Film

Frances Bodomo's 'Afronauts': What Became of the Zambian Space Program?

Young African Filmmaker Frances Bodomo's film 'Afronauts' will tell an alternative story of the 1960s Space Race


Diandra Forrest as Matha

Back in the 1960s, at the height of the Cold War, the US and the Soviet Union were in a frantic race to launch their respective countrymen into space. Contrary to what the dearly departed Gil Scott-Heron thought at the time though, whitey was not the only one trying to get up on the moon: in Zambia, shortly after independence, grade school science teacher Edward Makuka Nkoloso's dreams of space travel led him to establish the new nation’s very own space academy in an old farmhouse 7 miles ouside of Lusaka.

Nkoloso was serious about the mission. He applied for a £7M grant from UNESCO, assembled a motley space crew comprising a 17 year old girl called Matha and two cats, and trained them by rolling them down hills in oil drums. The fantastic story has already inspired photographer Cristina de Middel and now young filmmaker Frances Bodomo will unpick the mysteries of this crew in her short film Afronauts. On her Kickstarter page she says:

“I am extremely excited to tell an underdog story from the perspective of exiles and outsiders, the people who most need the promises of the space race. The people whose stories are lost or silenced to an iconic mainstream history that documents fact. What do you do when you can't get "out there”?”

Bodomo’s short Boneshaker (2012) starring Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis has been selected for a slew of major festivals including Sundance 2013 (where we reviewed it), and she’s clearly a director whose star is rising. Click through to her Kickstarter page to learn more and support an exciting and unique project. To quote the young director, support young black/African filmmakers and bid farewell to "Hollywood-funded pity parties on film!"

Popular
Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Qatar Museums

Influential Louis Vuitton And Off-White Designer Virgin Abloh, Dies at 41

The popular Ghanian-American designer had been battling a rare form of cancer in private for several years.

The fashion industry has lost a talented, unique, and boundary-pushing influence this weekend.

41-year-old Ghanianian-American designer Virgil Abloh has died after a 2 year battle with a rare form of cancer, a statement from his associates LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton said on Sunday. Abloh, founder of luxury streetwear brand Off-White, and artistic director of men's wear at French fashion house Louis Vuitton leaves his wife Shannon, and 2 children - Lowe and Grey. Chairman and CEO of LVMH Bernard Arnault said in a statement, "We are all shocked after this terrible news. Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom." "The LVMH family joins me in this moment of great sorrow, and we are all thinking of his loved ones after the passing of their husband, their father, their brother, or their friend," he added.

After the news broke on Sunday, Abloh started trending on Twitter, with fans of the designer remembering his influence on music, art, and fashion. The 1990s saw Abloh DJ and the creative director once told The Guardian in a 2016 interview, "When the phone is off, I play my favorite songs really loud for myself, and I'm not talking to anyone. I'm not managing anything. It's just like a time when I can listen to music… I'll be DJing after I'm done designing or doing anything else." Virgil got his hands into designing album artworks after strumming up a friendship with American rapper Kanye West before becoming the creative director of West's DONDA Creative House. More recently known for his creative streetwear brand 'Off-White' the designer became popular among fashion-conscious youngsters and will forever be immortalized.

A statement posted to Abloh's Instagram explained that "Virgil chose to endure his battle privately since his diagnosis in 2019, undergoing numerous challenging treatments, all while helming several significant institutions that span fashion, art, and culture"

Friends, fans, and colleagues took to social media to share their well-wishes for Virgil as he transitions to his next destination.



get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

How Relocating to Ghana Helped Reinvigorate Jewelry Designer Aisha Asamany's Work

Moving to Ghana gave Aisha Asamany's luxury jewelry brand, inspired by Adinkra symbols that traditionally project strength, fearlessness, love and power, renewed verve to tell personal stories of her growing clientele.