What Not to Miss at The 20th New York African Film Festival

Previews Nairobi Half Life, Dolce Vita Africana, Burn it Up Djassa & Fuelling Poverty at the 20th New York African Film Festival

For the 20th consecutive year, the venerable and groundbreaking New York African Film Festival is opening its doors, and as usual there's a ton of goodness worth seeing. Between 3rd-9th April, a total of 14 films will be screened; under the theme 'Looking Back, Looking Forward' the newest of the new will screen alongside vintage films like Ousmane Sembene's Guelwaar, Moussa Touré's TGV and Abderrahmane Sissako's La Vie sur Terre. We've already previewed Chinonye Chukwu's (initially promising but ultimately melodramatic) Alaskaland, reviewed Frances Bodomo's brilliant short Boneshaker and expressed our excitement over Touissaint l’Ouverture. Check the full programme and browse our previews of some of the newest offerings.

1. Nairobi Half Life (2012) | dir. David Tosh Gitonga 

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When it was released last year Nairobi Half Life caused a stir because of the alleged 'gay kissing scene' (it's actually a peck on the cheek followed by a failed kiss). David Tosh Gitonga's debut feature picked up a Best Actor award at the Durban Film Festival, and he's said that 'it's about time' that Kenyan film explored queer identities in something other than 'a negative light'. By the looks of the trailer, Nairobi Half Life looks like a classic smalltown boy in the big city flick, as the lead, an aspiring actor, moves to Nairobi to start a new life and quickly discovers the meaning of the capital's nickname 'Nairobbery'.

Thursday 4th April @ 8:15pm and Sunday 7th April @ 8pm more

2. Dolce Vita Africana (2008) | dir. Cosima Spender + Q+A  U.S. premiere 

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Grandaughter of Arshile Gorky, director Cosima Spender travelled to Mali to film Dolce Vita Africana, her 60-minute documentary on one of the grandfathers of west African photography, Malick Sidibe. His photographs of young, stylish west Africans found a second life in the 1990s when the west caught on to his and Seydou Keita's brilliance. It'll be interesting to see whether Spender's doc broaches the fraught power dynamics which continue to underscore the Western/West African art relationship, but whether it does or doesn't, it's worth seeing Sidibe's captivating images on a big screen.

Thursday 4th April @ 6pm + Tuesday 9th April @ 4pm more

3. Death for Sale (2011) | dir. Faouzi Bensaidi + Q&A

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Set in Tetouan, in the north of Morocco, Death for Sale is a film noir/heist-gone-awry movie that follows three characters through the streets of Tetouan, a port city in the north of Morocco. Last year it was tipped as an Oscar favourite, and though some reviews have been tepidVariety noted that it's at the very least a good-looking movie: 'the alluring, technically rigorous craft package has Euro polish.' European and polish apparently synonymous when it comes to European film. That said, Bensaidi's film promises to grapple with problems that are ever-more prevalent given the ongoing global financial crisis: poverty, disaffection, unemployment.

Saturday 6th April @ 6pm (for Q&A) + Tuesday 9th April @ 1:30pm more

4. Burn it up Djassa (2012) | dir. Lonesome Solo (Bamba Souleymane)

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Lonesome Solo's Burn it Up Djassa is perhaps the one film we're most excited to see at the festival, given its reputation as herald of a new Ivorian artistic movement. Shot in the Abidjan neighbourhood of Wassakara a few months before the Ivorian civil war broke out, the film is performed by a collective of actors from Wassakara, together with writers and a production team that hail from the same neighbourhood, they've created a vérité-style fiction that resonates with their daily experience.

Saturday 6th April @ 9pm more

5. Fueling Poverty (2012) | dir. Ishaya Bako + Q&A

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If you love the sound of Wole Soyinka's voice this film will be instantly compelling. It opens at a leisurely pace with Kongi telling us the story of Nigeria, and quickly gains momentum and develops into a snappy 30 minute takedown of the government's mismanagement of Nigeria's oil wealth which was the source of protests across Nigeria at the start of 2012.

Saturday 6th April @ 3:30pm more


Still from YouTube

Watch the Retro Music Video for Dyo's 'Go All the Way' Featuring Mr Eazi

The video, directed by Mahaneela, is a tribute to the vintage photography of Malick Sidibé, James Barnor, Seydou Keïta, and Samuel Fosso.

Mr Eazi teams up with budding Nigerian artist Dyo, for her latest single "Go All the Way."

The duo share a memorable music video, inspired by the work of vintage African studio photographers like Malick Sidibé, James Barnor, Seydou Keïta, and Samuel Fosso. The music video features cameos from several young African creatives including Congolese artist Miles from Kinshasa, who are all photographed in stylish clothes before staged backdrops.

The video was directed by multi-hyphenated creator Mahaneela, who also appears in the video,

The Mirza-produced song sees both artists singing suggestively about their lovers. "Go go, go all the way," Dyo sings smoothly on the track's chorus.

Still from YouTube

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Join Us For an Everyday Afrique Party This Labor Day In NYC!

Featuring music by DJ Moma, DJ Tunez, Rich Knight, Boston Chery and DJ Buka.

Everyday People, OkayAfrica and Electrafrique are back with the best Labor Day weekend party around with Everyday Afrique.

Come hang with us for another installment of the party that brings out the New York City's finest.

This September 2 we're taking Everyday Afrique back to The Well in Brooklyn, where you can dance and drink the day & night away across the venue's outdoor and indoor spaces.

Grab Your Tickets to Everyday Afrique's Labor Day Party Here

Music will be handled by a top-shelf line-up of selectors including DJ Moma, DJ Tunez, Rich Knight, Boston Chery and DJ Buka.

The party will be hosted by Young Prince, Saada, Roble, Sinat, Giselle, Shernita and Maine.

Make sure to grab your tickets here and we'll see you on the dance floor!

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Courtesy of Sibu Mpanza.

INFLUENCED: Meet Sibu Mpanza—the YouTuber Who's Making a Killing from Just Having Fun

'I am the person I needed when and even before I started my YouTube channel,' the prolific YouTuber says.

OkayAfrica brings you the 2019 INFLUENCED Series. In the coming weeks, we'll be exploring the online communities being fostered by young South Africans who are doing more than just influencing. From make-up gurus and hair naturalistas to socially-conscious thought leaders, get ready to be influenced. Read the rest of the series here.

Years ago, Sibu Mpanza found himself experiencing two realities Black South African students are still battling with even today: crippling financial woes at university and debilitating depression.

An aspiring musician who ended up studying psychology instead at the University of Cape Town, Mpanza began skipping as many classes as he possibly could. He would spend copious amounts of time at a computer hidden away in the corner, passing the hours watching funny videos on YouTube. In fact, he says he spent so much time on YouTube that he was literally one of the very first people to view Beyoncé's epic "711" music video—something Mpanza recalls in stitches.

He was searching for something, although admittedly, he didn't quite know back then what it was exactly. It eventually got so bad that in his second year of university, he packed up his things, dropped out and moved to Johannesburg to see if he could become what he'd always imagined he could eventually be.

Fast-forward to 2019, and the name Sibu Mpanza is not only an undeniable success story but an entire brand.

Mpanza is a full-time YouTuber who has been able to capitalise on creating hilarious content about his life and pretty much anything that interests him. While he initially "blew up" because of a YouTube video he put out, a video which called out White students at the University of the Free State who were recorded beating up protesting Black students at a rugby game, he's since moved onto a second channel, More Mpanza, where he makes content that's a lot more fun, apolitical and doesn't take a toll on his mental health. As if two successful channels weren't enough, he's also got a third channel, Arcade, where he and his business partner talk about things they enjoy in the technology space.

For anyone looking to just let off some steam, watch a YouTuber who's willing to poke fun at himself or find some really quality content in an era where everyone seems to have a YouTube channel about something or the other, Mpanza is definitely your guy.

We caught up with him to talk about what inspired his various YouTube channels, the fame that comes with being a household name and what's really important to the young South African creative.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Sho Madjozi "John Cena"

The 19 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Sho Madjozi, Odunsi, Sarkodie, Mr Eazi, Fuse ODG, Santi and more.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our Best Music of the Week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Check out all of OkayAfrica's new playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

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