Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 21: Protesters listen to speech calling for the end of police killings of the public in Nigeria, during a demonstration on October 21, 2020 in London, England. Nigerian police opened fire on protestors in Lagos yesterday after 12 days of anti-police demonstrating. Nigerians are protesting against police brutality carried out by a unit of the Nigerian police force called SARS (the Special Anti-Robbery Squad).

AKA Calls Out African Union on Response to Violence Towards #EndSARS Protesters

South African rapper AKA has labeled the African Union a 'joke' for their lack of appropriate leadership in response to the violence towards Nigerian #EndSARS protesters at the hands of the Nigerian military.

South African rapper AKA has called out the the African Union (AU) for lack of appropriate leadership with regards to violence towards Nigerian protesters at the hands of the Nigerian ilitary. This comes after videos of Nigerian security forces shooting live ammunition at protestors surfaced on social media. According to the BBC, 25 protestors were wounded and one died. #EndSARS protests have been going on for the second consecutive week with no public response from the AU, United Nations (UN) or the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Only after the tragic shooting of protesters at Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos did the AU finally condemn the violence through a statement.

READ: Breaking Down Nigeria's #EndSARS Protests and How You Can Help

AKA took to Twitter to vent his frustrations and it became a drag fest of all African states including the head of the African Union, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

This is not the first time that AKA has voiced out his opinions on politics. "Supa Mega" criticised the South African government for the death of teenager Nathaniel Julius who was allegedly murdered by the police. AKA is also infamous for his heated exchange with African Giant Burna Boy over the xenophobic attacks that occurred in South Africa last year. The back ad forth between the artist saw AKA being labelled xenophobic.

AKA's most recent tweets have admittedly caused mixed reactions. South African fans responded to AKA by calling him a hypocrite on the bank roll of South Africa's ruling ANC party. Some even digressed from the callout and started the controversial #PutSouthAfricansFirst which sounds too familiar to the blatantly racist #MakeAmericaGreat slogan used by President Donald Trump.

President Muhammadu Buhari recently addressed the nation a day after the shooting of protestors. The public speech reiterated that the controversial SARS unit had been officially disbanded. Nigerians described the speech as patronising; one commentator on Naira Metrics stating, "This man thinks his speaking to his kids at home". It does not seem that armed forces will be removed from demonstrations as President Buhari called for "law and order" as reported by SkyNews.

There are conflicting news about the official death toll but international global human rights group, Amnesty International, has confirmed that 38 have resulted from this past Tuesday alone.

Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Rema Sends Solidarity Message to the 5 Iranian Women Arrested for Dancing to His Music

Rema has spoken out in support of five Iranian girls who were arrested for dancing to his music.

Nigerian Afropop star Rema, sent out a message of solidarity to five Iranian young women who were reportedly arrested for releasing a video dancing to his music.

On International Women’s Day, which occured on March 8th, the women created a buzz online after they released a video showing themselves dancing to the global smash "Calm Down." In the video, the women were wearing no headscarves, while slightly exposing midriffs.

According to reports, the Iranian government soon caught wind of the video, and began looking for the girls. On March 9th, the Shahrak Ekbatan Twitter account—an account that belongs to activists from the Ekbatan area—first alerted the general public by posting the dancing video online and stating that authorities had been asking residents in the area if they knew the women.

"They looked for CCTV footage of Block 13 to identify the girls who were only dancing and were not involved in any political activity. Police were seen checking the footage and questioning the guards," the account said.

Earlier this week, the Ekbatan-based activists reported that the women had been detained and forced to make an apology video, dressed in regalia that completely covered them from head to toe. The news soon caught the attention of Rema, who tweeted out a solidarity message in support of the women earlier this week.

Although it is unclear how long the Iranian women were detained for, the Shahrak Ekbatan Twitter commented under the Twitter thread, stating that the girls were apprehended for about two days.

Historically, Iran girls have faced a number of restrictions that have limited their freedom. Some of these restrictions include legalities that require them to cover their hair and dress modestly in public.

Although there have been demands to abolish the compulsory headscarf rule, no progress has been made in that regard, and the rule is still in effect.

Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

The 10 Best Chiwetel Ejiofor Films

The British-born actor of Nigerian descent consistently delivers, whether it’s in an indie thriller or a comic-book blockbuster.

He’s worked with some of the most notable directors of our time – from Spike Lee to Steve McQueen – and for each film, Chiwetel Ejiofor brings his A-game. Over the years, his trademark intensity and commitment to roles have endeared him to filmmakers and audiences alike.

Born to Nigerian parents who moved to the U.K. to flee the Biafran War, he grew up in South London. When he was 11 years old, Ejiofor suffered a great tragedy. While traveling back to Nigeria for a wedding, a car accident killed his father and left Ejiofor seriously injured.

Theater offered him some solace. As a kid, he enjoyed taking part in plays, which gave him a way to understand the world. As a teen, he joined the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and was cast by Steven Spielberg for Amistad, after only three months into his course.

In 2007, he stunned audiences in a production of Othello at London’s Donmar Warehouse and earned a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor. A few years later, he went on to earn an Oscar nod for his role in 12 Years A Slave. Despite his success, he stays true to his African roots, as his directorial feature, The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind, attests – along with his love for both Crystal Palace and the Super Eagles alike.

OkayAfrica breaks down his best roles over the years so far.

Amistad (1997)

Amistad - Traileryoutu.be

With an ensemble that includes Morgan Freeman, Anthony Hopkins and Matthew McConaughey, Ejiofor more than holds his own — even though this was his feature film debut in the early days of his career. Then 19, he was cast by Spielberg for his epic historical drama, based on the true story of the 1839 mutiny aboard the ship, La Amistad, and the international legal battle that followed when abducted Mende men overthrew their captors’ ship off the coast of Cuba. Ejiofor plays James Covey, a young, formerly enslaved man who serves as an interpreter for the defendants in the film’s central trial.

Dirty Pretty Things (2002)

Dirty Pretty Things | 'Innocent’ (HD) - Audrey Tautou, Chiwetel Ejiofor | MIRAMAXwww.youtube.com

In his first lead role, Ejiofor shines as Okwe, an undocumented Nigerian doctor living in London, who makes a living as a cab driver by day and a hotel attendant by night. Ejiofor is central to the film’s success, playing an immigrant who carries a sadness from his past with him. Directed by Stephen Frears, the film is a hypnotic thriller, but it also has much to say about illegal immigrants trying to make a life in the U.K. To play the part, Ejiofor reportedly copied his Nigerian accent from his parents. As the late critic Roger Ebert notes, this film shows he’s a natural actor with leading man presence, who has the “rare ability to seem good without being sappy.”

Love Actually (2003)

Love Actually (2003) Official Trailer - Colin Firth, Emma Thompson Movie HDwww.youtube.com

A beloved staple in homes across the world, come December, it’s hard to believe this film is 20 years old already. It’s a role that remains close to Ejiofor’s heart, because, as he told Entertainment Weekly, the film is, “so fully romantic and optimistic.” He plays Keira Knightley’s new husband who has no idea his best friend, a pre-Walking Dead Andrew Lincoln, secretly pines after her. Although we haven’t seen much of Ejiofor in the rom-com genre, this film gives us a glimpse of what we’re missing by not having more of his charming self in these kinds of roles.

Kinky Boots (2005)

Kinky Boots | Official Trailer (HD) - Joel Edgerton, Chiwetel Ejiofor | MIRAMAXwww.youtube.com

“Ladies, gentlemen, and those who’ve yet to make up your mind,” it's Chiwetel Ejiofor as we’d yet to see him before. Playing Lola, the drag queen who helps save the shoe factory of Joel Edgerton’s Charlie, Ejiofor commits to the part wholeheartedly. He sports those titular high boots, makeup, nails and false eyelashes, as well as dances in the aforementioned heels. Not someone who’s known for his comedic or musical talents, Ejiofor positively delights in the role – even if he didn’t express any interest in going on to reprise the part in the hit Broadway version of the film.

Inside Man (2006)

Inside Man Official Trailer #1 - Christopher Plummer Movie (2006) HDwww.youtube.com

The second time Ejiofor was directed by Spike Lee (after a small role in She Hate Me), he worked alongside Denzel Washington. As Detective Bill Mitchell to Washington’s Detective Keith Frazier, Ejiofor and Washington set about trying to solve an elaborate New York City bank heist in New York City. Ejiofor had to do some work to nail his American accent, but he proved his acting chops once again, as part of a formidable ensemble that also included Jodie Foster and Clive Owen.

Children of Men (2006)

Children of Men - Trailerwww.youtube.com

Owen and Ejiofor would once again feature together in a film that same year, in the explosive sci-fi drama, Children of Men. Who can forget the car scene – considered one of the greatest tracking shots in cinematic history – in which Ejiofor, a radical political activist, and Owen try to save Julianne Moore’s character? Although he doesn’t have a major part in Alfonso Cuaron’s film, Ejiofor brings a fiery intensity to his character that ensures he’s still thought of long after he leaves the screen.

12 Years a Slave (2013)

12 YEARS A SLAVE - Official Trailer (HD)www.youtube.com

The role that earned Ejiofor a much-deserved Oscar nomination for Best Actor is in the film that won Best Picture at the 2014 ceremony. As real-life Solomon Northup, the actor went to places we’d yet to see him go in portraying a free Black man from the North who is kidnapped and sold into slavery during the 1840s. Ejiofor won a host of acting awards for playing Northup in the run-up to the Oscars, losing out on that coveted statue to Dallas Buyer’s Club’s Matthew McConaughey. But the anger, frustration, hope and dignity he brought to Northup lives on in movie lore, and it can’t be understated how much of a role he played in the film’s success, and the way it changed the industry in the years to come.

Doctor Strange (2016)

Marvel Studios' Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness | Official Trailerwww.youtube.com

Get you a man who can do Shakespeare and Marvel! Joining Benedict Cumberbatch in the Marvel franchise, Ejiofor plays Baron Mordo, a complex villain who exists in the gray of the Multiverse of Madness. It’s fun to watch him embody this character, which is developed a little differently from the comics and takes on a more complicated dynamic. At first a friend of Doctor Strange, Mordo experiences a deep change through the course of the film, allowing us to revel in the expanse of Ejiofor’s range as an actor. Personally for the actor himself, the film was a thrill too, as he’d grown up reading comics like Watchmen, too.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (2019)

The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind | Offical Trailer [HD] | Netflixwww.youtube.com

For Ejiofor’s directorial debut, he looked to his home continent. Set in Malawi and based on the true story of inventor William Kamkwamba, it won him the NAACP Image Award for outstanding direction of a motion picture in 2020. Ejiofor wrote the screenplay and also starred in the film, as Kamkwamba’s father, and learned to speak Chichewa, the local language, for it. The story of Kamkwamba’s love of science and desire to find solutions to the challenges his family face remains inspiring, and we look forward to Ejiofor’s next directorial venture.

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Photo by Kwame Adzaho-Amenortor

Ghana Holds State Funeral For Christian Atsu

Ghanaian soccer player Christian Atsu's family and loved ones come together to pay their respects at his funeral at the State House in Accra, Ghana.

Ghana held a state funeral for soccer legend Christian Atsu in Accra on Friday (March 17th). Atsu, who played for the Turkish club Hatayspor, passed away last month after massive earthquakes rocked Turkey. (Those earthquakes, which began on February 6, have killed more than 50,000 people.)

The ceremony was presided over by Ghana's president Nana Akufo-Addo, who joined the soccer star's friends, family, fans, and colleagues to send off Atsu. During the ceremony, the coffin was draped in Ghana's flag's colors and placed under a white tent.

During the ceremony, Atsu's widow Marie-Claire Rupio tearfully shared her last respects to the Ghanaian hero.

"In life, I loved you, in death, I do the same. It breaks my heart to lose you. You did not go alone. Part of you in me left with you. Your love is still my guide, though I cannot see you. Your smile, your love, I see in my children’s smile... You did not leave alone—a part of me went with you. Your love continues to guide me... You seemed immortal. Your smile, your love, I see you in the smile of our children."

After weeks of searching, Atsu's remains were recovered near the destroyed building where he lived in Antakya, Turkey on February 18.

Atsu—who was 31 at the time of his death and who had just joined the club last year—began his career in 2011 and quickly became known as one of the Black Stars' best players, adopting the name "Ghanaian Messi." He went on to play for several European clubs, including Chelsea, Newcastle United, Al-Raed, and Hatayspor, among others.

During his career, Atsu represented the Ghana national football team and garnered over 60 caps and 10 scored goals. At the height of his career, Atsu also participated in several international tournaments with Ghana, including the Africa Cup of Nations and the FIFA World Cup. The celebrated Ghanaian sportsman was known for his well-times space, his ability to dribble strategically, and the way he created scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates.

Atsu leaves behind his widow and three children.

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Photo by Cindy Ord for Getty

Trevor Noah Wins Prestigious Erasmus Prize

Trevor Noah is the first comic to win the prestigious Erasmus Prize since Charlie Chaplin in 1965.

Popular South African comic Trevor Noah has won the prestigious Erasmus Prize from The Praemium Erasmianum Foundation The award is named after Dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmus' most famous piece of work.

According to a statement from The Praemium Erasmianum Foundation, Noah was receiving the prize “for his inspired contribution to the theme ‘In Praise of Folly,’ named after Erasmus’s most famous book, which is filled with humor, social criticism and political satire.” (Desiderius Erasmus was a an influential Dutch philosopher from the northern Renaissance era.)

Noah is the first comic since 1965 who has been awarded the honor. The last comic to win the prize was Charlie Chaplin, who received the honor in 1965. Since 1958, The Erasmus Prize has been awarded to recipients who are recognized for a wide range of achievements, including literature, music, philosophy, and social activism. Some of the notable recipients who have received the award in the past include Jorge Luis Borges, Isaiah Berlin, Ingmar Bergman, and Amartya Sen.

The panel who selects awardees for the prize include a committee of scholars and cultural experts who review nominations and make a recommendation to the board of the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation after weighing in on the strength of each candidate. After the recommendation, it is then up to the board to make the final decision on the recipient of the award. The prize is typically awarded in the fall during a ceremony in the Dutch royal palace in Amsterdam.

Beyond his work as a comic, the former Daily Show host has been vocal about his social justice advocacy and has been a strong advocate for human rights issues on a general scale. While he was a host on The Daily Show, he consistently used his voice to highlight other prominent Africans. It is safe to say that the 39-year-old has indeed made South Africa proud.

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