News Brief

R20 Million Rand Statues to be Erected in Durban to Encourage 'Black Unity'

The pricey statues are of the late Apartheid struggle veterans Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo.

The local eThekwini Municipality in the city of Durban is set to erect bronze statues of the late Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo on one of the city's major highways. The statues are the work of artist Lungelo Gumede and will be placed alongside the statues of current president Cyril Ramaphosa and former president Jacob Zuma.


South Africans have expressed considerable criticism after the news of eThekwini Municipality having struck a "two for the price of R20 million (approximately $1.4 million)" deal with Gumede for his bronze statues of the two late Apartheid struggle veterans. The statues are going to be placed along Durban's M4 highway.


The municipality has already begun to receive backlash for what can only be termed political buffoonery on their part. In an interview with the eNCA below, the head of parks and recreation Thembinkosi Ngcobo speaks of how the municipality views the acquisition of the statues as being essential to political identity as well as black unity.


R20 million for two statues youtu.be

Ngcobo goes on to say that:

"The triumph we had over the apartheid system also forced us to be together, and because of that we gained our identity and in politics, there is nothing more important in my view than the politics of identity. Whoever will oppose this is someone who is going to be benefiting if black people were to be less united than they are now, because obviously for them they will have some benefits out of those divisions."

Owing to the scourge of Apartheid, the country has rightly set about a transformation and decolonization project which sees the reclaiming of spaces that intentionally excluded Black South Africans. This project has included the renaming of roads after struggle veterans, the renaming of universities and spaces within them, the removal of symbols of colonial oppression such as the Cecil John Rhodes statue at the University of Cape Town and yes, the erection of statues of the many heroes of Black South Africans.

South Africans on Twitter expressed how they feel about the steep price of the two statues.





Interview

Interview: The Awakening of Bas

We talk to Bas about The Messenger, Bobi Wine, Sudan, and the globalized body of Black pain.

The first thing you notice when you begin to listen to The Messenger—the new investigative documentary podcast following the rise of Ugandan singer, businessman and revolutionary political figure Bobi Wine—is Bas' rich, paced, and deeply-affecting storytelling voice.

Whether he is talking about Uganda's political landscape, painting a picture of Bobi Wine's childhood, or drawing parallels between the violence Black bodies face in America and the structural oppression Africans on the continent continue to endure at the hands of corrupt government administrations, there is no doubt that Bas (real name Abbas Hamad) has an intimate understanding of what he's talking about.

We speak via Zoom, myself in Lagos, and him in his home studio in Los Angeles where he spends most of his time writing as he cools off from recording the last episode of The Messenger. It's evident that the subject matter means a great deal to the 33-year-old Sudanese-American rapper, both as a Black man living in America and one with an African heritage he continues to maintain deep ties with. The conversation around Black bodies enduring various levels of violence is too urgent and present to ignore and this is why The Messenger is a timely and necessary cultural work.

Below, we talk with Bas aboutThe Messenger podcast, Black activism, growing up with parents who helped shape his political consciousness and the globalized body of Black pain.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Interview

Ayra Starr Is Ready to Take Off

We talk to the rising Nigerian star about growing up between Cotonou & Lagos, meeting Don Jazzy and how she made her explosive debut EP.

When Oyinkansola Sarah Aderibigbe—now better known as Ayra Starr—was in university, she was often complimented for her vocal skills. "I would just be singing and people would be like you have such a great voice,'' she tells OkayAfrica over a Zoom conversation. Because of this, her friends kept telling her to consider recording covers of songs to share on social media. Ayra refused—not to make the videos, but to post them—because she was shy.

Eventually, she allowed her friends to share her covers on their own social media channels. Ayra would try to stay away and not keep track of people's reactions to them, but each time she would fail and end up going to the comments section, she'd be surprised at the overwhelming support. ''The first time I did a cover it was crazy, people just went mad. I was shocked, like 'wow, people really like the music.'''

The support that helped her the most in deciding to pursue music full-time, however, was that of her mother. ''My mum would call me from home and be like 'Oyinkansola, do music''' Ayra remembers. ''She would say, 'music is for you', 'God wants you to do music.' She would even check up on me to ask if I had posted on social media.''

Arya Starr's childhood was soundtracked by the musical greats of the time—Tuface, Wande Coal, Tope Alabi. Being born into a musical family also helped. ''Everybody loved music. It was a musical home, and I listened to a lot of different types of sounds. From there I joined the choir when I was like eight or ten," Ayra says.

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Loyiso Gola Details His Upcoming Netflix Special in New Interview

Loyiso Gola details 'Unlearning', his upcoming debut Netflix Special, a first for an African comedian, in new interview with GQ South Africa. "I consider 'Unlearning' a special piece art," he says.

Accomplished South African comedian Loyiso Gola's Unlearning is coming on Netflix on the 23rd of March. The stand-up comedy special is the seasoned comic's first on the streaming platform. It will also be the first solo stand-up Netflix Special. Gola made his first appearance on Netflix in 2018 on the streaming platform's Comedians of the World series alongside fellow South African comedians Tumi Morake, Loyiso Madinga and Riaad Moosa.

Gola recently detailed the special in his GQ South Africa covert story. The special was recorded in one of the country's grandest art galleries, Cape Town's Zeitz MOCAA. He shared his reasons in the interview:

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