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South Africa's Boldest Women in Music on the Ultimate 'Girl Power' Anthems

We asked some of our favourite artists in South Africa what they're listening to this Women’s Month.

Women’s Month is officially underway in South Africa. It’s a time to reflect on the phenomenal, kick-ass women in our lives and throughout history. We asked some of the boldest women in South African music to share their ultimate girl power anthems. Here’s what your favourite artists are listening to this Women’s Month.


Dope Saint Jude

Nicki Minaj – “Did It On Em”

“Naturally, I selected a track by Nicki Minaj. This song is totally subversive. My favourite line is ‘If I had a dick I would pull it out and piss on em.’ I like the way Nicki subverts the masculine hip hop archetype––and you can tell she is being cheeky in her delivery. She flips masculinity on its head and demonstrates the bravado we expect males in hip hop to be spitting. This track makes me feel powerful in a way that is totally unapologetic. When I listen to this, I feel sexy, feminine and like I have zero f*cks to give.”

Yvonne Chaka Chaka

Yvonne Chaka Chaka – “W(ell) O(rganised) Man (WOMAN)”

"My choice of song is one that I wrote entitled 'W(ell) O(rganised) Man (WOMAN).' It is from my 2012 album Amazing Man. This song is about the WOMAN. She is strong, she is vulnerable, she is assertive and she is humble. Women are taking up more powerful spaces in our society and as a woman, I am always inspired by the tenacity and strength of the many women who have gone against all odds to make their voices known in the world. This song is for all of us women!"

Manteiga (of Batuk)

Osunlade ft. Nadirah Shakoor – “Pride”

“This song was released in 2002 and I remember how madly in love I was with it when it came out. Everybody listening to soulful house at the time will speak of how huge this song was. It speaks of prides as if we are strong powerful lions and lionesses....it speaks of being proud, of being black, of being a woman, of being a goddess, a flower, a sun. It is the kind of song that builds me up inside. I've seen both men and women sing this song out loud, and it's usually sung with their eyes tightly shut. Deep emotion for those few minutes. I roar when I hear this song! I fall in love with it each time I hear it and it makes me extra proud of who we are as women and as black phenomenal forces of nature, living in our PRIDE.”

Zaki Ibrahim

Laura Mvula – “Phenomenal Woman”

"Video filmed in Bo-Kaap Cape Town and it reminds me a lot of my childhood. I don't know who directed it, but it looks like something Zandi Tisani would do.

I was put on to Laura by one of my besties a few years ago and she told me that she reminded her of me..so I didn't check her out. lol ..not right away at least. I think most artists are a bit weirded out when people tell them they are 'like' someone else.

When I did, it was a beautiful thing. I could sort of see what she meant. I suppose it could be in that we write similarly and it seems that we might listen for and might be looking to say the same things in our music. This woman is not only fiercely gorgeous, but she inspires other woman by just being herself.

This song belongs at the top of everyones' playlist (who feels to slay), for getting ready for the day, a big meeting, big night, a new date, a new year, a new life.

‘OH MY MY She Fly, OH MY She Fight!’ Love this song, LOVE this woman!"

Toya Delazy

Neneh Cherry – “Woman”

“The title says it all. I resonate with song because I have been in her position. Women are powerful! And were it not for woman, no man would exist. I love how she paints that picture in a loving way. Whether you are a guy or a girl you can't help but appreciate the women in you life after listening to this very empowering song.

My favorite line : ‘but I'm the kind of woman that was made to last, they tried erasing me, but they couldn't wipe out my past.’”

Simphiwe Dana

Busi Mhlongo

“She embodied the ultimate woman for me. Both soft and strong. Both highly discerning and consciously naive. Always seeking the best experience from life, without taking anything away from anyone. Addicted to the joy of giving.”

Patty Monroe

Godessa – “Nguwe”

“The reasons behind my choice is a reminder of the endless possibilities a woman is capable of. It talks of how man flows through the belly of her kindness and yet is still aware of the savageness she brings. ‘Just like a menstrual cycle the goddess will return.’ So it's in our best interests to respect all women.”

Manthe Ribane

Zaki Ibrahim ft. Hallie Switzer – “Oh Love”

“Zaki Ibrahim has played a big role in my life. She inspired me so much to be where I am. The reason I picked ‘Oh Love’ is because we love love so much, that sometimes love does not love us back. But the beauty of it is not always finding someone to love you, but also finding self-love. And just being solid with yourself, and finding love within yourself. The more you love yourself, the more you’ll find someone who will truly love you for who you are. Even if you’re in a relationship, the only way for someone to love you is when they see how much you love yourself and take care of yourself.”

Okzharp ft. Manthe Ribane – “Sizzr”

“The second song is my song ‘Sizzr,’ which I worked on with Okzharp. At that time in my life I was transcending into a new me. I was ready for it. And I had to realise what I’m here for. And this song is such a motivational song. Not only to me, but to most people that have heard it. We got to Hot 99 on YFM top one for three weeks, and for people to even still play it now, for me it’s so important to be part of something that is so motivational. I don’t know how many people really love this song, but I trust that whoever listens to it they can get up in the morning and it can really make a difference, a positive difference in their lives.”

Malonku (Nonku Phiri + Maloon TheBoom) – “The Answer”

“The third and last song is by Nonku Phiri. I mean, who doesn’t love Nonku Phiri? Her voice is such a healing power. She’s got so much power within her voice. And I’m so proud of her. She’s a good friend of mine, and growing up and seeing her growth and listening to her music really helped me to transcend into my own chapter within music.”

Moonchild Sanelly

Moonchild Sanelly – “VUMA”

“The song came to me as I'm always imagining or hearing sexual deprivation stories mainly from liberated independent women with no voice in the bedroom only because they are polite. Afraid to make their partners inadequate. The point to this song is that all humans matter in a relationship. Our sexual appetite isn't limited. We matter. The topic gets broad because I recognise homosexual relationships too hence I've specified 'partner' because we are such a diverse people to be limited or write limited to SEXUALITY when gumans go thru same experiences thru different experiences at different times.

Moral of the story is we all have needs and I hope my partner can accommodate because I want nothing better than being his freak!!!”

Push Push

Moonchild Sanelly – “Mali”

“Moonchild's ‘Mali’ is my ultimate feel-good song. It's one of those songs that no matter how many times I've had it on repeat, it never feels overplayed.”

Babes Wodumo ft. Mampintsha – “Wololo”

“‘Wololo’ by Babes Wodumo is another track that brings me all the good feels! Babes Wodumo is an incredible artist and I can't wait to see and hear more from her this year. I'm playing a show with her on the 27th in Joburg, alongside a host of other amazing South African women.”

Elo

Blood Orange – “By Ourselves”

“There's a line in that record that reassures me how important I am and how every woman is amazing. How I'm amazing and should acknowledge the light and strength of another without competing with them or allowing myself to get intimidated by her strength, her beauty, her success etc.

That song comes [with] hits like the sermon I was never taught as a young girl going through some hard crap trying to [figure] out what being a woman is and constantly trying to learn that from TV programs. I'm commissioned to succeed to be wealthy, to be healthy, to be whole so that when I lack nothing I can go to that girl with nobody and team up with her and assist her to get in formation so she too touch another.”

Kyla-Rose Smith (of Freshlyground)

Patti Smith – “Piss Factory”

“I just love the hardcore attitude of this song. It’s not a ‘respect me, because I am a woman’ kinda song, it’s more like ‘I know exactly what I want, I see the world for what it is and I am not gonna let it get me down!’

This song originated as a poem written by Smith about the time she spent working in a baby buggy factory, and she’s expressing her assurance that she would not let this experience kill her ambitions. ‘I refuse to lose, I refuse to fall down’ This woman is just a total badass!”

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Introducing OkayAfrica's 100 Women 2020 List

Celebrating African Women Laying the Groundwork for the Future

It would not be hyperbole to consider the individuals we're honoring for OkayAfrica's 100 Women 2020 list as architects of the future.

This is to say that these women are building infrastructure, both literally and metaphorically, for future generations in Africa and in the Diaspora. And they are doing so intentionally, reaching back, laterally, and forward to bridge gaps and make sure the steps they built—and not without hard work, mines of microaggressions, and challenges—are sturdy enough for the next ascent.

In short, the women on this year's list are laying the groundwork for other women to follow. It's what late author and American novelist Toni Morrison would call your "real job."

"I tell my students, 'When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else."

And that's what inspired us in the curation of this year's list. Our honorees use various mediums to get the job done—DJ's, fashion designers, historians, anthropologists, and even venture capitalists—but each with the mission to clear the road ahead for generations to come. Incredible African women like Eden Ghebreselassie, a marketing lead at ESPN who created a non-profit to fight energy poverty in Eritrea; or Baratang Miya, who is quite literally building technology clubs for disadvantaged youth in South Africa.

There are the builds that aren't physically tangible—movements that inspire women to show up confidently in their skin, like Enam Asiama's quest to normalize plus-sized bodies and Frédérique (Freddie) Harrel's push for Black and African women to embrace the kink and curl of their hair.

And then there are those who use their words to build power, to take control of the narrative, and to usher in true inclusion and equity. Journalists, (sisters Nikki and Lola Ogunnaike), a novelist (Oyinkan Braithwaite), a media maven (Yolisa Phahle), and a number of historians (Nana Oforiatta Ayim, Leïla Sy) to name a few.

In a time of uncertainty in the world, there's assuredness in the mission to bring up our people. We know this moment of global challenge won't last. It is why we are moving forward to share this labor of love with you, our trusted and loyal audience. We hope that this list serves as a beacon for you during this moment—insurance that future generations will be alright. And we have our honorees to thank for securing that future.

EXPERIENCE 100 WOMEN 2020

The annual OkayAfrica 100 Women List is our effort to acknowledge and uplift African women, not only as a resource that has and will continue to enrich the world we live in, but as a group that deserves to be recognized, reinforced and treasured on a global scale. In the spirit of building infrastructure, this year's list will go beyond the month of March (Women's History Month in America) and close in September during Women's Month in South Africa.

100 women 2020

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Burna Boy 'African Giant' money cover art by Sajjad.

The 20 Essential Burna Boy Songs

We comb through the Nigerian star's hit-filled discography to select 20 essential songs from the African Giant.

Since bursting onto the scene in 2012 with his chart-topping single, "Like to Party," and the subsequent release of his debut album, L.I.F.E - Leaving an Impact for eternity, Burna Boy has continued to prove time and again that he is a force to be reckoned with.

The African Giant has, over the years, built a remarkable musical identity around the ardent blend of dancehall, hip-hop, reggae, R&B, and afropop to create a game-changing genre he calls afro-fusion. The result has been top tier singles, phenomenal collaborations, and global stardom—with several accolades under his belt which include a Grammy nomination and African Giant earning a spot on many publications' best albums of 2019.

We thought to delve into his hit-filled discography to bring you The 20 Essential Burna Boy Songs.

This list is in no particular order.

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Davido's Fiancé, Chioma Rowland, Tests Positive For Coronavirus

The Nigerian musician made the announcement via a heartfelt Instagram post on Friday.

Chioma Rowland, the fiancé of star Nigerian musician Davido, has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The artist shared the news via Instagram on Friday, writing that he and 31 people on his team decided to get tested after returning back to Lagos from abroad. While he and the rest of his team received negative results, Rowland's test came back positive.

"Unfortunately, my fiancé's results came back positive while all 31 others tested have come back negative including our baby," wrote Davido. He added that they both showed no systems, but would be self-isolating as a safety measure.

"We are however doing perfectly fine and she is even still yet to show any symptoms whatsoever. She is now being quarantined and I have also gone into full self isolation for the minimum 14 days," he added. "I want to use this opportunity to thank you all for your endless love and prayers in advance and to urge everyone to please stay at home as we control the spread of this virus! Together we can beat this!"

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Juls Drops New Music Video for 'Soweto Blues' Featuring Busiswa and Jaz Karis

The Ghanaian-British producer heads to South Africa for the music video for the amapiano-inspired track.

Heavyweight Ghanaian-British producer Juls shares his first offering of 2020, and it does not disappoint.

The producer enlists South African music star Busiswa and London's Jaz Karis for the jazz-inflected "Soweto Blues," which also boasts elements of South Africa's dominant electronic sound, Amapiano. The slow-burner features airy vocals from Karis who features prominently on the 3-minute track, while Busiswa delivers a standout bridge in her signature high-energy tone.

"The song dubbed "Soweto Blues" is a song depicting the love, sadness and fun times that Soweto tends to offer its people," read the song's YouTube description. The video premiered earlier today on The Fader. "The energy is amazing, the people are lovely and I've found a second home — especially the vibrancy of Soweto," the producer told The Fader about his trip to Soweto for the making of the video "Jaz Karis is singing a love song, which is symbolic of my new love of Soweto and I'm honoured to have worked with Busiswa whom I have been a fan of for a long time."

Fittingly, the music video sees Juls traveling through the township, taking in its sights and energy. The video, directed by Nigel Stöckl, features striking shots of the popular area and its skilled pantsula dancers.

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