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Poster for the documentary Lazarus. (Courtesy of Johan Hugo)

Watch the Award-Winning Documentary About Lazarus, Malawian Street Musician Turned Global Music Activist

The musician uses his music as a platform to fight for the rights of people with albinism like himself.

Lazarus. His name came from the blisters and burns he suffered as a newborn on his parents' backs as they worked in the fields. As an albino in Malawi, his parents didn't have any sunscreen or protection—the other children didn't need it. From physical pains like that one to mental and emotional difficulties, Lazarus Chigwandali has endured much in his lifetime and has since dedicated his life to using music to fight against the persecution of people with albinism. You can now watch that journey as a documentary, entitled Lazarus, was made available to the public yesterday via The New Yorker.


People with albinism are often hunted in the region as some believe that limbs, body parts or deaths of those with the condition are magical and to be used for witchcraft. It makes everyday life isolating and dangerous for people with it. The film tells the intersection of three characters: Ikponwosa Ero, independent expert for the United Nations on the enjoyment of human rights by people with albinism; Johan Hugo, a seasoned and reputable producer known for his work with Baaba Maal, Mumford & Sons and in The Very Best; and, of course, Lazarus—his music the connection between all three.


From left to right: David Darg, Johan Hugo, Lazarus, Bryn Mooser. (Photo courtesy of Johan Hugo)


When Hugo traveled to Malawi to meet and hear Lazarus in person, he hoped to at least record some of his music, but he also brought two friends in tow. Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning director David Darg and producer Bryn Mooser. They were able to capture the essence of Lazarus' story, the beauty of his music (which has kind of an upbeat-early-ska-punk-rock vibe with an African twist), the power of his message and his journey from street busker in Lilongwe to music activist performing around the world. It's a tale of darkness and triumph, earning an Official Selection showing at Tribeca Film Festival and Best Documentary Prize at Hollyshorts. Watch it below and stream his debut album Stomp on the Devil.


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Photo by Luxolo Witvoet.

'Journey With Me' Is a Window Into the Ups and Downs of Traveling by Train In South Africa

In his new photo series, South African artist Luxolo Witvoet, speaks to everyday people in Cape Town about their experiences commuting via the city's fragile, yet vital train system.

Luxolo Witvoet is a 25-year-old multidisciplinary artist and photographer from Cape Town. In his latest series "Journey With Me," Witvoet set out to document the stories of South Africans commuting to and from work, school, and job hunting. While simply riding on the train might seem like a mundane, everyday act, the train holds special significance in South African history. "During apartheid, the train was the choice of transport that our forefathers & mothers used to travel long distances from one province or state to the next in search of work and a better tomorrow for their offspring—us," says Witvoet. His connection to the train is a personal one, directly linked to his family lineage. "My nineteen year old late grandmother travelled from her birthplace, Aliwal North to relocate to Cape Town using the train. While in Cape Town, she would eventually find work as a maid and she would meet her husband on the train en route to work," he adds.

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Rodger Bosch/AFP via Getty Images

A Malawian High Court Orders Lifting of Government Ban on Dreadlocks in Schools

The order comes after a Rastafarian learner with dreadlocks was barred from being admitted into a Malawian school by the government.

A Malawian High Court in Zomba has ordered that a learner be admitted into Blantyre Girls' Primary School after her admission was barred because of her dreadlocks. The court has also ordered that the school make up for the classes the learner has missed and provide any other necessary support they may require.

While the case itself is still ongoing, the court order now requires that the government allow learners from the often marginalised Rastafarian community to be admitted into schools without having to have their dreadlocks removed.

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Image courtesy of the artist.

Skales Enlists Falz and Harmonize for New Track 'Oliver Twist II Remix'

PREMIERE: Skales drops a standout remix of his single 'Oliver Twist,' featuring production from legendary producer Teddy Riley.

Nigerian artist Skales shares a massive new remix of his single "Oliver Twist," featuring Nigerian rapper Falz and Tanzanian singer Harmonize.

The track notably features co-production from legendary R&B and hip hop producer Teddy Riley. "I had been in talks with Teddy Riley since my last trip to London," Skales tells OkayAfrica about how the collaboration with the veteran producer came to be. "We've been sharing ideas about music. So when I made Oliver Twist with the original producer, TMXO, I sent it to him to give it a listen. He did and decided to add his Midas touch to it too."

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Still from YouTube.

Yemi Alade Enlists Djimon Hounsou for New Music Video 'Remind You'

The veteran Beninese actor stars in the sultry music for Yemi Alade's latest single.

Yemi Alade shares her latest music video for her single "Remind You," and it stars none other than celebrated Hollywood actor Djimon Hounsou.

"Remind You" is a sultry R&B track from the singer's latest album, 2019's Woman of Steel. The vibrant music video, directed by Ovie Etseyatse, sees the singer gallivanting in an empty mansion in various elegant gowns. Honsou graces the screen throughout the video as well, but the two don't meet until the very end, when things take a funny and unexpected turn.

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