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ENTERTAINMENT: R. Kelly Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison After Found Guilty of Luring Children for Sex

R&B singer and songwriter R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison today following decades of sexual abuse allegations.

Last year, after a six-week trial that included testimony from 45 witnesses in a Brooklyn courtroom, a jury found him guilty of racketeering and violations of an anti-sex-trafficking law known as the Mann Act.

At the time, Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Geddes said Kelly, now 55, masterminded a scheme to “target, groom and exploit girls, boys and women.”

Before Kelly was sentenced, a group of survivors including Angela, who testified during his trial, were given a chance to read victim impact statements.

“You used your fame and power to groom and coach underage boys and girls for your own sexual gratification,” she said while staring at Kelly, according to The New York Times. “We are no longer the preyed-upon individuals we once were.”
r.kellyFor decades, allegations swirled around the singer who was previously acquitted in 2008 on child pornography charges.

In an indictment following his 2019 arrest, prosecutors alleged Kelly and his team — including managers, bodyguards and assistants — “traveled throughout the United States and abroad to perform at concert venues … and to recruit women and girls to engage in illegal sexual activity with Kelly” as far back as 1999.

According to the indictment, the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer allegedly required his victims to follow “numerous rules” in which they “were not permitted to leave their room without receiving permission, including to eat or go to the bathroom,” were “not permitted to look at other men” and “were required to call Kelly ‘Daddy.'”

he indictment also accused Kelly of “engaging in sexual activity with girls under 18 years old,” failing to disclose “a sexually transmitted disease Kelly had contracted” and producing child pornography by requesting that underage girls send him photographs.

“R. Kelly’s enterprise was not only engaged in music; as alleged, for two decades the enterprise at the direction of R. Kelly preyed upon young women and teenagers whose dreams of meeting a superstar, soon turned into a nightmare of rape, child pornography and forced labor,” Angel Melendez, special agent in charge from Homeland Security Investigations, said in a statement after Kelly’s 2019 indictment.

Gerald Griggs, an attorney for several of the victims, tells PEOPLE that his clients are satisfied with the verdict.

“It’s been a long journey for many of the accusers and their family members,” Griggs says. “My clients have been fighting since 2017, and some others have been fighting for 20 years. Today, the voices of black women were heard loud and clear. This is a process to achieve justice, and they are eagerly awaiting sentencing – as well as his three other trials. Today, justice was served for Robert Sylvester Kelly.

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Entertainment

ENTERTAINMENT: LASG, Nollywood invests in young talent with international ambition

A joint project between a Nigeria film production house and Lagos State government is training students to make African stories for a wider international public.

Nigerian film-making student Esther Abah is part of a new generation of Nigerian film-makers who want to take stories beyond a Nigerian audience.

“It’s been an awesome experience because I see film now from a different perspective and I really understand what film is all about, better now then what I used to know before” said the filmmaking student.

Nigeria’s domestic film industry, or Nollywood, is massive, and prolific, second only to India’s Bollywood in terms of movies produced and well ahead of Hollywood.

“We have talent in Lagos, in Nigeria, but to work on an international scale it changes a little bit. So, what the school does, it formats the way people work on an international standard, in other words, we allow these guys to go through a full production cycle from script development, to casting, to pre-production to production and post”, explained Theart Korsten, EbonyLife Creative Academy head of school.

Nigeria’s film industry made up 2.3 percent of the national GDP or $660 million last year.

The rise of streaming platforms is also creating demand for better films from beyond western studios.

“I think what Netflix and all these other platforms have done, is expose us to content beyond a particular region. So, you’re having contents from India, no, India was kind of known but you’re having some from South Korea, you’re having some from South America, you’re having some from Europe, some obscure country in Europe… and these are mainstream contemporary stuff.

So, it’s making a lot of Nigerians, you know filmmakers, now realise that their stories can actually be seen on a universal scale but at the same time they have to conform to certain relatable ethics, storytelling technics”, concluded Daniel Oriahi, head of the directing department.

For the Lagos State government, the investment was part of a drive to help the city’s creative industries.

Two more film schools will be part of the programme.

*AFP

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Culture & Tourism

OONI to host festival of Alaraagbo Deity in Ile-Ife

All roads lead to the cradle city of Ile-Ife as the African foremost monarch,
Arole Oduduwa Olofin Adimula, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, the Ooni of Ife will on Sunday 26 June, 2022 play host to African Traditional Religion faithfuls and guests expected from all over the world for the 2022 edition of the annual WORLD ALARAAGBO FESTIVAL
In a statement signed by Director, Media & Public Affair,Otunba Moses Olafare, It was annouced that the festival scheduled to hold on Sunday at the Ile Oodua Palace of the Ooni of Ife will also mark the official installation of Chief (Mrs) Abike Osunbunmi Ifasemilore, an Osogbo born Ibadan based Osun priestess who is the President of Omilere Alaragbo Global Foundation, and CEO of Gberanle Herbal Mixture and Adoleen Herbal Balm as Yeye Alaraagbo Oodua.
The annual festival had its maiden edition in Ile-Ife on 3rd of June last year celebrating Orisa Egbe known as Alaraagbo being a deity of covenant fulfillment and a lively spiritual entity that believes in people making good their promises made in heaven.
Like other deities; Olokun, Osun, Osara, Ogun, Oranfe, Orunmila, Obatala, Oduduwa, this Orisa Alaragbo was among the 401 super human beings seconded to the world to populate the first dynasty of mankind known as Ife Oodaye.
The 3 day festival from Friday 24th to Sunday 26th June 2022 is in fulfillment of the Ooni Ogunwusi’s vision and mission to showcase our traditional culture to the world with a view to advancing cultural tourism as veritable means for economic development.
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Africa

ANNOUNCEMENT: AFRIK Ultimate Hero Search to Start Audition July 1- August 30, 2022- Organiser

AUHS organiser has announced that the online audition will start in July and run through August 30, 2022.

The announcement was made recently during a briefing held in Lagos, by the convener, movie producer, and host of the new TV reality show, Thompson Ukeki.

Arrangements have been made for the premiere of AFRIK Ultimate Hero Search (AUHS), an initiative of a Nigerian movie producer, Thompson Ukeki, which aims to create a platform for multi-tasking Nigerian youths to hone their cooking skills and showcase African dishes and culinary culture.

According to him,  AUHS online audition will start in July and run through August 30, 2022. The show will commence on September 1 and end on September 30, 2022. The online audition will take place in all the state capitals across the country, including Enugu, Oyo, Lagos, Ogun, Ekiti, Abuja, Ondo, Edo, Kaduna, Rivers, Benue, Delta, Imo, Uyo, Jos, C/River, Anambra, Kwara, Ebonyi, Osun and Katsina States.

“With 30 contestants and six local chefs as judges, the show will be viewed all over Nigeria through Dstv, Gotv and Startimes channels with contestants from different backgrounds living together, undergoing rigorous training daily and carrying out tasks,” he said.

Ukeki said the show was aimed at promoting cultural decency, enlightening Nigerian youths and encouraging them to focus on their dreams and aspirations.

He noted that one of the objectives of the reality show is to improve the wellbeing of the average Nigerian youth, help to build capacity for multi-talented Nigerians.

He said, “This show is targeted at youths who are multi-talented, but not sure of their cooking skills direction. It will also enable them to gain access to what the society has denied them in terms of religion, ethnicity, responsibilities, family pride and life balancing effect.

”AFRIK Ultimate Hero Search makes a strong statement, showing that the world can be properly entertained without an iota of nudity and promiscuity, which have characterised our recent reality shows.”

“In the history of every nation, there are times when products and brands like this come up. First when I was accosted, I was very reluctant to support this programme, knowing very well that we abuse brands, and for me, anything Nigerian is my project.

“I would like to say that we the organisers of this programme have made history at a time when we are talking of the worrisome state of morals, morale and the upbringing of our youth in a country like Nigeria. The AFRIK  Hero Ultimate Search is a wakeup call and an indication that there is hope for this country.

“There is also the saying that some men like women a lot. Any man who does not like women cannot get a good wife. Because to get a good wife, you must know who is a woman. So for me, AUHS is a unique brand that has come to tell us that when others are developing programmes that show nudity among others,  we  are here to bring the best out of our youths.’

”I know that this is just meant to be a very fantastic event, a fantastic show. Which is going to bring you the real house hands as this course is going to encourage a lot of youths.

“And if you have not started at all, you begin to find yourself learning to do something. This is a very lovely initiative.

Let us believe in our African food and cultural heritage. The New reality TV show, AUHS, is to promote our cultural heritage and decency values.”

To be part of the historic event; Kindly log on to: https://www.africultimateherosearch.com

Registration is Free

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ArtsCulture & Tourism

Culture & Tourism: The Genesis of Oyo-Ondo royal family bond

The history of Ondo-Ekimogun sprang from the Palace of Alaafin of Oyo in the ancient city of Oyo when the wife of Oba Alaafin Oluaso bore him twins (a male known till today as Orere and a female also known as Olu) which is forbidden in the Palace of every Oba in Yoruba land. The then Alaafin of Oyo loves the twin’s mother called Olori Olu so much and on hearing the news of the newly born twins, he lamented that this is a mysterious child “Ese-omo-re” which later transform to Osemawe as Oba’s title in the Ondo Kingdom.

The Oba Alafin Oluaso ordered that the twins and their mother be taken out of Oyo, he also gave instruction that one stroke of the intofacial mark should be cut on each cheek of the twins as kese or ibaramu mark will cause agony for them on their journey. The single facial stroke mark became an established custom in Ondo town till today. This is how Ondos are referred till the present moment as “Omo Mula meji si oju s’eye”

The twins were accompanied by the Alaafin of Oyo warrior’s leader called ija or Uja with their mother to a place called Epin in the then Fulani Kingdom. They later return to Oyo after the death of Alaafin Oba Oluaso in 1497 AD. The new Oba Alaafin Onigbogi also ordered them out of Oyo in 1498 AD with Alaafin warrior leader to the direction of Ile-Ife. They continue the journey until they reached a place called “Ita Ijama” This is how Ondo is referred today as “Ekimogun ara ita ijama”.

They continue with their journey until they arrived at Epe where Iyanghede of Epe received them with joy and splendours Royal hospitality treatment. This is how Ondo are referred today as “Omo Mude agogo mu omi”.

Revealing Africa Afresh- ADM

After a brief stay at Epe, they continue with their desire to look for a permanent settlement. They arrived at a place which is known today as Ile Oluji, where Olori Olu (Alaafin wife) slept for days and did not wake up (Ile ti Olu sun ti ko ji). After another short stay, Olori Olu and Princess Olu the female twins left the town with one Ogunja from Epe, leaving Prince Orere behind at Ile Oluji. They continue their journey until it ended at the foot of a hill known in Ondo to the present day as Oke Agunla. This is how Ondo are referred today as “Opon inu odi Ogunja.”

At the hill, they spotted a smoke rising from below and followed that direction down the hill and saw a man who simply identify himself as Ekiri neither a farmer nor hunter but a lost warrior from Ado Binni (now Benin City) who could not trace his journey back to his origin but decided to stay back at that particular spot where he was located through a smoke rising in the air with no wife or children. He  lives in a Hut (Awue – re do mi) which he eventually vacated for the Royal Princess as a mark of honour.

The man (Ekiri) later lead them to a particular ground known till today as Oriden where they tried to stick their yam stake prove futile as instructed by an Ifa Oracle before they left Epe. They were all happy and exclaimed “Edo do, Edo du do, Idi edo” which finally transmit to Ode Ondo during the ancient days. Princess Olu, the female twins also known till today as late Oba Pupupu finally became 1st Osemawe of Ondo in 1516 AD while Prince Orere the male twins also became the 1st Jegun of Ile Oluji.

The other historical Royal mark are cut unto the right breast of the descendant of past Osemawes from both male and female lineage with prestigious birth right to Otunba title as known and practiced till today. The Royal families and Otunbas title bearers in Ondo Kingdom are headed by Olotu Omo -Oba (Lotu Omo-Oba-in-Council) with official quarter at Oke-Otunba and its environs.

The Ondos are known to be traders, farmers or produce merchants. Their staple food is iyan (pounded yam) made from yam. The Ondos have their own peculiar dialect and very hard working. It must be noted however that Ondo emigrants settlers also founded many towns like Igbado, Igbindo, Ajue, Igburowo, Odigbo, Oro, Imorun, Ilunla, Erinla, Igunshin, Araromi, Araromi Obu, Ajebandele, Agbabu, Oboto, Bolorunduro, Fagbo, Tekuile, Owena, Oke-Opa, Aiyesan, Laje, Oka, Oke-igbo and etc. Although, we have lost some villages now towns such as Ajue, Odigbo, Ore, Agbabu, Ajebandele, Omotosho and etc to the creation of old Ifesowapo Local Government now Odigbo Local Government with its Headquarter at Ore.

The first Osemawe Palace was built by late Oba Airo (first son of Oba Pupupu) who became 2nd Osemawe in 1530 AD. Late Oba Adeuga Fidipote 11 built the first ancient modern Palace in Ondo when he became 40th Osemawe in 1935 AD while late Oba Festus Ibidapo Adesanoye – Osungbedelola 11 built the multimillionaire and befitting Osemawe Palace in Ondo after  he became the 43rd Osemawe of Ondo Kingdom in 1992.

The Ondo Chieftaincy title groups are the Iwarefas, Ikules, Elegbes, Ijamas, Olojas and Baales headed by the Osemawe. The Upoji Chiefs (Female Chief) is headed by Her Royal Highness Olobun of Ondo (Oba Obirin – Female Majesty).

The Popular traditional festivals in Ondo are as follows, Odun Oba, Odun Ogun, Odun Oramfe, Odun Moko and etc. The recent society modernisation or civilisations of the 21st century generation enhance us to enact Ekimogun Day Festival for developmental efforts with aspiration to bring all Ondo sons and daughters together every year to celebrate our heritage. I pulse here with due respect to honour and say kudos to His Eminence, late High Chief Ilemobayo Oreoluwa Akinnola MFR ‘Ojo Gbogbo Bi Odun’ (Lisa of Ondo Kingdom 2001 – 2013) who mute the remarkable and historic idea in 1987.

The Ondos embraces Roman Catholic Christianity in 1875 and accepted by late Oba Ayibikitiwodi while late Oba Jimekun accepted the CMS Anglican Communion in 1884 and Islam in 1888. The first Ondo citizen Catholic Priest late Rev. Father John Akinwale was ordained in 1947. The first Ondo citizen to be ordained as Anglican Bishop was late Rev. D.O. Awosika while late Rev. T.O. Olufosoye was the first ondo citizen to be ordained as Archbishop of Anglican Communion Diocese of Nigeria. The first Chief Imam of Ondo, Alhaji Muhammed Alimi was installed in 1888.

In conclusion, the Ondos are not proud as other people think but we usually defend our integrity at all time with genuine facts.

1. Other Cities or Towns people may see us in that direction simply because of our culture and orientation as a pure Ondo origin. Even though, at a sojourn host City or Country we are easily differentiated among other tribes in Yoruba Nation.

2. We like to accommodate people quite a lots and we always stand by our conviction irrespective of whosoever involved. We are not blessed with the attitude to tolerate any nonsense from anybody or anywhere by retaliating against any form of cheating in all ramifications.

3. Our dress code traditional attires simply dignified us in any society and we are easily noticeable by our public interactions at every level that we found ourselves. We also have a unique charismatic and unquantifiable good sense of humour that distinguishes the Ondos immensely from every other tribe in Nigeria as a whole and even Worldwide.

4. We are known as pace-setters and we always wage unplanned and successful war against any known or unknown oppression or oppressors. The Ondo’s are well recognized all over the World as pace-setters in every areas of life. We always lay the standard that other Community, Group of People and Associations has to follow in the society. Here we are today with the Special Grace of God.

5. The Ondos are known for a pride, proud of what they represent and we enjoy been well educated with civilized enlightenment. We believed in ourselves so much that make it difficult for us to be a servant for too long in any capacity. We magnificently cherish to be our own master of our various businesses or captain of industries. We are not proud as people think about us but we are genuinely stubborn to a fault.

 

Authored By,  Otunba Damilola Oladimeji POH, ECHGA, GIOU.

Ojo Gbogbo Bi Odun ‘II,’ Ekimogun Cultural Heritage Global Ambassador

Source: ekimogundescendant

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Africa

Famous Actor Jean-Claude Van Damme Gets Congolese Diplomatic Passport

Famous Belgian action film hero Jean-Claude van Damme, also known as the Muscles from Brussels, says he is thrilled to have been given a Congolese diplomatic passport – and says he aims to get other stars to visit the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“I am going to try to convince international stars like Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Jackie Chan, and many others,” the 61-year-old said in the capital, Kinshasa, as he accepted his passport and role as cultural, youth, and wildlife ambassador for the country as reported by airnewsonline

“There are also singers like Jennifer Lopez and footballers like Messi, Ronaldinho, Cristiano Ronaldo. They must come to the country to show that it is safe, to show that Congo can protect those in showbiz.”

DR Congo has faced decades of instability, with numerous armed groups still roaming the mineral-rich east of the country, killing, raping, and looting.

Revealing Africa Afresh- ADM

A one-time martial arts champion, Van Damme went on to star in big-budget Hollywood action movies such as Cyborg, Kickboxer, and Universal Soldier – and more recently voiced Master Croc in the Kung Fu Panda films. He is known for his tough-guy persona.

He surprised people at the press conference by saying he had actually been born in DR Congo, saying he was “a native of Likasi”, a city in the southeast of the country.

This would have been in the year that the country gained its independence from Belgium.

He also highlighted the importance of attracting investment into DR Congo.

“DR Congo is worth $36tn [£27tn] in minerals… my job is to find investors who understand that they have to give first before receiving, and to have a maximum honesty with President Félix Antoine Tshisekedi.”

However, some have questioned the actor’s new passport, as DR Congo’s constitution bans dual nationality.

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Arts

Ethiopian Tale : The Dog, the Goat, and the Donkey By Dr. Y

The bus ticket cost five birr. But when the dog gave ten birr to the conductor, he didn’t get any change. Because the goat had no money, she tried to hide on the bus. But the donkey paid his five birr. When the bus arrived at its destination they all got off.

The dog always runs after the bus shouting, “Give me my five birr! My five birr!” The goat runs away from the bus, saying, “The conductor will ask me for my money.” But the donkey doesn’t move. He’s already paid his five birr and he feels quite safe and happy.

This tale was narrated by Abdul Amin Ahmed in Ethiopian Folktales

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Entertainment

Entertainment: What happen to Nigerian female emcees in the music industry?

Nigeria, popularly known for its catchy Afrobeat’s by the likes of Wizkid, Davido, and Burna Boy was once booming with female EMCEEs. What happened?

It is not to say that there aren’t any women in the industry now, but the scene has changed drastically since the early 2000s. Take Sasha P, for instance. She was once known as the first lady of Nigerian hip-hop when they weren’t many females in the game. Songs like “Emi Le Gan” and “Adara” earned her spot as the first Nigerian female artist to perform at the World Music Awards in 2008. She even won Best Female Artist award at the MTV Africa Music Awards. She took a break from music, however, to work on her clothing line and hasn’t been heard since then musically according to HipHop Africa.

Another big hit is Eva Alordiah: a rapper, entertainer, make-up artist, fashion designer, and entrepreneur. Releasing her first hit in 2009, she remained consistent until around 2019 with features by Olamide, Phyno, Yemi Alade and more. Eva served as the face of female rap in Nigeria for quite some time before stopping to focus on herself. Despite the fame, she describes the “deep dark depression” she was in amidst a lost sense of identity. She left the rap scene to find herself and God, a necessary thing to do.

Weird MC, a British Nigerian named Adesola Idowu was another pioneer of female rap in the early 90s. You won’t see much of her on popular streaming sites, but she was topping charts in Nigeria all the way from the UK during her time. One of her songs, “Ijoya,” was produced by Don Jazzy and the album, “After the Storm,” won Best Pop Album at the 2007 Headies. Known for the way she infused the Yoruba language into her music, she continued making headway until a couple years back when a she lost a close friend and moved back to the UK.

There are more artists to name including Blaise, Bouqui, Mo’Cheddah, and more. Worldwide, but prominently in Nigeria, the rap scene is dominated by males. Today, no female truly rivals the top rappers in the country and it is a shame. Women are often sidelined to be background dancers adding to overly sensual music that degrades and objectifies women. A female artist can be a lyrical genius, but if she cannot move her body in a way that appeases record labels, it is not enough. The hope is that Nigerian Queens will take on the burden again to blaze the path for future female EMCEEs.

Daisy Firecracker may have the potential to reawaken the FEMCEEs of Nigeria.

Daisy or Anurika Happiness Mgbodim is a fire lyricist. From Anambra State, Nigeria, she has been working hard for some years now. You can hear the passion about her craft in this song “Dear Hustle” amidst the use of Pidgin English and Igbo language. This hustle is her “medicine” and she “will never leave [it].” I personally appreciate how smooth her flow is and the confidence or braggadoc(ia) in her music. As seen above, she has been proving herself in freestyle rooms, but also has singles and albums out. We will have to see where she goes from here, but I believe there is hope for women in Nigerian hip hop.

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Africa

African Metaverse set to Boost Economy and Create Employment

Africa’s first metaverse is set to unlock African creativity and connect Africa to the global digital economy. At an event in Johannesburg yesterday, plans were announced for commercialisation of the 3D virtual reality experience, that is set in Ubuntuland, a virtual world that marries creativity, cryptocurrency, and commerce.

Firstly, virtual land will soon be available to purchase and develop, with MTN, Africa’s largest multinational mobile telecommunications company joining Africarare with an upcoming 12×12 village (144 plots of real estate) secured in Ubuntuland. Additionally, M&C Saatchi Abel have entered the metaverse as the first South African agency to do so. There will only ever be 204 642 plots of land available, made up of different village sizes in various community hubs. The land is positioned and priced according to a tiered value system.

Landholders will be able to customize their 3-D land spaces, such as hosting shops, producing resources, renting virtual services and developing games or other applications. Designated spaces will serve the community for work, play and wellness purposes, including a state of the art meeting rooms, online therapy rooms (with optional anonymity), concert stages, film festival spaces, meditation lounges and other dynamic interactive environments. And, there’s more to come, such as staking, DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) and blockchain play-to-earn gaming.

Maps Maponyane & Nastassia Arendse at Africarare launch in Johannesburg

Renowned South African artist Norman Catherine has developed a unique collection of avatars for the metaverse, which will shortly be available to purchase. The Normunda tribe is based on the artist’s signature lexicon, that has fetched record prices in galleries around the world. An avatar is a 3-D graphical representation of a user or the user’s character or persona in this space.

Furthermore, an exciting collaboration between Africarare and South African superstar Boitumelo Thulo has been announced. Popularly known as Boity, the acclaimed television personality, rapper, actress, businesswoman and model, revealed her first virtual reality music video, entering the event in the same Sun Goddess custom creation upon which her outfit in Queen Boity avatar form was based. The Boity tribe of 10 000 avatars will soon be available for fans, with a Boity village currently being developed and plans for virtual concerts under way.

Africarare will connect Africa to this booming arena of the global economy, stimulate growth and create multiple new jobs such as digital designers, creators and architects

The currency in Ubuntuland will be the $UBUNTU token, which is built on the Ethereum blockchain and available from later this year. Everything in Africarare can be bought, sold or traded using $UBUNTU tokens, including buying, developing, selling or renting plots or villages in Ubuntuland, and the in-world purchases of digital goods and services. The valuation of the token will be calculated according to what users invest / build / play / trade inside the metaverse.

Two art galleries will feature in Africarare, dedicated to showcasing Africa’s prolific creativity. The Mila gallery (Swahili for ‘tradition’), already open, will host curated collections by some of Africa’s foremost artists, while the Inuka gallery (Swahili for ‘rise’) will feature works by emerging African artists from later in 2022. Both galleries will stage various exhibitions on an ongoing basis with art pieces being be sold as NFT’s (non-fungible tokens).

Boity in Africarare Metaverse

In the Africarare marketplace, creators and developers can trade in in-world assets such as land, avatars, avatar additions and other goods and services that are and will be available in Ubuntuland. The marketplace focuses on four main areas: Art, Ubuntuland, Avatars & Skins and Digital Services. Users will also be able to trade on secondary platforms such as Opensea and others.

The Central Hub land area is reserved for Africarare custom made experiences, ranging from art to education and including experiences like galleries, live performances, stand-up comedy, video content channels, film festivals, safaris and more.

Africarare will connect Africa to this booming arena of the global economy, stimulate growth and create multiple new jobs such as digital designers, creators and architects ” said Mic Mann, Co-founder and CEO of Africarare. “Additionally, it will enable South African artists to showcase their talent to the world and monetize their distinctive creations,” he added. “With Africarare being built on collaborative partnerships, the possibilities for commercialisation are endless” said Shayne Mann, Co-founder of Africarare.

“This is an exciting moment for us as we lead businesses on the continent to enter the metaverse marketplace. This is exactly what our Ambition 2025 strategy is premised on – leveraging trends that amplify consumer’s digital experiences and engagement. We have always been at the forefront of technological and digital changes and we remain alive to the exciting opportunities the metaverse presents for us and our customers’’ – Bernice Samuels MTN Group Executive.

With Ubuntuland poised to become the biggest talking point in the digital African space, it’s time to own your piece of Virtual Africa!

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Arts

Culture and Tourism: Oba of Benin received 125yrs looted artefacts

ONE hundred and twenty-five years after they were first looted out of the palace of Benin, two artefacts; a cockerel (okpa) and Uhunwun Elao (Oba head) were formally handed over to the Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II in an elaborate ceremony in the palace yesterday as reported by an online news plaform barristerng.com

The two artefacts out of about 10,000 which were taken from the palace during the British expedition of 1897 were returned by Jesus College of Cambridge University and University of Aberdeen, Scotland.

The ceremony attracted prominent Benin sons and daughters, members of the royal family, various societies and groups in the kingdom, the Director-General, National Commission of Museums and Monuments (NCMM) Professor Abba Tijani, the Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Ambassador Tunji Ishola, traditional rulers from Edo North and Edo Central senatorial districts, representative of the Ooni of Ife, the Hausa and Yoruba communities, the Muslim community, men of the various security agencies and others.

While officially handing over the items to Oba Ewuare II Ambassador Ishola said the two items have been preserved in their original forms when they were taken away 125 years ago and the value of the Cockerel today is £2 million while the Oba head is valued at £500,000.

Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II
Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II

He said he was delighted that the works would now be domiciled in their homes of origin and researchers would write about them talking to their real owners.

On his part, the Director-General of NCMM Professor Abba Tijani said it was historical that the artefacts were returned in his tenure when several attempts in the past were frustrated by the holding countries.

He said “I have on many occasions met the holders and told them that these Benin artefacts are not artworks, they are life arts, they are part of the history of these people, they are not works for commercial values or aesthetics, you can imagine that part of your life is taken from you.

“We are making history because none of us were here when they were taken away in 1897 but we are here to receive them. The Commission had made several efforts in the past to see to their return but we encountered many blockades.

“I have already scheduled to visit other countries in Europe to convince these holders to return them”

Oba Ewuare II in his speech which was read by his younger brother, Prince Aghatise Erediauwa said the day was a day of joy personally “and to all Benin people at home and in Diaspora. We are witnessing today the beginning of the restitution of our artefacts which were looted in 1897.

He said contrary to reports that the military expedition of 1897 was a retaliation for the killing of some British soldiers, “The truth is that there was a calculated and a deliberately conceived plan to attack Benin for its territorial dominance and also for her treasures. The result was a destruction of a civilization that equalled or even surpassed that of the aggressors. It was thought that the kingdom, totally decimated and in ruins in the aftermath of the war, would not rise again. By the grace of God and our Ancestors, we are still standing.

“The current conversation is about restitution. International scholars and most museums now agree that keeping stolen items is immoral and illegal. There is a consensus now that heritage items must be returned to their place of origin. For this, we commend both Jesus College of Cambridge University and the University of Aberdeen for their pace-setting initiative in returning these two bronzes. Of course, there remain a very large number of our artefacts out there.

We are aware of the ongoing discussions which the Federal Government, through the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, is holding with various governments on our behalf. We are also aware that the major museums will miss having Benin Bronzes in their collections. I believe that a working arrangement can be agreed whereby our ownership of the artefacts having been established, those museums will continue to enjoy the presence of our artefacts.”

He commended President Buhari for his interest in ensuring the return of the artefacts.

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