News Brief

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Record-breaking bids for African art, South Africa's #NotInMyName anti-domestic violence protests and more.

DIASPORA—Artwork by African artists earned record-setting bids at the Sotheby's fine art auction in London, BBC Africa reports.


Earth Developing More Roots by acclaimed Ghanaian artist El Anatsui sold for just under a million dollars, while Sunflowers by South African painter Irma Stern was bought for $540,000.

The next highest bid was for Yinka Shonibare's Crash Willy at $290,000.

 

NIGERIA—A single Chibok girl was able to escape Boko Haram and return home on Wednesday (May 17), says presidential advisor Femi Adesina to the BBC. She was reportedly found by Nigerian troops.

Eighty-two girls returned home earlier this month after a negation was brokered by the International Rescue Committee.

SOUTH AFRICA—A social media campaign in South Africa is urging men to get involved in a protest to help address gender-based violence in the country. #NotInMyName is the hashtag being used to gather South African men for a demonstration at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Saturday (May 20).

The call to action comes in response to the pervasive killings of South African women, often at the hand of their partners. Last month, 22-year-old, Karabo Mokoena, was killed and set on fire by her boyfriend. The incident ignited a conversation about gender-based violence around the hashtag #MenAreTrash.

NIGERIA—Protestors have taken to the streets of Abuja to urge the government to act on behalf on Nigerians currently imprisoned in China.

According to a letter from organizers at the Black African Reorientation and Development Organization, "over 6,000 Nigerians are currently in various Chinese prisons. The facts show that over 55% are unlawfully and illegally being incarcerated."

Read more on this via BBC Africa.

UGANDA—A Ugandan entrepreneur, wants to take the Ugandan sport of kwepena to the Olympics. The sport which translates to "dancing" is widely played by Ugandan youth and involves a soft ball being thrown at opponents similar to the way dodge ball is played. If

The man behind the mission, Simon Tumukunde, has worked to formalize the game by creating official rules and guidelines.

“We looked at kwepena as a traditional game that was played years and years back by our grandparents – and, maybe, by the little girls right now – and we realized that it’s a game that is also overlooked," he told Urban Television.

We were like: I think we can redesign this game! I think we can add a few things to make it professional.”

Read more about this story here.

 

 

 

Music

Interview: Ranks ATM Makes ‘Substance Music’

South African hip-hop artist Ranks ATM on his latest EP 'Substance Music', working with Riky Rick and his crew African Trap Movement's new chapter.

Ranks ATM demands to be taken seriously. With every successive release, listeners are bound to pick up on both his personal and artistic growth. His latest EP, Substance Music, released towards the end of 2020, is an honest body of work that sees the artist divulge some aspects of his life while remaining playful and entertaining.

Young2unn, who produced a majority of the project, gave Ranks ATM beats that primarily consist of keys and strings cushioned by atmospheric pads and ethereal vocal samples panned for effect. The music is soulful enough for Ranks to tell his story and gritty enough to maintain his street aesthetic.

On Substance Music, the artist strikes the balance between playful banter and poignant expression of emotions. It's what makes his raps believable in general—he presents himself as a complete human who feels pain at times but also feels himself. Songs such as "Die For Me" and "How Could It Be" are laced with specific details that could have only been extracted from his life experiences, for instance, on the former, he raps, "You cheated on me with a gym freak, you did me dirty."

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