News Brief

South African Rower Beats Cancer and Wins Team SA Third Rio 2016 Olympic Medal

Team South Africa just picked up its third medal of the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics.

We’re less than a week in, and Team South Africa just picked up its third medal of the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics. Rowers Lawrence Brittain, 26, and Shaun Keeling, 29, took home silver in the men’s pair this afternoon with a time of 7:02.51, beating out the third-place Italian pair by just over two seconds. New Zealand came in first with a time of 6:59.71.


Brittain’s road to Rio was bumpy, albeit insanely inspiring, to say the least. In October 2014 he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He’d been living with the condition for two years before undergoing six three-week cycles of chemotherapy. In February 2015, he completed his final chemo session. From then on, his focus was back to rowing.

To say Brittain’s kicked cancer in the ass is an understatement. Less than 18 months since his last dose of chemo, he’s an Olympic medalist.

Brittain and Keeling’s showing brings South Africa’s Olympic medal tally to three. Swimmer Cameron van der Burgh picked up SA’s first medal of Rio 2016 on Sunday when he placed second in the men’s 100m breaststroke. The following day, Chad Le Clos earned his third-career Olympic medal with a second-place finish in the men’s 200m freestyle.

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Kayode Kasum’s Quarantine Watchlist

From 'Wives on Strike' to 'Goodwill Hunting' here's what the Nigerian filmmaker is watching while stuck at home in Lagos.

Kayode Kasum, like most filmmakers, has been stagnated by the coronavirus pandemic. The director behind the blockbuster Sugar Rush and the critically acclaimed Oga Bolaji was working on the post-production of his upcoming movies, The Fate of Alakada: Party Planner and Kambili—a collaboration between FilmOne Entertainment and Chinese Huahua Media— when the Nigerian government announced the lockdown order.

While post-production on Alakada has concluded, the stay-at-home orders have delayed work on Kambili. "Since the team cannot meet at a single point, we are moving hard drives left and right," he says to me over the phone from his home in Lagos. "It is a challenge, but the beautiful thing about a challenge is, when you make it work, it is fulfilling."

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Kasum has turned to books and films for an escape from the unpleasant realities of the pandemic. "I have been reading Elnathan's books: Born on a Tuesday and Becoming Nigeria," he tells me. "I have also been reading film directing books, Directing Actors by Judith Weston." However, Kasum longs for the movies. "I miss going to the cinemas; I miss that experience," he says. "There are times during this pandemic that I'm like 'na wa o, I wish I can go to the cinema.'"

Below are five films he recommends you watch during this pandemic.

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