AfricaAfrica AsiaArtsEntertainment

ENTERTAINMENT: Netflix releases its first African animation series

The streaming platform Netflix released its first African animation series on Thursday, a launch that has its scriptwriter, Zambian Malenga Mulendema, hoping for more original productions from the continent.

The series “Supa Team 4” is set in a futuristic version of the Zambian capital Lusaka and tells the story of four teenage girls recruited by a former secret agent to save the world.

“I’m thrilled that the world will finally get to see the fantastic series that the very talented team, from Africa and beyond, has made,” Malenga Mulendema told AFP. “We hope that +Supa Team 4+ will lead to further investment and collaboration so that we can continue to grow the industry,” she added.

Malenga Mulendema created the series after being one of eight winners of the Triggerfish Story Lab initiative in 2015, a continent-wide talent competition in Africa.

When the series was announced for 2019, the scriptwriter said she wanted to set the story in her home country, Zambia, to “show that anyone, from anywhere, can be a superhero”.

“(Animated) series have shaped our childhoods and knowing that young Zambians are going to be able to see something they’ve never seen on TV before is great,” Zambian rapper Sampa the Great, who worked on the main theme tune, recently enthused on Instagram.

In recent years, the streaming platform has focused on diversifying its output outside the US, with hit series such as Spain’s “La Casa de Papel” and the South Korean dystopian drama “Squid Game”.

In April, Netflix said it planned to expand its operations in Africa and give “more African storytellers an amplified voice on the global stage”.

read more
AfricaAfrica AsiaArtsCulture & Tourism

ART & CULTURE: Repatriation of Benin Bronzes confirmed by British museums (See Photos)

Benin Bronzes held in British museums will be repatriated as Nigeria has set out ground rules that means the artefacts will find a new home with a traditional ruler.

Museums and universities say they are pressing ahead with repatriation plans after Nigeria decided they would be returned to the Oba of Benin.

The Oba was the region’s ruler when it became a part of Nigeria and the bronzes left the country.

The Horniman museum in London, having already returned the first of its bronzes, said it is pressing on with the repatriation.

Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Gallery, which has 19 Benin Bronzes, said it will return them “to their legitimate owners”.

Nigeria’s former president Muhammadu Buhari signed a gazette handing ownership of all returned artefacts to the Oba in May.

The move appeared to take Western countries by surprise and raised questions about the return of the Benin Bronzes, the name for thousands of looted items in European collections.

There has been talk that the repatriated artefacts will be housed in a yet-to-be-built museum.

The items were seized by British forces during the sacking of Benin City in 1897.

Many British and European institutions are looking at when to keep and when to return artefacts such as the Benin Bronzes.

Separately, the Elgin, or Parthenon, marbles now housed in the British Museum have been the subject of a decades-long campaign for their return.

National Museums Scotland is also considering a request from Nigeria to repatriate its 59 Benin artefacts.

Oxford University, which has sought to return 97 Bronzes, said it was “monitoring the situation”.

Cambridge University, which had agreed to return 116 artefacts, paused the repatriation process in May after learning that the Nigerian president had declared the Oba to be their owner.

The British Museum alone has more than 700 objects from the historic kingdom in its collection.

The Ethnological Museum of Berlin has the second-largest collection of Benin Bronzes, with more than 1,100 objects.

Germany said last month it was seeking clarity on whether the bronzes would be displayed in a new museum, but that the plan to give them to Nigeria had not changed.


read more
AfricaAfrica AsiaArtsCulture & TourismInternationalNewsWorld

Dutch King Willem-Alexander Makes Historic Apology For Slavery Involvement

Dutch King Willem-Alexander issued a historic royal apology Saturday for the Netherlands’ involvement in slavery, saying he felt “personally and intensely” affected.

Thousands of descendants of slaves from the South American nation of Suriname and the Caribbean islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao attended the celebrations in Amsterdam for “Keti Koti” (“breaking the chains” in Surinamese) to commemorate 150 years since the practice was abolished.

“Today I’m standing here in front of you as your king and as part of the government. Today I am apologising personally,” Willem-Alexander said to loud cheers from the crowd.

“I am intensely experiencing this with my heart and soul,” the monarch told those attending the event, held under a light drizzle in the capital’s Oosterpark gardens.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte already officially apologised in December on behalf of the government.

It was not certain whether the monarch would follow suit on behalf of the royals for a trade that researchers say brought vast riches to his ancestors in the House of Orange.

“Slave trading and slavery is recognised as a crime against humanity,” the king said.

“The monarchs and rulers of the House of Orange took no steps against it.”

“Today, I am asking for forgiveness for the crystal-clear lack of action, on this day when we are commemorating slavery in the Netherlands,” Willem-Alexander said in his speech, broadcast live on television.

Ahead of the ceremony descendants of slaves have called for the king to use the occasion to apologise.

“That is important, especially because the Afro-Dutch community considers it important,” Linda Nooitmeer, chairman of the National Institute of Dutch Slavery History and Legacy, told public broadcaster NOS.

“It is important for processing the history of slavery.”

‘Colonial Tributes’

Since the Black Lives Matter movement emerged in the United States, the Netherlands has embarked on an often difficult debate about the colonial and slave trading past that turned it into one of the world’s richest countries.

And the Dutch royals have often found themselves at the centre of the debate.

A Dutch study released in June found that the royal family earned 545 million euros ($595 million) in today’s terms between 1675 and 1770 from the colonies, where slavery was widespread.

The current king’s distant ancestors, Willem III, Willem IV and Willem V, were among the biggest earners from what the report called the Dutch state’s “deliberate, structural and long-term involvement” in slavery.

Separately, in 2022 King Willem-Alexander announced that he was ditching the royal Golden Coach that traditionally transported him on state occasions because it had images of slavery on the sides.

One side panel had a picture called “Tribute of the Colonies” depicting kneeling black people handing over produce like cocoa and sugarcane to their white masters.

Rutte in December described slavery as a “crime against humanity” when he delivered the long-awaited apology, and Dutch ministers travelled to seven former colonies.

The king said days later, in his Christmas address, that the government apology was the “start of a long journey”.

Slavery was formally abolished in Suriname and other Dutch-held lands on July 1, 1863, but the practice only really ended in 1873 after a 10-year “transition” period.

The Dutch funded their “Golden Age” of empire and culture in the 16th and 17th centuries by shipping around 600,000 Africans as part of the slave trade, mostly to South America and the Caribbean.


read more
AfricaAfrica AsiaArtsCulture & TourismInternationalInterview storyInterviewsWorld

African culture is characterized by a strong connection to nature, ancestors, and the divine- Chief Oluwole Ifakunle

In this exclusive interview with Adewale Adenrele, the World renowned Chief Ori Aare Ago Oluwole Ifakunle Adetutu Alagbede of Oyotunji African Village Shares his journey for over 35 years lecturing and teaches Ifa philosophy. his views about the transatlantic slave trade and how to change the narratives,  he also spoke about a media campaign programme to celebrate Yoruba religion, and how he established connections to something meaningful that represents our cultural past among other interesting issues.

Below are excerpts:

Researchers put forward a new narrative explaining the variations in African ancestry in the Americas and how these variations were shaped by the transatlantic trade, how have you and many others changed the narrative for development?

As a Traditional priest/researcher/teacher and a chief of Oyotunji African Village who has been actively involved in changing the narrative regarding variations in African spiritual tradition in America, and around the world, I can say that it has had a profound impact on my understanding of history and development. By putting forward a new narrative that emphasizes the role of the transatlantic trade in shaping these variations, I have been able to challenge and deconstruct existing Eurocentric perspectives that have dominated historical discourse for centuries.

One of the significant ways in which this new narrative has affected development is by highlighting the agency and resilience of African peoples who were forcibly brought to the Americas as slaves. It has helped me shift the focus from a narrative of victimhood to one that I can recognize the active contributions and cultural richness that African populations brought to the world.  They could not destroy our humanity. This has had a transformative effect on the perception of African diaspora communities and their role in shaping the social, economic, and cultural fabric of Americans.

Furthermore, my new narrative has led to a re-evaluation of social and economic disparities in  America, particularly those experienced by Afro-descendant communities. By acknowledging the historical context and systemic factors of racism, that have perpetuated these inequalities, I see policymakers and development practitioners are more inclined to address them through targeted interventions and policies. This shift in understanding has paved the way for initiatives aimed at promoting social justice, racial equity, and inclusive development.

In addition, changing the narrative has influenced academia, encouraging scholars from diverse backgrounds to engage in research and discourse that explores the complexities of African diaspora history and its implications for contemporary society. It has opened up new avenues for interdisciplinary collaboration and the exchange of ideas, leading to a more comprehensive understanding of the African diaspora experience and its lasting effects.

Overall, changing the narrative regarding African ancestry in the Americas and highlighting the influence of the transatlantic trade has had far-reaching implications for development. It has challenged prevailing biases, empowered marginalized communities, informed policy decisions, and fostered a more inclusive and equitable approach to social, economic, and cultural development.

The Yoruba language is spoken in the West African countries of Nigeria, Benin Republic, and parts of Togo and Sierra Leone, therefore constituting one of the largest single languages in sub-Saharan Africa. Yoruba is also spoken in Cuba and Brazil.  Does it mean that many people have their ancestral back in Nigeria?

Yes, the widespread presence of the Yoruba language in various countries across West Africa and the Americas, such as Nigeria, Benin Republic, Trinidad, parts of Togo, Sierra Leone, Cuba, and Brazil, suggests that there are significant ancestral connections to Nigeria for many people.

The dispersion of the Yoruba language and culture can be traced back to the transatlantic slave trade, which forcibly brought 40 million plus Africans from different regions to the Americas. During this period, Yoruba-speaking individuals were among those who were captured and transported to various parts of the Americas, particularly in regions with significant African diaspora populations.

A huge Yemoja/Olokun festival in which we all appeared on a program called “Hapi” Where we did the ceremony of “Nangure” at the sea for the cameras at sunrise for Olokun

The retention and preservation of the Yoruba language and cultural practices in Cuba and Brazil, for example, indicate the resilience and tenacity of Yoruba heritage despite the harsh conditions of slavery. These traditions were passed down through generations, forming the foundation of vibrant Afro-descendant communities in these countries.

It is important to note that while many individuals in Cuba, Trinidad, Jamaica, Brazil and etc. may have Yoruba ancestry, it does not necessarily mean that all Afro-descendant individuals in these countries have direct ancestral ties to Nigeria. Over the centuries, intermixing and cultural exchange with other African ethnic groups and European populations have contributed to the diverse Afro-Latin American and Afro-Caribbean identities present today.

However, the prominence of the Yoruba language and cultural elements in these regions indicates a significant historical and ancestral connection to Nigeria, specifically to the Yoruba ethnic group. The retention of the Yoruba language and cultural practices among Afro-descendant communities in the Americas serves as a testament to the enduring legacy and impact of African heritage on these societies.

 The 5th African Spirituality Conference attracts global participation and shows that a lot of people are acquiring knowledge across the world, how have you been advocating and sensitizing people about this?

As an experienced advocate and promoter of African spirituality, I have been actively involved in advocating for and sensitizing people about the significance and relevance of African spirituality in today’s world. I have been engaged in various activities and initiatives to raise awareness and promote the understanding of African spiritual practices and beliefs.

One of the primary ways I have been advocating for African spirituality is through organizing and participating in conferences and seminars. By organizing the 5th African Spirituality Conference, we aimed to create a platform where scholars, practitioners, and enthusiasts from across the globe could come together to share knowledge, insights, and experiences related to African spirituality. This conference attracted global participation, ensuring that diverse perspectives and experiences were represented, and providing an opportunity for people to acquire knowledge about African spirituality from various cultural contexts.

In addition to conferences, I have been actively using various forms of media to advocate for African spirituality. This includes writing articles, publishing books, and maintaining a strong online presence through websites, blogs, and social media platforms. By sharing informative and educational content, I aim to reach a wider audience and create spaces for dialogue and discussion about African spirituality.

Furthermore, I have been involved in community outreach programs and workshops, both locally and internationally, to sensitize people about African spirituality. These initiatives are designed to dispel myths, challenge stereotypes, and provide accurate information about the diverse spiritual practices and beliefs within Africa. By engaging with individuals and communities, I strive to foster understanding, respect, and appreciation for African spirituality.

Lastly, I have been collaborating with like-minded individuals and organizations to amplify our advocacy efforts. By joining forces with scholars, activists, artists, and spiritual leaders, we can collectively promote the importance of African spirituality and its relevance in contemporary society. Through collaborations, we can reach larger audiences, engage in research and publication projects, and develop educational materials that help spread knowledge about African spirituality.

Overall, my advocacy and sensitization efforts have been aimed at highlighting the richness, diversity, and significance of African spirituality. By organizing conferences, using various media platforms, engaging in community outreach, and collaborating with others, I strive to promote awareness, understanding, and respect for African spiritual traditions and their contributions to the global spiritual discourse.

There should be a media campaign programme to celebrate Yoruba religion, customs, culture, and tradition through spirituality in purity, with the aim to bring together a wider audience of Orisha devotees, traditional worshipers, and traditional and cultural institutions. Would you support this project, what do you like about African Culture and traditions?

As a practitioner of African spirituality, I wholeheartedly support the idea of a media campaign program that celebrates Yoruba religion, customs, culture, and traditions through spirituality in purity. Such a program has immense potential to bring together a wider audience of Orisa devotees, traditional worshipers, and traditional and cultural institutions, fostering a greater appreciation and understanding of African spirituality.

What I particularly like about African culture and traditions, including those of the Yoruba people, is their rich heritage and deep-rooted spirituality. African culture is characterized by a strong connection to nature, ancestors, and to the divine. It embraces a holistic worldview that recognizes the interdependence and interconnectedness of all beings and the importance of maintaining harmony with the natural world.

The Yoruba religion, with its intricate system of Orisa worship, offers a profound spiritual framework that emphasizes the relationship between humans and the divine forces or deities. I appreciate how Yoruba spirituality provides guidance through divination, rituals, and practices that promote personal growth, community cohesion, and the cultivation of a balanced and harmonious life.

African traditions and customs are also deeply embedded in community values, storytelling, music, dance, and art forms. They reflect a vibrant and diverse cultural tapestry that celebrates the unique identities and contributions of different ethnic groups within Africa. I appreciate the oral traditions that have been passed down through generations, preserving history, wisdom, and cultural knowledge, IFA.

Furthermore, African spirituality and traditions often prioritize communal well-being and social harmony. They promote values such as respect for elders, intergenerational cooperation, and collective responsibility. I find this emphasis on community and interconnectedness to be deeply meaningful and relevant in today’s fragmented and individualistic society.

Naming ceremony 2022
Naming ceremony 2022

By celebrating Yoruba religion, customs, culture, and traditions through a media campaign program, we have an opportunity to showcase the beauty, depth, and wisdom of African spirituality to a wider audience. It can serve as a means of cultural preservation, empowerment, and education, fostering pride and self-identity among African descendants and promoting cross-cultural understanding and appreciation among people from different backgrounds.

Overall, I believe that African culture and traditions, including those of the Yoruba people, hold invaluable wisdom and teachings that can enrich our lives and contribute to a more inclusive and spiritually nourishing world. Supporting initiatives that celebrate and promote African spirituality is a way to honor our ancestors, preserve our heritage, and inspire future generations.

Ooni of Ife, One of the foremost kings in Nigeria was hosted by President Lula, as the country unveiled some initiatives for the reunification of the over 100 million Afro-Brazilians via his program tagged “Back To Home”. How would you describe the visit and the program?

The Ooni of Ife’s trip to Brazil, where he was hosted by President Lula, and the unveiling of the “Back To Home” program for the reunification of over 100 million Afro-Brazilians, is truly a remarkable and wonderful initiative.  The Ooni of Ife’s ideas and the program itself hold immense significance and potential for fostering a stronger connection and sense of belonging among Afro-Brazilians to their ancestral homeland in Nigeria. By recognizing and honoring the shared heritage and cultural ties between Nigeria and Brazil, the program aims to address historical and systemic disconnections caused by the transatlantic slave trade. This initiative is wonderful! I think it acknowledges the importance of cultural and ancestral roots in shaping personal and collective identities. It provides Afro-Brazilians with an opportunity to rediscover and embrace their Nigerian heritage, strengthening their sense of pride, self-identity, and belonging.  Reconnecting Afro Brazilians, with their homeland, will help them to reclaim their culture, heritage, traditions, their language, and it would help to contribute to their overall growth and development as Africans in the diaspora. The program opens doors for meaningful exchanges. It promotes cultural diplomacy, tourism, and economic opportunities, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation between the two nations.

Furthermore, the “Back To Home” program has the potential to create a ripple effect, inspiring similar initiatives and dialogues across the African diaspora. It highlights the importance of preserving and celebrating African culture, spirituality, and traditions, not only in Brazil but also in other countries where the African diaspora is present like Cuba, Trinidad, and the United States.

Overall, the Ooni of Ife and the “Back To Home” program are remarkable and commendable. It is my hope that it will produce cultural, reconnection, pride, and empowerment among not only Africans. This is a strong step towards healing historical walls, and acknowledging both those who are in the diaspora, as well as those who remained in African borders. This program exemplifies the vision, leadership, and powerful unity that our Ooni is promoting.

As an African American of Nigerian descent, I can share my experience and perspective to motivate other Americans, especially Nigerian Americans, to join in promoting the Yoruba Cultural agenda and contribute to the socio-economic and political emancipation of our people globally.  I have festivals for the ancestors and the Orisha.  I have appeared on television programs like National Geographic and spoken at some of the top universities here in America and abroad like Harvard, Yale, Florida State, and more.

I emphasize the significance of cultural heritage and the power of reclaiming and celebrating our roots. By engaging in activities that promote the Yoruba Cultural agenda, we can foster a deeper connection to our Nigeria Yoruba heritage. This connection can instill a sense of pride, identity, and belonging, empowering individuals to take an active role in shaping their own narrative and contributing to the development of our communities.

Secondly, I would highlight the importance of unity and solidarity among African-Americans and Nigerian Americans. By coming together and working towards a common goal, we can leverage our collective strength, resources, and networks to effect positive change. By joining forces, we can amplify our voices, advocate for our interests, and create opportunities for economic and political empowerment on both local and global levels.

Speaking on National Geographic show with Morgan freeman 2017Season 2 episode 3 “The story of God”
Speaking on National Geographic show with Morgan freeman 2017 Season 2 episode 3 “The story of God”

I emphasize the role of education and knowledge-sharing. By engaging in the Yoruba Cultural agenda, we can deepen our understanding of Nigerian history, culture, traditions, and socio-political dynamics. This knowledge empowers us to challenge stereotypes, dispel misconceptions, and contribute to more nuanced and informed discussions about Africa’s in diaspora.

Additionally, I would highlight the potential for economic opportunities and entrepreneurship that can arise from engaging in the Yoruba Cultural agenda. By promoting Nigerian and Yoruba cultural products, arts, crafts, cuisine, and tourism, we can contribute to economic growth, job creation, and community development. Encouraging Nigerian Americans to explore business ventures, collaborations, and investment opportunities in Nigeria can also strengthen economic ties and foster mutually beneficial relationships.

Lastly, I would emphasize the transformative power of representation and the importance of inspiring future generations. By actively participating in the Yoruba Cultural agenda and promoting our heritage, we become role models and mentors for younger generations. We inspire them to embrace their cultural identities, celebrate diversity, and pursue their dreams with confidence. Our involvement can contribute to a more inclusive and representative society where African-Americans, Nigerian Americans, and other marginalized communities are valued and recognized for their contributions.

In summary, my experience as an African American of Nigerian descent motivates me to encourage other Nigerian Americans and African-Americans to join in promoting the Yoruba Cultural agenda. By highlighting the significance of cultural heritage, unity, education, economic opportunities, and representation, we can inspire others to embrace their roots, contribute to global development, and work towards the socio-economic and political emancipation of our people. Together, we can make a lasting impact and create a brighter future for generations to come.

African ethnic groups and tribes have customs and traditions that are unique to their culture. What do you like about African Culture?

I would argue that the question is somewhat unfair because there are numerous aspects of African culture that I deeply appreciate and find joy in as I express my cultural heritage. As members of the diaspora, we often have a strong desire to establish connections to something meaningful that represents our cultural past.

First and foremost, I must mention the vibrant and captivating traditional clothing. The colors used in African attire are truly remarkable, symbolizing royalty, pride, and a profound sense of identity. Wearing these garments allows us to embody a rich heritage, evoking a sense of regality and character that is truly awe-inspiring.

Additionally, the language and idioms within African cultures hold a special place in my heart. They possess a unique ability to convey simple ideas in ways that are deeply profound and thought-provoking. The manner in which these idiomatic expressions are used to articulate one’s thoughts and emotions is truly remarkable, capturing the essence of the African linguistic tradition.

Being a diviner myself, I cannot overlook the significance of the stories, parables, and rituals associated with African divination practices. These narratives and rituals are abundant and teeming with wisdom and cultural richness. They provide profound insights into the mysteries of life, serving as a source of guidance and spiritual nourishment. Engaging with these stories and rituals is both enlightening and enriching, allowing us to connect with our ancestral wisdom and heritage.

Playing the Drum at a Juneteenth Festival Ceremony 2021
Playing the Drum at a Juneteenth Festival Ceremony 2021

In summary, there are countless aspects of African culture that bring me immense joy and pride as I express my cultural heritage. From the splendid colors and designs of traditional clothing to the expressive language and idioms that encapsulate profound ideas, to the abundant and profound stories, parables, and rituals associated with African divination practices, each facet contributes to the tapestry of African cultural richness. Embracing and celebrating these elements allows us to connect with our roots and appreciate the beauty and depth of African culture in all its splendor.

African Development Magazine would like to promote your events, and reporting activities, will you give us this chance?

Thank you for considering African Development Magazine to promote my events and reporting activities. I greatly appreciate the offer and the opportunity to reach a wider audience through your publication.

As an advocate and practitioner of African culture and development, it is important for me to share my work and engage with like-minded individuals and organizations. I believe that collaborating with African Development Magazine would provide a valuable platform to showcase the events I organize and the reporting activities I engage in.

By featuring my events and reporting activities in your magazine, we can raise awareness about the initiatives I am involved in and promote the broader goals of African cultural preservation, empowerment, and development. It would also provide a means to inspire and engage others who share a passion for African culture and development.

I am excited about the prospect of collaborating with African Development Magazine and would be pleased to provide you with the necessary information and materials to highlight my events and reporting activities. Together, we can contribute to a greater understanding and appreciation of African culture, spirituality, and its impact on development.

Thank you once again for this opportunity, and I look forward to working with you.

Amazing memories are unforgettable; can you share with us the most amazing memory?

Participating in the African spiritual system has left an indelible memory in my mind—an experience that I consider truly remarkable. It was an honor to serve as an ambassador of IFA/Orisa for Korean peace efforts alongside world leaders of African spirituality and representatives from diverse spiritual traditions across the globe. This particular event stands out as one of the pinnacle moments of my involvement in global peace initiatives.

Through my journey, I have encountered countless stories that have shaped my understanding and deepened my compassion for marginalized communities. While I hold these stories dear, their intricacies and abundance prevent me from sharing them fully within this forum. Instead, I have made the decision to compile my experiences into a book, which will provide a comprehensive account of my perspective at that pivotal point in time. In the future, when the book reaches fruition, I will delve further into my viewpoint and extend the reach of my message.

What advice would you give the younger ones?

First and foremost, our African spiritual traditions are rich in wisdom, ancient knowledge, and profound connections with our ancestors and with forces of nature. These traditions have been passed down through generations, carrying with them the essence of our ancestors’ experiences, struggles, triumphs, and resilience. By engaging in Yoruba spiritual practices, we tap into a powerful source of collective memory and gain insights that can guide us on our personal journeys to fulfilling our destinies.

Participating in African spirituality provides a deep sense of identity and belonging. It connects us to our roots, reminding us of our heritage and the greatness of our ancestors who have shaped our history. It fosters a sense of pride in who we are and where we come from, empowering us to celebrate our cultural uniqueness. Embracing our African spiritual traditions helps us reclaim our narratives and challenge the negative stereotypes that have often been imposed upon us. Moreover, our spiritual practices offer us a profound connection with nature and the universe. African spirituality emphasizes the interconnectedness of all living beings and highlights our responsibility to care for our Mother Earth. By engaging in rituals that honor nature, we deepen our appreciation for the environment and gain a heightened awareness of our role in its preservation. In a time when our planet faces numerous challenges, our spiritual traditions can inspire us to become stewards of the Earth, advocating for sustainable practices and protecting our natural resources.

Preserving our African spiritual traditions is not only important for individual growth but also for the collective well-being of our communities. Our traditions provide a framework for social cohesion, fostering a sense of unity and solidarity among our people. They offer guidance on ethical behavior, justice, and community engagement, promoting values such as respect, compassion, and harmony. By actively participating in our spiritual practices, we contribute to the preservation of our cultural heritage and ensure that future generations have access to the wisdom and teachings that have shaped our identity.

Lastly, by engaging with our African spiritual traditions, we become agents of cultural revival and resilience. In the face of historical marginalization and cultural suppression, our spiritual practices have endured, carrying the flame of our traditions through the ages. By embracing and preserving our culture, we challenge the erasure of our heritage and assert our rightful place in the global tapestry of humanity. Our participation in African spirituality becomes a powerful act of decolonization, reclaiming our birthright and asserting our voices.

Thanks for sharing with us!

You are welcome.



Chief Oluwole Ifakunle is a World renowned traditional chief  (Ifa priest) /researcher/teacher with vast knowledge of African culture and tradition. He lectures and teaches Ifa philosophy. He was initiated into the Aboriginal Ogboni Society as Oluwo which is a society elders. Locally he is the head of “Iyadunni” Aborigine Ogboni in New York and he is the head of the “Egbe Parapo” Ancestral EGUNGUN Society of New York and New Jersey.

Ifakunle belongs to several Congolese lineages where he is known as (Tata Nganga) keeper of the secrets of the mysterious underworld.  He is an author, a storyteller, a diviner, a magician, a counselor, a chess coach, and a director of ceremonies at the shrine in HARLEM “Ile Omo Ope”. Just to name a few of his chief responsibilities.  At his shrine, he has a bi-weekly service focused on spiritual development, mediumship,  and reconstruction of an African spiritual mindset. He’s an experienced life coach and clinical hypnotist with over 30 years of counseling experience. He has worked with clients of all ages and various degrees and types of challenges. For the past 20 years, Baba has used his experience and background in public health to assist clinically trained social workers with children, adolescents, and their families. A long-time supporter of training our young people. Baba has shown his passion over the past two decades through his work with two community rites of passage programs. This passion is further evident through the various rites of passage programs he himself has been initiated to.

Chief has worked with organizations such as Harvard University, University of New Castle in London,  Hunter College (graduate school of social work), Florida A&M University, Florida State University, and the College of Nyack (graduate school) to mention a few. He believes in both spiritual and cultural diversity. He has sat down with the best of the spiritual world leaders at The United Nations and has traveled to Korea for a world peace summit.

He is educated, exposed, and has traveled far and wide.

read more
AfricaAfrica AsiaArtsBusinessEntertainmentTechTechnologyWorld

ENTERTAINMENT: Forces of change in the creative industries-Going beyond tech

As we are nearing the end of the first half of 2023, we have all become more comfortable with change and disruption. Whether it is the pandemic, environmental factors, unstable global economic conditions, or tech evolution, we have learned to bounce back quickly. One industry that has had to be particularly agile during the past few years is the filmmaking industry.

Canon’s new report (written in conjunction with The Future Laboratory) – The Future of Filmmaking, reveals the industry’s efforts to be a catalyst of change that inspires the creative industry to transform its narrative and to shine its spotlight on topics that will be significant in shaping the future of our world, and that of the African continent.

Interestingly, the report sheds light on the human landscape and its power to create, cultivate, and drive change. The power of people ultimately makes things happen and pushes us toward progress and advancement in any industry. The report highlights four crucial aspects that may be driven by tech but not necessarily led by tech. In my view, these are significant factors directly proportional to the content creation and filmmaking industries and will undoubtedly shape the future of these industries.

Rise of the Creative Class

According to the UNESCO report, global cultural and creative industries (CCIs) are estimated to generate about $2.25 trillion annually, which accounts for 3% of the global GDP and employment of around 30 million people worldwide. It is fascinating to see the rise of this creator economy, which the report identifies as the “New Creative Class”. As we witnessed an unprecedented boom in digitalization over the last 10 years, this creative class sprang into action using technologies to deliver a fresh and novel take on content creation.

If we lens in on the African continent, which is closer to home and more interesting to me, we see some remarkable trends in the creative economy. In Nigeria, as this report shows, the sector employs 4.2 million people and is expected to employ a further 2.7 million by 2025, an increase of more than 50% in the next two years.

Despite the significant contribution made by the new creative class toward societal and economic progress, there still seems to be a gap in recognition compared to other industries. The emerging community of content creators is striving to achieve fair working conditions, equitable payment models, and new standards in the industry that reflect their value and contributions. This is a positive development for the creative sector in its rightful plea to be recognized and treated fairly compared to other industries.

Stay Local

The explosion of digital technologies may have given us the power to do anything from anywhere, but like all things, too much of anything is not always good and has its own consequences. With the plethora of content choices that suddenly became available for audiences consumers worldwide, an interesting trend emerged. People slowly started taking their eyes off the global stage and shifted their gaze towards local and homemade content that told stories of their land and their people.

Given our natural desire as humans to find meaning, connectivity, and relatability, the narrative of authentic stories led independent storytellers, documentary-makers, content creators, and filmmakers to explore topics that local people resonate with. So, it’s no surprise that global streaming giants like Netflix and Disney are investing in Africa to tap the unexplored potential and talent. The report encapsulates the essence of the ‘Stay global, go local’ movement and asserts that media organizations and creative firms will progressively be compelled to shift sight closer to home when it comes to entertainment and content production.

Conscious Consumption

The current climate crisis affects us all, no matter which industry or walk of life we come from. The severity of climate change needs to be taken seriously globally, and genuine efforts must be made for scaled initiatives to reduce our carbon footprints. The streaming industry is no exception to this; the carbon impact of the industry drastically needs to be reduced by adopting a more sustainable approach towards this issue.

The report underpins the significance of consumer demand as a key driver toward adopting sustainable practices and better industry standards. With people gaining more awareness about the environmental impact of their consumption choices, they are likely to demand pro-environmental practices, thus compelling the industry to adopt a pro-active approach towards sustainability.

Inclusive Innovation

The Future of Filmmaking report highlights the positive development of inclusivity and diversity. It emphasizes that the new creative class is at the forefront of inclusivity and is not afraid to challenge the already-established broadcasters. This new generation of creators identifies technology to harness change and propel social progress. Decentralization will be a key trend touching every area of the industry, from financing to licensing and distribution and more, creating new opportunities for the underrepresented creators and bringing them closer to their fans.

Continuing the Legacy of Storytelling

These trends are a wake-up call to many in the industry to pay attention to the changing needs of people and to evolve with them. However, we must always return to the basics and remember the importance of telling stories. While these trends affect the industry by and large, the shifts create more freedom for storytellers to come forth and tell their stories in unique and inspiring ways, enabling them to create content that is responsive to the tastes, locations, and ethics of their audiences in a way that has never been possible before.

All in all, the report tells me that this is an exciting time to be a creator, with the industry opening its doors to new opportunities that reflect change, growth, development, and progress.

read more
AfricaAfrica AsiaArtsCulture & Tourism

The cultural and traditional history of waist beads in Africa

Waist beads have a rich cultural history that spans various regions and time periods. They are decorative waist accessories made by stringing together small beads onto a string or wire, which are then worn around the waist. Waist beads hold different meanings and significance in different cultures, and their use can vary greatly from one community to another. Here’s an overview of the cultural history of waist beads:

Ancient Egypt: Waist beads have a historical presence in ancient Egypt. They were worn by both men and women as symbols of wealth, status, and beauty. In addition to their ornamental value, waist beads were also believed to have protective and spiritual qualities.

West Africa: Waist beads have a long-standing tradition in many West African countries, including Nigeria, Ghana, and Senegal. They hold various cultural and symbolic meanings. In some communities, waist beads are worn as a rite of passage for young girls entering womanhood. They can also signify fertility, sensuality, femininity, and marital status.

East Africa: Waist beads are prevalent in East Africa as well, particularly among tribes like the Maasai and Samburu. In these cultures, waist beads are traditionally worn by women and are considered a symbol of beauty, femininity, and cultural identity. They can also serve as indicators of a woman’s age, marital status, or reproductive health.

Middle East: Waist beads have a presence in Middle Eastern cultures, including countries like Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia. Here, they are often associated with femininity, sensuality, and adornment. In some communities, they are believed to enhance a woman’s fertility and sexuality.

African Diaspora: Waist beads have also traveled with African diaspora communities, particularly to the Caribbean, Brazil, and parts of North America. They have been integrated into the cultural practices of these communities, serving as symbols of femininity, beauty, and African heritage. In some cases, waist beads are also worn as a form of body decoration and personal expression.

It’s important to note that the specific meanings and practices associated with waist beads can vary greatly within and between cultures. They can serve different purposes and hold diverse significance depending on the individual wearer and the cultural context. Today, waist beads continue to be embraced by people from various backgrounds as a form of self-expression, body adornment, and cultural celebration

Although it has always been an element of culture in the African custom, today, many more people have fallen in love with the idea of having it on or having someone they love wear them.

Waist beads are adornments or decorative pieces made from cowries, precious shells, beads, pearls, or small metal strung onto a wire or fish line (not the one used for fishing). These waist beads come in different lengths, waist sizes, colours, and shapes and could be worn in single strands or multiple strands as they sit beautifully on the waist of the wearer.

As earlier stated, waist beads have been a part of African culture, especially West Africa’s, for the longest time. In the olden days, waist beads were worn as a sign of spirituality, femininity, sensuality, growth, and fertility.

When a baby is born, the baby is traditionally beautified with waist beads, and once the baby is grown up to about a year if he is a boy, he stops wearing them, while the girl continues to wear them. The young girl will continue to wear the beads on her waist till puberty; she automatically outgrows them and is given new ones as she transitions into womanhood.

In some other cultures, the waist beads are worn for protection from the ‘evil eye,’ As such, precious beads invoked with charms are added to give maximum protection.

One thing that is common to every wearer worldwide is that waist beads serve as a form of body shaper. They are excellent tools for monitoring weight gain and loss. A little weight loss or gain is easily detected; once the wearer gains weight, the beads easily roll up and eventually break, and if the wearer loses weight, the beads roll down and become so loose that they finally fall off.



read more
AfricaAfrica AsiaArtsCulture & TourismInternational

The spiritual awakening and celebration of Masquerades (Egungun)

Egungun, also known as masquerades, is a vibrant and significant aspect of Yoruba spirituality and culture. It is a spiritual awakening and celebration that revolves around the veneration of ancestors. The word “Egungun” translates to “powers concealed” or “hidden powers” in Yoruba, and it refers to the spirits of the departed ancestors who are believed to return to the earthly realm during certain festivals.

The Egungun festival typically begins with rituals and preparations, including offerings and prayers to invoke the presence of the ancestral spirits. Once the masqueraders are ready, they come out into the community or designated festival grounds to perform dances and rituals. The dances are often energetic and accompanied by drumming, singing, and chanting.

The festival is celebrated in various Yoruba communities, such places are Oyo, Ibadan, Abeokuta, Osogbo, Akure and many more in Nigeria, which has spread to other parts of the world where the Yoruba diaspora exists. The festival usually takes place once a year or once in a few years, depending on the community and its traditions

I had witnessed and participated in the Egungun festival of many towns and cities, I can remember vividly some names of the Egungun in Ibadan such as Owolewa, Dakeja, Oyi laluba, Alapansapa, Atipako, Obebe and many more,

During the Egungun festival, masked performers, known as Egungun or masqueraders, dress in elaborate costumes that are intricately designed with colorful fabrics, beads, and other adornments. The masks and costumes are meant to embody the spirits of the ancestors. The masqueraders often wear layers of flowing fabric that completely conceal their identity, further emphasizing the notion that they are vessels for the spirits. These costumes are often made with vibrant colors, intricate designs, and symbolic elements that are specific to each lineage or family

The Egungun masqueraders dance and move through the community, often accompanied by drummers and other musicians. They perform intricate steps, rhythmic movements, and energetic dances, creating a lively and mesmerizing atmosphere. The music and dancing are believed to invoke the spirits of the ancestors, allowing them to communicate with the living and bless the community.

The celebration of Egungubn brings people together to witness the Egungun performances and pay homage to their ancestors. It is a time for reflection, remembrance, and reconnecting with one’s roots. The Egungun festival reinforces the importance of the ancestral lineage and the belief that the spirits of the ancestors continue to play a vital role in the lives of the living.  This festival also brings communal gatherings and celebrations, bringing together families, friends, and community members, and provides an opportunity for people to reconnect with their ancestral roots, express their cultural identity, and reinforce social cohesion.

In addition to the festivities, the Egungun festival often involves rituals, prayers, and offerings. These rituals are performed to honor and appease the ancestors, seeking their guidance, protection, and blessings for the community. Offerings such as food, drinks, and other items are made at designated shrines or sacred spaces.

It’s worth noting that the specific practices, customs, and significance of the Egungun festival may vary among different regions and communities. The festival is deeply rooted in the cultural and religious traditions of the Yoruba people, and it continues to be celebrated with great enthusiasm and reverence in many places today.

The spiritual awakening and celebration of Egungun are deeply rooted in Yoruba cosmology and the belief in the religious practice in certain African societies, particularly among the Yoruba people of Nigeria and the Benin Republic. Egungun represents the ancestral spirits, and the festival serves as a way to honor and communicate with these ancestors.












read more
AfricaAfrica AsiaArtsCulture & TourismInternationalTechTechnologyWorld

The Image with a thousand words by Adewale Adenrele

Every picture tells a story and speaks more than a thousand words. It has the power to move a mind and compel it to act. Beyond the gear and beyond the tricks and tips, photography has been, in its purest form, a silent recorder of humanity for as long as it’s been around. You can’t deny that photography has played one of the most significant roles in documenting and shaping the course of history as it has progressed over the last 100 years:

Photography has captured our existence from unique moments that document life in an urban metropolis to defining moments in history, to acts of individual bravery and courage, desperation, love, and happiness. There are images captured by photographers from around the world over the course of the past century and the one we are living in.

Many of these images have gone on to become iconic and historic and there are many relatively unknown images, too, which also capture different facets of human emotions. These are all very powerful images e.g sighting the moon, the ark of the moon, sunrise, full moon, and rainbow.

Photography is an emotional ride worth more than a thousand words. Images have power: the power to attract, to persuade, and to sell. But don’t just take our word for it – we have science, history, and statistics to back it up as the situation requires.

In Tourism, photographs play a crucial role in the promotion of tourism destinations, working through a range of media including brochures, television commercials, and picture postcards

Visuals are processed 60 000 times faster than text – we can understand what an image means in 13 milliseconds (less than a blink of an eye!) Colorful visuals are 82 percent more effective at attracting our attention and helping us remember information or event.

Print advertisers have long seen the value of pictures, even back in the ‘olden days with the following:

Pictures help the audience visualize the product and how they would use it.

Illustrations are more attractive than the most striking headline.

They perform the ‘cardinal principles of advertising’ since they attract attention, arouse interest, and create desire.

And that was when everything was printed in black and white!

Interestingly, all those points are still relevant today and we see everything in brilliant colour. From glossy magazine pages, high billboards, sides of moving buses, cinema screens, social media posts, and websites viewed on smartphones and even the tiniest of wearable technology like the iWatch, great eye-catching images are the key to stopping people in their tracks, to halt the newsfeed scrolling and to be remembered.

Photography can have a significant impact on your marketing, sales, and the ultimate success of your business… the good, the bad and the ugly.

What does all this mean? Photography is more crucial to the promotion of business than it has ever been. The power of visual communication has rocketed with the rise of digital and social media.


read more
AfricaAfrica AsiaArtsCulture & TourismEventsNews

Months After Peace Deal, Youth Festival Begins in Ethiopia

A U.S.-sponsored youth festival opened Saturday in Ethiopia with the theme “Be Inspired, Own Your Future.” The two-day festival is being held just months after a bloody two-year civil war ended in Ethiopia’s Tigray region and as peace talks begin with the rebel Oromo Liberation Army (OLA).

Nearly 20,000 youth from around the country are expected to take part over two days.

U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia Tracey Ann Jacobson spoke about the importance of the festival during her opening remarks.

“The point of it is to provide job opportunities, to provide access to loans, to provide better opportunities for leadership and health care for young people throughout Ethiopia,” she said, “and I have seen it grow from a tiny seed that we started in March to this amazing program that we have today.”

Ethiopian Minister for Women and Social Affairs Ergoge Tesfaye spoke at the event about addressing the vulnerabilities of young people.

“Government and non-governmental institutions, other members of the community, as well as the youth themselves, need to understand that they are exposed to a variety of problems along with this untapped potential, and providing necessary solutions and steps is expected from all of us,” she said.

Last week, the Ethiopian government started talks with representatives of the OLA in Tanzania after years of protracted communal conflict in Ethiopia’s Oromia region.

Entrepreneurs and creative individuals from across 17 cities in Ethiopia are showcasing their work at the Addis Ababa festival, but the event did not have representatives from the Tigray region because of the war’s impact.

Boni Bekele, from the Oromia region, had a booth for a clothing design shop at the market fair during the festival.

He said that he used to be able to work across the country in previous years but not anymore.

The government has made millions of young people lose hope, he said. But their strengths should be used, he said, and not just as soldiers, because that won’t transform a country. It’s philosophy, science, and skills that can change a country, he said, adding that this must be a priority.

The youth festival also featured a tech village and an art gallery.

One of the artists presenting her work was 23-year-old Melat Shiferaw, who came from Dire Dawa in the eastern part of Ethiopia.

For her, though the current environment in the country is not encouraging, she hopes things will soon fall into place.

As humans, she said, we live not just thinking about today, but what we hope for tomorrow, hoping tomorrow will be better.

The festival, supported by USAID for five years, is expected to include participants from Tigray in the coming years, as organizers finalize a post-conflict assessment in the region.


read more
AfricaAfrica AsiaArtsBusinessCelebritiesCulture & TourismEntertainmentEventsFashionInvestmentMusicNewsVideos

ENTERTAINMENT: Cannes Film Festival 2023 and expectations

The Cannes Film Festival line-up is now complete and looks like one of the best line-ups in years. After the official selection was announced last Thursday, further additions have been made in the past few days, with the Critics Week and Directors’ Fortnight selections confirmed.

Pixar’s latest movie Elemental — the fourth time the American animation house has graced Cannes — was unveiled as the closing film. The story centres around a city where living embodiments of the elements — water, fire, land, and air — all reside.

Already the 2023 selection feels like a year of comebacks. In competition, vying for the Palme d’Or, is Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest, a German-Polish adaptation of the 2014 Martin Amis novel. Glazer hasn’t made a film since 2013’s much-acclaimed sci-fi Under The Skin.

Set in Auschwitz during the Second World War, The Zone of Interest tells the story of a Nazi officer who has fallen for the camp commandant’s wife. It stars Sandra Huller, featured in the Cannes favourite Toni Erdmann, and marks Glazer’s first time in a Cannes competition.

With six female directors — the festival’s highest-ever number — also competing for the Palme d’Or, another major returning voice is Catherine Breillat. The provocative French director behind Romance and A ma soeur! has been absent from our screens for a decade, since she made 2013’s Abuse of Weakness, with Isabelle Huppert. Her new feature, L’Ete dernier, which stars Lea Drucker, is being billed as an intense family drama.

There’s also a much-heralded return for the French filmmaker of Vietnamese heritage, Tran Anh Hung, who won the Camera d’Or in Cannes — the prize awarded to the best debut — in 1993 for The Scent of Green Papaya. He last directed 2016’s Eternity, and he’s now returning with The Passion of Dodin Bouffant. Adapted from the 1924 novel by Marcel Rouf, this 19th century-set love story set in a renowned kitchen stars former real-life partners Juliette Binoche and Benoit Magimel.

In Director’s Fortnight, France’s Michel Gondry is also back for his first movie in eight years. While he’s kept himself busy making shorts and music videos, the director of the Oscar-winning Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind last made a feature with 2015’s little-seen Microbe and Gasoline. His latest, The Book of Solutions, is described as an off-beat existential comedy and features Pierre Niney, the French actor famed for playing fashion giant Yves Saint Laurent.

Of course, all eyes will be on the out-of-competition Killers of the Flower Moon by Martin Scorsese. Remarkably, it’s Scorsese’s first time in Cannes since 1984’s After Hours (his famous 1976 movie Taxi Driver also played there, winning the Palme d’Or).

This new work, his first for Apple TV+, centres on the Oklahoma murders in the Osage Nation during the 1920s, when oil was found on tribal land. It’s also the first time his two most beloved actors, Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio — who last co-starred in 1993’s This Boy’s Life and 1996’s Marvin’s Room — have ever featured together in a Scorsese movie.

Martin Scorsese's Killers of the Flower Moon is among the out-of-competition highlights. Apple TV+
Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon is among the out-of-competition highlights. Apple TV+

You also have to wonder if The Old Oak will mark the swansong of veteran British director Ken Loach, who turns 87 in June. Then again, predictions that the two-time Palme d’Or winner is retiring have been wide of the mark before. Following recent efforts, I, Daniel Blake and Sorry We Missed You, this latest effort is another drama located in England’s northeast, set around a declining mining community, and dealing with the arrival of Syrian refugees.

Away from the comebacks and the sign-offs, the Critics Week and Director’s Fortnight line-ups also have included some exciting additions from the Mena region. In Critics Week, Amjad Al-Rasheed’s Inshallah Walad (Inshallah a Boy) marks the first-ever Jordanian film to compete in the Cannes sidebar. Shot in the Jordanian capital of Amman, it tells the story of a young widow, Nawal, and her daughter, who are about to lose their home.

As part of Director’s Fortnight, Moroccan actor-director Faouzi Bensaidi (Volubilis) will present his latest work Deserts. Starring Fehd Benchemsi, it follows two debt collectors sent by their agency into the Moroccan Sahara. As Bensaidi told Variety when the film was in development, it’s “an abstract Western”, an existential look at “Man against himself, against God and against nature and coming to terms with his own interior violence.” Old and new, this is going to be a very exciting Cannes.

The Cannes Film Festival runs from May 16 to 27



read more