News Brief

Deadly Flooding in Southern Africa Continues as Region Reels from Cyclone Idai

The full devastation of the storm is still being discovered as international rescue efforts continue.

The death toll is now in the hundreds in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, which hit parts of Southern Africa late last week. So far the official death toll in Mozambique has reached 200, and 98 in neighboring Zimbabwe, according to Al Jazeera. Numbers are expected to rise as many people are still reported missing.

Mozambique's President Filipe Nyusi says that the catastrophe may have killed up to 1,000 people in the country. Citizens in Malawi were also affected.

Many survivors of the disaster are seeking safety, shelter and basic resources as the flooding has destroyed homes, roads and public buildings. The devastating effects of the cyclone are being felt by many and the full effects are still being discovered. The destruction has left hundreds of thousands of children in the region at risk, according to an eye-witness BBC Africa report and millions have been affected by severe flooding.

The UN has called Cyclone Idai, "the worst weather disaster to ever hit the Southern Hemisphere."



Earlier this week, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa deployed the military to assist Mozambique with rescue efforts. The Zimbabwean government has reportedly raised 18 million UDS to rebuild roads, provide water and sanitation as well as restore communication lines and electricity.

Rescue efforts have been compromised in remote areas, where rescue crews say homes have been submerged, possibly trapping people inside.

The response from the international community has been widespread, as major institutions such as the Red Cross and UNICEF continue to assess the damage and send workers to affected areas. Some Mozambicans, however, are questioning the government's efforts and are critical of what they believe was a lack of preventative measures the government could have taken to lessen the destruction caused.

Many have shared their support for the victims of Cyclone Idai online, and are seeking out ways to lend further support to victims of the disaster.



Interview
Justice Mukheli. Courtesy of Black Major/Bongeziwe Mabandla.

Interview: Bongeziwe Mabandla's New Album Is a Calm Meditation On Relationships

We speak with the South African artist about his captivating new album, iimini, love cycles, and the unexpected influence of Bon Iver.

"I've been playing at home for so many years and pretending to be having shows in my living room, and today it's actually happening," Bongeziwe Mabandla says, smiling out at me from my cellphone as I watch him play songs on Instagram Live, guitar close to his chest.

Two weekends ago, Mabandla was meant to be celebrating the release of his third album, iimini, at the Untitled Basement in Braamfontein in Joburg, which would no doubt have been packed with some of the many fans the musician has made since his debut release, Umlilo, in 2012. With South Africa joining many other parts of the world in a lockdown, those dates were cancelled and Mabandla, like many other artists, took to social media to still play some tracks from the album. The songs on iimini are about the life and death of a relationship—songs that are finding their way into the hearts of fans around the world, some of whom, now stuck in isolation, may be having to confront the ups and downs of love, with nowhere to hide.

The day before his Instagram Live mini-show, Mabandla spoke to OkayAfrica on lockdown from his home in Newtown about the lessons he's learned from making the album, his new-found love for Bon Iver, and how he's going to be spending his time over the next few weeks.

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Interview
Lueking Photos. Courtesy of emPawa Africa.

Interview: GuiltyBeatz Proves He's Truly 'Different'

The Ghanaian producer talks to us about his debut EP, Different, the massive success of "Akwaaba," producing for Beyoncé and more.

GuiltyBeatz isn't a new name in the Ghanaian music scene. A casual music fan's first introduction to him would've likely been years ago on "Sample You," one of Mr Eazi's early breakout hits. However, he had scored his first major hit two years before that, in the Nigerian music space on Jesse Jagz' and Wizkid's 2013 hit "Bad Girl." In the years to come, the producer has gone on to craft productions for some of Ghana's most talented artists.

In the years to come, the producer has gone on to craft productions for some of Ghana's most talented artists, having worked with the likes of Efya, Pappy Kojo, Sarkodie, R2Bees, Stonebwoy, Bisa Kdei, Wande Coal, Moelogo and many more over the last decade. The biggest break of the talented producer's career, however, came with the arrival of his own single "Akwaaba".

In 2018, GuiltyBeatz shared "Akwaaba" under Mr Eazi's Banku Music imprint, shortly afterwards the song and its accompanying dance went viral. The track and dance graced party floors, music & dance videos, and even church auditoriums all around the world, instantly making him one of Africa's most influential producers. Awards, nominations, and festival bookings followed the huge success of "Akwaaba." Then, exactly a year later, the biggest highlight of his career so far would arrive: three production credits on Beyoncé's album The Lion King: The Gift.

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Image via Wikimedia Commons

Nollywood Actress, Funke Akindele, Arrested for Throwing Party During Coronavirus Lockdown

Naira Marley, who was also in attendance, has also turned himself in according to local reports.

Star Nigerian actress, Funke Akindele, and her husband, rapper JJC Skillz, were arrested on Monday after hosting a party at their home which violated Lagos' coronavirus lockdown order.

The actress came under fire over the weekend, when footage of a party she threw for her husband's birthday began circulating on social media. The clips showed several people, including fellow Nollywood actress Eniola Badmus and Nigerian rapper Naira Marley, gathered inside of Akindele's Lagos home. According to a report from Pulse Nigeria, Marley also turned himself in on Monday for attending the function and will be arraigned.

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