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Photo via TellaMan on Facebook.

The 10 Best TellaMan Features

South African singer TellaMan sounds like butter over any type of production.

South African artist TellaMan has a gift that allows him to play with words and his vocals are dynamic. He sounds like butter over any kind of production, whether it's house, R&B;, trap or boom bap.


As much as he has a healthy solo career, boasting a discography of solid releases, he has contributed a lot to other artists' songs and projects. Try picturing Nasty C's debut album Bad Hair without his vocals on songs like "25," "Don't Do It" and "Overload."

Tella has collaborated with a diverse array of musicians including Da L.E.S, Yanga, DJ Clock, J' Something, Beast, DJ Dimplez and DJ Speedsta among others.

Below, we take up the difficult task of selecting just 10 of his greatest guest appearances. The list is in no particular order.

DJ Speedsta "Mayo" (ft. Yung Swiss, TellaMan, Shane Eagle and Frank Casino)

"Mayo" is the definition of monumental and Tellaman's verse is iconic. In his verse, Tella lets us know "I don't dance, I do the Diba dance," and that he is "mellow with the words like Paulo Coelho." His verse varies in structure and is equal parts hard and smooth.

DJ Hudson (ft. Mawe2, Khuli Chana and Tellaman) "Alcohol & Problems"

Mawe2, Khuli Chana and of course TellaMan take turns sharing anecdotes about making the mistake of resorting to alcohol to solve you problems. "Alcohol & Problems" is perfect; every artist brings their A-game. Tella's strategically placed towards the end to add to the soul the song is already oozing.

Nasty C "Dance" (ft. TellaMan)

On "Dance," TellaMan returns to the Mandela references. "You would swear Mandela was my dance teacher, the way I got money moves," he sings on the bridge leading to the hook. But it's his last verse that steals the show. He's pretty much rapping, just with melodies.

Da L.E.S "Ballers Freestyle" (ft. A-Reece and TellaMan)

"Ballers Freestyle" is one of the standout songs on Da L.E.S' latest compilation album Hall of Fame 2. All three artists do great. On his verse, TellaMan does very little, and by doing so he does the most. Excuse the corny wordplay, but you'll understand if you listen to the song. I can imagine ballers to be people who let their money do the talking, so they aren't wordy, and TellaMan embodies that trait on his verse.

Kwesta "Act Like" (ft. TellaMan)

"Act Like," from Kwesta's third album DaKAR II, is a perfect fit for TellaMan. The man is the king of freaky lines. Here, he is trying to convince a girl to "quit playing and get up on this dick." Kwesta slept on a single here.

Nasty C "25" (ft. TellaMan)

From the adlibs he does on the hook to his show-stealing verse, TellaMan made "25" what it is. It's one of the three appearances he makes on Nasty C's debut album Bad Hair. All three of his appearances are on point, but "25" exhibits his different abilities and traits.

DJ Dimplez "What A Night" (ft. Kwesta and TellaMan)

Another strong appearance from the man who can do it all. On "What A Night," he provides a solid verse and hook with no evidence of trying hard. The man's bars are structured like an MCs, and on this song, he excels in that department. That Kwesta verse is mean, too.

Lastee "Complicated" (ft. TellaMan & Na)

"Complicated" is a beautiful somber R&B; song. It's about the ambivalence of being in love, where a relationship can be beautiful and complicated at the same time. Tella fits in perfectly, proving his versatility.

Calvin Fallo "That Girl" (ft. TellaMan)

On "That Girl," Tella provides vocals for a club-ready deep house banger. There's no boxing the man—he has lived so many lives, it was hard to imagine him on a song like "Mayo" in 2013.

Duncan "iLokishi" (ft. Beast & TellaMan)

On one of his many odes to the hood, the rapper Duncan enlisted his homeboys, the rapper Beast alongside Tella. The hook he renders, he pledges allegiance to the hood and the hustle.

Listen to TellaMan's latest solo project Lucid Dream below or download it here.

News Brief

Prominent Zimbabwean Activist  Sheds Light on Current Crisis

Doug Coltart, a vocal activist and human rights lawyer based in Harare, speaks to Okayafrica about what's currently happening in Zimbabwe.

A few days ago, the Zimbabwean government issued a directive to major cellular network providers Econet and TelOne to disable the internet and all access to social media. The directive was an attempt to prevent any information from spreading outside the country's borders with regards to the nationwide protests which have led to the deaths of at least five people and the injury of at least twenty-five others.

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The front page of The New York Times on January 16, 2019

Kenyans Are Furious at the New York Times for Posting Photos of Terrorist Victims

After the the deadly attack on Tuesday, many are accusing the American newspaper of having a double standard on which dead bodies they allow into the paper

Is the New York Times guilty of a double standard when it comes to publishing images of dead bodies?

Kenyans, and others fed up with the coverage, took to social media in the hundreds to denounce a Times article that included an image of victims of Tuesday's Nairobi terrorist attack, bloodied from bullets, and lying hunched over their laptops, dead.

It has cause enough debate online to where the Times' incoming East Africa Bureau chief Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura felt the need to explain their photo policy, which is to show the dead only if their faces cannot be seen in the image. The photo in question fits the policy as the faces are facing away from the camera. She would later apologize before posting the official policy to her Twitter account. The photo remains up.

The Times' official response, as those tend to do online, has only created more anger. But unlike many unruly Twitter mobs, those responding to the official statement have a rather coherent message—"you wouldn't do this with photos of the American dead."

Some of the responses to the Times' official statement.

In a response to the controversy from the Poynter Institute, a typically astute observer of journalistic practice in the United States, they run through the typical American journalism school approach to publishing photos that might shock or offend. They write:

Should the Times have run the photo?
There is no easy answer.
The first question any news organization must ask when deciding to publish violent images is: WHY show it?
In other words, what is the news value? Does the public need to see such an image to fully grasp what happened? Does the public need to see such a photo to confirm or disprove the official account of the events?
An argument could be made that a writer's words could accurately describe the scene without being as disturbing as the image. In addition, when it comes to an act of terrorism, might publishing such a photo actually advance the cause of the terrorists, showing the damage they caused, thus fueling dread and panic?
Also this: The photo on the Times website came without warning. As a reader, you didn't know you were going to see a photo of dead people until you actually saw it.
Those are arguments to not run such a photo or, at least, warn readers of its graphic content.

While it's a fine analysis of when to show a violent image, it misses the central issue at play for those aggrieved by the Times' posting—that the American news-gaze values certain lives differently. Black, brown, foreign, poor—American journalism organizations, including the New York Times, cannot escape a base ethnocentrism in their coverage. It's so embedded into how these institutions operate, and the gap in understanding is so wide, that to much of the world, the Times' official response is laughably wrong at first glance.

"We take the same approach wherever in the world something like this happens--balancing the need for sensitivity and respect with our mission of showing the reality of these events"

And while there are examples from the Times that complicate this feeling, like these images of the dead in the terrorist attack in Nice, France, it doesn't discount the wider and correct feeling that the white victims of American mass shootings are treated differently than their African counterparts. And while there are complicated and systematic reasons for this which will always make discussing it difficult, to simply deny that different standards exist, does not increase the Times' credibility with Kenyans or the newspaper's growing online audience which will only become more vocal about how they're portrayed.

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Falz 'Moral Instruction'

The 10 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

The best music of the week featuring Falz, King Monada, Zlatan, Yemi Alade and more.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our Best Music of the Week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow OkayAfrica on Spotify and Apple Music to get immediate updates every week and read about some of our selections ahead.

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