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Sierra Leone to Hold Election Runoff, Becomes First Country Ever to Use Blockchain Technology to Vote

Sierra Leone's 2018 election is an unprecedented one for the country.

Last Wednesday, the people of Sierra Leone headed to the polls to elect a new president. The race was primarily between Julius Maada Bio of the opposition party, Sierra Leone's People Party and Samura Kamara of the country's ruling party All People's Progress.

The two share a unique history. Back in 1996, Bio stepped into power following a military coup, in which he ousted then-leader Valentine Strasser, reports BBC Africa. He stood down after three months, when Ahmad Tejan Kabbah was elected, but not before appointing his current rival, Kamara as his minister of finance.

From the onset of this election, there were doubts that either party would win all of the seats. While Bio eventually won 43.3 percent of the vote, barely beaiting Kamara's 42.7 percent, this was not enough to secure the election, as Sierra Leonean law requires a candidate to win by 55 percent of the vote.


Sierra Leoneans will head to the polls again later this month for a second round of voting.

It's been an eventful vote for the country's citizens for more than one reason. Following the initial vote, Sierra Leone also became the first country ever to use block-chain technology to help verify voting results, reports Business Insider—a move that proponents hope will help prevent election tampering by storing election data in a public record.

Last year, Kenya faced a chaotic election re-run after opposition leader Raila Odinga went to the Supreme Court to challenge the win of incumbent president Uhuru Kenyatta, though things are shaping up to go a lot smoother in Sierra Leone.

The run-off is set to take place on March 27.

Music
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The 5 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Fireboy DML, Juls, Adekunle Gold and more.

Every week, we highlight the top releases through our best music of the week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

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Film
Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage via Getty.

Michaela Coel Joins the 'Black Panther' Sequel Cast

The upcoming film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, is shaping up.

The sequel to the Oscar-winning Black Panther is only due to debut in July of 2022, but the production is well on its way.

The latest news out of the camp is that Michaela Coel, of I May Destroy You and Chewing Gum fame, has officially joined the cast of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Her character details are still under wraps but according to Variety, Coel has already joined director Ryan Coogler at Atlanta's Pinewood Studios, where production started in late June.

Coel joins original cast members Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, Lupita Nyong'o, Florence Kasumba, and Angela Bassett all reprising their roles. Following the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman, Marvel reportedly chose not to recast the role of T'Challa.

Read: How Michaela Coel's 'I May Destroy You' Makes Space For Black Creators

"It's clearly very emotional without Chad," Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige mentions. "But everyone is also very excited to bring the world of Wakanda back to the public and back to the fans. We're going to do it in a way that would make Chad proud."

Michaela Coel's highly-lauded 2020 series I May Destroy You — which she wrote, directed, produced and stared in — received four Emmy nominations.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is scheduled for wide release on July 8, 2022.

Meet Duro Arts, the Man Behind Your Favorite Afrobeats Album Covers

We talk to the Lagos-based digital artist about his work with Olamide, Phyno, Falz and more.

Duro Arts has found himself illustrating the cover artwork for a new wave of Nigerian musicians. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Oluwadurotimi Bolaji Idowu started digital art in 2010, at a time where afrobeats music was still grasping its feet. Now, 11 years later, he has made covers for heavyweight hitmakers like Peruzzi, Phyno, Olamide, Zlatan, Oxlade, and Davido.

We caught up with Duro Arts on a Sunday afternoon over Zoom. He took the call from Accra, Ghana, where he's currently working. We talked about his journey as a digital artist, his portfolio, creative process, and the changes he'd like to see in the creative industry.

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Series Producer Bonga Percy Vilakazi Is Big On Telling Progressive Stories

The award-winning South African writer and producer cut his teeth in the TV industry washing and drying make-up sponges. Today, he's responsible for entertaining millions of soapie lovers on the African continent.