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Cinemafrique: African Film & TV News On Equatorial Guinea's "First" Feature Film, An Afro-Brazilian Folk Fantasy, 'Hard To Get' In SA Cinemas + More

Okayafrica's Cinemafrique looks at African film and TV news on SA's 'Hard To Get,' Equatorial Guinea's Where The Road Runs Out and more.


Hard To Get Opens Nationwide in South African Cinemas

South African romantic action film Hard To Get celebrated its nationwide release in local SA theaters this past weekend. The first feature film from South African writer and director Zee Ntuli, the film revolves around a modern day Bonnie & Clyde who get caught up in Johannesburg's seedy criminal underworld. Newcomers Thishiwe Ziqubu and Pallance Dladla star in the lead roles alongside Mzansi film veterans Israel Makoe (iNumber Number, Tsotsi) and Jerry Mofokeng (The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, Tsotsi). Besides its current theatrical run, Hard To Get recently received the honor of "opening night selection" at the Durban International Film Festival and has also been selected to screen at next month's BFI London Film Festival. Read the film's synopsis and watch the gripping high energy trailer below.

"When Skiets, an enigmatic, beautiful stranger walks into small rural township tavern and demands a beer, TK, a charming local lothario sets out to seduce her in order to prove his prowess to the locals. When she spurns his attentions, he falls head over heels for her and seriously starts to woo her. However, Skiets is a dark horse and breaks TK's heart when she returns to the tavern the next night on the arm of MUGZA, the local hood! But...when Mugza discovers that Skiets has stolen his car keys and intends to make off with his most precious possession, he erupts. TK steps in to defend Skiets and before he knows it he is on his way to Johannesburg and the bright city lights with her... in the car that Mugza treasures above all else!   Step in Gumede, a sophisticated, wealthy and dangerous crime lord who takes them under his wing when Skiets catches his eye. Skiets recognizes the type and is reticent to accept Gumede's money but TK is only too happy to spend it without any thought of the payback that will inevitably follow. When Gumede makes a move on Skiets, TK, sick with jealousy, decides to rob one of Gumede's own stores and pay him back with his own money. The action, mystery, love and drama continues..."

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Here's Our List of 8 Must-See Afrofuturist Films

Say goodbye to your social life, you've got movies to watch.

Like us, you may be seeking a fix for your Afrofuturism craving. Although the media has been pressing Afrofuturism as a fad, it's been alive in film for years. It's always satisfying to see sci-fi films through a black lens, and that's exactly what Afrofuturism is about, whether it pertains to visualizing the future, or reliving the past. Not only are these films entertaining, but they are also thought provoking and innovative.

See our must watch list of Afrofuturism films below.

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Watch South African Film 'Catching Feelings' and More at the Urbanworld Film Festival in NYC

OkayAfrica will be co-presenting South African comedy, 'Catching Feelings,' starring Pearl Thusi and Kagiso Lediga at this year's Urbanworld Film Festival.

Looking to catch a good movie this week? The 21st Annual Urbanworld Film Festival is coming to NYC from September 20 to 24 with a selection of the best new films by Africans and people of the diaspora.

OkayAfrica is proud to co-present Catching Feelings, a dark romantic comedy set in Johannesburg about what happens to a young couple when an unexpected visitor moves in with them. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with writer and director Kagiso Lediga, an acclaimed stand-up comedian and writer from South Africa.

Catching Feelingswhich also stars Pearl Thusi, is "a tale of how life, love and art intersect in uncontrollable ways," according to Shadow and Act. It premiered at the LA Film Festival to a sold out screening in June.

Here are a few other films from Africa and the diaspora we're looking forward to watching at this year's festival:

1. French

Seyna, a teenager from Cameroon, loves France, the country where she was born. She is determined to study and get French nationality, despite her father's fierce opposition.

2. Behind the Curtain: Eclipsed

"Eclipsed" was a Broadway  play written, directed and performed by all women of African descent, which starred Lupita Nyong'o. This documentary follows the genesis and rise of this groundbreaking play written by the Walking Dead's Danai Gurira.

3. Waiting for Hassana

Of the 276 girls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram from their school in Chibok, Nigeria in 2014, only a few managed to escape. This film follows Jessica, an escapee, as she shares her account of a life interrupted by terror.

4. Cargo

Kevin, an unsuccessful fisherman from Miami, turns to human smuggling in order to make ends meet. He soon takes the risk of smuggling his girlfriend and her son into the U.S., but is confronted with a situation that forces him to take a difficult look at his responsibilities.

5. Torments of Love

Two sisters meet at their family home on an island off the coast of Guadeloupe. One sister, Vanessa, is caught off guard when her father shows up for lunch. The unexpected confrontation forces each person at the table to face complicated emotions.

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5 Women Doing Amazing Things Behind the Scenes in South African Hip-Hop

Behind every successful South African rapper of the last decade is a woman helping to get ish done. Helen Herimbi spoke to a few of them.

South African hip-hop had a great run in the last decade. As we start a new era, it's important to highlight the women who have played a pivotal role in the growth of the genre.

​Thuli Keupilwe

Thuli Keupilwe is the founder of LAWK Communications, an artist booking and representation agency that now works closely with the likes of DJ Maphorisa and Kabza de Small.

But she's not all about the yanos. Thuli has worked with urban music brands like Dreamteam SA and Homecoming Events, but in 2016, she cast her booking agent net wider and started LAWK Communications where she worked with DJs Capital and Sliqe.

The following year, Thuli received a phone call that would force her to level up. "Boom," she exclaims. "February 2017. PJay from B3nchMarQ called me. I was the one that pushed A-Reece to get onto his first Maftown Heights around 2014 and we're all from Pretoria so I'd known them since forever."

B3nchMarQ and A-Reece were gearing up to leave Ambitiouz Entertainment and when she agreed to be their booking agent, Thuli hadn't anticipated how much it would stretch her. Partly because the artists weren't initially permitted to perform their own songs—problematic for an agent who is meant to book them for gigs.

"I didn't see that coming at all," she says. "I was going up against the big guys, people I looked up to. I realized I needed to get a lawyer." Eventually, the artists were legally permitted to gig. "I had one of my biggest years with Reece after that. I am still with him till today."

A-Reece had managed to amass an enviable fan base size mostly from his online and streaming presence. Thuli works closely with him and counts using A-Reece's "Rich" song in a sync deal with the gambling website BET.co.za as a milestone in their partnership. "It was a good check," she chuckles. "And he was being himself and that's the most important thing to me."

Kay Faith

Authenticity has been the drive behind Kay Faith's work. The Cape Town-based engineer, producer and budding vocalist began her career behind the boards during sessions for the likes of Yasiin Bey, Nasty C and E-Jay.

She put out her own EP, In Good Faith, in 2017, and in 2018, she became the first female producer in the world to be featured on Apple Music's New Artist Spotlight.

She has also given us hip-hop bangers like "Slam Dunk" by Da L.E.S and YoungstaCPT. The latter is a frequent collaborator of hers. So much so that when his album 3T won the Best Album category at this year's South African Hip Hop Awards, she felt it was a win for her too. Especially since projects she'd worked on had been nominated and lost before.

Read: Meet The Woman Engineering Your Favorite South African Hip-Hop Releases

"When we started [the song] 'YVR,' I had this emotional feeling that it would be something big for Cape Town," Kay excitedly says. "From recording to mixing to mastering and featuring as a vocalist on 'The Cape of Good Hope' and 'KAAPSTAD NAAIER,' I was behind all of 3T. I even co-produced the 'Pavement Special' intro and the 'Outro' with Chvna.

"We spent 11 months crafting and him trying to get it to be perfect so it was a surreal feeling when we won Album of the Year. I even sent out a tweet saying: 'Can we just take a moment to realize that the South African Hip Hop Album of the Year was entirely engineered by a woman?'"

Kay's upcoming album, Antithesis is slated for a 2020 release. "It's going to be the first album of its kind, I believe," she says. "And I'm really trying to play with that idea of being the antithesis of hip-hop. I am a woman, an Afrikaans kid, in hip-hop. When I walk in, people don't expect me to be an engineer or a hip-hop producer and when I roll out my accolades, then they're like, 'damn, Kay's got game.' That reaction is what this album is about."

Phindi Matroshe

For Phindi Matroshe, the outside reaction to her work is not the most important thing. Phindi is a publicist and talent manager who owns At Handle, a PR and social marketing solutions firm. She was there before Nadia Nakai became a Reebok or Courvoisier ambassador and before she had sold-out ranges with Sportscene's Redbat.

She was also there when Nadia bagged a Best Female pyramid at the 2019 South African Hip Hop Awards. And she was right beside her when she scooped awards at AFRIMA 2019 for Best Artist, Duo or Group in African Hip Hop as well as Best Female Artiste: Southern Africa.

"Winning awards was never the mission," Phindi confesses. "Honestly, we have never done things to try and get awards. Nadia truly loves what she does and it feels great when that is acknowledged and someone pats us on the back for work we've done. I really love and respect what I do and don't see it as a job."

Having handled publicity for the likes of JR, Tumi Masemola (of Gang of Instrumentals), Shane Eagle, Major League DJs and more, Phindi pivoted to managing Nadia. She says: "Seeing the things we talk about come to life or when we're in the boardrooms signing those deals, those are personal milestones for me."

​Ninel Musson

Ninel Musson has been brokering some of hip-hop's biggest deals for over a decade. She co-owns Vth Season, a boutique full-service entertainment marketing agency with Raphael Benza.

A former party promoter and publisher of the wonted.co.za website, Ninel helped start a record label wing of Vth Season where AKA was their first signee. Together, they turned AKA into a mainstream success that the artist could bank on when he started the now defunct BEAM Group independent record label with Prince Nyembe in 2016.

Recently, Ninel and Benza, together with the Sony Music team, presented AKA with diamond and platinum plaques for several songs at a surprise dinner. "The music we went on to create became some of the best-selling records of all time in South Africa," Ninel says matter-of-factly. "When we started with him, the major labels said SA hip-hop would never go this far. We said we believed it would and then we did."

​Sibu Mabena

Cassper Nyovest seems to make it a point to work with women. In addition to Cassper's sisters running his Family Tree store, several Fill Up dates have seen PR maven, Sheila Afari at the helm. And while it's clear that the Fill Up series was always the brainchild of Cassper and his longtime friend and business partner, T-Lee Moiloa, bringing it to fruition has also included the skills and power of women behind the scenes. Women like Sibu Mabena, a multi-hyphenate creative entrepreneur who owns the Duma Collective.

"The day I landed back home from the EMAs, I went straight to The Dome," she remembers. "I said: 'yo, T-Lee, give me a job. I want to work on this thing.' He was like: 'bra, there's nothing for you to do.'" Sibu stuck around at the Dome, watching the production come together when a lightbulb went on in her head.

Read: Sibu Mabena Works Behind The Scenes in South African Hip-Hop, And She's Kicking Ass

"I thought: 'Cassper has 11 outfit changes. Who is helping him with those?' So Gareth Hadden from Formative, who was building the stage, said they needed someone to help with those changes. I forced myself into the Dome, and the next year I pitched to T-Lee to run the stage at Orlando Stadium. The following year was Fill Up FNB Stadium and there, I got a bigger job to run the talent operations. That's how we started doing the Fill Up Intern Search."

In the next decade of Mzansi hip hop, Sibu has her heart set on parties with a purpose. "All the things I have learnt along the way have led me to contribute to AKA's Fees For All Mega Concert," she shares. "I'm not coming on as just a creative or event organiser or marketer. It's demanding all of me. We're all tapping into a more philanthropic and less commercial role than we usually have so the pressure is that much greater."

There are plenty more women who've got game. From Lerato Lefafa, who has been a part of the team that brought us the SAHHAs and Back to the City to Bianca Naidoo who is a big part of Riky Rick's triumphant trajectory to women like Spokenpriestess, Caron Williams, Azizzar The Pristine Queen, Loot Love and way more who have, in the last decade, used their media platforms to lift up Mzansi hip-hop. In the next decade, women will still be a huge part of hip hop. It'll be interesting to see where that contribution takes the movement next.

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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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