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Russian Operatives Allegedly Tried to Influence South Africa's Elections

Recently leaked documents show plans that intended to help the ruling ANC win by a large majority.

Yesterday, South Africans headed to the polls to cast their votes in what has been described as the most contested elections the country has had in years.

Whilst the elections went smoothly for the most part, documents have surfaced which outline the plans of Russian operatives allegedly led by Yevgeny Prigozhin–a businessman from St Petersburg–to ensure the ruling African National Congress (ANC) wins the elections. Prigozhin is the owner of the Internet Research Agency which was reported to be responsible for supporting Trump during the 2016 elections in America.


Preliminary polls held before yesterday's elections consistently showed that the ruling ANC maintained well above 50 percent of the vote and in one poll, even reached 60 percent. However, the leaked Russian documents claim that the ANC would have struggled to maintain a majority above 50 percent of the vote.

READ: South Africa: I Voted Today and I've Regretted Nothing More

According to BUSINESSTECH:

"To ensure a more favorable outcome for the ANC, the Russians allegedly planned to set up a think tank to influence the results through public rhetoric, generating and disseminating video content, coordinating with a 'loyal pool of journalists' and producing pro-ANC videos."

Whilst it is unclear whether these Russian operatives actually followed through with the plans, the ANC has not been found to be involved.

News24 reports that the ANC is currently in the lead with 55.01 percent followed by the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) at 26.04 and 8.27 percent respectively. The ANC has lost support in a number of provinces compared to the results of the 2014 elections whilst the EFF and the DA have strengthened their opposition in other provinces.

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Photo by Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images.

Black Women Are the Future of French Cinema—When Will Cannes Catch Up?

In this op-ed, OkayAfrica contributor Aude Konan reflects on the progression of diversity in French cinema a year after the Noire N'est Pas Mon Métier demonstration at Cannes Film Festival.

A year ago, 16 French actresses of African descent walked the red carpet at Cannes to talk about a new project they authored, Noire N'est Pas Mon Métier (Being Black Is Not My Job), where they shared their experiences with racism and sexism in the film industry.

In an era where the movements #MeToo and #OscarsSoWhite gained global momentum and led to some change in the Academy Awards, it was a first considering that outside of Aissa Maïga, French actresses seldom get any visibility and speaking out against racism put them at risk of being blacklisted, like the actor Luc Saint Eloi's unfortunate experience 20 years ago.

The red carpet moment was generally well received in France and in the rest of the world, with the main actresses getting large media coverage with features in Le Monde, Le Figaro and even Vogue U.S. The presidents of the Cannes Film Festival welcomed the actresses. No promises were made by any of the gatekeepers in French cinema, but the actresses were hopeful.

Since the book's release, the actresses have been busy working, some of them lucky enough to be able to portray fully fledged characters, others being reduced to play the "black woman" stereotype over and over again. Recently, one of them, Karidja Touré, well known for being in the film Girlhood, mentioned that she was pretty good at mimicking an "African accent." Semantics aside—and the fact that there is no such a thing as an African accent, as Africa is still not a country—it is pretty revealing: despite the wonderful coverage these actresses had, has the movement contributed to any change?

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Walshy Fire, Ice Prince & Demarco's 'Round of Applause' Will Soundtrack Your Summer

PREMIERE: New heat from the Major Lazer producer & DJ.

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Akwaeke Emezi's 'Freshwater' Is Being Developed Into a Series for FX

The adaptation is in early development as the Nigerian author teams up with screenwriter and director Tamara P. Carter to bring 'Freshwater' to life.

Akwaeke Emezi's debut, Freshwater, took the literary world by storm when it was released just last year.

We can now anticipate seeing the book be brought to live for TV. Their autobiographical novel is now in the early stages of being developed into a series for FX, Variety reports.

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