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Rwandan documentary film on refugees wins big award at CANEX in Egypt

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A Rwandan documentary highlighting the plight of refugees in Africa, has won a big award at the Creative Africa Nexus (CANEX) Short Films competition held in Cairo, Egypt.

The film titled, “Born a Refugee but Never Think Like a Refugee” produced by 24-year-old Claude Niyomugabo, which dwells on the lives and plight of refugees, received the prestigious “Special Mention Award”, beating 10 other short films including “Naboth”, “Pure” and “Eskafi”.

According to Niyomugabo, the 30-minute audio-visual documentary “showcases the stories of adult refugees, children born and raised in camps, and prominent figures who were refugees in the past.”

“The content intends to challenge the prevailing stereotypes surrounding refugees and provide a platform for their stories to be heard.”

Niyomugabo’s film was shortlisted and screened at the Intra-Africa Trade Fair (IATF2023) event in Cairo, Egypt from November 9, a platform that showcases Africa’s creativity in fashion, music, film, arts and crafts, and sports.

Niyomugabo’s debut documentary is divided into three compelling parts, each weaving together the stories of individuals who have experienced the complexities of refugee life.

One of the segments delves into the lives of children born and raised in refugee camps, shedding light on the unique challenges they face growing up in such environments.

Another part focuses on the struggles and triumphs of adult refugees, offering harsh experience of the resilience that characterizes their daily lives.

The final segment introduces viewers to prominent figures including president Paul Kagame, footballer Eduardo Camavinga and others who were once refugees but have successfully transitioned beyond that label, with their stories serving as powerful examples of hope and transformation, challenging the preconceived notions surrounding refugees.

“I think my film secured victory due to its uniqueness and the potential to deeply impact the community, specifically resonating with young refugees who may perceive their refugee status as a barrier to achieving goals,” he said after receiving the award.

“Additionally, its narrative has the capacity to influence those outside the refugee community, challenging the misconception that refugees lack the ability to excel like others,” he said.

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Culture

UK returns looted historic Ugandan artifacts on a three-year loan

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The University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom has agreed to return 39 traditional Ugandan artefacts which were looted from the country over a century ago.

However, the return of the artifacts would be for an initial loan period of three years, similar to a deal the UK government struck with Ghana.

The objects to be returned include tribal regalia, delicate pottery and abstract carvings the Ugandan people once held in high esteem.

Speaking on the return of the historical objects, Mark Elliot, the senior curator at Cambridge University said:

“These objects have been away from home for so long, now is the time that they come back and it’s the time to research the history of these objects, to research their contemporary significance and to help make decisions about their future.

“Really importantly, this is research that could be done in Cambridge but it shouldn’t be done in Cambridge, it should be done here and it should be led by Ugandan people.”

The Cambridge University had acquired most Ugandan artifacts as donations from private collections, and many were given by an Anglican missionary active in Uganda after the nation was made a British protectorate in 1894.

“There was a lot of plundering Africa and so Africa being plundered, it’s not that they only took gold,” Jackline Nyiracyiza, Ugandan Government Commissioner in charge of Museums and Monuments said on the return of the artifacts.

“They took gold and associated heritage and so a part of the gold, I would say, that they removed from Africa, is the cultural heritage because they were spreading the gospel of Christ and so they did not want anything associated with traditions.”

Nyiracyiza added that Uganda’s agreement with Cambridge is renewable, allowing for the possibility of a permanent loan and perhaps local ownership.

“We have a variety of objects that have been brought from Buganda (Bantu kingdom within Uganda) and I have seen and I would be seeing these objects, most especially. I shouldn’t say it. Most especially ‘Omulamula’ (or) ‘Ddamula (a traditional stick or sceptre handed to the Kingdom’s prime minister by the King) for the Katikiro (Buganda Kingdom’s prime minister), that is the most fascinating object I have seen,” Nyiracyiza explained.

“These items represent a small fraction of about 1,500 Ugandan ethnographic objects that the British University owns.

“The African Union aims to have a common policy on the return of looted cultural property,” the Minister said.

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Culture

Talented South African siblings wow judges at ‘America’s Got Talent’ audition (Video)

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Talented Johannesburg, South Africa sibling singing group, Biko’s Manna, we’re the cynosure of all eyes at the audition of the 19th America Got Talent show on Thursday with all four judges giving them a resounding “Yes”.

The young group, made up of Biko (17), guitar player Manna (14) and Mfundo (9), popularly known as “Biko’s Manna”, were so good that they received a standing ovation from the crowd and judges including the ever-critical Simon Cowell could be heard saying, “I love them”.

The trio who performed Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry Be Happy”, for their audition, stole the show and got a very positive response from the judges and audience.

The young siblings became viral sensation on TikTok where they have garnered millions of likes along with a lot of engagement on other platforms and were invited to audition on Season 19 of the show due to their popularity.

After their performance, Cowell said:

“Within 10 seconds, it’s like I know exactly the kind of music you want to make. You found your lane, it was beautifully simple.”

Another judge, Heidi Klum had this to say:

“It was worth the trip coming all the way from South Africa… We love reggae, we don’t hear it enough… It puts us in a great mood I love the three of you.”

Judge Howie Mandell said:

“You are young and talented… It’s early in the competition, but I think there’s a good chance that you’re going to walk out of here with a million dollars.”

On her appraisal, Judge Sofia Vergara said:

“You guys are amazing, you guys are happy. We can tell that you’re a family that love each other and I really think the best thing you ever did was come to AGT.”

The talented South African kids are currently touring and performing gigs on different stages across the United States. Last month, they made their second appearance on the Emmy-nominated ‘Jennifer Hudson Show’.

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