News

How Nelson Mandela's Autobiography Was Smuggled Out Of Prison


Mac Maharaj (pictured below) tells the BBC's "Witness" how he smuggled Nelson Mandela's autobiography out of Robben Island prison in 1975. Mandela wrote the manuscript by night in his cell, and Maharaj, one of Mandela's closest allies in prison, painstakingly transcribed it the next day so there would be two copies. Bravely, he hid his copy among his study materials when he was released from prison. Maharaj is arguably the single reason that Mandela's international bestseller "Long Walk to Freedom" exists today - especially because the original draft written by Mandela was eventually discovered by prison guards. Maharaj tells the BBC about the importance of the political autobiography:

We were living in a society where the history of our struggle was not covered anywhere - not even in academia. Everything in history was the history about the white man. So that in itself was an exciting exercise to put down on paper the life of one man who was so central [to the struggle], and whose autobiography was really a political autobiography. One had a sense that Mandela had already become a national and international figure and that it would be an inspiration to read our history.

Hear Maharaj tell the incredible full story here.

Interview

Interview: Bizzle Osikoya Is the A&R Shaping the Voice of a New Generation

We caught up with the A&R expert and co-founder of The Plug Management to talk about the fast-rising demand for Nigerian music and what it takes to break out as an artist.

The meteoric rise of Nigeria's burgeoning music industry over the last few years is definitely one for the books. From high profile collaborations that have graced international charts to appearances on American late night TV and a Grammy nomination, the Nigerian sound is sitting at the epicenter of a global conversation that the world—including Queen Bey herself —seem to scrabbling to get a piece of the action.

However, way before this global infiltration and westernized conflation of Africa's assortment of genres into one Afrobeats, Bizzle Osikoya was studying Music Business in England and plotting for a way to be a part of what he knew was inevitable. "I remember going to clubs in school and they would always play Jamaican music but rarely Nigerian songs. I knew we made good music here but I knew I couldn't sing. So I was motivated to come back, go behind the scenes, and see how we can make that crossover possible," he tells OkayAfrica.

More than a decade after making the intrepid decision to venture into A&R, helping artists find and develop their sound, Bizzle's creative genius has cascaded across different musical generations, from the piracy rife CD mix era with artists like Naeto C, Wande Coal and Dr. Sid to a streaming era populated with hits from Reekado Banks, Tiwa Savage and Davido.

Following the success of his latest project, Oxlade's Oxygene, we caught up with the A&R expert and co-founder of the Plug Management—a talent management company that has managed Davido, Peruzzi and DJ Obi—to talk about what it takes to break out as an artist, the fast-rising demand for Nigerian music, and how "alté" is not the same thing as alternative music.

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In Photos: 'Covid' is Cape Town's New Informal Settlement for Those Displaced by the Pandemic

Cape Town residents whose livelihoods are impacted by the coronavirus pandemic are building new homes in a place they call 'Covid'.