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OSLO, NORWAY - DECEMBER 10: Ethiopia's Prime Minister and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Abiy Ahmed Ali speaks on stage after being awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize during the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony 2019 at Oslo City Town Hall on December 10, 2019 in Oslo, Norway. The Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, has been jointly awarded the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Gives Tigray 72 Hours to Surrender Amidst Rising Attacks

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has given Tigray militants 72 hours to surrender as Ethiopian army advances on the region.

According to The Guardian, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has reportedly given Tigray militants 72 hours to surrender. This comes after weeks of violent attacks in the region. Ahmed declared a state of emergency three weeks ago when Tigrayan forces allegedly looted an Ethiopian army base in Mekelle. The Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) have reportedly killed hundreds and displaced thousands, affecting neighbouring countries Eritrea and Sudan. Ahmed issued a call for surrender on Sunday evening, this according to VoA News.


READ: The Army Has Been Deployed in Ethiopia Amid Deadly Protests

Ahmed, released a statement on Sunday directed at the TPLF. Part of the statement reads: "Your journey of destruction is coming to an end, and we urge you to surrender peacefully within the next 72 hours, recognising you are at a point of no return. Take this last opportunity."

The Ethiopian army has reportedly fired airstrikes into the region with Tigray attacked with missiles in Amhara. Furthermore, the TPLF has fired missiles into neighbouring country Eritrea for reportedly supporting Ahmed's call for the TPLF to submit themselves to the Ethiopian government. The Guardian reports that over 36 000 Ethiopians have since fled to Sudan in the wake of these attacks. The United Nations (UN) reports that they expect 200 000 refugees should the regional war continue.

Head of the African Union and South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, reportedly gathered three former presidents to mediate between the TPLF and Ahmed's government. However, the Ethiopian government rejected the intervention claiming that the conflict is an internal "law enforcement" mission. The Ethiopian government instead called for Tigrayans to put pressure on TPLF to end the regional war.

Reports on the Tigray crisis have been difficult due to intermittent internet shutdowns allegedly caused by the Ethiopian government. Additionally, Ahmed reportedly cut government funds to Tigray after the TPLF held elections despite the Prime Minister's postponement. This a contributing factor for the alleged conflict. Tigray regional forces show no signs of surrendering despite reports of retreat following the Ethiopian's army advancement. Communication and transport services have been severely hampered since the regional attacks started.

The full statement was also released on Twitter via the Prime Minister's account.

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Rophnan Reconciles the Grief of Ethiopia's Past With Its Future Potential In New Album

We talk to the Ethiopian artist about SIDIST (VI), a personal album in which science and faith meet to speak to the nation's promising future.

The time-traveling, genre-defying artist ROPHNAN is best known for weaving traditional Ethiopian instrumentation with contemporary music to transport listeners into his futuristic musical universe. Following the popularity of his EP, SOST (III), the first installation of an epic musical trilogy, ROPHNAN’s success pointed to a luminous future.

However, the conflict Ethiopia experienced in the past year, made ROPHNAN question everything—from the state of humanity to his contribution to the world, which cast the completion of his sophomore album into doubt. “No one could be okay going from what we went through in the past few years. It affected everything, including how I see the world and how I perceive myself because it was a very emotional time,” he tells OkayAfrica.

To navigate the turbulence around him, ROPHNAN turned to introspection. Through the perspective of his inner child, free from humankind’s prejudice or hate, SIDIST (VI) emerges.

Released through Universal Music, SIDIST makes ROPHNAN the first home-grown Ethiopian artist to sign with a major international label. The album, driven by grief of Ethiopia’s past, offers a personal project where science and faith are reconciled to speak to the nation's promising future.

Our timely conversation with ROPHNAN reveals why the inspiration behind his latest project is neither time, space, nor gravity, but ultimately, love.

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

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Photo by Martijn Gijsbertsen via Kakwenza Rukirabashaija

Interview: Kakwenza Rukirabashaija On Being The Hell That The Ugandan Government Created For Themselves

We spoke with the Ugandan author, activist, and lawyer about his tumultuous relationship with a governing body that has no interest in maintaining law and order.

In his 33 years on Earth, Ugandan novelist, lawyer, and activist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija has not known a safe and fair homeland. Born two years after current Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni began his reign of terror in 1986, Rukirabashaija has spent most of his professional career trying to get people to take a real look at the dictator and his actions. The author’s first stab at an expose came in 2020, with the release of The Greedy Barbarian, a fictional recount of the highly-corrupt ruling National Resistance Party and the impossibly illegal things they got away with. The party then, under the instructions of Museveni, ordered the arrest of Rukirabashaija – and the toxic, biased tango began.

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Photo Credit: From Taamaden

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.

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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