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.

 

 

 

Interview
Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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