Film

Ugandan Transgender Web Series 'The Pearl Of Africa' Returns With Episode 4

'The Pearl of Africa,' the new documentary web series on Ugandan transgender activist Cleopatra Kambugu, releases episode 4.


For the last few weeks, we've been following the story of Uganda's first openly transgender woman Cleopatra Kambugu as captured in the forthcoming documentary feature The Pearl of Africa. The project, helmed by Swedish director Jonny von Wallström, serves as a visual record of Cleo's public transition in Kampala over an eighteen-month period. Though no official release date has been announced for the film, von Wallström has been releasing short webisodes from the project to give viewers a taste of what to expect in the full length feature. The newest episode focuses on the relationship between  Cleo and her boyfriend Nelson, and she speaks on what it's like to date while transgender in Uganda. Cleo also touches on the lingering insecurities her family has about Nelson's romantic intentions and her budding maternal instincts. There are three more episodes planned in the series, which we’ll be posting as they’re made available. Stay tuned for our continuing coverage and watch the fourth episode of The Pearl of Africa below. For more, follow the project on Facebook and Twitter.

>>>Watch Episode 1 of  The Pearl Of Africa

>>>Watch Episode 2 of  The Pearl Of Africa

>>>Watch Episode 3 of  The Pearl Of Africa

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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