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Courtesy of saanrize

'Thoko Vuka! Thoko Muka!' is the Children's Book Helping Zimbabweans Preserve their Native Languages

Written in both Shona and Ndebele, the colorful children's book is based on a popular Ndebele nursery rhyme.

When her nephews and nieces were born,Nomusa Ndebele was eager to purchase them books that would teach them their native tongue and culture. It's a language that she shares a name with—Ndebele. But she struggled to find many Ndebele children's books and the ones she could find were Eurocentric books whose images, characters and languages did not reflect the realities of her nieces and nephews. It was that experience that led her to establishing the media and entertainment company called saanrize with her friend, Carol Dzingai who also shared her frustrations.


Ndebele recently pennedThoko Vuka! Thoko Muka! which was published by saanrize. The book, which is the first of a series, tells the story of a little Zimbabwean girl named Thoko is living in the diaspora with her trusted sidekick "Zou-Zou", a stuffed elephant that represents her family's totem. Thoko goes on a myriad of adventures with her stuffed elephant and both learn about Zimbabwean culture and African heritage in a fun-filled way.


Courtesy of saanrize

Speaking about her children's book, Ndebele says, "We believe that our African languages matter, our African heritage is worth preserving, our stories are worth telling. So we should tell them, especially to our children and in our vernacular." Ndebele went on to add that, "This is why Thoko Vuka! Thoko Muka! matters. It is the first step in realizing our dream of seeing entire shops—physical and online—filled with children's books, movies, toys and games made for Africans by Africans and featuring African vernacular languages."

Courtesy of saanrize

Thoko Vuka! Thoko Muka! is written in both of Zimbabwe's widely spoken languages—Ndebele and Shona. It is particularly important for Zimbabweans living in the diaspora and often have a difficult time keeping their children rooted in their Zimbabwean heritage, especially when their kids are born outside of the country.

Order the book or request that it be printed in your own language here.

Music
(Photo by Ernest Ankomah/Getty Images)

Was Burna Boy Snubbed at the Grammys?

Love, Damini was one of the contenders for Best Global Music Album and his global-charting record “Last Last” was nominated for Best Global Music Performance, however the Nigerian singer lost both awards.

The 65th annual Grammy Awards were held last night at the Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles. As expected, the event swarmed with outstanding artists and personalities with ravishing looks. Before the event commenced, onlookers and fans tipped their favourite artists to bring home the award, especially Nigerians who were hyped to see the likes of Tems and Burna Boyrepresenting the country on a global stage.

Gone are the days when being nominated for a prestigious award like the Grammy Awards as a Nigerian artist came as a shock. Nigerian music has been on a trajectory in recent years, winning over the global audience. In 2021, Burna Boy set history as the first Nigerian to win a Grammy Award as a lead artist in the Global Music Album category (previously Best World Music Album). His latest studio album Love, Damini was again one of the contenders for the Best Global Music Album category this year and his global-charting record “Last Last” was nominated for Best Global Music Performance. However, the singer lost both awards, failing to add to his list of international plaques.

Following the announcement at the award show, when Tems emerged as a Grammy Award winner in the “Best Melodic Rap Performance” category for Future’s “Wait For U” and Burna Boy wasn’t declared winner of any of the two categories he was nominated in, was a trail of reactions on social media.

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Photo by Lester Cohen/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Africa was Well Represented At The 2023 Grammys​

The West's biggest night in music started off with a bang, a snub, and a whole lot of shimmer.

Music's big night out brought out some of Africa's biggest and brightest to lend their glamour to the red carpet.

Here are the African musicians attending the 2023 Grammy Awards:

Tems

Photo by Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

The world belongs to Tems, baby! The Nigerian songstress becomes the first female Nigerian artist to win a Grammy award as she scooped her Best Melodic Rap Performance win alongside American rapper Future and Drake on their hit collab 'Wait For U'. Draped in a custom Viviane Westwood evening gown, the singer continues to break records as she adds the latest win to her abundant collection.

Trevor Noah 

Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images

South African comedian Trevor Noah was tasked with keeping tonight's crowd entertained and in order during the ceremony at Los Angeles's Crypto.com arena.

Rocky Dawuni

Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Ghanaian singer-songwriter Rocky Dawuni brought along his beautiful daughter Safiyah Dawuni to celebrate his nominated single "Neva Bow Down" featuring Jamaican Blvk H3ro. The two-time Grammy-nominated musician lost out on this year's award for Best Global Music Performance.

Yola 

Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

British-born Ghanaian Barbadian singer-songwriter Yola attends the award show for her work in the 2022 musical/drama hit Elvis.

Zakes Bantwini, Nomcebo Zikode, Wouter Kellerman

Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Halala! South African threesome Wouter Kellerman, Zakes Bantwini, and Nomcebo Zikodeshowed up to snag this year's Best Global Music Performance award for their hit single "Bayethe." The collaborator's win set the internet ablaze as they beat Africa's Giant, Nigerian artist Burna Boy.

Doja Cat 

Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Doja Cat is clearly having a ball with her fashion sense lately, this time, the "Woman" songstress channeled her inner femme fatale in a black leather look by Versace. The singer was nominated for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, Record of The Year, Best Music Video, Best Rap Performance, and Best Solo Performance.

Eddy Kenzo

Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Ugandan singer Eddy Kenzo waved the flag proudly this Sunday as he attended as the country's first Grammy nominee to date. The crooner missed out on this year's Best Global Music Performance award for his track "Gimme Love" with American rapper Matt B, but we trust the Masaka-born star will be back with a vengeance.

News Brief
Photo by Matt Crossick/PA Images via Getty Images

Mr Eazi Accuses Bad Bunny of Copyright Infringement

In a heated tweet, Mr Eazi called out Puerto Rican star Bad Bunny over the use of a Joeboy song.


On Monday, Oluwatosin Oluwole Ajibade, popularly known as Mr Eazi, posted a few tweets that called out Bad Bunny and his team at Rimas for using Joeboy'sartistry without properly crediting him in the song "Enseñame a Bailar," and for "denying [Joeboy] and the producer... their share in a song they wrote composed and even performed in."

The record in question is Joeboy's Empty My Pocket," a happy-go-lucky, rhythmic Afrobeats record released in 2022.

In a separate string of posts, Mr Eazi states that Joeboy's "Empty My Pocket," was infringed upon, and in a separate LinkedIn post, he calls the incident a case of "ill intent and abuse."

In that LinkedIn post, Mr Eazi writes:

"I am writing this to Highlight Rimas Music and Bad Bunny for the copyright infringement toward afro beats superstar JoeBoy, Denying him and the producer credits and their share in a song they wrote composed and even performed in as Joeboys vocals are used in the Remas released version.

The Team at emPawa Africa have attempted to sort this issue amicably since May of last year with our mutual legal teams. But the intent of Rimas Music is clear ie to blatantly appropriate young African creators' work for their gain without Attribution.

I founded emPawa Africa to protect and support African Creative Entreupreunors and Artists with a virtuous ecosystem. Believing that Afrobeats and Afropop would be today what we wished then it would become.

I am sharing this story even if Plagiarism accusations and copyright infringement lawsuits are nothing new in music, but in this specific case, it is an ill intent of robbery and abuse. As it is taking someone's Song recording it and interacting with condescendence because we are African and independent label?

We understand business, we know the value of our culture and friendships
."

Nigeria's Joseph Akinwale, professionally known as Joeboy, got this start in 2017 on Mr Eazi's record label emPawa Africa. His genres, which include Afro-pop and R&B, have made him one of Nigeria's music fan-favorites. Bad Bunny's team is yet to reach out.

Photo: Getty Images

8 Essential Queer African Podcasts

Podcasts offer a space for intimate conversations to happen, and a place for people to connect where they may not have had a chance to before. We spotlight some of the African podcasts that have become known for creating a safe, welcoming community.

In recent years, the question of whether podcasting is the future of radio or if radio is the future of podcasting has often been raised due to the number of podcasts emerging and challenging traditional media in the continent.

Last October, through its Africa Podcast Fund initiative, Spotify offered a $100,000 fund to thirteen creators from South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, and Ghana. The goal of the fund was to help platform African podcasters on a global scale and shift the historically restrictive view of stories about the continent. While this is useful for the growing space of podcasting in Africa, the fund was allotted to mostly mainstream and widespread African podcasts, leaving queer and underrepresented voices in the margin.

Here are eight queer African podcasts that give the LGBTQIA+ community on the continent a voice.


Afroqueer

The logo for the AfroQueer podcast, which consists of a microphone and layers of color around it.

Produced by Senegalese American journalist and oral historian Selly Thiam and Ugandan Kenyan Aida Holly-Nambi, AfroQueer has been around since 2018. The podcast documents queer Africans "living, loving, surviving, and thriving" on the African continent and in the diaspora. Funded by the Wellspring Philanthropic Fund and the Ford Foundation, the podcast has built up a significant amount of episodes dedicated to LGBTQ+ experiences. From a first episode that spotlights the Sierra Leonean lesbian activist FannyAnn Eddy, who was murdered in her office in 2004, to Our Husband, The King, a lowdown about the precolonial monarch, Mwanga II, and an episode on The Gay Wedding That Broke the Nigerian Internet, AfroQueer, is dismantling stereotypes, and celebrating the love stories of queer Africans.

Listen to AfroQueer here.

The Pride Diaries

An image of the Pride Diaries logo, which is the words written with a mic standing in for the letter 'I.'

According to the creators of The Pride Diaries, nothing is off limits. Produced by Nigerian journalist Mariam Sule (who goes by Rain Bow)and mixed by singer Joyce Olong, each episode seeks to amplify every aspect of queer life in Nigeria and beyond. Rain Bow started the group in 2017, after a series of open and honest chats with a group of queer friends left her feeling affirmed and uplifted. She created a Whatsapp group that soon morphed into what The Pride Diaries has become: a place to help young queer Africans find a community. It's also a resource center for those in need, and a place to learn more about aspects affecting queer life. One such episode, titled 'What’s happening with Ghana’s LGBTQ community' sees queer activist and PhD student Shakia Asamoah giving a detailed history of homophobic bills proposed in Ghana, talking about the complicity of the media in an arrest of twenty one people in Ho in 2021, explaining allyship, and detailing how queer Africans in the diaspora can help those on the continent.

Listen to The Pride Diaries here.

Mannetjiesvrou

An image of the Mannetjiesvrou logo, which has a pair of scissors over the title.

In Afrikaans, ‘mannetjies’ means ‘manly’ and ‘vrou’ ‘woman.’ Even if one doesn’t understand the language, the big scissor in the logo of Mannetjiesvrou outlines what the podcast is about: a space for lesbians, especially those who speak Afrikaans, to gather. Mannetjiesvrou has been consistent in continuing the conversation of the queer woman, whether in Bloemfontein or in Rustenburg, South Africa. Examples of episodes that have been popular include one about exploring the subtly erotic stories of Jeanne Goosen; another is one that traces the lives of the hosts growing up in South Africa. Produced by Angie Gallagher, Candess Kostopoulos, Christi Kruger, and Phia Smit, the podcast can be accessed on a number of streaming platforms.

Listen to Mannetjiesvrou here.

Purple Royale

An image of the podcast logo, which is set against a background of white and purple intersecting lines.

Since 1995, the Government of Zimbabwe has carried out campaigns against LGBT rights. In 2006, the “sexual deviancy” law, which criminalized any actions perceived as homosexual, was passed, endangering the existence of queer minorities in the country. Purple Royale is one of those necessary spaces where the issues and stories of transgender lives in Zimbabwe are addressed. Touted as an audio diary, the podcast was founded in 2019 by Alessandra “Bree” Chacha, Transsmart Trust and Children’s Radio Fund. A recent episode standout episode explored the life of a trans orphan in Zimbabwe who, growing up in a rural village, is forced to live in the streets. The podcast is also very active on Instagram where they share episodes and behind the scenes stories.

Listen to Purple Royale here.

GaySA Radio Podcasts

An image of the GaySA Radio logo, which has a rainbow flag under the letter 'A.'

Founded in 2015 in Pretoria, GaySA Radio is managed by two friends, Henrik Baird and Ethan Baird. At its early phase, Hendrik involved GaySA Radio with a number of urgent LGBTQ+ issues, one of which included leading a successful campaign to have US gay-hating pastor Steven L. Anderson banned from South Africa. GaySA Radio, touted as the first online gay radio station in Africa, runs 24/7, and by offering a wide range of content, including music, talk shows, and other programming, the station aims to let its listeners (whether a member of LGBTQIA+ community or an ally) know that they are not alone, and that they are part of a larger family. Since 2015, the online radio station has progressed into a podcast and supported new podcasts such as the first Nigerian queer podcast, NoStrings. It's also partnered with competitions such as the Mr Gay South Africa and Mr Gay World.

Listen to GaySA Radio here.

NoStrings Podcast

An image of the No Strings podcast logo, with a picture of the host looking at the camera.

Nigerian journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist Mike Daemon hosts the NoStrings podcast. Laying claim to being Nigeria’s first LGBTQIA+ podcast, it was founded in 2015, barely a year after gay rights were criminalized in Nigeria. The podcast is aimed at highlighting the everyday life and struggles of queer Nigerians. Episodes range from talk shows to interviews and conversations. Although it currently has only a couple of episodes on Spotify, the podcast has a website where over 40 downloadable episodes are housed. Highlights of the podcast include the famous Nigerian British transgender model Miss SaHHara, where she discusses gender dysphoria and the difference between transsexuality and transgenderism, and the Nigerian writer Chike Frankie Edozien on his book, Lives of Great Men, which is considered Nigeria’s first gay memoir. One of the most recent episodes is an exclusive interview with Cindy Amadi on her role in Ìfé, a movie directed by Pamela Adie about lesbian lives in Nigeria.

Listen to NoStrings here.

The Secret Life of a Queer Nigerian

An image of the podcast logo, featuring a rainbow-colored dog.

What is compelling about this podcast is that the host, Dada Princez, not only provides information about the LGBTQ+ community in Nigeria, but also shares tips on how to stay safe as a queer person in the country. In an assuring and intimate way, Dada approaches all the topics featured with a steadfast attitude: whether it's breaking down the stereotypes associated with being a lesbian, discussing the discrimination against queer protesters during the #ENDSARS protests in Nigeria, and or tackling the issue of sexual abuse in the queer community.

Listen to The Secret Life of a Queer Nigerian here.

Asase Ba

An image of the podcast logo, featuring a drum with a Ghanaian flag underneath it.

In Twi, ‘asase ba’ means ‘earth’s child,’ and according to Michelle, the host of Asase Ba, the goal of the podcast is to amplify the diverse voices of earth’s children. Besides oral tradition, the podcast shines a light on Ghanaian stories that often remain untold or are silenced. On its website, Asase Ba archives resources about queer identities, cultural work, and indigenous spiritualities in the country and beyond. Michelle, who is Ghanaian Canadian, has been using the podcast to challenge the status quo and bring marginalized voices to the fore. Founded in 2019, Asase Ba podcast is now in its fourth season.

Listen to Asase Ba here.

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