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Dr John Kani and his wife, Mandi Kani.

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.


The premiere kicked off with the red carpet event and saw celebrities such as AKA, Loyiso Bala, Lebo Mashile, Enhle Mbali, Masechaba Ndlovu and Tresor (among many others) dressed to the nines and bringing the heat in what was admittedly a cold Winter's evening. Of course, the stars of the film itself, the incomparable Dr John Kani who played Rafiki, choirmaster Khaya Mthethwa and the charismatic music composer Lebo M, all attended the premiere and mingled jovially with the invited guests in what was an undeniably good time with great vibes.

The late President Nelson Mandela's wife and humanitarian, Graça Machel, was also in attendance with her family.

Following the red carpet, came the actual screening of The Lion King which occurred out in the open. Guests settled into their seats and quickly bundled themselves up in the complementary blankets provided. Perhaps one of the most special moments of the evening was the rousing performance by Lebo M when he sang the iconic opening soundtrack to the film, "Nants Ingonyama Bagithi/Circle of Life" accompanied by an equally rousing choir. Leaving the stage and walking towards the guests with his booming voice reverberating in the viewing area, Lebo M once again showed us why he was the perfect man for the job when it came to the music of the film.

There was singing, ululating and cheering from everyone and this continued as Dr John Kani took to the stage following Lebo M's performance to speak about how proud he was to have been a part of an incredible production. He also added that when his grandchildren asked him how he had decided to spend his 67 minutes for Mandela Day (July 18th), he'd tell them that he had gathered everyone who had attended the screening, as a grandfather often does, and told them all an incredible story about ingonyama—a lion. The heartfelt embrace between him and Lebo M was confirmation of the humanity that The Lion King, 25 years later, has had not only on Africans but the world over.

It was a night to remember and definitely worth braving the cold for. Take a look at what happened at the premiere with the images below:

Music composer, Lebo M

Television and radio host, Masechaba Ndlovu


Actress, Connie Chiume


Choral director, Khaya Mthethwa

Tresor and his partner Langa Mngoma

Model, Blue Mbombo

Television host, Maps Maponyane

Actress, Enhle Mbali

Musician, Busiswa

Interview
Image supplied.

Interview: How Stogie T’s ‘Freestyle Friday’ Became a TV Show

Freestyle Friday started as lockdown content but is now a fully-fledged TV show on Channel O. In this interview, Stogie T breaks down why the show is revolutionary and talks about venturing into media.

When South Africa was put under a hard lockdown in 2020, Stogie T started Freestyle Friday to "make SA rap again." Freestyle Friday, hosted on Instagram, saw a different cohort of rappers each rap over the same beat picked by the veteran rapper. From niche and emerging rappers to some of the most notable names in South African hip-hop—the likes of AKA, Focalistic, Ginger Trill and several others all participated.

In the last few weeks, however, Freestyle Friday has found its way to cable TV. The show airs every Friday on Channel O, one of the continent's longest-running music TV channels. Freestyle Friday as a TV programme isn't just about freestyles, it's about the art of rapping and the music business, particularly SA hip-hop. Guests range from lyricists to record executives and other personalities aligned with the scene—Ninel Musson and Ms Cosmo for instance.

But Freestyle Friday is only the first media product Stogie T is working on as he is in the process of starting a podcast network, a venture in which he is collaborating with Culture Capital. In the Q&A below, Stogie T breaks down the relationship with Culture Capital, how the show moved from the internet to TV, why it's a revolutionary idea, touches on his venture into media and his future plans.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

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