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Wanuri Kahiu's 'RAFIKI' Is the First Kenyan Feature Film To Premiere at Cannes Film Festival

The film is a combination of struggle and the power to dream and love.

This coming of age feature film set in Nairobi has been invited to premiere at this year's Cannes Film Festival—a first for Kenya.

RAFIKI (Friend), directed by Kenyan storyteller and OkayAfrica 100 Women honoree Wanuri Kahiu, tells a tale of a community affected by a relationship that grows between two young women, Kena (Samantha Mugatsia) and Ziki (Sheila Munyiva).


Inspired by the 2007 Caine Prize Winning short story "Jambula Tree" by Ugandan writer Monica Arac de Nyeko, the film celebrates love and asks whether it's safer being invisible or if it's better to defy conservative rules, while discovering one's identity and destiny through love.

"The love story resonated with Kahiu, who had the vision to change the setting to Kenya and place the film in a vibrant, present-day urban environment," the film states in a press release. "Kahiu worked with co-writer Jenna Bass and together they added further elements to the screenplay that speak to the present-day concerns and conflicts affecting people like Kena and Ziki even in young, vibrant, millennial Nairobi."

RAFIKI's supporting cast includes Jimmi Gathu, Nini Wacera, Patricia Amira and Dennis Musyoka. This is Kahiu's second feature film, with its coproducers Big World Cinema, Afrobubblegum (Kenya), MPM Film (France), Shortcut Films (Lebanon), Ape & Bjorn (Norway), Rinkel Film (Netherlands) and Razor Film (Germany).

The Cannes Film Festival runs from May 8 through May 19.

Photo: Mariela Alvarez.

Interview: ÌFÉ Blends Music & Religion to Honor Those Who Have Died During the Pandemic

Producer and percussionist Otura Mun talks about his latest EP, The Living Dead, and how he traces the influences of West Africa in his new work.

There are bands that open up a spiritual world through their music. ÌFÉ is one example. An electro-futurist band that fuses Afro-Cuban rhythms and Jamaican dancehall with Yoruba mystical voices. With the success of their 2017 debut album "IIII+IIII" (pronounced Eji-Ogbe), ÌFÉ has reached an audience that is looking for Caribbean and contemporary sounds.

The Puerto Rican-based band just released a new EP, The Living Dead- Ashé Bogbo Egun, that aims to heal and honor those who have died during this pandemic. Otura Mun, the band leader, is an African-American producer and percussionist, who began a personal journey about a decade ago, when he landed in San Juan, and decided to move there. He learned Spanish, dug deep into his African ancestry and started to practice the Yoruba-Caribbean religion of Santería.

ÌFÉ, which means "love and expansion" in Yoruba, ties two worlds, music and religion, artistically. This new EP modernized prayer songs to hopefully make them more accessible to a younger generation. OkayAfrica spoke with Otura Mun on his latest work.

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Interview

Interview: Adekunle Gold Channels Refreshing Truths Into Afropop

Adekunle Gold achieves an artistic freedom that most mainstream artists don't have through a smooth balance of introspection and club bangers.

A few years ago, Adekunle Gold broke out into the scene with a refreshing way of carrying himself, presenting his art and speaking his truth with music. His debut single "Sade" started this journey of chart topping releases, sold out shows, and the constantly evolving sound that graces African airwaves. Gold's self assurance made him stand out from the very beginning, as his sound was delivered with intent, compassion, and stuffed with personal truths.

Not many artists are willing to try new things with their music, and in order to maintain mainstream success, some cling to one sound, one image and direction often crafted from fragments of their first hit. These artists get stuck trying to recreate a capsule in time, while true artists are open to the dynamic of change, and the necessity of renewal.

Adekunle Gold is one of a handful in his profession who draws on a spectrum of experiences to make honest music which is consistent with the self-revelations of a growing man. This has become his biggest strength, allowing him to craft contemplative songs like "Sade" and "Oreke" and still create afropop magic like "Something Different"

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Image courtesy of artist.

Elaine is The Most Streamed South African Woman Artist on Spotify in 2020

Elaine is the most streamed South African woman artist on Spotify in 2020, and her song 'You're The One' is the most streamed South African song across all genres.

South African R&B sensation Elaine has been breaking records and making history since she released her breakout hit "You're The One" which appears in the EP Elements (2019).

Today, Spotify revealed she is the most streamed South African woman artist on the platform by South African audiences. She is in the great company of Ami Faku, Demi Lee Moore, Sha Sha and Juanita Du Plessis among others. Elaine is the sixth most streamed South African artist across all genres and genders on the platform.

"You're The One" is the most streamed South African song across all genres on the platform. The song surpassed songs such as "eMcimbini (Live)" by Aymos, DJ Maphorisa, Kabza De Small, Mas Musiq, Myztro, Samthing Soweto and "Jerusalema (feat.Nomcebo Zikode)" by Master KG, Nomcebo Zikode. Her single "Risky" also cracked the top five most streamed SA songs.

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Nasty C is The Most Streamed South African Hip-hop Artist on Spotify in 2020

Nasty C tops the list of the most streamed South African hip-hop artists on Spotify in 2020.