News Brief

Journalists from Kenya and South Africa Have Been Released After Being Mysteriously Detained in Tanzania

Muthoki Mumo and Angela Quintal were on a fact-finding assignment to investigate the challenges facing Tanzanian press.

Kenyan journalist Muthoki Mumo and South African journalist Angela Quintal—both staff members of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)—have been released after being detained in Tanzania with their passports seized, Reuters reports.

The women were detained on Wednesday night after Tanzanian authorities entered their hotel room and confiscated their passports. After being transferred to an unknown location and interrogated about their work, they were then released in the early hours of Thursday morning. The reason of their detainment was initially unclear.


Mumo and Quintal were on a fact-finding assignment with the CPJ, according to the organization.

"During their detention, Quintal and Mumo's phones and computers were also seized," the CPJ says in a statement. "While they were detained, a false tweet saying they had been released was sent from Quintal's personal Twitter account and repeated attempts were made to access Quintal's email."

Both Quintal and Mumo's Twitter accounts have been and remain to be suspended.

Ali Mtanda, spokesperson for the Tanzanian Immigration Department, states that Mumo and Quintal were arrested for "violating the terms of their visas by holding meetings with local journalists."

"They were supposed to get a separate permit for that," he adds.

Joel Simon, executive director of the CPJ, explains further that the pair traveled to Tanzania to learn about the challenges facing the Tanzanian press and to inform the global public.

"It is deeply ironic that through their unjustified and abusive detention of our colleagues, Tanzanian authorities have made their work that much easier," Simon continues. "It is now abundantly clear to anyone who followed the latest developments that Tanzanian journalists work in a climate of fear of intimidation. We call on the government of Tanzania to allow journalists to work freely and to allow those who defend their rights to access the country without interference."

Quintal is the CPJ's Africa program coordinator and Mumo is the organization's sub-Saharan Africa representative.

Though Mtanda states that both women journalists were free to stay in Tanzania as long as they obeyed the terms of their 90-day visas, the CPJ says they have left the country.

Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

ProVerb’s Memoir Is A Huge Slap In The Face To South African Hip-Hop

In his memoir, one of South Africa's revered lyricists ProVerb and his co-author compromise his rich story with trite motivational talk.

The Book of Proverb

ProVerb has had a strange relationship with the SA hip-hop scene. Albeit being one of the most gifted lyricists the country has ever seen, he has grown to flow less and hustle more. Despite this, his name still comes up when the greatest (South) African rappers of all time are mentioned. MTV Base placed him as the 7th in their list of the greatest SA MCs of all time in 2018 for example.

The rapper-turned-media personality dedicates a paragraph of his memoir, The Book of Proverb, to explaining his complicated relationship with hip-hop. "Although I built my brand as a hip-hop artist, I never enjoyed full support or success from it," he writes. "Music is and always will remain a pass ion, but it stopped being viable when it stopped making business sense to me. If I was given more support, I might continue, but for now, I'll focus on my other hustles."

On the cover of the book which was released towards the end of 2020 by Penguin, Verb is wearing a charcoal blazer and sporting a white ball cap, so one can be forgiven for getting into it expecting both sides of his story. This memoir, however, is too vague to be a worthy read if you aren't necessarily reading to get motivated but to be simply informed and inspired.

While a few of The Book of ProVerb's chapters touch on his rap career, most of the book is about ProVerb the man, personality and businessman. Not so much one of the country's finest lyricists. This omission is a huge slap in the face for his fans and SA hip-hop fans in general.

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Interview
Image by Mark Peckmezian.

Filmmaker Akinola Davies Jr Explores the Sweet Spot Between Nollywood & Hollywood

Winner of the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, London-based Nigerian filmmaker Akinola Davies Jr speaks about his experimental film 'Lizard', what belonging looks like and the overlap between Hollywood and Nollywood.

In early February, the jury for the short film competition at the Sundance Film Festival announced the Nigerian film, Lizard, as the winner of the Grand Jury Prize, the highest honour for that category. Thirty-five-year-old Akinola Davies Jr, Lizard's director and co-writer (with his brother Wale, better known as Tec, one half of the rap duo Show Dem Camp) accepted the prize from the United Kingdom, a country he has called home since the age of 13.

Lizard follows the adventures of an eight-year-old girl, Juwon (Pamilerin Ayodeji) who is kicked out of Sunday school service and goes on a tour of the massive compound where she witnesses firsthand the dynamics at play in and around a Lagos Pentecostal megachurch. Davies Jr makes use of elements of magical realism to thrust audiences into the world of this innocent as she grapples with the images she comes in contact with. The film closes out in a climactic act of violence that recalls Davies Jr's memories of growing up in a country under censorship and military dictatorship.

With this Sundance triumph, Davies Jr became the first Nigerian filmmaker to achieve this distinction. However, he is no overnight success though. Born in London and raised in Lagos, the multi-disciplined artist attended school in the English countryside and has been grinding for a while now. The bulk of his creative work—music videos, fashion films, experimental films—have navigated aspects of belonging and existing in some kind of "middle".

In 2017, collaborating with photographer Ruth Ossai and stylist Ibrahim Kamara, Davies Jr paid homage to his Nigerian roots for French luxury brand Kenzo in a video film titled Unity is Strength. He has participated in the Berlinale Talents and opened his first solo show at Art Basel in Switzerland. He is also a prolific music video director, shooting visuals for British acts, Larry B and Mischa Mafia.

We caught up recently with Davies Jr via Zoom from his home in London.

Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

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News Brief
(Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Warner Music)

Burna Boy Set to Perform at the Grammys 2021 Premiere Ceremony

The Nigerian star is nominated in the Best Global Music category.

The African giant Burna Boy will perform at the 2021 Grammy pre-show which will be livestreamed on GRAMMY.com at 3 p.m. EST on March 14.

The premiere ceremony will be hosted by Jhene Aiko. It will kick off with an ensemble of previous Grammy nominees including Gregory Porter, Afro-Peruvian Jazz Orchestra, Regina Carter, and Kamasi Washington performing "Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology)" in tribute to the late legend Marvin Gaye.

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