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Thuso Mbedu Will Play the Lead Role in Amazon's 'Underground Railroad' Series

The two-time Emmy-nominated South African actress will lead an American cast in the upcoming series.

South African women continue to fly the flag high and Thuso Mbedu's lead role in Amazon's Underground Railroad series is proof of just that. Mbedu received an award last year from the South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs) for her lead role in the local drama Is'Thunzi as well as her second Emmy nomination for the same role earlier this year.


Mbedu took to Instagram to tell her fans in true South African fashion that "she got the job".

She also added that:

"It was such an amazing process and experience. Like, true story, just prepping to audition for this role made me grow so much. It's such a blessing and honour to tell this story... Again, words fail me so I'll stop there for now."

Plans to start the Underground Railroad series, created by Oscar winner Barry Jenkins, started about two years ago according to Variety.

The series, which plays out over 11 episodes, will follow the life of Cora (Mbedu), a slave who escapes a Georgia plantation in search of her freedom and the "mythical" Underground Railroad which helped African-American slaves escape to what were then considered free states. However, Cora soon finds out that the underground labyrinth of tracks and tunnels is no myth at all.

Mbedu will star alongside Chase Dillon who has a role in Tracy Oliver's BET series First Wives Club and Aaron Pierre who's recently wrapped up the second season of David Goyer's series, Krypton.






Interview

Malian Rapper Ami Yerewolo Rises Against All Odds

Ami Yerewolo reflects on her hard-won rap career, new album AY and why she insists on creating support spaces for young female rappers in Mali and beyond.

"No one is a prophet in his or her own land!" This is an accurate way to describe Ami Yerewolo's career to a tee. The Malian rapper's music has not always been popular in her home country, where female rappers are generally frowned upon. Instead, it has taken off abroad. Yerewolo's upbeat sound mixes traditional Malian elements with fast drums, contemporary beats and significant lyrics that compel listeners to reflect on life — all of which makes her songs carry a universal appeal. Her new album, AY (titled after the rapper's initials) has just been released by the label Othentiq.

Yerewolo shares her frank thoughts below...

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Vinegar Pap Smear Saving Women’s Lives In Malawi

This simple diagnostic test is giving hope to thousands of women in Malawi.

They say necessity is the mother of invention and in Malawi, the need for inexpensive Pap smears has resulted in a cost-effective and ingenious solution. Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid (VIA) is the only form of cervical cancer screening affordable to most underprivileged women in Malawi, according to reports.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) "19 of the top 20 countries with the highest cervical cancer burden were in sub-Saharan Africa in 2018." Eswatini had the highest incidences followed by Malawi.

The VIA is a simple diagnostic test that can be used to screen cervical cancer, as an alternative to Pap smear cytology, in low-resource countries," according to the Role of VIA in cervical cancer screening in low-resource countries - PubMed (nih.gov) study.

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Umlilo Unveils Queer Documentary 'Mask'

South African avant-garde artist Umlilo captures the political nuances of queer experiences in the documentary Mask.

Cape Town-based musician and all-round artist Umlilo has released his thought-provoking documentary The Black Sheep Twelfth Installment: Mask. The documentary, which goes by the simple title Mask, explores what it means to straddle gender lanes and identify as non-binary. Umlilo releases this autobiographical documentary on queer knowledge ahead of his highly-anticipated upcoming debut album Isambulo and the #LockdownJams Live concert, which gained popularity during the onset of lockdown, .

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Playlist: Stream Mx Blouse’s Exclusive Playlist Celebrating South African Queer Musicians

Mx Blouse, a South African writer and musician, has compiled a playlist — for OkayAfrica — that showcases musical excellence on the part of South African artists who just happen to be queer.