Category Archives: News


State of the Culture : The Winky D case

So on the 24th of December Winky D, Zimbabawe’s foremost musical juggernaut of the present moment and dancehall music hitmaker  was the victim of a madding crowd in Kwekwe, small town in the country’s midlands province, the land of a so called terror gang?

picture courtesy of Winky D Facebook timeline


But what actually happened in Kwekwe? Was it a case of a prima donna who stretched his luck and earned the wrath of music lovers by delaying his entrance?

The footage available on You Tube of Zimbabwe’s number one showman in the fiasco in Kwekwe makes cringe worthy watching. In the first nineteen seconds is a cacophony of sounds as Winky D stands surrounded by civilians and military police in their custom red berets and fatigues. Was the military police part of the security for the day or just out for a good time? The girls are shrieking (though one can’t see them) as Winky D seems to be psyching himself up. Then the thugs start pelting.


The video gets blurry. Whoever was filming must have been trying to duck from the missiles and most likely bottles being hurled. Someone is heard saying ‘Arohwa musoro here or words to that effect’. Then the footage ends. I want to know what the gallant military men then did in the melee. Who had the nerve to unleash terror in the soldiers’ awesome presence? What drink do the brave ones actually drink to ‘wanna be starting something’ when the soldiers’ own police are around? So many questions?

The media

One narrative says that Winky D provoked the ire of music lovers by going on stage late. The other says that his presence in Kwekwe a renowned place of terror and prowling ground for the bad and the ugly was in itself suicidal given the place’s history with political violence. The latter narrative lends itself to the idea of a musician who has fallen foul of the powers that be and their fiendish sympathizers at ground zero. The reason for the bull’s eye on his back would be the song Kajecha which is interpreted to imply criticism of the ruling Zanu PF and support for the MDC. All these theories are moot at present and the efforts to get a hold of Winky D’s manager directly have proved fruitless except the following on the artist’s Facebook page post:

“We realised how the noblest energies could be subverted in the name of expedience, how narrow interests could be used against a collective expression of a ghetto discontent constituted artist voice.
I am sure that cheap versions of “absolute truths” are already being peddled. Programmed applauders of everything anti-Winky D should realise that this is no longer the perceived musical beef terrain, (haisi kids game) but real life situations, wherein, had the worst happened, we could have been writing this near the smoke or harmony of a funeral procession.The story being sold that the artist arrived late for the performance is far from the truth. It’s a falsehood meant to spoil the truth. As always, the artist was on time and ready to perform as per allocated time, his performance was supposed to start at 2:30 and the 0345am being peddled around, is a time at which the artist and his crew were in the midst of scurrying for dear life…”

The aftermath

The following morning Winky D tweets in his official account that he is safe together with his band Vigilance. The Vigilant ones managed to escape the daring assault by a madding crowd who risked even pelting military men! Zimbabwe is becoming more and more volatile when we have civilians being as bold as pelting a person surrounded by military police. But what was the trigger for the riot at King Solomon’s Hotel owned reportedly by one Mr. Solomon Matsa? Sadly, the news filtering through indicates that his place was damaged in the violence. I wonder if he has security cameras. It now seems that security cameras are a must for places where crowds gather. The footage would come in handy should the police be acting to arrest the assailants.

Money motive?

Some of the reports have it that the crowd was not amused when the show’s admission charges changed from $10 to US$10 and that they were upset furthermore that Winky D appeared on stage at 3.45am. The bill had a number of other performers however as curtain raisers with Winky D as the head line act. As one would expect, people got hurt in the melee. But what sort of raging beast was it that bedeviled the Kwekwe show?  This would be the second time a musician of note has suffered crowd violence. Jah Prayzer experienced similar violence at the burial of his deceased former band member. He ran like the wind to escape the ravenous crowd. Why were the people mad at him?

A violent and cowardly society

Musicians are increasingly becoming game meat for those with scores to settle. I believe that it is really a tricky time to be living in this country. Nothing seems to be working except violence against political opponents. Maybe that’s an exaggeration but here is my worry; we are a long way from healing a broken land when influential politicians such as Zanu PF youth leader the 52 year old Pupurayi Togarepi can tweet that they will no longer tolerate those who ‘provoke’ them.  There are also those in the country’s main opposition party the Movement for Democratic Change who have also demonstrated a disturbing prediliction for violence (as in the attack on former party deputy leader Thokozani Khupe case being but one example).

When Zanu PF youth leadership tweets that they will be ‘taking no prisoners’ the English here actually means that there will be no need to take prisoners because they will be dead as in war situations! Well it is important to pay attention to the way people use language to advance agendas. Ultimately, this animal called violence cannot and should not be boasted about. It is reckless. I recommend that we adopt the practice of respectfully objecting to people who see differently. There are really no spoils in a civil conflagration. I fear that someday the proverbial waters will break and it is not a child this society gives birth to but the very spawn of Satan!

The business of content distribution: the battle for the African market

Intersection with technology

With the close to 1 billion mobile phone subscriptions in Africa, content aggregators such as Iflix and iROKO are poised to mine a serious goldfield. I find it heartwarming that an African player has risen to the challenge being presented by the global players. Nollywood is the world’s second largest film industry in terms of output. It reportedly employs one million people and constitutes 1.04% of the Nigeria’s GDP. Nigerian has been enjoying considerable success interms of its creative sector. The Nigeria’s film industry is prolifically producing close to 50 films a week or more than 1,200 films a year. It surpasses Hollywood in volume terms and is set to match or better Bollywood in India, which overtook the USA as the largest film producer in the 1970s. Other African countries can only learn and piggy back on what others are doing. Personal communication gadgets present a new business frontier.

Take for example iFlix, a subscription video on demand service which last year  announced the launch of iFlix Africa to bring its world class service to sub-Saharan Africa.  It has since partnered with Kwese to deliver a pan African service to millions across the continent who can purchase the Kweseplay gadget for IPTV.

iFlix Africa is headquartered in Cape Town, South Africa and trades commercially as ‘iflix’. According to Kethryn Meichie in charge of corporate communications at the time “launches are planned in Nigeria, Ghana Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, iflix Africa will increase iFlix’s global footprint to 23 territories worldwide, with additional regional markets to be added over the coming months.”iFlix has since been moving fast across the continent to spread its wings with the launch of its SVoD service across Sub Saharan Africa making its vast catalogue of thousands of TV shows, movies and more, including many first run exclusives and award winning programs available to hundreds of millions of consumers across the region.In addition to having the ‘best’ of Hollywood, Bollywood, Nollywood and other regional and local programming, the service will additionally offer an extensive collection of highly acclaimed African shows and movies with iFlix Africa planning to introduce exclusive African content series.

Let there be competition

IFlix’s entrance on the market implies serious competition for the various pay TV and VOD services that have been invading the African market.  Zimbabwean players set to feel the heat because of iFlix include Netflix and DStv. Kwesé Television from Econet Wireless and ipidi TV from Liquid Telecom are yet to access the Zimbabwean market. iFlix is offering its services at $4,99 monthly.

Consumers can only benefit from the bone fight that is yet to ensue. Monopolies breed complacency inadvertently. Zimbabwe television has been in the doldrums for a long time is because of the lethargy that is concomitant with monopolies. Competition is good for keeping businesses on their toes. In fact, it is the bigger malady of the African socio-political environment.

An African player

Last year Nigerian based Entertainment and internet TV platform iROKO announced the signing of multiple deals totaling $19m for content development and capital funding from Kinnevik AB, its existing investor and French media giant CANAL+. The funding is intended to upscale its operations and expand aggressively across the continent.

In a statement released at the time, Jason Njoku, a thirty something Chemistry graduate- CEO and Co-founder of iROKO said: “The challenges surrounding mobile TV in Africa are mighty, but not insurmountable. It’s human to be entertained and connect over community and we are obsessed with creating Africa’s largest community around local content. We have always been crazily bold in our ambitions to bring the content closer to viewers and build a truly frictionless and inclusive entertainment experience. Today’s news improves those odds.”


Donel Mangena touches the globe

The kid is seventeen and the globe is in his hands. But what does it mean that the child of Zimbabwean immigrants is doing these things? What does it mean that out of a constellation of global ‘stars’ he could have bagged such a prestigious gig as the Miss World finals last weekend?

picture courtesy of Donel Mangena Facebook page

The 68th edition of the Miss World pageant, was held on 8 December 2018 at the Sanya City Arena in Sanya, China.The event saw Manushi Chhillar of India crowning her successor Vanessa Ponce of Mexico at the end. Before 118 beauties drawn from across the world, the nascent talent of Donel Mangena with Zimbabwean roots showed out. He may prove to be Africa’s answer to Usher or Chris Brown with his fluid dance moves and singing ability.Recently he was in the country a few months to perform in front of local fans in Bulawayo and he is proving that he will most likely soar to previously uncharted territory in the pop music firmament.

Much will depend on a number of factors including management and of course songs. Without a hit song, a singer is going nowhere and the young artists introduced his latest single ‘Bang like a drum’ at the finals dancing with a coterie of dancers in choreography that chimed seamlessly with his latest offering.

Donel Mangena new single cover art.

The crowd roared their approval at the end with presenters Barney Walsh gushing: “What an opening, we had Donel…!

Donel came close to bagging UK’s version of the voice last year and attracted the attention of Black Eyed Peas front man Wil.I.Am. He has also had the rare privilege of performing for the royalty at the Queen of England’s birthday celebrations. Donel has roots in the city’s cultural hub of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

story by Admire Kudita

South African hip hop artist Cassper earns legend status

As if filling up a 20 000 seater Coca Cola Dome in Soweto or a 60 000 seater Orlando stadium is a stroll in the veld, try this for size : Cassper filled up a 90 000 seater football stadium in addition to those feats ! Well not quite ; though he did sell 72 000 tickets and brought throngs of excited fans along for the history making show.Few African artists have been stadium fillers. This is a rarified space which has in the past been inhabited by international acts such as Bruce Springsteen and Eminem.

Picture from Instagram

Cassper’s feat has earned him the respect of peers and entertainment industry elders such as the legendary impresario of the African house music and the power behind the careers of pan African groups such as Mafikizolo, Bongomaffin and Boomshaka DJ Oskido (real name Oscar Mdlongwa, the boss of Kalawa Jazmee)

Picture from Instagram

Cassper was born Refiloe Maele Phoolo into a middle class South African family. Dropping out of school at 16 to pursue his music dream in the bright lights of Johannesburg must have sounded like a nightmare to his teacher parents.The odds seemed bleak… On Saturday night 68 000 fans turned up for the spectacular show that has helped the 27 year old hip hop artist and boss of independent label Family Tree Records make history. Perhaps reminiscing about his days paying his dues as a backing dancer for popular hip hop artists of the day such as HHP (whom he paid homage to before the pumped up crowd),  Cassper ‘kinged’ it. But did he ever think that one day he would be compared with the likes of Bruce Springsteen in the annals of pop music history as a big stadium drawcard?

Theatre of dreams

Picture from Instagram

The venue of last Saturday’s concert was the architectural masterpiece that is the FNB stadium which played host to the 2010 World Cup final. An aerial view of the stadium reveals an inspirational and evocative design achievement in the calabash design of the stadium. The very idea of a design inspired by African motifs and iconography is fundamental to the proliferation and proper monetisation of African cultural artefacts and Art in general. The Nyovest gig has been hailed by the country’s Arts Minister Nathi Mthethwa:  “On behalf of @ArtsCultureSA I wish you all the best as you make your mark and start a new chapter in South Africa’s music history tonight. You continue to inspire future generations of African musicians to be limitless in their pursuit of excellence”and for “using his platform to encourage the youth to preserve and promote African arts and culture.”

The path to glory

Picture from Instagram

The campaign to fill up the stadium ran for several months on social media mainly.Corporate support for the gig was begging initially till right upto the very last moment. Cassper was on social media grumbling about how “they dont want to support us” in refernce to corporate South Africa. In an interview with DJ Sbu (another serious entrepreneur owner of the MoFaya energy drink and Massiv Metro radio station) Cassper broke down the total cost of the show which saw him go broke as per his own word and selling four Rolex watches. Of course that fact alone I found bemusing considering the lot of Zimbo musicians. A Rolex watch can set you back close to R60 000 per piece. Still, Cassper claimed in the interview that it would cost him 15 million rand to put the show together. It cost 2 million rand to book stadium, 5,2million rand for the stage design ( by a company based in Cape Town), 1 million rands for traditional marketing and 500 000 rands for supporting acts.

It takes a village to raise an African child

Picture from Instagram

For a moment, it seemed that Cassper was going it alone but for the support of the likes of famous house music don Oskido of Kalawa Jazmee records, fellow rapper Riky Rik, Black Coffee and other celebs such as actress Pearl Thusi who came out in support buying tickets. Oskido bought R50 000 worth of tickets whilst Riky Rik bought R20 000 worth of tickets. All of sudden, the campaign for the show reached a groundswell and the corporate world jumped in. Ciroc, Budweiser, SABC. South Africa’s Department of Arts and Culture and Standard Bank came on board to help underwrite the gig. Standard Bank actually broke protocol by sponsoring a gig at rival bank branded stadium.

Business comes to the party

The corporate head of retail marketing Tinyiko Mageza at Standard Bank offered his sentiments about the Cassper gig: “Cassper Nyovest has challenged young South Africans to unapologetically chase their next big dreams, their next big deals and their next big wins, and we are inspired and excited to be part of this adventure. For Standard Bank it doesn’t matter where your NEXT may happen or how big it may seem, we really just want to be a partner as you steer your life to greatness.” The Standard Bank involved an undisclosed amount of money plus extensive marketing support and advertising. The bank also gave away free tickets that it had bought to fans. Incidentally, Standard Bank has a promotional campaign entitled ‘What’s Your Next?’“We are here to support a young African artist, Cassper Nyovest, to show that anything is possible.We are here to show that no matter how big or audacious, bold or daring your next step is you can really make it happen if you have the right partners co-piloting with you and helping you stir your life to greatness.As a country, we followed Cassper’s journey from one ‘next’ to the other For us it represented the epitome of what a ‘next’ is all about. As a bank, in May we put our hands up and asked the question to all South Africans, ‘What is your next?’,” said Mageza.

A night to remember

Picture from Instagram

The stage with two giant lions flanking it was designed by Daniel Popper a Cape Town based artist. The lighting was superlative and worthy of a galaxy of African stars who take their Art seriously. The show included a Somizi Mhlongo choreographed 50 dancer show piece by Cassper alone. Some of South Africa’s top artistes Kwesta, Major League,Babes Wodumo, current hit makers Distruction Boyz, DJ Tira, (Zimbabwean rapper )Nadia Nakai, Somizi, Riky Rick and Tshepo Tshola featured to help make the show a grand musical affair. They didn’t need American musical imports to fill the stadium on this Saturday night and the tag line of Brand South Africa- Proudly South African was totally earned. Hit after hit was churned out by Cassper and his coterie of fellow artists with songs such as ‘Mama I made it’, ‘Tito Mboweni’ and others by Babes Wodumo thrilling the multi-ethnic and multi-racial fans.The generation of artists such as Cassper is clearly standing on the shoulders of giants that have gone before him such as the late Lucky Dube and Miriam Makeba.

Has Cassper Nyovest not given South African audiences a moment of showbiz magic with his recent FillUpTheFNB concert? Has he not rewritten the script for African artists in the process in terms of how far to reach when pursuing the singular goal of global fame?
Apparently, Cassper calls him himself  Mufasa – Lion king. Is he the lion of African pop culture ? Pundits would be hard pressed to deny him the title especially if he pulls off the #FillUpMosesMabhidha gig he is now eyeing for 2018.


Someone once said that there is nothing more powerful in the entire world than an idea whose time has come. Disney, for example, is today valued at around US$150 billion and generates revenues of over US$50 billion annually.Not bad for a company that started with a cartoon called Mickey Mouse !

Dreams to gold

Steve Jobs was a listless college dropout when he met future collaborator and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. Jobs had been what can be called a bum, dabbler in eastern mysticism, psychedelia and other unproductive pursuits such as watching television for hours on end.His biography is well documented and I will not bother you with details. The moral of this tale is that this same guy is now famous for altering the way we work and live in the 21st Century via the invention of the Macintosh computer abbreviated Mac and related products iPhone, iTunes and iPad.The Apple brand is well loved for the ingenuity of the design and the functionality of its product lines.

No grand plan starting out

Of course Jobs did not have a grand plan when he set out as a young dreamer who society might have dismissed as a failure after dropping out of college.But when he met with other minds of purpose (such as Wozniak and Bill Gates), he crystallised his vision and became a formidable innovator and shrewd businessman.

When Steve Jobs died,he left behind a multi-billion dollar company.The company is currently under the stewardship of Tim Rice. Jobs is reportedly said to have summarised his life maxim as follows: “You’ve got to find what you love.And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking. Don’t settle.”He had given the talk to graduates at Stanford University in 2005 in a speech entitled “How to live before you die”.

Innovative ideas have led thousands from poverty to fortune and fame. Many of the world’s businesses started off as concepts that bothered their possessors till they began to execute them.Several epochs after creation, humans who started off in a garden have been responsible for the creation and invention of many brilliant contraptions and technology that has at the same time moved civilisation forward as well as threatening to extinguish it !


Nobuntu "Ekhaya" album launch in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe (pic by Multimedia Box)

Nobuntu “Ekhaya” album launch in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe (pic by Multimedia Box)



Imbube (accappella) female ensemble Nobuntu delivered an inspired music and dance set this past week on the back of their world tour that saw them perform in Austria, Germany, Canada amongst a few others. The group has performed to hundreds of adoring fans who cannot get enough of the female vocal ensemble’s inspired vocalising steeped in traditional Nguni harmonies and traditions. As an imbube group,Nobuntu, which began its journey a few years ago under the creative direction of Dumisani ‘Ramadu’ Moyo is growing in terms of influence having had a video of one of their songs ‘Narini’ top the Zambezi Magic Top ten Zimbabwe videos on DSTV.Nobuntu was also nominated for Best Musician of the year in 2015 at the Zimbabwe International Women Awards 2015. Ekhaya is their second album and it marks growth for the ensemble showcasing their strongest vocal lineup to date in Zanele Manhenga,Joyline Sibanda,Heather Dube, Duduzile Sibanda and Thandi. A few days ago Nobuntu delivered a well received show in the country’s second largest city in an event that marks the beginning of their national tour.The event had the sizeable multi-hued audience celebrating the cultural pride this group exhibited. Nobuntu tour will culminate in a tour of Italy (Interview and album review to follow)

Agility Launches 2nd Annual Modern Africa Photo Competition


Pan-Africa Contest Seeks to Capture Fast-Changing Cities, Industry, Technology

DUBAI, UAE, June 1, 2016/ — Agility,  a global leader in integrated logistics, today launched its Africa 2016 Photo Competition (, an effort to inspire and showcase images that illustrate the breathtaking pace of change across modern Africa.

The annual contest, now in its second year, is the first pan-Africa photography competition to focus on Africa’s rapid modernization. It is open to professional and amateur photographers alike.

The competition seeks to highlight the progress and development on a continent of contrasts, documenting an Africa booming with youthful consumers, new technology, urbanizing populations and promising economic prospects.

“Africa’s modern spirit and rapid evolution are obvious to those of us doing business there every day,” says Geoffrey White, CEO of Agility Africa. “It’s important for the rest of the world to recognize the drive, ambition and creativity powering development across the continent. The Africa 2016 Photo Competition is one way we can bring attention to it.”

The competition will take place from June 1 to Sept. 1, 2016. Agility will award a US$2,000 cash prize to the winner of each of three categories: cities, industry and technology. A further US$2,000 grand cash prize will go to the photographer who shoots the overall winning image, deemed to best illustrate development and growth across Africa; giving photographers a chance to win up to $4,000.

The winning photographs will be shown on a CNBC Africa telecast and published in Forbes Africa and be featured in Agility social media, promotions and advertising.

The competition will be judged by an independent panel consisting of Sneha Shah, Managing Director, Thomson Reuters Africa; Bronwyn Nielsen, Executive Director of the Africa Business News Group and Editor-in-Chief of CNBC Africa; and Salim Amin, photographer, filmmaker and chairman of Africa 24 Media and Camerapix.

The Africa 2015 Photo Competition drew 700 entries submitted by photographers in 33 countries. Winning entries were dramatic images that captured the capital city of Luanda, Angola; wheat fields in Kenya; and a child holding a smart phone in Uganda.

“Across our Africa business, we’re seeing the impact infrastructure improvements and technology are making in African life,” White says. “The contest is an engaging way for us to try to reflect the modernization we see, from sustainable farming to manufacturing to energy production. Our hope is that perceptions of Africa will become more balanced, and people elsewhere will come to see Africa as an increasingly significant contributor to the world economy.”

Agility is investing in Africa and is committed to building new logistics capacity and infrastructure to support the development of global and SME businesses across the continent. The company’s strategy also includes a strong social and environmental program, focused on education, training and health.


For more information about the competition or to learn about Africa’s growth opportunity, visit


Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Agility.

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Media Contact

Laetitia Tettamanti

Weber Shandwick

+41 22 879 85 02

About Agility

Agility ( brings efficiency to supply chains in some of the globe’s most challenging environments, offering unmatched personal service, a global footprint and customized capabilities in developed and developing economies alike. Agility is one of the world’s leading providers of integrated logistics. It is a publicly traded company with more than $4.3 billion in revenue and more than 22,000 employees in over 500 offices across 100 countries. Agility’s core commercial business, Global Integrated Logistics (GIL), provides supply chain solutions to meet traditional and complex customer needs. GIL offers air, ocean and road freight forwarding, warehousing, distribution, and specialized services in project logistics, fairs and events, and chemicals. Agility’s Infrastructure group of companies manages industrial real estate and offers logistics-related services, including e-government customs optimization and consulting, waste management and recycling, aviation and ground-handling services, support to governments and ministries of defense, remote infrastructure and life support.



2016 Etisalat Pan-African Prize for Literature: Call for Entries


inaugural Etisalat Prize winner Zimbabwe’s Noviolet Bulawayo talking to Jason Steger at the Melbourne Writers Festival in 2014


LAGOS, Nigeria, June 6, 2016/ — Etisalat has announced its call for entries to the 2016 edition of the Pan-African Prize, Etisalat Prize for Literature ( This is coming just a few months after the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Fiston Mwanza Mujila won the 2015 edition of the Prize with his first novel, Tram 83.

no book

Noviolet’s award winning book

Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Matthew Willsher, who made this disclosure on Wednesday at a press briefing in Lagos, also announced the Judging Panel for the 2016 Etisalat Prize. The panel comprises Nigerian novelist and poet, Helon Habila, as the Chair of Judges, South African writer and activist Elinor Sisulu and Ivorian writer, Edwige Rene Dro as members. The Chair of judges was present at the briefing as well as two of the Prize Patrons: renowned literary icon, Prof. Kole Omotoso and awards-winning author, Dele Olojede.

Mr. Willsher, while speaking about the uniqueness of the Etisalat Prize, said it is designed to serve as a leading platform for the discovery and encouraging of creative writing talents as well as the celebration of literary arts by African writers.

“We are delighted to champion the cause for celebrating the richness and strength of African literature. Etisalat Prize for Literature is about discovering and bringing to the world stage the many creative talent Africa boasts of. The Etisalat Prize is about creativity, excellence, empowerment and reward; it is about celebrating our African diversity in very innovative ways through various forms of art, literature being one of them”, he said.

Willsher added that only books by debutant writers published not later than 24 months before submission, will qualify for entry. “They must also be by registered publishing houses not less than six years as incorporated publishers with registered ISBN Number or the equivalent, and who must have published a minimum of six authors. All entries should be accompanied by seven copies of the book entered along with an acceptance of our publicity terms. A publisher may submit a maximum of three books. The rules and guidelines for entry are available at, he said.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Etisalat.


Media contact:


Chineze Amanfo

Regulatory & Corporate Affairs Division

+234 809 944 0224


About the Judging Panel


Nigerian-born Helon Habila is a writer, poet, author and an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at George Mason University, USA. His novels include, Waiting for an Angel (2002), Measuring Time (2007), and Oil on Water (2010). He is the editor of the Granta Book of African Short Story (2011).


Habila’s novels, poems, and short stories have won many honours and awards, including the Commonwealth Prize for Best First Novel (Africa Section), the Caine Prize, the Virginia Library Foundation Prize for fiction and most recently the Windham-Campbell Prize.


Habila has been a contributing editor for the Virginia Quarterly Review since 2004, and he is a regular reviewer for the Guardian, UK.


Elinor Sisulu is a Zimbabwean-born South Africa writer and human rights activist Elinor Sisulu combines training in history, English literature, development studies and feminist theory from institutions in Zimbabwe, Senegal and the Netherlands.


She is the author of the award-winning children’s book The Day Gogo Went to Vote. Her biography on her parents-in-law, Walter and Albertina Sisulu: In Our Lifetime secured her the prestigious 2003 Noma Award for publishing in Africa.


Elinor’s involvement in book promotion and literary development efforts for many years has culminated in her work with the Puku Children’s Literature Foundation. She has been a judge for the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize, the Sanlam Youth Literature Prize and the Penguin Africa Writer’s Competition.


Edwige-Renée Dro is an Ivorian writer and a translator. She is one of the 39 most promising voices under 40 from Africa, south of the Sahara as decided by the Africa39 project. She was the 2015 PEN International New Voices award judge.


Edwige-Renée currently works as the director of Danbé Collection, a new imprint of l’Harmattan Editions with a focus on the promotion of Ivorian literature in Abidjan. Her short stories have been published in anthologies and literary journals.


About Etisalat Prize for Literature


The Etisalat Prize for Literature is a Pan African prize ( that celebrates debut African writers of published fiction. Previous winners include Zimbabwe’s NoViolet Bulawayo (2013), South Africa’s Songeziwe Mahlangu (2014) and Democratic Republic of Congo’s Fiston Mwanza Mujila (2015).


The winner receives a cash prize of £15,000 in addition to a fellowship at the prestigious University of East Anglia, U.K. under the mentorship of Professor Giles Foden, the award-winning author of The Last King of England.


The Etisalat Prize also incorporates an award for Flash Fiction; an online-based competition for non-published African writers of short stories.




APO (African Press Organization)

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Transcendence: Muhammad Ali-the sum of all black heroes

ALI2As a kid growing up in the eighties, legends such as Ali (boxer) and Pele (football) regularly strolled our overactive imaginations. Whereas James Brown sang : Say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud, Ali walked the talk. As we mark the passing away of one whom as the Culture Beat Africa family consider to be the sum of all black heroes :Muhammad Ali.  In this tribute article we let Ali speak for himself through a number of quotes on different subject matter.

On his boxing profession

“It’s just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up.”

On war

“Muhammad Ali also spoke boldly against the war in Vietnam and refused conscription into the army. This is Ali’s famous explanation of why he refused to serve in the United States Army:

“Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years.” Ali, February, 17, 1966.

On his career and the price he paid

“People say I talk so slow today. That’s no surprise. I calculated I’ve taken 29,000 punches. But I earned $57m and I saved half of it. So I took a few hard knocks. Do you know how many black men are killed every year by guns and knives without a penny to their names? I may talk slow, but my mind is OK.”

On success

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”

On self aggrandisement

am the man this poem’s about,

I’ll be champ of the world, there isn’t a doubt.

Here I predict Mr. Liston’s dismemberment,

I’ll hit him so hard; he’ll wonder where October and November went.

When I say two, there’s never a third,

Standin against me is completely absurd.

When Cassius says a mouse can outrun a horse,

Don’t ask how; put your money where your mouse is!


“I am the Greatest” (1964)

Rumble in the jungle: Statement before his fight with George Foreman (31 March 1973)

Last night I had a dream, When I got to Africa,

I had one hell of a rumble.

I had to beat Tarzan’s behind first,

For claiming to be King of the Jungle.

For this fight, I’ve wrestled with alligators,

I’ve tussled with a whale.

I done handcuffed lightning

And throw thunder in jail.

You know I’m bad.

just last week, I murdered a rock,

Injured a stone, Hospitalized a brick.

I’m so mean, I make medicine sick.

I’m so fast, man,

I can run through a hurricane and don’t get wet.

When George Foreman meets me,

He’ll pay his debt.

I can drown the drink of water, and kill a dead tree.

Wait till you see Muhammad Ali.

A poem about his match with George Foreman, known as the Rumble in the Jungle (1974)

On his legacy

David Frost: What would you like people to think about you when you’ve gone?

Muhammad Ali: I’d like for them to say:

He took a few cups of love.

He took one tablespoon of patience,

One teaspoon of generosity,

One pint of kindness.

He took one quart of laughter,

One pinch of concern.

And then, he mixed willingness with happiness.

He added lots of faith,

And he stirred it up well.

Then he spread it over a span of a lifetime,

And he served it to each and every deserving person he met.

Towards the end : The soul of a butterfly

My soul has grown over the years, and some of my views have changed. As long as I am alive, I will continue to try to understand more because the work of the heart is never done. All through my life I have been tested. My will has been tested, my courage has been tested, my strength has been tested. Now my patience and endurance are being tested. Every step of the way I believe that God has been with me. And, more than ever, I know that he is with me now. I have learned to live my life one step, one breath, and one moment at a time, but it was a long road. I set out on a journey of love, seeking truth, peace and understanding. l am still learning.-


Ali has had a pervasive influence on many facets of our lives in the past 50 years. More specifically, Ali together with James Brown prefigured rap music and culture as we have it today. The original rhyme king and the archetypical hype master who according to Rolling Stone, had his “freestyle skills” and his “rhymes, flow, and braggadocio”  “one day become typical of old school MCs” like Run–D.M.C. and LL Cool J, the latter citing Ali as an influence. Ultimately, in 2002 Ali was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6801 Hollywood Boulevard. His star is the only one to be mounted on a vertical surface, out of deference to his request that his name not be walked upon. Ali is the sum of all black heroes.



South African Music Awards : Africa’s biggest music awards ?

black coffee

2016 SAMAs winner DJ Black Coffee

South Africa is undoubtedly Africa’s biggest economy with many multinational companies and global brands having made the bee line to invest in the country since 1994 when it surrendered its apartheid shackles. Since then, Mzansi culture (as South Africa is affectionately known) has come to dominate African popular culture owing to the rise of the digital satellite platform as rendered by Multichoice Africa. Millions of viewers on the continent are treated to daily doses of South African content showcasing celebrities such as Bonang Matheba(television presenter) and the likes of AKA (hip hop star). Right across Africa, with Naija celebrities in tow, Mzansi celebrities have captured the popular imagination so much so that there is now an abiding interest in what happens in that country’s entertainment scene. Saturday night no different.

Mzansi celebs and their African colleagues made their way to Durban ICC to attend the glittering 2016 SAMA Awards on a night that saw the likes of rapper EMTEE (2 SAMA Awards) (pictured) globally rising DJ Black Coffee (3 SAMA Awards) and the Lance Stehr handled Nathi   (5 SAMA Awards) won big at the awards 22nd edition.Black Coffee was also awarded the International Achievement Award at the event.

Lifetime Achievement awards were given to Roger Lucey‚ the late EMTEEBhekumuzi Luthuli and the late Nana Coyote.

Hip-hop artist Emtee‚ who scooped four awards at the recent Metro FM Music Awards‚ continued his dominance at local music awards with two major wins at the SAMAs‚ including awards for Best Rap Album and the prestigious Record of the Year Award.

Mzansi hip hop newbie continued the purple patch he struck at the Metro FM Music awards and Emtee pipped a galaxy of contenders namely AKA (Baddest/ All Eyes on Me)‚  K.O (Skhanda Love)‚  Black Coffee (We Dance Again)‚Prince Kaybee (Better Days)‚ Riky Rick (Boss Zonke) and Four7 (J’Adore) Nathi Mankayi (Nomvula)‚ Timo OVD (Save Me) to snag the Record of the Year gong. Mzansi pop culture threatens to dominate African urban culture in much the same the US has done with global pop culture. Nigeria is not too far behind and some will argue that these two African economic giants stand side by side. Naija artists such as Psquare and Dbanj have growing global name recognition. With over a billion plus citizens, the stakes are high for African artists jostling to make their cross border hustle pay.

Here is a list of some the winners:

Amstel Record of the year

Roll Up by Emtee

Album of the Year

Black Coffee  – Pieces of Me

Best Rap Album

Emtee – Avery

Duo or Group of the Year

Big Nuz – For the Fans

Female Artist of the Year

Zonke – Work of Heart

Best R&B/Soul/Reggae Album 

Nathi – Buyelekhaya

Male Artist of the Year

Nathi – Buyelekhaya

Newcomer of the Year

Nathi – Buyelekhaya

Best Kwaito Album (Brought to you by Ukhozi FM)

Big Nuz – For the Fans

Best Rock Album       

Desmond & the Tutus – Enjoy Yourself

Best Pop Album 

Tresor – VII

Best Dance Album  

Black Coffee – Pieces of Me

Beste Pop Album (Afrikaans)

Karlien van Jaarsveld – My Hartjie

Best Adult Contemporary Album   

Judith Sephuma – One Word

Beste Kontemporêre Musiek Album

Elvis Blue – Êrens in die Middel van Nêrens

Best African Adult Album  

Dizu Plaatjies & Friends – Ubuntu – The Common String

Best Alternative Album 

Petite Noir – La Vie Est Belle/Life is Beautiful

Best Traditional Faith Music Album 

TYGC Family – The Journey Begins

Best Contemporary Faith Music Album    

Ntokozo Mbambo – Spirit and Life

Best Maskandi Album

Imithente – Ichakijana

Best Jazz Album

Marcus Wyatt & the ZAR – One Night in the Sun Jazz Orchestra

Best Classical and/or Instrumental Album

Wouter Kellerman – Love Language

Best Live Audiovisual Recording

Jimmy Dludlu – Live at Emperors Palace

Best Collaboration

Dbn Nyts ft. Zinhle Ngidi – Shumaya & Trademark

Best Music Video of the Year

Jack Parow & Freshly Ground Army of One

Best Produced Album of the Year

Zahara – Country Girl

Best Engineered Album of the Year

Black Coffee – Pieces of Me

Best Remix of the Year

DJ Sliqe – Do Like I Do Remix


Special Awards

International Achievement Award – Black Coffee

Lifetime Achievement Awards (Brought to you by Telkom)– Nana Coyote (posthumous award), Bhekumuzi Luthuli (posthumous award), Roger Lucey

Best Selling Albums and Music Downloads of the Year

Best Selling Album – Nathi (Buyelekhaya)

Best Selling DVD – Joyous Celebration (Volume 19: Back to the Cross)

Best Selling Overall Music Download – Sfiso Ncwane (Bayede Baba)

Best Selling Music Download (Ring-back Tone) – Sfiso Ncwane (Bayede Baba)

Best Selling Full-track Music Download – Nathi (Nomvula)

Sampra Award

Highest Radio Airplay of the Year – DBN Nyts (Shumaya)

Samro Award

Highest Radio Airplay Composers’ Award – Samkele Maphumulo, Kabelo Masekane, Cebo Ngcobo, Wanda Shabalala and Lwazi Yokwana for Shumaya by Dbn Nyts

Capasso Award

Best Selling Digital Download Composers’ Award – Sfiso Ncwane (Bayede Baba)