Germaine Acogny is in her 70s and there are no signs her love for the stage will relent any time soon. Her solo Tchouraï, created in 2001 and choreographed by Sophiatou Kossoko, has been enjoyed by audiences in Europe, the US and China. In it, you can see Acogny, dressed in a robe and carrying a cane, in a series of dramatic moves. The performance is rich in symbolism, including in one scene where she carries a mask while wearing a solemn expression on her face. Each of Acogny’s performances represents a world view that comes from having lived through a storied life.
“Tchouraï is about being born again,” she explains, “and also to fight against people who come to get me down. The mask represents the idea of death; I’d like to be not afraid of death. I try to fight, but not to be sad about it. It’s very powerful.”
She will be performing two signature solos: Somewhere at the Beginning and Mon élue noire-sacre # 2 (My Black Chosen One) at this year’s World Culture Festival by Leisure and Cultural Services Department, titled Vibrant Africa.
Three Rwanda Genocide Survivors Inspire Next Generation Of Camera Kids
The 1994 genocide in Rwanda led to the death of about 500,000 to 1,000,000 Tutsis. However, 25 years on, some of the genocide survivors are making a difference using the art of photography. Mussa Uwitonze, Gadi Habumugisha, and Jean Bizimana lost their parents during the genocide. While at the Imbabazi Orphanage in 2000, they were introduced to photography at ages eight and nine when nonprofit, Through the Eyes of Children, partnered with the orphanage.
Today the trio are working as professional photographers. Bizimana is a photojournalist with Reuters Africa while Uwitonze and Habumugisha are documentary photographers. In the past few months, the trio are exploring Rwanda, interviewing genocide perpetrator and survivors to document the forgiveness so far.
A Twist Of Fate For This Genocide Survivors
The fate of the trio changed when a photographer visited the country. Each time he took pictures children will flock around in excitement to see. So the photographer was curious at the type of pictures the children would take if given the opportunity. Explaining their unlikely twist of fate, Habumugisha said,
“He came to our orphanage and chose a group of 19 out the 100 kids, taught us some basics of photography and gave us disposable cameras. We went out to the community to take pictures and what surprised him is that the images we took were images of life and development of Rwanda.”
Soon after, the project leaders began promoting their pictures around the neighborhood, museums, universities, and Kigali. However, their works got the attention of international photographers because they took rare images. This was because they were part of the community, therefore free to take pictures foreigners couldn’t.
Early Years In Photography
After the close of the orphanage, the three became professional photographers. They began documenting activities at conferences and non-profit organizations. Consequently, they also decided to share their photography skills for the benefit of other kids. The trio are taking the Through the Eyes of Children project global by teaching other vulnerable children and genocide survivors around the world photography.
The trio have shared their skills with young refugees in Boston and New Jersey. They have also reached out to children in foster homes as well as disabled students and genocide survivors. Reacting to their expanded Through the Eyes of Children project, Habumugisha said,
“Photography changed our lives because people got to learn about Rwanda through photography and they gave donations to the orphanage. Also, people appreciating our photos gave us hope that even though we were orphans, we had value in society and so we [want] to pass it forward to children in formidable states, so we came up with some workshops to teach children in school and later thought of going beyond to help vulnerable children so photography could help them too.”
The trio is now GroundTruth Film Fellows working on a documentary titled ‘Camera Kids’. Their amazing story will be part of the feature-length film. They are looking forward to opening a photography training center to give young people (including genocide survivors) the chance of making a decent livelihood.
173 Nigerian Children Book Authors Contest For The 2019 NLNG Prize For Literature
The Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited prize for literature is one of the most anticipated literary prizes in the country. It revolves around four genres; prose, poetry, drama, and children’s literature. This year, the prize is for children’s literature. The last time this genre was up for the prize was in 2015. However, this year’s edition received a 59% increase in entries compared to 2015.
The submission of entries to the literature prize which is now in its 15th year ran from February 15 to April 5, 2019. On Thursday, 11th April 2019, the eligible entries were handed over to the Advisory Board of the Prize. The Advisory Board received 173 entries and handed it over to the panel of judges at a ceremony in Lagos.
The Members of the Advisory Board and Judging Panel
Present at the handover ceremony includes Advisory Board member and judging panel. Notable among the dignitaries were Professor Jerry Agada (member Advisory Board), Professor Ayo Banjo (Chairman Advisory Board), Andy Odeh (Corporate Communication and Public Affairs Manager of NLNG), Professor Obododinma Oha (Chairman Panel of Judges) and Professor Asabe Usman Kabir (Prize Judge). During the handover, Professor Ayo Banjo said,
“As we deliver these 173 books for your vetting, we eagerly look forward to the discovery of yet another literary gem that will open up possibilities for millions of children not only in Nigeria but all over Africa. We can confidently say that the Nigeria Prize for Literature has brought some previously unknown Nigerian writers to public attention.”
Winner and Award of Prize
The unveiling of the winner for the NLNG Literature Prize will be at a ceremony in October 2019. This event will also coincide with the anniversary of the first Liquefied Natural Gas export on October 9, 1999. While receiving the 173 entries, the Chairman Panel of Judges, Professor Oha said,
“We have been saddled with a big responsibility and we will discharge our assignment credibly.”
The winner of the NLNG Literature Prize will receive $100,000. This is the highest prize for a literature contest in the country. Ten entries were also submitted for the Literary Criticism Prize. The winner of the Literary Criticism Prize will receive 1 million Naira.
The previous winner of the NLNG Prize for Literature in the children’s literature category include;
2007—joint winners Professor Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo (My Cousin Sammy) and Mabel Segun (Readers’ Theatre: Twelve Plays for Young People).
2011—Adeleke Adeyemi (The Missing Clock)
Check Out The Song That Took ‘Song Of The Year’ At The 2019 NAMA
It was a night of glitz and glamor on Saturday 13th April 2019 at the Harare International Conference Center for the 18th National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA). Celebrities and dignitaries were spotted at the center in scintillating outfits. There were musical performances by music stars like Enzo. However, the climax of the event was the award of plaques in different categories for outstanding works.
The music category always draws the most attention. However, this year had lots of surprise entries. The gospel sensation, Mai Patai was voted the best in the People’s Choice category. Patai recently broke the jinx in the Coca-Cola Radio Zimbabwe Top 50 by becoming the first woman to make it to the top three. Another female gospel musician whose hard work continues to pay off is Janet Manyowa. Manyowa won the Outstanding Female Musician award.
A Battle For Experience And Fame
One of the keenly contested categories at NAMA is the Outstanding Male Musician. Three superstars Baba Harare, Enzo Ishall and ExQ contended the award. However, many believe the ‘Nzenza’ crooner ExQ’s longevity and experience set him apart from his competitors. It was double honors for ExQ as his album ‘Tseu Tseu’ won the Outstanding Album. Although losing out of this category, Enzo’s hit track, ‘Kanjiva’ won the ‘Song of the Year’. Speaking to NewsDay Life & Style Enzo said,
“It is such a great honor to receive this award which I dedicate to my son and I would like to thank friends, family, and my fans as well as my producers for supporting me.”
Surprise Name On The Award List
One of the surprise names on the NAMA Award list was Long John, a rib-cracking comedian. Not many saw this coming. From John’s reactions, it is obvious he did not see it coming too. The vibrant comedian took to his Facebook to share his joy.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I’m in shock. I’ve never won anything in my life. But today I am so happy to announce that I’ve just Won the Outstanding Comedian Award. This is so unreal. I even have a certificate and everything. Thank you so much, everyone, for your support #VillageBoy.”
List OF NAMA Award Winners
Spoken Words Award
- Outstanding Poet: Likhwa Ncube
- Outstanding Comedian: Learnmore “Long John” Mwanyenyeka
Literary Arts Awards
- Outstanding First Creative Published Book: Gather the Children by Batsirai Chigama (Ntombekhaya Poetry)
- Outstanding Children’s Book: The City Girl by Elisha July and Tendai K. Rudanda (Pass-Point Publishers)
- Outstanding Fiction: Mazai Emheni by Daniel Mutendi (DanTs Media Publishing)
- Outstanding Actor: Teddy Mangawa in Ukama
- Actress: Qeqeshiwe M’thembo in The Hostel
- Outstanding Theatrical Production: Ukama by Savanna Trust
- Outstanding Director: Lloyd Nyikadzino for Zandezi
- Outstanding Female Dancer: Vein N Alfazema in Black Sheep
- Male Dancer: Martin Chabuka in 100% Afro
- Outstanding Dance Group: Real Flex Dance Group directed by Martin Chabuka
- Outstanding Choreographer: Macintosh Jerahuni and Chaleen Chimara – Iwe Neni Tinebasa
- Outstanding 2 Dimensional Work: The Demolition by John Kotze
- 3 Dimensional Work: Zvirimudombo by Shelton Mubayi
- Outstanding Mix Media Work: The Watchman and the Fence by Greg Shaw
- Outstanding Exhibition: The Grotesque by Alan Sibanda and Talent Kapadza
Film and Television Awards
- Outstanding Actor: Eddie Sandifolo as Clive in Bhachi
- Special Mention: Admire Kuzhangaira – in Death and Other Complications
- Outstanding Actress: Tendaishe Chitima as Anesu in Cook Off
- Outstanding Music Video: Dzamutsana ft. Jah Prayzah produced by Vusa Hlatshayo (aka Blaq)
- Outstanding Screen Production (Television Series): Kuchina The Genesis directed by Blessing Gatsi
- Special Mention: Gaza directed by Ben Mahaka
- Outstanding Screen Production – Short Film: Bhachi directed by Shupai Kamunyaru
- Outstanding Screen Production – Full-Length Film: Cook Off directed by Thomas Brickhill
- Outstanding Journalist – Print: Fred Zindi – The Standard
- Television: Patience Nyagato – ZTV
- Radio: Babongile Sikhonjwa (aka uMrifiti) – Sky Metro FM
- Outstanding Online Media: Capitalk
- Outstanding Female Musician: Janet Manyowa
- Male Musician: Enoch “ExQ” Munhenga
- Outstanding Album: Tseu Tseu by ExQ
- Outstanding Song: Kanjiva by Stephen “Enzo Ishall” Mamhere
- People’s Choice Award Winner: Mai Patai
- Artist in the Diaspora: Danai J. Gurira
- Outstanding Promoter: Unplugged Zimbabwe
- Arts Personality Award of the Year: Mokoomba
- Arts Service Award: The Standard Newspaper
- Lifetime Achievement Award: Charles Mungoshi
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