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Achebe, Mandela, Thiong’o, Adichie among Obama’s top picks for summer reading

Former President Barack Obama of the United States is visiting Africa this week, and will have stopovers in South Africa and Kenya

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Former President Barack Obama of the United States is visiting Africa this week, and will have stopovers in South Africa and Kenya.

He took to his Facebook handle to announce the impending visit and his love for African culture and literature. In doing so, he picked some of Africa’s top novelists and recommended their works for summer reading. Among these were Nelson Mandela (Long Walk to Freedom ), Chinua Achebe (Things Fall Apart), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Americanah), and Ngugi wa Thiong’o ( A Grain of Wheat).

In Obama’s words:

“This week, I’m traveling to Africa for the first time since I left office – a continent of wonderful diversity, thriving culture, and remarkable stories.

I was proud to visit sub-Saharan Africa more times than any other sitting President, and I’ll return this week to visit Kenya and South Africa.

“In South Africa, the Obama Foundation will convene 200 extraordinary young leaders from across the continent and I’ll deliver a speech to mark the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth.

“Kenya, of course, is the Obama ancestral home. I visited for the first time when I was in my twenties and I was profoundly influenced by my experiences – a journey I wrote about in my first book, Dreams from My Father.

“Over the years since, I’ve often drawn inspiration from Africa’s extraordinary literary tradition. As I prepare for this trip, I wanted to share a list of books that I’d recommend for summer reading, including some from a number of Africa’s best writers and thinkers – each of whom illuminate our world in powerful and unique ways.”

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Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

“A true classic of world literature, this novel paints a picture of traditional society wrestling with the arrival of foreign influence, from Christian missionaries to British colonialism. A masterpiece that has inspired generations of writers in Nigeria, across Africa, and around the world.”

A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong’o

“A chronicle of the events leading up to Kenya’s independence, and a compelling story of how the transformative events of history weigh on individual lives and relationships.”

Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela

“Mandela’s life was one of the epic stories of the 20th century. This definitive memoir traces the arc of his life from a small village, to his years as a revolutionary, to his long imprisonment, and ultimately his ascension to unifying President, leader, and global icon. Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand history – and then go out and change it.”

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“From one of the world’s great contemporary writers comes the story of two Nigerians making their way in the U.S. and the UK, raising universal questions of race and belonging, the overseas experience for the African diaspora, and the search for identity and a home.”

The Return by Hisham Matar

“A beautifully-written memoir that skillfully balances a graceful guide through Libya’s recent history with the author’s dogged quest to find his father who disappeared in Gaddafi’s prisons.”

The World As It Is by Ben Rhodes

“It’s true, Ben does not have African blood running through his veins. But few others so closely see the world through my eyes like he can. Ben’s one of the few who’ve been with me since that first presidential campaign. His memoir is one of the smartest reflections I’ve seen as to how we approached foreign policy, and one of the most compelling stories I’ve seen about what it’s actually like to serve the American people for eight years in the White House.”

Culture

SA police arrest seven suspects in connection with rapper AKA’s murder

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The South African Police says it has arrested seven suspects in connection with the murder of rapper, Kiernan Forbes, popularly known as AKA, who was gunned down alongside his close friend, celebrity chef and entrepreneur, Tebello “Tibz” Motshoane, outside a restaurant in Durban last year.

The KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Police Commissioner, Lt Gen Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, who confirmed the arrest of the suspects during a press briefing on Tuesday night, said the hitmen were paid to target AKA but no motive was revealed.

Mkhwanazi said the suspects, all aged below 36, are due to appear in court on Thursday.

“It was clear that AKA was monitored from the airport and Tibz was not the intended target in the murder on Florida Road in Durban. We know they were paid for this,” Lt Gen Mkwananzi said.

The Police boss said investigations has revealed that all the arrested suspects played different roles in the plot to kill AKA.

“The suspects who are behind bars include two gunmen who allegedly fired several rounds at the victims, three spotters who are accused of following AKA from Durban’s airport, someone who allegedly sourced the firearms which were used in the ambush, as well as the alleged mastermind,” Lt Gen Mkwananzi stated.

“Some of the suspects are also linked to other murder cases which are unrelated to these killings.”

According to media reports, the police had announced the arrest of six of the suspects on Tuesday evening while a seventh suspect was arrested on Wednesday morning.

Police spokesperson, Col Robert Netshiunda, said the seventh accused was a 30-year-old South African citizen originally from KwaZulu-Natal province, and is accused of acting as a spotter.

“The two alleged gunmen were found in a hideout in neighbouring Eswatini following a raid which was carried out at the weekend in conjunction with Interpol,” Col. Netshiunda said.

“They appeared at a magistrate’s court in Eswatini on Tuesday. Plans are under way to extradite the duo to face murder charges in South Africa.

“Exhibits recovered during the arrests include four vehicles, firearms linked to the the murders of AKA and Motshoane and empty cartridges.”

At another press briefing on Wednesday, Police Minister Bheki Cele acknowledged that the killings of AKA and his friend which was caught on CCTV cameras, disturbed many people in the country, which has one of the highest murder rates in the world.

“I hope South Africans will sleep better after this. We are all interested to know what the motive was. It is very clear that it was not a case of someone waking up in the morning angry. You can see that in the build-up and co-ordination,” the Minister said.

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Culture

Universal Music Group acquires major stake in Nigerian record label Mavin Records

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One of the biggest global music corporations, Universal Music Group (UMG), has acquired a major stake in Nigerian record label, Mavin Global Music, owned by Michael Collins Ajereh, popularly known as Don Jazzy.

In a statement on Monday, the UMG management said the deal was awaiting regulatory approval.

“Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based entertainment, today announced a majority investment in one of the world’s most dynamic and exciting independent record labels, Mavin Global (Mavin). The deal remains subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close by the end of Q3 2024,” the company’s statement reads.

UMG also stated that Mavin team’s full-service offering in Nigeria will be amplified through UMG’s global network of labels and businesses and will maintain autonomy over its strategy and future talent development.

Versatile producer, Don Jazzy who spoke on the acquisition, said it was a dream come true for him and the artistes on the label.

“I’m proud of the artists, careers and brand we’ve built that have made Mavin the force it is today. In this historic partnership with UMG, we will continue that mission in Africa and across the globe,” he said in a statement he posted on social media.

As part of the agreement Don Jazzy and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Mavin Global, Tega Oghenejobo, will continue leading the company while offering UMG the opportunity to partner with proven local executives and experienced A&R professionals.

Mavin Global is credited with unearthing top Nigeria talents like popular Afrobeats stars, Ayra Starr and Rema, who have gone to to global superstars.

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