News Brief

Ngugi wa Thiong'o Snubbed of the Nobel Prize for Literature

Kenyans on Twitter were not happy about Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize for Literature over Ngugi wa Thiong'o.

News about American singer Bob Dylan winning the prestigious Nobel Prize for Literature had #KOT (Kenyans on Twitter) practicing their debate skills on Thursday. Ngugi wa Thiong'o was the Kenyan nominee once again and a heavy favorite for this year’s prize.


The 78-year-old writer and literary icon, who has a long history of using the arts for social change that put him at odds with the government, was a worthy contender for the Nobel. He’s famous for penning his Gikuyu book, Caitani Mutharabaini (Devil on the Cross), on toilet paper while in prison in 1977. His critically-acclaimed novel Petals of Blood pointed out the realities of postcolonial Kenya to the chagrin of the authorities.

The Moi regime made it difficult for Thiong'o to teach at local universities as punishment for using his voice, and banned his book, forcing Thiong'o to go into exile for decades.

Thiong'o advocated for human and democratic rights in Kenya by working with the London-based Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners in Kenya between 1982 and 1998. The River Between author may have had the reputation of being a provocative playwright and author according to authorities back at home, but his influence as a literary figure and activist makes him an iconic figure in the region.

Needless to say, not everyone was thrilled about the Nobel announcement.

Interview
Image supplied.

Interview: How Stogie T’s ‘Freestyle Friday’ Became a TV Show

Freestyle Friday started as lockdown content but is now a fully-fledged TV show on Channel O. In this interview, Stogie T breaks down why the show is revolutionary and talks about venturing into media.

When South Africa was put under a hard lockdown in 2020, Stogie T started Freestyle Friday to "make SA rap again." Freestyle Friday, hosted on Instagram, saw a different cohort of rappers each rap over the same beat picked by the veteran rapper. From niche and emerging rappers to some of the most notable names in South African hip-hop—the likes of AKA, Focalistic, Ginger Trill and several others all participated.

In the last few weeks, however, Freestyle Friday has found its way to cable TV. The show airs every Friday on Channel O, one of the continent's longest-running music TV channels. Freestyle Friday as a TV programme isn't just about freestyles, it's about the art of rapping and the music business, particularly SA hip-hop. Guests range from lyricists to record executives and other personalities aligned with the scene—Ninel Musson and Ms Cosmo for instance.

But Freestyle Friday is only the first media product Stogie T is working on as he is in the process of starting a podcast network, a venture in which he is collaborating with Culture Capital. In the Q&A below, Stogie T breaks down the relationship with Culture Capital, how the show moved from the internet to TV, why it's a revolutionary idea, touches on his venture into media and his future plans.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

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