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Image courtesy of Netflix.

Production for 'Queen Sono,' Netflix's First African Original Series, Is Underway

South Africa's own Pearl Thusi will be joined by a master roster of a cast for this spy thriller.

At the end of 2018, it was revealed that South Africa's very own Pearl Thusi would star in the first Netflix original series coming from the continent. In an update, Netflix has announced in a press release that production for Queen Sono has begun by Johannesburg-based production company Diprente.


The six-part series is an action-packed spy thriller—where we follow Thusi playing the title role—working for an undercover South African agency devoted to protecting African people.

Image courtesy of Netflix.

Image courtesy of Netflix.

Image courtesy of Netflix.


Kagiso Lediga is the showrunner and director of the series, alongside director Tebogo Malope. The two will direct three episodes each, with the team led by executive producer Tamsin Andersson.

The all-local cast for Queen Sono that's due to join Thusi will be Vuyo Dabula playing Shandu, an ex-spy who has taken a different path. Sechaba Morojele plays the role of Dr Sid, director of the SOG, with Chi Mhende, Loyiso Madinga and Rob Van Vuuren—the agents on his team. Kate Liquorish will play Ekaterina, the heiress of an oligarch family with ulterior motives. Khathu Ramabulana plays Queen's childhood friend, William, now in a relationship with Enhle Maphumulo's character Nova. Abigail Kubekha plays Mazet, Queen's beloved Gogo (grandmother), who has always supported Queen—no matter the trouble she gets herself into.

Connie Chiume, Otto Nobela and James Ngcobo round out this master roster of a cast.

Queen Sono is due to be released on Netflix globally in 2020.

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Left: Photo by Bennett Raglin/ NAACP LDF for Getty Images, Right: Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage

Lupita Nyong'o and Mati Diop Win at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards

Lupita Nyong'o took home 'Best Lead Actress' for her role in 'Us' while Mati Diop's 'Atlantics' won 'Best First Film'.

Yesterday, the New York Film Critics Circle announced its full list of this year's winners. According to Deadline, Kenyan-Mexican actress Lupita Nyong'o took home the "Best Lead Actress" award for her phenomenal role in the Jordan Peele horror film Us while Senegalese-French filmmaker Mati Diop's Atlantics won in the "Best First Film" category.

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Interview
JimmyWiz. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Interview: JimmyWiz Quietly Released One of the Strongest South African Hip-Hop Albums of the Year

We chat to South African rapper JimmyWiz about his debut album, Accordin' to Jim.

JimmyWiz channeled his life story into his biographical debut record, Accordin' to Jim. At just nine songs, the album is a self-portrait of the artist as he shares the stories that contributed to how he makes sense of the world. Even the accompanying music reveals an aspect of Jimmy's childhood.

In his chat to OkayAfrica below, the MC from the East Rand of Joburg, explains that sonically, Accordin' To Jim was influenced by the music he grew up with. The project is built on smooth jazz samples and compositions by SP Dubb, a prominent producer in the East Rand and the rest of the country.

JimmyWiz is part of a huge network of South African lyricists who may not be on everyone's radar, but have built solid niche fanbases and are striving in their own way and own terms. JimmyWiz just happened to get a boost that a very few young up-and-coming rappers are afforded.

In 2015, the rapper appeared on the reality show The Hustle on TV channel Vuzu. His class included the likes of Bigstar Johnson and ShabZi Madallion, the latter who is still a close friend and frequent collaborator of Jimmy's. JimmyWiz has stuck to his path—instead of jumping on the trap bandwagon, he has always shown a liking for production that leans towards traditional East Coast hip-hop, multi-syllable rhyme schemes and rich lyricism.

In the interview below, JimmyWiz tells OkayAfrica about his take on popularity waves, witnessing gender-based abuse in his household as a child, his plans for the future and many other topics.

*This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Cardi B Teases New Remix of Davido's 'Fall'

Looks like the Nigerian star's massive hit is getting yet another re-up.

Cardi B has teased her apparent upcoming remix of Davido's "Fall."

Posting from a private jet, as she was on her way to New York before heading to West Africa, Cardi B shared a video of herself rapping and dancing along to the unreleased remix.

From the sounds of it, Cardi's "Fall" remix will feature a brand new verse from the New York rapper.

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Art
Image courtesy of Trap Bob.

Trap Bob Is the 'Proud Habesha' Illustrator Creating Colorful Campaigns for the Digital Age

The DMV-based artist speaks with OkayAfrica about the themes in her work, collaborating with major brands, and how her Ethiopian heritage informs her work.

DMV-based visual artist Tenbeete Solomon also known as Trap Bob is a buzzing illustrator using her knack for colorful animation to convey both the "humor and struggle of everyday life."

The artist, who is also the Creative Director of the creative agency GIRLAAA has been the visual force behind several major online movements. Her works have appeared in campaigns for Giphy, Girls Who Code, Missy Elliott, Elizabeth Warren, Apple, Refinery 29 and Pabst Blue Ribbon (her design was one of the winners of the beer company's annual art can contest and is currently being displayed on millions of cans nationwide). With each striking illustration, the artist brings her skillful use of color and storytelling to the forefront.

Her catalog also includes fun, exuberant graphics that depict celebrities and important moments in Black popular culture. Her "Girls In Power" pays homage to iconic women of color in a range of industries with illustrated portraits. It includes festive portraits of Beyoncé, Oprah, Serena Williams and Michelle Obama to name a few.

Trap Bob is currently embarking on an art tour throughout December, which sees her unveiling murals and recent works for Pabst Blue Ribbon in her hometown of DC and during Art Basel in Miami. You can see her tour dates here.

We caught up with the illustrator via email, to learn more about the themes in her work and how her Ethiopian heritage informs her illustrations. Read it below and see more of Trap Bob's works underneath.

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