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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.

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Veteran Kenyan Writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o has Been Snubbed Again for this Year's Nobel Literature Prize

The 2018 and 2019 prizes have been awarded to Polish author Olga Tokarczuk and Austrian author Peter Handke respectively.

Veteran Kenyan writer, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, was pegged to win this year's Nobel Prize in Literature. Following a sexual harassment scandal that rocked the prestigious Swedish academy last year, the 2018 winner was not announced and hence the need to announce two winners today. In a recent announcement, Polish author and winner of the 2018 Man Booker International prize, Olga Tokarczuk, and Austrian author Peter Handke, were awarded the 2018 and 2019 prizes respectively. While there were several contenders for the prizes including Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami, Canadian poets Anne Carson and Margaret Atwood, Gaudeloupean novelist Maryse Condé and French writer, Annie Ernaux, many had hoped that Thiong'o would walk away as one of the winners. This is after a commitment was made by the Swedish academy to increase diversity and move away from a "Eurocentric perspective of literature".

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A Film Based on a Novel by Acclaimed Kenyan Author Ngugi wa Thiong'o Is In the Works

Nollywood director Kunle Afolayan is developing Ngugi's novel "Matigari" with Kenyan and South African filmmakers.

A novel by Kenya's own Ngugi wa Thiong'o is being adapted to a film, Brittle Paper reports.

Nollywood director Kunle Afolayan shared at the Africa Movie Academy Awards that Ngugi's 1987 work, Matigari, is in development with Kenyan and South African filmmakers, who have yet to be revealed.

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Burna Boy. Photo by Joseph Okpako/WireImage (via Getty Images).

The 20 Best Nigerian Songs of 2019

Featuring Burna Boy, Rema, Tiwa Savage, Zlatan, Mr Eazi, Wizkid, Teni, Davido, Lady Donli and many more.

2019 was another huge year for Nigerian music.

Zlatan's presence was ubiquitous and powered by the zeal for zanku, a dance which is now de rigueur. Rema led the charge for a group of young breakthrough artists that include Fireboy DML and Joeboy. They all represent an exciting crop of talents that point the way forward for Nigerian pop.

Burna Boy's new dominance, built around his excellent African Giant album, delivered on his rare talents, while the long wait for Davido's sophomore album, A Good Time, paid off in satisfying fashion. Simi's Omo Charlie Champagne Vol. 1 announced her departure from her longterm label. Tiwa Savage also made a highly-discussed move from Mavin Records to Universal Music Group. Meanwhile, Yemi Alade exuded female strength with her latest record, Woman of Steel.

Not to be left out, Wizkid sated demands for his fourth album with a new collaborative EP following a year of stellar features that included his presence on Beyoncé's Lion King: The Gift, an album which also boasts Tekno, Mr Eazi and Tiwa Savage. Mr Eazi also notably launched his emPawa initiative to help fund Africa's promising up-and-coming artists.

Asa returned in a formidable form with Lucid, while buzzing artists like Tay Iwar, Santi, and Lady Donli all shared notable releases. Lastly, the beef between Vector and M.I climaxed and sparked a resurgence of Nigerian rap releases from Phyno to Ycee, PsychoYP and more.

Read on for the best Nigerian songs of 2019. Listed in no particular order. —Sabo Kpade

Follow our NAIJA HITS playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

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OkayAfrica Presents: 'The Adinkra Oracle' December Reading with Simone Bresi-Ando

We're back with another Adinkra reading from Simone Bresi-Ando to help guide you through the end of the year—and the end of the decade.

It's the a new month and that means we're ready for a new Adinkra reading from Simone Bresi-Ando to help you navigate your December.

After cleansing the space, Simone will pull five Adinkra Ancestral Guidance Cards from a deck of 44 Adinkra symbols—these cards help to channel information, messages and direction from your ancestors using Adinkra symbols when read correctly. Remember, as Simone says, "these readings tell you what you need to know and not necessarily what you want to know—our ancestors are emotionally pure."

Simone gives a general reading of what December has in store to help you know what actions and thoughts are necessary to get the best out of the month. This is a special installment as it also guides you through the end of the year—and the end of the decade.

Watch below.

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