These Six Documentaries Will Make You Think

Showmax has some of the best documentaries on Africa and beyond

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Every time a friend asks me whether I've seen a certain Hollywood movie, my answer is almost always answer no. And this is not because I live under a large rock (well, not always) but because you'll usually find me watching non-fiction. That's right, I'm a sucker for an insightful documentary. There is something about a story being told as it is, minus the glitzy effects and dramatised plot, that is tremendously moving.

For those who want to stream docs online about true stories taking place both in South Africa and around the world, one of the best places to watch is Showmax. We've pulled together some of our favourites to watch below.

21 Icons

Having been inspired by the iconic life and legacy of the late Nelson Mandela, this documentary series follows the lives of 21 icons in the form of unique narrative portraits and short films. It is a collection produced annually by the talented Adrian Steirn, a prominent South African photographer and filmmaker. The production is of exceptional quality and really allows the audience to experience these various icons in a very personal and candid manner. Absolutely breathtaking if you ask me.

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The Road to Peace

Considering my espousing of eastern philosophies as opposed to subscribing to organised religion, this, I must admit, is one of my absolute favourite documentaries on Showmax. It follows the gracious Dalai Lama of Tibet and his views on achieving peace, practising altruism and building community in the world. It contains endless nuggets of wisdom and has me extremely annoyed that the South African government denied (and continues to deny) the Dalai Lama entry into the country in a move to please none other than China, despite our usual championing of everything to do with progressive human rights policies.

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Children of the Light

This documentary focuses on the life of legendary Nobel Peace Laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, from boyhood to holding one of the top posts in the Catholic Church and his efforts during the brutal apartheid era. It was the first project to film and document the clergyman and its premiere was set to coincide with the 28th anniversary of his enthronement as Archbishop of St George's Cathedral in 1986. What I would have loved, however, was to hear from the man himself in terms of the controversies that shrouded the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and especially his role in singling out Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and no other ANC comrade, a fact that embittered Winnie right until her death earlier this year.

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Nightmare on Everest

Before I watched this documentary, I watched the movie, and unsurprisingly, I was in tears by the end of it. It was a story of perseverance, tragedy and the ability to triumph in the most seemingly insurmountable of circumstances. Of course, the movie was based on the true story which is explored extensively in the documentary. It documents stories recounted by survivors who were attempting to climb the infamous Mt Everest when a large earthquake struck Nepal in 2015 and resulted in an avalanche that claimed the lives of many. It's a difficult one to sit through, I won't lie. It leaves one's soul a little heavy, but if anything, it's a true and heartening testament to the enduring human spirit.

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Chronicles of The Champion Golfer

My father was a sports fanatic and I always imagined, given our very close relationship, that golf would become our sport. After losing him to cancer, I guess I have always clung to that fantasy of taking up golf as a way to remember him and our bond. And so, of course, golfing documentaries are right up my alley. This particular documentary looks at the makings of the greatest golfers that have ever been from the beloved (or now not so beloved) Tiger Woods to Ernie Els and Jack Nicklaus. If you think golfing is dull and dreary, boring at best, then this is sure to change your mind.

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Birthright: A War Story

The feminist in me recoils at what is presented in this documentary. Whilst based on the experience of American women specifically, it is and may become the reality of women all over the world. The documentary looks at how politicians are enacting laws which are increasingly overriding the reproductive rights and autonomy of women far beyond the argument around whether or not they want an abortion. It explores how being pregnant in this climate is extremely political and more so becoming even criminal.

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Hot tip: sign up for a 14-day free Showmax trial and you'll get to watch all of these for free!

Walshy Fire Photo: RAHIM FORTUNE

Interview: Walshy Fire On Reconnecting Africa and the Caribbean through The Sound Of Rum

A conversation with the Jamaican born DJ/Producer and Bacardi Sound Of Rum curator who's worked with Mr Eazi, Vanessa Mdee, Ice Prince and Runtown.

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"If we aren't talking about growth, positivity and good energy in the opportunities that we have, then we're wasting our opportunities" Walshy Fire says. "It's about helping move the culture forward - which is what I want to do". The artist, born Leighton Paul Walsh, recently released his Afrobeats and dancehall-fusing debut solo album, ABENG, after achieving global success as one third of supergroup Major Lazer and producing standout hits such as Koffee's "Toast".

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Courtesy of Showmax.

Production for Showmax's Second Original Scripted Comedy 'Woke In Progress' is Underway

The show will be directed by the award-winning Rea Moeti.

After the colossal success of The Girl from St. Agnes and Tali's Wedding Diary, Showmax is currently busy with the production of their second original scripted comedy, Woke in Progress. The comedy series, which is being shot in Maboneng, Johannesburg, will star talents such as Lebogang Tlokana, Ebenhaezer Dibakwane and Kiroshan Naidoo. The series will be directed by the award-winning show-runner Rea Moeti whose short film Mma Moeketsi, which was inspired by the 2012 Marikana Massacre, has won awards at the Johannesburg, Cape Town and Zanzibar international film festivals.

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Burna Boy. Photo by Joseph Okpako/WireImage (via Getty Images).

The 20 Best Nigerian Songs of 2019

Featuring Burna Boy, Rema, Tiwa Savage, Zlatan, Mr Eazi, Wizkid, Teni, Davido, Lady Donli and many more.

2019 was another huge year for Nigerian music.

Zlatan's presence was ubiquitous and powered by the zeal for zanku, a dance which is now de rigueur. Rema led the charge for a group of young breakthrough artists that include Fireboy DML and Joeboy. They all represent an exciting crop of talents that point the way forward for Nigerian pop.

Burna Boy's new dominance, built around his excellent African Giant album, delivered on his rare talents, while the long wait for Davido's sophomore album, A Good Time, paid off in satisfying fashion. Simi's Omo Charlie Champagne Vol. 1 announced her departure from her longterm label. Tiwa Savage also made a highly-discussed move from Mavin Records to Universal Music Group. Meanwhile, Yemi Alade exuded female strength with her latest record, Woman of Steel.

Not to be left out, Wizkid sated demands for his fourth album with a new collaborative EP following a year of stellar features that included his presence on Beyoncé's Lion King: The Gift, an album which also boasts Tekno, Mr Eazi and Tiwa Savage. Mr Eazi also notably launched his emPawa initiative to help fund Africa's promising up-and-coming artists.

Asa returned in a formidable form with Lucid, while buzzing artists like Tay Iwar, Santi, and Lady Donli all shared notable releases. Lastly, the beef between Vector and M.I climaxed and sparked a resurgence of Nigerian rap releases from Phyno to Ycee, PsychoYP and more.

Read on for the best Nigerian songs of 2019. Listed in no particular order. —Sabo Kpade

Follow our NAIJA HITS playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

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OkayAfrica Presents: 'The Adinkra Oracle' December Reading with Simone Bresi-Ando

We're back with another Adinkra reading from Simone Bresi-Ando to help guide you through the end of the year—and the end of the decade.

It's the a new month and that means we're ready for a new Adinkra reading from Simone Bresi-Ando to help you navigate your December.

After cleansing the space, Simone will pull five Adinkra Ancestral Guidance Cards from a deck of 44 Adinkra symbols—these cards help to channel information, messages and direction from your ancestors using Adinkra symbols when read correctly. Remember, as Simone says, "these readings tell you what you need to know and not necessarily what you want to know—our ancestors are emotionally pure."

Simone gives a general reading of what December has in store to help you know what actions and thoughts are necessary to get the best out of the month. This is a special installment as it also guides you through the end of the year—and the end of the decade.

Watch below.

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