News Brief

The Late Nelson Mandela's Artwork Will be Auctioned Off in New York

'The Cell Door' is an artwork Nelson Mandela completed after he served his only term as the president of South Africa.


For the first time ever, one of Nelson Mandela's artworks will not only be displayed in public but also auctioned off by Bonhams. Following the end of his presidential tenure in 1999, Mandela took up drawing as a favorite pastime. Many of his drawings are depictions of the things he'd seen and endured during his 27-year imprisonment on Robben Island.


The Cell Door is almost childlike in its simplicity. The pastel drawing, completed in brown and purple wax crayons, depicts part of the anti-Apartheid veteran's tiny cell where he spent the majority of his time. The focus of the drawing is of course the cell door which is seen to be visibly locked by a key.

The drawing has been in the possession of one of Mandela's daughters, Pumla Makaziwe Mandela. According to the BBC Africa, she said, "I think for him, art was a good way of expressing himself or trying to come to terms with his history and his (I wouldn't want to say) demons but just coming to terms with his whole life."

The artwork will be auctioned off today in New York and is expected to fetch as much as 90 000 USD. Speaking about the prized artwork, the director of the auction house's modern African art, Giles Peppiatt, said:

"The word 'iconic' is so overused but to have a drawing of one of the most important men of the 20th century… would be a remarkable thing...It was a very personal, very poignant work for him."
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Photo courtesy of Doble Seis Entertainment

Burna Boy, Teni, AKA, Sho Madjozi, Mr Eazi & More Earn 2019 BET Award Nominations

This year's "Best International Act" categories are stacked with some of the biggest names in African pop.

The nominees for this year's BET Awards have been announced, and one again, some of the biggest names in African pop have been named in the " International Act" categories.

This year, Nigerian acts Burna Boy, Mr Eazi have been nominated in the "Best International Act" category. They've each had standout years, with both artists performing at the Coachella Music Festival this year.

They're nominated alongside South African star rapper AKA, who won a Kids' Choice Award earlier this year for "Favorite South African Star," and the French-Malian pop singer and one of OkayAfrica's 100 Women Aya Nakamura. French-Cameroonian and Togolese rapper Dosseh and UK rappers Dave, and Giggs round out the heavily-stacked category.

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Photo still courtesy of Chika Okoli.

This New Documentary Sheds Light On the History of a Beloved Nigerian Staple—Agege Bread

'Fresh Agege Bread' by Chika Okoli's FABA gives us a much-needed insight into the popularity of Nigeria's coveted Agege Bread.

This new documentary following Nigeria's own Agege Bread contributes to the need of preserving and documenting food culture on the continent.

In Fresh Agege Bread, directed and produced by filmmaker Chika Okoli of FABA (For Africans By Africans), we follow food researcher Ozoz Sokoh as she traces the history and popularity of Agege Bread featuring its pioneering bakers, community figureheads and locals. The documentary touches on the rise of the booming product as well as addresses some of the controversies around the health and safety measures applied in the production of this staple.

For Okoli, the inability to find such insights about this significant food in Nigerian culture is what inspired her to develop this documentary.

"Agege Bread is so popular in Lagos but shockingly, there is very little information about it online and the same can be said about other cultural elements that are significant to our way of life," she shares with us.

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amA picture taken on May 17, 2019 in Berlin shows a Stone Cross, a key 15th-century navigation landmark erected by Portuguese explorers, seen at the History Museum in Berlin. (Photo: TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Germany to Return Stolen 15th Century Stone Cross to Namibia

Germany's Culture Minister says the move is a "clear sign" that the country is committed to coming to terms with its colonial past.

In the latest development in the movement towards African art repatriation, the German government will return a 15th-century Portuguese stone cross that has been in its possession since the colonial era, back to its original home in Namibia.

The cross was a navigation landmark placed on the coastline of present-day Namibia in 1496, before it was taken in the late 17th century under German colonial rule, BBC Africa reports.

The Namibian government put out a request for its return back in 2017, and the request was formally approved today by the Berlin Museum. The cross is set to be returned in August, according to a statement from the museum.

READ: Taking Back Our History: Understanding African Art Repatriation

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