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Money dealers in Omdurman market. Photo: Janto Djassi / Picture Me Different.

In Photos: The Golden Spirit of Khartoum

Ahead of their upcoming compilation, Ostinato Records takes us on a photographic trip through Sudan's beautiful capital.

As we present our latest release, Two Niles to Sing a Melody: The Violins & Synths of Sudan, to celebrate the golden era of Khartoum's gifted musicians, it's worthy to note that we are not merely in the record label business or the music industry, but very much part of the storytelling business, which is largely an image-making enterprise. Far too often, those afforded the privilege to shape the image of countries not always in control of their own narrative abuse that power by recycling tropes that offer little to challenge deeply established narratives or reshape our understanding.


Music is just one component of a nation and culture's image, but Ostinato's philosophy is about showcasing and reimagining images of peoples and places that have long been viewed through a malignant colonial lens or via strategic foreign policy objectives, denying ancient lands, unmistakably sophisticated music cultures, and even just the gentle silt and vibrant color of daily life from their rightful place alongside the very best that humanity has produced or has to offer.

Photo: Janto Djassi / Picture Me Different.

A cab driver smiles during rush hour traffic in Khartoum. (Dec, 2017)

During the making of this compilation, in collaboration with Picture Me Different, an African-run agency in Hamburg, Germany, we have documented the everyday flair of life in Sudan's capital, Khartoum, and the remnants of its once mighty music scene as old legends fight to carry on a beloved legacy. Alongside, the singers featured on our compilation (or their families if they have passed) have provided vintage photos of musical life in Khartoum and the old capital, Omdurman.

Few around the world have the chance to experience Sudan on the ground themselves. So, as curators and image-makers dedicated to decolonizing our sense of sound and sight, we have put together a mini-exhibition of 15 photos to take you deep into the world of Sudan's capital—by no means a reflection of the country as a whole—but a good starting point as we celebrate Sudan's rich tapestry of culture, color, life, and diversity.

Importantly, we are not always offered a perspective on an African country through an African—in this case, Senegalese—photographer's eyes.

It takes two Niles to sing a melody, and create a just image.

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Ashraf Shazly/Getty Images

Sudan Now has its First Ever Women's Soccer League

The league comprises 21 clubs and plans are in the works to produce an official national team.

Yesterday, Sudan's much anticipated women's soccer league finally kicked off and saw two teams going against each other at the Khartoum Stadium. Sudan's new Minister of Sport Wala Essam and a number of foreign diplomats attended the match amid a vibrant crowd. The establishing of the league comes after the country has recently entered into a coalition government between the military and civilians. The coalition government, under the leadership of the newly elected Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, will govern Sudan during a three-year transitional period that will eventually cede power over to civilians.

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Watch the Music Video for Bas' Single 'Jollof Rice,' Featuring EarthGang

The infectious track gets an equally vibrant music video.

Paris-born, New York-raised, Sudanese rapper, Bas shares the music video for "Jollof Rice" a standout from his latest project Spilled Milk Volume 1, featuring Atlanta duo and fellow Dreamville members, EarthGang.

On the infectious song, produced by DZL the rappers spit boisterous lyrics and talk about their many desires: one of them being having their crush cook them jollof rice. Bas told Beats 1 Radio last month that the song and others on the project, were inspired by a recent trip he took to Lagos with label head, J. Cole.

READ: Bas: "I Was Born in France & Raised in New York But I'm Still African

Still from Youtube

The music video, directed by Mariah Winter, is simple but striking as the three artists perform in a hazy and retro-inspired studio surrounded by several modelesque women—all of them dressed impeccably fun and stylishly.

The artist announced last month that he would be dropping a new full-length album this month, so we have that to look forward too as well.

Check out the music video for 'Jollof Rice" below.

Bas - Jollof Rice feat. EarthGang (Official Video) www.youtube.com

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Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images

South Africa's Iconic Group Bongo Maffin is Set to Release a New Album

It will be the group's first album in well over a decade.

Last year, the iconic South African kwaito group Bongo Maffin, reunited after several years. They then went on to release the single "Harare" much to the delight of their numerous fans. Of course, the single was just an appetizer for everything else still to come. Thandiswa "King Tha" Mazwai, one of the members of the diverse quartet, recently confirmed that Bongo Maffin will be releasing an album on November 29th—the group's first album in well over a decade.

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Image courtesy of Riveriswild

#BuyBlack: The 8 Black-Owned Brands To Shop For On Black Friday

It's that time of year again, here is OkayAfrica's 2019 gift guide for you to #BuyBlack this Friday.

You know we're near the end of 2019 once the holiday season comes back around. Thanksgiving is upon us and the bargain shopping and gift-giving is set to commence thereafter. While this American "holiday" being questionable in of itself, Black Friday is a prime occasion to highlight, support and spend exclusively with black-owned businesses.

Just like we mentioned last year, let's keep the 'for us, by us' energy going. Even beyond the hustle and bustle of Black Friday, tap into the businesses that continue to contribute to wealth-building, development and employment in Black communities around the world.

Here is OkayAfrica's curated shortlist of black-owned brands to take note of this Black Friday, including some standout home decor, fashion, skincare and beauty brands you should know.

Take a look below.

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