News Brief

Caster Semenya Wins Gold in Historic Women's 800m Victory for South Africa

Middle-distance runner Caster Semenya is the first black South African woman to win gold at the Olympics.

The world is having an hour. Frank Ocean just broke the internet with the release of his second surprise album in two days, the highly, highly-anticipated and very much long-awaited Boys Don’t Cry Blond LP.


And we love you, Frank. But let’s be real. Tonight belongs to someone else.

Caster Semenya is officially an Olympic champion.

The South African middle-distance star from Polokwane made history mere moments ago in Rio, emerging victorious in the final of the women’s 800-metre event with a time of 1:55.28. Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba and Kenya’s Margaret Wambui put up a good fight. Semenya, calm and collected as always, pulled away in the final 200 metres.

She didn’t break Czech runner Jarmilla Kratochvilova’s 33-year-old world record of 1:53:28 as many were hoping. But she did set a new national record in South Africa and make history as the first black South African woman to win gold at the Olympics.

Semenya’s win brings South Africa’s medal count to their goal of ten. It was their second gold of the 2016 Summer Games––on Sunday, sprinter Wayde van Niekerk put on one of the great Olympic performances of all time and smashed American track-and-field star Michael Johnson’s 17-year world record.

Niyonsaba's second-place finish (with a time of 1:56.49) marks Burundi's first medal of the Rio Games. Wambui's third-place finish (1:56.89) brings Kenya's medal count to eleven.

Interview

Angelique Kidjo Writes a Love Letter to 'Mother Nature'

We talk to the Beninese musical icon about assembling her new album on Zoom and the "bigger than COVID-19" threat that lies ahead!

The kind of infectious energy that lives within Angelique Kidjo can't be contained by Zoom. Her zest for life reaches out far beyond any screen, and burns stronger than the fastest internet connection.

"I can't wait until we're in person hugging again," she enthuses soon after joining our Zoom meeting to discuss her latest album Mother Nature. Having been on the receiving end of a hug from the four-time Grammy-winning singer, I know exactly what I'm missing out on. "Me too," I say, as I wrap my arms around my laptop, my face squishing the screen. "No, no," she retorts. "I don't want that. You keep it. I want the real deal," she chuckles, her full-bodied trademark laughter lovingly admonishing me.

The Benin-born musician is preparing to release Mother Nature, a collection of songs reflecting our one Earth, and cementing her status as an African musical icon. Collaborating with the likes of Yemi Alade, Mr Eazi, Burna Boy, Sampa the Great, Shungudzo and more, Kidjo's crossing through time and space, over age and country through Mother Nature's themes and stories. Each track is infused with a vigor that only she possesses — the kind that shares a significant message even as the listener is called to just dance or sing along.

Below, Angelique Kidjo reminisces about making the album, and chats us through her hopes and dreams for it!

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