Photos

Nairobi's Africa Nouveau Is The Future Of Festivals On The Continent

The first-ever Africa Nouveau Festival brought out Nairobi’s coolest and best-looking crowds for a weekend of music, food, art and style.

Photos by Darlyne KomukamaWords by Kampire Bahana.


This past weekend in Nairobi saw the first edition of Africa Nouveau, a 2-day festival of music, food, art and style brought to you by the team behind Blankets and Wine. The event featured a cross-continental lineup that included 'Ancestral Soul' godfather Boddhi Satva, genre-bending South African collective Fantasma, Ghanaian hypno-soulstress Jojo Abot, kuduro pioneer DJ Satelite and Nairobi hometown heavyweights Muthoni The Drummer Queen and Just A Band, as well as Okayafrica's own stage curated by Electrafrique founder DJ Cortega.

The event brought out Nairobi’s coolest and best-looking crowds. To some, the acts were unknown, but everyone arrived ready to fall in love with something new. The audience may have known little about maskandi rhythms, but they insisted on multiple encores from Fantasma's frontman Spoek Mathambo, guitarist Bhekisenzo Cele and drummer Mike Buchanan. It was equally impossible to resist the contagious energy of Just A Band and the driving beats of Angola's DJ Satellite. From Muthoni DQ’s bangers and Jojo Abot’s love songs referencing colonial interracial relationships to the immaculate cross-genre blend of deep house, kizomba, soukous and ndombolo sounds from Central African Republic’s Boddhi Satva, these acts represent the future of music on the continent.

Beyond offering a carefully-curated live experience featuring some of Nairobi’s best food vendors and art installations — including a pop-up closet by street style team 2manysiblings — the event also had higher goals. According to their mission statement, “the festival is a socio-political gathering to express our desires for new commitments from African Governments to adopt and deliver the Global Sustainable Development Goals so as to create a new Africa that corresponds with the aspirations of the African population.” Towards this end, the festival was 60% solar powered, and featured a station where you could charge your phone by pedalling a bicycle.

In its first edition, Africa Nouveau proved itself a pan-continental channel for the social and political aspirations of young people.

Darlyne Komukama is a photographer working and living in vivid colour (and occasionally in black & white) in Kampala, Uganda. See her photos on Tumblr or find her on Instagram.

Kampire Bahana is a writer and music lover living and dancing through the streets of Kampala, Uganda. She writes at Vuga! and is on Twitter @vugafrica.

Interview
Image supplied.

Interview: How Stogie T’s ‘Freestyle Friday’ Became a TV Show

Freestyle Friday started as lockdown content but is now a fully-fledged TV show on Channel O. In this interview, Stogie T breaks down why the show is revolutionary and talks about venturing into media.

When South Africa was put under a hard lockdown in 2020, Stogie T started Freestyle Friday to "make SA rap again." Freestyle Friday, hosted on Instagram, saw a different cohort of rappers each rap over the same beat picked by the veteran rapper. From niche and emerging rappers to some of the most notable names in South African hip-hop—the likes of AKA, Focalistic, Ginger Trill and several others all participated.

In the last few weeks, however, Freestyle Friday has found its way to cable TV. The show airs every Friday on Channel O, one of the continent's longest-running music TV channels. Freestyle Friday as a TV programme isn't just about freestyles, it's about the art of rapping and the music business, particularly SA hip-hop. Guests range from lyricists to record executives and other personalities aligned with the scene—Ninel Musson and Ms Cosmo for instance.

But Freestyle Friday is only the first media product Stogie T is working on as he is in the process of starting a podcast network, a venture in which he is collaborating with Culture Capital. In the Q&A below, Stogie T breaks down the relationship with Culture Capital, how the show moved from the internet to TV, why it's a revolutionary idea, touches on his venture into media and his future plans.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Interview: Made Kuti Talks Afrobeat, Activism & Family Legacy

We speak with Made about his debut album and the part he's playing in keeping the Kuti heritage alive.