower in Africa. It houses about 67% of all African bamboo.


  • Carter in her Speech to Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences “for recognising this superhero that is a Black Woman”. “She endures, she loves, she overcomes”
  • To Chadwick Boseman “She is my mother, please take care of mom”.
  • “I hope this opens the door for others… that they can win an Oscar too” … Carter to women of color.



Ruth. E. Carter at the age of 62 broke history on the 12th of March, 2023 to become the first African American woman to win 2 Oscars at the 95th Academy Awards held at Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Carter who is an American costume designer for film and television won her first Oscar for Best Costume Designer for Black Panther (2018) and her Second Oscar for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022). In her 30 years plus career, Carter has 40 films credited to her. They include: Malcom X (1992), Selma (2014), Four Brothers (2005), Chi-Raq (2015), The Butler (2013), Being Mary Jane, Dolemite is my name (2019), Coming 2 America (2021). Carter has also designed costumes for Chadwick Boseman, Eddie Murphy, Angela Basset, Forest Whittaker, Denzel Washington and Oprah Winfrey.



Carter was born April 10, 1960 in Springfield, Massachuetts. She and her seven siblings were raised by her single mum. Carter was inspired by her mum who was a designer and a seamstress. In her homage to Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, who died after fighting colon cancer for four years… “she is my mother. Chadwick, please take care of mom”. Carter had an early start in her career as an intern at Santa Fe Opera in New Mexico and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Hampton University. She later moved to New York where she earned an Associate Degree in Fashion Design in the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.



In her Acceptance Speech she thanked the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences “for recognising this superhero that is a Black woman. She endures, she loves, she overcomes. I pulled myself up from my boot straps, I started in a single parent household. I wanted to be a costume designer. I scraped, I dealt with adversity in the industry that sometimes didn’t look like me and I endured. So, I feel that this win opens the door for other young costume designers that may not that this industry is for them and hopefully they’ll see me and they’ll see my story and they’ll think that they can win an Oscar too”.



She also addressed women of color “… I hope this opens the door for others,… that they can win an Oscar too”. Coincidentally, Michelle Yeoh who is a Malaysian at the age of 60 became the first Asian woman to win an Oscar for Best Actress. In her speech, “For all the little boys and girls who look like me watching tonight, this is a beacon of hope and possibilities. This is a proof that dreams… dream big… and dreams do come true. And ladies, don’t let anybody tell you, you’re ever past your prime. Never give up”.

Carter who is a Afrofuturist stated that “I would have to represent images of beauty, forms of beauty from the African tribal traditions so that African – Americans could understand it, so that (non-black) Americans can understand African – Americans better; so, we could start erasing a homogenized version of Africa.




On the table was a plate of fufu with egusu soup with Kpomo, assorted goat meat. Papa Iyore cleared his throat as he delved into the meal. Footsteps could be heard from inside the room. ‘Iyore, is that you?” Papa Iyore called out. “Yes Papa, Iyore replied. “I am preparing the items for the festival tomorrow”. Iyore walked up to meet her father and knelt down to greet him. The lamp light shone on Iyore. She had grown to be a beautiful woman. Her breasts were round like that of an orange and hips were fully rounded. Her face was like that of an angel and her dark skin glittered as the lights shone on her. No wonder that she was the envy of the maidens and the reason why the young men kept flocking around Papa Iyore’s compound. At a point, they became his helpers. Papa Iyore sighed. Truly he was blessed.


“Make sure the kolanuts, the white native chalk is added to the items. We are truly grateful to Olukun. The white cockerel is in the backyard, don’t forget to add it”. “Yes Papa, I will not forget to add them”. Iyore responded with a smile on her face. Her smile was indeed radiant and dazzling. Iyore did the necessary things and laid down to sleep. At the sound of the cockerel, Iyore woke up and found out she was thoroughly soaked like she took a swim in the river. This was a frequent experience and she couldn’t bear to let her mother know. The only person she told was Asake who was her best friend.


The other houses were already busy at the first cry of the cockerel, the day was a bit dark but most houses were lit with the bush lamps. Olukun was a most revered deity, hence everything had to be in place in order not to incur the wrath of the gods. Sounds of pestle hitting mortars could be heard. Food was being prepared down as the festival could take the whole day.  Iyore stood up to help her mother in the kitchen to prepare the meal. It was already daylight as Iyore and her mother finished preparing the meal. The long procession to Igbange River had already started.


Igbange River was the homestead of the Diety Olukun. It is rumored that at night that the sound of drum beats, singing and dancing could be heard. A hunter who went to set trap at night near the river claimed to have been a witness as he saw the Priestess dancing with the spirits living in the river. He ran out of fear of being seen as the river was known to have swallowed people up. Igbanje river towards the end of the year usually draws people towards their death. Till date, the bodies have never been found.


Iyore and Asake were amongst the procession to the river. Suddenly… a cold shiver ran through her body. She felt like she had been at the river before. Asake noticed her shivering and asked her if she was okay. Iyore nodded to reassure her. The worshippers all wore white apparel with their gifts in a basket on their head. The Priestess stood at the mouth of the river to receive their gifts and also bless them. She was adorned with white with designs on her arms, legs and her hair adorned with white cowries. Her eyes drifted round the crowd and fell on Iyore. Iyore felt it and looked up, the moment their eyes met, Iyore had flashes of memories of which she couldn’t understand. Her body had currents flowing through her. Asake noticed the change and followed Iyore gaze. She had heard rumours that Iyore was connected to the Priestess but didn’t believe it. The Priestess smiled and continued blessing others.


Iyore averted the Priestess eyes as she quickly dropped her gifts and fled. Asake ran after her. Blinded by her emotions, Iyore entered the river. As Asake tried following her in, she met an invincible barrier. Iyore looked onwards with tears in her eyes as she knew she will not meet her family and friends again. How was she to know that her day was going was to turn out this way. Her parents had always told her never to step into the river because she will be lost from them forever. She would have told her mother and father she loved them and also profess her love. The loud voice of the Priestess could be heard “The River Has taken its own”. In that moment, Iyore heard someone calling her name. So, she turned and, in that moment, she knew where she was going to every night and while she was always wet when she woke up.


Papa Iyore felt the sign and knew that his daughter had been taken. Iyore’s mother could do nothing but cry silently knowing that she will always see her daughter on Olukun festival. It is said that Iyore’s voice could be heard singing every night from the river side. It is even claimed that she and the Priestess communed with the gods every night. Their waist and hips moving symmetrically with the beats of the drum.







Africans earn world’s biggest financial reward, recognition in history discipline.

  • Two Africans stood out in the 2023 Dan David Prize – Saheed Aderinto and Chao Tayiana Maina.
  • Both scholars have done significant and recognition-worthy works in the discipline of history.
  • Each of them is to receive a financial reward of $300,000.


Nigeria’s Saheed Aderinto and Kenya’s Chao Tayiana Maina have earned additional labels that consolidate their achievements; both the Nigerian professor of History and African Diaspora Studies and the founder of the African Digital Heritage, this February, won foremost global award that distinguishes and supports outstanding contributions to the study of history and other disciplines that shed light on the human past, a recognition considered the biggest history prize in the world – the Dan David Prize.


Aderinto, 44-year-old professor of History and African Diaspora Studies at the Florida International University, and Maina, emerged as two from the nine winners announced on the 28th of February as recipients of $300,000 each, for their respective contributions to history research and to support their future works in the discipline. The Prize, described by The Washington Post as “the new MacArthur-style ‘genius grant’ for history”, and its financial attachment, which is an integral part of it, sits huge as the biggest history prize in the world.



Maina, a Kenyan historian and digital humanities scholar working at connecting culture and technology, focuses her work principally on using technology to preserve, engage, and disseminate African heritage.

Professor Ariel Porat, President of the Tel Aviv University, and Chairman of the Dan David Prize Board, while announcing the winners, said “the nine recipients exemplify outstanding research in history and related fields. They were chosen by a committee of international experts, following an open nomination process. Their scholarship reflects the interests of Dan David, the founder of the prize who was a businessman with a passion for archaeology and history.”

Porat clarified that the prize had since 2022 focused exclusively on history in its many facets. He continued, “giving this annual prize provides the opportunity to celebrate the exceptional work of scholars and practitioners who surprise us with insights into people, places and ideas that might otherwise remain forgotten or misunderstood.”


About the winners, Porat held that “they are scholars and practitioners who have the potential to reshape their fields in the future, and it is our hope that this prize will assist them to do so.”

The selection board applauded the winners’ work “for situating African history at the cutting edge of diverse literatures in the history of sexuality, nonhumans, and violence, noting that it is exceptional to see a single person leading scholarship in all of these fields.”


Aderinto took his celebration to facebook, he wrote: “Yes! I just won the largest history prize in the world. It’s $300,000. For me, alone. One lump sum. 220 million, in Nigerian currency. I have just received the highest financial reward for excellence in the historical discipline, on planet earth. It’s a Prize, not a grant. I don’t think there is any history prize worth $100,000 in cash—much less $300,000. While 300k is a lot of money in any strong global currency, the true value of the Dan David Prize is not the cash per se but what it would help me do for my students and mentees, institutions, global infrastructure of knowledge, and communities of practice. Hence, the award is about my scholarly achievement as much as about the people, institutions, and communities I represent.”


On the award he wrote: “The Dan David Prize was founded in 2000 with an endowment by Romanian-born Israeli businessman and philanthropist Dan David. Between 2001 and 2021, it awarded $1 million, each, to three very senior extraordinary humans in science, medicine, public health, politics, economics, art, and literature. Past recipients include Dr. Anthony Fauci, the public face of the US fight against COVID-19, former American Vice-President Al Gore, and MIT economics professor and Nobel Prize Winner Esther Duflo, among others. In 2022, the Dan David Prize was redesigned to become the largest history prize on earth to recognize nine exceptional historians with $300,000, each. $ 2.7 million in total. Recipients’ Ph.D. mustn’t be older than 15 years. I received my Ph.D. 13 years ago. I’m among the second cohort of the new history-focused Dan David Prize.”


It “recognizes outstanding scholarship that illuminates the past and seeks to anchor public discourse in a deeper understanding of history.” Recipients must be engaged in “outstanding and original work related to the study of the human past, employing any chronological, geographical and methodological focus.” They “should exhibit strong potential for future excellence, innovation and leadership that will help shape the study of the past for years to come.” While the Prize winners “must have completed at least one major project, the prize is not given for that project, but rather in recognition of the winner’s overall achievements as well as their potential for future excellence.”



He went ahead to admonish younger folks, he penned: “To all young and up-and-coming people out there—how hard are you working towards extraordinary rewards that don’t exist today, but will emerge tomorrow? Do you spend more on depreciables like cars, owambe, clothes, and phones, than on appreciables like knowledge, technology, skills, or a living condition that would enhance your creativity, increase your productivity, and strengthen your problem-solving abilities?

Are you seeking selfless mentors/sponsors who would help you get off the ground so you can fly beyond limits—with your own wings, on your own terms, at your own pace? Are you investing selflessly in your subordinates? Do you believe in and work for a cause that is bigger than you and your name, and that places people and institutions at the center of collective growth, shared honor, and democratized progress? Are you real to yourself, people, and circumstances? Are you building sustainable personal and professional relationships across gender and sexual orientation, nationality, religion, ideology, race, ethnicity, generation, e.t.c.? Are you learning the art of leadership within your community, profession, or network?


How strong is your faith in God or whatever you believe in? Do you have the discipline to wait, and wait, and wait—while also maintaining consistently high productivity—until your labor and investment begin to yield the best results? Do you believe in an instant or delayed gratification? How intentional, audacious, conscientious, and gritty are you? Do you have friends, colleagues, and family who would say—Mafo, mo wa pelu e (meaning ‘don’t relent, I am with you’ in Yoruba language) —even at the peak of your failures and vulnerabilities? If you have honest and self-reflective responses to these questions, then you can achieve something bigger than the largest history prize on planet earth”.


Aderinto, born in Ibadan in 1979, received his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Ibadan in 2004 and his Ph.D. from the University of Texas, Austin in 2010. Later that year his teaching career took off at Western Carolina University where he became a full Professor of History in 2021. In 2022, he moved to Florida International University.


The professor has published 8 books, 41 encyclopedia articles, 37 journal articles and book chapters, and 21 book reviews. His new book ‘Animality and Colonial Subjecthood in Africa’ inspects the roles of animals in Nigerian history. Also, he is currently writing a book as well as creating a documentary on Fuji music.

Aderinto is also the founding president of the Lagos Studies Association and a senior research fellow of the French Institute for Research in Africa.


Chao Tayiana Maina holds an MSc in International Heritage Visualisation and a BSc in Mathematics and Computer Science. Her research work explored the possibilities of implanting intangible histories in 3D digital environments. She is widely acknowledged for her bright work in documenting Kenyan history in innovative ways.

Maina, also the co-founder of Museum of British Colonialism and Open Restitution Africa project, and she specializes in using digital technologies to study unseen historical narratives with the intent to make them reachable to broader audiences. Her work centers on supporting African and Afro-diaspora communities to regain their identities and cultural heritage.

She is renowned for successfully upholding collaborative and interactive histories, where communities are invited to join the process of historical examination and findings.


The two awardees have since been collecting congratulations from different quarters.


Kenya leads world tea production, exportation.

  • Because tea is in high demand globally, efforts are being made by primary growers of the product to double up on production.
  • Africa is at the fore front of tea production and export globally.
  • Kenya, though not necessarily a major consumer, has sustained its position as a leading grower of different types of tea in the world.
  • Other than water, tea follows as a highly consumed beverage; next to China and India, Kenya is big on the global tea production stage.


Next to water, tea is the world’s most consumed drink; this accounts for its high demand across the world, and Kenya has stood tall as the only African country to be listed in the top ten tea manufacturing countries worldwide, and the biggest global exporter of black tea particularly.


Tea has remained a major cash crop grown in Kenya and has been a leading source of foreign exchange earnings for the country. Regarding cultivation of the leaves, Kenya produced over 400 thousand tons of tea in 2022 thanks to the estimated 500,000 small-scale Kenyan farmers that grow tea across the country on approximately 236,000 hectares of land. The country’s regions that are famous for tea distribution include the Nyambene Hills, Kericho region, and Nandi. Many teas are produced in Asia and being the birthplace of the product, it is understandable that China sits on the very top of the ladder as the leader of the industry, in terms of production and even consumption. However, the input, innovation, and significant contribution of this younger participant in the industry, Kenya, has quickly earned it a spot as the largest exporter of black tea in the world.


Although Kenya is in Africa, its location close to the equator positions it for sufficient sunlight and ideal conditions to grow the plants. Other environmental factors, including high elevation in the mountains and an excessively rich volcanic soil, have made it favorable for the plants to thrive. This has subsequently enabled tea farmers in Kenya to grow an immense amount of the product and harvest some of the best teas the world has reckoned with. Kenya produces a lot of black tea and several other types of teas including green tea, yellow tea, and white tea grown on request by key tea producers, but one unique tea native to the country is the Kenyan Purple Tea. Purple leaf tea was developed in Kenya about 25 years ago. It is called the purple leaf tea because of its signature purple and healthy-looking leaves with high levels of antioxidants. It is believed to contain even more age-defying antioxidants than the green tea with potentials to curb cancer and other ailments.


This unique-tasting tea carries quite a smooth tang; rather than having a grassy taste, it has more of melon and honey flavors. Many also love and prefer the purple tea because it is low on caffeine, so it works well for a quick afternoon shot of antioxidant.  Tea lovers have found that adding some lemon juice to purple tea changes its color to peach or even gold. China produces about 2,400,000 tons of tea yearly, this puts the country on the number one spot among biggest producers, exporters, and, to some extent, consumers of tea in the world. It exports 40% of the total tea in world. India is popular for being the second highest tea producing country in the world accounting for about 1,250,000 tons annually.


Kenya got acquainted with tea in 1903, it became a profit-oriented venture in 1924 when Malcom Bell stepped in for the company Brooke Bond, and it has been a key stapple in the African country ever since. The annual tea production in Kenya exceeds 500,000 tons, this makes it the third biggest producers globally; and number one producer of black tea globally. In Mombasa, a coastal city in southeastern Kenya along the Indian Ocean, tea is sold through automated public auction for an international community. In October 2011, tea was averagely actioned at $3.22 per kilogram.

Africa’s oldest restaurant validates continent’s timeless cuisine.

  • The oldest restaurant in Africa, Café El M’Rabet, maintains the spirit of its founders.
  • Its staying power has also demonstrated the longevity of African staples.
  • Other than the classic meals, it has served as a nostalgic spot for relaxation.

In 1628, minister Ali Thabit, in Tunisia, put together what is now considered the oldest restaurant in Africa, and one of the oldest in the world – Café El M’Rabet, in Tunis. The classic restaurant is cited steps away from the Zaytuna Mosque, or popularly called the Zitouna Mosque by many who believe the restaurant itself was founded as a part of the Mosque.


Regular features of the restaurant include live music usually served in the evenings – a tradition that has continued up till today. The beautiful space also provides an outdoor beer barn.


The historic Jemâa Ezzitouna marketplace enjoys a pleasant viewpoint from the famous and ever bustling El M’Rabet restaurant giving it a majestic and relaxing feel. Also, the time-tested restaurant serves pies and roasts, inspired by the old-style British tavern foods.  It has promptly responded to times and seasons, but it is yet to lose its ancient flavor and appeal. Young and old, natives and tourists, from time to time, visit this classic food spot in North Africa. Not only has it validated the time-tested cuisines of Africa, but it has also proven to be a favorite tourist destination, and a reliable spot for hospitality.


Not only is it one of the oldest, but it has also registered its reputation as one of the best restaurants in Africa particularly, and in the world generally, paying attention to different languages as many clients visit the spot from various parts of the world, hence commination should not pose a challenge.


Recently, clients who visited the classic restaurant observed that the services are top-notch, pointing out that the only possible glitch is the wait – a lot of people from different parts of the world visit the restaurant, hence it welcomes tons of food and fun lovers daily. Iraqi Anni-Voo Duhok said after her recent visit to the restaurant that “I was very empty during the lunchtime so was lucky to have excellent attentive service. As I don’t know French, the manager kindly explained to me with English and Arabic the dishes, the vegetables with lamb that I ordered were delicious and the Arabic coffee at the end was amazing. Plus, they also had a nice selection of starters. Veryt central location and there is also livelier coffeeshop downstairs.” The foods, the consistency of service, as well as the retention of ancient values, styles and cuisines, have singled out Café El M’Rabet from the pack.

Ghanian teachers’ colorful line of duty.

  • Ghana has joined other African countries that pay attention to cultural attires in the workplace.


  • Teachers in a district of the west African country adopted this initiative and have since pushed it joyfully.


  • The idea is to reinforce the creativity in the clothing of Africans.

Following conventions in other parts of Africa, teachers in the Hohoe Metropolis, Volta region, Ghana, have adopted the wearing of native Ghanaian and African clothing on the last Friday of every month. This creativity, introduced in 2022, is to encourage the wearing of native Ghanaian garments and to fortify collective bonds through culture and tradition.


Ms Janet Valerie Datsa, the Hohoe Municipal Director of Education, started this to merge culture and education into one since they were hitherto mutually separated. Other than boosting culture, it also fosters unity among teachers from a wide range of ethnic groups and backgrounds. Teachers in the Metropolis have followed the initiative religiously.




Every last Friday of each month, countless school grounds in the Municipality are continually awash with beautiful and assorted styles of African prints and native wears. Workers at the education offices also take part in this healthy showcase of culture.


Mr Samuel Kaletsi, one of the teachers at the St. Francis College of Education Demonstration Primary School, expressed his happiness with the creativity. “First of all, let me thank Madam Valerie- I mean our Municipal Director for her singular efforts in promoting cultural awareness and unity among the teaching class. This initiative has really helped in giving meaning to the true spirit of Africanism. In fact, our learners (pupils/students) are also benefiting from it as they are becoming enlightened on the cultural uniqueness of their beloved country, Ghana,” he said.


Other teachers applauded the proponent of the initiative for her sincere efforts in strengthening the ties since teachers in the municipality come from many parts of the country. They endorsed the idea as one that would nurture unity and national cohesion.


The main advocate of the idea, Madam Valerie Janet Datsa, said: “Well, I am so humbled by all of the praises being showered on me by my colleagues. I really don’t have much to say but I am happy that just in less than two years since this idea came up, it has gotten this far. I am really humbled,” Madam Datsa said, adding that it was necessary “so as to continue to showcase our rich culture, traditions and heritage to the rest of the world.”


She was hopeful that the concept would be accepted and implemented by other education boards in the district and other parts of the country.

This concept is not relatively new in Africa as in most Nigerian cities workers and businesspeople alike adorn themselves with native attires on Fridays, not just each month’s last Friday.







Beads of sweat scattered across her face. She kept turning sideways… her legs stretched out on the mat furiously shaking. Her hands were held down at each side. Billows of smoke filled the air as the priest moved from each end of the room making incantations. Neighbours gathered round the house as this was a frequent experience. The women were consoling the mother. “Mama Iyore, she’s going to be fine”.


Mama Iyore freed herself from the clasp of her neighbours and started rolling on the floor. The wrapper on her body almost fell off if not for neighbours who quickly held her down. “Why is this happening to me, she cried out loud. This is the only fruit of my womb after loosing several other children. She looked upwards to the sky with tears streaming down her face “OLOKUN, she cried out loud. Why have you done this to me”. She bowed her eyes down with more questions lingering. The fear of the gods was so powerful that one had to be careful of words and utterances.


The Jingling sound of anklets could be heard. Voices accompanied the jingling sounds. The people in the compound gave room for passage for the procession. Standing in the centre of the procession was a woman clothed in white. Her exposed hands and legs were covered with native white chalk. Her hair had cowries intertwined and woven together. She was covered with white regalia which was tied round her chest. Her neck beads were white as it is a known symbol of the Diety Olokun.


Surrounded by other maidens in white, she walked towards the hut with her staff which is a symbol of her authority. Mama Iyore looked up with hopeful eyes as the gods had heard her prayers. The Priestess stood in front of the entrance to the hut. Suddenly… she turned around, her eyes were like snow balls of fire, she looked at mama Iyore with a piercing gaze. Tiny shivers ran through Mama Iyore body. The Priestess took 2 steps backward and forward and swirled around. The spirits had taken hold of her. She ran swiftly to the back of the house as her maidens ran after her. She stopped at a particular spot and a white cockerel was handed to her.


Heavy incantations filled the air as with one swift move, the cockerel’s neck was broken. Iyore screamed out loud from the room, calling out for her mother. The priestess took hold of a hoe and hit it on the very spot where she stood. Papa Iyore who had been surrounded by the men of his age group, took up the hole and started digging. Under the hot glaring sun, Papa Iyore dugged until the blade of the hole touched something. He dug furiously and brought out an item wrapped in a black clothing. The Priestess while muttering incantations stretched out her hands and Papa Iyore placed the item on her hands. The Priestess turned and her procession followed her out of the compound.


Mama Iyore ran inside to meet her daughter who was vehemently asking for food to be brought to her. Mama Iyore planted thousands of kisses on Iyore’s forehead as her daughter was hale and hearty. Sympathisers were happy as all seemed well with the family. The men patted Papa Iyore’s back as a sign of congratulating him for doing a great job.



To be continued…
This is purely a work of fiction. Not all parts are entirely true.


  • Bostwana, Namibia launches usage of national ID cards for cross border travel.

  • The launching ceremony took place at Mamuno Border Post in Gaborone.

  • Both countries shares a land border and similarities in culture and language.

On Friday, the governments of Botswana and Namibia introduced the usage of National identity cards as documents for cross travel between the two countries.


This was announced during the launching ceremony held at Mamuno Border Post, Southwest of Gaborone the capital of Botswana, with the President of Botswana Mokgweetsi Masisi and the president of Namibia Hage Geingob in attendance.


President Masisi stated that “the authorization of the use of national identity documents to cross our national borders is a clear demonstration of our steadfast commitment to promote relations between our countries and foster social cohesion among our citizens, as well as enhance regional cooperation and integration”.


He added that it was found necessary to start this remarkable initiative aimed at easing the movement of citizens of the two neighbouring countries.


According to President Geingob, it makes perfect sense to facilitate efficient and straightforward ways of movement between the two communities, as both countries share a land border and have similarities in both language and culture.


He continued by saying, “let us celebrate this moment in history, a moment which defines our kinship and friendship, a moment that brings friends and relatives closer to one another”.


Masisi also noted that the Mamuno Border Post is a vital location with great value and significant prospects for tourism in the two countries, adding that the movement will be implemented at other border crossings between the two nations within the upcoming fiscal year – 2023/2024.


Both countries are said to have friendly bilateral relations and similarities in culture, history, and family ties.


FESPACO, the largest film festival in Africa opened its curtain on Saturday 25th February 2023 at Ouagadougou, the capital of  Burkina Faso.

15 fiction feature films competing for the Yennenga Golden Stallion award and a prize of about $30,000 have been chosen from 170 entries for the FESPACO festival in the nation’s capital, Ouagadougou.

The 28th edition of FESPACO, according to the festival’s president, Fidele Aymar Tamini, would be focused on “African movies and peace cultures” in light of the current crisis.

The prime minister of the festival’s honorary guest nation, the neighbouring Mali, stated that culture had an “avant-garde role to play in the peace process.”

In a performance titled “20 million VDP,” which alludes to a civilian volunteer group that supports the Burkinabe army, some 60 dancers imitated battle to the sound of beating drums on a large stage.

Also present at the ceremony was Prime Minister Apollinaire Kyelem de Tambela, who recently proposed a federation between the West African neighbours.

The event is scheduled to last through March 4.

South Africa records reduction in rhino rustling

In Klerksdorp, the largest city of South Africa’s North West Province, rhinos have found a home in what has been described as the biggest private sanctuary in the continent – the Buffalo Dream Ranch.


South Africa generally accounts for nearly half of the entire black rhino population in Africa and has the world’s largest population of white rhinos. But, like the apple tree planted by the roadside, these rhinos attract so much attention; positive attention from the tourism industry, as well as negative attention from smugglers and disrupters of wildlife.


Rhinos once roamed Africa, today, however, they subsist only in pockets of secured spaces in southern and eastern Africa, this is chiefly because of the illicit demand for their horns for supposed medicinal use and jewellery making in some East Asian countries.


This illegitimate hunt for rhinos and their horns seems to have ruined their population for decades in South Africa, neighbouring Botswana, and in Namibia. The pilfering regularly involves global criminal consortia and local poachers who traffic the horns the world over. The number of rhinos stolen for their horns in South Africa lessened somewhat in 2022 but the country’s environment ministry believes that more must be done to save them in provincial parks.


The Ministry says that rhino poaching declined in South Africa’s national parks due to increased vigilance, dehorning programmes, and collaboration between establishments on conservation, pointing out that there has been a 40% reduction in rhino plundering in South Africa even though KwaZulu-Natal province still needs attention. Last year, 124 rhinos were stolen at the South African National Parks, SANParks, compared to 209 in 2021.  This signifies a 40% cut compared with those killed for their horns in 2021.


Because rhinos abound in large proportions, there’s a shared boundary with Mozambique, and being surrounded by poor, heavily populated local communities, the Kruger National Park has been a target for rustlers since the present poaching crisis started in 2008.


Lately however, since there are fewer rhinos, ongoing anti-poaching efforts, and wide-scale dehorning, plundering groups have shifted to other states, private and provincial parks, especially in the KwaZulu-Natal province where the majority of rhinos have been killed.


According to the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy “the steady decline in rhino poaching in national parks is related to the relentless war that has been waged by our fearsome anti-poaching machinery as well as a comprehensive dehorning programme. This year’s outcome shows that collaboration between conservation authorities, the South African Police Services, revenue authorities and international agencies works. We believe that if provincial authorities in KwaZulu-Natal follow our model, they will be able to significantly curb rhino poaching in their provincial parks before it is too late.”


In 2022, several effective arrests and trials were recorded. “During 2022, the NPA in collaboration with the DFFE established a Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Environmental Working Group. The purpose of this group is to foster closer collaboration between the provinces working on wildlife trafficking cases and helps identify repeat offenders moving around the country,” Creecy added.


SANParks’ continued efforts to safeguard rhino species, have prompted it to identify suitable safe habitats across South Africa for the reintroduction and maintenance of new rhino colonies.


The Black Rhino, White Rhino, Sumatran Rhino, Greater One-horned Rhino, and Javan Rhino are the five surviving rhino species in Africa. There are only about 27,000 of these stunning creatures left on Earth. Their declining population is ascribed to habitat loss, isolated small populations that hinder fruitful reproduction, and of course rustling. They have been under threat of extinction, and the Sumatran rhino particularly is on the edge of disappearing completely.


The behavioural inclinations, as well as conservation, biological, and environmental needs of the five rhino species, are quite different.


Preserving these creatures in Africa has, over the years, demanded boots on the ground, special training for custodians, early warning, community involvement, investigation and forensic techniques, intensive monitoring and the crackdown on rustlers, among other measures.





The doors of the capital of Libya, Tripoli opened to the second edition of the “Made in Algeria” at the Tripoli International Fairgrounds which began on Wednesday 8 February to end on 11 March.


The exhibition, held under the management of Libya’s Ministry of Economy and Trade, participated in 55 Algerian economic entities and the Misrata Free Zone as a strategic partner.


The Algerian companies that showcased their products specialized in food processing, construction, medical materials, electrical, and industrial equipment.


Many dignitaries attended the inauguration of the exhibition including the Undersecretary of the Libyan Ministry of Economy and Trade for Free Zones Affairs, Nuri Gatati, the Libyan Undersecretary for Commercial Affairs, Saad Al-Haneish, and several owners of economic institutions participating in the exhibition.


The Chairman of Tripoli’s Chamber of Commerce, Anwar Abu Sitta, highlighted the exhibition’s importance on the grounds of the Tripoli International Fair, as it signifies the exchange and cooperation between the two neighboring countries.


Anwar said that they have great economic prospects that can be used for the benefit of both parties, which will in turn contribute to diverse sources of income and the creation of job opportunities.


He said that the exhibition by Algerian economic entities in Libya displays the remarkable stability Libya has recently witnessed and also indicates the increasing economic growth and the return of activity to many projects to which Algerian companies can contribute.


He further explained that if activities resume at the Debdeb-Ghadames border crossing, there will be an increased volume of trade exchange between both countries.




Hollywood actor Idrissa Akuna Elba, born of a Ghanaian mother, visited the Manhyia Palace and paid homage to the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and Asantehemaa Nana Konadu Yiadom III during the first Akwasidae of the year. This was after his meeting with the President of Ghana



The Akwasidae which means ‘Sacred Sunday’ is a festival celebrated by the people and chiefs of the Ashanti region. It is celebrated every six weeks at the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi. 



There is a celebration in a particular period on the Akan annual calendar called the Adae Festival. The festival has two celebration days namely the Akwasidae Festival which is celebrated on the final Sunday of the period, and the Awukudae Festival celebrated on a Wednesday within the period. 



Participants wear traditional Kente clothing and adorn themselves with gold jewelry, beads, and other decorative items, which symbolize wealth and prosperity. The festival is centered on ancestral reverence, remembrance, and acknowledgment of past kings and noble feats. 



The Festival which was marked with drumming and dancing with an exchange of greetings and pleasantries served as a celebration of the Golden Stool, bringing together the Asantehene, sub-chiefs, subjects, and dignitaries at Manhyia in Kumasi.



In the pictures circulating on the internet, Idris was seen waving and paying homage to the rulers of the Ashanti kingdom, dressed up in traditional Kente clothing with gold adornments. 




According to a news report, the actor and his team recorded parts of his time and visit at the Akwasidae festival, which will appear in his upcoming film.



The British Hollywood movie star recently made public his intentions to build a film studio in Ghana during his meeting with the country’s president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.


The president of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa recently held talks with the Belarusian president Aleksandr Lukashenko at the Statehouse residence of the Zimbabwean president in Harare. 



Both heads of state had a close-up meeting, thereafter a meeting with delegations from both countries was held. It was followed by the ceremony of the signing of bilateral agreements. 



The signing of the pact involved the promotion and mutual protection of investments on the establishment of a joint standing commission for cooperation, and a memorandum of understanding on the mutual recognition of documents on education was addressed. 



A document on an intergovernmental agreement on double taxation avoidance and prevention of tax evasion with respect to taxes on income and property was signed. 



An agreement on the establishment of sister city relations between Minsk and Harare was signed as well. 



After the signing of documents, while giving his remark president Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “the president and I have held substantive talks. We have discussed in detail the promising avenues of bilateral cooperations that have gained a lot of stream in recent years”. 



He spoke on the occasion of signing agreements and ways to strengthen corporations between both nations. He assured Zimbabweans of the full support of his country, especially in the processing of mineral resources in Zimbabwe. 



Addressing the residents of Zimbabwe, he said that the southern African country has a large number of mineral resources, and this is why the country will never be allowed to live peacefully, hence the reason behind the sanctions. 



Americans introduced sanctions against you not because you are not democratic. But because you’ve decided to take your country and mineral resources under control. You do not let various vagabonds and frauds use your mineral resources. It is the reason behind the sanctions. Like in the past centuries they are once again trying to bring you to your knees. But the President and the government of Zimbabwe do not want that. Hence the sanctions,” he said


He continued, “You will be subjected to stronger efforts to sow discord in your society, to bring you to your knees. But you have to endure”.



He urged Zimbabweans to live in peace no matter what or else “you will be subjected to colonial oppression once again”, he said. 



Aleksandr Lukashenko said while referring to the election campaign to take place in Zimbabwe, “Be vigilant and careful. Don’t trust those who shout and those who jump. You can secure your prosperity only through your labor.”



He concluded by saying civilization was awoken in Africa and without Africa, there cannot be development in the world. “The world has no future without Africa. The future belongs to Africa”, he said.


Morocco is a culture-rich place and they were proud to showcase their heritage at the FIFA opening ceremony.

This year’s FIFA Club World Cup opening ceremony started with a display of these cultures. There were multiple performances reflecting the cultural heritage.

It begun with a short scene, narrating the story of Moroccan explorer, Ibn Battuta. His life passion reflects Morocco’s long-standing openness to the world.

There were a few traditional performances that showcased the country’s diverse cultural mix. It featured iconic Amazigh music, Jebala music. Aissaoua, and Sahrawi music on a list of 12 performances each reflecting the culture of Morocco’s 12 provinces.

At the second phase of the show, Moroccan rapper Dzdross took the stage to deliver his famous “L’kora 7na Maliha” a song that celebrates Morocco’s historic World Cup run in Qatar.

The third part of the ceremony had Morocco’s national football team Walid Regragui, delivering a short speech paying tribute to the departed football legend Pele, and recalled Morocco’s historic performance in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

The opening ceremony took place in the Ibn Battuta Stadium in Tangier and was followed by the first game in the tournament at 8 p.m Morocco time.

This FIFA World Cup opening ceremony broke the record for the Most Attended Opening ceremony in the tournament’s history. 47,137 were in attendance, breaking the former record of 35,247 attendees in 2014.


National Heroes Day is an official holiday for the public and private sectors in Rwanda. This holiday holds annually on the 1st of February. It is a day to pay tribute to those who exemplified and defended the highest value of patriotism and sacrifice for Rwanda and its citizens. It honors national heroes to inspire other Rwandans to excel in all their undertakings.

A day set aside for heroes is not an unusual practice in most countries but what makes Rwanda unique is the details. Rwanda celebrates its heroes in three different categories known as Imanzi, Imena, and Ingenzi. 

The Imanzi is any supreme Hero who demonstrated outstanding achievements characterized by supreme sacrifice, outstanding importance, and example. Belonging to this category is the Unknown Soldier – any soldier who perished during the liberation struggle and those who may in the future shed blood on a battlefield to defend the country’s sovereignty. It also includes Major General Fred Rwigema, who died on the frontline the day after the launch of the country’s armed liberation struggles in October 1990.

The Imena category comprises heroes known for their extraordinary acts for the country marked by sacrifice, high importance, and example. The Imena category includes King Mutara III Rudahigwa Charles Léon Pierre, Michel Rwagasana (special adviser to late King Rudahigwa), and Agathe Uwilingiyimana, the female prime minister who was slain by genocidal government forces within just hours of the start of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The Ingenzi category comprises heroes who are still alive, but who are known for their good ideas or outstanding achievements characterized by sacrifice, great importance, and high example. Unlike the other categories, a list of the Ingenzi heroes is not published.

This year’s heroes day was marked by his Excellency Paul Kagame and the First Lady, Jeannette Kagame laying the wreath in honor of Rwanda’s remarkable sons and daughters at the National Heroes Mausoleum in Kigali.

Sessions, where speakers talk about the Rwandan heroes and how the youth could emulate them, are usually the main event of the day across all villages and in the media.


On Monday, the Algerian Minister of Trade and Export Promotion, Kamal Rizik, and the Undersecretary of the Libyan Ministry of Economy and Trade, Mr. Nouri Gatati opened the three-day Africa Forum and Exhibition for Transport and Transit Trade (AFRO-TT) in Algiers, the capital of Algeria.


At the opening of the three-day event, several officials from the economic sectors of both countries and directors of financial, commercial, and industrial institutions were present.


This edition of the economic exhibition features the participation of more than 200 company owners from Libya, with over 100 Algerian, Tunisian, Libyan, and African companies.


The Chairman of the African Economic Forum and General Supervisor of the event in Libya, Yassin Bousrewiel, said that the event is beneficial to both Libya and Algeria, as it will bring the participation of more than 30 speakers from Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, and Niger, Switzerland, and also countries in Europe such as Italy, France, Belgium.


He said the land area for the exhibition exceeded 3,500 sqm and a wide participation of multidisciplinary industrial and commercial companies from Algeria, the host country.


Libyan’s participation ranges between companies manufacturing foodstuffs and others in the plastic and metal industries, and also various logistics services companies in terms of transport and storage. 


In conclusion, he said, “AFRO-TT is a new interface and a new chapter for foreign trade towards African countries”.


Africa Forum and Exhibition for Transport and Transit Trade (AFRO-TT) aim to shed light on important trade issues, diagnose the reasons for the low level of transit trade and encourage the private sector to enter African markets.

Special sparking stones spotted in Congo.

From Manono, a territory sited in the Tanganyika Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a report on the discovery of some special stones, by natives, emerged on Saturday the 21st of January 2023.


According to the report, some of DRC’s local miners made the finding when they unearthed stones that can self-generate electricity. The encounter has since sparked widespread keenness and interest, leading to an assortment of names being ascribed to the materials.


The rocks seemingly gave off eccentric electric energy that did get the attention of the natives. Absorbed, they filmed the precious pebbles, and the footage has since gone viral online after South African businessman Daniel Marven posted it. In the video, the rocks discharge sparks when they make contact. They were also seen to power a small bulb.


Since they emerged in DRC, people have been trying to demystify the stones, but the stones, which are dark, almost black, and have smooth, lustrous exteriors, appear to be composed of a yet-to-be-identified type of mineral. Indications and reactions however suggest that it is a novel revelation.


Meanwhile, the electric property in the stones had some of the citizens believe they unearthed lithium. Still, reactions have been trailing the video with many netizens thinking that the stones are Vibranium.


But Vibranium is an imaginary resource from Marvel Comics that was conceived for the Blank Panther movie with the inherent ability to release and absorb kinetic energy. In the film, Black Panther’s costume is made from the hypothetical natural vibranium material which gives the Marvel creation unusual capabilities.

While it might not be completely clear what the stones in the clip are, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has a range of existing mineral and natural resources. According to geological investigations, the country is believed to have over 1,100 different minerals, including precious stones like gold and platinum, as well as industrial minerals like cobalt, tin, coltan, bauxite, lead, nickel, and tungsten.


The DRC also has great deposits of diamonds, copper, manganese, and zinc, as well as a substantial reserve of oil and natural gas.


Netizens have alluded to the idea that it could be Lithium since it is highly reactive and flammable and is used in batteries for movable electronic gadgets and electric cars.


With this discovery, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s status as a key African natural resource deposit has been reinforced and reiterated.


A looted ancient Egyptian sarcophagus that was on display at a US museum has been returned to Egypt.

The Green Coffin, which is 2.9 meters long, dates back to the Late Dynastic period, which spanned from 664 BC to 332 BC. It belonged to a priest called Ankhenmaat.

The Green Coffin was looted from the AbuSir necropolis in North Egypt by a global art trafficking network that smuggled it through Germany into the US in 2008. A collector then loaned it to the Houston Museum of Natural Science in 2013.

After an investigation that lasted several years, the Green Coffin was restored and formally handed over by the US diplomats at a ceremony in Cairo.

The restoration is part of the Egyptian government’s efforts to stop the trafficking of its stolen antiquities. Over the past years, there have been so many other repatriations; in 2021 alone, authorities in Cairo succeeded in getting 5,300 stolen artifacts returned to Egypt from across the world.

It was handed over at a ceremony following a news conference on Monday in Cairo by Daniel Rubinstein, the US charge d’affaires in Egypt. In attendance were Egypt’s foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and the country’s Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Ahmed Issa.

Sameh Shoukry said “a precious piece of Egypt’s history was recovered after cooperation with our friends in the US and after efforts that lasted for several years.”

Ethiopians mark crucial calendar celebration in color, style, prayers.

Millions of Ethiopian Orthodox Christians, on Wednesday 18th January 2023, began major activities marking the fourth intangible heritage of humanity, next to Meskel, the Geda system, and Fichee Chambalala – the Epiphany, or Timket, reminiscent of the travel of Jesus Christ from Galilee to River Jordan and his baptism by John the Baptist.


The festivities begin when high priests of the church depart from monasteries sited on five of the lake’s islands, flanked by clerics covered in robes of red, blue, white, and gold, all, in procession to mark Christ’s baptism, one of the holiest days on the Ethiopian Orthodox calendar.



Lake Ziway, 75 miles south of Addis Ababa, is the chest of this annual unique festival. In honor of the festival’s theme, believers accompany, the talbot, a replica of the Ark of the Covenant, to this local lake in an air of great festivity. The night is used up for praying and singing hymns, and by morning the congregation is blessed with holy water from the now-sanctified lake, using a hose. Some worshippers choose to submerge their faces directly into the lake, while children splash and play in the shallow ends, afterwards, the talbot is brought back to its church in a flamboyant parade.


The priests ceremoniously carrying the talbots, to their designated public spaces were accompanied by tens of thousands of singing and chanting faithful. Night-long prayers; including the Eucharistic Liturgy, precede the main festival on Thursday.

Abune Mathias, a patriarch of the Orthodox Church makes benediction and prayers, just before sprinkling holy water on the his benediction, the revered priest said the celebration was a reminder of the need for love, peace, and compassion, and love.



Similar rites took place across the country, including Gondar City, with faithful attending the festival in places designated for the festival. Each Talbot is returned to its respective church with an even more colorful ceremony with crowds singing spiritual songs.


The Epiphany, coined from the Greek word epiphaneia, meaning “manifestation”, is also called Feast of the Epiphany, Theophany, or Three Kings’ Day. It is fundamentally a Christian holiday honoring the first manifestation of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, represented by the Magi, and the manifestation of his holiness, as recorded at his baptism in River Jordan, and at his first miracle, at Cana in Galilee.



Aboard paddle boats called “tankwa”, motorboats, and kayaks, fashioned from stems of the Papyrus plant, laden with crosses and other icons, devotees dressed head-to-toe in white, crammed into whatever vessels they could find, converged on lakes.

For about two hours, the boats circle the “talbot” as those aboard sang and clapped before returning to Tembel, the lake shore.


45-year-old father, Tariku Tadesse, who traveled from Addis Ababa with his wife and two children to attend the ceremony for the first time, says “I chose to come here because first, it’s not far from Addis and also because it is unique. The ceremony starts and finishes on the water.”

Dazed economically by the Covid-19 pandemic, and the gradually receding conflict in Ethiopia’s north, Ethiopia continues to count on tourism as a source of optimism for many.


The deputy director of the Regional Tourism Commission, Nega Wedajo, says, confidently, that “bringing back tourism is very important,” pointing out that “the situation has improved” and that the country’s tourism industry is ready to launch to a higher height.

Also, local authorities are hopeful that through the Timkat celebrations, which have already put Gondar, a city west of the country, on the tourist map, their region will be promoted adequately.

The Ethiopian Federal police confirmed that the celebrations across the nation concluded without any security glitches.


Every Bride dream of having her wedding day. Butterflies’ flutters in her stomach as she is full of excitement. For a woman, her wedding day is one of the most important moments in her life. It is the moment in which she is given the right of being a wife and the joy of motherhood. Just as the wedding day is important, the events leading to the D-day is equally special. This event is done by the friends of the bride. Her friends come together to throw her a surprise bridal shower. The Bridal shower could be a luncheon theme, a dinner theme, a room theme or a park theme. This all depends on the themes chosen by the bride’s friends.

Most people feel the bridal shower is done only outside Africa. In Africa, bridal showers are being done by the bride’s friends. Every culture in Africa has a particular way it is done. For instance, the Zuru people from Kebbi State, Nigeria amongst several tribes does bridal showers in a unique way. Zuru is a community that are predominantly farmers. The architectural structure of an African storage room called a Rhumbu is still in existent. A popular festival held yearly is the Uhola festival. The men are adorned with skirt made of goat skin which are worn around the waist. Ropes with cowries on the sides are worn around the heads of the men.


For a bride to have her a bridal shower, the groom has to make his intentions known to the girl’s family. The groom gives gifts to the bride after the ceremony of Nagani – Inaso which according to Samuel, a native of Zuru community means “I see and I love”. The gifts are expected to presented in a bag which is then given to the bride. This shows that the union has been accepted by both Families. At the eve of the wedding, The Bride is surrounded by her friends in her parents’ house. Drummers are invited to the house to hit the calabash drums and other musical instruments to make the air full of traditional songs and dances. The bride is then surrounded by the older women who then share stories and advices her on how to handle her home as a new wife. Laughter can be held from the lips of the maidens as they get a glimpse of what being a married woman means. Her friends then convey their wishes to her through singing of songs.

The bride is then giving beauty treatment. She is bathed by an older woman. This bath is very special as the Lalle leaf is used in her bathing water. The Lalle leaf can be used in two forms. It can be grinded when dried and placed in her bathing water or the leaf can be soaked in her bathing water. It is believed that the Lalle leaf will make the bride fair. After a well-rested night rest, the bride is bathed with the lalle leaf and then adorned for wedding ceremony. The bride is led out with her friends in front wearing a bead strung across their chest, with powder rubbed on their necks, bead worn round their head with a knee length high waist skirt which is made of puckered dots on brown. The bride is adorned with a similar but different attire. Her skirt is a mixture of yellow and brown, her hair is pulled a bit higher and beads are used to wrap her head. Instead of one bead on her chest, the bride wears two beads which are intercrossed on her chest.  Beads are placed on her waist and she is seen holding an umbrella as she comes out to greet her in-laws.

When all the traditional rites have been observed, the marriage is then concluded. The bride’s best friend is asked to follow the bride to her husband’s home where she will stay with the couple for a week. The day after the bride arrives at her husband’s house, the people in the community brings their dirty clothes for her to wash. The bride and her friend then wash the clothes and choose a day for every cloth to be collected. The washing of the dirty clothes is expected to bring Goodluck to the bride.



Hollywood berths in Ghana

Nana Dakrabo is set to replicate Hollywood in Ghana, a west African Country.  The facility which is to be sited in 321 acres of space has an estimated financial value of $350m. This facility will host film and music schools, office space, concert halls, screening theaters, hotel crews, sound stages, recording studio, production facilities, and 240 acre backlot.


“I’ve been working so hard and I finally get an opportunity to share. I’m bringing a world-class film studio with recording studio, concert hall, and my favorite part, a film/music school in my region of Ghana. This will be the 1st film studio in all of West Africa.” Nana Dakrabo said on his Instagram page.  This project will be constructed in collaboration with the Washington D.C based WEG Studios; some popular actors like Koby Maxwell and Michael Blackson will play a prominent role in the project.


Since the announcement, many in entertainments space have demonstrated their desire to be part of the project in many ways. Some interest figures are directly volunteering to be part of this. “I would love to be part of this and assist; this is huge!” said Basheer Jones. “You’ve got my full support,” said Elorm Wealth. These desires are not far from his clarity in stating that he is more of just the visionary leader in this all-hands-on-the deck project. “I thank Jesus for the vision and for putting the people in my life that believe in this project and add tremendous value. Let’s make history!” Nana Dakrabo said on his Instagram page.


Nana Dakrabo 1, Mpuntuhene is a chieftaincy title conferred on him in the Asebu Kingdom in the central Region of Ghana; this royal name, when literally translated, means a Development Chief.

Nana Dakrabo                            

Michael B. Pratt, now addressed as Nana Dakrabo is a business mogul born in the United States of America. “I was born in Los Angeles and raised around celebrities and executives. Essentially, I was raised around Hollywood and now I will bring Hollywood to Ghana.” he said.

The steam to steer the development in Africa appears to be on the rise; just as Michael Pratt is pushing the ends, the likes of Akon has also been doing more to harness the enormous resources of Africa for future development.  In his words, NC Abram,  a winning actor, writer, and producer described the project as “For the land, For the culture, For the future.”.


The opening ceremony for the African’s Nations Championship was hosted yesterday, the 13th of January, 2023.

Super Eagles midfield maestro and former African legend, Austine Jay Jay Okocha was invited for the ceremony. He featured in five African Cup of Nations and was also part of the victorious 1994 set in Tunisia.

Other legends like Rabat Madjer who represented Algeria for 19 years and participated in two World Cups in 1983 and 1986 as well as the AFCON in 1990 guided the legends and welcomed them to his country.

A two time African champion and head of Cameroon Football Federation, Samuel Eto’o was part of this legendary group.

The opening ceremony was epic and the audience were served with cultural displays. They were taken on a tour through the cultures of Algeria.

Other legends like Didier Drogba, Asamoah Guan and Yaya Toure also graced the event.





Over a thousand followers assembled in the Atlantic coast town of Ouidah, a once important slave trade port, in Benin to celebrate the country’s 500-year-old traditional religion with voodoo festivities.


The ritual attracted people of African descent from different parts of the world chiefly because of their shared African heritage.

For them, discovering and preserving their ancestral roots is noble as well as interesting, so, they converge to watch the extravagant yearly rites of drumming, dance, and display of honor to gods and spirits.


The convergence did not come without some fizz for the country’s tourism and hospitality industry as natives and visitors enjoy different spectacles, native cuisines, attires, and relaxation spots, all amounting to a boost in revenue circulation.


As part of its development plan, the government has set aside a stretch of beachfront between the main city Cotonou and Ouidah as a special tourism zone for visitors, who it believes will also be keen to visit historical slave locations, pre-colonial palaces, and tour the natural marvels of Benin’s inland.


According to recent annual data from the World Tourism Organization, about 350,000 tourists visited Benin in 2020, although numbers have been growing progressively since 292,000 people visited in 2016.


The voodoo festivities, a traditional African spirit religion that spread to the Americas with the slave trade, were declared a national holiday in 1992.


This year followers of the religion from neighboring countries like Togo, Ghana, and Nigeria, as well as from distant locations like Haiti, Brazil, and the United States all converged to experience the national holiday, where performers, dressed as protectors of the night, dazzled in fascinating costumes delighting worshippers and tourists alike.


Dance groups gyrate to enthralling drumming and chant sessions as onlookers savor the sight while taking videos and pictures with their phones.


According to voodoo spiritual leader Daagbo Hounon Houna II, people come in swelling numbers because voodoo is no longer considered sorcery or barbarism.


Inland, in Savalou, the backyard of Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou, priests and luminaries set a chicken ablaze at the ceremony and then spread its blood and palm oil on a totem made with sand and cowrie shells, as part of the rites.


Voodoo is practiced by around 12% of the West African country’s population of 13 million people, but the authorities also want to use these deep mystical heritages and remarkable customs to attract more tourists and boost the agriculture-dependent economy.


Group dances and mystic costumes of the Ouidah festival were likely to be the highlight for many spectators.