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Lupita Nyong’o makes history, becomes first black person to head German film festival jury

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Kenyan actress, Lupita Nyong’o, has scored another first when she became the first black person in history to be made head of the Berlin International Film Festival jury.

The annual film showcase event, also known as the Berlinale, which is one of the five largest film festivals in the world, has not had a black jury head in its 74-year history.

According to the organisers,
Nyong’o will lead the jury in selecting the winning films in the two main categories, “Golden and Silver Bears.”

At the opening of the event in the German capital on Thursday, Nyong’o said she was “greatly honoured” to take on the position as jury head.

“That’s the beauty of bringing people together from different backgrounds – we respond to different things,” the Hollywood actress who won an Oscar for “12 Years A Slave” in 2014, said.

“We have a lot of world experience and opinion and it’s gonna be interesting. It’s probably also gonna be spicy,” she added, noting that the diversity of the jury would enrich the jury’s process of deciding on the films to award.

The film event will run until 25 February, when the jury will announce the winning films in the major categories.

From the African continent, three films made the entry among the 20 competing for the top prize, and all tell stories from the continent.

The films include “Black Tea” by Mauritanian-born Malian director Abderrahmane Sissako, “Who Do I Belong To” by Tunisian-Canadian director Meryam Joobeur and the documentary “Dahomey” by French-Senegalese filmmaker Mati Diop.

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UK returns Ghana’s royal artefacts looted 150 years ago in ‘loan deal’

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The United Kingdom has returned 32 royal artefacts looted from Ghana’s Asante Kingdom in the 19th Century in a “loan deal” agreed on by the two governments last year.

The artefacts which are mainly golden royal regalia, were looted over 150 years ago from the Asante Palace in Kumasi during the Anglo-Asante Wars, including the infamous Sargrenti War of 1874.

The revered items which were returned to the West African country by the British Museum (BM) and the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), will however, will be on loan for an initial three years and renewable for another three years.

A statement by the the Asante Palace on Thursday stated that the loan deal is not with the Ghanaian government but with the current traditional ruler of the Ashanti people, Otumfo Osei Tutu II.

The idea behind the loan deal, according to local media, is based on the premise of legal restrictions in the UK which have made it impossible to return the artefacts permanently.

The return of the artefacts also coincides with the silver jubilee anniversary of Asantehene Osei Tutu II, who first started the negotiations in May last year.

“Gold and silver regalia, associated with the Asante royal court, will be displayed at the Palace Museum as part of a long-term loan commitment by the Victoria & Albert and the British Museum,” the Asantehene’s Palace said.

It added that Tutu will receive the gold artefacts which are the symbol of the Asante traditional authority. in specially designed Belgian cases in Kumasi, after which the Manhyia Palace Museum will be closed for three weeks for installation works and encasing.

Many of the items which will be seen in Ghana for the first time in 150 years, include 15 pieces from the British Museum and 17 from the Victoria & Albert Museum and will be on display and open to the public in May.

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American rap icon Ja Rule lands in Ghana for a charity project

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American rap icon, Jeffrey Bruce Atkins Sr., popularly known as Ja Rule, has landed in Ghana for a charity project that will oversee the construction of a classroom block at the Nuaso Anglican Primary School.

Ja Rule who announced his trip to the West African country via a social media post, said he will touch down in Accra on Wednesday, April 10th, for groundbreaking event “to make an impact on lives in the West African nation.”

The “Mesmerize” rapper explained that the project which is m an initiative of an international NGO, “Pencils of Promise”, is seeking to “bring quality education to kids around the world.”

“Groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a classroom block at Nuaso Anglican Primary School, Ghana,” Ja Rule said, while confirming his trip to Ghana.

On a flyer promoting the trip on his X handle, the American star wrote on Tuesday:

“Building towards the future… Ghana see you tomorrow.”

The post which generated a lot of excitement among fans of the rapper and other social media users in Ghana, saw many welcoming the visit and the initiative.

Joy FM top presenter, Lexis Bill, took to the social media to write:

“Awesome!!!! Ghana loves you 🇬🇭. Ghana is grateful,” while popular TV Presenter, Blaqueboy, also chipped in with: “Love from the motherland, welcome back to this side.”

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