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University of Cape Town Names Memorial Hall After Khoi Heroine Sarah Baartman

The Council of the University made the historic decision of renaming their Memorial Hall in honor of the young enslaved Khoi woman, Sarah Baartman.

Yesterday, the Council of the University of Cape Town (UCT), led by its Vice Chancellor, Professor Kgethi Phakeng, announced that they had moved to rename the university's iconic Memorial Hall (formerly known as Jameson Hall) after Sarah Baartman, a Khoi woman who was taken from South Africa and enslaved in Europe in the 19th century.


UCT's Memorial Hall, now known as the Sarah Baartman Hall, is the site for many a prestigious events at the university, chief among them, graduation ceremonies and even exams and tests. The university has certainly made strides in terms of the transformation agenda, moving towards very progressive politics following the #RhodesMustFall movement which centered on the removal of a statue of colonialist Cecil John Rhodes that was positioned on the university's main campus.

Sarah Baartman was a descendant of the Khoikhoi (or Khoi), an indigenous people of South Africa who are famously known for their language which purely comprises of clicks and has also influenced the click system in other Bantu languages of Southern Africa such as IsiXhosa and IsiZulu. Baartman was born in what is now the Eastern Cape Province. Clashes between the Khoi and the Dutch occurred following the Dutch's desire to expand their colonial empire. Baartman was enslaved and taken to England where, because of her typical Khoi physique, a large derriére and very light complexion, she was used to attract hundreds of Europeans who considered her a "freak show" for their amusement. She later died of disease in France.

Former President Nelson Mandela, in a process that took approximately eight years, eventually had the French return Baartman's remains to South Africa. She was laid to rest in the Eastern Cape following a sacred Khoi ceremony. Read more about her history here.

In a written statement also released by the university, they cited another important reason for the historic decision:

"It is fitting that a woman who was treated as a slave should be honoured by UCT, where some buildings have been constructed over the graves of past slaves and many of our communities have been affected by its legacy. This is one way we can pay homage to the lives that were lost through slavery, and the consequences of that evil practice in modern-day Cape Town."

In a press conference, Phakeng and Chancellor Graça Machel, the wife of the late Nelson Mandela, announced the decision to rename Memorial Hall and several other reasons for it. Watch the video below.

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It's Official: British Vogue Has Made 2022 The Year of the African Model

The major fashion magazine's February 2022 issue features 9 gloriously Black and African models - and we can't get enough.

Sigh... The Black Woman.

Legendary fashion and lifestyle magazine British Vogue has set the tone and welcomed in a new era with their latest cover, celebrating Black women in all of their glory. In what is arguably their most diverse, Afro-centric issue to date, the February 2022 issue of the popular magazine features 9 glorious (and Black) African models. Their latest issue, which celebrates "The Rise of The African Model", features South Sudanese models Adut Akech, Akon Changkou, and Anok Yai, Ethiopian beauty Akway Amar, Senegalese-Italian Dibaa Maty, Nigeria's Jumbo Janet, Nyaguaa from Sierre Leone, Australian Abény Nhial, and American model Majesty Amare.

Photographer Rafael Pavarotti captured the group's beauty, and British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful's vision beautifully. On the cover, Enninful says, "I saw all these incredible models from across Africa who were just so vivacious and smart. These girls are redefining what it is to be a fashion model. He went on to speak about the soon-to-be-historic cover on his Instagram, writing, "No longer just one or two dark-skinned girls mingled backstage, but a host of top models took a meaningful, substantial and equal place among the most successful women working in fashion today. It means so much to me to see it."

Echoing Edward's words and highlighting the importance of having diverse models on both sides - the model and the viewer - model Adut told the fashion magazine, "When I first started modeling internationally... I would literally be the only Black, dark-skinned girl in the show. There were no Sudanese models, no African models," the 22-year-old model said, "Now, I go to a show and there are girls from my country, girls from Africa who look like me. So yes, there has been a huge change. It has gone from me being the only one at a show, to 15 or 20 of us. I'm just so happy that we are finally at this place. I was tired of always feeling out of place, and feeling like an outcast."



Social media lost it when the cover dropped, many sharing the emotional impact seeing so many Black models on an international cover has over them.



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Nigeria's Government Has Lifted Its Twitter Ban

We chat to two Nigerians working in media about the restoration of Twitter across the country.