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Ghana's Meshack Asare Is First African Winner Of NSK Neustadt Children's Literature Prize

Ghana's Meshack Asare wins the 2015 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children's Literature for his book, 'Kwajo and the Brassman's Secret.'


Ghanaian children's book author Meshack Asare has been announced as the winner of the 2015 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children's Literature. The prolific author and illustrator, whose victory marks the first time an African writer has walked away with the prestigious prize since its inception in 2003, beat out six other finalists to take home the $25,000 award. Asare's win was announced last Friday (Oct. 24) at a banquet event co-hosted by World Literature Daily and the University of Oklahoma.

Born in Nyankumasi, Ghana, in 1945, Asare began his literary career by illustrating books for his author friends while studying Fine Art at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. In an interview with WorldReader, Asare explained that his decision to begin writing came after noticing a dearth of characters in children's literature that African boys and girls could identify with:

These books had little stories and poems, Jack and Jill fetching water and that sort of thing. They were influential in the sense that they showed me what other children did, how they lived, and what kinds of things were around them. But I could not connect them to my own environment or experience. I thought it would be great to have a book about things that I, too, could recognize. [...] It is essential for children, especially children in developing countries, to be helped by every means possible to be able to read, to have books to read, and to have books that tell them about themselves.

Asare was nominated for the prize by fellow Ghanaian writer and NSK Prize juror Nii Ayikwei Parkes. Parkes also selected Asare's award-winning book, Kwajo and The Brassman's Secret, as the representative work from the iconic children's author to be sent into competition. First published in 1981, Kwajo and The Brassman's Secret follows the titular character as he navigates a fantasy land steeped in Ashanti folklore where he must decide between wisdom and material wealth. In the wake of the announcement, Asare remarked, "It is such a privilege, honor, and delight to receive the distinguished NSK Neustadt Prize for my modest contribution as an African, towards Children’s Literature." In addition to the monetary prize, Asare will receive a silver medallion, a certificate of recognition and a literary festival hosted in his honor.

The NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature recognizes excellence in children's storytelling and is awarded biennially to any writer or illustrator worldwide whose work seeks to improve the quality of children's lives.

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(Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Rejoice! WhatsApp Places New Restrictions on Chain Messages to Fight Fake News

To combat the spread of misinformation due to the coronavirus outbreak, users are now restricted from sharing frequently forwarded messages to more than one person.

The rise of the novel coronavirus has seen an increase in the spread of fake news across social media sites and platforms, particularly WhatsApp—a platform known as a hotbed for the forwarding of illegitimate chain messages and conspiracy theories (if you have African parents, you're probably familiar). Now the Facebook-owned app is setting in place new measures to try and curb the spread of fake news on its platform.

The app is putting new restrictions on message forwarding which will limit the number of times a frequently forwarded message can be shared. Messages that have been sent through a chain of more than five people can only subsequently be forwarded to one person. "We know many users forward helpful information, as well as funny videos, memes, and reflections or prayers they find meaningful," announced the app in a blog post on Tuesday. "In recent weeks, people have also used WhatsApp to organize public moments of support for frontline health workers."

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Watch Phyno's New Music Video for 'Oso Ga Eme'

The Nigerian rapper shares a gritty new track from his latest album 'Deal With It.'

Phyno is back with his latest, "Osa Ga Eme," the latest single from his fourth studio album Deal With It.

The track is a gritty banger, with a catchy hook that sees the MC delivering rapid rhymes in his native Igbo. The energetic music video features several hip-hop dancers who deliver standout performances as they move along to the songs lyrics. The video was directed by Unlimited LA.

READ: The 10 Best Nigerian Songs of the Month

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Sarkodie Hits Hard With His Latest Single 'Sub Zero'

The Ghanaian heavyweight rapper shows up with the fire bars over an Altra Nova-produced beat.

Sarkodie has dropped a new aggressive track in the shape of "Sub Zero."

"Sub Zero" follows the star Ghanaian rapper as he throws back criticisms that have come his way from other rappers with his own ice cold flow. The new track was produced by Ghanaian beatmaker Altra Nova and mixed by PEE On Da BeaT.

"Sub Zero" follows Sarkodie's turn-up single "Bumper," which dropped bak in February.

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Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

8 South African Hip-Hop Battles We’d Love to Watch

After Tweezy and Gemini Major's battle, we'd like to see these ones next.

Last week, Gemini Major and Tweezy, two of South African hip-hop's super producers hopped on the trend of the Instagram Live beat battle started by Swizz Beatz and Timbaland, amidst the lockdown enforced to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Much to the delight of fans and industry mates alike, Tweezy and Gemini Major showcased their best productions, with many realizing and marveling at the fact that they're the two foremost producers responsible for multiple hits in the South African hip-hop industry for the past 10 years.

South Africa's hip-hop scene has a wide range of producers who have shaped the sound of the country's scene over the years since the 90s and 2000s, to the current crop. Taking that into account, we bring you eight pairs of producers we would like to see go against each other in an IG Live beat battle.


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