Cape Town Kwaai Diva Umlilo's 'Magic Man' Video

Watch South African kwaai diva Umlilo's haunting video for 'Magic Man' off his forthcoming 'Aluta' EP.

Cape Town's future kwaai creative Umlilo returns with his trademark avant-garde aesthetics in a dark video for "Magic Man" off his forthcoming Aluta EP via naasMUSIC. In his fifth official video single to date, Umlilo inhabits a mystical realm that yearns to extend itself outside of imposed walls. Shot at Old Cotton Mills in Epping in Cape Town, this latest clip reunites Umlilo with director Jasyn Howes and cinematographer Nicolas van der Westhuizen, the Cape Town-based creatives behind the anarcho-art performance piece "The Elements." As a partially-mummified Umlilo undulates theatrically down a deserted hallway, he rails against a society that confines itself to mainstream binaries.

“'Magic Man represents a person's metamorphosis from a tortured outsider to a fully realised divine being and I wanted the music to reflect the transformation,'” Umlilo said in a press release. Pushing boundaries has proven a necessity for the "kwaai diva," and the self-produced electronica track with dub, dancehall and baroque synth-pop leanings revels in its refusal to be categorized. In an interview with Okayafrica back in May 2013, Umlilo told us "The world needs fresh stories, fresh ideas, new ideas and people who embrace that. It’s also frustrating to look at pop culture and feel like no one represents you or the kind of person you are– so the best is to become the person you want to represent you.” On his latest, the warped visuals take us on a dark journey through an alternate reality as the track's thumping bass finds a lush coating with Umlilo's buttery vocals. Immerse yourself in the world of Umlilo's "Magic Man" below. Look out for Aluta to be released on naasMUSIC later this year. For more from Umlilo catch up on the videos for "Living Dangerously," "The Elements," "Out Of My Face."

Photo by KOLA SULAIMON/AFP via Getty Image

#EndSARS: 1 Year Later And It's Business As Usual For The Nigerian Government

Thousands filled the streets of Nigeria to remember those slain in The #LekkiTollGateMassacre...while the government insists it didn't happen.

This week marks 1 year since Nigerians began protests against police brutality and demanded an end to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The #EndSARS protests took the world by storm as we witnessed Nigerian forces abuse, harass and murder those fighting for a free nation. Reports of illegal detention, profiling, extortion, and extrajudicial killings followed the special task force's existence, forcing the government to demolish the unit on October 11th, 2020. However, protestors remained angered and desperate to be heard. It wasn't until October 20th, when soldiers opened fire on demonstrators at Lekki tollgate in the country's capital, Lagos, that the protests came to a fatal end. More than 56 deaths from across the country were reported, while hundreds more were traumatized as the Nigerian government continued to rule by force. The incident sparked global outrage as the Nigerian army refused to acknowledge or admit to firing shots at unarmed protesters in the dead of night.

It's a year later, and nothing has changed.

Young Nigerians claim to still face unnecessary and violent interactions with the police and none of the demands towards systemic changes have been met. Fisayo Soyombo the founder of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism, told Al Jazeera, "Yes, there has not been any reform. Police brutality exists till today," while maintaining that his organization has reported "scores" of cases of police brutality over this past year.

During October 2020's protests, Nigerian authorities turned a blind eye and insisted that the youth-led movement was anti-government and intended to overthrow the administration of current President Muhammadu Buhari. During a press conference on Wednesday, in an attempt to discredit the protests, Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed hailed the Nigerian army and police forces for the role they played in the #EndSARS protests, going as far as to say that the Lekki Toll Massacre was a "phantom massacre with no bodies." These brazen claims came while protesters continued to gather in several major cities across the country. The minister even went on to shame CNN, Nigerian favorite DJ Switch as well as Amnesty International, for reporting deaths at Lekki. Mohammed pushed even further by saying, "The six soldiers and 37 policemen who died during the EndSARS protests are human beings with families, even though the human rights organizations and CNN simply ignored their deaths, choosing instead to trumpet a phantom massacre."

With the reports of abuse still coming out of the West African nation, an end to the struggle is not in sight. During Wednesday's protest, a journalist for the Daily Post was detained by Nigerian forces while covering the demonstrations.

According to the BBC, additional police units have been set up in the place of SARS, though some resurfacing SARS officers and allies claim to still be around.

Young Nigerians relied heavily on social media during the protests and returned this year to voice their opinions around the first anniversary of an experience that few will be lucky enough to forget.

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