All eyes have been on #Rio2016, where African athletes continue to kill it earning medals in long jump, running, fencing and swimming. All eyes have been on #Rio2016, where African athletes continue to kill it earning medals in long jump, running, fencing and swimming.
With the Olympics coming to an end on August 21, we thought we’d share five films about African athletes that you can watch when the Olympic nostalgia kicks in.
Before there was Haile Gebre Selassie, there was Abebe Bikila. The son of a shepherd, he moved to Addis Ababa and worked as a bodyguard before he was spotted by a Swedish trainer and became part of the Ethiopian team that travelled to Rome in 1960 where running barefoot, he won the gold medal in the marathon. ‘The Athlete (Atletu)’ recounts the 1960 and 1964 olympic win, as well as the car accident that ended his running career and started the next chapter in his life as a Paralympian. Directed by Davey Frankel Rasselas Lakew, ‘The Athlete’ was released in 2009.
Between The Rings
Two female boxing stars—Catherine Phiri and Esther Phiri (unrelated)—emerged in Zambia in recent years. Esther Phiri sold vegetables before becoming a seven-time world champion. ‘Between The Rings,’ a documentary by Jessi Chissi and Salla Sori, tells the story of how Phiri overcame the challenges in her life to become a champion. Catch the film when it airs on August 17 as ‘Zambia’s Boxing Star’ on August 17 at 20:00 GMT/21:00 WAT/22:00 CAT on Al Jazeera network.
In 2012, Zambia’s soccer team Chipolopolo beat the favorites Ivory Coast to become the Africa Cup of Nations champions in Gabon, the same country where nine years earlier, arguably the best outfit of Zambian soccer players died en route to Senegal to compete in a World Cup Qualifier. ‘Eighteam’ is a documentary by Ngosa Chungu and Juan Rodriguez-Briso that combines interviews with journalists who covered the Gabon Disaster, former skipper and African Footballer of the Year Kalusha Bwalya and more to tell the fascinating story of how Chipolopolo went from tragedy to triumph. Released in 2014, it was the first Zambian film to be screened at the special screenings at the Cannes Film Festival. It has since won awards in Nigeria, Barcelona and Silicon Valley.
Town of Runners
This documentary tells the story of young runners in the Ethiopian highlands of Bekoji, the town that produced Olympic medalists Tirunesh Dibaba and Kenenisa Bekele. It follows three children as they move from school track to national competition. Released in 2012, it was directed by Jerry Rothwell.
Zoom Zoom: The Professor
Azumah ‘Zoom Zoom’ Nelson is a former Ghanaian boxer who some regard as the best boxer ever to come out of the continent. ‘Zoom Zoom’ is a documentary that combines archival footage and interviews with the boxer to tell his story from the slums of Bukom to holding the World Boxing Champion in the featherweight, lightweight and superweight categories for a decade. Released in 2010, the film was directed by Sam Kessie.
Mazuba Kapambwe is a freelance writer, social media consultant and a lifestyle and travel blogger who founded the Zed Blog and Social Media Awards. She is also the co-host of docu-reality webseries, ‘The Fest Gurus.’ Follow up with her on Twitter @afrosocialite and @TheFestGurus.
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg Spring/Summer wrapped up Saturday night after four days of runway action at Nelson Mandela Square. We teamed up with Botswana-based photographer Uyapo Ketogetswe to bring us behind the scenes. Here, he takes us backstage at MBFWJ SS16.
By now you should know that Cape Town was the only city in Africa – out of 21 worldwide – where Kanye West brought his Pablo pop-up shop this weekend. The queue to the shop, which was on Bree Street, snaked all the way to Loop Street. On Friday, the first day of the store, hypebeasts, fashionistas and cool kids were there as early as 6am.
Only ten people were allowed in the shop at a time, which meant a longer queuing period. So, after every 30 minutes, people emerged with shopping bags full of Pablo merchandise.
Inside, there were a few rules: no fitting before purchase, no removing of clothes from display racks. And the security guards’ favorite – if you were only there to take pictures and not buy, then you must leave.
Items available included t-shirts, crew neck sweaters, caps and jackets, which all featured printed phrases from The Life Of Pablo album in gothic letters. The cheapest item was the Cape Town cap (R485). The most expensive, the military jacket, set you back R3654. The t-shirts, sweaters and caps were all inscribed Cape Town, just like they would be inscribed “New York” if the store was there.
Shoppers – who came in all ages, but were mostly young adults and teenagers – browsed around to tracks from TLOP. There wasn’t much variety in product, and some shoppers felt a bit letdown. “This is stuff from Season 1,” I heard someone scream as he left the shop.
Sabelo Mkhabela is a writer from Swaziland, currently based in Cape Town. He also drops award-winning tweets as @SabzaMK.
Agatha Moreno is a ready-to-wear fashion brand that is established to take care of everyone’s fashion need from average to elite, slim, big, curvy, short or tall, dark skinned or light; with funky and high-end casuals, blends of haute couture, red carpet wears, bridals, e.t.c. The brand has clothed series of celebrities and top models. And has been featured on the cover of top lifestyle magazines.
Agatha Moreno debuted at ECOWAS fashion week and has since featured in A-Class fashion events.
Victoria Grace is an elegant fashion brand. The brand aims to dress women who love elegance, timeless style and luxury, blending either the East or the West with Africa. All Victoria Grace pieces speak elegance. The label closes the taste gap between cultures by creating a unique style; it is the ultimate taste of European-African joie de vivre.
Victoria Grace is an inimitable state of the art fashion label. Most pieces are limited and bespoke with an aesthetic towards couture-creation.
WELCOME TO AFRICA FASHION WEEK LONDON 2016
Venue – West Hall Olympia London Earls Court W14 8UX
AFWL 2016 Will Include 5 Catwalk Shows | 60 Designers | AFWL Expo & Entertainment.
FRIDAY THE 9TH OF SEPTEMBER – Fashion Show and Exhibition
SATURDAY THE 10TH OF SEPTEMBER – Fashion Show and Exhibition
Despite heat levels reaching 25 degrees in London, The black lives matter protests are still going strong.
Although there was a shaky start, hundreds of young people marched from Southwark Park to parliament. Twitter played a significant part in directing lost protestors to the bigger group which not only rose awareness to the #black lives matter protest but proved there’s strength in numbers when it comes to issues regarding black communities.
Today’s protest was pleasantly positive and powerful as drivers, and foreigners throughout the city showed support by beeping there cars or chanting along to show that #blacklivematter is open to all races from all walks of life.
Currently #blacklivesmatter is still dominating social media and communities not only in the US but also the UK. The issues regarding equality and racial discrimination is still well and truly active but the question is, will change be on the horizon ?
Last year, Air Zimbabwe and Ethiopian Airlines made major strides towards the inclusion of women in the aviation world with the launch of their all-women flight crews. Women continue to be at the forefront of African-based air travel with the establishment of South Africa’s Fly Blue Crane, the first airline to be founded by a black woman.
Fly Blue Crane, which has been operating domestically within South Africa since its inception last September, will be conducting its very first international flight when it launches its service from Cape Town to Windhoek on May 13. The airline is under the leadership of CEO, Sizakele Mzimela, who’s also the first black executive vice president of South African Airways and the first woman to be selected to the Board of the International Air Transport Association, AFKInsider reports.
Mzimela has previously been vocal about her desire to expand the airline outside of South African borders, with specific mention of Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and the DRC.
The airline exec, who has over 20 years of experience in the industry, shared some words of wisdom for female aviators in an interview with Runway Girl Network:
“You have to accept up front that your road will be more difficult than the pale white male sitting next to you,” she mentions. “It’s your job to say ‘nothing will stop me. I’m going to make it.’”
When Chierika Ukogu pulls up to the starting line in green and white this Saturday in Rio, she’ll go down in history as the first Nigerian to row on Olympic waters. The 23-year-old Stanford grad and soon-to-be medical student is about to become Nigeria’s very first Olympic rower.
The daughter of Nigerian immigrants, Ukogu, known as Coco to many, says she feels a strong connection to Nigeria, where many of her relatives live and where she spent many summers. She and her siblings were immersed in the culture. “We watch Nollywood movies, we love dancing ‘Alingo,’ we eat the food. All of it,” Ukogu tells Okayafrica by email. Writing from Rio, she says she’s proud of her Nigerian-American heritage.
Ukogu’s rowing career dates back to 2006 while attending Mount Saint Joseph Academy, a powerhouse of a rowing school on the outskirts of America’s crew capital, Philadelphia, PA. She graduated in 2010. The next stop for the Pennsylvania native was Palo Alto, where Ukogu studied pre-med and rowed for Stanford’s women’s crew team.
In rowing, the Olympics are really the ultimate goal. It’s every rower’s dream to compete. Ukogu’s Olympic dreams were awoken while watching Nigerien athlete Hamadou Djibo Issaka compete at the London 2012 Summer Games. Issaka was the ultimate wild card. A swimmer by trade, he started rowing three months before the games. According to Ukogu, Issaka faced a lot of flack. He finished last, and despite his underdog appeal, he was dubbed the “sculling sloth” due to his less-than-impressive performance. The young Nigerian-American rower was pissed off. “At that time I had been rowing for about six years, and I wanted to continue his legacy and shake things up,” says Ukogu. “I wanted to show people more African rowers and just what we can accomplish.”
Of course, Nigeria’s rowing community is still small. The sport was only recently recognised by the sports ministry, says Ukogu. Their plan was to develop Nigerian rowers to compete in the 2020 games in Tokyo. But then Ukogu came along. “Almost out of nowhere four years early,” she says. “It just goes to show that anything is possible.”
Ukogu spent years emailing the Nigerian Rowing and Canoeing Federation to no avail. At that point, she hadn’t started sculling, the style of rowing she’d need to master if she were to compete at the Olympics for Nigeria. She was ambitious but without a plan. Without experience in a single, she didn’t have much to show for herself.
Looking back, Ukogu says she’s glad they ignored her. “Their silence pushed me to make bigger commitments to rowing after graduating university. I put my dreams of medical school on hold and I dove headfirst into rowing,” she says.
And so after graduating from Stanford in 2014, Okogu found herself back on Philly’s historic Schuylkill River. She worked as a women’s-health research coordinator at the University of Pennsylvania while training in a single at the prestigious Vesper Boat Club on Boathouse Row.
But the road to Rio was a bumpy one.
Transitioning from sweep rowing to sculling was a challenge. In addition to the technical adjustment of rowing with two skinny oars by her lonesome, she’d need to get used to rowing without eight women and a coxswain by her side.
When she first joined Vesper, the club’s head coach told her she wasn’t good enough to row in the Olympics. But according to Vesper coach John Parker, the novice sculler responded fast.
Okogu says that once she had something to show, Nigeria listened.
But if she was going to compete for Team Nigeria, she wouldn’t just need to “make” the team, she’d need to actually create it. Before Okogu came along, there was no Team Nigeria to speak of. And with zero financial support from Nigeria’s rowing federation, her path to Rio would need to be self-funded. She started a GoFundMe campaign a little over a year ago to raise money for costs like travel expenses, entry fees, uniforms and boats.
The campaign was a success. Tomorrow, Ukogu will make history as the first Nigerian rower in Olympic history. But she won’t be the only rower representing the continent in Saturday’s women’s single scull event. Competing in the same heat are Algeria’s Amina Rouba and Togo’s Akossiwa Ayivon.
Heading into the starting line at Rio, Ukogu says she’s been listening to a lot of Kanye’s TLOP, but Michael Jackson‘s “Can you Feel it” and Nicki Minaj’s “Moment 4 Life” are pre-race standards.
After competing, she won’t have much time to bask in Olympic glory. Ukogu is slated to fly out New York just a couple of days after racing to begin medical school at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
Okogu’s first race is scheduled for Saturday, 10:10 Rio time. The top three in her heat advance directly to the quarterfinals. Head to NBC Sports for more on rowing schedules and streaming times. Keep up with Okogu and her Olympic journey on Snapchat at cukogu.
Your summer just got 10x better as Ghana’s biggest Hip Hop duo R2Bees are coming to London to bring you an epic performance. Along with this, the stage will be graced by some of the best UK Afrobeats acts including Afro B, Mista Silva & Jaij Hollands. You don’t want to miss this one!
TRACE are giving you and one of your lucky friends a chance to win tickets to Afrobeats Music Festival and meet the headliners R2Bees backstage after the show!
All UK residents may apply, all you have to do is fill in the form below.
The competition closes on 20th July 2016. Winners will be announced on 21st July 2016.
Ten lucky Zimbabweans will have a chance to attend US rapper J Cole’s “Unlocked” concert scheduled to take place in South Africa next month.
The 10 will be flown down to South Africa for a weekend of fun and refreshment courtesy of Castle Lite that is partnering Channel O in the programme. The show will be held on June 18 the Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg.According to a press statement from Delta Beverages, “Zimbabweans should not to miss out on this highly anticipated event and should aim to be part of the fun.
“Things to look forward to include a day and night out in the town as well as exclusive access to the Castle Lite Unlock J Cole Concert. Winners will be hosted in a fully catered VIP suite, with access to the Golden Circle, and the fun doesn’t end there; all winners will then head over to the buzzing streets of Johannesburg for the Official J Cole After Party! An experience not to be missed!”
The brand will be running an exclusive five-week promotion to give consumers an opportunity to win the VIP experience packages.
Born Jermaine Lamarr Cole, J Cole was first known as Jay-Z’s protégée, but has emerged from the sideline to become a Billboard chart topper. He was born in Frankfurt, Germany on to a European-American mother and an African-American father. He moved to Fayetteville, North Carolina with his mother when his father left the family.
Cole fascination of rapping started at the age of 14 when J Money put him in the rap game and his cousin showed him the basics of rhyming and word play.
He was an expert in lyrics first before in beats. His mother then bought him a beat machine which helped him to produce his own music. Cole spent the remainder of his teen years as Therapist, posting his music online under the moniker.
In pursuit of a better chance, he moved to New York City as soon as he graduated from high school. He enrolled at St John’s University on an academic scholarship where he majored in communication and minored in business.
He was working as a bill collector in the city but his passion laid somewhere else. Cole first came up with a mix-tape called “The Come Up” in 2007.
With only courage and determination, Cole stood outside Jay-Z’s office building for hours to give him his demo tape. But when the big rapper came out, Cole was shunned. But luck came not long before that. He received a text from an associate who told him that he has a business meeting with Jay-Z and urged him to attend.
Jay-Z apparently heard his song “Lights Please” and Cole was officially the first artiste to be signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation.
“I got the record deal,” Cole recalled, “but I still had to learn and improve as far as being ready to drop an album.” He was then featured in his mentor’s album “The Blueprint 3” on the track “A Star Is Born.” From there, Cole was a known collaborator, working with Wale, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, BoB and a lot more.
His first single “Who Dat” appeared on the mix-tape “The Warm Up”. He supported the album with a college tour in 2010. His third official mix-tape “Friday Night Lights” was released in November that year, featuring names like Drake and Wale. He then joined Drake as his supporting act in “Light Dreams” and “Nightmares UK”.