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The NBA Postpones Basketball Africa League Due to Health Concerns

The inaugural Basketball Africa League which was set to kick off this month has been postponed due to health concerns around the coronavirus outbreak.

The BBC reports that the NBA's inaugural Basketball Africa League (BAL) has been postponed due to health concerns around the coronavirus outbreak.

No new dates have been given yet for the BAL which was supposed to kick off in the Senegalese capital of Dakar on March 13th.


The BAL's inaugural season, which will comprise 40 games over a period of 3 months, is set to take place in a host of major African cities including Dakar, Kigali, Cairo, Lagos, Rabat, Luanda and several others.

President of the BAL, Amadou Gallo Fall, commented on the postponement in a press release saying, "Following the recommendation of the Senegalese government regarding the escalating health concerns related to the coronavirus, the BAL's inaugural season will be postponed." He went on to express disappointment at the postponement but said that the much-anticipated season would begin at a latter date.

Last year, the NBA announced that it would be launching the BAL, its first professional league outside of North America. The move comes at a time when African talent is beginning to dominate basketball both on and off the court.

Speaking in an interview with OkayAfrica's Damola Durosomo, Vice President & Head of Strategy and Operations for the BAL, John Manyo-Plange, spoke about the grand vision for the league saying:

"We feel that in the next five years, the BAL is going to be the number two basketball league globally. We have high aspirations for what this is going to become. As the average fan of the sport, when you experience basketball on the continent currently, and then the NBA and the BAL come in town, and then you experience what we put on, and all the activities around it, there's going to be a marked difference between the two. If we don't achieve that, then we've done something wrong. The talent is here. All the raw materials are here. We now have to package it properly."

As it stands, there are reportedly 94 000 confirmed cases of coronavirus across the world with an estimated death toll of just over 3000 people. You can view the specifics of these statistics here. The virus originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

African countries which have confirmed cases of the virus include Egypt, Algeria, Nigeria, Morocco and Senegal.

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New Research Out of South Africa Brings Us Closer To Understanding Ancient Human Species

The remains left by “Homo Naledi” informs us of their use of burial grounds, tribal paintings, and more.

South African researchers continue their journey to discover the weird and wonderful ways human beings have developed over the last hundred thousand years. Their latest achievement is in the improved understanding of how the hominin “Homo Naledi” existed, thought, and behaved. Scientists have discovered that the ancient human species partook in burial practices, and created rock paintings and carvings -- acts previously believed to be above their level of intelligence.

“It’s a remarkable thing. My mind is blown,” said famed American-South African anthropologist Lee Berger and his team, who unearthed the artifacts and published the latest findings. Homo Naledi was first discovered in 2013, but our understanding of their behaviors has only scratched the surface. The new discoveries have shown evidence of behaviors humans only exhibited 100,000 years later, and the evidence left behind leads us to believe that they were incredibly intelligent - a major blimp to the idea that bigger brains make for smarter brains.

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Music
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The Best Afrobeats Songs Right Now

Featuring tracks from Joeboy, Amaarae, Odumodublvck, Wande Coal, Wizkid, Ckay, and more.

Afrobeats is one of the biggest cultural movements in the world. Influencing everything from fashion to sports, the music acts as the adhesive, catching on to listeners of all demographics and shaping the scene in Africa with great potential. With the growing number of new Afrobeats releases every month, it becomes necessary to round up the best of the bunch. From singles to new music videos, the continent’s vast expanse will be covered in our "Best Afrobeats Songs Out Right Now" column. Get started below.

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Music Brief
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Tiwa Savage Gets Jiggy In the Video for New Single "Pick Up"

Tiwa Savage is here to remind you, "Don't let no one play games with your heart."

Nigerian singer-songwriter Tiwa Savageis setting her fans up for one heck of a summer. Hot off of the release of her rousing single "Stamina," featuring fellow Nigerian talents Young Jonn and Ayra Starr, the Queen of Afrobeats has given us the tools needed to deal with a potential lover with terrible phone etiquette. Savage released the funky video for her latest single "Pick Up" and her line, "Not gone let the devil kolobi my happiness" had us sold from the get-go. The singer has released a number of singles this year, as fans pray that it means a full project is on the cards for us. The idea of someone not picking up Tiwa Savage's call is mindblowing, but, experiences make for great music so we assume something must have inspired the latest track.

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Arts + Culture
Photo courtesy Publicitygh.

AfroCuration is Bringing Untold Ghanaian Stories to Light

The two-day event, which consists of a Wikipedia edit-a-thon and linguistic workshop, is part of a greater push to share more local knowledge among young people on the continent.

The drive to share and document knowledge in the vernacular across the African continent has gathered momentum over the past couple of years, thanks to the growing WikiAfrica movement and AfroCuration events. After several iterations across Southern Africa, AfroCuration, which consists of a Wikipedia edit-a-thon and linguistic workshop, made its way to West Africa during the last weekend of May, adding Ghanaian indigenous languages into the mix.

Established in 2019 by the Moleskine Foundation and through the WikiAfrica Education program, AfroCuration seeks to encourage Africans to document their stories in their own local languages by adding entries into Wikipedia. “It started with this very genuine cultural and intellectual interest, and then it transformed over the years,” CEO of the Moleskine Foundation Adama Sanneh told OkayAfrica. “By bringing together the world of creativity and culture to the world of knowledge production, we created a program that is about inspiring young people from Africa to transition from passive knowledge consumers into active knowledge producers.”

Since its inception, AfroCuration has held events in Mozambique, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, in partnership with various culturally influential organizations. For its first event in Ghana, AfroCuration partnered with nonprofit independent internet radio station, Oroko Radio, and the Twi User Language Group, to produce content on African authors. “Oroko Radio is about empowering through conversation, collaboration, and community,” says co-founder Kikelomo Oludemi. “One of our key objectives is reclaiming and recentering narratives from the African diaspora artist communities.”

For Oludemi, taking part in this year’s event aligned closely with Oroko Radio’s ethos. “I think for us it was the realization that the people who tell the stories are the ones who dictate the narrative and that ultimately shapes the world moving forward,” she says.

An image of attendees of this year\u2019s AfroCuration with their arms up in the air, smiling as they take a group photo.This year’s AfroCuration took place for the first time in Ghana, with attendees gathering in Kumasi.Photo courtesy Publicitygh.

Held in Kumasi, three hours away from the capital city of Accra, this year’s AfroCuration brought together a vibrant group of people. Known for its rich musical history, and proximity to Ghana’s famous Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi was chosen as the venue for this event because of its youth culture, and the proximity of the Twi User Language Group, who aim to train and empower native speakers in preserving and telling their stories in local languages.

Jemima Antwi, a representative from the Twi User Language believes events such as this are pivotal to the development of local and continental culture. “AfroCuration would be very impactful to the community because people have the opportunity to be history-makers or part of the historical dispositions by contributing content about their great ancestors who have paved the way for the development of African cultural diversity,” she says. “It also increase[s] the richness of Ghanaian history and Africa as a whole because this event has created more knowledge about both our deceased and living legends.”

At the event, locals donned a mixture of local attire and business casual dress, but the singular characteristic across participants and attendees was a shared enthusiasm for knowledge about Ghanaian culture and history, and documenting that knowledge in local languages. “There is so much that I can take from my West African side that is almost inconceivable in the Western world,” Sanneh says. “If that type of experience, or that type of language is not preserved, then we will be entrapped into Western culture.”

A sprint of knowledge-gathering

Day two of AfroCuration was the most intense. Attendees were divided into groups based on language: namely, Gurune, Twi, Bagbani, Ewe, and Moore. The session featured three sprints of one-hour-long edit-a-thons split between forty-five-minute-long breaks, culminating in a culturally reflective commune with the attendees on the theme of “Who We Are.”

The program’s theme, “Who We Are” stems off the text by South African author, Lwando Xaso, but the intrinsic objective of AfroCuration’s debut event in Ghana which was held physically and streamed online was archiving information about culturally-relevant authors. The programme's eventual goal goes beyond knowledge activism, but rather molding the critical thinking of young people across Africa.

“We believe having access to such information in your local language can reshape your thinking, and your imagination,” says Sanneh. “The capacity to imagine the future in a different way; the capacity to conceptualize reality in a different gaze. The idea is about collective knowledge that ignites a dynamic relationship with language, culture and experiences, and through that dynamic exchange, then you can ignite creativity.” As Sanneh explains, the greater objective of AfroCuration is archiving information about Africa in order to spark new creativity.

Two attendees of this year\u2019s AfroCuration event, which incorporated the language groups of Gurune, Twi, Bagbani, Ewe and Moore.Two attendees of this year’s AfroCuration event, which incorporated the language groups of Gurune, Twi, Bagbani, Ewe and Moore.Photo courtesy Publicitygh.

The importance of an event like AfroCuration cannot be overemphasized. Not only does it flatten the knowledge gap, and celebrate African culture and heritage, it also provides young people with hard skills such as referencing and editing, and provides real-time data about knowledge-seekers.

The final day of AfroCuration proved to be the most laid back. Between thirty-minute breaks, the editing groups presented their work, which centered around creating Wikipedia articles on cultural authors in local languages. Prizes were awarded to the groups, based on the highest number of correctly-formatted articles created.

For community-powered organizations like Oroko Radio, AfroCuration is crucial in building community and most importantly, providing spaces for Africans to redress historically incorrect stories and preserve locally poignant stories. As Oludemi says, “The most important thing people can take from this event is that there [are] always stories to be told, and we have to be the ones to tell them.”

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