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Arts & Culture

The 26th Pan-African Festival of Cinema and Television (FESPACO) Kicks Off In Burkina Faso

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From Saturday 23 to Saturday 2 March 2019 Burkina Faso will come alive with the Pan-African Festival of Cinema and Television (FESPACO 2019). This 26th edition also marks the 50th anniversary of FESPACO which was first launched in Ouagadougou in 1969, the capital of then Upper Volta. However, the biennial festival is now a pilgrimage of some sorts for African filmmakers. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Confronting our memory and forging the future of a pan-African cinema in its essence, its economy and its diversity.” Explaining the theme, the organizers said,

…[it’s about] putting African cinema and African filmmakers at the center of our concerns.

This year 20 feature films will be competing. The list of the 20 films was earlier unveiled in January at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris by Ardiouma Soma, the General Delegate of FESPACO. However, Soma also explained the rigorous selection process,

…the majority of the films that were submitted to us were of quality. [Therefore] this is what brings us to present this selection a little late because the work was really difficult to make the choice of films. We cannot show in a week all the quality films we have received.”

The challenges of filmmaking in Africa

Three of the selected 20 films are from Burkina Faso. In total, there are 7 categories cut across TV series, documentary, fiction, animation films, and African film schools. Soma added that about 165 films were selected in total to cover all the categories,

And we have selected 21 documentary feature films that, for the first time, will also compete for the Yennenga Gold Standard in their category.

There will be a series of workshops at the 26th FESPACO event. The workshop will give filmmakers the opportunity to talk about the challenges and changes in the industry.

FESPACO Awards

The festival keeps an eye for the best African film that has told an African story in a distinctive way. However, the hallmark of the event is the award of Etalon de Yennenga for the best feature film.  The golden statue represents the stallion of Yennenga, a beautiful African princess and cultural icon who was also a very independent woman and a fierce warrior. She is considered by the Mossi to be the mother of their Empire.

Closing Ceremony of the 25th Pan-African Film and Television Festival (FESPACO): Alain Gomis’ ‘Félicité’ feature film wins the Yennenga Gold Standard

The finalist vying for the award this year’s award are:

#1 – Five Fingers for Marseille – A South African Xhosa western movie. 20 years earlier, ‘Five Fingers’ fought for the rural town of Marseilles, against brutal police oppression. Now, after fleeing in disgrace, freedom-fighter-turned-‘outlaw’ Tau returns to Marseilles, seeking only a peaceful pastoral life. When he finds the town under a new threat, he must reluctantly fight to free it.

ALSO READ: 5 Must Watch African Centered Movies Streaming on Netflix (January 2019)

#2 – Keteke – This is a move about the impromptu adventure of a Ghanaian couple who want to have their baby in Atswei’s village. They miss the only train to Atswei which runs weekly, forcing them to seek alternative transportation and launching them on an unexpected journey through rural Ghana.

#3 – Miraculous Weapon – This is a story based in South Africa of three women and the death row convict they are all in love with.

#5 – Alain Gomis, a French-Senegalese director, took the prize in the last edition (2017) for the film Félicité.

Are you attending the FESPACO 26th? Share the experience with us in the comment box below.

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Music

Top 10 Most Popular Songs From Davido

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Unlike many artists that base their success on the number of studio albums they have, Davido has just one. However, since coming into the music industry in 2011 he has not shown signs of slowing down. Each year he thrills fans with solo tracks or collaborations that quickly turn to an anthem. Here are 10 of Davido’s most popular songs.

  1. Fall

Not many critics gave Davido a chance when he released Fall in 2017. Fall was his second single for the year and a follow-up to ‘IF’. However, a few weeks after its release ‘Fall’ became the top pick for most celebrations, thanks to its comic love lyrics. With over 100 million YouTube views and platinum rank by the Recording Industry of South Africa (RISA), ‘Fall’ is by far his most popular song.

  1. If

Released in February 2017, ‘If’ has garnered over 77 million views on Youtube. The phrase ‘30 billion for the account’ has become a popular slogan in the country and beyond. ‘If’ also earned the singer awards like Best African Act (MTV EMA), Best Worldwide Act, and Artist of the Year.

  1. Aye

Aye is a love song. Released days before Valentine’s Day gave the song a head start. The lyrics which separates true love from materialism quickly caught the attention of fans. Davido went ahead to win the prestigious Headies song of the year award in 2014 for Aye. Aye has over 53 million views on YouTube.

  1. FIA

Davido fans will not forget 2017 in a hurry. Late in that year Davido released FIA which is another love song told in a comic way. Fia has also garnered over 59 million views on YouTube

  1. Skelewu

The popularity of skelewu cannot be separated from its unique dance step. At that time people were scampering to participate in what would have been tagged ‘Skelewu dance challenge’ today. Ace footballers like Samuel Eto’o and Emmanuel Adebayo were caught dancing to the song.

  1. Assurance

Davido is familiar with drama and keeps his love affair public. Earlier in 2018, Davido broke the Internet when he released the song ‘Assurance’ dedicated to his long-time girlfriend, Chioma. What thrilled fans the most is the Porsche with a custom plate number ‘Assurance’ the artist gifted his girlfriend. The song has over 36 million views on YouTube.

  1. Dami Duro

Full of energy and new in the industry, ‘Dami Duro’ was more of a statement of his intention. The song and its strong beat quickly became a major club song. The song also won the ‘Hottest single of the Year’ at the Nigeria Entertainment Awards.

  1. Back When

‘Back When’ is one of Davido’s breakthrough songs. It was the first off his debut album, ‘Omo Baba Olowo’. He featured established rapper, Naeto C on the track. The single won him the 2012 ‘Best Newcomer’ at the Kora Awards.

  1. Ekuro

Davido’s history of love songs began with Ekuro which was released in 2012. After making a hard entrance the previous year, Davido showed off his romantic side in Ekuro. The success of Ekuro paved way for other romantic hits.

  1. All of You

Davido used this track to pay respect to veterans like D’banj, P-Square, and 2baba who were already household names. Released in 2012, ‘All of you’ quickly became a hit.

Which of Davido’s songs do you like the most?

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Books

Zambian Author Wins The Commonwealth Short Story Prize For Africa

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Commonwealth Short Story Prize has announced the list of regional winners. Zambia’s Mbozi Haimbe is Africa’s regional winner. However, she is the second Zambian to achieve that feat. Haimbe won the Commonwealth Short Story Prize for her short story, “Madam’s Sister”.

The last time someone from Zambia won a commonwealth story prize was in 2007. Ellen Banda-Aaku took home the Commonwealth Short Story Competition (now defunct) for her short story, “Sozi’s Box”. Reacting to the announcement, Haimbe said,

“I am absolutely thrilled to have been selected as the regional winner and feel privileged to contribute to Africa’s literary landscape. Although a social worker by profession, I have always considered myself a writer. Winning the regional prize validates my aspiration. I thank the judges, and give acknowledgment to Zambia, which remains deeply influential to my writing.”

A brief biography of Mbozi Haimbe

The story of Mbozi Haimbe is a reassurance that you can aspire any height irrespective of your background. Notwithstanding Haimbe was born and raised in Lusaka, Zambia she believed she could make it to the global stage. Consequently, her passion for writing led her to the University of Cambridge where she completed an Mst in Creative writing in 2018. Mbozi Haimbe is currently working on a short story collection inspired by African events. The summary of her Commonwealth Short Story Prize-winning story, “Madam’s Sister” says,

“The arrival of madam’s sister from London causes upheaval within the household but has an unexpected bonus for the guard, Cephas.”

Each regional winner will get £2,500. However, the global winner selected from the regional winners will get £5,000. Till date, only one African has been able to will the overall prize. Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi went ahead to win the overall prize in 2014 after winning the regional prize for her short story, “Let’s Tell This Story Properly”.

About the Commonwealth Short Story Prize

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is an annual award open from 1st September to 1st November every year. Authors from commonwealth regions are encouraged to submit unpublished short story between 2,000 and 5,000 words. Now in its 8th year, the Commonwealth Short Story Prize received a total of 5,081 entries. However, this was streamlined to 21 shortlists. Sixteen of the 53 British Commonwealth nations made it to the shortlist. Speaking about the regional winners, Caryl Phillips, one of the jurors for the 2019 competition said,

“The regional winners of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize explore a remarkably diverse range of subject-matter, including stories about war, love, abuse, and neglect. What unites the stories is a common thread of narrative excellence and dramatic intensity. The voices of a truly global cast of characters enable us to engage with, and recognize, universal emotions of pain and loss.”

Submission of entries for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize can be in Turkish, Tamil, Swahili, Samoan, Portuguese, Malay, Greek, English, Chinese, and Bengali. However, English translations of shorts stories in other languages are also eligible. The Digital Director and Online Editor and Granta, Luke Neima, said,

“This year’s Commonwealth Short Story Prize-winning stories showcase the short story in a range of guises, innovations of form that stretch but never exhaust the potential of the short story to address the regional and universal questions this gifted crop of authors seeks to address. These outstanding stories capture the breadth of talent writing today across the Commonwealth.”

Other regional winners

In total, there are 5 regions considered for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. This includes Africa, Asia, Canada & Europe, Caribbean, and Pacific. The other regional winners and their stories are;

  • Asian Winner: Saras Manickam from Malaysia for “My Mother Pattu”
  • Canada and Europe Winner: Constantia Soterious from Cyprus for “Death Customs”
  • Caribbean Winner: Alexis Tolas from The Bahamas for “Granma’s Porch”
  • Pacific Winner: Harley Hern from New Zealand for “Screaming”.

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TV and Movies

Nigeria’s Uzo Aduba Plays First Black Female Congress Member In Upcoming FX Series

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Uzo Aduba, the Nigerian-American sensational actress will play Shirley Chisholm in upcoming FX series, ‘Mrs. America’. Shirley Chisholm was the first black woman to gain entry into the United States Congress. From 1969 to 1983, she represented New York’s 12th congressional district. However, this is not the only ‘first’ in her record. Breaking the news on her official Instagram page @uzoaduba she said,

“Telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Excited to share! Link in bio”

In 1972, Shirley Chisholm became the first black candidate to run for president of the United States under the Democratic platform. Joining Uzo Aduba in this epic series are Sarah Paulson, Rose Byrne, James Marsden, and Cate Blanchett.

A peek into Mrs. America

Mrs. America tells the story of how a group of conservative women fought for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Undoubtedly, this is one of history’s toughest cultural wars. Leading the war was Phyllis Schlafly, a role played by Oscar-winning actress, Blanchett. However, the culminating events changed the political landscape forever. It also led to the rise of the Moral Majority.

Dahvi Waller, the Emmy-winning producer will also be the executive producer of Mrs. America. Waller will share this role with Blanchett, Ryan Fleck, Anna Boden, Coco Francini, and Stacey Sher. The directors of the first two episodes will be Boden and Fleck. The duo is famous for co-writing and directing Captain Marvel. Mrs. America will premiere as a nine-episode series. However, there is no release date for the series just yet.

Uzo Aduba’s career and awards

Uzo Aduba came to limelight in 2007 after starring in ‘Coram Boy’. She is currently the first actress to win an Emmy in drama and comedy. She won the 2014 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy for her role in Netflix’s ‘Orange is the New Black’. The following year she won the Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. The other person to have won Emmy in comedy and drama is Ed Asner. However, these are not her only achievements.

Uzo Aduba has also won the SAG Award in 2015 and 2016 for Best Actress in Comedy. Three times, she has won the Best Ensemble in a Comedy (2015, 2016, and 2017). This is a rare opportunity to tell the story of past heroes to future generations.

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