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Remembering Anthony Bourdain's Tasteful Storytelling in Africa and the Diaspora

The cherished figure is being remembered for his respectful and sincere coverage of the continent.

Anthony Bourdain, the renowned chef, storyteller, author and TV host, has died of apparent suicide, CNN reports. He was 61.

Bourdain was in France filming a new episode of the hit CNN series Parts Unknown at the time of his death. "It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain," said CNN in a statement. "His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller. His talents never ceased to amaze us and we will miss him very much. Our thoughts and prayers are with his daughter and family at this incredibly difficult time."

Many would agree with these sentiments, as Bourdain was a cherished figure in various communities, celebrated for his ability to connect with people and encourage genuine curiosity and appreciation for various cultures through food and travel. Many praised Bourdain for being one of the few visual storytellers on television who captured African culture with integrity and respect through his popular shows Parts Unknown and No Reservations, which aired on CNN and the Travel Channel, respectively. The work he produced often challenged what people thought they knew about places foreign to them.


His episodes in South Africa, Mozambique, Ghana, Senegal—which he once referred to as a jewel of Africa and the world—as well as Nigeria, Jamaica and Cuba are just a few of our favorites. His coverage in each was devoid of the stuffy, narrow lens that many cultural explorers and anthropologists employ when telling stories from the continent and diaspora.

His death is certainly being felt around the world, as celebrities, fans and supporters have been sharing messages of the ways in which he helped expand their view of the world all morning.

In remembrance of Bourdain and his indelible impact, check out some clips from his travels across the continent and the diaspora below. You can watch full episodes of Parts Unknown on Netflix.

South Africa

Bourdain on the complexity of South African society:

�"Now there is a definite cachet to living in Soweto. A real pride of having been at the centre of things, when it was hard and dangerous to have an opinion. Look at the streets here and you see what that kind of pride does. It may not be a rich area, but it's immaculate. Squared away; an emerging middle class coming up."


Mozambique

On this trip, Bourdain explored Mozambique's incredible seafood variety and rich culinary history.

Zanzibar, Tanzania

After visiting the mainland, the food expert visited Zanzibar, and took in the island's diverse flavors, and culinary traditions.

Nigeria

Upon visiting Africa's largest metropolis last October, Bourdain described Lagos as "mad, bad, delicious, confusing, and I've never seen anything like it."

Trinidad

Bourdaine on Trinidad's resilience:

"No island in the sun is paradise on earth, however it might look from the concrete blocks, glass cubicles, or wood boxes we may live in. And all the dancing and music and great food in the world can never hold together, by itself, what would keep us apart. What might look like a utopian stew of ethnicities and cultures living together under swaying palms is of course a far more complicated matter. But Trinidad has done better than most and in proud and unique style."

Ghana

Bourdaine on Ghana's bustling Makola Market:

"You don't master Makola market; you submit to the sensation and impulse."

Senegal

"It is a country that defies stereotypes and expectations at every turn," said Bourdin in this CNN piece.

Jamaica

In this popular episode, the chef explored the harsh realities of the tourism industry in one of the Caribbean's largest islands. One popular clip shows Bourdain hilariously devouring some succulent jerk chicken.


Ethiopia

In this episode, Bourdain takes in the sounds, sites, and flavors of Ethiopia with famous Ethiopian chef Marcus Samuelsson. Bourdain tried his best to show an intimate side of a country that he felt was widely misunderstood in the global community.


Congo

In this short clip from his time spent in central Africa, Bourdain lived out one of his life-long dreams by traveling across the Congo River.

Cuba

Bourdain always warned against the romanticizing of the Caribbean, instead urging people to recognize the humanity of people who live on its islands. Upon traveling to Cuba , he had this to say: "Havana's beautiful—incredibly so. Probably—no, definitely—the most gorgeous city I've ever seen anywhere in the Caribbean or Latin America," he wrote in a Travel Channel guide. "The people are lovely. The baseball, some of the best and most passionate fans in the world. It's easy and understandable how visitors can get overenthusiastic about the place, gush about it and lose sight of the fact that their experience is very, very different than the average Cubans'."

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A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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Born Adekunle Kosoko, the popular Nigerian singer got married barely two years ago to fellow artist Simi. Last year, the power couple welcomed their first child. As we talk, Gold points to his journey as a father and a husband as some of the biggest inspirations at the moment not just as far as music goes but as his perspective in life and how he now approaches things.

''My [artistry] has changed a lot because being a father and being a husband has made me grow a lot and more.'' Adekunle Gold tells OkayAfrica. ''It has made me understand life a lot more too. I'm feeling more responsible for people. You know, now I have a kid to raise and I have a wife to support, to be a real man and husband and father for.'' He credits this journey with both his newfound happiness and a newfound freedom as an artist.

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Every week, we highlight the top releases 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.

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