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South Africans on the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio

We asked South Africans their thoughts on the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

We're a few days away from the opening ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. I asked a few South Africans which teams they're most eager to see, who they think will be bringing home the gold and some of their thoughts on the host city.


What do you think of the decision to make Rio this year's host?

"I think it's great. Rio is a beautiful city and Brazilians have a reputation as some of the friendliest people in the world." – Shingai Darangwa, 23, writer, Johannesburg

"Rio is a vibrant city which has a great setting for the summer Olympics. However, making Rio the host was not the best choice from an economic standpoint. The people of Brazil are clearly unhappy that it has to host the 2016 Olympics due to the cuts in funding to social services to pay for the infrastructure for the Olympics and also compounded by the fact that it has just hosted the 2014 FIFA World Cup.” – Nicholas Ho, 23, student, Johannesburg

"Generally a good decision. It's always inspiring to see one of the underdogs host a sporting spectacle and get it right. My only concern is about the Zika virus and its spread thereof after the games." – Tshireletso Mentor, 21, student, Johannesburg

Shingai Darangwa, 23, writer, Johannesburg

Which event are you most excited to watch?

"Soccer and the sprint events. Soccer is life and of course I want to see Usain Bolt." – Tapiwa Samanga, 46, Chief Director at Department of Trade & Industry, Centurion

"Archery because I will be personally involved in the Olympics as I am an International Judge [in other sports referred to as the umpire] appointed by World Archery as part of the Judging Commission to judge the archery." – Charmaine Ho, 53, archery umpire, Johannesburg

"Handball and athletics as they are the only disciplines I enjoy and fully understand." – Keith Masvikeni, 21, student, Cape Town

Which South African team are you most excited to watch?

"The Sevens boys will have my vote on this one. They are great at what they do and finishing the World Series second only to Fiji for two years running will be even more of a drive." – Pirow Bekker, 22, student, Johannesburg

"The South African swimming and rowing teams as I would like to see them win gold again like in London 2012." – Nicholas Ho, 23, student, Johannesburg

Atang Biyela, 21, student, Johannesburg

Which South African athlete are you most excited to watch?

"Wayde van Niekerk – he's the best sprinter in South Africa right now." – Atang Biyela, 21, student, Johannesburg

"Caster Semenya. She's been running some of her best times in the run-up to the Olympics and with everything she's been through I'm just so desperate for her to destroy the field and break the world record." – Shingai Darangwa, 23, writer, Johannesburg

"Brandon Stone - the golfer. He went to my high school. Was a few years ahead of me. Didn't have the chance to properly converse but I do feel a sense of common ground!" – Michael Yang, 21, student, Johannesburg

Who from South Africa has the best chance of taking home gold?

"Wayde van Niekerk and Caster Sumenya." – Atang Biyela, 21, student, Johannesburg

"Chad le Clos – I think he'll repeat his 2012 success in London." – Ari Nundkoomar, 21, student, Johannesburg

"Caster Semenya, Chad le Clos and Cameron van der Burgh." – Mahlanga Mahatlane, 22, quantitative analyst, Johannesburg

Thabiso Dlamini, 23, student, Cape Town

Where do you plan to watch the Games?

"I'll be watching the Games from home." – Simbarashe Chimutengwende, 21, student, Johannesburg

"I will actually be at the Olympics in Rio." – Charmaine Ho, 53, archery umpire, Johannesburg

"From home, my phone, the internet, pubs, fanparks and wherever else it's being shown. The beautiful thing about the Olympics is that there is always something cool to watch because there are so many events taking place." – Pirow Bekker, 22, student, Johannesburg

What should be South Africa's official Olympics song?

"'Umshini wam' – it's a legitimate war cry." –Tshireletso Mentor, 21, student, Johannesburg

"It has to be 'Wololo' by Babes Wodumo." –Thabiso Dlamini, 23, student, Cape Town

"'Shosholoza' as I think that it is representative of the people of our country and is a very catchy song." – Charmaine Ho, 53, archery umpire, Johannesburg

Should South Africa care about the Olympics?

"Yes. It's an excellent platform for athletes to showcase their talents and gain global exposure." – Mthembeni Dumisa, 22, student, Johannesburg

"Yes. National pride is on the line and we need to support our ladies and gentlemen flying our flag high." – Mahlanga Mahatlane, 22, quantitative analyst, Johannesburg

"Yes we should care, we should want to put South Africa on the world map. The better we do, the [more] money will be invested into our sport." – Dishon Hiebner, 26, student, Johannesburg

Rufaro Samanga is an intellectual, aspiring literary great, feminist and most importantly, a fiercely passionate African.

Interview
Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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