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150 attacks, 20 deaths, Malawi sinks $4m in four-year plan to protect albinos

The Malawi government has launched a four-year National Action Plan on Persons With Albinism aimed at ending atrocities against persons with albinism, and improving their social welfare

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The Malawi government has launched a four-year National Action Plan on Persons With Albinism aimed at ending atrocities against persons with albinism, and improving their social welfare.

For the past four years, the Southern African country has experienced barbaric attacks, including killing of persons with albinism, a development which has attracted intervention of international bodies such as the United Nations.
During the launch of the Action Plan which took place in the northern border district of Karonga on Saturday, Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Jean Kalilani, said the plan focuses on all aspects of life including education, health, protection and human rights.

She said the National Action Plan on Persons With Albinism has been developed to guide the efforts to address challenges persons with albinism are facing.

“Time has come now for us to show the world the peaceful Malawi that we are where all people regardless of skin color and abilities coexist; where all people with all types of disabilities, and specifically those with albinism are respected and have equal opportunities in life,” she said.

She also said by inaugurating the Action Plan, the country was fulfilling objectives of the Constitution, particularly Section 13, which requires for development and adoption of specific policies and laws to actively promote the welfare and development of the people.

The Plan will be implemented through civic education and awareness raising, administration of justice and support of victims of attack, and safety and security of persons with albinism among others.

The implementation of the Plan for the next four years is estimated to cost 4.2 million US dollars, according to the minister.

UN Women Country Resident Representative, Clara Anyangwe, has since commended the government for the Action Plan saying it will complement UN’s existing support on raising awareness, strengthening community-based protection systems, providing direct support to persons with albinism and strengthening the justice sector response.

“The purpose of the Action Plan will only succeed when there shall no longer be any attacks on persons with albinism and when all perpetrators face the long arm of the law,” said Anyangwe, adding: “when people with albinism no longer live in fear, and when they hold decision making positions — only then shall we say we have won the battle”.

Since 2014, Malawi has recorded 150 cases of attacks against persons with albinism and at least 20 people, including women and children, have been brutally killed for their body parts on speculations that they are ideal for wealth creation.

Only 45 of these cases have been successfully prosecuted with results of conviction or acquittal while the rest are either still under investigation or in court.

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Culture

How South Sudanese singer John Frog moved from child soldier to Afrobeats star

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John Frog may be one of South Sudan’s most successful musicians at the moment, but a little over 10 years ago, he was a child soldier conscripted to fight in the country’s civil war at the age of eight.

John Frog was born during the civil war and his parents were soldiers in the SPLA – the Sudan People’s Liberation Army but fortune later smiled on him as he realised his true calling of making music.

Today, the youngster has forged an international reputation and has collaborated with artists from other African countries, including Uganda’s Eddie Kenzo, Bahati from Kenya, and recently, Iyanya from Nigeria whom he featured in his latest song, “My Bed”, with the collaborations placing him as one of the most sought after Afrobeats artistes in Africa.

According to a feature story by the BBC Africa, “Frog is his real name. He was called Aguek, which means frog in Dinka, a language native to South Sudan, because he was a breech baby, coming into the world feet-first.”

“Given that his mother gave birth to him in a remote village with no hospital or doctor in sight, he was lucky to survive, as was his mother.”

Speaking on his experience in the army, John Frog said:

“They didn’t give us a gun yet, until I was 14 – that’s when I was given a gun.

“Every day, every week, there is a fight, so we have to run in the forest, in the water, so it was quite tough for me.”

He confessed that he didn’t go to school and only picked up English from the street.

Frog said he always loved music and even in the forest he would listen to traditional music.

He recalled that it was when he got the opportunity to go to South Sudan’s capital, Juba, where he met other young Africans that he started making music himself.

“We didn’t have enough producers in Juba. The producers who are here are from Kenya and Uganda, so it was a bit hard to know the kind of genre for South Sudanese music, so I decided to do Afrobeats.”

Frog noted that South Sudanese musicians who make the most money are the traditional praise singers.

“They praise people, they praise leaders, praise people who have money, so it’s the quickest way to make money here.

“But my aim is to reach the wider audience. Either this year or next year, I have to be among our brothers who are on top,” he vowed.

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Nigerian moviemakers Funke Akindele, Mo Abudu, Jade Osiberu named in Hollywood Reporter’s Powerful Women in Film list

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Foremost Nigerian moviemakers, Funke Akindele, Mo Abudu, and Jade Osiberu have been named in the Hollywood Reporter’s list of the 40 Most Powerful Women in International Film.

This list which “recognizes women who are bringing stories to a global stage and nurturing new voices despite a disrupted film market,” featured the Nollywood filmmakers as three of the top most powerful in Africa.

The Hollywood Reporter describes the three as the “most powerful African film-makers who have for the past years graced our cinemas with captivating stories and productions.”

“Africa’s production industry faced a setback when Amazon Prime Video left the African originals business. Yet, Abudu, a pioneer in African media, continues to thrive. Her recent project, the short film “Dust to Dreams” directed by Idris Elba, received funding from the African Export-Import Bank’s $1 billion Creative Africa film fund,” it said.

“Abudu emphasizes the need for the international industry to embrace diverse stories.

“In her words, she said ‘We need a systemic shift towards inclusion. Diverse storytelling isn’t just about representation; it’s about unlocking a wealth of untapped creative potential.'”

“Akindele added politician to her roles as actor, writer, director, and producer when she ran for the 2023 Lagos state gubernatorial elections. Though her party lost, her career flourished. Her latest comedy, :A Tribe Called Judah”, which she wrote, directed, produced, and starred in, became the highest-grossing Nigerian movie ever, earning $1.2 million.

“Osiberu, a leading figure among Nigerian producer-directors, created the crime thriller “Gangs of Lagos” for Amazon. Her next film, “Everything Scatter,” follows five young people during a day of protests in Lagos.”

Speaking the the recognition, Abudu said:

“This recognition is a massive win for Nigeria! Seeing our nation celebrated for its incredible storytelling potential is so inspiring.

“I’m incredibly proud to be part of a movement pushing for a more inclusive film industry that embraces the power of diverse stories.”

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