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Cinemafrique: African Foreign Language Oscar Hopefuls, Scotland's Africa In Motion Film Festival & A Stunning Senegalese Fashion Short

Okayafrica's Cinemafrique looks at African film and TV news on foreign language Oscar contenders, Scotland's Africa In Motion and more.


Still from Abderrahmane Sissako's 'Timbuktu'

Welcome to the latest installment of Okayafrica’s Cinemafrique series. Every other Thursday we highlight the latest film and television news from throughout Africa and the diaspora. This week we take a look at the four African films in the running for the 2015 Academy Awards' Foreign Language Film, Femme, a stunning short fashion film set in Senegal, and the lineup for Scotland's Africa In Motion Festival later this month.

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The Hague Sentences Malian Extremist to 9 Years for Destruction of Timbuktu’s Cultural Sites in Historic Case

Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi plead guilty last month to aiding the destruction of Timbuktu’s historic mausoleums and mosques deemed UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2012.

The Hague handed down its sentence to the Malian extremist charged for ordering his followers to destroy Timbuktu’s historic mausoleums and mosques using pickaxes and crowbars in 2012, BBC reports.

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Malian Extremist Prosecuted for Destroying Timbuktu’s Cultural Sites Pleads Guilty in Historic International Court Case

"I am really sorry, I am really remorseful, and I regret all the damage that my actions have caused."

Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi has become the first person to face criminal charges in International Criminal Court for destroying cultural heritage site as well as the first defendant to plead guilty in the Hague on Monday.

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Photo courtesy of CSA Global.

In Conversation with Congolese NBA Player Emmanuel Mudiay: 'I want more African players in the NBA.'

The Utah Jazz player talks about being African in the NBA, supporting basketball in the DRC and how 'everybody knows about Burna Boy'.

Inspired by his basketball-playing older brothers, by second grade, Emmanuel Mudiay already knew that he wanted to play in the American National Basketball Association. Then in 2001 his family, fleeing the war in Democratic Republic of Congo, sought asylum in the United States.

In America, Mudiay saw basketball as a way for him to improve his situation. After impressive high school and college careers, he moved to China to play pro ball. Picked 7th overall in the 2015 NBA draft, the now 23-year-old guard has made a name for himself this season coming off the bench for the Utah Jazz.

Mudiay attests to the sport having changed not only his life but that of his siblings. Basketball gave them all a chance at a good education and the opportunity to dream without conditions. Now he wants to see other talented African players make it too.

We caught up with him to talk about his experience as an African player in the NBA, his hopes for basketball on the African continent and who he and his teammates jam out to in their locker rooms.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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University lecturer and activist Doctor Stella Nyanzi (L) reacts in court as she attends a trial to face charges for cyber-harassment and offensives communication, in Kampala, on April 10, 2017. (Photo by GAEL GRILHOT/AFP via Getty Images)

Jailed Ugandan Activist, Stella Nyanzi, Wins PEN Prize for Freedom of Expression

The outspoken activist, who is currently serving a prison sentence for a poem she wrote about the president's mother's vagina, won for her resistance "in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her."

Stella Nyanzi, the Ugandan academic, activist, and vocal critic of President Yoweri Museveni has been awarded the 2020 Oxfam Novib/PEN International award for freedom of expression, given to writers who "continue to work for freedom of expression in the face of persecution."

Nyanzi is currently serving a 15 month sentence for "cyber harassment" after she published a poem in which she wrote that she wished "the acidic pus flooding Esiteri's (the president's mother) vaginal canal had burn up your unborn fetus. Burn you up as badly as you have corroded all morality and professionalism out of our public institutions in Uganda."

According to the director of PEN International, Carles Torner, her unfiltered outspokenness around the issues facing her country is what earned her the award. "For her, writing is a permanent form of resistance in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her," said Torner at the award ceremony.

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