Film

'Ayanda,' A New Girl Power-Themed Coming-Of-Age Film From South Africa

'Ayanda,' a new girl power-themed coming-of-age film from South African director Sara Blecher, heads to South African theaters in October.


Ayanda is a forthcoming South African coming-of-age story whose title character embarks on a journey of self-discovery in the male-dominated world of auto repair. The film's synopsis describes Ayanda as a "21-year old Afro-hipster" who fights to preserve her father's auto repair shop from being sold eight years after his death. As she handles the business of reviving the shop, Ayanda must come to terms with her father's legacy and her own personal growth.

The feature uses the device of a film-within-a-film to offer a glimpse into a vibrant and diverse Johannesburg community of African migrants from across the continent while offering a meditation on gender stereotypes and human relationships. Ayanda, directed by filmmaker Sara Blecher (Otelo Burning), stars South African actress Fulu Mugovhani as Ayanda, and Nigeria's OC Ukeje (Confusion Na Wa) as her love interest, David. Rounding out the cast are Ntathi Moshesh, Kenneth Nkosi, Jafta Mamabola, Thomas Gumede, Sihle Xaba and Venessa Cooke.

Ayanda, which premiered last month at the Los Angeles Film Festival, was recently selected as the opening film of the 36th Durban International Film Festival. Watch the trailer, and see below for the film's official synopsis. Keep up with Ayanda on Facebook and Twitter.

"In a community vibrant with migrants from across the African Continent, against the backdrop of unspoken love, a young woman tries to navigate a path for herself. But this is a world where everything keeps shifting... Everything except the one thing that really does need to change. Ayanda and the Mechanic is a coming of age story of a twenty one year old Afro hipster, who embarks on a journey of self discovery trying to keep the memory of her father alive, when she's thrown into a world of greasy overalls, gender stereotypes and abandoned vintage cars in need of a young woman's re inventive touch who tries to reclaim what would've been, what could've been."

Ayanda opens in South African cinemas on October 2nd 2015.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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