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Chadwick Boseman Tribute

The world came to a screeching halt on Friday 29th of August 2020 as the news of Chadwick Boseman’s death broke.

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Chadwick Boseman Tribute Asante Afrika
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Hazel Lifa

The world came to a screeching halt on Friday 29th of August 2020 as the news of Chadwick Boseman’s death broke. The actor passed away at his home in Los Angeles. He was 43. His publicist had confirmed the news, stating that the star’s wife, Taylor Simone Ledward and his family were by his side in his final hours. 

Boseman received his diagnosis of stage 3 colon cancer in 2016, which he kept under wraps. The beloved actor carried on with his career starring in the marvel blockbuster “Black Panther” which he is best known for in 2017. The regal actor brought the long-awaited first-ever black superhero to life. Since attending Howard University, where he worked at an African bookstore as an undergraduate, Boseman had always admired the character T’Challa in Marvel’s “Black Panther” comics. Boseman embraced the role’s symbolic significance with devotion; he lobbied for characters to speak in authentic African accents and led on-set cast discussions about ancient African symbolism and spirituality. His amazing work in “Black Panther” brought together black people from all over the world, uniting to celebrate history in the making.

Chadwick Boseman Tribute Asante Afrika
Taylor Simone Ledward and her husband, Chadwick Boseman

A private figure who shied away from the Hollywood limelight, the star rarely revealed details about his personal life. Boseman’s talent gained recognition rather; he was 35 when he appeared in his first prominent role as Jackie Robinson in “42”. He quickly made up for lost time starring in a string of star-making performances in major biopics as James Brown in “Get On Up” and as Thurgood Marshall in “Marshall”. Boseman’s creative versatility, old-fashioned gravitas and modesty transformed him into one of his generation’s most sought-after leading men.

News of his passing enticed widespread shock and grief and many celebrities are paying tribute to the star. According to Martin Luther King III, a human-rights activist and the eldest son of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the actor had “brought history to life on the silver screen” in his portrayals of pioneering Black leaders.

Even the political world paid tribute; former vice president and current Democratic presidential nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr. stated in a Twitter post, “Inspired generations and showed them they can be anything they want — even superheroes.”

Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton dedicated his win in the Belgian Grand Prix to Boseman and his family. After setting the fastest time during the qualifying session on Saturday, Hamilton stood atop his car and crossed his arms over his chest in a ‘Wakanda Forever’ salute.

Zimbabwean actress Danai Gurira also posted a moving tribute to Boseman on social media which began, “How do you honour a king?” Gurira played Dora Milaje member Okoye, special guard to Boseman’s character, King T’Challa in the Black Panther.

Chadwick Boseman Tribute Asante Afrika
Danai Gurira and Chadwick Boseman attend the 2018 Film Independent Spirit Awards on March 3, 2018 in Santa Monica, California.
Chadwick Boseman Tribute Asante Afrika
Danai Gurira Tribute to Chadwick Boseman

Kenyan-Mexican actress, Lupita Nyong’o, wrote a touching tribute to her “Black Panther” co-star, saying the actor’s death from colon cancer “doesn’t make sense.” Nyong’o played Boseman’s King T’Challa’s love interest Nakia, and while she says she didn’t know her costar long, he will stay with her always.

The Walt Disney Company now faces the dilemma of how to continue the blockbuster franchise, “Black Panther” without Boseman, if at all. The sequel had been scheduled for release in 2022 although filming had yet to start. Fans have quickly taken to Twitter demanding that Disney not recast the role. The studio is yet to respond.

Chadwick Aaron Boseman will be remembered; a soaring figure in the black community. He came, he saw, he conquered; paving the way for more black stars in spaces unattainable before his audacity.

Rest well our King!

Wakanda Forever! 

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Entertainment

Up Close with Austria-based Music Giant, Vusa Mkhaya

Originality and fluency in one’s mother language, in most instances, and packaging music in the usual “African way”, is the key to success.

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Up Close with Austria-based Music Giant, Vusa Mkhaya Asante Afrika
Vusa Mkhaya
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AFRICAN music is regarded as unique in many ways. Some believe it has that soothing factor in it, to such an extent that they can hardly complete listening to a proper session without a song or two from the motherland. The unanswered question is why? Well, according to Zimbabwean-born musician, Vusa Mkhaya, born Vusumuzi Ndlovu, African musicians have made their music appreciated worldwide because they dedicate their time to producing original music using their native languages.

Mkhaya, now based in Vienna, Austria, says music enthusiasts overseas yearn for love, and appreciate the music from Africa despite them being in a sea of international music pieces produced by acclaimed artists, some of them winners of international music awards and accolades. He believes that trying to imitate these artists and musicians while one hails from Africa in the manner in which the international artists write, sing, and produce their music, is the greatest undoing of some African artists – a habit he says should die with the old horses in the music industry.

Originality and fluency in one’s mother language, in most instances, and packaging music in the usual “African way”, is the key to success.

“…as artists, we tend to enjoy imitating those artists who are deemed to be the big names in the international music scene.”

Up Close with Austria-based Music Giant, Vusa Mkhaya Asante Afrika
Up Close with Austria-based Music Giant, Vusa Mkhaya Asante Afrika

Says Mkhaya: “The challenge we face in our music is that, as artists, we tend to enjoy imitating those artists who are deemed to be the big names in the international music scene. We do so in the hope that we would also be able to land that big boy or big girl status that those we want to copy would have achieved. I believe that in this business, it does not work like that. When Vusa Mkhaya sings in his native isiNdebele, isiZulu, tshiVenda, seSotho, Shangaan and other indigenous languages, he should continue to write songs in those languages. You need to use that language that you are comfortable with. Don’t be Chris Brown, Puff Daddy or Beenie Man. Those are the household names in their part of the world and they are good at what they do, using the language they are fluent in. Using your native language, one is able to get invited to collaborations with the big names because some people admire the style that we have as Africans. They do not have it nor can they fake it. That is why they hire you to work with them. He argues that imitation does not usually show the world the true picture of an artist.”

“If we imitate the likes of Usher and the many other artists, those in the better placed music community overseas will not invite us to partner with them because they already have that style that we want to try and copy and in a better version than what we will be trying to do. “But if you are your own natural self as Vusa Mkhaya, the producers for those big name artists will see the talent in you and look for you to do the collaborations with these big name artists and that is how one breaks into the international market. Originality is the main key,” Mkhaya says.

While most of the artists who have apparently “made it” in the music industry using African yardsticks and measurements have seemingly made it through their natural and God-given talent and endowment, Mkhaya argues that enrolling for music lessons and classes is one way that should help the regional artists polish up their act. “When you go on an international tour, one does not need to be distracted in what they do. You only need to copy some good things there. On our first international tour as Insingizi Emnyama from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, as way back as 1995, we discovered that in some other places, artists took music more seriously such that they would even go to school to learn music and what it is.

“Some people thought you could just jump onto the stage and sing or perform. For those overseas, music was serious business. They would go to school so that they studied and understood the business in and out. I would say that determination to also understand the business, having come from a Zimbabwean background, forced us to also enroll for the music lessons as well. That decision was a master stroke as it helped us a lot as we were now able to work with other musicians and filmmakers who would time and again engage us to produce music for other productions,” Mkhaya says.

Having spent time in Austria and having spread his tentacles in the music industry, Mkhaya has realized the fruits of his sweat and can now look back and smile as he reminisces and re-visits the life and hard times gone by.

“I have worked with so many filmmakers on quite a number of productions from my home studio here in Austria. In 2018, a production that I did music for was nominated for an Oscar award. That production, entitled Batu Wote (All of us) was a joint production between a German and a Kenyan production company. Unfortunately, the Oscar was won by another production that had been nominated at the same time.”

“I was also involved in the production of a song that was featured in a South African production called Mia and the White Lion. These are some of the many projects I have worked on. In my career, I have learnt a lot of things that have shaped the Vusa Mkhaya brand as it has come to be known worldwide. One of the key lessons that artists, upcoming and seasoned ones alike, need to know is that there is a time when one has to clearly distinguish between what they can and what they cannot do. Once you are clear about what you can and what you can’t do, you are able to bring on board those that can do those things that you cannot do and you have to appreciate and embrace them as they are able to contribute towards the success that you yearn for without taking the glory from you. Team work is important in the music business,” he says.

Mkhaya also recently took to Twitter to share some wise and insightful advice to talented and upcoming musicians who would also like to make it outside Zimbabwe;

Up Close with Austria-based Music Giant, Vusa Mkhaya Asante Afrika

Interviewed by “City Man” Nkululeko Sibanda

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Art

Art of the Ordinary – Contemporary Art

How is contemporary art made? What is its cultural value? Where is it displayed?

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Art of the Ordinary - Contemporary Art Asante Afrika
Art of the Ordinary - Contemporary Art
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by Ntuthuko Mpofu

I was not one of those people who understood the art industry and its policies, but I really wanted to involve myself in the art world; I felt there was a lot I could do there. I had no clue where to start, but I knew I had to learn. My solution to understanding or discovering the beauty of art was to walk into an art gallery or museum. I explored by visiting my local Art Gallery for the first time. It was a defining moment – my first contemporary art experience, as I was pushing myself towards boundaries.

It may sound a little counter-intuitive, but do bear with me; I was left with no choice but to do some research during my exhibition experience. I read the artist’s biography and the artist’s statement. I can’t recall the artist’s name, but I remember that he was a contemporary artist based in Moscow. What is contemporary art? Is there any economic or financial generation? How does it differ from the art of the previous generation, how can I approach it? How is contemporary art made? What is its cultural value? Where is it displayed? “In galleries of course…” after getting the clue. How does an individual begin to make it relevant in our own lives and experiences? Who then makes contemporary art? Kudzanai Chiurai, Gareth Nyandoro, Richard Mudariki, Portia Zvavahera, Rashid Jogee, Bukhosi Nyathi and Israel Israel. These are some of the artists whose work I have managed to interact with.

How does art remain contemporary? What is the relationship between art and its time? The answers to that, we shall continue to explore. Art is always in dialogue with its time and thus will always be a part of its present reality. The language around contemporary art is daunting, while the art objects themselves can be mystifying. Times are changing but is the world of art adapting to reflect the change?

What is Contemporary Art?

It is artwork produced during the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Oxford defines it as “Art that is of the moment or the very recent past, in distinction to modern art, which is a more all-embracing term and can be used to cover many of the avant-garde movements of the 20th century as well as art that is contemporary...” Most scholars would define it as an art of recent years and the present day, being work including that which was produced after the modern art movement to the present day. However, modern artwork is not just art produced during a specific time frame. This style of art is difficult to define because the work is of a wide variety.

Artists of the past were often influenced by religion; today’s artists can be inspired by much more and the work often grows out of their own interests. The work they do is reflective and can reflect a diversity of narratives or perspectives. This then makes this type of art have many points of view or objectives. Contemporary Artists’ work may be influenced by their culture, globalisation, and capitalism. Common themes that might be examined include sexuality, identity, technology, globalisation, migration, urbanisation and popular trends. This makes Contemporary Art a complex examination of the present day. The advantage of this type of art is that one can empty his thoughts or state of emotions, than follow a common theme or subject. It does not limit an artist to explore ‘’orthodox’ ‘concepts like religion. The coronavirus impact will definitely be one of the subjects that will be common in most spaces.

Art of the Ordinary - Contemporary Art Asante Afrika
Title: Achtung! Men Ahead
Acrylic on Fabiano Paper
Artist: Work extract from Ivy and Alison Co.
In post-colonial Zimbabwe, Gender-Based Violence has been continuously used by men as a weapon to intimidate women and to cause physical harm and psychological damage. A lot still needs to be done by both the government and the citizens to curb GBV. 
*Achtung is a German word which means ‘Caution’.
Art of the Ordinary - Contemporary Art Asante Afrika
Title: Waiting
Acrylic on canvas
Artist: Work extract from Ivy and Alison Co.
This work seeks to demystify the perceived isolation of the boy child as an object around which toxic masculinity evolves. The sharp edges of paint and paper present a texture that drapes the figure with hardship and affliction.

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