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King Mswati III Paid R2.7 Billion For A Private Jet and Its Parking Space

The king just treated himself to a luxurious birthday present amidst prevailing poverty in his country.

The King of Swaziland (now known as The Kingdom of Eswatini since April) treated himself to a private jet for his 50th birthday, which coincides with the country's 50th year of independence, reports the City Press. The Airbus A340-300 was bought from Taiwan for E200 million (approximately $16 million).

Note that the country's currency lilangeni (emalangeni in plural form) is equivalent to the South African rand.

Refurbishing the plane cost E500 million, and a further E2 billion was spent on its hangar at the newly constructed airport in eastern Swaziland. This exorbitant price was to ensure the hangar was safe for royalty and heads of state visiting the country.

The plane was sent to Germany to be customized, and can now accommodate the king, some of his wives and his chef. It has the range to fly from Swaziland to New York without making any stops on the way.

This is not the first time the king has bought himself a private plane. In 2012, he bought a McDonnell Douglas DC-9, which now, since he has a new toy, will be used for short distance travels and will be rented out to charter companies.

Swaziland has an unstable economy, with a high unemployment rate (25.28%) and the highest HIV prevalence in the world at 27.2%. The country's pensioners also earn a meager E400 ($32) a month.

However, the royal family was allocated approximately R395 million for this financial year. It just doesn't add up.

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The 5 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Fireboy DML, Juls, Adekunle Gold and more.

Every week, we highlight the top releases through our best music of the week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

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Film
Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage via Getty.

Michaela Coel Joins the 'Black Panther' Sequel Cast

The upcoming film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, is shaping up.

The sequel to the Oscar-winning Black Panther is only due to debut in July of 2022, but the production is well on its way.

The latest news out of the camp is that Michaela Coel, of I May Destroy You and Chewing Gum fame, has officially joined the cast of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Her character details are still under wraps but according to Variety, Coel has already joined director Ryan Coogler at Atlanta's Pinewood Studios, where production started in late June.

Coel joins original cast members Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, Lupita Nyong'o, Florence Kasumba, and Angela Bassett all reprising their roles. Following the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman, Marvel reportedly chose not to recast the role of T'Challa.

Read: How Michaela Coel's 'I May Destroy You' Makes Space For Black Creators

"It's clearly very emotional without Chad," Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige mentions. "But everyone is also very excited to bring the world of Wakanda back to the public and back to the fans. We're going to do it in a way that would make Chad proud."

Michaela Coel's highly-lauded 2020 series I May Destroy You — which she wrote, directed, produced and stared in — received four Emmy nominations.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is scheduled for wide release on July 8, 2022.

Meet Duro Arts, the Man Behind Your Favorite Afrobeats Album Covers

We talk to the Lagos-based digital artist about his work with Olamide, Phyno, Falz and more.

Duro Arts has found himself illustrating the cover artwork for a new wave of Nigerian musicians. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Oluwadurotimi Bolaji Idowu started digital art in 2010, at a time where afrobeats music was still grasping its feet. Now, 11 years later, he has made covers for heavyweight hitmakers like Peruzzi, Phyno, Olamide, Zlatan, Oxlade, and Davido.

We caught up with Duro Arts on a Sunday afternoon over Zoom. He took the call from Accra, Ghana, where he's currently working. We talked about his journey as a digital artist, his portfolio, creative process, and the changes he'd like to see in the creative industry.

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Series Producer Bonga Percy Vilakazi Is Big On Telling Progressive Stories

The award-winning South African writer and producer cut his teeth in the TV industry washing and drying make-up sponges. Today, he's responsible for entertaining millions of soapie lovers on the African continent.