Rio 2016

South Africa's 10 Biggest Moments of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

As the Games wrap up, it’s safe to say Team South Africa killed it. We look back at RSA's biggest moments of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.

Heading into Rio, South Africa’s olympic committee wanted double-digits’ worth of medals. They got their ten medals and so much more. With the Games officially wrapped up, it’s safe to say Team SA killed it. Here, we count down South Africa's ten biggest moments of the 2016 Summer Olympics.

10) Chad Le Clos Wins Silver in Men’s 200m Freestyle and Sets New African Record

Chad le Clos had an eventful week in Rio as the swimmer set out to top his two-medal 2012 Olympics debut. The 24-year-old from Durban began by earning South Africa their second medal of the Games and the third of his career with a silver in the men’s 200m freestyle. He also picked up an African record with a time of 1:45.20. China's first gold medalist swimmer, Sun Yang, came away with the win.

More was still to come from le Clos…

9) Cameron van der Burgh Returns to the Medal Stand and Kicks Off South Africa's Medal Streak with Silver in Men’s 100m Breaststroke

Swimmer Cameron van der Burgh brought home South Africa’s first medal of the Rio Games with a second-place finish in the men’s 100m breaststroke. The event's defending champion was bested by 21-year-old Brit Adam Peaty, who set a world record with a time of 57.13.

And although he came up short of a repeat victory, returning to the medal stand was still a ridiculous feat for the 28-year-old from Pretoria. As Sport24 reports, van der Burgh is just the seventh South African to medal at more than one set of Games, and just the second men’s 100m breaststroke gold medalist to make it back to the podium four years later.

“I’m really happy. It’s a been a tough four years‚ there’s been a lot of ups‚ a lot of downs‚ but winning a medal is something that’s tangible,” van der Burgh, who battled a serious shoulder injury post-London 2012, told reporters after the race.

8) Sunette Viljoen Becomes First South African Javelin Thrower to Medal in Olympic History

Competing in her fourth set of Games, veteran javelin thrower and former cricketeer Sunette Viljoen earned her first-career Olympic medal and South Africa's ninth of Rio with a silver in the women's javelin, the same event she placed fourth in four years ago at the London 2012 Games. Viljoen finished second, behind Croatia's Sara Kolak, with a first-attempt throw of 64.92m.

The 32-year-old from Rustenburg was South Africa's first (but not last) female medalist of the Rio Games, as well as the first South African javelin thrower to medal in Olympic history. According to Mamba, she was also Africa's first (but again, not last) openly LGBT athlete to medal in Rio.

7) Underdog Henri Schoeman Walks Away with Bronze in Men’s Triathlon

Heading into Rio, triathlete Henri Schoeman’s chances of medaling seemed slim. Even within Team South Africa, Schoeman’s teammate, Richard Murray, seemed like the safer bet. What’s more, a chest infection a week before the race came dangerously close to crippling his Olympic dreams right then. Schoeman only had medical clearance to compete just a day before the race.

But last Thursday, the 24-year-old South African swam, biked and ran the race of a lifetime. He finished in third, behind British brothers Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, with a time of 1:45:43. His teammate Murray finished in fourth.

Schoeman’s bronze marked South Africa’s first time medaling in an Olympic triathlon.

"There are no words to describe it,” he said after the race. “You can't beat the feeling of having a medal round your neck. I'm excited and proud, I've made Africa proud.”

6) Akani Simbine Makes History as the First South African to Qualify for the Men’s 100m Final Since 1932

Sprinter Akani Simbine didn’t medal, but his performance in the men’s 100m deserves respect. The 22-year-old from Kempton Park, Johannesburg, ran a phenomenal race and proved he could his own against the world's fastest men, Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin.

Simbine, who holds South Africa's 100m national record, came in fifth with a time of 9.94 seconds. He was just .01 shy of Jamaica’s Yohan Blake in fourth and .03 off of Canada’s Andre De Grasse in third.

Lining up to the final was a historic feat in itself. In doing so, Simbine became the first South African to qualify for the men’s 100m final since Danie Joubert in 1932. The young runner is definitely one to watch for at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London.

5) Rower Lawrence Brittain Beats Cancer and Wins Silver in Men's Pair with Shaun Keeling

Rowers Lawrence Brittain and Shaun Keeling picked up South Africa’s third medal of the Games with a bronze in the men’s pair. Clocking in at 7:02.51, they beat the third-place Italians by just over two seconds. New Zealand pulled away in first with a time of 6:59.71.

In October 2014, Brittain, now 25, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He’d been living with the condition for two years before undergoing six three-week cycles of chemotherapy. In February 2015, he completed his final chemo session. From then on, his focus was back to rowing. Less than 18 months later, he heads back to South Africa with an Olympic medal.

4) Luvo Manyonga Overcomes Demons and Wins Silver in the Men’s Long Jump

Luvo Manyonga leapt his way to South Africa’s sixth medal of the Games with a second-place finish in the men’s long jump. He was .01m off from picking up Team SA’s first gold of 2016. American Jeff Henderson eclipsed the South African jumper’s personal best on his sixth and final attempt.

Manyonga’s story is one of the most inspiring to come out of Rio. The South African track-and-field star battled years of drug addiction to place his stake in Olympic history.

“The demons have been trying to pull me down but look at my face … look at me standing here,” Manyonga told SASCOC after the race.

3) Chad le Clos Becomes South Africa’s All-Time Most Decorated Olympian with Silver in Men’s 100m Butterfly

Remember when we said le Clos was only just getting started? After medaling in the men’s 200m freestyle, the Durban swimmer had a bit of a hiccup when it came time for the 200m butterfly, the same event he famously won gold for (and beat his childhood hero, Michael Phelps) at the London 2012 Games. This time, Phelps walked away with gold and le Clos failed to medal.

But the South African swimmer recovered from the loss with a silver in the 100m butterfly. Miraculously, le Clos finished in a three-way tie with Phelps (in the last individual race of his career) and Hungary’s Laslo Sleh. The swimmers clocked in at 51.14 seconds. Singapore’s Joseph Schooling took home the gold with a time of 50.39.

Le Clos’ fresh silver brought South Africa’s medal count to five and his career tally to four, making him South Africa’s most decorated Olympian of all time.

2) Caster Semenya Wins Gold in the Women’s 800m

Caster Semenya may not have broken a world record as many were hoping, but she came, she ran and she conquered exactly as she set out to do. The 25-year-old middle-distance star from Polokwane brought home South Africa’s second gold of the Games with a first-place finish in the women’s 800m event.

In doing so, she set a new national record with a time of 1:55.28 and made history as the first black South African woman to win gold at the Olympics. Joining her on the medal stand were Burundi's Francine Niyonsaba and Kenya's Margaret Wambui.

In the weeks ahead she'll undoubtedly face haters (it's already started with sixth-place Brit Lynsey Sharp). But one thing is clear: standing by Semenya's side is an entire nation of supporters.

1) Wayde van Niekerk Wins Gold and Breaks Michael Johnson’s 17-Year World Record

Wayde van Niekerk performance last Sunday will go down as one of the all-time greatest Olympic showings.

Running from the unlikely outside lane of the men’s 400m event, the underdog from Cape Town took home South Africa’s first gold of the Rio Games and picked up a world record in the process. Clocking in at an unimaginable 43.03-seconds, the 8th-ranked South African outran two former Olympians (it wasn’t even close) and smashed American track-and-field great Michael Johnson’s 17-year 400m world record by .15 of a second.

Shortly after his win, NBC ran a segment on van Niekerk’s relationship with Ans Botha, his 74-year-old coach at the University of the Free State, as well as on van Niekerk’s mother, Odessa Swartz, a promising athlete in her own right who was prevented from competing at the international level by the then apartheid regime.

Van Niekerk heads home to South Africa with the world at his fingertips.

Still from "Kasala!"

Meet The Nigerian New Wave Director Behind the Film 'Kasala!'

One of Naija cinema's new wave, Ema Edosio talks about what it took to film her exciting new film in the streets of Lagos.

Ema Edosio is the director of "Kasala", a comedy set in present day Lagos and centers on the lives of four young men who go on a joyride to a party in a Honda Accord one of them has taken from his boss Taju without permission. Their evening is ruined when one of them crashes Taju's Honda breaking the windscreen and denting the car's body. With just four hours before Taju returns home, all four boys hustle around Lagos to raise money for the car repair.

Taju, who is a struggling butcher, is faced with a big problem of his own: his debtor has just given him an ultimatum to pay back money he's long owed. Bitter and frustrated, Taju's retribution will be double-fold, if he returns home to find his Honda is damaged. The four friends do not need more another reason to expect the worse from Taju if they're not able to fix his Honda before gets home in the next four hours.

"Kasala" is a vivid portrayal of contemporary Lagos and a riotous combination of physical comedy, inventive turns of phrases combined with fluid camera work and committed performances from some of the young and bright African acting talents.

Written by Temi Sodipo and directed by Ema Edosio—who is also the cinematographer and editor—"Kasala" was chosen for the closing gala of the 2018 edition of Film Africa in London this November, out of a total of 39 films from 15 countries.

Edosio flew into London for the film's UK premier at the Rich Mix cinema to a largely pan-African crowd who lapped up the rollicking comedy. Ahead of her trip to the UK, Okay Africa spoke to Edosio about her debut feature, the joys and challenges of shooting on location in Lagos and the rise of Nigeria's so called "Naija New Wave" cinema.

Photo courtesy of Ema Edosio

The fast pace and energy in Kasala is constant all through the film. Was this a deliberate injection or did it come as a result of the writing?

I worked as a video journalist for the BBC and I would go into the streets of Lagos to film, and I would see everything that made Lagos what it is: the traffic, the smell, the dirt, the vibe, the energy, the people. And I wanted to make a story that is authentic and that is the reason why I decided to make Kasala this way.

All the four friends and main characters jell naturally it would seem. How did you get them to work well together?

When I conceived of the film, I knew that I didn't want to work with any "known" faces. I knew that I wanted unknown actors. So I put out an audition call and these boys worked into the room and I told them to read together. And immediately it was like magic.

Why do you think they're largely unknown to the majority of Nigerian movie watching audience?

I think one of the reasons is there's not a lot of movies written about young people. Most of the scripts are for a certain kind of male character: the superhero who goes to save the damsel in distress, and the hunk and a lot of roles are not written for these amazing actors and that's why they're largely unknown.

Tomiwa Tegbe who plays "Effiong" is a good comic actor and has been in "On The Real (Ebony Life TV)" and "Shuga (MTV)". What does Kasala bring out in Tomiwa Tegbe that these other directors and film material that do not?

The thing that made Tomiwa Tegbe and the rest stand out in Kasala is that I gave them freedom to act and I wasn't micromanaging them. They became very comfortable in order to do their best to the film.

The cast as a whole is largely new and young with Jide Kosoko easily the most experienced. Why did you cast him for the role and not yet another "unknown" face?

The reason is I couldn't afford to hire known faces to work in the film and I honestly didn't have the budget. I [also] wanted to bring in a sense of familiarity and that is why I got Jide Kosoko. Even though they're guys are unknown, and they're are fantastic "here is someone you know who is in this movie playing with these amazing actors" which is why I worked with Jide Kosoko.

The different locations in the film are those of back corners, mechanic garages, meat market, communal flats most of which have the red and brown of rust and decay gives the cinematography a visual harmony. How much attention did you give to finding the right locations?

I think I made Kasala with a vengeance. I've had the privilege to work with Ebonylife tv which was beautiful but Kasala kept pulling me in: the people I met in the streets, the things I'd done on the streets of Lagos, the visual aesthetic kept pulling and I decided to make that. I wanted to see Lagos, I wanted to see barbwires. I wanted to see gutters, I wanted to see the people. I knew that the location was a character on its own. And I wanted to be able to find the right location that would be able to represent that boys and the lives they live in Lagos. I'm forever grateful for the people there who let us film there.

Your camera adopts the often frenetic pace of the film and is rarely still for long. Why this visual approach?

I'm very influenced by Guy Ritchie, Edgar Wright, Spike Lee and Martin Scorsese. And I would always say to myself that "these characters in their films can be Nigerians". I think that the camera should be fluid, breathe, move with the audience showing us "oh yeah this is a wide, oh yeah this is a close up". My influence by these directors was what I put into Kasala. And this is what made the film dynamic.

Are there any interesting, unplanned events during shooting which you could share with our readers?

Shooting in Lagos is one of the hardest thing to do. You have these agberos [louts] who come to you and literally want to take your equipment. I went with a very small crew and I'm very petite and they would see me and say "who is this small girl? She doesn't have money. Leave her alone, let her shoot". I started bringing them into the film to act and it was very beautiful seeing them react to it. One of the most interesting things is the children in the estates [on location] who act in the film, the joy and the playfulness. In some ways we brought back some joy and some fun into the neighbourhood.

Still from "Kasala!"

Did you worry much about what may be lost to foreign audiences who may not be clued up the pidgin English and "Nigerianisms" used in the film?

You can't come to Lagos and make a film about the slum in English. I felt like the pidgin English was as important as the location. My mind was not about where the foreign audience would accept it or whatever. My mind was "how do I make a film that is authentic to Nigeria? How do I make a film that would show of Lagos?" It would do no justice to use English.

Who are the other key players in Nigeria's "nu wave" film and tv you would like to highlight?

When you talk about new wave key players you're talking about Abba Makama whose film "Green White Green" inspired me to make "Kasala". CJ SeriObasi, ImoEmoren, Jade Sholat Siberi, Kemi Adetiba. So many new directors are springing out nollywood. And they're new directors making amazing stuff. I'm really really excited about the future.

How did you raise the funding needed to make "Kasala"?

When I wanted to make Kasala, it was not the kind of story people would fund. I decided in order to bring this story to live, to use the skills I'd gained over the years—to produce, direct, shoot and edit. Not because I wanted to be in control, because I didn't have the budget. That is the sport of new director coming in now. We're fighting against all odds and it is now beginning to be clear that it's way beyond nollywood. Kasala has been to over 20 international festivals and counting. And there an audience for our films, there's an audience for our voices.

What are you expectations for it at the festival?

I really don't know what to expect. I just hope that they love the film. For the Nigerians in the diaspora,I hope that it brings back memories of Lagos. For black people I hope it gives them a sense of how we are back home to help them connect with us as Africans. For the foreign audience I hope that they see a Nigeria of passion, of community, of tenacity, of brotherhood of love.

"Kasala" will be released worldwide on December 7th


Indomie: Unpacking a Nigerian Tradition

What does Nigeria's way of preparing this beloved brand of instant noodles say about the country as a whole?

Before I came to Lagos in September to begin a collaborative performance project, I imagined all the ways the place would challenge all I had read and heard about it, and all the ways it might remind me of my home, Trinidad and Tobago. Of all the kernels of similarities I've encountered so far, Indomie is perhaps the most intriguing.

Indomie, a brand of instant noodles originating in Indonesia, has become the household name for all instant ramen noodles in Nigeria.

As a child, I would make Top Ramen, but ours was far less intentionally adorned. I had never seen anyone add anything but Golden Ray. I would try to be fancy with my own and add eggs, but they never quite attained Naruto ramen standards.

Indomie was my first meal in Nigeria. I had arrived in Lagos about two hours earlier. In those two hours I had seen something of the character of the city. In the midst of the clouds of dust and engine exhaust fumes I saw a woman almost fall out the car she was getting into, I saw men sitting atop a truck, like wrinkles in the night sky fabric, I saw selling, so much selling and buying and haggling. It seemed to me that everything was happening here.

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Fela Kuti's 'Zombie' Is Coming Out On Limited Edition 8-Track

"Zombie" and "Mr. Follow Follow" are available in the nostalgic 8-track cartridge.

"Zombie," Fela Kuti's 1976 protest anthem and scathing attack on the Nigerian military, is getting an 8-track re-release.

Knitting Factory Records, Kalakuta Sunrise and Partisan Records have made 300 limited editions copies of Zombie/Mr. Follow Follow which you can pre-order now ahead of its December 7 release.

Fela Kuti's classic song uses zombies as a metaphor for soldiers mindlessly following orders. The song is thought to have triggered the Nigerian government's horrific assault on the Kalakuta Republic, in which the compound burned to the ground, Fela was brutally beaten and his mother, Nigerian feminist icon Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, was murdered.

You can pre-order Zombie/Mister Follow Follow on 8-track now and read more about each song from Mabinuori Kayode Idowu's text accompanying the release below.

Purchase Fela Kuti's Zombie/Mr Follow Follow on 8-Track

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