Achille Mbembe speaking at the African Futures festival in Johannesburg in 2015. (Photo: Lerato Maduna. Courtesy of Goethe-Institut South Africa)

Cameroonian Political Theorist Achille Mbembe Has Won the €100,000 Gerda Henkel Prize for Research

This is the first time an African scholar has won the prestigious German award for outstanding research.

Achille Mbembe, the Cameroonian political theorist, author and educator, is the winner of the 2018 Gerda Henkel Prize.

The 100,000 euro ($116,100) prize is awarded to those conducting outstanding research in science and the humanities. This marks the first time that the German foundation has granted the bi-annual prize to an African scholar, reports Brittle Paper.

Mbemebe was chosen by the foundation for his innovative approach to research on African politics and post-colonial theory, which goes beyond typical analysis, to offer refreshing news ways to think about the future of African society.

READ: Discussing African Futures with Achille Mbembe

A statement from the Greda Henkel Institution reads:

His books "Critique of Black Reason"and "Sortir de la grande nuit", which have also been translated into German are impressive testimonies to a highly independent way of thinking that shapes Mbembe's research throughout and is as critical as it is self-critical. His deliberations on Africa's place in the global order are both controversial and unsettling and have made an enduring mark even far beyond fundamental debates on post-colonialism. They focus attention on "Africa the Lab" beyond all the customary stereotypes and highlight links between colonialism, racism and capitalism that still require a more thorough discussion here in Germany as well."

Mbembe, who is based in South Africa, is known for his seminal bookOn the Postcolony, which was published in 2002. His latest bookCritique of Black Reason, was published in 2013. He is affiliated with Duke University and the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

OkayAfrica spoke with Mbembe about Afro-futures and the "decolonization of knowledge" in an interview back in 2015, revisit it here.

Music Brief
Image: Music video still via Youtube

Rising Star Libianca Shares Visuals to Hit 'People (Check On Me)'

The Cameroonian-American's breakout single and accompanying video has us right in our feels.

Rising star and former contestant on the US version ofThe Voice, Libianca, has released the visuals to her viral hit "People (Check on Me)." The 22-year-old singer and songwriter's 5K Records/Sony Music Entertainment UK/RCA Records produced breakout hit has quickly become a global fan favorite, both for her sultry vocals, and the emotional relatability it offers.

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Jeune Lio & Magasco Navigate the Pains of Love In Their New EP

Dig into the Cameroonian artists' collaborative release, Love In Transition.

From getting over losing a partner to navigating desire, interest, and happiness again, Love in Transition, a new joint EP from Cameroonian-born stars Jeune Lio and Magasco, touches on it all.

The 3-song EP feels like a confession from a hopeless romantic frustrated with how love is compulsive and fragile, especially when intense devotion guides their expressions. Jeune Lio and Magasco display the purity of these thoughts against a well-composed instrumental mash-up. Their cohesive compositions explore feelings that are often hidden, insisting that listeners play it on repeat.

"Lady" uses upbeat percussions to serenade the listener's soul, while "Njoka" captures the confusion and hesitation one goes through as they lust over new interests while still reminiscing over their last lover. "Strawberry" brings in Iguocho's sultry vocals to compose a tale of desire, attraction and romance.

Based in Abidjan, Jeune Lio takes on creative and artistic direction under his music label Monda Life. The Cameroonian DJ and co-founder of the Bain de Foule collective creates passionate mixes that transcend international borders from Dakar to Paris. Love in Transition is a magnificent follow up to his highly body of work A Night in Cocody.

We caught up with Jeune Lio to discuss the new EP and his future plans.

Jeune Lio.Image courtesy of the artist.

Tell me a little bit about how you got started as DJ and A&R in the music business.

I started doing it back 2013/2014, I was managing DJs in Paris and I wanted to start DJing, but at the time DJ equipment was so expensive. In 2013 my girlfriend offered me the one of the first affordable controllers and the rest is history. I think as a DJ you're kind of an A&R, but you don’t know that yet.

In 2019 I started thinking about doing music and for me it's simple: connecting the beatmaker and singer, with me as the strategist and producer behind that collaboration. In 2020, during the covid lockdown, I documented myself, talked with a lot of music executives, and also talked to my cousin who is a well know A&R in France, which gave me confidence to drop my first single, start producing and working with Ivorian artist.

What’s been the best part of being able to produce and release your own music so far?

I think it’s the whole process. Finding the right beat that will give people chills. Then the production process... recording, arranging the track, thinking about the storytelling of the track or project. And finally, when your music is out, the satisfaction that your idea has become real.

Magasco.Image courtesy of the artist.

How did this joint EP with Magasco come about?

Magasco was the first artist to trust my vision and trust me. So we knew we wanted to work on a joint EP. That idea became real when Magasco’s manager, Eva, told us that we should really do it—and we did. The funny thing is that when Magasco was recording, him and I were going through some stuff in our personal love life. That’s how Love in Transition came to life.

Who would you love to work with in the future in both in the Francophone and Anglophone scenes?

To be honest, I’d love to work with the best beatmakers like Sey Sey, DSK,Bgrz and P.Priime. With their crazy beats I could put spotlights on upcoming artist from both the Francophone or Anglophone scenes. My dream is to work with Tiwa Savage.

Tell me more about the record label that you own Monda Life, and the artists you’re working with under that imprint.

Monda Life is the label I create in 2020 because I wanted my music and the music of the people that I produce to have a home. I mainly work with R&B artists because it's a genre that I love and I think R&B will become of the main genres in Africa. The fusion between Afro and R&B is so crazy.

News Brief
Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Listen to Burna Boy Feature On Popcaan's New Song 'Aboboyaa'

Renowned dancehall artist Popcaan has released his album Great Is He, via OVO Sound, and it features none other than Burna Boy.

Jamaica's Popcaanhas shared his anticipated album Great Is He, and the body of work features Nigerian superstar Burna Boy on the track "Aboboyaa."

The album showcases the Jamaican musical giant's signature dancehall sound, while also exploring the depth of genre's versatility. In addition to featuring Burna Boy, Great Is He includes features from OVO Sound's boss Drake, Jamaica's Chronic Law, and Toni-Ann Singh, among others.

On "Aboboyaa," the two musical powerhouses merge their signature rhythmic melodies and intonations in a way that is both compelling to listen to on the first listen, and in turn inspires a second and third listen.

Ever since he released his debut album in 2014, Popcaan has become an international dancehall sensation, and his repertoire includes a list of impressive features.

His album Forever, which was released in 2018, debuted at number two on Billboard’s Top Reggae Albums. Commercially, Popcaan has made a mark on the music scene too. His last project FIXTAPE — which included “Twist & Turn,” the mesmerizing dancehall hit featuring Drake and PARTYNEXTDOOR — has garnered over 191 million streams and continues to receive accolades from outlets like Pitchfork, who described the body of work as “a testament to his place at the forefront of the genre.”

"Aboboyaa" is not Popcaan's first international collaboration. In the past, the Jamaican icon has worked with several international music acts including Davido, Jamie xx, Young Thug, Gorillaz, Kano, Jorja Smith and a host of others. He also founded Jamaica’s annual Unruly Festwhich brings stars across the globe to experience Jamaican culture.

Listen to "Aboboyaa" featuring Burna Boy below.

Listen to Popcaan and Burna Boy's "Aboboyaa"

Photo: Nabil Elderkin.

The Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Popcaan x Burna Boy, Bongeziwe Mabandla, Mr Eazi, Baaba Maal, Pheelz and more.

Every Friday, we highlight the top releases through our best music of the week column, Songs You Need to Hear. Here's our round-up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks.

If you like these music lists, you can also check out our Best Songs of the Month columns following Nigerian, Ghanaian, East African and South African music. If you missed them, check out our music lists for the Best of 2022 here.

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