News Brief

South African Government Unveils 13 Million Rand Statue Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

The South African government has been met with public outrage after it unveiled a 13 million Rand national statue of anti-Apartheid veteran O.R. Tambo during a pandemic that has already resulted in considerable job losses.

The South African government has unveiled a new statue of South African struggle stalwart Oliver Reginald Tambo and it has caused public outrage. According to EWN, President Cyril Ramaphosa unveiled the 13 million Rand statue yesterday right next to O.R. Tambo International airport. Public criticism over the exorbitant expenditure and the fact that the statue is aesthetically disappointing had the official unveiling trending on Twitter. The outrage is warranted with South Africa's current youth unemployment rate reportedly standing at just over 52 percent. Additionally, a number of government officials are reportedly facing corruption charges for alleged collusion in billions worth of missing COVID-19 funds. President Ramaphosa's speech implied that the statue is a strategy to bring in funds as an international tourist attraction.


READ: R20 Million Statues to be Erected in Durban to Encourage 'Black Unity'

The statue reportedly stands at nine meters tall and holds the Freedom Charter in one hand. The Freedom Charter is the ruling African National Congress (ANC)'s cornerstone document and was historically adopted in 1955. Tambo was one of Nelson Mandela's closest friends and together with Walter Sisulu, founded the ruling party's ANC Youth League. While the beginnings of the ANC honoured the South African youth, the unveiling of this statue has polarised the very group that the ANC is dependant on for votes. South Africans have expressed that this statue is admittedly a slap in the face of youth who did not even receive the government's meagre COVID-19 relief stimulus of R350 per month.

President Ramaphosa also revealed during his speech that the erection of the statue was the culmination of a project that began in 2006 with an amount of 30 million Rand, according to PowerFM. Furthermore, a mall costing over four billion Rand is set to be built in close proximity to the location of the statue.

Black Twitter did not hold back from lambasting the South African government about their unnecessary and pricey misstep.






Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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Music

The Fugees Will Be Playing Live Concerts In Ghana & Nigeria

Ready or not.

The legendary Fugees have announced that they will be reuniting for their first shows in 15 years for a string of concerts across North America, Europe and West Africa.

The reunion tour will be celebrating the anniversary of their classic 1996 album, The Score.

Ms. Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean and Pras Michel will be embarking on a 12-city global tour, which will have them landing in Nigeria and Ghana for a pair of December show dates — we'll have more details on those to come.

The tour starts this week with a 'secret' pop-up show at an undisclosed location in New York City on Wednesday (9/22) in support of Global Citizen Live. The rest of the dates will kick-off in November and see The Fugees playing concerts across Chicago Los Angeles, Atlanta, Oakland, Miami, Newark, Paris, London, and Washington DC, before finishing off in Nigeria and Ghana.

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Interview

This Compilation Shines a Light On East African Underground Music

We talk to a few of the artists featured on the Music For the Eagles compilation from Uganda's Nyege Nyege.

Nyege Nyege, a label in Kampala, Uganda is channelling the confidence brimming over a whole continent. Africa is no longer the future. For dance music, its time is right now.

Music For the Eagles is a compilation released in conjunction with Soundcloud to showcase the best new acts that East Africa has to offer outside the mainstream. A new wave of artists firmly blasting non-conformist energy for you to spasm to. Music that takes you places. Otim Alpha's high BPM wedding frenzy of incessant rasping vocals accompanied by feverous violin will have you clawing the walls to oblivion. Anti Vairas' dancehall from a battleship with super galactic intentions doesn't even break a sweat as it ruins you. FLO's beautiful sirens call, is a skittish and detuned nursery rhyme that hints at a yearning for love but reveals something far more unnerving. Ecko Bazz's tough spiralling vocal over sub-bass and devil trap energy is an anthem that can only be bewailed. And Kidane Fighter's tune is more trance-like prayer. These are only some of the highlights for you to shake it out to.

We got to chat with a few of the artists featured on the Music For the Eagles compilation as they took a break from the studio below.

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