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Courtesy of Disney.

Disney's 'The Lion King' is More than Just a Film—it's Touching Lives

Disney has launched two programs that will benefit underprivileged South African children and conserve Africa's remaining lion populations.

After the glamorous South African premiere of The Lion King took place in Johannesburg a few days ago, the film hit theaters the following day and has since raked in an impressive R24.5 million. While the success of the Disney film has been colossal, it's about much more than crunching the numbers for the production giant.


At the South African premiere of The Lion King which took place on July 18th—International Mandela Day—Disney Africa announced that in collaboration with the Youthstart Foundation, a division of youth development organisation Primestars, it was launching an initiative that would send 10 000 high school learners from underprivileged communities to watch the screening of the film over four weekends in August. The initiative, which will also partner with the Endangered Wildlife Trust, is meant to spread awareness among the students with regards to the dire plight of lion populations in Africa. Additionally, it also hopes to see the students making their own pledges towards helping conservation efforts in whatever small way they can.

The initiative was inspired by the efforts made by South African radio station 947 in raising over R1 million in donations for 800 underprivileged South African children to go and watch the 2018 box office sensation, Black Panther.

Speaking about the initiative, Christine Service, Senior Vice President and Country Manager for the Walt Disney Company Africa, said that, "Our hope is that this initiative will be one step towards inspiring and equipping a new generation of conservationists."

Last month, Disney launched their "Protect the Pride" global campaign which seeks to protect the remaining lion populations and their habitats. Since the original version of The Lion King was released 25 years ago, almost half of the lion populations in Africa have disappeared. Disney has already donated USD 1.5 million to the Wildlife Conservation Network's Lion Recovery Fund and hopes that The Lion King fans will come together in the same spirit and raise double that amount in further donations.

It's a responsibility they've taken on that let's face it, they didn't have to and yet, they have. So let's all do our small bit to chip in and keep the circle of life going.

For more information on how you can make your own pledge towards the "Protect the Pride" campaign, click here.

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In Photos: A Glamorous Evening at The South African Premiere of 'The Lion King'

Here's what happened at the premiere and screening of the highly-anticipated film.

Last night was the South African premiere and official screening of The Lion King which took place in Johannesburg at The Country Club. Similar to the Hollywood and London premieres, it was a star-studded affair complete with truly inspired "Winter African Chic" ensembles and glamor galore.

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"Spirit" cover art

Listen to Beyoncé's 'The Lion King: The Gift' Album

After giving us an incredible sneak preview with 'Spirit', all 13 tracks are now available to stream.

The wait is finally over. The Lion King: The Gift, Beyoncé's "love letter to Africa", is now available to stream. The album features a plethora of African talent including the likes of Tekno, Yemi Alade, Mr Eazi, Burna Boy, Wizkid, Moonchild Sanelly, Busiswa, Salatiel, Shatta Wale, Tiwa Savage and several other artists.

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8 South African Albums & EPs to Stream While Staying Home

Let these South African releases from Bongeziwe Mabandla, Shabaka and the Ancestors, King Monada and others hold you down during lockdown.

This month saw a number of releases from South African artists. While the COVID-19 pandemic has taken money away from a majority of artists, this could be the best time for listeners to go through the new music that was released.

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Image courtesy of ARRAY.

What to Watch at Home During Coronavirus Shutdown: ARRAY's New Digital African Film Series

The film platform, from director Ava DuVernay, is hosting a weekly movie-viewing experience for the "global online community of cinephiles."

If you're looking for African films to dive into while at home during the coronavirus outbreak, a new digital series from award-winning director Ava DuVernay's film collective ARRAY is a great place to start. The multi-media platform and arts collective is launching its #ARRAYMatinee series, and each film will be available for viewing here.

#ARRAYMatinee is a virtual movie-viewing experience that will screen a string of the collective's previously released independent films from Africa and the diaspora. The weekly series begins on Wednesday, April 1 with a viewing of the 2015 South African coming-of-age film Ayanda. "Viewers will take a cinematic journey to the international destinations and cultures featured in five films that were released via the ARRAY Releasing independent film distribution collective that amplifies that work of emerging filmmakers of color and women of all kinds," says the platform in a press release. To promote a communal viewing experience, viewers are also encouraged to have discussions on Twitter, using the hashtag #ARRAYMatinee.

The five-part series will run weekly until May 13, and also includes films from Liberia, Ghana, and Grenada. See the full viewing schedule below with descriptions from ARRAY, and visit ARRAY's site at the allotted times to watch.

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