News Brief
Photo credit should read RAJESH JANTILAL/AFP via Getty Images

A member of the South African Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community gestures during the annual Gay Pride Parade, as part of the Durban Pride Festival, on June 29, 2019 in Durban.

Top Picks at the 2021 Encounters South African International Documentary Festival

Over 50 riveting documentaries are set to premiere at this year’s Encounters South African International Documentary Festival which will span over ten days.

The Encounters South African International Documentary Festival has announced its line-up of over 50 visual escapades to watch both online and in selected theatres. Truth-seeking, searing and undoubtedly moving African stories are what cinephiles can certainly look forward to. Themes explored in the documentaries include: culture, dance, homosexuality, politics, migration, refugee rights, homophobia, queer rights, colonialism and land rights.

I am Samuel is just what to watch especially during international Pride month. The documentary traces out the lived realities of members of the LGBTQIA+ community in a country where homosexuality is a punishable criminal offence. Samuel's secret gay life is complicated by his father who is a preacher and expects Samuel to be married. He ultimately has to make the decision to tell his father about his sexual orientation — a decision which may cost him his family's acceptance and endanger his life.

There is Power in the Collar is an interrogative documentary that explores the dangerous intersection of homophobia, Christianity and colonialism in Africa, especially Botswana. A queer human rights organisation fights to decriminalise same-sex relations under the country's constitution — a decision the courts have been considering since 2019.

The Men Who Speak Gayle looks at the development of drag culture in Cape Town. The title alludes to a code-switching language used between gay men years back. The documentary follows a young mixed-race drag queen who is in search of Louis, a white elderly gay man and original Gayle speaker, who currently lives in a conservative South African desert town.

Other notable documentaries are South Africa’s Murder in Paris and Burkina Faso’s The Golden Wolf of Balolé, among several others.

The festival will run from 10 June 2021 - 20 June 2021. Tickets are on sale for both online and theatre viewing at The Bioscope, 44 Stanely, Milpark in Johannesburg. For more information and the viewing catalogue, visit the Encounters International Documentary website.


It's Official: British Vogue Has Made 2022 The Year of the African Model

The major fashion magazine's February 2022 issue features 9 gloriously Black and African models - and we can't get enough.

Sigh... The Black Woman.

Legendary fashion and lifestyle magazine British Vogue has set the tone and welcomed in a new era with their latest cover, celebrating Black women in all of their glory. In what is arguably their most diverse, Afro-centric issue to date, the February 2022 issue of the popular magazine features 9 glorious (and Black) African models. Their latest issue, which celebrates "The Rise of The African Model", features South Sudanese models Adut Akech, Akon Changkou, and Anok Yai, Ethiopian beauty Akway Amar, Senegalese-Italian Dibaa Maty, Nigeria's Jumbo Janet, Nyaguaa from Sierre Leone, Australian Abény Nhial, and American model Majesty Amare.

Photographer Rafael Pavarotti captured the group's beauty, and British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful's vision beautifully. On the cover, Enninful says, "I saw all these incredible models from across Africa who were just so vivacious and smart. These girls are redefining what it is to be a fashion model. He went on to speak about the soon-to-be-historic cover on his Instagram, writing, "No longer just one or two dark-skinned girls mingled backstage, but a host of top models took a meaningful, substantial and equal place among the most successful women working in fashion today. It means so much to me to see it."

Echoing Edward's words and highlighting the importance of having diverse models on both sides - the model and the viewer - model Adut told the fashion magazine, "When I first started modeling internationally... I would literally be the only Black, dark-skinned girl in the show. There were no Sudanese models, no African models," the 22-year-old model said, "Now, I go to a show and there are girls from my country, girls from Africa who look like me. So yes, there has been a huge change. It has gone from me being the only one at a show, to 15 or 20 of us. I'm just so happy that we are finally at this place. I was tired of always feeling out of place, and feeling like an outcast."

Social media lost it when the cover dropped, many sharing the emotional impact seeing so many Black models on an international cover has over them.

get okayafrica in your inbox


Nigeria's Government Has Lifted Its Twitter Ban

We chat to two Nigerians working in media about the restoration of Twitter across the country.