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Koleka Putuma's New Poem Speaks to South Africa's Femicide Crisis

'This country buries us before we are born. Calls us by our obituaries before it calls us by our names,' writes Putuma.

South Africa has a long history of femicide and gender-based violence. However, over the past few months, this seeming war against the country's women has surged with numerous young women being abducted, raped and subsequently found dead—if found at all. Last month, South African women marched to both the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) in Sandton and the Parliament buildings in Cape Town in protest of the rising violence against women and children. Against that backdrop, award-winning South African poet and author of Collective Amnesia, Koleka Putuma, has recently penned an unsettling poem entitled "Every Three Hours" which details the nightmare that women in the country are faced with on a daily basis.


As of last year, the official statistics show that every three hours, a woman is murdered in South Africa with as many as 3000 having lost their lives in 2018 alone. This year's figures are not much better. According to News24, while the murder rate of women has decreased slightly, that of children has increased dramatically. Additionally, the rate of sexual offenses committed against women has surged went by a whopping 4.6 percent.

READ: How South Africa's War on Women Impacted Me: 'This self-identified 'feminist' was a rapist.

Putuma is no stranger to confronting the uncomfortable or the taboo in her works. Poems such as "No Easter Sunday for Queers", "Coming Home" and "Suicide" are testament to that and "Every Three Hours" is no different. The poem speaks about the rate at which women are murdered in South Africa, the lack of autonomy, safe spaces, effective policing and failing justice system, all of which have little regard for the bodies and lives of South African women.

READ: Here's What the South African Government has Promised to Do About Gender-based Violence

Published on the Johannesburg Review of Books, an excerpt of the poem reads as follows:

[every 3 hours, one of us does not make it]
this country hangs our dignity at half-mast.
waves our bodies as lessons to be learnt.
as moments that should teach us something.
as modules. tests. experiments.
my existence is not for your teaching
to dislocate my mother's throat six feet under
and compensate her grief with scholarships and amended policies.

policies that have gathered dust before they have even been drafted.

You can read the rest of the poem here.

Interview
JimmyWiz. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Interview: JimmyWiz Quietly Released One of the Strongest South African Hip-Hop Albums of the Year

We chat to South African rapper JimmyWiz about his debut album, Accordin' to Jim.

JimmyWiz channeled his life story into his biographical debut record, Accordin' to Jim. At just nine songs, the album is a self-portrait of the artist as he shares the stories that contributed to how he makes sense of the world. Even the accompanying music reveals an aspect of Jimmy's childhood.

In his chat to OkayAfrica below, the MC from the East Rand of Joburg, explains that sonically, Accordin' To Jim was influenced by the music he grew up with. The project is built on smooth jazz samples and compositions by SP Dubb, a prominent producer in the East Rand and the rest of the country.

JimmyWiz is part of a huge network of South African lyricists who may not be on everyone's radar, but have built solid niche fanbases and are striving in their own way and own terms. JimmyWiz just happened to get a boost that a very few young up-and-coming rappers are afforded.

In 2015, the rapper appeared on the reality show The Hustle on TV channel Vuzu. His class included the likes of Bigstar Johnson and ShabZi Madallion, the latter who is still a close friend and frequent collaborator of Jimmy's. JimmyWiz has stuck to his path—instead of jumping on the trap bandwagon, he has always shown a liking for production that leans towards traditional East Coast hip-hop, multi-syllable rhyme schemes and rich lyricism.

In the interview below, JimmyWiz tells OkayAfrica about his take on popularity waves, witnessing gender-based abuse in his household as a child, his plans for the future and many other topics.

*This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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These are 2019’s Most Shazamed South African Songs

"Fetch Your Life" by Prince Kaybee and Msaki was the most Shazamed song of 2019 in South Africa.

Apple Music recently released the statistics for the most streamed songs, artists and genres on their platform by South Africans. The country's Apple Music subscribers stream a lot of Post Malone, as his song "Sunflower" was the most streamed song on the platform in the country.

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Cardi B Teases New Remix of Davido's 'Fall'

Looks like the Nigerian star's massive hit is getting yet another re-up.

Cardi B has teased her apparent upcoming remix of Davido's "Fall."

Posting from a private jet, as she was on her way to New York before heading to West Africa, Cardi B shared a video of herself rapping and dancing along to the unreleased remix.

From the sounds of it, Cardi's "Fall" remix will feature a brand new verse from the New York rapper.

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Image courtesy of Trap Bob.

Trap Bob Is the 'Proud Habesha' Illustrator Creating Colorful Campaigns for the Digital Age

The DMV-based artist speaks with OkayAfrica about the themes in her work, collaborating with major brands, and how her Ethiopian heritage informs her work.

DMV-based visual artist Tenbeete Solomon also known as Trap Bob is a buzzing illustrator using her knack for colorful animation to convey both the "humor and struggle of everyday life."

The artist, who is also the Creative Director of the creative agency GIRLAAA has been the visual force behind several major online movements. Her works have appeared in campaigns for Giphy, Girls Who Code, Missy Elliott, Elizabeth Warren, Apple, Refinery 29 and Pabst Blue Ribbon (her design was one of the winners of the beer company's annual art can contest and is currently being displayed on millions of cans nationwide). With each striking illustration, the artist brings her skillful use of color and storytelling to the forefront.

Her catalog also includes fun, exuberant graphics that depict celebrities and important moments in Black popular culture. Her "Girls In Power" pays homage to iconic women of color in a range of industries with illustrated portraits. It includes festive portraits of Beyoncé, Oprah, Serena Williams and Michelle Obama to name a few.

Trap Bob is currently embarking on an art tour throughout December, which sees her unveiling murals and recent works for Pabst Blue Ribbon in her hometown of DC and during Art Basel in Miami. You can see her tour dates here.

We caught up with the illustrator via email, to learn more about the themes in her work and how her Ethiopian heritage informs her illustrations. Read it below and see more of Trap Bob's works underneath.

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