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The Senseless Loss of Zimbabwean Actress, Anne Nhira

Anne was attacked while descending a mountain where she had gone for morning prayers with her brother Juan.

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The Late Anne Nhira
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Hazel Lifa


2021 claims yet another African talent that was Anne Nhira. Nhira was an actress, model, talent manager and film producer who found success in the early 90s through her role as Vimbai on the Zimbabwean hit soapie, Studio 263. Nhira succumbed to injuries sustained during a robbery in Bedford View, South Africa on the 11th of March 2021.

According to Nhira’s brother, Juan Nhira, “She sustained injuries on her chest area, rib cage and back during a robbery on Monday afternoon (8th March) in Bedford View, South Africa. She was only 38years of age.” Anne was attacked while descending a mountain where she had gone for morning prayers with her brother Juan.

Nhira featured in projects like South African film, ‘The Rapist’, popular soapie, ‘Zabalaza’ and soapie, “Ndafunga Dande” where she got to take part in the behind-the-camera aspect of production. Staying true to her musical upbringing, Nhira tried her hand at music in 2013 with her single, ‘The One’.

She worked up a storm in 2017 when she publically criticized the Zimbabwean Ministry of Tourism for hiring Zodwa Wabantu to perform at the Harare International Carnival. Nhira managed to get the respective authority’s attention, which led to Zodwa losing the job. Nhira also launched Anne Studios International, a company that specialises in talent scouting and management.

The Government of Zimbabwe has granted Anne a state-assisted funeral because of her immense contributions in the arts industry.

Nhira’s death is one of those acts of senseless violence that didn’t need to end in death. Go well Anne, we appreciate all the fond memories you afforded us through your work, particularly on Studio 263.

#RIPAnneNhira

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Entertainment

The Untimely Loss Of Media Mogul, Shona Ferguson

Mr. Ferguson’s passing was due to Covid-19 related complications, and not a heart operation as reported in the media.”

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The Late Media Powerhouse, Shona Ferguson
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Hazel Lifa

Actor, producer and media powerhouse, Shona Ferguson, has passed on. He was 47.

Ferguson Films released a statement confirming the news, and it read: “It is with great sadness that we confirm the passing of Mr. Shona Ferguson. He passed away at noon today (Friday, July 30th 2021). Mr. Ferguson’s passing was due to Covid-19 related complications, and not a heart operation as reported in the media.”

The Untimely Loss Of Media Mogul, Shona Ferguson Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Shona Ferguson

Fondly known as ‘Uncle Sho’ within the South African media industry, Ferguson and his wife, fellow actor and producer, Connie Ferguson, founded Ferguson Films in 2010.

The Untimely Loss Of Media Mogul, Shona Ferguson Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Shona Ferguson and wife, Connie
The Untimely Loss Of Media Mogul, Shona Ferguson Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Shona Ferguson

The ‘Kings of Joburg’ star was an African creative whose work not only blessed us with quality entertainment, but created opportunities for so many. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family as they deal with their loss.

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Entertainment

What’s Trending In The Entertainment Industry – July Edition

Zimbabwean multi-award winning author and filmmaker, Tsitsi Dangarembga recently won the 2021 PEN Pinter annual literature award.

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Image: Tsitsi Dangarembga
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Hazel Lifa

MUSIC

£4m Fund for Southern African Creative and Culture Organisations

What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - July Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Sound Connects Fund Flyer

The German Goethe-Institut and Music in Africa Foundation have teamed up to start a Sound Connects Fund worth £4m. The fund is aimed at supporting the works of cultural and creative groups in the SADC region. According to Music in Africa Foundation’s director, Eddie Hatitye, qualifying applicants are from Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

The grant will be awarded annually from 2021 to 2024 with recipients receiving from £35,000 to £180,000. The first round of applications is open and will close midnight on the 25th of July 2021.

Another Win for Burna Boy

What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - July Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Burna Boy BET Awards

Burna Boy is adding yet another accolade to his name. The Nigerian artist has bagged yet another BET award for Best International Act, making him the only African act to win the award three consecutive times. Burna Boy beat heavy hitters like Wizkid, Youssoupha and Young T & Bugsey to mention a few. It is definitely Burna Boy’s time, with his fifth studio album, ‘Twice as Tall’ earning over 5m streams worldwide within its first hour of release. ‘Twice as Tall’ debuted at number one on Billboard’s US World Album chart and has earned a Grammy Award for Best Global music Album, making history as the first Nigerian artist to get back to back nominations in a particular category.

MOVIES/TV

Miss South Africa pageant to allow transgender participants

What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - July Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Lehlogonolo Machaba, the first transgender women to compete in a Miss SA pageant

The search is on for a new Miss South Africa and this time around the pageant organisers have announced that this year transgender participants will be allowed to enter. The development has earned the pageant much applause following former Miss South Africa, Zozibini Tunzi (2019) winning the title as a black woman with a darker complexion and short natural hair; she went on to win Miss Universe. In order to be eligible for international competitions, any transgender participants need to have a valid South African national ID indicating their sex is female.

Animation Show Written in Africa by Africans

The series ‘Junior des idées en or’ follows the daily adventures of a group of African schoolchildren as they explore the world around them. According to Christophe Guignee, cartoonist, screenwriter and co-founder of Maison Junior, “In Season 1 it was French screenwriters who made this series, now we are turning it around: it is African screenwriters who will talk about the daily life of African children…”

“The training is interesting because it allows us to offer content that is modelled on our realities…” says Odilon Edjedji. According to Anais Kere a screenwriter, journalist and film critic, “In Africa, it is not easy to train in cinema. And as for scriptwriting, it is not easy, because training is rare.”

Atlantics

Atlantics is French-Senegalese director, Mati Diop’s debut feature. The film follows Ada and Souleiman’s love story as it dives into other important topics like the dire refugee situation, exploitation of the poor by the rich and the fetishization of the virgin girl and the institution of marriage. The film has been nominated for a slew of awards and won over ten awards. One can watch the film on Netflix.

BOOKS

Tsitsi Dangarembwa Scoops Esteemed Prize

What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - July Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Tsitsi Dangarembga

Zimbabwean multi-award winning author and filmmaker, Tsitsi Dangarembga won the 2021 PEN Pinter annual literature award last month. The coveted prize is awarded annually in memory of Nobel Laureate, Harold Pinter. The award honours her commendable literary works.

Dangarembga’s work advocating for social, political and economic change in Zimbabwe earned her the description of a, “voice of hope” by the panel that selected her. The panel included Andrew McMillain, Ellah Wakatama and English Pen trustee, Clair Armistead.

“It is an honour to join my colleagues in raising up the voice of a woman whose words have written the story of my country of birth with clarity, bravery and honesty that is a rare and precious gift” says Ellah Wakatama.

The woman of the hour stated, “I believe that the positive reception of literary works like mine helps to prove that we can unite around that which is positively human.”

David Diop’s Book, ‘At Night All Blood is Black’ wins award

What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - July Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: David Diop’s book, At Night All Blood is Black

French-Senegalese writer, David Diop’s book, ‘At Night All Blood is Black’ a great read which we suggested a few months back has won the international Booker Prize. Diop and Anna Moschovakis, who translated the novel from French to English, will each receive £50,000.

“I am flattered and sort of feel as though I am living in a dream – a waking dream”, states Diop. Diop is the first French and African writer to win this prestigious prize.

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - July Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

The book follows the life of Ghanaian-American neuroscientist, Gift as she navigates her professional life that in a sense is entwined with her complex family dynamic. Gyasi beautifully weaves a tale that brings together faith and science in an unlikely relationship in a story that looks at issues from childhood trauma to the effects or racism to mental illness amongst an array of topics.

PODCASTS

Girl in Skies Podcast

Hosted by two Zimbabweans far from home talking life, hot topics & everything in between, #GirlInSkies is your podcast by Nat & Xolie discussing being Africans away from home and more. Keep the conversation going on @girlinskies on twitter & Instagram and be sure to add #GirlInSkies.

Feministing While Malawian

A podcast by @lusukalanga & @_nanzunga_ exploring all issues Malawian from a feminist perspective. Follow them on Twitter, @FeministingWM.

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Entertainment

What’s Trending In The Entertainment Industry – May Edition

South African Actress, Thuso Mbedu dripped in praise for performance in Underground Railroad.

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What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - May Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: South African Actress Thuso Mbedu

Hazel Lifa

MUSIC

Grammys does away with mysterious nominating groups

What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - May Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Grammy Awards

The governing board of what can be called the biggest music awards show, the Grammy Awards, is doing away with their mysterious expert committees. These so-called experts were deciding which acts made it through to the final nomination lists of most of the categories the Grammys offer awards for. These committees were started in 1989, and in recent years have been coming under fire from artists like The Weekend who has boycotted the ceremony.

In the past years the secret committees’ selection process has been questioned by Black artists in particular in the categories of Hip-Hop and R&B. These same artists tend to be overlooked for the four biggest categories; Best New Artist, Album, Song, and Record of the Year. The committee process was also called out last year by Deborah Dugan, former chief of the Grammys when she made a number of allegations against the institution.

According to Dugan, an artist up for Song of the Year was allowed onto the committee for the category. Although The Weekend commends this action, he has made it clear his boycott still stands.

Jwompa deal taking the face of African music to new levels

What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - May Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Jwompa Logo

Jwompa is taking their platform to greater heights with a new partnership with 12 African brands. The playlist partnership which was launched this May, will further highlight the efforts the music app and its new partners have put towards showcasing what Africa has to offer.

The streaming app Jwompa is changing the streaming game and giving the huge African music market a platform where all African music can shine. When one goes into mainstream streaming sites you are sure to find the latest Wizkid or Casper Nyovest banger, but what about the many other African acts that are yet to grab your attention or get recommended? Jwompa’s partners include Afrochell, Daily Paper and Face2Face Africa.

SAMRO to collect royalties for artists

What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - May Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: SAMRO Logo

In the past years the evolution of technology has had its effects on the music industry both positive and negative. These changes have posed huge implications on how artists profit from their music or in other cases don’t. The Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) has made a considerable stride towards adapting its licensing and royalty policies to the current technological times. SAMRO has started gathering royalties for its artists from big platforms Netflix, Facebook and Tik Tok. Artists will now financially benefit from any use of copyright-protected content on these platforms.

According to SAMRO Chairperson, Nicholoas Maweni, the new agreement will not only benefit the organisation’s members, but also the users of platforms like Facebook that didn’t allow the use of copyright-protected material.

MOVIES/TV

South African Documentary wins Oscar

South African documentary ‘My Octopus Teacher’ has won an Oscar. The Netflix documentary follows the peculiar but captivating relationship between Craig Foster and an octopus in the Atlantic Ocean. To create this masterpiece, Foster followed the octopus for close to a year, dedication that won the doccie 20 international awards before winning the coveted Oscar.

South African Actress, Thuso Mbedu dripped in praise for performance in Underground Railroad

Thuso Mbedu is receiving much praise for her portrayal of Cora Randall in the series adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s classic, The Underground Railroad. The series directed by Barry Jenkins is now available on Amazon Prime Video. Mbedu, 29 years old, gives a moving performance as the audacious slave who escapes slavery in Georgia through the underground railroad.

According to Oprah Winfrey on Instagram, “Thuso Mbedu gives the performance of a lifetime. Great things are coming for her, and everyone will be saying her name after watching her as the superhero that is Cora.”

We can expect more to come from the African native as she confirmed a project (a movie called The Woman King) in the works with Viola Davis in an interview with Trevor Noah on The Daily Social Distancing Show. Mbedu stated the project will be shot in South Africa.

Golden Globes under diversity fire

What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - May Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: A Golden Globe Award

Many institutions of late are getting their day in court as the public is calling them out for their failings. Latest in the hot seat is The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). The association is responsible for the Golden Globe awards. It all started with the LA Times article at the beginning of the year that highlighted the HFPA for a lack of black members on their committee of 87 that controls the awards.
Many have threatened to cut ties with HFPA until the problem has been rectified. Adding fuel to the fire is an email sent by long-time member, Philip Berk, where he shared a post that basically called the Black Lives Matter “a racist hate group”.

Big studios like Netflix and WarnerMedia have cut ties with the Golden Globes along with stars like Mark Fuffalo, Scarlet Johansson and Tom Cruise, who has given back his three golden globes in protest. The biggest blow HFPA has received though has to be NBC refusing to air the Golden Globes next year.
In a statement, NBC stated, “We continue to believe that the HFPA is committed to meaningful reform. However, change of this magnitude takes time and work… As such, NBC will not air the 2022 Golden Globes. Assuming the organisation executes on its plans, we are hopeful we will be in a position to air the show in January 2023”.

Now we wait and see if HFPA will implement any of the changes it claims to be working on, like the recruitment of more black journalists.

BOOKS

I Have Brown Skin and Curly Hair by Karen Theunissen

What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - May Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: I Have Brown Skin and Curly Hair by Karen Theunissen

Definitely the first children’s book of its kind and very necessary. Theunissen addresses the heavy topic of identity that is plaguing more and more young children. The rhyming picture book is written in a manner that makes it so the intended audience is entertained as it grasps this heavy topic. The book talks about a family that didn’t look anything alike, this fact was the source of scrutiny for the unit. After learning about their heritage, one of the children decides to speak up about why the family looks the way it does.

The writer presents the unique history of South Africa’s mixed-race in a manner that garnishes pride not only in the South African past but applies to the story of diversity for any race or group of people. A must-have for any parent or even educator looking to introduce the massive topic of diversity with young children.

An Act of Defiance by Irene Sabatini

What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - May Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: An Act of Defiance by Irene Sabatini

A political drama that takes us through the realities of political violence and its effects of the ordinary person. The book is set in 2000; it focuses on lawyer, Gabrielle, seeking justice and her love affair with American diplomat Ben. The author, Sabatini paints a vivid picture of the political environment of Zimbabwe and keeps the audience glued from start to finish. Sabatini is the winner of the 2010 Orange Award for New Writers. According to Helen Benedict, writer of Wolf Season, “A brave novel about conscience and trauma, justice and fear, and the struggle to regain strength after the near destruction of the soul.”

Addis Ababa Noir by Maaza Mengiste

What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - May Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Addis Ababa Noir by Maaza Mengiste

A collection of 14 short stories that tell the unsettling crime dynamic in one of Africa’s oldest cities, Addis Ababa. Maaza Mengiste, a Booker Prize shortlistee, edits the collection in a way that presents the city’s mixture of rich and poor, and the results of that dynamic at its best.

PODCASTS

African Developers Podcast
What's Trending In The Entertainment Industry - May Edition Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: African Developers Podcast Logo

A podcast where African software developers share their stories. Hosted by Kessir Adjaho, the platform interviews African Software Developers about their journey and the cool stuff they are working on, with the latest interviewee being Rasheeda Yehuza, Senior Software Engineer at Wayfair, Berlin.

https://afrodevpodcast.com/

Tea Time with Twaambo

Tea time with Twaambo is a podcast hosted by Twaambo and brings you a breath of fresh air while making you feel refreshed, reconnected with yourself and feeling validated. With today’s society where we are not listened to or validated for our feelings, how do we know whether our feelings are normal, let alone justifiable? The solution is that sometimes we just need to talk. Listen to this podcast and get all of your feelings out in the open. You don’t need an appointment – just some lollies, and a cup of tea.

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