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Dr John Kani Receives Pragnell Shakespeare Award for His Play 'Kunene and the King'

Congratulations are pouring in heavy for South African acting legend Dr John Kani after winning the prestigious Pragnell Shakespeare Award from the Shakespeare Institute in London.

South Africa's foremost Black veteran actor Dr John Kani has reportedly been conferred with the highly acclaimed Pragnell Shakespeare Award for his original play Kunene and the King. The award comes two years after Kunene and the King premiered in London's Royal Shakespeare Company.


Read: South Africa's Fugard Theatre Permanently Closes Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

According to the Shakespeare Institute, the Pragnell Shakespeare Award is an international award that has duly honoured Dr Kani's play for its appreciation and advancement of Shakespearan knowledge. Kani shared the good news on Twitter.

Kunene and King is set in post-apartheid South Africa, 25 years after the first democratic elections. The plot is centered around two characters — a successful but chronically sick white elderly male, played by British actor Antony Sher and his Black male nurse, played by Dr Kani. The two men who hail from vastly different backgrounds are thrust into an uncomfortable closeness to reflect on the changes that have taken place in South Africa. Through it all, their shared passion for Shakespeare's works takes their connection to new heights. In one moving scene, Sher and Kani recite a funeral speech from Caesar — Morris starts in English and Dr Kani finishes off in isiXhosa.

A month ago, Dr Kani shared news that Kunene and the King had been selected in the Royal Shakespeare Company's top ten theatre productions. The 77-year-old has had an unwavering love for Shakespeare since coming across his play texts in isiXhosa in his formative years. He was controversially the first Black actor to portray Othello in the Market Theatre's 1987 production of the play.

Dr Kani has been an outstanding actor, director, writer and activist for more than half a decade. His prolific and career-marking play Sizwe Banzi is Dead, co-written with Athol Fugurd and Winston Ntshona, won a Tony Award in 1975. He emerged in the international film scene in 2016 and starred alongside the late Chadwick Boseman in the 2018 Marvel blockbuster Black Panther. Dr Kani was also the inspiration behind isiXhosa being declared Wakanda's official language. He is also the voice behind Rafiki's character in the 2019 remake of The Lion King.

South Africans from across the board have been congratulating Dr Kani on his latest achievement.



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Reekado Banks Recalls The Carnage of The #EndSARS Protests In Single 'Ozumba Mbadiwe'

The Nigerian singer pays his respects to those lost during last year's #EndSARS protests.

Nigerian singer and songwriter Reekado Banks is back with a track that is as socially important as it is a banger. It seems fitting for the singer's first solo release of the year to be a tribute to his fellow countrypeople fighting for a country that they all wish to live in. The 27-year-old Afrobeats crooner has returned with endearing track 'Ozumba Mbadiwe', honoring the one-year anniversary of the #EndSARS protests that saw the Nigerian government authorize an onslaught of attacks on Nigerian citizens for their anti-government demonstrations.

The protests took the world by storm, additionally because the Nigerian government insists that none of the police brutality happened. In an attempt to gaslight the globe, Nigerian officials have come out to hoards to deny any and all accusations of unlawfully killing peaceful protesters. Banks mentions the absurd denials in the track, singing "October 20, 2020 something happened with the government, they think say we forget," in the second verse. Reekado's reflective lyrics blend smoothly and are supported by the upbeat, effortless Afrobeat rhythm.

In another reflective shoutout to his home, 'Ozumba Mbadiwe' is named after a popular expressway on Lagos Island that leads to the infamous Lekki Toll Gate where protesters were shot at, traumatized, and murdered. Although packed with conscious references, the P.Priime produced track is a perfect amalgamation of the talents that Reekado Banks has to offer; a wispy opening verse, a hook to kill, and an ethereal aura to mark this as a song as a hit. On "Ozumba Mbadiwe," all the elements align for Reekado's signature unsinkable sound to take flight.

Check out Reekado Bank's lyric video for his single 'Ozumba Mbadiwe'

Reekado Banks - Ozumba Mbadiwe (Lyric Video) www.youtube.com

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