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Watch Rihanna Teach Math and Play With Kids In Malawi

In January this year, Rihanna visited Malawi to learn about the challenges the country’s education system faces.

MALAWIRihanna is the founder of the Clara Lionel Foundation and global ambassador for the Global Partnership for Education.


In January this year, the pop-star visited Muzu primary school in Malawi to learn about the challenges the country’s education system faces. “I’m really here to see it,” she says. “It’s one thing to read the statistics, but I want to see it first hand and find out all that can be done, and where to start first.”

The aim of the campaign is to end extreme poverty by 2030. In the video, it’s revealed that issues facing the country’s education system are overcrowded classrooms, lack of infrastructure and equipment. These lead to the children dropping out of school.

A concerned Rihanna chatting to some teachers and Malawians says, “It sad that, that has to end for some of them because they could probably do so much, if they had the resources to continue and complete.”

Later on in the clip Riri can be seen playing with the children and teaching them some math.  “I love that they learn in melody," says the singer. “That's like my favorite thing because kids, they adopt melody really, really quickly. And so if you can use that as a learning tool, I think that's the most brilliant, brilliant thing.”

Teachers and students also share their concerns that include the effects of poverty on kids, and lack of schools in remote area which leads to kids having to walk long distances to get to school.

There's a thin line between philanthropy and poverty porn, and it's always subjective depending how you look at it. I personally don't have an issue with foreign philanthropy as long as it comes without sinister agendas, but then again, you never know. So there's always a skepticism at the back of my head, and I imagine many other fellow Africans.

I cringed when one of the kids in the video, 14-year-old Wongani Nyirenda, was made to sing. Tourists have an obsession with African kids singing and dancing, and it needs to stop.

The documentary ends with a request for viewers to call on world leaders to increase education budgets and funding to the Global Partnership for Education to help it reach $3.1B between 2018 and 2020.”

Watch the video above, and visit the Global Citizen website here.

Music
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 — 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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