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In Photos: This Is What OkayAfrica 100 Women's First Event of the Month Looked Like

OkayAfrica 100 Women 2019 honorees Clemantine Wamariya and Soull and Dynasty Ogun, along with curator Neema Githere, imparted fulfilling words on personal storytelling in a panel discussion at Okay Space.

We've hit the ground running to celebrate our third iteration of this year's fabulous OkayAfrica 100 Women honorees and Sunday marked our first auxiliary event of the month, bringing the sentiments and purpose of the list to life.

Peeling Back: The Art and Origin of Personal Storytelling was a panel discussion moderated by 2019 honoree and author Clemantine Wamariya. In conversation with curator Neema Githere and fellow honorees Soull and Dynasty Ogun of L'Enchanteur, the women shared with an intimate gathering of supporters in Okay Space their own origin stories, how their narratives are ever-evolving, and how they anchor and surround themselves with the people—past and present—who are interwoven with their journeys.

Throughout the month of March there will be more opportunities to gather in community to amplify and uplift the 2019 honorees (and each other). Keep tabs on the events page via the OkayAfrica 100 Women website—and don't forget to RSVP for updates.

Take a look at images from the gathering, provided by Nerdscarf Photography, below:

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Image courtesy of Ley Uwera.

What’s in a Photo? We Go Behind the Lens With Congolese Photographer Ley Uwera

Ley Uwera gives us the backstory on some of the most riveting images she's taken of life in DR Congo.

Ley Uwera has a gift.

With a single flash of a camera, the radio reporter turned photojournalist has the ability to tell stories that both preserve and shift the narrative of what it means to be Congolese; specifically life in Eastern Congo, wrought with misleading tropes and stereotypes perpetuated by a Western lens.

A graduate of the Université de Cipromad in Goma, Uwera always knew she wanted to find a career that married her passion for creativity and her interest in humanity. In her fifth year of photojournalism, she has curated a body of work that captures the soul of her people beautifully. And sometimes, painfully. It's storytelling, she explained to OkayAfrica, and it's necessary in order to see the full picture.

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Image courtesy of Bose Ogulu

The Internet Doesn't Know Mama Burna At All

She might be your favorite internet auntie, but Bose Ogulu is a woman and a professional in full.

At the top of the year, Bose Ogulu—the mother and manager of one of Nigeria's biggest Afro-fusion stars—won the internet with three simple words: "Expect more madness."

She uttered those words into the mic at the 2018 Soundcity Music Awards (broadcast live on Jan. 5, 2019), where she accepted the biggest accolade of the night on behalf of her son, Burna Boy. The response on Twitter was swift; tweets praising the artist's badass mother for her youthful energy populated the social media platform immediately after she confidently strolled off the stage.

"Burna Boy's mom be shaking tables and chairs—in fact all furnitures [sic]," wrote one Twitter user. "Burna Boy's mom is the real MVP!!! Now we know where he got it from," wrote another. Her unapologetic delivery at the awards show, followed by another widely shared clip showing Ogulu warmly embracing her son (while he holds what appears to be a joint), quickly earned her the title of the "cool mom" amongst young Nigerian social media users. Fans had yet another reason to tweet out their admiration for a woman they dubbed Mama Burna. She's fun like a sister. She's familiar like an auntie. She loves fiercely like a mother. It seems, according to internet praise, we have her pegged. She's Burna Boy's mom, and many who have watched her boost her son's career have only seen her through this singular lens.

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Photo courtesy of CSA Global.

In Conversation with Congolese NBA Player Emmanuel Mudiay: 'I want more African players in the NBA.'

The Utah Jazz player talks about being African in the NBA, supporting basketball in the DRC and how 'everybody knows about Burna Boy'.

Inspired by his basketball-playing older brothers, by second grade, Emmanuel Mudiay already knew that he wanted to play in the American National Basketball Association. Then in 2001 his family, fleeing the war in Democratic Republic of Congo, sought asylum in the United States.

In America, Mudiay saw basketball as a way for him to improve his situation. After impressive high school and college careers, he moved to China to play pro ball. Picked 7th overall in the 2015 NBA draft, the now 23-year-old guard has made a name for himself this season coming off the bench for the Utah Jazz.

Mudiay attests to the sport having changed not only his life but that of his siblings. Basketball gave them all a chance at a good education and the opportunity to dream without conditions. Now he wants to see other talented African players make it too.

We caught up with him to talk about his experience as an African player in the NBA, his hopes for basketball on the African continent and who he and his teammates jam out to in their locker rooms.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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University lecturer and activist Doctor Stella Nyanzi (L) reacts in court as she attends a trial to face charges for cyber-harassment and offensives communication, in Kampala, on April 10, 2017. (Photo by GAEL GRILHOT/AFP via Getty Images)

Jailed Ugandan Activist, Stella Nyanzi, Wins PEN Prize for Freedom of Expression

The outspoken activist, who is currently serving a prison sentence for a poem she wrote about the president's mother's vagina, won for her resistance "in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her."

Stella Nyanzi, the Ugandan academic, activist, and vocal critic of President Yoweri Museveni has been awarded the 2020 Oxfam Novib/PEN International award for freedom of expression, given to writers who "continue to work for freedom of expression in the face of persecution."

Nyanzi is currently serving a 15 month sentence for "cyber harassment" after she published a poem in which she wrote that she wished "the acidic pus flooding Esiteri's (the president's mother) vaginal canal had burn up your unborn fetus. Burn you up as badly as you have corroded all morality and professionalism out of our public institutions in Uganda."

According to the director of PEN International, Carles Torner, her unfiltered outspokenness around the issues facing her country is what earned her the award. "For her, writing is a permanent form of resistance in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her," said Torner at the award ceremony.

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