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Will Leading Poet and Activist’s Death Inspire Young Authors and Poets?

Keorapetse William Kgositsile made an extensive study of African-American literature and culture

By Irene Gaitirira Published January 7, 2018 Keorapetse William Kgositsile, a leading South African poet and political activist also known by his pen name, Bra Willie, has passed away. “His death should inspire young authors and poets into wanting to read and write in our languages. Bra Willie’s pen spoke volumes in fostering identity and enlightened many during the darker days in our past. His wit served its purpose,” the Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture of the Parliament of South Africa says in its ‘condolences to the family, the community of writing and all those who will be most impacted by the departure of this renowned South African poet.’ Kgositsile, who once taught at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania between 1975 and 1990, died on January 3, 2018 at a Johannesburg hospital. He was 79. RELATED:Tribute to Kenya’s Pop Literature Author M Gicheru The Chairperson of the Committee, Xoliswa Tom, says South Africa ‘is poorer without this giant of the world of poetry’. “Not too many in our generation will ever be able to master and marry arts, activism, family and political life in the manner he has,” Tom says. Keorapetse William Kgositsile died after a short illness at Johannesburg’s Milpark Hospital. He had undergone surgery after suffering from circulatory problems. Kgositsile is said to have been one of the first people to bridge the gap between African poetry and Black poetry in the United States of America during his exile there between 1962 and 1975, a period described as the peak of his literary career. Bra Willie is reported to not only have made an extensive study of African-American literature and culture but that he was also well known for his readings in New York City jazz clubs. RELATED:How to Pack Safely for Air Travel …

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Air Seychelles Starts Charter Flights to China

Air Seychelles' new series of charter flights from Chengdu, will offer more than 6,500 return seats between China and Seychelles over the next four months.

By Juergen T Steinmetz Published December 7, 2017 Air Seychelles has announced that it will be starting a new series of weekly charter flights between China and Seychelles in December, 2017. The national airline will operate 13 return flights between the city of Chengdu in South-West China and the Seychelles’ main island, Mahé, from December 26, 2017 to March 20, 2018. RELATED:Nairobi’s Premier Critical Movie Platform Celebrates Youth Creativity Chengdu — the capital of China’s Sichuan province — with a population of over 14 million people, is one of the main emerging outbound tourism cities. The flights will be operated by a wide-body Airbus A330 aircraft, providing convenient weekly connections for business and leisure travellers. Subject to regulatory approval, the flights are set to depart Seychelles at 11.25 AM on Tuesdays, arriving in Chengdu early on Wednesday at 00.25 AM. The return flight will take-off from Chengdu at 1.30 AM on Wednesdays arriving in Seychelles at 6.30 AM the same day. The flight time is approximately nine hours. RELATED:US Sports Envoys Hold Soccer Clinics in Tanzania Air Seychelles said it has partnered with Beijing Tongxing Aviation Services to bring these charter flights to the travelling public. The airline’s Chief Executive, Roy Kinnear, said the new series of charter flights from Chengdu, will offer more than 6,500 return seats between China and Seychelles over the next four months. “The growth in outbound tourism from China has created strong travel demand to Seychelles, and we are excited to work hand-in-hand with Beijing Tongxing Aviation Services to provide greater accessibility for Chinese travellers looking to discover our islands,” Kinnear says. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, China has sent 11,596 visitors to Seychelles up to December 3 this year. This represents a 17 percent drop in Chinese visitors over the past year. …

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Mozambican Festival Serves Alluring Screen and Literary Arts

The festival closed with music on Mozambique Island and the screening of Mozambique's hottest new film, Licinio Azevedo's 'war western', Comboio de Sal e Açúcar (Train of Salt and Sugar).

By Iminza Keboge Published December 3, 2017 The 4th edition of an annual arts festival has ended in Mozambique. Organisers of the Festival Fim do Caminho report that “more than 3000 people attended literary events, film screenings, masterclass film workshops, a children’s Zone, upcycling and off-grid electricity capacity-building events as part of the 4th edition of Festival Fim do Caminho in northern Mozambique between November 17 and 27, 2017.” RELATED:4th African Film and Literature Festival Prepares for Takeoff The festival, that kicked off in Nampula with a masterclass film workshop for local filmmakers, led by up-and-coming Mozambican cineaste Orlando Mabasso, continued with Mozambican writers Paulina Chiziane, Lucilio Manjate and Eduardo Quive doing talks and readings in the provincial library, followed by a workshop with students at the Lotus EPC primary school where some film screenings for children were also held. The festival then took film and literature to Lichinga, the northernmost Mozambican city, for two days on November 19 and 20, says festival founder Alexander Macbeth. RELATED:Twelve-Year Old Turns Ordinary Stories into Extraordinary Films! “The festival then returned to its founding base, the coastal district of Mossuril, for film screenings, training events and a first-ever Kids Zone for young children,” he says. “Mossuril-based innovator ‘Mr Domingo’, who makes upcycled speakers complete with USB ports, SD cards and much more – out of recycled water containers and radio parts – gave a workshop for secondary school students and children in Mossuril. Sergio, a physics professor from Argentina, gave a course on creating basic lighting from recycled waste using a solar panel and a small battery.” The festival closed with music on Mozambique Island and the screening of Mozambique’s hottest new film, Licinio Azevedo’s ‘war western’, Comboio de Sal e Açúcar (Train of Salt and Sugar).

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Africa Introduces Women’s Rugby League

introduction of an official Women’s Sevens Championship is the first step of great things to come for Women’s Rugby in Ghana and indeed in the West African Region

By Iminza Keboge Published November 29, 2017 The first ever women’s seven-aside rugby league has kicked off in West Africa. The event, that was held on November 25, 2017 in Ghana, is expected to become the 2017/2018 Ghana Rugby Championship (GRCC) Women’s Sevens Champions on February 17, 2018. RELATED: Holiday Travel Ideas for You Four teams–Conquerors, Cosmos Buffalos, Griffons and Dansoman Hurricanes–competed in the first match day in Cape Coast. While the match between Cosmos and Conquerors ended in a 0-0 draw, Dansoman beat Griffons Ladies 5-0 in the second match of the day. RELATED:Champions of Pregnant Girls’ Right to Education Could be De-Registered “We saw a very challenging display by Dansoman Ladies when they were playing against Griffons Ladies,” said Rafatu Inusha, Women’s Representative of the Ghana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) that is responsible for the development and management of the game in the West African country. “It was their very first time playing Rugby, and they defended and attacked well, even though their ball handling was not flowing, but in time they will be good to go. I am pleased because every team played with excitement and were all happy with the opportunity given to them.” Saying it was a great day for all teams and that the “initiative will encourage other women to get on board with rugby”, Inusha said women got the “chance to play for the National Team.” RELATED:World’s Top Teenage Athletes Compete in Nairobi Herbert Mensah, President and Board Chairman of GRFU, said the “introduction of an official Women’s Sevens Championship is the first step of great things to come for Women’s Rugby in Ghana and indeed in the West African Region.” The second match day of the 2017/2018 GRCC will take place on December 2, 2017 at the Robert Mensah and Accra Sports stadia …

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British Charity Sends Books to Africa’s Oldest Modern Republic

Liberia lags behind most other African countries in nearly all education statistics.

By Khalifa Hemed Published November 3, 2017 A British book-donation and library-development charity has donated thousands of new book to Liberia, Africa’s oldest modern republic. Book Aid International says the more than 23000 books donated by UK publishers are now on their way to Liberia. The books will be used to support education across the country and enrich the lives of thousands of readers. Originally home to freed African slaves from United States of America, Liberia was devastated by two periods of civil war that raged from 1990 to 1997 and again from 1999 to 2003, leaving an estimated 250000 people dead and 80% of schools destroyed or damaged and most of the country’s teachers fled. RELATED:Lola Kenya Screen Turns Interns into Professionals Liberia’s recovery was further impacted by the Ebola outbreak in 2014 in which 4809 people lost their lives. More than 4400 schools were closed for six months during the epidemic leaving 1.5 million children without access to education. Today, Liberia lags behind most other African countries in nearly all education statistics. “One of the major problems in our Liberian schools is lack of books and this shipment from Book Aid International will really help in meeting that need,” says Michel Weah from the WE-CARE Foundation through which the books have been donated. “Trained teachers and books readily available to the students create an environment where learning is taking place. These will be part of the effort to fill the chronic need for current books that is endemic at all levels of the Liberian school system.” RELATED:Charity Ships 11000 Books to Somalia On her part, Alison Tweed, Book Aid International’s Chief Executive Officer, says, “The need in Liberia is great and we are very pleased to be able to provide thousands of brand new books to support Liberian …

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Agriculture Initiative to Guarantee Youth Employment and Food Security

Dr Akinwimi Adesina says “ENABLE Youth is about investing in small agribusinesses today so that they can grow into large enterprises tomorrow.”

By Irene Gaitirira Published October 25, 2017 Africa’s next billionaires are going to come from agriculture. The African Development Bank (AfDB) has come up with an initiative called Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment (ENABLE) Youth programme through which it plans to train 10000 agriculture entrepreneurs (agripreneurs) in African countries, launching at least 300000 enterprises and creating 1.5 million jobs over the next five years. “By empowering youth at each stage of the agribusiness value chain, we enable them to establish viable and profitable agribusinesses, jobs and better incomes for themselves and their communities,” says Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President of AfDB and winner of the World Food Prize 2017. He explains that attracting a new cadre of young, energetic and talented agripreneurs from Africa’s current 420 million youth aged 15-35 to drive the adoption of new technologies throughout the value chain, raise productivity and meet rising food demands is an urgent priority. RELATED:Nairobi’s Premier Critical Movie Platform Celebrates Youth Creativity Studies indicate that as African economies transform, there are expanding opportunities for youth employment and entrepreneurship throughout high-potential value chains – literally from lab to fork – where consumer demand is increasing, including horticulture, dairy, oilseeds, poultry and aquaculture. In addition, there are huge opportunities for engaging African youth in services and logistical sectors in key off-farm activities such as transportation, packaging, ICT and other technology development and light infrastructure – that add value to on-farm productivity and efficiency, in ways that could not envisioned before. The idea of connecting farms to markets, particularly rising urban and regional markets, is where Africa needs to plug in this bulging youth population, Dr Adesina says. RELATED:Pay TV Company Marks 20 Years With Investment in Local Productions Farming, Adesina says, shall be made ‘cool’ by providing young Africans with new business opportunities, modern and practical …

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How to Develop African Animated TV Series for Global Distribution

Fighting rich and powerful opponents with limited resources means the girls will have to be smart and resourceful in a show in which taking down the bad guys and turning in your homework is all in a day’s work forMama K's Super 4 !

By Iminza Keboge Published October 19, 2017 Animators and storytellers across Africa are set to hear first-hand what it takes to develop African TV series for worldwide distribution. During a webinar streamed on YouTube Live, Triggerfish Animation Studios of South Africa shall on November 4, 2017 share insights from two years of developing TV series through The Story Lab that, to date, has led to two worldwide distribution deals for series set and made in Africa. “If you have ever thought about bringing your own characters to life as an animated TV series, this webinar is for you,” says Stuart Forrest, Chief Executive Officer of Triggerfish that ran a search for animation writers throughout the African continent in 2015 that attracted 1378 projects from 30 countries across Africa, with eight chosen to be taken into full development. RELATED:Startup Focuses on Building the Largest African Comics, Cartoons, Gaming and Movie Database At the webinar, Triggerfish will discuss what made those eight projects stand out and also share some of the feedback they’ve received from international distributors. Triggerfish has in September 2017 announced its partnership with leading children’s entertainment specialist, CAKE, to co-produce Mama K’s Super 4, one of its comedy action series. Aimed at 6-11-year olds, Mama K’s Super 4 is set in the Zambian capital, Lusaka, where four teenage girls are recruited by former secret agent Mama K to help her save the world. Fighting rich and powerful opponents with limited resources means the girls will have to be smart and resourceful in a show in which taking down the bad guys and turning in your homework is all in a day’s work! RELATED:Australian Book Celebrates Lola Kenya Screen At the webinar, Zambian creator Malenga Mulendema and her Cameroon-born character designer, Malcolm Wope, will discuss Mama K’s Super 4 as …

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Important Africa-Related Artistic Activities Around the World

Swahili Fashion Week provides a platform for fashion and accessory designers from Swahili speaking countries and beyond to showcase their talent, market their creativity and network with clients and international fashion industry.

By Irene Gaitirira Published October 10, 2017 The seventh edition of Film Africa (FA) takes place in London, Britain, October 27-November 5, 2017. Presented by the Royal African Society (RAS) at the British Film Institute, FA shall open with South African director John Trengove’s debut feature, INEXEBA (The Wound), that is described as a bold exploration of sexuality, masculinity and cultural values in modern-day South Africa. INEXEBA, that has sparked controversy and debate across the country, is also South Africa’s official entry to the 2018 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. Lead actor and award-winning musician Nakhane who is reputed to be one of the country’s most exciting new talents will be in attendance for a post-screening discussion, which will be followed by an exclusive after party. Nakhane will also perform live for the first time in the UK at the Rich Mix on October 29. RELATED:Why Africa Should Adopt Intelligent Transport Infrastructure RAS says FOREIGN BODY, Tunisian director Raja Amari’s audacious and visceral fourth feature movie, shall be shown during the closing ceremony of FA. “The film boasts a terrific cast, including Sarra Hannachi (Child of the Sun) as Samia and Hiam Abbass (The Lemon Tree) as Leila. The screening will be preceded by the public announcement of the winners of the Film Africa 2017 Audience Award for Best Feature Film and the Baobab Award for Best Short Film, which will also be screened. We hope director Raja Amari will also be in attendance for a post-screening Q&A,” RAS says. Coming up at the National Gallery Singapore on November 10-12, 2017 is the Annual Conference of the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art (CIMAM) that shall look at The Roles and Responsibilities of Museums in Civil Society. RELATED:Competitive Gaming Comes to East Africa Saying its “conference …

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Obstacles to New Education System

Wilson Sossion, Secretary-General of Kenya Union of Teachers and Nominated Member of Parliament

By Khalifa Hemed Published October 8, 2017 As the pilot phase of Kenya‘s new education system enters its final stage ahead of its introduction in pre- and lower primary school across the East African country in January 2018, players in the education sector caution against its hurried implementation. Wilson Sossion,Secretary General of Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT), describes the introduction of the 2-6-3-3-3 curriculum as ‘a hurried process without adequate preparations and consultations with key players’. Warning against the system being influenced by what he terms as ‘politics’, the trade unionist-cum Nominated Member of Parliament, argues that though it is teachers who are supposed to instruct and examine learners, they do not know what is happening as only a handful officers of the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) and the Ministry of Education push through the agenda for the new system. RELATED:Do Standardised Exams Enhance Learning? Urging the government to involve external evaluators in assessment of the new curriculum before the official roll out, Sossion said “The new curriculum needs to be piloted in January [2018] for a whole year and then be reviewed. Once teething problems have been identified and rectified, the earliest national roll-out should be in January 2019. We need a needs assessment, a proper communication strategy, policy regulation (matter not brought before Parliament), curriculum framework and syllabus designed and content developed.” Global standards, Sossion contends, require external evaluation of any new curriculum to provide informed implementation. RELATED:Focus on Animation Reveals Wanting Film Training The pilot programme of the new system that shall be based on continuous assessment tests instead of one-off national examinations, commenced in 470 schools across Kenya in May 2017. Education Minister Fred Matiang’i said the pilot of the system that is categorised into Early Years Education (Nursery-Grade 3), Middle School Education (Grades …

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Focus on Animation Reveals Wanting Film Training

Movie lovers during the 101st Lola Kenya Screen film forum at Gothe-Insitut, Nairobi, on 25.09.17.

By Dorcas Wanjau Published September 29, 2017 When Nairobi’s premier critical movie gathering convened for the 101st session on September 25, 2017, its focus was on animation but it ended up exposing the shame that masquerades as university training of moviemakers in Kenya. Wilfred Ngugi, whose two short animated movies—JOEL’S WORLD and POLITIKHO MANYALIST—were screened and discussed during the bi-monthly Lola Kenya Screen film forum (LKSff) at Goethe-Institut in Nairobi, said he had learnt animation not from the four years he had spent studying theatre arts and film technology at Kenyatta University, but from what he termed as self-training at ‘YouTube University’. As if taking cue from Ngugi, Kibui Kavita, Gatehi Mwaniki and Arnold Asin—the moviemaking communication students at Daystar University whose GHOST PUNCHERS live action movie was also screened and discussed, said they had largely taught themselves the craft of making moving images from their own shared love for comics and computer games. Their film, GHOST PUNCHERS, is the tale of a man who, rather than run from ghosts, opts to fight them with punches and kicks. RELATED:Why Lola Kenya Children’s Screen Exists! Participants in the LKSff that brings together players in the motion pictures of eastern Africa to critically appreciate movies with a view to encouraging filmmakers to aim for higher production values, expressed concern that a student should not have to waste four years and a tonne of money in an institution of higher learning studying what is described as filmmaking only to come out empty-handed and then have to teach themselves the craft online. RELATED:Mass Media Student Meets International Mentors and Touches Camera for the First Time Screened alongside Ngugi’s animation for inspiration and not discussion were Adede Hawi, Samora Oundo and Karama Ogova’s LITTLE KNOWLEDGE IS DANGEROUS that looks at calamities brought about by ignorance, Kwame …

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