News Brief

Project Runway SA Premieres Today, But Will It Be Better Than Other Reality Show Spin-Offs?

The first season of Project Runway SA begins today and joins a long list of African spin-offs of American reality shows.

Watching African spin offs of American and European reality TV shows can be a fun guilty pleasure or an awkward and brutal experience.

The first season of Project Runway SA is premiering today on Mzansi Magic at 9:30pm. The show will be hosted by Lerato Kganyago and the contestants will be mentored by Gert-Johan Coetzee. While most of the response on social media has been positive, we will have to wait and see if the show will offer an interesting perspective on fashion in South Africa or if it will be a failed attempt to mimic the American original.

There's a long history of reality competition spin offs that have come before Project Runway on the continent including Idols, The Voice, Big Brother Africa, and Real Housewives. Many of these shows are a hit or miss, though many times the hit is from finding pleasure in the most awkward moments of the show.

Despite the success of these shows, they often struggle to accommodate Black African contestants and to restructure the original format to a new location. In 2013, the first season of Africa's Next Top Model premiered and launched the career of the winner Aamito Lagum. The show was filled with political uncomfortable scenes, from the models (particularly two white South African models) posing in high fashion clothes in a Cape Town township that led to the people living there protesting the shoot in the episode, to the language difficulties faced by the contestants from Angola and Mozambique that were never quite resolved.


Despite the shady history of reality tv spinoffs in Africa, there is a lot of excitement on Twitter for Project Runway SA. Fans of Project Runway are excited to see how the show will play out in South Africa. The competition is for aspiring designers who have to create runway ready garments with restricted time and materials for each challenge. If the show follows the formula of the original, the challenges will include ready to wear, unconventional materials, avant-garde, red carpet, and group challenges. It's not evident yet what unique challenges the South African show will offer.



South Africa's fashion industry has produced many talented designers, and it's hard say whether this show will necessarily create the next top designer. The winning designer will show their collection at Paris fashion week 2019.

Watch the trailer here.





Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City β€” a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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Music

The Fugees Will Be Playing Live Concerts In Ghana & Nigeria

Ready or not.

The legendary Fugees have announced that they will be reuniting for their first shows in 15 years for a string of concerts across North America, Europe and West Africa.

The reunion tour will be celebrating the anniversary of their classic 1996 album, The Score.

Ms. Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean and Pras Michel will be embarking on a 12-city global tour, which will have them landing in Nigeria and Ghana for a pair of December show dates β€” we'll have more details on those to come.

The tour starts this week with a 'secret' pop-up show at an undisclosed location in New York City on Wednesday (9/22) in support of Global Citizen Live. The rest of the dates will kick-off in November and see The Fugees playing concerts across Chicago Los Angeles, Atlanta, Oakland, Miami, Newark, Paris, London, and Washington DC, before finishing off in Nigeria and Ghana.

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Interview

This Compilation Shines a Light On East African Underground Music

We talk to a few of the artists featured on the Music For the Eagles compilation from Uganda's Nyege Nyege.

Nyege Nyege, a label in Kampala, Uganda is channelling the confidence brimming over a whole continent. Africa is no longer the future. For dance music, its time is right now.

Music For the Eagles is a compilation released in conjunction with Soundcloud to showcase the best new acts that East Africa has to offer outside the mainstream. A new wave of artists firmly blasting non-conformist energy for you to spasm to. Music that takes you places. Otim Alpha's high BPM wedding frenzy of incessant rasping vocals accompanied by feverous violin will have you clawing the walls to oblivion. Anti Vairas' dancehall from a battleship with super galactic intentions doesn't even break a sweat as it ruins you. FLO's beautiful sirens call, is a skittish and detuned nursery rhyme that hints at a yearning for love but reveals something far more unnerving. Ecko Bazz's tough spiralling vocal over sub-bass and devil trap energy is an anthem that can only be bewailed. And Kidane Fighter's tune is more trance-like prayer. These are only some of the highlights for you to shake it out to.

We got to chat with a few of the artists featured on the Music For the Eagles compilation as they took a break from the studio below.

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