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8 Cultural Events You Can’t Miss this April in South Africa

OkayAfrica's guide to must-see events happening in South Africa this month.

The month of April has a plethora of exciting events for South Africans. From the fashion runway, entrancing spaces of art galleries to the exhilarating arenas of music festivals, this month promises to bring the heat, and in some cases, quite literally.

Take a look at 8 cultural events you can't afford to miss below.

Sam Smith: The Thrill Of It All Tour

For all the Sam Smith fans, get ready because the multiple Grammy award-winning soul singer is heading to South Africa for a concert that will go down as one for the books. You'll be singing along to hit songs like "Too Good at Goodbyes", "Pray" and other surprise performances that Smith has in store.

Concerts will take place in Johannesburg at the Ticketpro Dome on 13th-14th April and in Cape Town at the Grand Arena on 16th-17th April. Purchase tickets here.

A Black Aesthetic

This exhibition, which was declared a National Cultural Treasure in 1998, will showcase Black South African modernist artists between 1970 and 1990. It will be the largest showcase of South African artists since the country became a democracy. Revered artists such as Gerard Sekoto, George Pemba and Gladys Mgudlandlu. An exploration of life under colonialism and Apartheid and how that plays out in life today.

Currently on and will run till 18 April at the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg. The event is open to the public.

AfrikaBurn Festival

AfrikaBurn 2014

Flickr Creative Commons

AfrikaBurn is the South African version of the Burning Man festival in the United States. The event, which is in its 12th year, involves the creation of temporary artworks in the Tankwa Karoo—a semi-desert region in South Africa. Nearing the end of AfrikaBurn, some of the artworks are set alight and burned. Described as a freeing and transcendental experience, this one is certainly for the curious among us. The theme of this year's festival is "ephemerality".

The event will run from 29th April - 05 May. Tickets can be purchased here.

AFI Cape Town Fashion Week

Designers from all over the African continent will be showcasing exciting collections of colorful and cosmopolitan looks on the runway. Fashion lovers will have a chance to mingle with some of the heavyweights in the industry. The event fuses fashion, music, art and photography.

The event will run from 9th-13th April in Cape Town at the International Convention Center. Tickets to be purchased here.

Afro-Soul Unplugged

Vusi Nova

As'phelelanga trailer video

R&B and Afro-soul artist Vusi Nova and Ntsika Ngxanga of the popular acapella trio, The Soil, as well as the Baobab Sisters will be delivering a one-time, unique performance that will take attendees on a musical voyage of self-exploration.

The event will run on 12th April at Joburg Theater. Tickets to be purchased here.

​Back To The City Festival

Rouge at 2017 Back to the City

Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela

Described as South Africa's biggest hip-hop gathering, Back to the City promises to deliver the hottest lineup of the most talented mainstream and underground hip-hop African and US artists. Joining South African greats Riky Rick, Cassper Nyovest and Stogie T (among numerous others) are US artists Eric Sermon, Parrish Smith and EPMD as part of the lineup. Celebrate Freedom Day with live performances, street fashion, art installations and even skateboarding.

The event will happen on 27th April at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Johannesburg. Purchase tickets here.

​Shades of the Mirror

Described as "a story of experience, truth, and of daring to live for a better life", Lagos-born painter Solomon Omogboye will be bringing an exhibition that promises to have viewers introspecting and asking themselves about the relationship they've built with themselves. With a variety of stylistic techniques and modes of expression, Omogboye breathes color and canvas to life.

The event will run from 6th April 2019 - 2nd May at Art in the Yard in Cape Town and is open to the public.

​Megacy Over Everything

AKA

Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela

Catch AKA, the Supa Mega, on his three-city tour targeted especially at the youth who he feels make up an important part of his fan-base, "the Megacy". Catch the last leg of the rapper's tour featuring artists such A-Reece who will be joined by Balenciaga Banks and other local artists that will be announced soon.


The event will take place on 13th April at the Mall of Africa in Johannesburg. Purchase tickets here.

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Watch the First Episode of Flame’s Documentary Series ‘Welcome To My Life’

Flame takes fans behind the scenes in his new documentary series.

From interviews to smoking sessions, performances, studio sessions and a visit to the hair salon, Flame gives fans a glimpse into his life and adventures.

The South African hip-hop artist and producer shared the first episode of an ongoing documentary series titled Welcome To My Life. The first episode, which he shared today, shows Flame and his affiliates—the likes of Ecco, Mellow and others—going about their business.

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uSanele Releases a New Project ‘uMvelase’ Featuring ASAP Shembe, Windows 2000, Manelisi and Others

Listen to uSanele's new project 'uMvelase.'

South African hip-hop artist uSanele's recently released project is titled uMvelase. "This project," says the artist, "is in honor of my father and family, abakwa Mthembu; all my siblings, extended family and my roots in the heart of KZN, kwaNongoma. It is a calling—if you will—a completion of my journey and all things coming full circle."

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Photo courtesy of CSA Global.

In Conversation with Congolese NBA Player Emmanuel Mudiay: 'I want more African players in the NBA.'

The Utah Jazz player talks about being African in the NBA, supporting basketball in the DRC and how 'everybody knows about Burna Boy'.

Inspired by his basketball-playing older brothers, by second grade, Emmanuel Mudiay already knew that he wanted to play in the American National Basketball Association. Then in 2001 his family, fleeing the war in Democratic Republic of Congo, sought asylum in the United States.

In America, Mudiay saw basketball as a way for him to improve his situation. After impressive high school and college careers, he moved to China to play pro ball. Picked 7th overall in the 2015 NBA draft, the now 23-year-old guard has made a name for himself this season coming off the bench for the Utah Jazz.

Mudiay attests to the sport having changed not only his life but that of his siblings. Basketball gave them all a chance at a good education and the opportunity to dream without conditions. Now he wants to see other talented African players make it too.

We caught up with him to talk about his experience as an African player in the NBA, his hopes for basketball on the African continent and who he and his teammates jam out to in their locker rooms.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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University lecturer and activist Doctor Stella Nyanzi (L) reacts in court as she attends a trial to face charges for cyber-harassment and offensives communication, in Kampala, on April 10, 2017. (Photo by GAEL GRILHOT/AFP via Getty Images)

Jailed Ugandan Activist, Stella Nyanzi, Wins PEN Prize for Freedom of Expression

The outspoken activist, who is currently serving a prison sentence for a poem she wrote about the president's mother's vagina, won for her resistance "in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her."

Stella Nyanzi, the Ugandan academic, activist, and vocal critic of President Yoweri Museveni has been awarded the 2020 Oxfam Novib/PEN International award for freedom of expression, given to writers who "continue to work for freedom of expression in the face of persecution."

Nyanzi is currently serving a 15 month sentence for "cyber harassment" after she published a poem in which she wrote that she wished "the acidic pus flooding Esiteri's (the president's mother) vaginal canal had burn up your unborn fetus. Burn you up as badly as you have corroded all morality and professionalism out of our public institutions in Uganda."

According to the director of PEN International, Carles Torner, her unfiltered outspokenness around the issues facing her country is what earned her the award. "For her, writing is a permanent form of resistance in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her," said Torner at the award ceremony.

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