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An African Minute: Online Dating Community For Africans


In this edition of 'An African Minute' we talk to Tunde Kehinde, one of the founding members of  the online dating community for Africans Bandeka.com. In Swahili, 'Kubandika' means "to attach/affix" which gives the site a specifically African name that captures the human desire for meaningful connection. At Okayafrica, we're all about companionship, but unfortunately we're still waiting for our invite to join this exclusive dating website.

1. Given that Bandeka is an invite only community, how do you target your audience?

The implicit promise we make to the Bandeka community is that we will make sure members meet only quality people; well educated professionals who have had exceptional success in many respects.

We accomplish this in 2 ways: The first is by organizing our mixers which we have held across the world in London, New York and Kampala among other cities. People attend these cocktail events and have great conversations. This way, we actually meet the people and talk to them before sending invites. The second way we really can’t share – you can probably understand that it really is an integral part of our secret sauce.

2. According to Forbes, Bandeka is "probably the most elite social network in Africa’s web sphere," what level of education is "the cut-off"? How do you screen/vet people?

We get this question quite a bit and can understand the curiosity. The short answer is we don’t quite think of cut-offs. What we can say is that the majority of our members have a bachelors degree from a top-tier university, typically in the US or UK. Another sizable number have master’s degrees. But, let’s be clear, we don’t have some stated Bandeka cut-off. We think elite Africans come in all shapes and forms.

3. What would you say are the most typical debates in the bulletin/forum section of your site? or what has been the most popular topic since launching in October?

Bandeka has a feature called Pillow Talk. What’s exciting about Pillow Talk is it allows us to spur dialogue on high-interest topics such as gender roles, sex and inter-racial dating in a safe environment for our members. A recent question asked by one of our members was “is it better for the marriage/relationship if the woman handles the household chores”? On the surface it sounds weird and probably gendered, but many women agreed it was something they struggled with – African men wanting well-educated women as intellectual peers, yet expecting women to cook and clean as well.

4. With the continent on current uproar about LGBT rights, is Bandeka LGBT friendly? How have you incorporated this demographic into your target audience?

We try not to get into people’s business in that way. Our promise is to help African professionals and students meet other exceptional Africans outside their immediate social circle. We haven’t found member’s sexual preferences to be a big hindrance to this central promise so we have no discriminatory policies on that.

5.Due to connectivity issues, most Africans on the continent log on to the internet via their mobile phones. Are there any ventures into developing or innovating new apps to reach mobile users on the continent?

You’re right on the money on this one. There are close to 700 million mobile subscriptions in Africa alone. Add to that folks in the diaspora who enjoy the convenience of being able to access most services on their mobile devices. We’re currently working on a Bandeka mobile app. We believe such an app could allow us to serve customers better including adding location-based services.

Check out all of OKA’s African Minute interviewees – folks whose work reflects a new perspective of Africa:

Congolese superstar rapper Hugo Million

South African fashion designer Gareth Cowden

Nigerian songstress Zara Gretti

Zimbabwean celebrity hair and make up stylist Jackie Mgido

Kenyan comic artist Chief Nyamweya

This YouTube Account Is Sharing South African Audiobooks For Free, And We Are Here For It

Listen to audiobooks by Steve Biko, Bessie Head, Credo Mutwa, and more.

Audio Books Masters is a YouTube channel that uploads audio versions of South African books and short stories.

Recent additions include Life by Bessie Head, Crepuscule by Can Themba, Indaba, My Children by Credo Mutwa, among others. South African poet Keorapetse Kgositsile, who passed away three weeks ago, also gets read. You can listen to his poem No Serenity Here. More books you can stream include I Write What I Like by Steve Biko, Africa is my Witness by Credo Mutwa, among others.

Audio Book Masters was started by two friends, Bonolo Malevu (24) and Hahangwivhawe Liphadzi (23).

Malevu is a University of Pretoria BA Drama graduate, who is currently doing his LLB. Liphadzi is an LLB graduate, who is completing his LLM this year.

"I found a hobby of narrating books to craft my art skill after reading Credo Mutwa's Indaba, My Children," says Malevu in an email to OkayAfrica. "After reading the prologue, I knew that this book was meant to be converted [to] many different formats such as stage plays, series, movies and audiobooks."

Then came the idea of creating a YouTube channel. That was when Malevu teamed up with Liphadzi.

They both bought themselves high quality recorders, and started reading, recording and uploading.

Authors from the olden days such as RRR Dhlomo and HIE Dhlomo, whose audio versions of their books are available on the channel, are older than 50 years and their copyrights have since expired.

The rest, though, Liphadzi and Malevu say they are trying to get in contact with the publishers, but it's not easy.

"We have contacted the Department of Trade Industry (DTI) regarding this issue," they say. "We have been in contact with various copyright holders and we are still in the negotiation process. However we are finding it difficult to contact certain publishers, and the consistent uploading of their books is to attract their attention."

The two friends say they started the channel to bring books closer to people who otherwise wouldn't have access, and to get people to appreciate literature, especially African authors. "We want to bring such literature to the digital age in the form of storytelling which has been a unique African form of literature," they say. "The channel also helps develop our voices as we are a voice company that offers all kinds of voice services. We also identified how South African authors lack audio books, and found that there is a gap in this market, and this could really create many job opportunities in South Africa."

The two are currently developing stories in indigenous languages for children in English medium schools. "This is drawn from the fact that in such schools, a lot of African students struggle to speak their own native languages. So we approach various schools to sell them such literature. We are freelance voice over artists who also do radio, content production, news reading and radio adverts."

We are so here for this.

Subscribe to Audio Books Masters' YouTube channel and follow them on Twitter.

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Nigerian Actor Sope Aluko On How She Landed a Coveted Role in ​'Black Panther​'

Marvel's Black Panther is already on the brink of being a blockbuster, as it already broke box office records within the first 24 hours of it's pre-sale. Beating Captain America: Civil War's record in 2016, Fandango reports results from a user survey, stating Black Panther was 2018's second most-anticipated movie after Avengers: Infinity War.

One up-and-coming actor who will star alongside Lupita Nyong'o, Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan (to name a few) is Sope Aluko. Come February 16, we'll see the Nigerian-born actor play 'Shaman' in the film. Her previous credits include recurring roles on Netflix's “Bloodline," NBC shows “Law & Order SVU" and “Parks & Recreation" and guest appearances on USA Network's “Burn Notice" and Lifetime's “Army Wives."

Her film credits include supporting roles in feature films including Identity Thief, 96 Minutes, Grass Stains, The Good Lie and more. Raised in the UK, Aluko studied acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA) and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA). Aluko speaks four languages, including her native language, Yoruba, French, and Bahasa, an Indonesian language.

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Music

Femi Kuti Spreads Some Much-Needed Peace In the Video For 'One People One World'

Watch the music video for the first single off Femi Kuti's upcoming EP "One People One World."

Femi Kuti drops the music video for his single "One People One World," the title song from his forthcoming 10th studio album.

The energy boosting music video sees Femi Kuti delivering an electrifying performance in the Kuti family-owned New Afrika Shrine in Lagos.

On the track, the accomplished musician promotes an unwavering message of peace and unity—things that the world could perhaps always use more of, but especially so in today's Trump-dominated political climate. His message of positivity is illustrated with graphics that appear throughout the video, showing various country flags and symbols of love and peace.

"Racism has no place, give hatred no space," Kuti sings atop brassy instrumentals. "Let's settle the differences, it's best to live in peace. Exchange cultural experiences; that's the way it should be," he continues.

"One People One World," (the album) is a plea towards global harmony and solidarity. When you look at what's going on in Africa, Europe and America, it's important to keep the dream of unity alive," the artist told OkayAfrica in November.

"When I was a boy, I listened to funk, highlife, jazz, folk songs, classical music and my father's compositions, so you will hear those things in the music."

"One People, One World" by Femi Kuti and his band, the Positive Force, drops on February 23 via Knitting Factory, and is now available for preorder.

Femi Kuti, 'One People One World' cover.

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