News Brief
Photo by Annie Risemberg / AFP via Getty Images.

Malians Heading to Voting Polls Despite Coronavirus Outbreak

The Malian government has announced that the parliamentary election scheduled to take place this weekend will continue.

Malians are set to head to the voting polls this coming Sunday in spite of the coronavirus outbreak and a raging jihadist conflict.

AFP reports that President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita announced that the parliamentary election would continue "in scrupulous respect of protective measures."


The push for the election to continue is largely due to crisis talks which looked at potential non-military solutions to resolve the current violence the country is experiencing. Experts are hoping that a new cohort of parliamentary ministers will adopt the reforms agreed upon in a peace deal between the Malian government and several armed groups in Algiers in 2015.

Admittedly, Mali's parliamentary election has long been delayed.

Initially set to take place at the end of October in 2018, the election was delayed by a month citing delays in registering candidates following a strike by judges. Thereafter, the election was again delayed by six months and scheduled to take place in 2019 instead following political tensions between the Malian government and Tuareg rebels.

Since 2012, Mali has been engulfed in conflict after Tuareg rebels staged an uprising which resulted in jihadists taking over key cities in northern parts of the country.

More recently, the country has been facing additional security concerns in light of the growing coronavirus outbreak. This past Wednesday, Mali confirmed its first two cases in two national who had traveled from France. Since then, strict curfews and border closures have been enforced as part of efforts to contain the outbreak.

Following the election this Sunday, a second round of voting is set to take place on April 19th.

Film
Photo: Sundance Film Festival

South African Director Oliver Hermanus on Remaking a Classic

The award-winning director behind Skoonheid and Moffie tackles his first film set outside his home country -- a reworking of auteur Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru -- which is premiering at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

In Living, Oliver Hermanus’ latest film, Bill Nighy takes on the role Takashi Shimura earned a BAFTA nomination for playing in the 1952 classic, Ikiru. Except Nighy's not Mr Watanabe, he’s Mr Williams, a British version of Shimura’s workaholic who finds out he only has a short time left to live. Revered auteur Akira Kurosawa’s film made its premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1954, where it would go on to win him a special prize of the senate of Berlin, before garnering acclaim for many more years to come. So, too, is Hermanus' remaking of the story bowing at a film festival, and so far, it's also been earning the South African director high praise.

Born in Cape Town, Hermanus has steadily built his career on South African-centric stories. Whether it’s the portrait of a Mitchell’s Plain mother caught between poverty and violence in Shirley Adams or the experience of gay recruits conscripted into the army in Moffie, Hermanus’ films speak to various realms of South African life. Living is his first venture outside of South Africa – not just in storyline, but in cast and crew too. The screenplay is by Nobel and Booker Prize winner Kazuo Ishiguro (The Remains of The Day) and Hermanus was brought on as director by the producers.

From debuting his first film Shirley Adams in 2009 in competition at the 62nd Locarno Film Festival, followed by Skoonheid (Beauty) at the 64th Cannes Film Festival, and The Endless River at the 72nd Venice Film Festival, where it was the first South African film to be invited to the main competition, to his fourth feature, Moffie at the 76th Venice Film Festival in 2019, Hermanus has cemented his reputation as a filmmaker to watch.

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