News Brief

Mixed Reactions From South Africans as Ladysmith Black Mambazo Set to Collaborate with Jacob Zuma

Former President Jacob Zuma is dropping an album this year, and he plans to feature the legendary Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Former President Jacob Zuma announced late last year that he had plans of dropping an album comprising his rendition of some of his favorite struggle songs.


Zuma is perhaps the most charismatic president South Africa has ever had. He has entertained the nation with his impromptu jiving and singing at various gatherings and rallies during his tenure. And so, while it did come as quite a surprise that he announced plans of releasing a whole album, it wasn't exactly what South Africans deemed as being out-of-this-world.

Most recently, however, it was announced that the Grammy-awarded group Ladysmith Black Mambazo would be collaborating with Zuma on his album and that they even offered up their studio to him. This has been seen as a large boost for the former president's plans to break into the music industry.

Boost for Zuma's music career youtu.be

Ladysmith Black Mambazo is a part of the créme de la créme of South African music. They are a male choral group who sing in the traditional style known as isicathamiya. They have been nominated for 19 Grammys thus far, and have gone on to win five. They have worked with music giants Johnny Clegg, Michael Jackson, Paul Simon and more.

Homeless is perhaps one of their most well-renowned songs. Watch a performance they did of the song a few years back.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo - Homeless Live www.youtube.com

However, South Africans have expressed mixed reactions to this recent announcement. While Zuma has insisted that the album is for the preservation of the country's heritage, opposition parties such as the Democratic Alliance (DA) have challenged the deal struck between Zuma and the local Ethekwini Municipality, citing that taxpayers' money cannot be used to fund Zuma's musical escapades under the guise of cultural preservation.

South Africans took to Twitter to express how they feel about Ladysmith Black Mambazo's plans to collaborate with Zuma. Not everyone is impressed.






Book cover art.

Blackbird Books Publishes 'Exhale: Queer African Erotic Fiction'—a Must-Read

'Exhale: Queer African Erotic Fiction' is the delightfully risqué anthology from Blackbird Books and HOLAAfrica!. The anthology features queer writers from across Africa including Nakhane.

South African publishing house Blackbird Books has, in collaboration with HOLAAfrica!, recently published Exhale: Queer African Erotic Fiction. The delightfully risqué anthology is a compilation of stories from queer African writers across the continent. Both fresh literary voices and established ones such as the notable Nakhane, give the project a delicious mixture which is sure to cater to everyone's literary needs.
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Photo by Giles Clarke/UNOCHA via Getty Images

Cameroon Holds Vigil to Remember Children Killed in School Attack

Residents in Kumba paid their respects to the seven lives lost, and those injured during the attack over the weekend.

In the latest tragedy to come from Cameroon's historically violent clash between Anglo and Francophone citizens, seven children were murdered after attackers stormed a school with guns and machetes over the weekend.

In what has been deemed as the "darkest and saddest day," by Bishop Agapitus Nfon of Kumba, armed attackers stormed the Mother Francisca International Bilingual Academy, targeting students aged 9 to 12. The tragic event saw dozens of children injured, some critically.

The attack has shocked the nation, with both local and international agencies condemning the horrible offense. On Monday, Cameroonian President Paul Biya denounced the "horrific murder" of the school children, and alluded to the "appropriate measures" being taken in order to bring justice to the families of the victims. Prime Minister Dion Ngute Joseph shared his condolences via a tweet saying, "I bow before the memory of these innocent kids."

The Cameroonian presidency and governing body have blamed Anglophone 'separatists' for the attack, though the group claims no part in the attack.

Human rights groups, however, have blamed both opposing parties, as the conflict has led to the death of over 3,000 deaths and resulted in more than 700,000 Cameroonians fleeing their homes and the country.
Interview

Interview: Meet Velemseni, Eswatini’s Queen of Soul

Soul artist Velemseni's music reflects Eswatini culture and aesthetics. "The Kingdom of Eswatini is a magical and mysterious place, and my music aims to interpret and document that mystique, drawing from genres like Swazi gospel, soul, African soul, cinematic and traditional music," says the artist.

From being a backing vocalist for some of Eswatini's household names like Bholoja, Siyinqaba and Nomalungelo Dladla, Velemseni has gone on to soar to greater heights.

The Eswatini guitarist and soul singer's debut album, We are People (2014), showcased soothing vocals and strong musicality. The project was received well, getting airplay in the country's major radio stations (EBIS1 and 2).

The 11-track project was produced by David F from France, Martin Berauer from Austria and Eswatini's Bholoja. It led to Velemseni embarking on a US mini-tour in 2014.

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Interview: 'Carpe Diem' Is Olamide's New Way of Life

Olamide communicates his current mood of living on his own terms, gives us his thoughts on #EndSARS, and tells us about fulfilling his singing desires while introducing the current sound brewing underground in Nigeria.