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South African actor dies tragically in car accident

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South African actor, Mpho Sebeng, has reportedly died in a ghastly car accident in in Potchefstroom, North West province, his family said in a statement on Monday.

The actor’s family which confirmed that the 30-year-old died in the tragic accident which happened on Sunday, has appealed for privacy as they grapple with this devastating news.

“The family of the South African entertainer, Mpho Sebeng, are saddened to confirm, to the public and media, that their son has indeed passed away,” the family statement said.

“Mpho met his untimely death in the early hours of Sunday, 5 May 2024, due to a tragic car accident in Potchefstroom.

“Whilst the family appreciates the immense outpouring of love and condolences, the family requests some space to process the news,” the statement added.

According to local media, Sebeng, a celebrated figure in South Africa’s entertainment landscape, had a career spanning nearly two decades, marked by remarkable performances and accolades.

His journey in acting commenced at the tender age of 12, catapulting him into the spotlight of television.

“Among his notable works are appearances in TV dramas like “Justice For All” and “Zero Tolerance,” both of which received widespread acclaim and numerous awards.

“During his high school years, he portrayed a role in the 2011 film “Winnie,” a biographical depiction of the late Winnie Mandela’s life.

“His talent was further recognized when he was nominated for Best Male Actor in a telenovela at the 2018 South African Film and Television Awards.

“Sebeng’s repertoire extended to international platforms, including roles in Netflix productions such as “Savage Beauty” and “Miseducation.”

Sebeng was born in Soweto on 1 December 1992 and matriculated in 2011 at West Ridge High School. His achievements at school included full colours for drama.

“He made his television debut in the SABC drama series, Justice for All as well as Zero Tolerance.

“His first major TV role was in the Mzansi Magic drama, Ring of Lies, which earned him a Best Actor Safta nomination in 2018. Since then, Sebeng has showcased his talent in a variety of shows, such as “Savage Beauty”, “The Brave Ones” and “Miseducation” on Netflix, “The Queen”, “The Throne”, “Zbondiwe”, “Scandal” and “Hush Money.”

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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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