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Thousands of Ethiopians Showed Up for the Oromo People's Irreecha Thanksgiving Festival

For the first time in 100 years, the festival was held in Addis Ababa.

The Irreecha thanksgiving festival is an annual celebration by Ethiopia's Oromo people, the largest ethnic group in the country. The celebration included a concert which took place this past Friday at the Meskel Square and was followed by a ceremony of blessings on the Saturday, the BBC reports. The festival has traditionally been held in Bishoftu which is just outside of the capital city. However, after the festival was held in Addis Ababa this year for the first time in 100 years, many have seen this as a recognition of Oromo culture by the country's authorities.


Ethiopia has been battling inter-ethnic violence for years, long before the recent prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, took up office. In December of last year, as many as 2.9 million Ethiopians had been displaced as a result of deadly clashes between the country's different ethnic groups. Finding a resolution a resolution for the conflict has become Ahmed's biggest task in his role as prime minister.

Thousands of Oromo people took to the streets in colorful traditional attire, waving the Ethiopian flag and chanting as they marked the end of the rainy season and the beginning of the harvest season. Although it was feared that the weekend thanksgiving celebrations might exacerbate ethnic tensions in the capital especially, News24 reports that they took place without incident. Back in 2016, several people who were protesting the government were killed in a stampede after the police attempted to disperse them.

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Photo: Etan Comics

Ethiopia’s First Superhero Comic is Going Global

Etan Comics is launching a kids version of the kickstarter-backed title, which will be published in 11 languages.


After the successful release of their graphic novel, Jember, Etan Comics is teaming up with the non-profit Open Hearts Big Dreams (OHBD) to launch a special collaboration. Etan is working with the Seattle-based organization, which has produced over 700 bilingual early-reader titles, to turn Jember into a bilingual kids book that's based on the award-winning graphic novel.

The release of the book coincides with Black History Month, and will be launched in 11 different languages, including Amharic, Arabic, French, Greek, Igbo, Kiswahili, Spanish, and Wolayta. Jember was first published in hardcover format in October 2022, and after its release it garnered +$12K pre-orders on Kickstarter. The comic book is designed to help emerging readers build their reading confidence, and learn more about African cultures and languages. Created and written by Beserat Debebe, it was illustrated by Yonatan Solomon and Michael Okoroagha.

Jember is being turned into a bilingual kids book that's based on the award-winning graphic novel and will be available in 11 different languages.

Photo: Etan Comics

Beginning in mid-February, the books will be available globally on Amazon and IngramSpark. They will also be available at Walmart, Target, Barnes & Noble, and in public libraries shortly after.

With the release of Jember, Etan Comics aims to make African stories accessible to global readers. The collaboration will also help Ethiopian children, who make up 40% of the Ethiopian population, to be empowered through the story, which speaks to the rich cultural heritage of the Ethiopian history.

With this development, Etan Comics has joined the growing list of new generation of African comic book creators who are sharing African culture through comics to engage readers with various parts of the continent's history.

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A TV Show About Ethiopia's Queen Sheba is in the Works

During a presentation on at the Sundance Film Festival, Onyx Collective announced that a Queen Of Sheba drama is in the works.

Onyx Collective, which exclusively produces content for Hulu, announced that a scripted one hour series centered around Queen of Sheba is underway. Onyx focuses on highlighting the stories of people in underrepresented communities, and the upcoming series, called Sheba, will fall under that umbrella.


Inspired by a true story,Sheba will be a drama that highlights the story of Africa's most well-known queen and her quest to unite Ethiopia and fortify it as one of the most economically robust nations in the world. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the series will highlight Makeda as she sojourns into a world of danger, marred with many twists and turns. Although Ryan Coogler—who has directed both of the Black Panther movies—is the executive producer for the drama, Chantelle Well, who is a writer on Yellowjackets, and Azie Tesfai, known for her role in Supergirl, will be involved in the creation of the film's roll out. (Tesfai is already the first Ethiopian person to portray a comic superhero.) In addition to working on Sheba, Tesfai is also working on The Chase for NBC. Onyx Collective, which debuted in 2021, is a Disney brand with a body of work that includes The Hair Tales, Reasonable Doubt, The Plot, and Unprisoned.

Although Wells will write the script for Sheba, it is unclear if Tesfai will also appear on-screen in addition to being an executive producer.

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Photo By Adedamola Odetara for OkayAfrica

Photo Series: Vic Mensa's Pilgrimage to Ghana

OkayAfrica traveled with Vic Mensa as he visited his father's childhood home, Koforidua. Here's a behind-the-scenes look about what happened.

Back in December, American rapper Vic Mensa went on a pilgrimage back home. The rapper was in Accra, Ghana for his historic Black Star Line Festival, which he was co-hosting with longtime friend and fellow rapper Chance the Rapper.

But, on a hot day before the festival, the rapper traveled two hours from Accra to Koforidua to visit his extended family. There is a lot of history in Koforidua. Highlife trailblazer Chief Kofi Sammy grew up there. Not only was he founder of the famous Okukuseku International Band but Sammy also had a long and fruitful relationship with Afrobeat legend Fula Kuti.

He also happens to be Vic Mensa's uncle. And part of the reason Vic took this trip is to convince Sammy to join him on stage at the Black Star Line Festival in Accra, in front of 50,000 fans. However, while there, Vic made sure he had time to connect with his extended family.

It was a special, intimate moment. One OkayAfrica was lucky enough to witness firsthand. Check out our photo gallery of Vic Mensa's pilgrimage below.

Photo By Adedamola Odetara for OkayAfrica

In December 2022, Vic Mensa took a trip to visit his uncle, legendary Highlife artist Chief Kofi Sammy. It’s about a two hour drive from Accra to Koforidua. A bit longer when you factor in Vic stopping for some of his favorite snacks.

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The Best Afrobeats Songs Out Right Now

Featuring Burna Boy, Joeboy, Pheelz, Kizz Daniel, Kelvyn Boy, Asake and more.

Afrobeats continues its path of domination as it makes waves across both sides of the Atlantic ocean and inserts its influences onto global pop music.

With the growing number of afrobeats releases coming out every week, we'll be rounding up the best new singles and music videos in the genre at the end of every month right here in our Best Afrobeats Songs Out Right Now list. Get started below.

If you missed it, check out The Best Afrobeats Songs of 2022.

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Vic Mensa's Homecoming

We traveled with Chicago rapper Vic Mensa as he went to Koforidua, Ghana to meet with his uncle, legendary Highlife trailblazer Chief Kofi Sammy.

Angélique Kidjo & Ibrahim Maalouf Connect Timeless Messages in ‘Queen of Sheba’

The iconic collaborators discuss their Best Global Music-nominated album ahead of the Grammy Awards and reveal lessons from their long years of music-making.

Ayanfe’s Scribbling Art Creates Beauty out of Imperfection

The Nigerian artist, who works across various media, found her voice through scribbling, and has now created a clothing brand to speak more to the values and ideals she holds.

Wande Coal and Olamide Team Up On 'Kpe Paso'

Nigeria's Wande Coal and Olamide share "Kpe Paso," a colorful, rhythmic display of Yoruba's cultural intricacy.

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The Best East African Songs Out Right Now

Featuring Joshua Baraka, Boutross, Diamond Platnumz, Maandy and more