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CULTURE & SOCIETY

Swahili makes history as first African language recognized by Twitter

After years of hashtags and outcries, Twitter now recognizes Swahili, one of East Africa’s most common languages. The social media platform now offers translation for the language spoken by tens of millions in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and some parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Most African languages for the past decade and over of social media platform Twitter’s existence …

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Black actors and directors seek more opportunities in Europe’s film industry

Some of the best-known Black actors in Europe gathered in Tarifa at the just-concluded Tarifa-Tangiers African Film Festival to discuss their situation in different countries in a session moderated by Spanish journalist Lucía Mbomío. Last Saturday (5 May), nine actors shared their experiences, as well as the difficulties and challenges they face, calling for greater visibility and the normalisation of …

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Experts choose the best African films of all time

At the just-concluded Tarifa-Tangiers African Film Festival (Festival cine africano de Tarifa or FCAT), international critics have voted for the best African films of all time. FCAT, which takes place in the Spanish town Tarifa and the Moroccan city of Tangiers, celebrates its 15th year of promoting and subtitling cinema productions from Africa into Spanish from 26 April to 5 May. …

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Study reveals critical ages at which people can best learn a new language

There is a “critical period” for learning a second language, with people remaining adept learners until the age of 17 or 18, when their ability drops, according to a new study. Conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the study suggests that the “critical period” for learning a new language is much longer than scientists had previously thought. “It was …

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Museum on wheels brings art to West Africa

A group of artists have started a journey across West Africa in a rickety school bus. They want to bring culture to the region with their rolling art space while collecting inspiration for their own works. Adrian Kriesch reports from Lagos. Nigerian-born artist Emeka Udemba looked annoyed. The yellow Mercedes school bus, his new home for the next six weeks, …

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Berlin hosts first-ever African literary festival in Germany

For the first time, a literary festival devoted to the work of African writers will hold in Germany. From 26-28 April, more than 35 African writers will gather in Berlin for the African Book Festival, featuring readings, poetry, spoken word and theatre performances, panel discussions, book signings and networking events. Among the writers expected in the German capital city are …

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BBC opens new office in Lagos

The BBC today officially opened its new bureau in Lagos, home to three new services in Igbo, Pidgin, and Yoruba. The bureau boasts a new state-of-the-art TV studio and two radio studios and can house up to 200 people. The BBC’s investment in Nigeria has created over 100 new jobs in Lagos and means that BBC News is now available in five …

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Heinemann African Writers Series goes digital!

Digitalback Books has announced that it has signed a digital license agreement with the African Writers Series publisher, Pearson. The agreement will allow readers from participating institutions to access and download the African Writers Series titles from the innovative Africa focused digital platform. The iconic Heinemann African Writers Series was launched in 1962 and played a crucial role in publishing …

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BBC launches services for Nigeria’s Igbo and Yoruba speakers

The BBC has launched its new Igbo and Yoruba services, as part of an expansion in local languages aimed at more in-depth reporting of countries around the world. The digital-only services went live online and on social media on Monday (19 February), joining a platform for Pidgin speakers that was launched last year and has attracted widespread interest. The Igbo …

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Bob Marley’s statue to be built in Zimbabwe’s capital city

A monument will be erected in honour of Bob Marley in Harare, Zimbabwe. In 1980, the world-renowned reggae icon performed during the Independence Day celebrations of the country. On 17 April 1980, Marley took to the stage and launched the young country of Zimbabwe into revolutionary reggae songs. For many Zimbabweans, it’s a night they still reflect on with much …

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Ghanaian musician Ebony Reigns dies in car accident

The popular dancehall singer Priscilla Opoku-Kwarteng, popularly known as Ebony Reigns, died after her car collided with a bus. She would have been 21 in a week’s time. According to police, the 20-year-old singer and two military officers were on board a Jeep from Sunyani heading towards Kumasi when it collided head-on with a VIP bus heading towards Sunyani from …

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Berlin hosts the world of films as Berlinale 2018 opens

The 68th Berlin International Film Festival – Berlinale – kicks off on 15 February in the German capital city. The Berlinale is one of the biggest international film festivals alongside the Cannes and Toronto film festivals. Up to 400 films are shown every year, mostly international or European premieres, and the festival, the world’s second largest audiovisual event, sells more …

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Ladysmith Black Mambazo Wins Grammy Award

South Africa’s male choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo won a Grammy award at Sunday’s ceremony. Their album “Shaka Zulu Revisited: 30th Anniversary Celebration” won in the Best World Music Album category. The album is a tribute to the group’s founder, Joseph Shabalala. With their soulful voices and traditional Zulu dance moves, Ladysmith Black Mambazo has sold millions of albums worldwide …

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World mourns South African jazz legend Hugh Masekela

South African jazz legend and anti-apartheid activist Hugh Masekela has died, aged 78. Masekela “passed peacefully” in the country’s commercial capital, Johannesburg “after a protracted and courageous battle with prostate cancer,” his family said in a statement on Tuesday. “It is with profound sorrow that the family of Ramapolo Hugh Masekela announce his passing. After a protracted and courageous battle …

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Teddy Oscar’s mission: Promoting Nollywood in Germany

The second edition of Queen of Nollywood Awards Germany took place recently. The event, which honoured practitioners of the Nigerian home-grown movie industry, was attended by hundreds of fans of the African movie industry, including a sister of former President Barack Obama. The presence of Dr Auma Obama, from Kenya, in the south-western German city of Ludwigshafen on 2 December …

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Igbo Language School inaugurated in Frankfurt

In a bold initiative, a group has started a school in Germany to teach an African language to children of African origin in the Diaspora. Saturday (20 January) witnessed the official opening of the Igbo Language School in Frankfurt. Igbo is the language of the Igbo people, one of Nigeria’s three biggest ethno-national groups. Attended by members of the Nigerian …

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Nigerian baby born on migrant rescue ship inspires song for Eurovision contest

 An electro-pop song called “Mercy” by French duet Madame Monsieur is competing to represent France in the 63rd edition of the European song contest Eurovision in May. The piece tells the unique story of a toddler born on a rescue boat in the Mediterranean Sea. “I am all those children taken by the sea”. There’s a stirring story behind the …

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