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Africa Brings Down Colonial Walls that Separate Her Citizens

Seychelles has opened up its borders to African travellers.

By Khalifa Hemed Published May 24, 2017 Though the African Union launched a continetal Passport in July 2016 to facilitate travel for African citizens across the continent, Nigerian Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, requires 38 visas to move around the 54-country continent where Seychelles is the only country that Africans can travel to without a visa. According to Africa Visa Openness Index, an annual survey that examines how open countries are in terms of visa requirements for Africans across the continent, 75% of countries in the top 20 most visa-open countries are either in East or West Africa. While Mauritania is the only northern African country to make it to the Top 20 most visa open countries, central Africa is conspicuously absent. RELATED:Evening of Film, Conversation and Friendship Africa Visa Openness Index–the initiative of African Development Bank in collaboration with the African Union Commission and the World Economic Forum–shows that Ghana made the most progress in 2016 in opening up its borders to African travellers; Senegal and Tunisia also moved into the top 20 most visa-open countries. So what happened to the the African Union Passport that, reportedly, has since been issued to Heads of State and Government, First Ladies, Ministers for Foreign Affairs, Chairpersons of Regional Economic Communities, Permanent Representatives Committee of the African Union and some business persons? “The African Union is supporting Member States in rolling out the African Union passport to all its citizens, granting them visa-free access to explore the Continent for business, pleasure, leisure and tourism,” says Thomas Kwesi Quartey, Deputy Chairperson of African Union Commission. Greater visa openness would provide free movement of persons, intra-African trade, tourism, study and job opportunities as well as people-to-people exchanges for all Africans, according to Africa Visa Openness Index. RELATED:Career-Development Opportunities for African Artists Facts about visa …

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Career-Development Opportunities for African Artists

Peter Nuyah, a filmmaker, speaks during the 97th Lola Kenya Screen film forum at Goethe-Institut in Nairobi.

By Iminza Keboge Published May 19, 2017 If you are a creative person looking for opportunities for career-development, you’d do well to check out available vacancies in ArtMatters.Info, Africa’s premier arts and culture website that is updated around the clock. Opportunities are currently available for artists in literary, screen and stage sectors. While BBC is looking for Somali poetry by young women, Commonwealth Writers, Golden Baobab and Short Story Day Africa are looking for stories by indentured labourers, manuscripts for children and creative stories on identity, in that order. RELATED:African Arts-Related Calls & Announcements Africa in Motion, Cinema City International Film Festival, Aesthetica Short Film Festival and Film Africa are inviting movie submissions while United Nations Alliance of Civilsations (UNAOC) and International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and Lola Kenya Screen ae looking for videos on diversity and social inclusion and short movies of all kinds, respectively. RELATED:African Arts & Entertainment Diary On their part, Kampala International Theatre Festival and Le Kolatier Africa Music Market are Inviting Applications from suitable candidates. Detailed information on all of these opportunities is available in ArtMatters.Info’s African Arts-Related Calls & Announcements section.

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Poetry Contest for Young Somali Women Launched

Caroline Karobia, Editor of BBC Somali Service says, "This new award will bring to light the culture of poetry among Somali-speaking women and give them an avenue to showcase their creativity.”

By Iminza Keboge Published May 17, 2017 BBC World Service has launched its first ever poetry award for young Somali women. Known as BBC Somali Young Female Poet of the Year Award 2017, the contest is expected to produce a winner and two runners-up who will be unveiled at a special event to mark the 60th anniversary of BBC Somali Service in Hargeisa on July 18, 2017. BBC says the contest is open to women aged 16-35 years with no restrictions on their level of experience or location. RELATED:BBC Hausa Launches Women’s Writing Award “Entries for the award must be an original work of poetry, that is a maximum of 15 lines long and not more than one minute of recording, in Somali language,” BBC says in a statement. “A panel of judges will … be looking for the quality of the language and conformity of the work to Somali poetry rules in terms of rhyme, rhythm and theme.” The contest, that opened for entries on May 17, closes on June 15, 2017. Entries are to be submitted by e-mail to Entry details, including the full terms and conditions, are available on RELATED:Nairobi Celebrates Art, Film, Heritage and Self Expression Caroline Karobia, Editor of the BBC Somali Service, says: “We are excited to be bringing these new voices and poetry to our audiences. Historically, Somali women have been known for their creativity which includes the leading role in traditional dances. This new award will bring to light the culture of poetry among Somali-speaking women and give them an avenue to showcase their creativity.” BBC Somali is part of the BBC World Service and is the most listened to international station in Somalia. It broadcasts to Somali-speaking audiences, providing radio, online and TV content in East Africa, in the …

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Victor Moses Appointed Brand Ambassador as Firm Invests in Africa

Victor Moses, The Premier League’s most remarkable star.

By Irene Gaitirira Published May 15, 2017 A professional African footballer has been appointed Brand Ambassador by a leading global software company. Victor Moses, Chelsea starter and Nigerian national team star player, shall represent Opera Software AS of Norway that is best known for its Opera Mini web browser that is used by more than 350 million people across the world to access the internet. Moses, who becomes the brand ambassador of Opera Mini with effect from May 15, 2017, will be featured in the new Opera Mini TV commercial as well as a in a range of collaborative projects running through 2018. RELATED:Artist Wins World’s Largest Prize for Children’s Literature Moses, 26, is well known for his Premier League signing with Chelsea FC that has just clinched the league title. He has grown a successful career throughout the higher level leagues of the sport from an early age. This includes an earlier career boost with Crystal Palace, as well as performances for Liverpool, Stoke City and West Ham United. His outstanding performance has earned him “The Premier League’s most remarkable star” accolade by the Sun newspaper. “Football is one of the most popular types of content consumed by Opera Mini users throughout Africa”, says Jørgen Arnesen, Global Head of Marketing and Distribution at Opera. “Victor Moses is a perfect match for Opera, being not only a high performer, but also a great role model and natural ambassador of his home country Nigeria.” RELATED:African Youth Urged to Consider Motion Pictures Sector Career This, the company reports in a Press Statement issued through Africa Press Organisation, coincides with Opera’s recent announcement to invest US$100 million in Africa over the next two years with the goal of strengthening the internet ecosystem in countries such as Nigeria. Nigeria is reported to be home …

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Nairobi Celebrates Art, Film, Heritage and Self Expression

New African Women are Bold for Change.

By Irene Gaitirira Published May 13, 2017 Despite rising inflation and mounting anxiety over impending general election in Kenya, the arts and entertainment calendar for May remains packed as attested to by African Arts & Entertainment Diary that is updated around the clock. Running at Nairobi National Museum the whole of May 13 is the 5th Nairobi International Cultural Festival on the theme ‘Celebrating Cultural Diversity’. This single day event brings together participants from all walks of life around the world to celebrate diversity in Art, Cuisine, Music, Dance, Handicrafts and Fashion. RELATED:African Arts & Entertainment Diary Coming hot on the heels of the cultural festival at Kenya’s house of culture and heritage are two art shows. The first exhibition, that runs through May 30, 2017 in the Temporary Gallery, is a display in text and images by Patrick Abungu and Okoko Ashikoye and it looks at the abolition of slave trade in East Africa and its legacy on contemporary Kenyan society of slave descent. The second show, in the Creativity Gallery, runs through June 30 and is by Michael Soi, Patrick Mukabi and Joseph Bertiers who are described as artists who do not flinch from controversial issues.And true to the description, their exhibition is titled Museums and Contested Histories: Saying the unspeakable in museums. Both exhibitions are aimed at celebrating the International Museum Day on May 18, 2017. RELATED:Nairobi’s Premier Critical Movie Platform Celebrates Youth Creativity Not to be forgotten are other art shows that have been running at Nairobi National Museum and Nairobi Gallery since April 2017. While the former, titled Hope: A Story of Courage & Sacrifice, ends on May 30, Transitions, the latter, ends on June 30. You can read more about them in the African Arts & Entertainment Diary of ArtMatters.Info. This paves way for the 26th …

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Evening of Film, Conversation and Friendship

Tufilamu Pictures, a moviemaking collective of young people who make award-winning experimental films

By Abdi Ali Published May 7, 2017 The audience started streaming into the auditorium 30 minutes ahead of time. This was to avoid missing out on the activities lined up on the programme of one of the most important monthly activities on the arts and entertainment calendar of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi: Lola Kenya Screen film forum (LKSff). Hanging on the four walls of the auditorium at Goethe-Institut in the Nairobi CBD that evening of April 24, 2017 were thought-provoking paintings on a power struggle-instigated massacres in Zimbabwe’s Matabeleland and the Midlands Gukurahundi regions. Though outlawed in the southern African country for allegedly ‘undermined the authority of President Robert Mugabe, the British Institute for Eastern Africa (BIEA) and Gothe-Institut had brought the artwork to Nairobi. The work, painted in red and brown hues resembling blood, had captions telling the story of the massacres perpetrated by the state led by Robert Mugabe who now urges Zimbabweans to ‘move on’ though many of those affected feel that the issue needs to be adequately discussed before it can be consigned to history. This is what artist Owen Maseko had captured in the exhibition titled Sibathontisele (“we drip on them burning plastic” in isiNdebele) and that provided the backdrop to Nairobi’s premier critical movie platform that was convening for the 99th consecutive month. RELATED:99th Lola Kenya Screen film forum to Focus on Acting Tufilamu Pictures, a moviemaking collective of young people who make award-winning experimental films, was to showcase its and reveal their secret to local movie lovers. Michael Njeru, an actor, scriptwriter and director with Tufilamu presented the formula of successful acting in the 5-minute ExpertSpeak slot. Njeru introduced the 3’I’s formula of acting to the gathering that, he said, is based the computer principle of Garbage In, Garbage Out (GIGO). The three …

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African Youth Urged to Consider Motion Pictures Sector Career

The best way to spend school vacation is to attend Lola Kenya Screen movie festival.

By Khalifa Hemed Published May 4, 2017 A Nigerian governor has charged the youth of his state to consider moviemaking as a career. RELATED:Opportunities for African Moviemakers Owelle Rochas Anayo Okorocha, the Governor of Imo State, made the call in the north-eastern Nigerian state capital, Owerri, during the opening session of a three-week hands-on training for young people in movie directing, cinematography, editing, sound design, production management, makeup, script-writing and acting. Running April 25-May 10, 2017, the training is organised by Africa Film Academy (AFA) that organises the annual Africa Movie  Academy Awards (AMAA) and Imo State Government with the support of Diamond Bank and Africa Magic. “The film industry has [not only] become the biggest cultural export out of Nigeria [but has also become] . . . a money-spinner for those who are serious and ready to make it,” he said. “We are supporting this initiative as part of our youth-empowerment programmes. This training is to introduce you to the careers you can pursue in the movie industry.” RELATED:African Arts-Related Calls & Announcements Uche Ugwumba, the Chief of Staff to the Governor, harped on discipline as the bedrock of success in life to the more than 100 youth participating in the training. Urging the youth to take the training seriously as, he said, it would take their interest to a higher level, Ugwumba said, “You cannot achieve anything in life without discipline. The state government is paying for this training for every one of you because we believe in the potential that exists in entertainment and movie industry for job-creation and career-advancement.’’ RELATED:Kenyan Play Goes on Africa-wide Tour “After this investment by the state in you,” Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, the founder of AFA, while thanking the state for investing in the future of the youth, observed, “you will no longer ask the …

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Artist Wins World’s Largest Prize for Children’s Literature

Part of graphic designer, book illustrator and picture book creator Wolf Erlbruch's work.

By Khalifa Hemed Published April 27,2017 A German graphic designer, book illustrator and picture book creator has won the best literature for children in 2017. The artist, 69-year-old Wolf Erlbruch who has written some 10 books of his own and illustrated nearly 50 titles by other authors , won the 15th annual Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) on April 4, 2017. The jury described Erlbruch as “a master of the illustrator’s art who honours tradition whilst opening new creative doors”, praising him for making “existential questions accessible and manageable for readers of all ages.” RELATED:African Children’s Literary Award Invites Submission Erlbruch’s work is described as being informed by “a long tradition”, combining “collage, pencil and chalk drawing, graphic experimentation and watercolour.” He seems to like animals as they frequently feature in his stories: The Miracle of the Bears (2006) and The Bear Who Wasn’t There and the Fabulous Forest (2016). According to a blog by ALMA, Erlbruch made his debut in 1985 with the illustrations for James Aggrey’s The Eagle That Would Not Fly. His first major success came five years later with The Story of the Little Mole Who Knew It Was None of His Business, with text by Werner Holzwarth – a book about an angry little mole who gets poop on his head and sets out to track down the guilty party. Wolf Erlbruch often embarks on existential journeys, posing important questions about the meaning of life and death with both humour and clarity. Duck, Death and the Tulip (2008), a tender story in which little Duck gets a visit from Death, has been hailed as a modern classic and often described as the most beautiful book ever published about death. A simple and refined meditation on the nature of life and the omnipresence of death, it speaks …

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Kenyan Play Goes on Africa-wide Tour

Silvia Cassini, writer and director of A Man Like You.

By Iminza Keboge Published April 21, 2017 A Kenyan play in which a British diplomat is kidnapped in lawless Somalia begins its African tour in May 2017. Written and directed by Silvia Cassini, the award-winning A Man Like You embarks on its Africa-wide tour at Braeburn Theatre in Nairobi on May 2 and 3 before proceeding to Harare International Festival of Arts in Zimbabwe on May 6 and 7 and then to South Africa’s Mother City, Cape Town, on May 10 and 11, 2017. RELATED:African Children’s Literary Award Invites Submission A Man Like You revolves around two idealistic headstrong men–Patrick North, British diplomat and hostage, and Abdi, his Somali kidnapper—who defend their worldviews in an intense exposé of extremism, politics and religion. The windowless concrete room in Somalia where North is imprisoned is the setting for the poignant and thought-provoking conversations he has with his captor, Abdi, which raises questions about the nature of radicalisation, the flaws of differing cultures, and the similarities between them, as people. The cell scene is intercut with a scene in North’s home in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, where Elizabeth, his wife, fights for his freedom while she dealing with his absence and the horrible reality that he may never return to her. Soon after its premiere in Nairobi in 2016 and three-week run off Broadway in New York in USA, A Man Like You received seven nominations from Sanaa Theatre Awards in Nairobi out of which it won in the Best Actor and the Best Tragedy categories. RELATED:Australian Book Celebrates Lola Kenya Screen The staging of the play for its new tour is, however, different from the original, giving it not just a new look but a fresh feel as well. “Each new production of this play should be a clean experience, not just for …

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99th Lola Kenya Screen film forum to Focus on Acting

Tufilamu learning by doing;gain experience in the art and craft of motion pictures.

By Iminza Keboge Published April 11, 2017 Lola Kenya Screen film forum (LKSff), the most consistent and longest running movie platform on the Nairobi’s arts and entertainment calendar, shall on April 24, 2017 take a closer look at Acting and what it takes to excel in this performance art on both screen and stage. Mike Njeru, a director and producer of the Tufilamu Pictures, a Nairobi-based group of young moviemakers specialising in experimental works as they gain experience in the art and craft of motion pictures, is scheduled to tackle the subject in the ExpertSpeak slot of the programme alongside the screening and discussion of short films from the Tufilamu collective. RELATED:Lola Kenya Screen’s Year-Round Activities  Among the work to be showcased shall be STRUCTURES OF HOPE, a documentary that has just won the Best Documentary prize in Kenya’s Riverwood Academy Awards; SPENSA, a drama that got nomination in the United States of America’s My Rode Reel International competition in which it eventually attained position 15 out of 1226 films in the world and that has also received the Best Music Score in the Riverwood Academy Awards in 2017; and WHAT I LOVE ABOUT YOU (W.I.L.A.Y), a seven-minute drama. RELATED:9th Lola Kenya Screen Focuses on Youth Culture and New Markets in East Africa All the shorts, on the theme of dreams, hope and inspiration, are directed by Robert Asimba, a young telecommunications engineer who has taken to moviemaking. Since 2005 when LKSff was started, the programme of each gathering has comprised screening, discussion, childfare, ExpertSpeak and networking segments in line with the aim of LKSff as a capacity-building platform for Kenya’s and eastern Africa’s motion pictures sector. Now an unmissable bi-monthly event since 2016, LKSff runs between 5:45 and 8:15 in the evening of every last Monday of every other …

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