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Ethiopian girls celebrate Ashenda, the Virgin Mary festival

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Ethiopian girls have reportedly trooped out in their thousands to take part in the annual Ashenda festival, which celebrates the Virgin Mary. It gives girls carte blanche to sing and dance over the three-day celebration.

At the eve of the festival, which first started centuries ago, girls plait their hair in an elaborate design called Ga’me and head to the market, where they buy necklaces and other traditional cosmetics.

The girls also gather Ashenda grass from the riverside. Ashenda means “the tall green grass” in the region’s language, Tigrinya, and gives the festival its name.

The grass is sewn together and worn on the girls’ waists as a skirt.

The girls form groups of eight to 12 with a lead singer and a drummer, and they gather in the public squares of Mekelle, Tigray’s main city.

Read also: Tourists in Algeria Battle Beach Umbrella Mafia

For the first time this year, Tigray’s culture and tourism bureau allowed the festivities to take place at Baloni Stadium.

The party goes on from sunrise to sunset. The celebrating girls see the festival as a source of fun and an opportunity to tell the world that they are proud of the Virgin Mary.

The Ethiopian government plans to get the festival recognised by Unesco.
Ashenda is also celebrated from 30 August to 1 September in Aksum, central Tigray, and goes by a slightly different name, Ayni Wari.

Culture

Egyptian actress, Menna Shalaby, arrested for possession of drugs

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Popular Egyptian actress, Menna Shalaby was on Friday, arrested at the Cairo International Airport for allegedly being in possession of drugs.

Local news outlet, Shourouk TV, reports that Shalaby was arrested after security agents found 12 bags of sweets stuffed with marijuana in her possession as she returned to Egypt from New York.

The news outlet added that after her arrest, Shalaby was then referred to the El Nozha Public Prosecution and that an investigation into the incident is currently underway.

Egyptian customs officials say a report has been filed against the actress while she will remain at the airport until investigations are finalised.

Shalaby who is one of Egypt’s biggest actresses, started her acting career in 2001 and has starred in several movies and TV productions.

She was the first Egyptian Actress to be nominated for the Emmy Awards and with over three million followers on Instagram, Shalaby enjoys large popularity among Egypt’s top TV stars.

According Egyptian narcotic laws, cannabis possession is punishable with a minimum of one year in prison plus a fine of at least 1,000 Egyptian pounds or both.

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Culture

Nigerian gospel Singer, Sammie Okposo, slumps, dies at 51

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Frontline Nigerian gospel singer, music producer and actor, Sammy Okposo, on Friday morning, slumped and died at the age of 51 in Lagos, according to the entertainment industry sources.

Okposo who was one of Nigeria’s most celebrated gospel singers with several albums to his credit, was also the CEO of Zamar Entertainment where he groomed several gospel artistes who went on to do great things.

He also collaborated with many gospel artists who used such opportunities to get to the pinnacle of their careers.

Okposo who was popularly known as the “Welu Welu Master” released his first album Addicted in 2004 and went on to bag multiple awards including KORA Best Gospel Artiste in Africa (2006), Crown SABC Best of African Gospel (2014), Afro Hollywood UK Best Gospel Artiste (2005), NEA Best Gospel Artiste of the Year (2007&2013), and NMA Best Contemporary Gospel Artiste among others.

Early in 2022, Okposo was involved in a controversy with his wife, Ozioma, after he admitted he was involved in an extramarital affair.

Taking to his Instagram page on January 24, Okposo had apologised to Ozioma for his infidelity after a lady known as :African Doll” had accused him of impregnating and abandoning her.

The gospel musician also apologized to his fans and promised he would focus on restoration, seek forgiveness and make his marriage work.

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