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Photo by Reuben Silot (@reubensilot).

This Is What the Second Edition of the 'Hand-Forged in Kenya' Party Looked Like

It was another epic edition of our party in Nairobi featuring performances from Vallerie Muthoni, Bahati Bookings, Chris Kaiga and more.

OkayAfrica, Bateleur Brewery and The Alchemist Bar joined forces to launch a new live music series, Hand-Forged in Kenya, which is focused on showcasing rising Kenyan talent to fans, both locally and globally.

Curated by our Kenyan-based contributor Camille Storm, the long-awaited second edition took place on Saturday, August 10th at The Alchemist Bar in Nairobi.

Taio kicked off the night on the decks delivering a superb DJ set that got bodies moving on the dance floor almost immediately. By the time Bahati Bookings got on stage, the floor was packed with a curious audience. The budding music collective, consisting of artists Ekumbo, Baraka and DJ Supersun, had all eyes on them as they performed a groovy alternative hip-hop set.


Hand-Forged in Kenya: Vallerie Muthoni www.youtube.com

The crowd went wild once newcomer Chris Kaiga came on stage. The fast-rising rapper got the party really started his dance-ready genge-inspired set and the audience particularly couldn't wait for him to perform his breakout hit song "Zimenice" featuring Tezzla.

Singing sensation Vallerie Muthoni got on stage with her drummer to give an incredibly lively rendition of her Pisces SZN EP that came out earlier this year. One of the highlights was the music video premiere for her single "Spicy SZN" which features rising afro-jazz singer Le Ru and Taio Tripper. It was a beautiful moment when they all united on stage to perform the song while the video premiered on the screen.

Nairobi's finest DJ Mix Master Lenny finished off the night with an incredible set which was based on Kenyan music from different eras. Just like the debut edition, this party went on till the early morning hours.We definitely can't wait to see what the final edition of the year looks like.

All photography by Reuben Silot (@reubensilot).

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Photo by Lana Haroun

From #FeesMustFall to #BlueforSudan: OkayAfrica's Guide to a Decade of African Hashtag Activism

The 2010s saw protest movements across the continent embrace social media in their quest to make change.

The Internet and its persistent, attention-seeking child, Social Media has changed the way we live, think and interact on a daily basis. But as this decade comes to a close, we want to highlight the ways in which people have merged digital technology, social media and ingenuity to fight for change using one of the world's newest and most potent devices—the hashtag.

What used to simply be the "pound sign," the beginning of a tic-tac-toe game or what you'd have to enter when interacting with an automated telephone service, the hashtag has become a vital aspect of the digital sphere operating with both form and function. What began in 2007 as a metadata tag used to categorize and group content on social media, the term 'hashtag' has now grown to refer to memes (#GeraraHere), movements (#AmINext), events (#InsertFriendsWeddingHere) and is often used in everyday conversation ("That situation was hashtag awkward").

The power of the hashtag in the mobility of people and ideas truly came to light during the #ArabSpring, which began one year into the new decade. As Tunisia kicked off a revolution against oppressive regimes that spread throughout North Africa and the Middle East, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook played a crucial role in the development and progress of the movements. The hashtag, however, helped for activists, journalists and supporters of causes. It not only helped to source information quickly, but it also acted as a way to create a motto, a war cry, that could spread farther and faster than protestors own voices and faster than a broadcasted news cycle. As The Guardian wrote in 2016, "At times during 2011, the term Arab Spring became interchangeable with 'Twitter uprising' or 'Facebook revolution,' as global media tried to make sense of what was going on."

From there, the hashtag grew to be omnipresent in modern society. It has given us global news, as well as strong comedic relief and continues to play a crucial role in our lives. As the decade comes to a close, here are some of the most impactful hashtags from Africans and for Africans that used the medium well.

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Harmonize, Diamond Platnumz, Burna Boy "Kainama" (Youtube)

The 20 Best East African Songs of 2019

Featuring tracks from Harmonize, Diamond Platnumz, Sauti Sol, Irene Ntale, Ethic, Vanessa Mdee and many more.

2019 was a year full of positive growth for East African music. It saw many artists from the region make the necessary strides to take East African music to the next level.

The launch of new independent imprints continued to develop a class of budding stars. Sauti Sol's new Sol Generation label, for example, boasts a stellar roster that includes artists like Bensoul and Nviiri the Storyteller, who have topped the charts this year. =Tanzanian bongo flava heavyweight Harmonize left Diamond Platnumz' WCB Wasafi records and set up his own independent imprint called Konde Gang Music Worldwide. This is a dramatic move from the bongo flava superstar but it's exciting to see what he and his new label will offer in the coming year.

Follow our East African Grooves playlist on Spotify and Apple Music.

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Watch AKA’s Music Video for ‘F.R.E.E’ Featuring Riky Rick and DJ Tira

AKA shares the visuals for his chart-topping single 'F.R.E.E.'

AKA's single "F.R.E.E" is one of the most played songs on South African radio at the moment. The song, which has topped many charts on the country's stations, features fellow rapper Riky Rick and house producer, artist and disk jockey Tira.

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Miss South Africa Zozibini Tunzi Crowned Miss Universe

South Africans celebrate Zozibini Tunzi's victory.

Today, Zozibini Tunzi got crowned Miss Universe at the 68th instalment of the global beauty pageant. The event took place at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta Georgia on the 8th of December.

Catriona Gray from The Philippines crowned her successor Zozibini Tunzi at the end of the event which was hosted by Steve Harvey as has been the case in the last five years.

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