News Brief

South Africans are Eagerly Awaiting the State of the Nation Address

President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the 2019 State of the Nation Address this evening.

The State of the Nation Address (SONA) is an annual address given by the president of South Africa. It speaks to where the country presently finds itself socially, economically and politically. It also speaks to the high-level objectives that the incumbent government has for the current year and years to come.


South Africans wait with baited breath as the 2019 SONA is set to be delivered this evening. What one would think is your run-of-the-mill address by the president is in actual fact quite a spectacle. The SONA comes with a lavish display of red carpets, couture fashion and even a gala dinner. It has many ordinary South Africans asking: just who do these politicians think they are?

However, the 2019 SONA is reportedly set to be the cheapest in over five years. President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to give comment on unemployment, poverty and investment, among other pertinent issues.

In the past, the SONA has been a bona fide circus as politicians have come to blows and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have, in their characteristic fashion, disrupted the proceedings and been escorted out by security. The past SONAs have been a disgraceful display of political clout and a genuine disregard for the millions of South Africans watching.

South Africa is currently embroiled in an elaborate labyrinth of corruption that is being uncovered in the explosive Bosasa trial, headed up by the Zondo Commission of Inquiry. The sporadic arrests of politicians by the specialized crime unit, the Hawks, have left South Africans wondering whether there will be any of that drama at the SONA this evening.

South Africans share some of their feelings about the 2019 SONA on social media.








Music
Photo credit: YouTube

Major Lazer, Major League, Tiwa Savage & Maphorisa Want You to Have Some 'Koo Koo Fun'

Major Lazer and Major League Djz just released their collaborative "Koo Koo Fun" record featuring Tiwa Savage and DJ Maphorisa.


Major Lazer and Major League Djz drop a new track featuring Tiwa Savage and DJ Maphorisa. The dance record, which is additionally produced by Don Jazzy and Stargate is accompanied by a bubbly music video which showcases a disco scene and African modern party scene. The track is the first of Major Lazer’s music releases this year and is primarily in the Amapiano style—the South African sound that has recently become widely successful in Africa and the diaspora. "Koo Koo Fun" is a musical reunion for Major Lazer and DJ Maphorisa, who had previously collaborated on the song “Particula,” which featured Ice Prince, Jidenna, Patoranking and Nasty C.

Major Lazer is a dance music group that includes record producer Diplo, DJs Walshy Fire and Ape Drums. The group was originally founded 2008, and although some original members are no longer a part of the team, the current trio have achieved great commercial strides and global success so far.

Major League Djz aretwin brothers who have quickly risen to prominence on the South African dance music scene and have become commercially successful for their hit dance songs, which have continued to place African music on the map. The duo recently performed at Coachella alongside Black Coffee and at the O2 Academy Brixton.

Maphorisa is a South African producer, and vocalist, whose production credits have been featured on records from the likes of Drake, Wizkid and Black Coffee, among others. Nigeria's Tiwa Savage is a pioneer in her own right, with numerous accolades and a global recognition, the icon has solidified as Africa's leading pioneers, harnessing motherhood and superstardom seamlessly.

Watch the music video for "Koo Koo Fun" below.



News Brief
Photo: Liezl Zwarts.

Nasty C Partners With 'Call of Duty'

The South African star rapper announced that he's collaborating with the popular mobile game.


South African rapper Nsikayesizwe David Junior Ngcobo, popularly known as known asNasty C, recently took to Instagram to share with his millions of followers that he would be collaborating with US-based gaming publisher Call of Duty.

The rapper, who has been a long-time gamer, said that he was excited to represent the gaming brand in the South African market,“I’ve been a gamer all my life, and it’s amazing to partner with Carry1st and Call of Duty: Mobile to hype my favorite game in South Africa,” said Nasty C. “I’m excited to show off Call of Duty: Mobile to the next generation of players across the country!”

In an official statement, Cordel Robbin-Coker, the CEO of Carry1st said that the partnership was an excellent opportunity to highlight the global influence of the gaming conglomerate and also recruit new users for the platform.

“We’re excited to partner with Call of Duty: Mobile to highlight the hugely-popular gaming experience to both players that already love the game and new recruits experiencing it for the first time!” said Robbin-Coker.

Earlier this month, the company announced that Call of Duty: Mobile would be launching its own servers in South Africa, and that would give South African gamers the opportunity to seamlessly compete with other gaming enthusiasts around the world.

South African fans of the game will have the opportunity to visit the Call of Duty: Mobile booth at Comic Con Africa from September 22-25, for an exclusive opportunity to win VIP gaming experience with Nasty C, along with R5000 in cash.

Nasty C has always been active in the gaming community. Earlier this year, the 25-year-old secured a partnership deal with Activision, which sponsored his Ivyson Army Tour. With another partnership under his belt, the rapper continues to prove that it is possible to be a renowned artist and also thrive in business ventures.

In other related news, Nasty C recently collaborated with fellow South African star AKA on "Lemons (Lemonade)." He also released the Ivyson Army Tour Mixtape last week, which you can stream below.

Popular
Photo: Cyrille Choupas

Alice Diop On Using Film to Center Marginalized Stories

The French director, whose latest film Saint Omer has been selected by France as its submission for the Best International Picture race, is known for her nuanced portraits of humanity.

“When I hear myself through Nicholas, I find me [sic] too radical!” French filmmaker Alice Diop jokes during our conversation, after hearing some of her words and thoughts filtered through her translator Nicholas Elliott.

Diop was responding passionately to a question about the tensions in France between holding onto assimilation policies and embracing a more modern ethos of inclusion and diversity. She is tying her argument to the radical leaning of French republicanism, which is very, very different from the conservative spirit embraced by the Republican party in the United States, where she is expected to appear in October to present her latest film, Saint Omer at the New York Film Festival.

Saint Omer marks Diop’s transition to fiction after seventeen years working as a documentary filmmaker. The film, which won the Grand Jury prize and best debut feature prizes recently at the Venice Film Festival where it debuted, is a wrenching legal drama that follows a young novelist Rama (Kayije Kagame) covering the trial of an immigrant mother accused of infanticide.

Before her triumph at Venice, Diop was in New York to promote the MUBI release of her latest documentary, We (Nous), which premiered at the 2021 Berlinale, where it won the Encounters Grand Prize. The film chronicles a disparate group of people, including an immigrant mechanic and a writer from the Parisian suburbs, and places their lives in connection to the RER B commuter train cutting through the city from the north to south. Diop makes We (Nous) a personal declaration of belonging, weaving footage from her family archive and trailing her sister, a home nurse, at work as she provides care for her patients.

Diop, who is a first-generation daughter of immigrants from Senegal had a wide-ranging chat with OkayAfrica about her films, belonging to French society, and her reasons for prioritizing the stories of the marginalized.

Interview has been edited for length and clarity.

In We (Nous), you are telling these seemingly unrelated stories without obvious connections. What is the common thread linking these stories or people together?

The link is a very personal vision that I have of French society. It is a vision that is at once a dreamed vision but also something already there and not many people see. It is about what can unite people who appear to be so different in a single territory or country. And in a sense, the thread is one that I am weaving myself. It doesn’t exist as such but something very subjective.

In terms of constructing the film, what was the starting point for you?

It started from the book, The Passengers of the Roissy Express published in France about 30 years ago. It is a nonfiction book in which the writer, François Maspero takes the RER B train and follows it to the last stop. This is the train that has the peculiarity of crossing all of the Paris banlieues (low-income suburbs) from north to south. Now these are very different areas that have a great diversity of populations that really express the complexity of French society. I read this book, and it gave me the framework for using the name of the train to describe these very different territories.

A still from the film, We (Nous) of train tracks.

We (Nous) chronicles a disparate group of people, including an immigrant mechanic and a writer from the Parisian suburbs, and places their lives in connection to the RER B commuter train cutting through the city from the north to south.

Photo: Mubi

At what point does your family come in and how do you weave them into the narrative?

This film is a composition of the singularities of the many different people who live and work in France, and my family is part of that history. That is why I wanted to use our family archive in the film because it is a symbolic way of inscribing these traces of my family, and people like them, who are not shown in the constitution of French society. The archive, for me, completes a missing part of French history. I have so little in terms of archives of my family. I have only less than 17 minutes of images of my mother and everything that I have is in this film. That is something very painful; the lives that my parents had were not necessarily appreciated. These were lives that were not epic or did not have the right narratives. At least that was the feeling that I had because the people that I saw on television, in films and novels were not like me. They did not have my history or background, so I grew up with that absence. And I think that is why I became a filmmaker, to repair the violence of having this unrepresented life.

In a sense, this film, and your entire career has been about adjusting this narrative?

Absolutely. This question touches me because this is at the very heart of my filmmaking. I have done this work ever since the desire came upon me to do it, as a way to not succumb to the anger. My new (fiction) film, Saint Omer is focused on Black women, and is inspired by my mother, and it made me realize how much I needed to do this. I want to add up their bodies in film and in history.

Film, for me, is not a space for entertainment, it is a space for revenge and self-care. Saint Omer is not about the banlieues at all. I believe that people from the banlieues have every right to make films that are not about the banlieues. It is about maternity, and I have every right to talk about maternity because it is a question that is relevant to Black women, as much as it is to white women. I am speaking from my own body, and I think the closer I am to myself, the more likely I am to touch other people.

In the film, you talk about not paying into the family fund that ensures you are buried back home in Senegal. Was coming to this realization difficult?

Exile is not just measured in economic gain; it is also a loss that I cannot even qualify. This relationship to the land where you will be buried, I find it a beautiful thing to choose where you are going to die. But the most concrete way of saying where you belong is to say where you are going to be buried. And for me to say it publicly the way I did was for me to cut myself off. I have a 13-year-old mixed race son who was born and lives in France. I speak French, I don’t speak Wolof. I go to Senegal twice a year at most. I am a Frenchwoman.

Now, I am a very particular kind of Frenchwoman; I am a Black woman with colonial history so the most concrete way for me to be French is to say I am going to be buried where my son lives, or where he is most probably going to live. And that’s not a choice between France and Senegal that I am making, it is a way of saying that I am in harmony with where I am. But it does separate me forever from the place where my parents came from. It is hard to think about, even in this conversation with you. It is the entire complexity that is raised here: of the path of immigrants, of the trajectories of coming and of going, of where you are. It is something that is so complex and intense that merely signifying it is already an achievement. It is also a very universal question.

A still from the film We (Nous) of the filmmaker sitting at a table with an interviewee.

Alice Diop and Pierre Bergounioux in a pivotal moment from We (Nous).

Photo: Mubi

And when you put yourself in the frame by the end of the film, are you completing this tapestry that you are sewing?

In a sense. My appearing with my Black woman’s body in the frame, next to this writer Pierre Bergounioux, in his office is a way for me to get revenge for my father for the 40 difficult years he spent working in France. There is a point in the film when I ask my father if spending these years in France has been positive or negative, and he says it’s been a positive gain overall. But I have the intuition that for his daughter to be able to go to university and do things that as a working man, and my mother as a cleaning woman, never had the opportunity to do, and then to show myself in the frame next to this white writer in the film that I am making -- that I have invited the writer to -- I think that shows something about French society and what it can allow. And that repairs, to some degree, the pain that my parents experienced by coming here to offer me a life that they could not have.

Translation by Nicholas Elliott.

News
Photo by: Robert Okine

Fans Want Davido's 'FEM' To Be Nominated For the 'Social Change' Grammy

During the #EndSARS movement, Davido's 'FEM' became an unlikely rally battle cry. Now, Nigerians want to see the song get an accolade for its role in one of Nigeria's most talked about protests in recent time.


Earlier this year, The Recording Academy announced that it would be releasing new categories under its award sections, and one of these songs included was for Best Song for Social Change.

Davido fans have caught on to this change. And they are now pushing for "FEM" to be one of the songs nominated. In a recent Twitter frenzy, a bevy of Davido fans are saying that the Nigerian Afrobeats singer deserves the award for his song, which became an unexpected call to arms for the #EndSARS coalition. According to the Academy, the determining criteria for the "Best Song for Social Change" category would be based on the principle that the song inspired some form of social good that benefitted the general public, and Nigerian Twitter seems to think Davido's controversial record fits the bill. Many people are taking their opinions a step further by submitting their votes to the Recording Academy's website in droves.

Following the tragedy of the October 20, 2020 protests at Lekki toll gate in Lagos, Nigeria, the #EndSARS conversation continues to leave a bitter taste in the mouths of many Nigerians. The movement sparked global outrage after a group of young people across Nigeria took to the streets calling for the end of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). During this time, Davido's "FEM," became the unanimous battlecry for the social justice initiative.

The word "FEM" translates into "shut up," and although the "Stand Strong" singer did not intend for the song to be linked to the campaign, according to his statement to NME, it essentially became a voice for the mega rallies for justice. Later that year, the ongoing protests, which started out mildly, triggered members of SARS to respond with lethal force and eventually culminated to deaths at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos.

On the wide spectrum, while many Nigerians pointed out that the song might have been recorded in an unrelated cause, a multiple fans agree that it played an unforgettable part in the history of one of Nigeria's biggest protests in recent time. In addition to his voice being associated with the political outcry, Davido also joined protesters to denounce the effects of SARS on the lives of Nigerian youth in multiple vivd photos shared online at the time. Below are some of the reactions that some Twitter users had to the recent development.

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

The 9 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Sarkodie, Mr Eazi, King Promise, Tiwa Savage, Major League DJz, and more.

Accra Came Out in Full Force for Global Citizen 2022

More than 20,000 fans appeared at the free show at the Black Star Square in Accra, which was headlined by American R&B artists Usher and SZA.

The Grammys Are Considering An Afrobeats Category

The Recording Academy's CEO recently mentioned talk of adding an Afrobeats category to its line-up of awards.

Spotlight: Obou Gbais Is Painting The Story of His Life

The artist is reimagining Cote D'Ivoire's history through modern, contemporary language and his latest project "Man Dan"

popular.

Mr Eazi Releases 'Patek' With DJ Tárico & Joey B

Mr Eazi has returned with an Amapiano anthem.