1Beyonce Enlists African Artists and Producers for ‘The Lion King: The Gift’ Album
In connection with the release of Disney’s much-anticipated ‘Lion King’ film, Beyonce has curated an album heavily influenced by the sounds of Africa and including numerous African artists. Spirit, is part of The Lion King: The Gift album produced by the American star, and will be used as a soundtrack to Disney’s new version of the classic movie Lion King. The song’s intro features words in Kiswahili, that are saluting the king. The album which is set to be released on July 19, the date of the global release of the film, will feature the work of several African producers, according to Beyonce. ‘‘It was important that the music was not only performed by the most interesting and talented artists but also produced by the best African producers. Authenticity and heart were important to me. This love letter to Africa highlights the setting of the film, rooted in African culture and wondrous narratives, steeped in African influences from various corners of the continent, with unexpected collaborations, pulsating rhythms and crisp production that celebrate the African diaspora.”
2Max-Gordon Stoffberg on Community Empowerment and Creativity
In an effort to empower creatives in South Africa’s Cape Flats, Max-Gordon Stoffberg founded Question Mark Kaffy, an online platform for artists to network and showcase their work. Stoffberg was first inspired to start Question Mark Kaffy after he collaborated with co-founder Zen on a book, called Inner Child/grownUp World. According to Stoffberg, the book deals with overcoming circumstance through self-discovery. The book sparked the idea for what the website is now. “Promoting togetherness is what Question Mark Kaffy is about. “It’s about interconnectedness and about us as South Africans coming together,” he says. Most of the people who visit the website are students from various universities in Cape Town and specifically from the art departments. But Stoffberg and Zen also want to bridge that gap between privileged students and those who don’t have access to schooling.
SOURCES: DESIGN INDABA
3African Priests Are Now the Future of the Catholic Church in America
While Catholicism has had its setbacks in the US, it continues to grow significantly across Africa. Thanks to an influx of Africans to the priesthood, they are also becoming the new face of the church in America. The number of American-born priests has dropped dramatically in the course of the last 50 years, and foreign born priests are increasingly becoming an important part of the fabric of the Catholic church in America. Catholicism is growing faster in Africa than in any region in the world. In 1910, there were approximately 1 million Catholics in Africa. Today the continent is home to more than 170 million Catholics or 16% of the faith, according to the Pew Research Center. There are already more Christians in Africa than any other continent and by 2060 six of the countries with the top ten largest Christian populations will be in Africa, up from three in 2015.
SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA
4Dr. Senit Mario: Promoting the Colors of Ethiopia Through Fashion
Balancing her work as a sociologist, Dr. Senit Mario works to promote Ethiopia via her colorful fashion collections. Born and raised in Wolaita, Sodo in southern Ethiopia, she left Ethiopia ten years ago and lived in Kenya and Uganda before finally settling in Rome, Italy, where she currently lives. Dr Senait’s hard works in fashion and humanitarian areas have earned her international wards. In 2016, she was awarded the top 40 women of Africa in MICE award in Ghana; in 2017 she was named UN Peace Ambassador; and this year she was bestowed with an Honorary Doctorate degree from Nigeria for her works in promoting African culture. Her recent fashion show was staged in her hometown in Wolaita, Sodo. Dubbed “Peace Fashion Show”, it featured the works of eight different Ethiopian fashion designers.
SOURCES: ADDIS STANDARD
5Lakin Ogunbanwo’s Series Captures Nigerian Weddings
Ogunbanwo, who is from Lagos, says through this series, which means “come look at me,” the photographer reflects on the nuance of identity — that of the brides and his home country. The exhibit was recently on view at the Whatiftheworld gallery in Cape Town. Weddings in Nigeria have swelled into a thriving industry, with massive guest lists and color-coordinated wedding parties. A wedding is “very loud, very grand, and it’s a huge celebration,” where families and communities come together, Ogunbanwo said. Often there are two ceremonies, one with more traditional attire and ceremonies, and another more akin to Western nuptials. Ogunbanwo points out that all of the ceremonial pomp reinforces an expectation of femininity, one that supersedes the brides’ individuality. And while the women in Ogunbanwo’s portraits are feminine, they are also self-possessed, idiosyncratic, and queenly. The photographer looked to Renaissance-era paintings of royal women for inspiration in mood, gesture, and lighting.
6Ghana Reaches Out to Descendants of Slaves in ‘Year of Return’ Campaign
As part of a new marketing campaign, Ghana is aiming to promote tourism and investment by encouraging members of the diaspora to return home. In the year that marks 400 years since the first enslaved Africans were forcibly taken abroad, Ghana – one of their key departure hubs on the continent – is calling their descendants home to visit, live, and invest. As part of the year-long campaign, 200 African-American and African-Caribbean people who live in Ghana will be granted citizenship. One big-name recent returnee is wrestling champion Kofi Kingston, the first African-born wrestler to win the World Wrestling Entertainment’s (WWE) top prize. Kingston was born in Kumasi, in Ghana’s Ashanti region and moved to the US at age two. He came home in May 2019, accompanied by his mother.
SOURCES: DEUTSCHE WELLE
7Top Lesser Known Safari Parks In Africa
With scenic landscapes, amazing culture, delightful cuisines, and an abundance of wildlife, Africa is a destination that will surely amaze and inspire any visitor. The more popular safari destinations like the Serengeti in Tanzania, Masai Mara in Kenya, and the Kruger Park in South Africa continue to enjoy an influx of visitors from all over the world every year. A true testament to their grandeur and greatness. But what about the lesser known parks across Africa? They are also worth visiting in their own right and can provide a unique experience that makes you appreciate the majesty of the African continent even more. Tanzania’s Lake Manyara National Park, Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Lower Zambezi National Park in Zambia offer great views of the African plains and wildlife.
8The Other Side of Marrakesh
Marrakesh is a city that fizzes with life, where the default-blue of the sky sings against peach-gold architecture. Whether it’s your first visit or your 15th, the technicolor souqs and the street theatrics of Djemaa El Fna, the city’s main square that’s perpetually filled with movement no matter the time of day, exert a magnetic pull. But there are many other surprises to discover in this mysterious, magical city, and nowhere else quite lends itself so much to happenstance, to getting lost in the tumult of the crowd, diving off into hidden alleyways and uncovering the unexpected.
SOURCES: LONELY PLANET
9Travel Company Turns Phrase “Go back to Africa” on its Head
According to social media analytics platform NetBase, the phrase is used over 4500 times a month online, usually in a derogatory manner. However, the a multi-platform travel company Black & Abroad, dedicated to world experiences for the modern black traveler decided to flip this on its head. Partnered with data-driven creative agency FCB/SIX, it hijacks the phrase and blacks-out hate-fueled Twitter posts and reframes them with images showing the diversity of all 54 African countries. The Google vision fueled system also scans faces for people of color encouraging others to browse through countries and see black travelers vacationing across Africa.
SOURCES: AFRICA NEWS
10The Wavescape Surf and Ocean Festival is Ready to Hit the Durban Shore
Of the 180 screenings at this year’s Durban International Film Festival, the Wavescape collective will comprise a cool 19 of those films and documentaries. Film titles worth looking out for include Can’t Steal Our Vibe, set in Cape Town and covering how surfing meets humanity; Emocean, described as a love-letter to the ocean; Satori Film, an introspective ‘big-wave’ drama about the surf industry; and Nordurland, about three friends who ride some remote waves in the stark Arctic Circle surfscape. This year the Wavescape festival will also be hosting Slide Night, an event that usually takes places around the end of the year, featuring informative talks and discussions on pressing matters such as science, sustainability, adventure, and activism.