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Tanzeela Qambrani is Pakistan's First Lawmaker of African Descent

The politician is bringing hope to the country's marginalized Sidi community.

The Sidi community, is a small ethnic group of African descent concentrated in the mountainous regions of Pakistan. The group has been largely overlooked in social, political and economic life in the country. There are, however, small advancements being made towards representation, and 39-year-old Sidi politicial Tanzeela Qambrani is at the forefront of these changes.

Qambrani, whose ancestors came from Tanzania, has been nominated by the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) to a women's reserved seat in the regional parliament of southern Sindh province, reports BBC Africa, making her the first person of African descent to hold a seat in Pakistan's parliament.


Sidi people also live in the areas of Karnataka, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh and have been in the country for centuries. They are thought to be the descendants of slaves that were brought to the region by the Portuguese.

"As a tiny minority lost in the midst of local populations, we have struggled to preserve our African roots and cultural expression, but I look forward to the day when the name Sidi will evoke respect, not contempt," she told the BBC.

Qambrani, a computer science postgraduate with three children, is dedicated to preserving the African roots of the Sidi community, which has a population in the tens of thousands in Pakistan.

Though she's held local office in the past, Qambrani is readying herself for the responsibilities that will come with representing her people on a larger political arena.

"I can already feel the weight," she said. "I'm a Sidi, and all these middle class, lower-middle class and working class Sidis know that I'm one of them.

With this post, Qambrani is bringing hope to a community that has dealt with widespread marginalization in Pakistan for centuries. Check out the video below to hear her speak on what this historic role means for her and the Sidi community.

Photo: Sundance Film Festival

South African Director Oliver Hermanus on Remaking a Classic

The award-winning director behind Skoonheid and Moffie tackles his first film set outside his home country -- a reworking of auteur Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru -- which is premiering at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

In Living, Oliver Hermanus’ latest film, Bill Nighy takes on the role Takashi Shimura earned a BAFTA nomination for playing in the 1952 classic, Ikiru. Except Nighy's not Mr Watanabe, he’s Mr Williams, a British version of Shimura’s workaholic who finds out he only has a short time left to live. Revered auteur Akira Kurosawa’s film made its premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1954, where it would go on to win him a special prize of the senate of Berlin, before garnering acclaim for many more years to come. So, too, is Hermanus' remaking of the story bowing at a film festival, and so far, it's also been earning the South African director high praise.

Born in Cape Town, Hermanus has steadily built his career on South African-centric stories. Whether it’s the portrait of a Mitchell’s Plain mother caught between poverty and violence in Shirley Adams or the experience of gay recruits conscripted into the army in Moffie, Hermanus’ films speak to various realms of South African life. Living is his first venture outside of South Africa – not just in storyline, but in cast and crew too. The screenplay is by Nobel and Booker Prize winner Kazuo Ishiguro (The Remains of The Day) and Hermanus was brought on as director by the producers.

From debuting his first film Shirley Adams in 2009 in competition at the 62nd Locarno Film Festival, followed by Skoonheid (Beauty) at the 64th Cannes Film Festival, and The Endless River at the 72nd Venice Film Festival, where it was the first South African film to be invited to the main competition, to his fourth feature, Moffie at the 76th Venice Film Festival in 2019, Hermanus has cemented his reputation as a filmmaker to watch.

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Photo by Ahmet Emin Donmez/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

AFCON Stampede Leaves 8 Dead, 40+ Injured In Cameroonian Stadium

The unfortunate event took place Monday, ahead of the host country Cameroon's match against Comoros.

At least six people have died after a stampede broke out outside of Olembe Stadium in Cameroon's capital, Yaounde. The stampede erupted ahead of the host country's match against East African islanders Comoros, during this year's African Cup of Nations competition. Forty more were injured, while Naseri Paul Biya -- governor of the central region of Cameroon -- said there could be more casualties announced as the night progresses. “We are not in a position to give you the total number of casualties,” he said.

The violent event took place at the same stadium which hosted the tournament's opening ceremony, on January 9. The 60,000 capacity stadium was built while the host country got ready for the delayed tournament, and saw fans get crushed as they tried to make their way into the stadium. Several eye-witnesses have claimed that the disturbance took place at the stadium's entrance. Reports of injured children being crushed during the incident were also reported.

Despite the ruckus, the match went on. Minnows Comoros is ranked 132nd in the world and was diluted down to ten men... seven minutes into the game. Midfielder Najdim Abdou being dismissed during the opening exchanges for stomping on the back of Cameroon's Moumi Ngamaleu's ankle definitely didn't set the game off to an optimistic start.

Meanwhile, officials at the Messassi hospital close to the stadium said that they had received at least 40 injured people at their health center alone. Said officials spoke of their hospital being incapable of treating all of the wounded who were rushed in by police and civilians.

Photo: Mainimo Etienne

The Rwandan Woman Who Made Football History

We talked to Rwandan referee Salima Mukansanga, who is the first woman to officiate a match in the Africa Cup of Nations' 65-year history.

On the 18th of January, 2022, a woman stepped into the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaoundé, Cameroon, whistle in hand, a walkie-talkie tucked behind her shorts. Taking up her post as central referee for the Zimbabwe-Guinea game, she would make history as the first woman to officiate a match in the Africa Cup of Nations. Chit-chat occupied the stands, as spectators waited for the curtains to be drawn at 17:00 hours for the match to begin. Whispers of “Hope she will deliver,” could be heard, as Salima Mukansanga prepared to take to the field.

During the match, some spectators counted the 34 yellow cards she handed out at the end; others found her soft and tender with no serious refereeing issues in the game. Mukansanga leads a quartet of women match officials for this year's AFCON, with Carine Atemzabong, from Cameroon, Fatiha Jermoumi and Bouchra Karboubi, both from Morocco, present as assistant referees. Until this year’s tournament, in its 65-year history, an all-women team of refereeing officials had yet to be designated for an Africa Cup of Nations match.

With this accomplishment, 35-year-old Mukansanga has emerged as a trailblazer for other women who aspire to step out and break sporting bounds. Her role in this year’s tournament signals a major moment in the development of women refereeing in football, on the continent and for the sport as a whole.

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