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Thirty One Years Ago Today Stevie Wonder’s Music Was Banned In South Africa

Stevie Wonder's public support for Nelson Mandela prompted the apartheid regime to censor his music.


In his 1985 Oscar speech for “I Just Called To Say I Loved You” Stevie Wonder accepted the statuette on behalf of Nelson Mandela before moving on to thank Dionne Warwick and Gene Wilder.

A fleeting moment, perhaps, but for the white supremacist regime in South Africa it was enough to issue a broadcast ban on Wonder’s music. But Stevie Wonder’s connection to the anti-apartheid struggle went deeper than just the one speech. The same year—1985—Wonder hired exiled South African musicians to play on the song “It’s Wrong (Apartheid)" for the album “In Square Circle.”

Earlier that year, on Valentine’s day, he was arrested during an anti-apartheid protest in Washington DC, telling the Washington Post that he was guilty of being "a conscientious criminal for world equality and against racial oppression and apartheid." It looked liked this.

Less than four months after the ban, South African President P.W. Botha would announce a state of emergency, giving the police and military broad powers to implement curfews, censor the media and detain people without trial. A violent crackdown on black South Africans ensued. By 1988, 30,000 people had been detained and many tortured.

In 1997, Wonder would get to sing Happy Birthday to, now President, Mandela on his 80th birthday

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Zlatan Reflects on 'Life' on Heartfelt New Track

Watch the music video for the Nigerian artist's latest.

Nigerian artist Zlatan gets pensive on his latest track "Life."

The song is a departure from the Zanku (Leg Work) singer's usual dance-worthy style. Instead, the slow-paced anthem sees him reflecting on his rise, and making it as an artist against all odds. "My life changed in one day," sings the artist on the hook.

The video, directed by Hassan Al Raae, features a different setting for the artist as well, as the artist appears at a skiing resort surrounded by snow, which provides a crisp backdrop for the track's hopeful message.

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Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Netflix Launches 'Netflix Naija' and Announces First Nigerian Original Series

Netflix is stepping up its game in Nigeria.

After much anticipation, Netflix has announced its presence in Nigeria.

Yesterday, the streaming giant, which had been procuring Nigerian content throughout much of last year after acquiring Genevieve Nnaji's Lionheart in 2018, announced the arrival of Netflix Naija with a new Twitter account.

"N is for Naija. N is for Nollywood,"read the account's announcement tweet. "N is the 14th alphabet. 14 is also how many great talents you're looking at. N is for Netflix. But most importantly...hello, Nigeria!"

The tweet was shared along with a photo of some of the Nigerian film industry's most notable actors and filmmakers, including Banky W, Adesua Etomi, Kunle Folayan, Kemi Adetiba, Omoni Oboli as well as veteran actors Ramsey Nouah and Richard Mofe-Damijo and several others.

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The Gorillaz Enlist Fatoumata Diawara for New Track 'Désolé

A stunning collaboration that we didn't even know we needed.

The Gorillaz enlist none other than Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara for their latest single "Désolé," the second single from the hit-making British band's Song Machine installation project.

"Making Désolé with Fatou was a real moment for me, you know," the band's drummer Russel Hobbs is quoted as saying in a statement via Pitchfork. Désole translates to "sorry" in French, but despite it's apologetic title, the song is a laid-back groove, elevated by vocals from lead singer Damon Albarn and Diawara, who sings in English, French and Bambara.

"She's an African Queen," Russel adds. "This lady made the song what it is, beautiful, like life. What can I say about Désolé? They say sorry is the hardest word, but that's not true.... Try saying antidisestablishmentarianism with a mouth full of gluten free cronuts on a speed boat without licking your lips."

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Diamond Platnumz and Tanasha in "Gere" (Youtube)

The 7 Best East African Songs of the Month

Featuring Diamond Platnumz x Tanasha, Sauti Sol, Rayvanny, Sheebah, Victoria Kimani and more.

February has been dominated by familiar voices in East African music.

Here are our picks of the best East African songs of the month featuring Diamond Platnumz, Sheebah, Rayvanny and more.

Follow our East African Grooves playlist on Spotify and Apple Music.

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