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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Wins 25th Anniversary Women's Prize Award

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Biafra Novel Snags 'Winner of Winners' Award

Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has won the Women's Prize 'Winner of Winners' award for 'Half of a Yellow Sun'. The prize has been awarded to her by public vote in celebration of the literary award's 25-year anniversary.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has recently won the Women's Prize for her Biafra-centred novel, Half of a Yellow Sun. The award was voted for by the public who deemed Adichie the "Winner of Winners", a once-off award in celebration of the Women's prizes 25th anniversary after having been founded in 1995 by Kate Mosse. She beat out previous winners Zadie Smith, Lionel Shriver, and Rose Tremain. The Women's Prize, formerly known as the Orange Prize, brought Half of a Yellow Sun into prominence back in 2007.


The Women's Prize announced the news on social media.

The Women's Prize "Winner of Winners" was judged by members of the public who voted for their favourite author out of 25 previous winners. Adichie is reportedly moved by the win, remarking that it was the Women's Prize that propelled her name as a novelist in 2007. Adichie was 29 when she won The Women's Prize for Half of a Yellow Sun, her second novel after Purple Hibiscus.

Half of a Yellow Sun is a fictional take on the Biafra war which took place in Nigeria. Adichie weaves characters' internal conflicts with the socio-political breakdown in Nigeria in the 1960s. The novel took the world by storm and has become a literary cult favourite. Adichie's win proves that Half of a Yellow Sun has not waned in popularity and that it is a timeless classic.

"One of the things that's so fantastic about Chimamanda being the winner of winners is that a lot of younger readers are now coming to that novel, who probably didn't read it when it came out. It's felt like a really celebratory thing to be doing over this very strange year," Mosse commented to The Guardian.

According to the BBC, more than 8500 people reportedly participated in the vote. Half of a Yellow Sun was published in 2006 and adapted into a film in 2013 starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton. Mosse said that Half of a Yellow Sun is a future literary classic and that literary awards should celebrate more women.

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Photo By John Ezekwem for OkayAfrica

The Art of Cosplaying at Lagos Comic Con 2022

Lagos Comic Con serves as one of the largest conventions making cosplay thrive, thereby building a subculture in Nigeria.

The Lagos Comic Convention (Comic Con) has become the biggest gathering of geeks, weebs, and creatives in Africa. For a day, these individuals get to assemble and interact, geek out, and — most importantly — cosplay some of their fantasies.

Woman dressed in black Sandman costume

"I finished binge-watching The Sandman on Netflix a few weeks back and was drawn to the character," Tonia told OkayAfrica.

Photo By John Ezekwem for OkayAfrica

Over time, cosplay has been used mainly as a means of self-expression. It involves portraying and bringing to life characters from anime, cartoons, comic books, television series, and video games. And Lagos Comic Con serves as one of the largest conventions making cosplay thrive, thereby building a community — and even more – a subculture in Nigeria. This year marked its 10th edition, bringing dozens of cosplayers together.

Additionally, there was a cosplay competition, with a cash reward of N50,000 to the winner. Among these cosplayers is 21-year-old first-timer Tonia who cosplayed as The Sandman, a fictional character from DC Comics. Tonia has always loved dressing up, which sparked her interest in cosplaying. "I finished binge-watching The Sandman on Netflix a few weeks back and was drawn to the character," Tonia told OkayAfrica. "I liked everything about him and how he was portrayed.”

Black man dressing up as Nick Fury

"I don’t believe in cosplaying white people because it just won’t look right."

Photo By John Ezekwem for OkayAfrica

Disun, another first-timer, used cosplaying as a means of self-expression as a Black person. Cosplaying as the beloved character Nick Fury from Marvel’s The Avengers, the 29-year-old looked minimalist in black outerwear and an eye patch. “I will mostly choose Black characters when cosplaying because I am Black," Disun said. "I don’t believe in cosplaying white people because it just won’t look right. I’d most likely cosplay Black characters like Luke Cage.”

man dressed up as super hero Guardian Prime

Guardian Prime is a superhero character from Comic Republic, one of the biggest publishers of African comic books.

Photo By John Ezekwem for OkayAfrica

After cosplaying as Marvel’s Thor in 2019, David decided to put a spin on his costume. “Since this year was the 10th anniversary of Lagos Comic Con, I wanted to do something different, so I chose to come as Guardian Prime,” David said.

Guardian Prime is a superhero character from Comic Republic, one of the biggest publishers of African comic books. David’s appearance as Guardian Prime was profound, because it helped showcase the often overlooked African comic book characters at these conventions.

Other cosplayers were inspired by Japanese media culture. First is 21-year-old Tony, who used to live in Ukraine and often cosplayed at anime-themed events. However, when she moved to Nigeria — before the Covid-19 pandemic hit — she found comfort in frequently cosplaying during this period, gravitating towards only Japanese-inspired characters.

Sekai Saionji costume

"What I have come to love the most about cosplaying is how it allows you to bring to life any character regardless of your race or gender," Tony said.

Photo By John Ezekwem for OkayAfrica

At Comic Con Lagos, she looked stunning in a school-inspired outfit alongside a sword. She’s cosplaying the character of Sekai Saionji from the Japanese anime School Days. “I feel very unique," Tony said. "What I have come to love the most about cosplaying is how it allows you to bring to life any character regardless of your race or gender."

David Ajidahun was cosplaying as Japanese fighter character Ryu from the video game Street Fighter. He used to believe Comic Con only existed outside of the African continent. “Having Comic Con here in Nigeria shows you the progression that creativity can be anywhere in the world," Ajidahun told OkayAfrica. "Cosplaying, as a form of self-expression, allows me to create myself as an artist while also finding that connection with the character I am cosplaying.”

While cosplaying serves as a form of self-realization, the young people at Lagos Comic Con all face one paramount obstacle: coming up with their costumes and props. Some of them spend money purchasing and shipping their costume from overseas, while others opt to go the DIY (Do it Yourself) route.

black Ryu

David Ajidahun was cosplaying as Japanese fighter character Ryu from Street Fighter.

Photo By John Ezekwem for OkayAfrica

For instance, Tonia spent four days bringing her outfit for The Sandman to life. She enjoys the time she spends designing her costume. But, for someone like Deola, her costume of Yor Briar from the Japanese manga Spy X Family cost about $70 and was shipped from overseas.

For her, it’s a huge challenge to find the proper materials and props to create the vision of whichever character she settles to cosplay as. And for Tobi, who cosplayed as Luigi from the Super Mario videogame, she had to seek out a friend who also partook in cosplaying to help create her costume.

female black Luigi super mario bros

Tobi cosplayed as Luigi from the Super Mario videogame.

Photo By John Ezekwem for OkayAfrica

This year witnessed the appearance of some bigwigs in the creative industry, like media mogul Obi Asika and Nigerian filmmakers Biodun Stephen and Niyi Akinmolayan, who all helmed panel discussions across various topics.

In the coming years, Comic Con Lagos is looking forward to extending the number of days for the convention to accommodate more attendees, keeping the event indigenous to Africa, and pushing African creatives and talents to the rest of the world.But the festival isn't easy to put on. Ayodele Elegba, the founder of Lagos Comic Con, says that it's become difficult convincing sponsors to invest into the event.

"They just don’t get it. Without sponsorship funding, Lagos Comic Con becomes difficult to organize," Elegba told OkayAfrica. "One of the reasons we adopted ticketing this year is to be able to relieve some costs of the event. And we are happy that people could pay for their tickets as a way of contributing to the growth of the creative industry in Nigeria.”

women as Harley Quin

Photo By John Ezekwem for OkayAfrica

woman as a ninja

Photo By John Ezekwem for OkayAfrica

black guy as a ninja

Photo By John Ezekwem for OkayAfrica

sandman costume

Photo By John Ezekwem for OkayAfrica

Thor

Photo By John Ezekwem for OkayAfrica







Music

The Unquestionable Rise of Asake​

From "Mr. Money" to "Omo Ope," we dissect and trace Asake's road to blowing up.

Asake is not your regular Nigerian musician. Since he popped up on the mainstream scene, the Lagos-born artist hasn’t taken a break from dominating the charts and airplay. In nearly every music-related conversation you come across on Twitter, Asake’s name is likely to come up. Listeners across Nigeria, and the globe, have all collectively witnessed the singer’s ascent from the moment he released his first single of the year “Omo Ope.” Asake has consistently released back-to-back hits, peaking at the number one spot on various charts on streaming platforms. The recurring question on the minds of many listeners remains: How did Asake blow up so fast in such a short span of time?

Before Asake released “Omo Ope” (featuring Olamide) and signed to YBNL, he had gotten a little taste of the mainstream. His 2020 single “Mr Money” was a club banger which saw the singer performing in nightclubs all over cities like Lagos and Port Harcourt. As the song continued to rise in popularity, Asake released a remix featuring Peruzzi and Zlatan Ibile, earning him his debut on Apple Music Top 100: Nigeria chart. Even though Asake didn’t exactly blow up, he gained recognition from people in the entertainment industry.

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Photo By Thomas Winz

19 Dead After Consuming Toxic Alcohol in Morocco

Local media reported that after drinking contaminated alcohol, over a dozen people were rushed to the hospital, and about 19 people lost their lives.

Dozens of people have been hospitalized, and about 19 people dead after drinking toxic alcohol from a roadside stall in Morocco.

According to authorities, the owner of the stall, a 48-year-old suspect was taken into custody after investigators found over 50 liters of the liquid were found in his business establishment. The victims were reported to have consumed the alcohol in the store owner's shop before they began to have complications. A nurse at Ksar El Kebir told the media that victims who checked in at the hospital were suffering from vomiting, stomach cramps and headaches. According to comments from a local health ministry to reporters, nine bodies were initially found at the hospital on Tuesday and the death toll rose to 19 on Wednesday.

Because Morocco is a muslim country, the sale and consumption of alcohol is forbidden. Earlier this year, Moroccans started a petition, calling for Moroccan authorities to cancel Germany's renowned Oktoberfest in Morocco. Over 21,000 Moroccans signed the petition to cancel the event. Although the use of, and sale of alcohol is expressly forbidden in Morocco, there are business owners who secretly carry the items in their stores, and over the years, agencies have conducted research to research the uptick in alcohol consumption.

In spite of the country's active campaigns against the use of drugs and anti-alcohol awareness programs, alcoholic beverages have been among the top three most consumed drugs in the Arab country. The National Observatory of Drugs and Addictions (ONDA) released a report stating that tobacco is the most used drug in Morocco, and closely followed by that was cannabis, alcohol, benzodiazepines, cocaine, heroin, solvents and other glues as well amphetamines. The report pointed out that substance abuse was more rampant in rural areas, compared to urban areas, while abuse related to alcohol and co-dependence were an urban issue.

According to reports, earlier in August, eight people died after drinking contaminated alcohol in the northern Oriental region of Morocco, and about 20 died in 2021 last year in Eastern Morocco.

Arts + Culture
Photo by Felix Dlangamandla/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images

'Reyka' Will Represent Africa at This Year's International Emmy Awards

It's South Africa's time to shine as the TV drama and its lead actress Kim Engelbrecht are chosen to represent the continent.

The list of nominees for this year's International Emmy Award ceremony has been released, and the tip of Africa has been assigned as this year's representation for the continent. South Africa is the only country to be included on this year's roster and received nods in three categories: TV drama Reyka earned Best Drama and Best Performance by an Actress for its star, South African sweetheart Kim Engelbrecht, and My Better World scored a nomination in the Best Kids Factual & Entertainment program.

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Kenya Says It's Banning LGBTQ+ Content

According to the acting head of the Kenya's Film Classification Board (KFCB), all movies with LGBTQ+ content are illegal in the country.