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South African Opera Singer Pretty Yende Receives Italian Knighthood

The South African-born international opera singer has been awarded the Ordine Stella d'Italia for her work in building extraordinary relations between Italy and other countries.

International opera singer Pretty Yende is South Africa's golden girl.

The award-winning artist is the recipient of the Ordine Stella d'Italia or The Order/Knight of the Star of Italy for her work in building extraordinary relations between Italy and other countries. The award was recently given to her by the Italian Consul's Emanuele Pollio in Cape Town according to TimesLIVE.


Describing her excitement at having been awarded the Italian knighthood, Yende wrote in a post on social media that, "Being a recipient of The Order/Knight of the Star of Italy deeply humbles and fills me with immense gratitude for such an extraordinary decoration." Paying tribute to both her mother and sister, she added, "These ladies standing beside me are my very wings that allow me to fly to the impossible. Strong women who never [cease] to give me unconditional love and always remind me that we are all just walking each other home."

Yende was inspired as a young girl to pursue opera after hearing the popular "Flower Duet" from Delibes' Lakmé in television commercial. She then went on to become the first Black woman to ever grace the operatic stage during Apartheid-era South Africa and manged to secure a spot in the young artists' program at La Scala, Italy. Yende then made her formal debut at the prestigious opera house in 2010.

Since then, Yende has gone on to perform at highly-esteemed opera houses including the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Opéra National de Paris, Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Staatsoper Berlin and several others. Read more about her here.

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Photo by Eric Lafforgue/Art in All of Us/Corbis via Getty Images.

Kenyan Rastafarians Want Cannabis Unbanned for Religious Reasons

The Rastafari Society of Kenya argues that the personal use of cannabis, which is currently outlawed in the country, is an integral part of their religion.

According to local media reports, the Rastafari Society of Kenya has gone before the High Court to argue in favour of the personal use of cannabis. Currently illegal in Kenya, the minority religious group argues that the laws criminalising the use of cannabis in Kenya are prejudiced towards their religion given that the substance is a "sacrament connecting believers to their creator." Cannabis is commonly used as incense to initiate religious practises by Rastafarians and is often followed by a series of praises and prayers.

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