News Brief

The Stories You Need to Know

Get your daily fix of what's hot on the continent and the diaspora, May 12.

SIERRA LEONE—The second largest diamond ever found in Sierra Leone, was up for action on Wednesday (May 11), but the bids, which reached 7.8 million dollars, did not meet the minimum asking price of 50 million dollars.


A re-auction is being planned in “The Diamond Capital of Europe,” Antwerp, Belgium.

The massive diamond was found by a Sierra Leonean pastor, Emmanuel Momoh.

"I want my diamond to be sold abroad so I can get the best price to enable many people to benefit from the proceeds," Pastor Emmanuel Momoh told AFP. Read the full story here.

ZIMBABWE—Robert Mugabe has been accused of falling asleep in meetings, but his spokesperson, George Charamba, has claimed that the president is “not sleeping, just resting his eyes,” says government spokesperson Geroge Charamba. "The president cannot suffer bright lights," he continued.

The 93-year-old president is currently receiving medical treatment in Singapore for eye complications. Read more via BBC Africa.

DIASPORA—Senegalese campaign manager, Sibeth Ndiaye, has been named press secretary for France’s new president-elect, Emmanuel Macron. Dakar-born Ndiaye, now 37, comes from a family of politicians, and was an integral part of Macron’s presidential campaign. Read more on Sibeth Ndiaye, here.

SOUTH AFRICA—Three students have been suspended at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, after posting Nazi-inspired posters on campus boards, reports BBC. The university will continue its investigation in the meantime.

“I have decided to suspend the three students suspected of misconduct while disciplinary proceedings are ongoing,” says Vice-Chancellor Wim de Villiers in a press statement.

“We will continue to take a stand against racism and unfair discrimination, and promote human rights, equality, human dignity and democracy. This we do in accordance with our own policies, as well as our commitment to the Constitution of South Africa and the Bill of Rights that it enshrines.” Read the full statement, here.

SOMALIA—The World Health Organization (WHO) has released a call to action in response to the drought and widespread famine facing the people of Somalia. WHO is concerned by the chronic shortage of funding for, read a news release. “Drought in Somalia led to the destruction of crops and livestock, leaving more than 3.3 million people hungry every day. If the current situation continues, famine could soon be a reality, creating a devastating cycle of hunger and disease as the health of people deteriorates and they become more susceptible to infection.”

Read the WHO’s full release here.

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Photo: Courtesy of Radswan

Freddie Harrel Is Building Conscious Beauty For and With the African Diaspora

Formerly known as "Big Hair Don't Care", creator Freddie Harrel and her team have released 3 new wig shapes called the "RadShapes" available now.


Photo: Courtesy of Radswan


The normalising of Black and brown women in wigs of various styles has certainly been welcomed by the community, as it has opened up so many creative avenues for Black women to take on leadership roles and make room for themselves in the industry.

Radswan (formerly known as Big Hair Don't Care), is a lifestyle brand "bringing a new perspective on Blackness through hair, by disrupting the synthetic market with innovative and sustainable products." Through their rebrand, Radswan aims to, "upscale the direct-to-consumer experience holistically, by having connected conversations around culture and identity, in order to remove the roots of stigma."

The latest from French-Cameroonian founder and creator Freddie Harrel - who was featured on our list of 100 women of 2020 - has built her career in digital marketing and reputation as an outspoken advocate for women's empowerment. On top of her business ventures, the 2018 'Cosmopolitan Influencer of the Year' uses her platform to advocate for women's empowerment with 'SHE Unleashed,' a workshop series where women of all ages come together to discuss the issues that impact the female experience, including the feeling of otherness, identity politics, unconscious bias, racism and sexism.

And hair is clearly one of her many passions, as Freddie says, "Hair embodies my freest and earliest form of self expression, and as a shapeshifter, I'm never done. I get to forever reintroduce my various angles, tell all my stories to this world that often feels constrained and biased."

Armed with a committee of Black women, Freddie has cultivated Radswan and the aesthetic that comes with the synthetic but luxurious wigs. The wigs are designed to look like as though the hair is growing out of her own head, with matching lace that compliments your own skin colour.

By being the first brand to use recycled fibres, Radswan is truly here to change the game. The team has somehow figured out how to make their products look and feel like the real thing, while using 0% human hair and not negotiating on the price, quality or persona.

In 2019, the company secured £1.5m of investment led by BBG Ventures with Female Founders Fund and Pritzker Private Capital participating, along with angelic contributions from Hannah Bronfman, Nashilu Mouen Makoua, and Sonja Perkins.

On the importance of representation and telling Black stories through the products we create, Freddie says, "Hair to me is Sundays kneeling between your mothers or aunties legs, it's your cousin or newly made friend combing lovingly through your hair, whilst you detangle your life out loud. Our constant shapeshifting teaches us to see ourselves in each other, the hands braiding always intimately touching our head more often than not laying someone's lap."

"Big Hair No Care took off in ways we couldn't keep up with," she continues, "RadSwan is our comeback.It's a lifestyle brand, it's the hair game getting an upgrade, becoming fairer and cleaner. It's the platform that recognises and celebrates your identity as a shapeshifter, your individuality and your right to be black like you."


Check out your next hairstyle from Radswan here.

Radswan's RadShape 01Photo: Courtesy of Radswan


Radswan's RadShape 02Photo: Courtesy of Radswan


Radswan's RadShape 03Photo: Courtesy of Radswan

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