South Africa's AKA. Photo by Ginny Suss.

Here Are All The African Artists & Events To Catch At SXSW 2018

SXSW kicks off its Music, Film, Interactive, Comedy and Gaming Festivals today.

SXSW returns this year as the premier destination for discovery. Starting today through March 18, the conference and festivals continues to celebrate the film, music and interactive industries coming together to foster creative and professional growth.

Since Africa and its diaspora are on the steady mission of world domination, we had to highlight all things Africa during the festivities, from insightful panels and exciting performances by your favorite afrobeats stars.

Take a look at what you can't miss below.


The folks over at Insider presents Africa House—an official SXSW Interactive activation devoted to catalyzing partnerships between entrepreneurs and investors looking to do business in Africa.

"From South Africa's Silicon Cape to the Silicon Savannah of Kenya, African innovation is taking off. Africa is the future of global growth, and our goal for this program is to connect Africa to the rest of the world," Aubrey Hruby, co-founder of Insider, says. "Africa House will give entrepreneurs, founders, artists, and designers a platform to promote themselves globally while also providing prospective investors the opportunity to learn about the latest innovations Africa has to offer and how the continent's tech boom is reshaping the business, culture, and economic trajectory of many of its countries."

Take a look at a snippet of this weekend's exciting programming below. For the full schedule, click here.

Ready for Your Close-Up: Rewriting the African Script: Powered by Temple Motion Pictures. Participating companies include Temple Motion Pictures, Ebony Life and Kwese.

Africa has always been a huge consumer of Western TV and Film content. The tables have turned over the last decade and the continent is now looking inwards to satisfy its viewing appetites. Whilst production values have improved, there remain significant challenges. This plenary will explore what gaps exist in the Film and TV value chain and how individuals and companies can take advantage.

Dancing to the Afrobeat: The rise and rise of African music: Participating companies include RocNation, Abiola Oke, CEO of OkayAfrica, First Access Entertainment, Touch HD

African music is enjoying a global renaissance. Over the last five years, artists have risen from relative obscurity to global recognition. What business opportunities does the entertainment value chain provide for local talent? How can entertainment support services be developed?

#TheFutureIsFemale: Tobi Karim, Founder, The African Feminist in conversation with Afua Osei, Co-Founder, She Leads Africa.

The digital wave has often been credited with advancing the fourth wave of feminism, and nowhere is this truer than in Africa. In tech hubs across Africa, from Nairobi to Lagos, 46 percent of African startups are founded by women—compare this to 17 percent of American startups with female founders. Africa's rapidly expanding tech market is hungry for new talent, and women have eagerly stepped into—and succeeded within—this dynamic space. She Leads Africa and The African Feminist are companies that facilitate dialogue with African female business leaders and entrepreneurs to encourage increased female participation as women harness the digital wave.

#AfroFuturism: How African Superheros are Saving the Day: Featuring Roye Okupe, CEO, YouNeek Studios

Roye Okupe, author of award-winning graphic novel series' E.X.O. & Malika, will discuss how superhero stories inspired by African history and mythology reveal the true importance of diversity and how these narratives are changing the new entertainment landscape. Roye's goal is to put Africa on the map when it comes to comics & animation, inspiring as well as empowering children and adults alike.


Every year, SXSW hosts a decent number of African and diaspora musicians, who touch down in Austin, Texas to showcase their best live sets. We rounded up the acts you should catch this year at the festival:

Adekunle Gold (Nigeria)

AKA (South Africa)

Alsarah & The Nubatones (NYC/Sudan)

The Compozers (UK)

DJ Juls (UK/Ghana)

Donae'o (UK)

Ezra Collective (UK)

Kelela (USA/Ethiopia)

Kwesta (South Africa)

LAX (Nigeria)

Lorine Chia (Cameroon)

Mélat (USA/Ethiopia)

Mookomba (Zimbabwe)

Oshun (NYC)

OY (Germany/Ghana)

Pierre Kwenders (DRC/Canada)

Sammus (USA/DRC/Ivory Coast)

SassyBlack (USA)

Seyi Shay (Nigeria)

Wunmi (UK/Nigeria)

Yxng Bane (UK/Angola/DRC)

Sahad and The Nataal Patchwork (Senegal)

Remna Schwarz (Cape Verde/Guinea Bissau)

Sarahmée (Canada)

TIGA (Benin/France)

NIX (Senegal)

DJ Dollar Senegal (Senegal)


Check out these moments featuring African creatives during the conference and film portions of SXSW below.

The Quirky Black Lunch Table: Why You Need A Seat featuring Jacque Amadi of Adorned by Chi.

On Doing Better: A Convo featuring Luvvie Ajayi and Evelyn From The Internets.

2018 SXSW Gamer's Voice Awards featuring nominee Nyamakop's video game, South African game makers, Semblance.

Number 37 directed by South Africa's Nosipho Dumisa.

Pass Over by screenwriter Antoinette Nwandu, directed by Spike Lee.

Bobi Wine Set to Return Home to Uganda

Uganda authorities have already warned against welcoming rallies for the musician.

Bobi Wine is making his way home to Uganda after spending just over two weeks in the United States seeking medical treatment for injuries he sustained after being tortured while in military custody, he says.

The opposition lawmaker, who is currently out on bail following an alleged attack on President Yoweri Museveni's motorcade, shared the news on Twitter with a photo of himself at the airport this morning. "Headed Home," he wrote as a caption.

READ: "I'm Proud to Be Persecuted For the Truth:" Bobi Wine on the Fight for Freedom in Uganda

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News Brief

The Trailer for Faraday Okoro's Tribeca Film 'Nigerian Prince' Is Here

The film is due to hit U.S. theaters October 19.

The trailer for Nigerian filmmaker Faraday Okoro's debut feature Nigerian Prince is here, Shadow and Act reports.

We're a month away from the film landing in U.S. theaters and On-Demand since the film got acquired by Vertical Entertainment.

Revisit the synopsis below.

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(From left to right) Stéphane Bak and Marc Zinga in 'The Mercy of the Jungle.' Photo courtesy of TIFF.

Congolese Actor Stéphane Bak on His Intense Experience Shooting 'The Mercy of the Jungle' In Uganda

We catch up with the actor after the film made its North American premiere at TIFF.

When actor Stéphane Bak first got the script for The Mercy of the Jungle (La Miséricorde de la Jungle), he knew there was one person he had to consult: his father. "My dad did school me about this," he says. While Bak was born and raised in France, his parents had emigrated from what was then Zaire in the 1980s—before the events of the movie, and not exactly in the same area, but close enough to be able to pass on firsthand knowledge of the simmering ethnic tensions that underpin the action.

The story takes place in 1998, just after the outbreak of the Second Congo War—which came hot on the heels of the First Congo War. Two Rwandan soldiers find themselves separated from their company and have to make a harrowing trek through the jungle to link back up with their regiment. Bak plays Private Faustin, the young recruit hunting Hutu rebels to avenge his murdered family, a foil to Marc Zinga's seasoned Sergeant Xavier. As a Congolese militia swarms the area, and it becomes increasingly difficult to tell enemies from friends, the two are forced off the road and into the thick vegetation.

Their journey is physically difficult, but the jungle also nurtures them, providing food, water, and shelter. "The title is very explicit in a way," says Bak. It is the human beings they encounter, from rival soldiers and militiamen to the hostile security forces guarding illegal gold mining operations, who bring sudden danger and violence. The challenges are conveyed as much through the actors' physicality as through the minimal dialogue. As for the strain on his face, Bak says it was all real. "To be honest, it was very difficult," he says of the shoot, which took him 25 days. "I had to learn my accent in two weeks." Prior to commencing, there was training with the Ugandan army for realism. Due to the ongoing conflicts in the DRC, the movie itself was shot in Uganda.

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