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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Writes Short Story About Fela Kuti's Brother, Dr. Olikoye Ransome-Kuti

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie penned a short story about Fela Kuti's brother, the late Nigerian health minister Dr. Olikoye Ransome-Kuti.


Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie recently wrote a short story for The Art of Saving a Life, a collection of stories, art and music commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation celebrating how vaccines continue to improve the lives of children around the world. More than 30 world-renowned photographers, painters, sculptors, writers, filmmakers, and musicians participated in the project, including Angélique Kidjo (who contributed her version of a traditional Kenyan song, "M’Baamba," remixed by South Africa's DJ Naaldekoker), Yvonne Chaka Chaka, and Malian photographer Fatoumata Diabaté (whose recent work documents the urgent Ebola vaccine trials that took place in Mali in mid-October).

Adichie's contribution, the 1985 Nigeria-set short story Olikoye, is told by a woman about to give birth to a boy she has decided to name Olikoye, as she reflects on the child's namesake, whose influence on health care and encouragement and promotion of vaccines at a transformative time for Nigeria led to the survival of so many children and mothers. The man the child is named after is none other than Dr. Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, who died in 2003 and is often described as Nigeria’s "best cabinet minister." He was also Fela Kuti’s brother, and helped pave the way for Nigeria’s battle against HIV/AIDS. Adichie, who herself is no stranger to health care, having studied medicine and pharmacy at the University of Nigeria for a year and a half before leaving Nigeria for the United States, imagines the late ministers' work through the eyes of a little girl to poignantly highlight the transformative affect vaccines had on village life and infant mortality rates. Accompanying the story is a short explanation about the art, which explains:

"Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie takes us back to 1985, a transformative time in her home country when a new health minister “with big sleepy eyes” introduced free services to mothers and children. Dr. Olikoye Ransome-Kuti is revered in Nigeria as one of the best cabinet ministers the country has known. His vision was primary health care for all, beginning with basic preventive services including vaccination. In this tender short story, Chimamanda imagines the Minister’s life through the eyes of a young girl whose father works for him, as he embarks on improving health for Nigerians. She writes: 'A baby’s warm arm and a small injection. It took that to save the lives of the babies born that year in my village, and in the villages around us and those far from us, in Calabar and Enugu and Kaduna. It took that to save my life.'" (via The Art of Saving a Life)

Read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's latest short story in full either via The Art of Saving a Life or Medium, where it surfaced this week with illustrations by the Brooklyn-based Wesley Allsbrook.

Illustration posted with 'Olikoye' on Medium, by Wesley Allsbrook

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9 Must-Hear Songs From Ghana's Buzzing Drill Scene

We give you the rundown on Ghana's drill movement, Asakaa, and the most popular songs birthed by it.

Red bandanas, streetwear, security dogs, and gang signs. If you've been paying any attention to the music scene in Ghana over the past few months, then by now you would have noticed the rise of a special hip-hop movement. The movement is called Asakaa, and it's the Ghanaian take on the Chicago-born subgenre of hip-hop called drill music. It's fresh, it's hot, it's invigorating and it's nothing like anything you've seen before from this part of the world.

The pioneers of Asakaa are fondly referred to by the genre's patrons as the Kumerica boys, a set of budding young rappers based in the city of Kumasi in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. They came into the limelight towards the end of 2020, and have been dropping banger after banger since then, topping several charts and racking up millions of views collectively. The rap is charismatic, the visuals are captivating, and their swag is urban. Characterized by Twi lyrics, infectious hooks, and sinister beats, the allure and appeal of both their art and their culture is overflowing.

"Sore," one of the benchmark songs of the movement, is a monster hit that exploded into the limelight, earning Kumerican rapper Yaw Tog a feature on Billboard Italy and a recent remix that featured Stormzy. "Ekorso" by Kofi Jamar is the song that took over Ghana's December 2020, with the video currently sitting at 1.3 million views on YouTube. "Off White Flow" is the song that earned rapper Kwaku DMC and his peers a feature on Virgil Abloh's Apple Music show Televised Radio. These are just a few examples of the numerous accolades that the songs birthed from the Asakaa movement have earned. Ghana's drill scene is the new cool, but it isn't just a trend. It's an entire movement, and it's here to stay.

Want to get familiar? Here we highlight the most prominent songs of the Asakaa movement that you need to know. Here's our rundown of Ghana's drill songs that are making waves right now. Check them out below.

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