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Groups Championing Pregnant Girls’ Right to Education Could be De-Registered

Human Rights Watch say at least 8000 girls are expelled from school every year for getting pregnant.

By Khalifa Hemed Published July 8, 2017 The Government of Tanzania should end its hostile rhetoric toward civil society groups helping pregnant girls complete their education. Eighteen local and international non-governmental organisations have taken issue with Tanzania’s President John Magufuli’s statement on June 22, 2017 that pregnant girls cannot be allowed back to public school even after the birth of their children. They quote Magufuli as having said, “As long as I’m president, no pregnant students will be allowed to return to school” and that the young mothers could opt for vocational training or become entrepreneurs, but should not be permitted to pursue formal education in public schools. RELATED:British Charity Donates Books to Rwanda “Tanzania’s president and other top officials should be focusing on how to build the country by helping everyone complete their education and ending discrimination,” says Elin Martinez, children’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch in a Press Statement issued in Nairobi, Kenya, on July 6, 2017. “Protecting people’s rights not only helps them and their families, but strengthens the whole country.” The NGOs say that Mwigulu Nchemba, Tanzania’s Home Affairs Minister, threatened on June 25 to de-register organisations that challenged the president’s ban on schooling for pregnant girls and teen mothers. “The government estimates that 30 out of every 100 girls dropped out of school due to pregnancy in 2015. Many schools routinely force girls to undergo pregnancy tests and expel girls who are found to be pregnant, give birth, or get married, bringing an early end to their formal education,” the NGOs say. RELATED:This is What Lola Kenya Screen Does Saying the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party pledged in its 2015 election manifesto to ensure girls who drop out of school due to pregnancy can continue their studies, the NGOs argue that President Magufuli and …

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More Questions Than Answers Dominate Kenya’s Critical Movie Platform

Movies, Discussion, Friendship and Business during 100th Lola Kenya Screen film forum at Goethe-Institut in Nairobi, Kenya.

By Iminza Keboge and Boera Bisieri Published June 28, 2017 What is a Kenyan story and how do we tell it well in film? Is it an African thing that your films have little dialogue? What is TORTURE about? Why did you choose a cat as a character in BEHIND THE SEEN? Did you have to paint a Muslim in NAZIF as a clean freak just because the Quran says one should be pure and clean? Isn’t a film like NAZIF more likely to cause division rather than unity between Christians and Muslims in Kenya? Those were some of the questions raised as Nairobi’s premier critical movie event convened for its 100th bi- monthly session at Goethe-Institut on June 19, 2017. In focus were four short films directed by Peter Kawa and Jimmy Gor of Film Lab Kenya, a group of moviemakers founded in 2014 that says it is ‘committed to producing life-changing content that influences people and provokes discussion.’ No sooner had the films—BEHIND THE SEEN and NAZIF by Gor and LIFEGUARD and TORTURE by Kawa—been screened than the directors were bombarded by questions from the more than 200 participant-strong floor of during the 100th Lola Kenya Screen film forum (LKSff) that has over the past 12 years become a training platform for moviemakers, event programmers, public speakers, cultural journalists and arts critics and others players in the arts and lifestyle sector that is often one of the first places where new films can be seen and young talent spotted. RELATED:Looking Beyond Nairobi’s 100th Premier Critical Movie Meeting The directors in focus—Gor and Kawa—took the questions in good faith, saying that their aim as Film Lab Kenya is to make films that spark conversation and raise issues like the ones movie enthusiasts had just raised. Responding to the issue …

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East Africa Grapples With a Children’s Refugee Crisis

Children play in a camp in Uganda that humanitarian assistance agencies say is on the verge of a children's refugee crisis.

By Still Hardy Published June 26, 2017 As the World Refugee Day was marked on June 20, 2017, the focus was on black Africa‘s Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya where children from South Sudan continue to flee to in search of safety. BBC Africa, that held special programmes to mark World Refugee Day 2017 reported that “Sub-Saharan Africa is home to more than one in four of the world’s refugees – the largest number after the Middle East.” RELATED:Digital Art Exhibition and Puppet Theatre Performance Spring to Life as Nairobi Discusses Women in Politics United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported that “more than 1.8 million people”–among them more than 1000 children per day–have crossed into neighbouring Uganda and Ethiopia “since violence erupted in South Sudan in December 2013.” In just a year, UNICEF said “the population of refugees in Uganda has more than doubled from 500,000 to more than 1.25 million, making Uganda now host to the fastest growing refugee emergency in the world.” Terming it a ‘children’s refugee crisis’, Leila Pakkala, UNICEF’s Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, noted that “More than one million children have been forced from their homes in South Sudan, often amid horrific violence. Day after day, week after week, they are being received by countries such as Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya. Despite great efforts on many fronts, the systems in these countries are tremendously stretched.” RELATED:Australian Book Celebrates Lola Kenya Screen Saying the Government of Uganda, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), UNICEF, World Food Programme of the United Nations (WFP) and other humanitarian partners on the ground are working tirelessly to respond to the more than 740,000 refugees who have arrived in Uganda since July 2016, UNICEF said that such dramatic numbers were placing excessive pressure on State and host community …

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Looking Beyond Nairobi’s 100th Premier Critical Movie Meeting

Lola Kenya Screen staff stand in front of the auditorium of Goethe-Institut in Nairobi in 2007.

By Iminza Keboge Published June 18, 2017 As Lola Kenya Screen (LKS) presents its 100th bi-monthly Lola Kenya Screen film forum (LKSff) on June 19, 2017, Ogova Ondego, Managing Trustee and Creative Director of LKS speaks about what is in store for this movie platform for children and youth in eastern Africa in 2017 and beyond. What is Lola Kenya Screen and why does it exist? Lola Kenya Screen is a movie festival and skills-development and marketing platform focusing on children and youth in eastern Africa that seeks to integrating movie production with other socio-cultural and economic sectors in order to come up with a vibrant and sustainable motion pictures industry. RELATED:Short Fiction Contest for Africans Calls for Submission How many films has Lola Kenya Screen produced with the youth since inception? Though children and youth of Lola Kenya Screen have made more than 50 fictions, animations, documentaries and experimentals many of which have won or been nominated for prestigious awards–Jugend Medien Festival Berlin,Kids For Kids Africa, Africa Movie Academy Awards, World Summit on Media for Children–Lola Kenya Screen does much more than just produce movies. We equip children and youth with the skills to conceive, create, promote and consume high quality, audience-sensitive, culture-appropriate  content. With their skills, our children and youth are left to their own devices to do as they see fit in their families and communities. Any notable directors, actors or production engineers as a result of over 10 years and 100 film forums? Lola Kenya Screen, particularly its film forum, is often one of the first places where new films can be seen and young talent spotted.During the forum a selected short film is screened followed by an open discussion based on the production as pertains to universal moviemaking standards.The films exhibited and discussions arising from …

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Young Actors, MovieMakers and Community Developers to Converge in Nairobi

Wanjiku Mburu who is currently appearing on MACHACHARI series every Friday on Kenya's citizen TV

By Iminza Keboge Published June 9, 2017 She hangs upside down, spitting blood, moaning pitifully as if in excruciating pain, begging for mercy, several fresh cuts oozing with blood visible on her face. She is one of the many nameless bodies hanging in a nondescript dark room that resembles an execution chamber. Are these people, humans, or are they livestock carcasses in an abattoir? As screams and wails give way to a deathly silence, someone suddenly shows up. This is a summary of TORTURE, one of the eight films to be screened and discussed at Goethe-Institut in Nairobi, Kenya, during Lola Kenya Screen film forum (LKSff), the longest running and most consistent movie gathering on the arts and entertainment calendar of Kenya’s capital. RELATED:Kenyan Actor Who Enjoys Playing ‘Bad’ Guys Speaks About His Real Career The meeting, on June 19, 2017, shall also see this premier critical movie platform mark its 100th monthly (bi-monthly since 2016!) meeting since its inception in 2005. TORTURE is a production of Film Lab, a group of young thespians and moviemakers that came into being in 2014 with the aim of creating ‘life-changing movie content that influences people and provokes discussion’. BEHIND THE SEEN, a film that explores the limits to which love and fear, driven by deep-seated secrets, can push a man; LIFE GUARD, a movie that looks at what could possibly go wrong when a supposedly well trained, well equipped and much sought after life saver is on duty; and NAZIF, the story of a distressed father searching for his child who has gone missing while his nature works for and against his quest, shall be shown on the BIG screen for players in the movie sector to appreciate as LKSfff, in its 12th year, marks its 100th gathering. RELATED:99th Lola Kenya Screen film …

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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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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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African Children’s Literary Award Invites Submission

Stick Man before Christmas

By Iminza Keboge Published April 1, 2017 Citizens of African countries are invited to submit their unpublished manuscripts and illustrations for children’s stories to the 8th Golden Baobab Prize by December 1, 2017. Touted as being Africa’s leading literary award for children’s works, the Accra (Ghana)-based Golden Baobab Prize awards prizes in three categories: The Golden Baobab Prize for Picture Books, for the best story targeting a reader audience of ages 4-8 The Golden Baobab Prize for Early Chapter Books, for the best story targeting a reader audience of ages 9-11, and The Golden Baobab Prize for Illustrators, for the best artwork that matches illustration briefs provided, intended for children ages 4-11. RELATED:Memorial Prize for African Artists Launched All winners will receive a cash prize of US$5000 and press publicity. Winners of the literature prizes are guaranteed a publishing deal. Longlisted and Shortlisted writers are connected with publishers across Africa. Finalist illustrators participate in exhibitions and have their work shared with a network of African and international publishers. Further details on the prize are available at goldenbaobab.org website. RELATED:Best Children’s Literature Award Winner in 2017 to be Unveiled Meanwhile, players in the field of art and literature are waiting for the unveiling of the winner of the world’s largest award for literature for children and youth on April 4, 2017. The SEK 5 million prize, known as the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA), was founded by the Swedish government in 2002 and is administered by the Swedish Arts Council. RELATED:Australian Book Celebrates Lola Kenya Screen

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Australian Book Celebrates Lola Kenya Screen

Children's Celebrations celebrates Lola Kenya Screen movie platform

By Khalifa Hemed Published March 27, 2017 A book that defines ‘celebrations‘ as events that are held for special occasions by people around the world has covered Lola Kenya Children’s Screen. Aptly titled Children’s Celebrations and the first in a six-book series, the glossy, full colour, hard cover book is published by Macmillan Education Australia Pty Ltd in Victoria, Australia. Part of Macmillan’s Celebrations series, interested people can read about various kinds of children’s celebrations, where and when these events are held, and how they are marked in Children’s Celebrations that targets young readers. RELATED:Programmes of Lola Kenya Screen The publication that is economical on words–isn’t a picture worth 1000 words?–but abounds in full colour zeroes in on the well loved skills-development programmes of Lola Kenya Screen, capturing curious children busy making and devouring movies. Lola Kenya screen ‘celebrates films that are written and made by children. Lola Kenya Screen is held every year in Kenya in Africa,’ writes Ian Rohr, the author of the book. RELATED:Youth-Made Videos on Diversity and Social Inclusion Wanted The book is attractively packaged with pictures of lovely children engaged in various celebratory activities. It even carries a quiz, a glossary, an index and a set of activities for the reader. Lola Kenya Screen is a Kenyan-registered charity that explores, identifies and nurtures creative talent among children and youth in journalism, moviemaking, arts appreciation, and events programming. It mentors young people through school outreach, university internship, mobile cinema, film forum and film festival throughout the year. Lola Kenya Screen has been presented around the world–Spain, England, Scotland, Germany, Holland, Qatar, South Africa, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Zanzibar, Rwanda, Belgium, Nigeria, Senegal, Kenya–as an example of good practice in children’s media programming. RELATED:Why Lola Kenya Screen Needs Your Support Ogova Ondego, the managing trustee and creative director …

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