News Brief

Rising South African Director Sibs Shongwe-La Mer Chosen To Direct 'Meridian'

The film tells the story of a priceless Picasso painting that resurfaces in a small American town after going missing post-WWII.

South Africa's Sibs Shongwe-La Mer, a director to watch, has been selected to direct Meridian, a new film produced by Cassian Elwes, the producer behind Lee Daniels' The Butler, and Susan Carter Hall, Variety reports.

Meridian is based on an original screenplay by Henderson Hall and Karolina Waclawiak. It tells the story of a priceless Picasso painting that resurfaces in a small American town after going missing from a Nazi bunker post-WWII.


Shongwe-La Mer tells Variety that the film is "a beautiful ode to cinema" and describes it as "classic Hollywood."

"That Hollywood is the Hollywood that made me fall in love with films," he continues.

Shongwe-La Mer met Elwes in Los Angeles after the AFI Fest screening of his acclaimed debut, Necktie Youth, which premiered at the Berlinale in 2015, Variety says. "Cassian Elwes is a true hero of mine," he continues. "From Blue Valentine to Dallas Buyers Club, these are pictures that move me to the point that they remind me why I want to make films."

The 26-year-old helmer also credits Elwes with mentoring him through his quick rise, as Shongwe-La Mer is due to show his third feature, The Color of the Skull, this week at Cannes. This feature is in conjunction with the Cinefontation's Atelier, Cannes' forum for films seeking completion funding.

Meridian is currently casting, as Shongwe-La Mer is also in production with the film, The Sound of Animals Fighting, an earnest South Africa-Brazil co-production.

Photo by Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images.

The African Union Condemns Violence Against #EndSARS Protesters in Nigeria

The African Union Commission chairperson has (finally) condemned the deadly violence against protesters calling for an end to police brutality in Nigeria. However, many feel the body's declaration is a little too late.

EWN reports that the African Union (AU) Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat has "strongly condemned the violence that erupted on 20 October 2020 during protests in Lagos, Nigeria that has resulted in multiple deaths and injuries." However, Mahamat's statement did not specifically denounce the actions of the security forces' actions. This past Tuesday, protesters calling for the disbandment of the infamous and an end to police brutality, were shot at by security forces at Lekki Toll Gate. The incident occurred shortly after an abrupt 24-hour curfew had been imposed by the State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the AU has called for all involved "political and social actors to reject the use of violence and respect human rights and the rule of law" and recommended that they "privilege dialogue".
Keep reading... Show less

How Technology Is Playing a Crucial Role in the #EndSARS Protests

Young people in Nigeria have successfully managed to use technological innovations to organize and make the #EndSARS protests run incredibly efficiently and easily. This moment will go down in history as a revolution that was birthed via technology.

It has been more than a week since young people in Nigeria took to the streets to demand that the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, infamously known as SARS, be scrapped for good. Created in 1992, this police unit was originally set up to beat back armed robbery, the use of firearms and rising cases of kidnappings that grew in the late eighties. However, the unit went rogue, becoming more notorious for its savagery than actual crime-fighting. With a rap sheet ranging from profiling, harassment and assault to, in more extreme cases, slaughtering innocent citizens, these quasi-officers have unleashed terror on the nation for more than two decades.

Their victims are predominantly young Nigerians profiled on appearance—whether they drive exotic vehicles, use the latest gadgets, have their hair dyed or locked, or have piercings. In some cases, working in tech often gets conflated with financial fraud. For people who don't meet the absurd criteria, the mood of the officer can often become the difference between life and death.

Keep reading... Show less
Photo: Courtesy of the artist

Emile YX? Wants to 'Reconnect The String'

The father of South African hip-hop's latest book release is here to teach you about the culture.

As a father-figure in South African hip-hop, there's a lot Emile Lester Jansen, aka Emile YX?, knows. He'll also tell you, there's a lot he doesn't. But the knowledge Emile has gained, over his 3 decades in music, he's always tried to share with others. His latest project is no different. The Black Noise founder is working on a book that identifies the similarities between Bushmen expression and hip-hop, and how this knowledge can help empower anyone who has a love of the culture.

The book, which will be called Reconnect The String, comes on the back of this year's 21st anniversary of the African Hip Hop Indaba, one of the landmark hip hop events in Cape Town created by Emile, which has helped many an artist launch their career. As a teacher and a musician, he's long been involved in using hip hop to uplift communities—first through the seminal group Black Noise, founded in the late 1980s, with its rhymes rallying against Apartheid, and then through the Heal the Hood organization, a non-profit that grew out of the group's efforts to use its love of hip hop to fuel youth development initiatives in townships on the Cape Flats.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Interview: Sango's ‘Da Rocinha 4’ Is a Polished & Grinding Take On Baile Funk

We speak with the Seattle-based DJ and producer about his new album and the music bridges connecting Brazil, the US and the world.