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Ghanaian Supreme Court begins hearing in case challenging anti-LGBTQ+ bill

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The Ghanaian Supreme Court Thursday began hearing on a suit challenging the anti-LGBTQ+ bill passed by parliament in February.

The suit filed by lawyer and journalist, Richard Dela Sky, seeks to challenge the controversial bill which prescribes a three-year jail term for people identified as gay and five to 10 years for LGBT advocates.

The lawsuit, which was filed in March, sought the court to prevent the parliament Speaker and Clerk from sending the bill to President Nana Akufo Addo, while also seeking that the president should not sign the bill into law.

A second case brought before the apex court by academic researcher, Dr Amanda Odoi, is challenging the constitutionality of the bill and was also heard by the court.

Presiding judge, Justice Gertrude Torkornoo, however, expressed concern about the strong language used in some of the sworn statements.

“I think that the language is intemperate, a lot of the paragraphs contain language that is inappropriate, scandalous, so I want to give you directions,” Torkornoo said.

Local media reports that the tense events on day one of the hearing did not come as a surprise to many given the controversial nature of the bill, which has been condemned by Western donors and human rights groups.

“The hearing was presided over by the chief justice along with four other Supreme Court judges and broadcast live on television, because of the keen interest in the case among Ghanaians,” the report said.

“President Akufo Addo had said he would await the verdict of the Supreme Court before deciding whether or not to sign the bill into law and the case has been adjourned to 17 May,” the report said.

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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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