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This Ugandan Author Just Won One of the Most Prestigious Literary Prizes For Her Debut Novel 'Kintu'

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi was once rejected by British publishers who claimed her book was "too African."

First-time Ugandan author, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi has won the 2018 Windham Campbell Prizes from Yale University—one of the most prestigious literary awards—for her debut novel Kintu, reports BBC Africa.

After moving to the UK 17 years ago, Makumbi dedicated all of her time to writing—which affected her earnings. "I really put everything into writing," she told BBC Africa. "So for this to happen is unbelievable."


While she's thrilled about the recognition, she says, for her, earning the award is "mainly about [doing] ordinary things that other people do that have a job.'

Makumbi shopped Kintu—an epic centered on the customs and myths of a Ugandan family who believe that they have been cursed for 250 years—around to British publishers who originally rejected it, claiming that her story was "too African." The novel was published in the UK in January.

The Windham Campbell Prizes from Yale University is considered the "richest" literary prize after the Nobel Peace Prize. Makumbi is the only winner out of eight to have published just one full-length work.

The author says she writes stories to inform her people of life outside of Uganda. "I write the stories as a way of writing back to Ugandans, informing them what happens to us," she says. "I'm telling them, 'You want to come to Britain? Hang on a minute. First read my story."

Congrats to the writer on winning the award, and not having to compromise her "Africanness" in the process.

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Photo: Shaughn Cooper

Ras Nebyu Is Washington, D.C.'s 'Uptown Lion Walkin'

We talk to the Ethiopian-American rapper about his new album, his Washington Slizzards crew, and the impact of gentrification on D.C.'s music scene.

Ras Nebyu is caught up in the crowd at Howard University's homecoming tailgate, where he can barely walk a block without shaking hands with another person who he knows. Although he didn't attend Howard University, the campus and the surrounding neighborhood forms as much of a part of his narrative as any student.

The Ethiopian-American rapper hails from uptown Washington, D.C., a neighborhood he uses to inform his latest album, Uptown Lion Walkin, a project that pays homage to his ancestral upbringing, as well as his thoughts on making money, love, happiness, and the government.

There's a twoness to Nebyu's identity that allows him to create from a place of historical-cultural reverence while pushing forward new ideas. He was raised in a Rastafarian household by an Ethiopian dad and African-American mother.

Nebyu doesn't hold much back when he speaks, like his music. He preaches about belonging to his community, gentrification and the diaspora. His work serves as a strong soundboard, for not only his Ethiopian community but D.C. natives.

In 2011, Nebyu co-founded the Washington Slizzards, a collective of Ethiopian creatives in D.C. What started as a joke, tacking on "slizz" to everything, became a buzz-worthy crew. Around the same time as the group's inception, he began releasing music into the world.

Nebyu first ventured into making music as a producer, but soon found it frustrating getting artists to use his beats. He decided to begin experimenting with using his own voice and hasn't slowed down since. OkayAfrica caught up with Nebyu to discuss the new album and growing up uptown.

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Mr Eazi, Duncan Mighty, Afro B & Mayorkun Join DJ Neptune On 'Tear Rubber' Remix

Listen to the "All Star Remix" now.

"Tear Rubber," one of the standouts from DJ Neptune's latest album, Greatness, gets a big remix that'll jump start your week.

The track, which originally featured Mayorkun, now gets a massive revisit featuring Mr Eazi, Duncan Mighty and Afro B.

All three are potent additions to this laid-back and addictive Young John-produced track which was already getting a lot of spins.

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Listen to Sade's Beautiful New Song—'The Big Unknown'

Sade has graced us with her second single of the year—this time for Steve McQueen's highly anticipated film, "Widows."

We now have two new Sade songs to shed thug tears to before the end of 2018, y'all.

The queen herself released a lyric video for her new track, "The Big Unknown." This single will be played during the end credits of Steve McQueen's highly anticipated film, Widows, which is due to be released in theaters November 16, Highsnobiety reports.

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