Literature

Nigerian Literary Icon Gabriel Okara Has Passed Away

The famous writer is regarded as the first "Modernist Poet of Anglophone Africa."

Nigerian literary giant, Gabirel Okara, known as the first English language African writer, passed away in his sleep in Port Harcourt on Monday. He was two months shy of his 98th birthday.

Okara, referred to as the "Nigerian Negritudist," for his involvement in the Francophone-led intellectual movement, rose to prominence in 1964, following the release of his celebrated debut novel, The Voice, an experimental book in which he translated his native language of Ijaw into English. He was also a poet, playwright and a scriptwriter for national broadcasts. According to The Sun, many of Okara's manuscripts were lost during the Nigerian Civil War.


The writer was born on April 24 1922 in the present-day Bayelsa State of Nigeria, He went on to study journalism at Northwestern University in 1949, before discovering his talent for poetry in 1953 when he won an award at the Nigerian Festival of Arts for his poem The Call of the River Nun, according to BBC Africa.

Amongst his most celebrated poems are Piano and Drums, You Laughed and Laughed and Laughed, and The Fisherman's Invocation.

His death is a major loss to the African literary world, and the second this month following the passing of the prolific Ivorian writer Bernard Dadié, a leader in the negritude movement.

Tributes from fans and readers, including Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari, have been pouring out in remembrance of the renowned writer all morning. Many are sharing personal memories of how his work has influenced them.







News Brief
Photo: Getty

Here's What You Need To Know About The Political Unrest In Sudan

Thousands have been protesting the Sudanese government over the weekend, supporting the military's plans for a coup.

Sudan's transitional government is in turmoil as thousands of citizens conducted a sit-in protest against them, over the weekend. A group of Sudanese citizens have called on the military to disestablish the nation's current government, as the country struggles with the greatest crisis they've seen since the end of former dictator Omar al-Bashir's controversial ruling, two years ago. The weekend's pro-military protests come as anti-military protestors took to the streets earlier this month to fight for civilian-ruled laws.

Military-aligned demonstrators assembled outside of the famously off-limits entrance of the Presidential Palace located in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum on Monday. Gatherers set up tents, blocking off access to two main intersections, cutting off access to the capital for those inside. Police attempted to wave off crowds with teargas, with Khartoum state officials saying they had, "repelled an attempted assault on the seat of government," in a statement issued Monday.

The assembly was called for by a coalition of rebel groups and political parties that support Sudan's military, accusing the civilian political parties of mismanagement and monopolizing power under their ruling. Demonstrations began on Saturday, but Sunday's gathering saw a lower attendance. According to Reuters, by Monday afternoon, thousands, between 2,000 - 3,000, had returned to voice their concerns. 52-year-old tribal elder Tahar Fadl al-Mawla spoke at the helm of the sit-in outside of the Presidential palace saying, "The civilian government has failed. We want a government of soldiers to protect the transition." Alongside a 65-year-old Ahman Jumaa who claimed to have traveled more than 900 kilometers (570 miles) from Southern region Nyala to show his support.

Protesters are demanding the appointment of a new cabinet that is "more representative of the people who participated in the December 2019 revolution that eventually led to the ousting of former president Omar al-Bashir", Al Jazeera reported from Sudan. Protesters headed towards the Presidential Palace, where an emergency cabinet meeting was being held when they were met by police forces.

Pro-civilian political parties have plans for their own demonstration on Thursday, the anniversary of the 1964 revolution that overthrew Sudan's first military regime under Ibrahim Abboud and brought in a period of democracy that the country still struggles to uphold.


Sudanese Twitter users shared their thoughts online, with many drawing similarities between the current unrest and other political crises the nation has faced.


Style

Pan-African Streetwear Label Finchitua Goes Intergalactic

Finchitua's newest capsule collection is a dive into future fantasy.

Feiruza Mudessir is in her creative studio in Dubai, a picture of contained nervous energy, surrounded by the organized chaos of her designs. She is the brand owner and head designer of Finchitua, a label producing distinctly pan-African streetwear. Until now, they have delivered exuberant denim clothing that is cut fearlessly, acid-washed, and then adorned with tribal designs: where '90s hip-hop meets the ancient and colorful patterns of Mudessir's Ethiopian heritage. Her latest collection charters new territories. Finchitua, it seems, has gone intergalactic. Exploring the fabric of Outerspace.

Mudessir is well-poised, but under this polished surface, I sense that distractions from the steely focus she keeps on her business gnaw away at her. There are things to do. It is unsurprising, as from the age of 13 she has been facing the world more alone than others do. She may have had the privilege of a boarding school education in India but after being sent off with her sister, she has largely been cut off from her parents.

There is no hiding how much her clothes are wrapped in the sense of her own forged identity. These designs not only keep her rooted in her heritage but tell the world of her own personal journey. "I want people to know where I am from through the fabrics and patterns of Ethiopia, India, and the UAE," she says. "And if people say 'I love it but where am I going to wear it?' I simply tell them that you don't need a special occasion to wear something beautiful. Stand up and be yourself."

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News Brief

Savage Sets the Tone of His Career With Debut Album 'Utopia'

The Nigerian artist recently dropped a music video for single "Confident" and we cannot get enough.

Rising Nigerian newcomer Savage has released his debut album Utopia and people are paying attention. This comes after the fast-rising artist recently released singles ''Confident", featuring buzzing Nigerian Buju, and "Rosemary" featuring Victony, giving fans a taste of what's to come in his first major project.

The 10 track collection is sure to have something for everyone, as Savage promises an album that transcends afro-fusion and rap while touching on the dance-driven spirit that Afropop tends to leave audiences in. The album puts words and music to daily reflections on sex, lust, and love, as Savage highlights the ever-changing and evolving nature of love.

The Nigerian artist explores the feeling of lust in track "Unbutton," as Savage croons and swoons in adoration over a woman's body — all to the tune of percussive Afrobeats. "Pariwo" sees Savage study the popularized and iconic 808 drum sound, while the afro-swing sizzler "Mana Gyalis" recruits UK big guns Kojo Funds and Kida Kudz to take it home. Kenyan hip-hop star Khaligraph Jones and South Africa's Emtee lend their voices and star power to enigmatic rap number "Daddy," making the album a continental affair.

Utopia has encouraged Savage to explore a more varied sound palate, with the artist effortlessly blending sweet, upbeat tunes with mid-tempo grooves that'll make it impossible for you to stop moving. Savage was recently made the face of Apple Music's popular Africa Now playlist.

Check out Savage's latest music video for single "Confident" featuring Buju and listen to the album below.

Savage & Buju - Confident (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com


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