(Photo by LUCA SOLA/AFP via Getty Images)

A South African Police Service (SAPS) officer (L) push back informal vendors in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, on April 8, 2020, as they try to obtain a permit for working during the 21 days national lockdown that started on March 27, 2020, in an attempt to halt the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

These are the 52 African Countries That Have Reported Cases of Coronavirus

Here's an updated country-by-country break down of coronavirus' presence in Africa.

UPDATE 4/09:

South Africa is currently on day-14 of its 21-day national lockdown. Despite vigorous efforts to curb the coronavirus outbreak, the number of confirmed cases has risen to 1845 with 18 reported deaths. Recently, the Minister of Communications, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, was placed on special leave by President Cyril Ramaphosa after an image of her enjoying a lunch at a friend's home, and thus going against the rules of the national lockdown, was posted onto social media. Ndabeni-Abrahams now faces criminal charges as a result, according to IOL.

Ethiopia, which now has 55 confirmed coronavirus cases with 2 reported deaths, has declared a state of emergency in the country in order to help fight the outbreak. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said in a recent statement, "I call upon everybody to stand in line with government bodies and others that are trying to overcome this problem." He added that "grave legal measures" would be taken on any individual seen to be undermining efforts to curb the spread of the outbreak.

Meanwhile in Nigeria, the number of coronavirus cases has risen to 276 following the confirmation of 22 incident cases in Lagos, Abuja, Edo and Bauchi states. While 6 people have lost their lives, 44 have recovered and been discharged from various hospitals across the country.

While Burundi has put in place several preventive measures, its first-division Vital'O FC football team is continuing with scheduled fixtures for the league. Responding to the decision made to continue training and competing despite sporting events around the world having been postponed, coach Jean Gilbert Kanyenkore said, "They told us that we should always wash our hands with soap or other antiseptic products, to not get too close to people face to face, we should observe at least one meter distance, not greet each other using our hands, not shake hands, no contact." The country has 3 confirmed cases with no deaths reported.

Zimbabwe has eased the restrictions of its 21-day national lockdown to allow farmers to get their produce to markets and citizens to access remittances from the diaspora. With food shortages, soaring inflation and a struggling economy, many citizens rely on funds which are sent to them by family members living in the diaspora. The Southern African nation reportedly has nine confirmed cases with popular media personality and broadcaster Zororo Makamba having been the first death.

- RS

UPDATE 4/08:

Seychelles is set to begin a 21-day-lockdown after a 26-year-old man working at the airport contracted the virus. Two patients who were preciously diagnosed have recovered.

Liberia's president George Weah has called a state of emergency in the West African nation in order to restrict non-essential movement. It will last for three weeks, and be reassessed at the end of the period and will continue "until the threat to Liberia from the Covid-19 virus no longer exists," said Weah.

Leaders of several African countries including South Africa's Cyril Ramaphosa and Rwanda's Paul Kagame have stepped in to defend the head of the WHO Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesusagainst unfounded attacks from US President Donald Trump, after he threatened to stop funding the organization. "The most potent weapon against #COVID19 and its devastating health, social & economic impact is international cooperation & solidarity," said Ramaphosa on Twitter. "Which is why the exceptional leadership displayed daily by WHO & Dr. Tedros during an unprecedented global public health crisis is incalculable.

-DD

UPDATE 4/07:

There are now over 10,000 confirmed cased of coronavirus across Africa. So far, there have been 492 deaths, while over 1,000 people have recovered.

Lockdowns are in place in several countries, including Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda and more. Extreme safety measures have also have been put into place in other countries. According to BBC Africa, in Morocco, those seen in public without a mask risk jail time.

In Rwanda, were there are 105 cases, marked the 26th anniversary of the 1994 genocide under lockdown. President Paul Kagame addressed the nation via video and shared his sympathies with survivors who had to forgo the usual mass gatherings and events, and instead mark the occasion indoors. One survivor by the name of Augustine Ngabonziza spoke to the Associated Pressabout the disappointing circumstance: "It's terrible not to be able to honor the dead," Ngabonziza told The AP. "We have gone through difficulties, but this is horrifying."

The number of confirmed cases has spikes in Ghana, where 73 new cases have been recorded, bringing the total to 287. While Malawi confirmed its first coronavirus related death on Tuesday, a 51-year-old woman who had recently returned from the UK. There are eight confirmed cases in the country.

The only countries remaining without confirmed cases of COVID-19 are Lesotho and Comoros, according to Africa News.

-DD

UPDATE 4/01:

Burundi recently confirmed its first two cases of coronavirus. Now the 48th African country to confirm the presence of the coronavirus outbreak, the total number of confirmed cases on the continent has now risen to close to 6000 with at least 201 reported deaths.

While Burundi had already put in place travel restrictions, Human Rights Watch has expressed concerns around authorities disseminating information that is not fact-based.

Botswana, on the other hand, has now reported its first death from coronavirus. The death came shortly after the Southern African country announced its first three cases. As with several other African countries, Botswana's President Mokgweetsi Masisi announced a state of emergency and has now enforced a 28-day national lockdown which will prevent citizens from leaving their homes except for essential services.

Yesterday, Nigeria began its 14-day lockdown of key cities including Lagos and Abuja as part of government's efforts to prevent the spread of the outbreak in the heavily-populated cities.

South Africa is now on the sixth day of its 21-day national lockdown. The number of confirmed coronavirus has risen to 1353 with 5 reported deaths thus far. Health Minister Zweli Mkhize described the trajectory of the outbreak in the country saying, "The rate of increase in the numbers is not as much as anticipated. Our modelling already shows that we are falling behind the number we thought we would reach." Mkhize added, "The figures we thought we would reach by the end of April was between 4,000 – 5,000, but I don't think we will get there."

- RS

UPDATE 3/31:

Botswana now becomes the 47th African country to confirm the presence of coronavirus.

Yesterday, Botswana's Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Lemogang Kwape, announced in a televised address that three nationals had tested positive for the corononavirus and were being quarantined at the Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital. Dr Kwape said, "We have now moved from prevention to containment," and added that, "In the past we have preached prevention but now that we have cases, we have moved to prevention and containment at the same time."

South Africa, on the other hand, is currently on a 21-day national lockdown which forms part of the government's efforts to contain the outbreak and begin to flatten the curve. However, South Africans on social media are increasingly calling out the alleged police brutality targeting Black people. One man has already died allegedly at the hands of law enforcement officials who were reportedly enforcing restrictions of the lockdown in the Vosloorus, Johannesburg area. Additionally, President Cyril Ramaphosa recently announced that mass screening for coronavirus would begin soon.

The Ugandan government announced a 14-day lockdown yesterday. President Yoweri Museveni declared, "Except for cargo planes, lorries, pickups and trains, starting on March 31 at 19h00 hours, there will be a curfew throughout the whole of Uganda." The East African country, which has already put in place strict travel restrictions, has 13 confirmed cases of coronavirus thus far with no reported deaths.

Following the death of popular Zimbabwean media personality and broadcaster, Zororo Makamba, Zimbabwe has also put in place a 21-day national lockdown. However, due to the country's struggling economy, hyper-inflation and food shortages due to a long-standing drought, many Zimbabweans fear that they will starve in their homes during the lockdown.

- RS

UPDATE 3/30:

According to BBC Africa's coronavirus in Africa tracker, there are close to 5,000 cases across the continent. The death toll has reached 161, while 284 have recovered. Botswana, Burundi, Comoros, Lesotho, Malawi, Sierra Leone, São Tomé and Príncipe,South Sudan, and Western Sahara are the nine countries which have not recorded cases of the virus.

South Africa, where there have been 1,280 cases as of Monday—the most in Sub-Saharan Africa—is currently on nationwide lockdown. As a result, citizens have been ordered to stay at home for three weeks. A curfew has been set across Algeria, where 25 people have died from COVID-19.

Rwanda's President Paul Kagame has announced initiatives to help the country's poor, including food provisions. Rwanda has the highest number of cases in the East Africa region. Kenya recorded its first coronavirus related death over the weekend. Curfews have been set in place across the country, and over the weekend Kenyan police were accused of using excessive force to clear the streets ahead of curfew, after they fired tear gas at a group of commuters in Mombasa. Several human rights organizations have condemned their actions.

Nigeria's President Buhari announced new funding for Lagos State, where the majority of coronavirus cases in the country have occurred. The number of confirmed cases reached 65 over the weekend, while Nigerians on Twitter mocked the president, who many believe has been slow to address the country during the pandemic. The #BuhariChallenge began in response to a picture showing Buhari "still at work," during the outbreak. People have responded by sarcastically sharing old pictures with captions claiming that they recently occurred. Here are a few examples:



–DD

UPDATE 3/23:

Zimbabwe's first coronavirus casualty occurred on Monday, when it was announced that popular broadcaster and media personality Zororo Makamba had succumbed to the virus, he was 30.

Makamba was the son of politician and former broadcaster James Makamba, and was known for his talk show Tonight With Zororo which began in 2015. Tributes have been pouring out in remembrance of the young broadcaster.

Nelson Mandela's grandson Ndaba Mandela has announced that he has also tested positive for coronavirus. The author shared the news via his Instagram page, stating that he was taking the diagnoses seriously, after being accused of not doing so in an earlier post.

In an update post shared on Sunday, he urged people to take the necessary precautions, but to not "stress" over the virus, saying: "This is a very serious situation, and I don't take it lightly for a second. However, when you've gone through so much in life, I know, for example, that stressing is not going to make a difference. So, I urge you not to stress. I urge you not to get anxiety."

South Africa currently has 402 confirmed cases of coronavirus.


-DD

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Africa is steadily rising.While the continent had just over 100 cases a few weeks ago, the total now stands at over 900, according to estimates by the Anadolu Agency.

Zimbabwe, Uganda, Eritrea, Madagascar and Angola are now among the latest African countries to confirm their first coronavirus case.

The governments of various African countries continue to implement preventive measures as part of efforts to contain the growing outbreak.

Rwanda, which now has a total of 17 confirmed coronavirus cases, announced that it would be suspending "unnecessary movements and visits outside the home" in what are arguably the toughest measures that have been put into effect thus far in all of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Similarly, Nigerian authorities have ordered almost 70 percent of the workforce in Lagos to stay home for a period of 14 days in addition to advising civilians to stay away from all government offices and to instead make use of online or telephonic modes of communication.

While South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the country would be following the stringent social distancing measures recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the country has been struggling to prevent an increase in its existing number of coronavirus cases. Recently, South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhizeconfirmed that there are now 402 cases after an increase of 128 occurred in just a day.

The global number of coronavirus cases now stands at well over 350 000 with at least 15 000 deaths. While a number of European countries including the UK, France and Italy remain hard-hit, in addition to North America and the Middle East, China is seeing a decrease in the number of coronavirus cases with new cases now being reported as imported from other countries.

- RS

UPDATE 3/19: The number of African countries affected by the coronavirus outbreak remains at 33. While it is thought that Angola has registered its first case, no major news publications have as yet verified the claim.

Yesterday however, did see Sub-Saharan Africa register its first death. According to AfricaNews, Burkina Faso's Vice President of Parliament Rose Marie Compaore, was the first patient with coronavirus to pass away. Martial Ouedraogo, Burkina Faso's COVID-19 response coordinator, released a statement following Compaore's death saying, "This tragic event calls us all to recognise the scale and seriousness of the problem which confronts us all. This is a very contagious illness that is potentially fatal and that for now has no treatment aside from prevention."

Head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has put the governments of African countries on blast saying, "Africa should wake up." Ghebreyesus also added that, "In other countries we have seen how the virus actually accelerates after a certain tipping point."

Travel restrictions have been put in place by a number of African countries already including South Africa, Uganda, Algeria, Kenya and several others. Kenya has recently paused religious gatherings in churches and mosques in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Five major churches in the country are set to livestream their Sunday services on various social media platforms.

South Africa also recently cancelled its annual Easter pilgrimage to Moria, Limpopo as part of efforts to contain the outbreak. The event ordinarily sees the gathering of approximately 10 million members of the Zion Christ Church (ZCC).

- RS

UPDATE 3/18:

The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus continues to rise steadily as various African governments put in place a number of travel restrictions to contain the outbreak.

The Gambia, Djibouti, Benin and Zambia are among the latest countries to confirm the presence of COVID-19.

Djibouti's health ministry confirmed the East African country's first coronavirus case earlier today which reportedly came from a Spanish national who was part of special forces unit that arrived in the country. It is alleged that the unit did not come into contact with any Djiboutians and would be returning to Spain shortly.

News24 reports that Benin reported its first coronavirus case this past Monday. The case came from a man in the neighbouring country of Burkina Faso who had reportedly traveled to Belgium in the weeks past and upon his return, had tested positive.

A few hours ago, The Gambia confirmed its first case of coronavirus. The country's health minister Dr. Ahmadou Samateh confirmed the news in a statement saying, "The Gambia confirms its first case of COVID 19 who's currently in isolation and she is receiving an excellent care at the Medical Research Council (MRC) clinic in Fajara." Zambia on the other hand, recently confirmed two cases of coronavirus which came from individuals travelling from France. The individuals are in quarantine and the country has already closed all schools in an effort to contain the outbreak.

South Africa on the other hand, has now reported 116 cases in total, the second-highest figure after Egypt's 166. Namibia and Zimbabwe have both declared national emergencies as the outbreak spreads within the Southern African region. The latter has, however, not reported any cases as yet.

-RS

UPDATE 3/17:

African countries continue to take precautions amidst the coronavirus outbreak, which has reached 400 confirmed cases across the continent.

Tanzania has closed schools in order to curb the spread of COVID-19, Ivory Coast has places a block on international travel, while Kenya—which currently has four cases—has taken an early economic measure by "slashing the cost of mobile money transfers in a bid to encourage people to go cashless," according to BBC Africa. It is expected that similar measures will be taken in other countries to offset impending economic impact.

Nigeria confirmed a third case of the virus on Monday, after announcing that the first two index cases had been cleared earlier this week. According to BBC Africa, doctors in Nigeria's capital city of Abuja, have gone on strike due to poor pay and unsafe working conditions, which they say has been ongoing since before the outbreak.

Liberia confirmed its second case on Tuesday. The person who tested positive was a domestic worker for the country's first patient: Nathaniel Blama, agovernment worker who had recently returned from Switzerland. Blama has been suspended from his role following accusations that he failed to follow health protocols related to the virus.

Rwanda remains the most impacted East African country with seven confirmed cases. In Algeria, the outbreak has impacted the current wave of protests in the country. Despite the governments warnings, some have decided to continue with ongoing mass demonstrations.

-DD

UPDATE 03/16:

A number of African countries imposed travel restrictions over the weekend in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus. South Africa announced a "state of disaster," banning travel from countries that have been highly-impacted by the disease, including China, France, Italy, Spain, Iran, UK and the US.

Kenya, which has reported three cases of the "COVID-19" coronavirus, also blocked travel from impacted countries, along with Ghana. Algeria, has announced a ban on all travel from Europe beginning on March 19. There are currently 48 confirmed cases in the country.

The East African country of Djibouti, which currently has zero cases, has taken a sweeping preventative measure and restricted all international travel. Morocco which currently has 28 cases, as well as Libya and Tunisia have also closed their borders. Travel by government officailas as well as large gatherings of 300 people or more have also been banned in Mozambique.

According to BBC Africa, the coronavirus is now present in 26 African nations.Tanzania recorded its first case of the coronavirus on Monday morning after a 46-year-old Tanzanian woman, who had traveled to Belgium, tested positive for the virus. The news was confirmed by Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu.

Somalia has also recorded its first case of COVID-19. The patient is a citizen who recently travelled abroad, according to BBC Africa.

Rwanda has now recorded a total of five cases, after four new cases were discovered on Sunday. Each case involves Rwandan nationals. The country currently has the highest number of cases in East Africa, and schools and large gatherings have been cancelled as a result.

The country's president Paul Kagame joined the World Health Organizations (WHO) "Safe Hands" challenge, sharing a video of him washing his hands on Twitter, and challenging other leaders, including Kenya's President Kenyatta and South Africa's Cyril Ramaphosa and more to participate.

—DD

UPDATE 03/13:

Guinea has now confirmed its first case of coronavirus. It was found in an employee of the European Union (EU) delegation in the country who had recently returned from Europe, reports Reuters. She is currently in self-isolation.

Ethiopia also reported its first case on Friday. According to Takele Uma Banti, the mayor of Addis Ababa, a Japanese citizen in the country tested positive for the virus. This brings the number of African countries with confirmed cases to 16.

In better news, Nigeria's Health Minister, Osagie Ehanire, has announced that all "index case of COVID-19" virus in the country have successfully completed their followup periods and will be allowed to rejoin society.

- DD

Kenya, Gabon and Ghana are the latest African countries to be affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Yesterday, the Kenyan government confirmed its first case of coronavirus in a citizen who had returned from the US via London, according to reports by Bloomberg.

Ghana's health ministry confirmed that its first two cases were also imported and had been the result of travellers returning from Turkey and Norway. Meanwhile, the Gabonese government reported that its first case of coronavirus was a traveller who had been returning from France.

Additionally, Senegal has reported five new cases of coronavirus bringing the total number of cases to 10. Algeria, which now has 24 confirmed coronavirus cases, has reported its first death. South Africa, on the other hand, has confirmed 8 new cases of coronavirus bringing its total to 24 as well.

- RS


UPDATE 03/12: The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is the latest African country to confirm the presence of coronavirus.

Yesterday, the DRC's health department reported that a Belgian citizen who had been in the country for a few days, had tested positive for coronavirus, according to the Anadolu Agency. The individual has since been quarantined at a hospital in the capital city of Kinshasa. It is the West African country's first recorded case.

Health Minister Eteni Longondo broke the news saying, "I would like to announce to the Congolese population that we diagnosed this morning the first case of coronavirus." Longondo added that, "It has been discovered in a Belgian national who has come to stay here for a few days."

Senegal, on the other hand, confirmed its fifth case in the city of Touba just a few hours ago, according to News24. A Senegalese national who ordinarily resides in Italy, reportedly visited a doctor in the "holy city" after exhibiting symptoms. The West African country is now currently developing "rapid test kits" which will aim to diagnose coronavirus in just 10 minutes of testing.

Additionally, South Africa's number of confirmed cases has now risen to 17. As of last week Thursday, the number of cases stood at 13 and spanned four provinces including Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape. However, the first locally transmitted case has now been reported in the Free State province.

- RS

Continue for Original Story:

Globally, there are more than 115,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19). There have been over 4,000 deaths due to the virus, while around 65,000 people who were infected have recovered. By and large though, Africa has been affected by the virus on a much smaller scale than the continents of Europe, North America and Asia, with just 100 reported across the continent, according to BBC Africa. As of Tuesday afternoon, a total of two deaths have occurred on the continent, one in Egypt and another in Morocco.

While the spread of coronavirus appears to be slowing down in China and South Korea, other countries are seeing an increase in confirmed cases. Italy, where 463 people have died—the most in any country outside of China—is currently on nationwide lockdown due to the outbreak. Iran reported the highest single day toll after 54 people died within 24 hours. The death toll in the United States has reached 27.

READ: Coronavirus: Africa is Not the Center of This Epidemic and the West is Pissed.


Coronavirus' much smaller presence in Africa, however, has caused many observers in the West to scratch their heads, mostly in contempt (and possible envy), as OkayAfrica writer Rufaro Samanga points out in her op-ed Coronavirus: Africa is Not the Center of This Epidemic and the West is Pissed.

This, of course, doesn't mean that African governments don't need to take proper precautions to combat the virus. In fact, many of them already have such procedures in place. "While it may be a better pill to swallow African governments are already leading the way in terms of response efforts and they will continue to show the rest of the world what needs to be done and how," writes Samanga. "Tasked with facing off with an epidemic every so often, many African countries have invariably developed effective strategies over the years to contain, treat and resolve. Quarantine and self-isolation are not foreign concepts to us, but they appear to be for the West."

Nonetheless, there have been confirmed cases in ten countries in Africa. If you want to learn more about coronavirus' presence on the continent, check out the country-by country breakdown below.

Egypt 

At 55, Egypt has recorded the highest number of cases on the continent. The majority of cases came from a group of people who had previously been aboard a Nile cruise ship, reports CNN. The first coronavirus related death on the continent occurred there yesterday, after a German man succumbed to the disease.

Algeria 

The North African country of Algeria has reported 20 cases, but zero fatalities. According to Business Insider, 16 of those cases are from within the same family.

South Africa 

South Africa has a reported seven cases, with four of those cases being confirmed this past Monday. The four new cases are from the same group of ten people that returned to the country after vacationing in Northern Italy in March, according to CNN. Travel bans have been implemented in the nation.

Tunisia 

Tunisia has recorded five cases of COVID-19. The government suspended Northern Italy ferry services last week as a preventative measure, reports The New York Times,while football gatherings in the country have also been restricted.Geographically, Tunisia is the closest African country to Italy and flights to the region have been given a separate terminal at Tunis airport.

Senegal 

There have been four confirmed cases in Senegal. There are concerns that religious pilgrimages slated to begin this month, could add to the spread of the virus. A video from Al Jazeera, outlines the lengths that some Senegalese citizens have gone to protect themselves against coronavirus.

Morocco

Morocco has reported two cases of the virus. According to a recent report from, the Anadolu Agency, the country announced its first COVID-19-related death on Tuedsay morning, after an 89-year-old woman succumbed to the virus. This marks the second coronavirus-related death in Africa.

Cameroon 

Cameroon has also reported two cases since the outbreak. The spread has also impacted African nationals living outside of the continent. A piece in BBC Africa, outlines the journey of a 21-year-old Cameroonian student living in Jingzhou, China who contracted the virus, but later recovered.

Burkina Faso 

Burkina Faso became the sixth Sub-Saharan African nation to report cases of the virus on Monday, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). According to Gulf News Africa, the two people affected were a husband and wife who had recently returned from France.

Nigeria

There have been two confirmed cases in Africa's most populous country. It was the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa to be hit by the virus, after an Italian man traveling to Lagos tested positive, according to a report from ReutersviaCitizen Digital. There have been zero fatalities so far. As a recent story from Quartz points out, it is the spread of the viral Lassa disease in Nigeria that poses a more significant threat in the country at this time.

Togo 

Togo reported its first and only case of COVID-19 last week. A 42-year-old woman who had previously traveled to several countries in Europe contracted the coronavirus, and was subsequently placed in isolation. She is believed to be in stable condition, according to a report from Reuters.

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10 Upcoming African Films to Look Forward to in 2022

From Nigerian thrillers to South African documentaries, here are 10 African films we are looking forward to in 2022.

The glitzy and glamorous Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) recently returned for its 43rd edition. The eight day festival, which took place in Durban (KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa), featured an embarrassment of riches on the program, from around the world. The festival is a good indicator of what we can expect from African cinema for the rest of 2022.

The 10 films on this list were all screened at the festival. These films managed to stand out for reasons that have been explained below. (One of those films, Robin Odongo's Bangarang from Kenya, won the Best African Feature Film award at DIFF.)

Do not miss these movies when they come to a theater or streaming platform near you.

1960 (South Africa)

This pleasant, King Shaft directed period musical centers a heroine who may have been inspired by the life of the late South African icon Miriam Makeba. 1960 opened the Durban festival this year and set the tone for what would come after. Lindi (played by both Zandile Madliwa and Ivy Nkutha) is a singer who in her twilight days digs back into her past to shed light on the murder of an apartheid-era police officer when his remains turn up in Sharpeville some six decades after the infamous massacre of 1960.

African Moot (South Africa​)

There are plenty reasons to be hopeful for the future of the continent. According to Shameela Seedat’s African Moot, the educated youth are leading the way. This fly-on-the-wall documentary follows a group of bright law students who are participating in the annual African Human Rights Moot Court Competition. Seedat, a human rights law specialist turned filmmaker, heads to the University of Botswana with her subjects. Her film details the interesting ways the students approach the fictional case of a people crossing fictional African borders to escape oppression.

​Bangarang (Kenya)

Inspired by true events, Robin Odongo’s chaotic feature expounds on an earlier short film. Bangarang’s protagonist, Otile (David Weda) is a graduate of engineering who has failed to secure decent employment a decade after university. He makes a meagre living as a bike rider instead. When election violence erupts after the disputed Kenyan presidential elections of 2007, an embittered Otile leads rioters on the streets of Kisumu. Before long, he is on the run from the law, accused of murder.

Collision Course (Nigeria)

A frustrated young man collides with the brutal power of the police force. Can a tormented official stop the descent into carnage? The third feature length title from Nigerian director Bolanle Austen-Peters (The Bling Lagosians, The Man of God) is a propulsive thriller set over the course of 24-hours. Starring Daniel Etim Effiong and Kelechi Udegbe, Collision Course digs into the underbelly of urban crime, law enforcement gone rogue, and the desperate victims that suffer the consequences.

The Crossing (La Traversee) (Burkina Faso)

After years in Italy, Djibi returns to his native Burkina Faso and begins to mentor a group of young people whose sole purpose is to leave for Europe. Djibi prepares them for this crossing through a tasking physical and intellectual program that helps bring them personal achievement and may end up neutering their resolve to migrate. Can he make this difference? Irène Tassembédo’s social drama embraces the complicated nature of the immigration experience.

Lesotho, the Weeping Motherland (South Africa)

Told interchangeably between South Africa and Lesotho, this Lwazi Duma-directed documentary engages with the effects of climate change on the agricultural sector, a key income earner in the region. Duma follows Khethisa Mabata as he attempts to revive his father’s farm. The film uses Mabata’s personal story as an entry point into the larger national crisis that has taken Lesotho from a thriving food basket to one suffering extreme drought.

Skeletons (South Africa)

Conceived as an experiment in theatre-making during the COVID-19 lockdowns, this magical realist expression was re-written for film and now sits somewhere as a hybrid between theatre and film. Set in the heart of the Maluti mountains, Skeletons grapples with the issue of land and ownership as told through the lives of four characters. In an environment of scarcity, these four people wrestle to break free from the vicious cycle of oppression. Skeletons confronts notions of home, belonging, and identity.

Streams (Tunisia)

Amel, a married Tunis factory worker is imprisoned on charges of adultery and prostitution following an assault. Upon release, she attempts to put back the pieces of her life and reconnect with her teenage son whose life was derailed by the scandal. Director Mehdi Hmili comments on the decay, contradictions, and hypocrisies of contemporary Tunisian society with this engaging drama about the breakdown of a working-class family and the state’s unwillingness to protect the vulnerable.

Taamaden (Cameroon)

In Taamaden, Mali-born filmmaker Seydou Cissé paints a uniquely intimate portrait of immigration and zeroes in on spirituality. Taamaden, which is the Bambara word for traveler or adventurer, presents two different points of view. The first is that of Bakary, a young Malian preparing for yet another attempt at crossing over to Europe. The other is a motley crew of West African immigrants struggling to survive in Spain. They are united by their ties to their spiritual clairvoyant.

You’re My Favorite Place (South Africa)

Jahmil X.T. Qubeka (Of Good Report, Knuckle City) is one of the most exciting and original cinematic voices on the continent. His latest, which closed the Durban film festival, is a change of pace attempt that also carries some of Qubeka’s slick imprint. On the last day of high school, the young heroine of You’re My Favorite Place and her three friends embark on an unforgettable road trip. They steal a car and head to the remote Hole in the Wall, a landmark that according to Xhosa legend, enables communication with the dead.

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Photo Credit: Adedamola Odetera

An Inside Look Into the Underground Queer Party Scene in Nigeria

As a result of the laws and law enforcement bodies in the country, queer nightlife in Nigeria is shrouded in secrecy and has been forced to go underground.

A few minutes before midnight on a June evening, there was a line of people attempting to gain access to an unmarked apartment block in Lekki Phase 1 — a suburban neighborhood in Lagos State. To the uninitiated, it was a regular house party in the heart of Lagos Island, which is populated with young people in their 20s. For the attendees who had a flier on their phones and a passcode on their lips, this was an event they had looked forward to for weeks. When they arrived at the doors, they were all asked for a passcode which transported them into a vibrant pulsing party which had drag queens walking across the room and men in shorts that barely went past their crutches gyrating on other men while afrobeats blared. Welcome to queer nightlife in Nigeria where, on weekends, apartments turn into gay clubs, barred with passcode-guarding doors to protect against homophobes.

Party people hugging each other

Secret house parties, discrete raves, and clubs are now becoming increasingly popular amongst young queer Nigerians.

Photo Credit: Adedamola Odetera

Across the country, especially in the big cities like Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt, lounges, clubs, and bars dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community have started sprouting despite legislation that makes it illegal for them to exist. In 2014, the Nigerian government passed the highly controversial and homophobic Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act. Despite the name, the law would go on to criminalize many other aspects of queer existence and not just marriage between people of the same sex. The far-reaching law criminalized queer social spaces, groups that advocate for queer rights, and even individuals advocating and supporting queer rights. The law also went on to prescribe a prison term that could go up to 14 years for those who were found guilty of these crimes in southern Nigeria. However, in Northern and mostly Muslim Nigeria, where Shariah law takes pre-eminence, these crimes could lead to death by stoning. While there isn’t an extensive record of people being found guilty for these crimes in Nigeria, these laws emboldened many homophobic mobs who took the laws into their hands and would beat individuals who they identified as queer and destroy spaces and parties that they suspected were hosted by or for queer people. One of the most infamous instances was a 2018 case where 57 men were arrested at a party in Lagos under the suspicion of being initiated into a gay club. While this particular case garnered significant press coverage as the men were made to go to trial, it is far from being the only case of its kind. It is fairly common for the police to raid suspected queer parties to arrest everyone in sight — often with little to no proof of the suspects being gay.

As a result of the laws and law enforcement bodies in the country, queer nightlife in Nigeria has been forced to go underground. Bars and clubs are left behind for parties in apartments. Recent years have seen a resurgence in the public profile of queer nightlife in Nigeria — partly thanks to a rise of resistance against oppressive systems within Nigeria that have been supported and have originated on social media, more queer people are becoming brave and open about queer nightlife in Nigeria. Secret house parties, discrete raves and clubs are now becoming increasingly popular, especially amongst young queer Nigerians. Creative collectives like hFactor and Pride in Lagos have pushed the narrative even further by organizing pride-specific events and raves in Lagos over the last few years.

Man making out with man

"‘‘I had been to clubs before but this was different. There was a freedom I didn’t feel in other parties."

Photo Credit: Adedamola Odetera

‘‘My first time at a queer party in Nigeria was in 2021. A friend invited me to a hFactor event and It was such an experience,’ Peju, a 23-year-old bisexual man tells OkayAfrica. ‘‘I had been to clubs before but this was different. There was a freedom I didn’t feel in other parties. Guys were grinding on guys, girls were flirting with girls. There wasn’t a need to pretend to be something I’m not.’’

However, attending these events comes with specific risks. Guests often took precautions — attending the parties with friends, letting their friends who weren’t there know where they were at and confirming there were accessible exits at all times. For many of these attendees, they may have never had to use those themselves but they know of people or at least have heard of people who have had to. Tamuno, a 31-year-old gay man, tells me of a near-capture experience when he had gone to a party in Port Harcourt in 2020.

‘‘There was this party that happened weekly. It became kind of popular and more queer people started coming. What we didn’t account for was that neighbors had realized it was full of queer people,’ Tamuno said. ‘‘One day, we were all at the party and they surrounded the house. Some of us managed to escape, others weren’t as lucky. I wasn't lucky.’’ Tamuno recounts that after being taunted and shamed and then stripped to their boxers for a relatively long time, the police then came. ‘‘The police coming to carry us was what saved us because then my brother, who I called, was able to bribe them to let us go. Whenever I think about what would happen if the police hadn’t come, I experience a full body shudder.’’

a group of people taking photos

Organizers have to find ways to limit people who can gain access to these parties.

Photo Credit: Adedamola Odetera

To help combat this, organizers of these events prioritize security and the safety of their guests. It is important that attendees feel safe from homophobic attacks from civilians and the armed forces. To achieve this, organizers have learned to deploy multiple guards.

‘‘Everyone’s safety is a priority to me and this means that multiple channels of security are constantly put in place to help safeguard our guests.’’ Kayode Timileyin, one of the organizers of Pride In Lagos tells OkayAfrica. ‘‘The first of which is the fact that all our events are only by a registration and verification process. Also, external security guards are made available. Lastly, we go all out to look for a real safe space.’’

It doesn’t end at just verifying the identities of the guests. Organizers have to find ways to limit people who can gain access to the location. This might mean generating a password only verified guests are given or keeping the exact location — and sometimes even date — a secret and only given to the verified guests. For these organizers, these security measures are put in place, not against potential miscreants or robbers but instead to keep off the police force and homophobes.

woman wearing black smiling

Despite dangers, the queer nightlife scene is bustling and thriving.

Photo Credit: Adedamola Odetera

The underground nightlife scene in Lagos is bustling and thriving — despite the laws that criminalize it and the constant danger. This illustrates the spirit of resilience amongst queer Nigerians who choose to reach for any semblance of freedom they can find even if it is on the dance floor for just a night.

‘‘My experience getting arrested traumatized me. It scared me. I was getting beaten, and paraded and I was so scared that they would kill me. But they didn’t so of course, I’ll party again," Tamuno said. ‘‘I still go to these parties and I’ll still keep going. It’s not that I’m scared. It’s just that when I’m on the dance floor surrounded by other queer men, I feel like my true self. I feel happy. I feel content. And that’s what I want out of life. If I die because I am seeking that, that’s fine.’’

a group of friends taking a photo

More queer people are becoming brave and open about queer nightlife in Nigeria.

Photo Credit: Adedamola Odetera

Interview
Photo courtesy of the artist.

Kelvyn Boy On Becoming One of Afrobeats’ Leading Stars

The Ghanaian singer narrates how his latest single "Down Flat" has accelerated the trajectory of his career.

Kelvyn Boy is one of the leading afrobeats hitmakers from Ghana. Since his official debut in 2017 under singer Stonebwoy’s record label imprint Burniton Music Group, the talented singer, songwriter, and performer has consistently dished out hit after hit. From the sentimental midtempo ballad “Na You” to the gritty afropop cut “Mea” to his Mugeez and Darkovibes-assisted smash hit “Momo”, with every new release Kelvyn Boy has established his profile as one of the West African nation’s top afrobeats acts.

Fast forward to January 2022, Kelvyn Boy drops his most recent single “Down Flat," an infectious afrobeats single produced by Nigerian producer KullBoiBeatz, and the song has been immensely successful. “Down Flat” has held the number one spot on Apple Music’s “Top 100: Ghana” playlist, hit number 10 on Billboard’s “Worldwide Digital Song Sales” chart, just a couple of out several other accolades the song has landed in the few short months since its release.

The effect of the song’s success has already kicked in, with the singer in London, United Kingdom as I speak to him, which is one of the early stops of his current world tour. “Down Flat” is currently the biggest song of his career so far, and even Kelvyn Boy himself didn’t see it coming. “Some of the great things that happen are unpredictable and unplanned. I didn’t really see it coming” he explained. “Everyone believes in himself or herself. I have that belief and that feeling already when I’m making every song. If it’s not right, I won't sing it. But I didn’t see it coming as quick as it did, and I didn’t know it would get to this level. I knew it was gonna be big, but honestly it got out of hand.”

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Interview: Director K Is Making Historic Music Videos For Afrobeats & Beyond

The 28-year-old director behind the "Essence" music video (and many more) tells us about his come-up, inspirations and working with the biggest stars in the game like Wizkid, Burna Boy, Davido, and more.

African music is sprouting into dominance with the upswing of genres such as Amapiano and Afrobeats across dance floors, day parties, festivals, and gatherings across the globe. Among the ranks of directors curating the visual interpretation of African music; Director K, born Qudus Olaiwola, is an oft-tranquil figure that has charted a lane separate from his contemporaries.

Starting off in the perpetually bristling clusters of Surelere, Lagos, Nigeria as a phone repairer at his uncle’s workshop, Director K’s curiosity shoveled him into believing he could shoot videos on his iPhone. “I used to go super crazy on iPhones, I used to make iPhones do stuff that you couldn’t normally do,” he tells OkayAfrica nostalgically.

Raised in the hovels of Shitta, Surulere, and Lagos — home to Afrobeats trailblazer Wizkid—Director K found a neighborhood artist called C.O. Decoast, and tested his hands at music video directing off the lens of his iPhone. “It wasn’t anything big. It was just something in the hood that I shot with a few people."

Now, in the parking lot of a lush apartment in Lekki, Lagos, Director K regales me with stories of his journey while walking me towards a modest swimming pool. The Creative Arts dropout has had his work nominated for Video Of The Year at the Soul Train Awards, and he has won an NACCP Image Award and Best Music Video at Nigeria’s most-prestigious awards show, The Headies.

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