News Brief

These South Africans are Being Awarded Presidential Honors

From veteran musician Yvonne Chaka Chaka to actress Mary Twala-Mhlongo, these distinguished South Africans are receiving national orders from the president today.

The national orders are the highest honors that can be bestowed by the president of South Africa to South Africans and foreign nationals who have not only made it their business to advance democracy, but improved the lives of other South Africans. These awards include, among several others, the Order of Ikhamanga, the Order of the Baobab, the Order of Luthuli and the Order of Mapungubwe.


Among the recipients is internationally recognized musician, Yvonne Chaka Chaka. She received the Order of Ikhamanga in silver for her contribution to music and bringing about social cohesion in South Africa. Chaka Chaka's song "Umqombothi" is perhaps her most well known and was from the 2005 album Hotel Rwanda which was used for the movie with the same title. Back in 2017, Chaka Chaka was awarded the Global Good Star and Power Award by BET.

Yvonne Chaka Chaka - Umqombothi (South Africa) youtu.be

Legendary actress and mother to celebrity and television personality Somizi Mhlongo, Mary Twala-Mhlongo, also received the Order of Ikhamanga in silver for her lifelong work in film and television. Twala-Mhlongo has acted in the historically important 1992 film Sarafina alongside Whoopi Goldberg as well as Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and even The Dark Tower alongside Idris Elba. Twala-Mhlongo received this award along with fellow performing artist, Nomhle Nkonyeni.

Mathata Tsedu, a veteran journalist who for decades has dedicated his life to seeing the liberation of South Africa, was also awarded the Order of Ikhamanga in silver. He is the former editor of City Press and board member of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

In a special award, the Order of Mendi (for bravery) was awarded posthumously to Thapelo Tambani, a 9-year-old boy who drowned whilst saving a friend of his who had fallen into a construction pit. He is the youngest to ever receive this award.


Music
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The 6 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring DJ Lag, Asa, LasGiiDi, Kaien Cruz, Imarhan and more

Every week, we highlight the top releases 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 our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

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Interview
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DJ Neptune Surveys the Sounds & Genres Running Africa In His New Album

Greatness 2.0 features an all-star cast of African artists and jumps from afrobeats to amapiano to asakaa, Ghana’s thrilling new take on drill.

Transitioning from a DJ to an artist is no small feat. Nigeria’s DJ Neptune has always had good ear for what the people want to hear, but in past years he's also shown his skill at assembling hitmakers to make a hit and earn a spot on any afrobeats playlist.

Neptune has been dotingly described as "Africa’s DJ Khaled" for his ability to bring the continent’s top names together in musical harmony. His 2018 debut album, Greatness: The Album, pulled from his extensive contacts and years of experience as one of Nigeria’s most influential radio personalities to create a star-studded compilation with features from Burna Boy, Davido, Yemi Alade, Mr Eazi, Efya, Kizz Daniel and Olamide, to name a few.

In 2020, during the pandemic, DJ Neptune endeared himself with his intimate live sessions with Neptune Isolation Radio, where he constantly entertained people during the lockdown. After more than a decade as a DJ, and also one of afrobeats’ most influential personalities and curators, he has assembled some of Africa’s hitmakers for his sophomore album, Greatness 2.0, which he describes as “a playlist with Africa’s favorite artists.”

Artists on the truly pan-African project include Nigeria’s Mr Eazi, Rema, Patoranking, Yemi Alade, Stonebwoy, Joeboy, Omah Lay, Simi, Adekunle Gold, Laycon, Ladipoe, Blaqbonez, Cheque, Peruzzi, Bella Shmurda and Phyno, Ghana’s Stonebwoy and Kofi Jamar, Harmonize and Anjella from Tanzania, South Africa’s Focalistic; and UK rapper One Acen. Collaborating with Neptune on production are Magic Sticks, Dëra and MOG, among other afrobeats hitmakers.

Greatness 2.0 is a survey of the sounds and genres currently running Africa —from afrobeats to amapiano and asakaa, Ghana’s thrilling new take on drill.

In this interview, we speak with DJ Neptune about DJ culture in Nigeria, working with some of Africa's biggest superstars, and his new album.

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Photo by Joseph Okpako/WireImage

Watch Wizkid's Historic Performance at London's O2 Arena

The Nigerian superstar made history by being the first African artist to sell out three shows in a row during his Made In Lagos tour.

Nigerian singer and songwriter Wizkid's fourth studio album Made In Lagos has not left our sight (or eardrums) since its release in October 2020. Now, the album filled with record-breaking hits has gone on to bag the king of afrobeats another honor: Wizkid became the first African artist to successfully sell out London's infamous O2 Arena this year, boasting three consecutive sold-out shows this week.

High off of the global success and obsession with hit single "Essence," featuring Nigerian sweetheart Tems, Wizkid's European leg of his Made In Lagos tour sold out in 12 minutes (very Beyoncé of him) as fans geared up to hear their favorite afrobeats hits. The show itself was jam-packed with fireworks, high-energy performances, and guest appearances from some of our favorite Wizkid features.

In the line-up, we saw fellow Nigerian hitmaker Burna Boy show up on stage to perform a passionate rendition of their collab "Ginger," while a bright and sunny Tems lent her talent and time to perform their hit. British pop cutie Ella Mai turned out to perform "Pieces of Me" which features on Made In Lagos, while UK favorite Skepta made Wizkid feel at home, as the two stars pumped the crowd.

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Mayorkun Is Back In Office

We speak with Mayorkun about his sophomore album, Back In Office, and why he had to step away from the scene for a while.