DYNAMIC AFRICA

African-based news, lifestyle & popular culture platform that brings you stories and information concerning Africa and the African diaspora. Set up in 2010, Dynamic Africa is a rich content-driven creative space with a Pan-African outlook established as an expressive platform for African experiences, African culture and African stories.


Dynamic Africa is a diverse multimedia platform, which curates global ideas, memes, attitudes and other phenomena that shape popular culture, with both a local and global African perspective.




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Posts tagged "west africa"

NEW MUSIC: Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 ft BLITZ the Ambassador - “African Smoke”.

What have we done to deserve another collaboration from two of the finest contemporary artists to have come out of the African continent? If you’re unaware of what I’m referring to, you may, but really shouldn’t, have missed out on their earlier partnership that was featured on Blitz’s must-have album Afropolitan Dreams.

The song, lifted of Seun’s recent album A Long Way to the Beginning, was inspired by a Keith Richards and features a beat and melody slightly similar to that of Fela’s Army Arrangement but still manages to stand solid from start to finish.

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NEW MUSIC: Wizkid - Show You the Money.

We’re inclined to agree with ChristinaManch on twitter when it comes to WizKid's work ethic. With the number of singles and features he's churned out in recent months, you'd think the guy makes music in his sleep.

In his latest video, Wiz invites us to the neighborhood he grew up in in Lagos, Surulere, where he dons several dashikis, has an entourage of various dancers, and sprays money for people around him to catch. The video ends with someone unofficially naming him the ‘King of Surulere’. Wonder what Dr. SID would have to say about that.

And if the construction of this beat sounds familiar, that’s because it was produced by Shizzi, the same guy responsible for Davido’s hit dance anthem single ‘Skelewu’.

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NEW MUSIC: Ace - Jeje.

Following up from his 2013 single Dominate, Nigerian artist Ace delivers the track of the summer with his Fela-quoting Afrobeat-inspired jam song ‘Jeje’.

Combining the old and the new, musically and visually speaking, the video for ‘Jeje’ takes us through re-imagined hip and colourful party scenes of previous decades.

Definitely the best we’ve heard from Ace.

NEW MUSIC: Y’AKOTO - Perfect Timing.

With a new album a little over a month away from release, German-Ghanaian singer Y’akoto (nee Jennifer Yaa Akoto Kieck) has given us our first taste of her sophomore effort Moody Blues with the single and accompanying video for her song ‘Perfect Timing’.

Coated with a little bit of modern jazz, a soulful blues-y essence and charming pop catchy-ness, the uber cute Y’akoto takes us on a mini-tour of Accra atop her road bike (BMX riders are becoming synonymous with the city), followed by a band of stylishly dressed followers as she relays a story of a lost opportunity for love, lots of bad luck and how she’s learned to let go.

STREETCHIEF Lookbook Pre-Fall 2014: “Area Boys Collection”.

Whilst many of us are familiar with Kente fabric being used in contemporary fashion, no one does it quite like STREETCHIEF. For their latest collection, the menswear fashion brand have once again found ways to incorporate Kente-inspired prints into street wear garments - from button-up shirts to white-rimmed vests.

View their Summer 2013 Lookbook.

Model: Joseph Adamu (thedapperhomme)
Photographer:
William Ukoh (willyverse)

NEW MUSIC: BLITZ the AMBASSADOR ft Emicida & Y’akoto - All Around the World/Respect Mine.

Globetrotting Ghanaian MC Blitz the Ambassador has just dropped the music video for the latest single off his recently released album Afropolitan Dreams.

In true Afropolitan style, Blitz takes this opportune time to not only visit a part of the world that is home to the largest African-descended population outside of the African continent, but a country that many eyes around the world are currently focused on due to the 2014 FIFA World Cup. For his All Around the World/Respect Mine music video, featuring local Brazilian artists Emicida and Y’akoto, Blitz shows us multiple sides of Sao Paolo - from the facets of Afro-Brazilian culture many of us are familiar with, to the anti-World Cup protests we should all be familiar with.

Catch Blitz live at the Brooklyn Museum on July 5th.

Current Ebola Outbreak in West Africa Deadliest on Record.

The first wave of the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa first occurred earlier this year with reported cases in Guinea and Liberia. Now, currently in its second wave, a senior official at Doctors Without Borders has described the outbreak as being ‘totally out of control’.

With over 300 deaths in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, linked to this outbreak, according to the World Health Organization, it is so far the most deadliest ebola outbreak on record. There is no cure or vaccine for the disease therefore it essential that governments and health officials work together in order to safely contain the it. However, with the outbreak spread over multiple locations and the lack of education surrounding the disease, efforts to stop its spread have not been very successful. 

(image source)

NEW MUSIC: Sona - Ijo Sona.

Upon hearing Sona’s ‘No Wahala’, I promptly decided that it was one of the best songs I’d heard all year. Since then, I’ve lost count of how many times a day I play it. Listening to it has become a daily ritual. But that was almost three months ago. In the time that’s passed, I’ve eagerly waited a new release from him hoping that he would not end up being a one-hit-wonder.

Cue his latest Yoruba-laden track ‘Ijo Sona’ (ijo meaning ‘dance’) with a video that is as equally Yoruba. From auntie’s donning the finest lace wrappers and gele’s, to bata performances and money spraying, every Yoruba person has been to a celebration like this before. 

Wole Soyinka declares that Nigeria is at a defining moment in the country’s history.

With the notable amount of traction and attention the Nigerian-spearheaded #BringBackOurGirls campaign has received, there is renewed interest in Nigerian politics - as seen through the eyes and actions of its citizens.

As Nigerian writer, activist and Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka sits down to talk to the BBC’s HARDtalk about the rise in mass civilian protests that have been taking place in recent years (both in the country and echoed throughout the diaspora), he boldly states that although belated, “Nigeria has finally reached that moment of critical mass”.

As the host notes, Soyinka (who is related to the late Fela Kuti) comes from a highly activist background and has been highly critical of the Nigerian government throughout his life. Nigerian society, however, has not always possessed a sense of national unity through a singular cause as seen with protests such as the oil subsidy protests of 2012 and now, the campaigns against Boko Haram set off by the kidnapping of the Chibok girls. Where we are used to seeing pockets of community protests or individuals standing out from the masses to lash out against injustices, the renewed fervor assumed by Nigerian citizens is both encouraging and incredibly necessary for the progression of Nigeria’s democracy.

More critically speaking, Soyinka notes that Nigerians have a confusing sense of tolerance in relation to their government and environment where much more is said than done, that is until push comes to shove. However, despite declarations that Nigeria is a ‘failed state’, Soyinka is firm in his belief that it is a country that is not beyond redemption.

Watch the full interview.

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All Africa, All the time.

Adama Kouyaté (b. 1928)
Ségou #19
, 1954
Silver gelatin print, 2010, from original negative
11.5 x 11.5 inches (29.2 x 29.2 cm)
Courtesy of Galerie Jean Brolly, Paris

NEW MUSIC: Tiwa Savage - Wanted.

This just might be Tiwa Savage’s best song in quite some time. Savage is incredibly talented but songs like ‘Eminado' and 'Without My Heart’, where her voice has been the tragic victim of terrible autotuning, have made me wonder what direction her career was going in musically.

But now, all that is history thanks to her latest single ‘Wanted’. The newly married star channels her inner R&B diva to deliver a solid and sensual pop-infused song that’s a catchy display of Savage’s raw vocal talent.

However, judging by the responses on social media and YouTube comments and dislikes, her Moe Musa-directed video has left many people with a bad taste in their mouths. From complaints about her forced sex appeal to comments about Savage trying to be Beyonce or Rihanna (we don’t live in a bubble people, people are constantly influenced by each other), people have accused her of ‘trying to hard’ with this music video. Aside from the rather unfortunate styling, I see nothing wrong with the video.

Whether or not these are valid critiques or sexism at play, what matters most is that Savage is in complete control of her environment and the way she presents herself.

Remembering Biafra 47 years later.

Thirty years ago today, the Republic of Biafra - a secessionist state in south-eastern Nigeria - was formed by Colonel Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, the Eastern Region’s military governor. Lasting only from 30 May 1967 to 15 January 1970, Biafra was established as a way for predominantly Igbo region to redefine themselves in a postcolonial sense. Nigeria had recently become indepent from Britain but the borders set up by the British did not reflect the cultural and ethnic identities of those contained within it.

Prior to the secession, a military coup, led mostly Igbos, erupted in the country in January of 1966 that claimed the lives of 30 political leaders including Nigeria’s Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, and the Northern premier, Sir Ahmadu Bello. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the President, who was Igbo, and the premier of the southeastern part of the country were not killed. Major-General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, an Igbo official, was the appointed head of the Nigerian government by the ministers that survived the coup.

Later that year, in July, deepning the country’s ethnic and religious tensions, northern officers and army units staged a counter-coup. Muslim officers named General Yakubu “Jack” Gowon, a Christian who was Anga (small ethnic group in central Nigeria) as the head of the Federal Military Government. The violence continued a few months later when in September 1966 approximately 30,000 Igbo were killed in the north and some Northerners were killed in backlashes in eastern cities. Out of fear, there was a massive Igbo flight of over 1 million people from the north to the eastern part of Nigeria.

The following year, in January 1967, military leaders and senior police officials of each region met in Aburi, Ghana under the protection and mediation of the Ghana’s military government. They agreed on a loose confederation of regions. The Northerners did not take kindly to the Aburi Accord; nor did it sit well with civil servants from the mostly Yoruba western region of the country. Obafemi Awolowo, the leader of the Western Region warned that if the East seceded, the West would follow, further deterring the northerners from adopting this agreement. 

Awolowo, the leader of the western region demanded the removal of all northern troops in the west, and threatened to leave the federation if the east did so first. The Federal Military Government hastily removed northern troops from the west and issued a decree resurrecting the idea of a confederation discussed at Aburi.” Ojukwu and the other eastern leaders rejected it, by voting in May to secede from Nigeria. The mid-western region, the present location of Nigeria’s capital - Abuja - announced that it would remain neutral in the event of a civil war.

What followed was indeed a civil war - and a brutal one, too. From 30 May 1967 to 15 January 1970, Nigeria proper was at war with the tiny and far less equipped state of Biafra. Despite the initial successes of Biafra’s military, it would be the cruelty of the Nigerian government that would lead to their downfall. On 30 June 1969, the Nigerian government banned all Red Cross aid to Biafra but two weeks later it allowed medical supplies through the front line, but restricted food supplies.

Ojukwu appealed to the United Nations to mediate a cease-fire in October of that year, but to no avail. By December, Biafra was cut in half by the Nigerian military under the command of Colonel Benjamin Adekunle, popularly called “The Black Scorpion”, and later by Olusegun Obasanjo. Ojukwu fled to the Ivory Coast leaving his chief of staff Philip Effiong to act as the “officer administering the government”. Effiong called for a cease-fire on January 12th and submitted to the Nigerian government. By the 15th of January, Biafra was absorbed back in to Nigeria proper.

Looking at these devastating and horrific images, it’s hard to imagine that these events were real, that a genocide was committed out of greed resulting in the deaths over a million civilians, many whom were starved to death. And yet, as Nigerians, we either refuse or prefer not to openly talk about this period in our history. Even the federal government are so threatened by talk of Biafra that Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of A Yellow Sun film has been ‘indefinitely banned from being screened in the country. The suffering caused by the Nigerian government on the citizens of Biafra was so severe that it launched the Doctors Without Borders organization.

Biafra was formally recognised only by Gabon, Haiti, Côte d’Ivoire, Tanzania and Zambia. Other nations which did not give official recognition but provided support and assistance to Biafra included Israel, France, Portugal, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), South Africa and Vatican City. Biafra also received aid from non-state actors, including Joint Church Aid, Holy Ghost Fathers of Ireland, Caritas International, MarkPress and U.S. Catholic Relief Services

(sources: 1; 2 & 3)

Maya Angelou in Africa: The Egypt and Ghana years.
In the 1950s, Maya Angelou moved to New York where she later met and began a romantic relationship with South African anti-apartheid activist Vusumzi L. Make. The two soon moved to Cairo, Egypt, in 1961 along with Angelou’s son Guy Johnson. Angelou and Make lived together in Cairo for a short time where Angelou served as the editor of the English language weekly publication The Arab Observer.
After separating from Make in 1962, Angelou and her son moved to Accra, Ghana, where Angelou joined many other African-American expatriates living in the country. There, whilst her son attended college and later recovered from an automobile accident, she served as an instructor and assistant administrator at the University of Ghana’s School of Music and Drama, worked as feature editor for The African Review and wrote for The Ghanaian Times and the Ghanaian Broadcasting Company.
During Malcolm X’s 1964 visit to Ghana, the two met in the country’s capital city (pictured) and began corresponding. That same year, Angelou relocated back to the United States with the intention of assisting Malcolm X build his new Organization of Afro-American Unity, however, Malcolm X would be assassinated a few months after her arrival in the US.
Her book All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes (1986): Explores Angelou’s experiences living in Ghana with her son from 1962 to 1965.

Maya Angelou in Africa: The Egypt and Ghana years.

In the 1950s, Maya Angelou moved to New York where she later met and began a romantic relationship with South African anti-apartheid activist Vusumzi L. Make. The two soon moved to Cairo, Egypt, in 1961 along with Angelou’s son Guy Johnson. Angelou and Make lived together in Cairo for a short time where Angelou served as the editor of the English language weekly publication The Arab Observer.

After separating from Make in 1962, Angelou and her son moved to Accra, Ghana, where Angelou joined many other African-American expatriates living in the country. There, whilst her son attended college and later recovered from an automobile accident, she served as an instructor and assistant administrator at the University of Ghana’s School of Music and Drama, worked as feature editor for The African Review and wrote for The Ghanaian Times and the Ghanaian Broadcasting Company.

During Malcolm X’s 1964 visit to Ghana, the two met in the country’s capital city (pictured) and began corresponding. That same year, Angelou relocated back to the United States with the intention of assisting Malcolm X build his new Organization of Afro-American Unity, however, Malcolm X would be assassinated a few months after her arrival in the US.

Her book All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes (1986): Explores Angelou’s experiences living in Ghana with her son from 1962 to 1965.

Works by Onitsha-born Nigerian sculptor and painter Ben Enwonwu.

Enwonwu’s body of work showcases an incredibly diverse range of art works, spanning over various mediums. Enwonwu also has a crater on the planet Mercury named after him. 

Enwonwu - his father a sculptor, his mother a cloth merchant and his son, Oliver Enwonwu also an artist in his own right - was surrounded by art in various forms growing up and all through his life. Throughout his art career, he dedicated himself to redefining the meanings and conversation surrounding ‘African art’ in the global art world and was once quoted as saying:

“Art is not static…Art changes its form with the times…African art has always, even long before western influence, continued to evolve through change and adapt to new circumstances.”

After first studying art at government colleges in Nigeria, and temporary relocating to England to further his studies at Goldsmiths University and Oxford University, Enwonwu returned to Nigeria in 1939 were he began to teach art at schools in Umuahia and Benin City. In 1948, he became an art adviser to the Nigerian government but left the country again in 1950 to tour and lecture in the United States where carried on working as a freelance artist.

In 1966, Enwonwu became editor of Nigeria Magazine and was also a fellow of Lagos University between 1966–68. He once again worked for the Nigerian government, this time post-independence, as a cultural advisor between 1968–71. He was appointed the first professor of Fine Arts at the University of Ife, Ile-Ife, from 1971 to 1975, and was also an art consultant to the International Secretariat, Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC), Lagos, 1977.

Enwonwu is also well-known for his illustration of the cover of noted Nigerian writer Amos Tutuola’s novel The Brave African Huntress.

A pioneering force in the rhetoric surrounding the early Modern African Art movement of the 20th century, Enwonwu passed away in 1994. His work is displayed in the National Gallery of Modern Art, Lagos and can also be viewed at the Virtual Museum of Modern Nigerian Art.

October: Highlighting African Art & African Artists

Benedict Chukwukadibia Enwonwu, M.B.E (Nigerian, 1917-1994) ‘Princes of Mali’.

The above work draws inspiration from poet Leopold Sedar Senghor’s 1945 work Femme Noire. While in France, Enwonwu interacted with Leopold Sedar Senghor and the Antillean poet Aime Cesaire whose ideology of Negritude, described an emergent sense of black pride.

The philosophy Negritude called for political action designed to overturn the colonial subjugation of continental and Diaspora Africans. Enwonwu adopted Senghor’s ideas about Pan - African cultural emancipation and became a close friend to the future statesman.

Senghor’s Femme Noire is an ode to the black woman, but most importantly, it is a song of praise to Senegal, his country. Its veneration of the image of the black woman as an embodiment of African ideals coincided with Enwonwu’s deployment of indigenous Igbo concepts of beauty and feminine power. For Enwonwu, Negritude did not necessarily imply adherence to specific forms but to ideas of black empowerment and emancipation, essentially the philosophical, political and aesthetic issues pertaining to Negritude, served as “the revitalization of African force”.

In this artwork, Enwonwu welds indigenous notions of power to political demands for black empowerment. The vibrancy and movement of the figures represents Enwonwu’s accordance with the inherent philosophies of the Negritude philosophy: emancipation and celebration of the Africans and their land. The vibrancy of colour which collides to yield new forms, permeates the social and cultural fabric of African societies. This work expresses the present state of neo-African culture, which includes Enwonwu’s heritage of indigenous Igbo and Nigerian art, his formal academic training and his transitional modernist practice, insights acquired from his analysis of European Modern art, and influences derived from his engagement with rhetoric of Senghor’s Negritude.

(via Bonhams)