News Brief

Danai Gurira Is Set To Present Her Play 'The Convert' at London's Young Vic This Year

The "Black Panther" actor and playwright is bringing the 1890s Rhodesia-set drama, to the prominent British theater company.

Danai Gurira is not only fierce in front of the camera, and she's continuing to prove that as she makes waves in the theater world.

Gurira's stage play The Convert will be showing from December to January at London's Young Vic, Shadow and Act reports. The announcement was part of the prominent British theater's release of new shows under its new artistic director, Kwame Kwei-Armah.


The Convert is set in Rhodesia in 1896, and follows the journey of a young woman named Jekesai, who turns to Catholicism while fleeing a forced marriage. The play is said to explore the impact that colonialism and Catholicism on black identity. Gurira, who lends her own middle name to the play's main character, grew up in Zimbabwe and uses the country as the setting in several of her plays.

If you were familiar with Gurira before she slayed as the leader of the Dora Milaje in Black Panther, you'll know how dynamic she is in theater world. She co-wrote and co-starred in her first play In the Continuum, which the cast performed in Harare in commemoration of World Aids Day. Her Tony-nominated play Eclipsed, which starred her Black Panther co-star Lupita Nyong'o, was the first to feature an all black female cast and creative team on Broadway in 2016.

The Young Vic will stage the return of The Convent, which originally premiered in 2012 and earned Gurira a Whiting Award for her dramatic writing.

While her play doesn't premiere until December, you can still see Gurira weilding a spear as she reprises her role as Okoye in Avengers: Infinity Wars later this month.

Interview

Malian Rapper Ami Yerewolo Rises Against All Odds

Ami Yerewolo reflects on her hard-won rap career, new album AY and why she insists on creating support spaces for young female rappers in Mali and beyond.

"No one is a prophet in his or her own land!" This is an accurate way to describe Ami Yerewolo's career to a tee. The Malian rapper's music has not always been popular in her home country, where female rappers are generally frowned upon. Instead, it has taken off abroad. Yerewolo's upbeat sound mixes traditional Malian elements with fast drums, contemporary beats and significant lyrics that compel listeners to reflect on life — all of which makes her songs carry a universal appeal. Her new album, AY (titled after the rapper's initials) has just been released by the label Othentiq.

Yerewolo shares her frank thoughts below...

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News Brief
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Vinegar Pap Smear Saving Women’s Lives In Malawi

This simple diagnostic test is giving hope to thousands of women in Malawi.

They say necessity is the mother of invention and in Malawi, the need for inexpensive Pap smears has resulted in a cost-effective and ingenious solution. Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid (VIA) is the only form of cervical cancer screening affordable to most underprivileged women in Malawi, according to reports.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) "19 of the top 20 countries with the highest cervical cancer burden were in sub-Saharan Africa in 2018." Eswatini had the highest incidences followed by Malawi.

The VIA is a simple diagnostic test that can be used to screen cervical cancer, as an alternative to Pap smear cytology, in low-resource countries," according to the Role of VIA in cervical cancer screening in low-resource countries - PubMed (nih.gov) study.

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News Brief
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Umlilo Unveils Queer Documentary 'Mask'

South African avant-garde artist Umlilo captures the political nuances of queer experiences in the documentary Mask.

Cape Town-based musician and all-round artist Umlilo has released his thought-provoking documentary The Black Sheep Twelfth Installment: Mask. The documentary, which goes by the simple title Mask, explores what it means to straddle gender lanes and identify as non-binary. Umlilo releases this autobiographical documentary on queer knowledge ahead of his highly-anticipated upcoming debut album Isambulo and the #LockdownJams Live concert, which gained popularity during the onset of lockdown, .

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Playlist: Stream Mx Blouse’s Exclusive Playlist Celebrating South African Queer Musicians

Mx Blouse, a South African writer and musician, has compiled a playlist — for OkayAfrica — that showcases musical excellence on the part of South African artists who just happen to be queer.