Film

Why Poverty Series: Land Grabs In Mali

BBC Series "Why Poverty" fourth episode "Land Rush" tells the story of the land grabs in Mali

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We've featured the BBC series Why Poverty before, but this time we'll check our sarcasm at the door and share another really captivating episode, Land Rush.  Directed by Eli CaneLand Rush explores "landgrabs" in Mali - the buying or leasing of big plots of land in developing nations by international or domestic companies, governments, and in some cases, extremely wealthy individuals.

The documentary charts the 600 million dollar project "Sosumar", which is a partnership between Mali's government, African Development Bank, Illovo Sugar (South Africa), and American agricultural developer Mima Nedelcovych's Louisiana-based consulting firm. Sosumar, began planning in 2000, and in 2010 the project has yet to fully take off. The films details Nedelcovych's enthusiasm for creating a project that will promote sustainability and growth for Mali, while also illuminating the trepidation and unease of thousands of farm owners that will have to relinquish their land to the government to become sugar cane growers if they still want to farm the land that was once theirs.

A particularly haunting moment in the film features an elderly woman from Markala describing the experience of her land confiscation. Another community member recalls the destruction of their cemeteries before they were given the chance to relocate their loved ones' graves. However, the documentary is also effective at highlighting the complexities of the issues at hand. Explaining her experience with the film, Co-director Osvalde Levat states, "I also realized that sometimes the reality is less Manichean than I would like to think. For some, the sale of farmland is a new form of colonial dependence, for others it is the last resort to get out of entrenched and deepening poverty." The film is especially interesting as over the past year partners such as Illovo have withdrawn from the project because of the instability in Mali.

Contextualizing the film with the current reality in Mali, Co-director Hugo Berkeley notes that while some aspects of the Sosumar project seemed like they might have a positive impact on development, "recent events in Mali, linked in many ways to last-year’s conflict in Libya, have moved the country into some nether-realm between a functioning and a failed state. The Malians we follow in this story now find themselves in a hole from which it will be very difficult to extricate themselves."

Check out the full "Why Poverty" documentary on land grabs in Mali below.

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"SA Rappers Out Here Killing Y'all," M.I Abaga On Nigerian Rappers

M.I has fueled a debate about the state Nigerian hip-hop with his latest song, "You Rappers Should Fix Up Your Life."

Nigerian star M.I Abaga is back with a punch and taking aim at all of his fellow Nigerian rappers.

The track—which sees M.I. drop lines like "none of you rappers is real enough... that's why these fans are not feeling ya'll," "SA rappers out here killing ya,ll," and "rappers are singing now just to get popular, yuck"—has sparked a debate across social media on the current state of Nigerian hip-hop.

There's been some calling out M.I for not supporting young Nigerian rappers like big rappers do in South Africa. These years have seen the likes of Cassper Nyovest and other big SA stars supporting younger talent.

Others, however, have taken up the challenge and started responding to M.I's track over the "Fix Up Your Life" instrumental. M.I's been retweeting the responses and, in a way, the track's been getting a lot of the young rappers M.I calls out some more attention.

M.I and his label Chocolate City have also been in the news lately over suing Nas for not delivering a good verse.

What do you think? Is Nigerian hip-hop in decline?

See some choice tweets below.

Video: Looking at the Roots of IsiPantsula Culture Through Some of Its Leading Voices

This new video shows us why South African Pantsula is much more than just a dance move.

Pantsula is more than just a dance, it's a cultural movement and it's being revived through enthusiastic South African youth.

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In Photos: Migos' Culture Tour in Johannesburg

ATL trio Migos' Culture Tour had two South African stops–in Durban on Friday and Johannesburg on Saturday.

We attended the Joburg leg of the tour, and the group didn't disappoint, although the event itself was unacceptably disorganized. South African rappers Riky Rick and Nasty C gave great performances, especially the latter.

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