The five-day Ake Arts and Book Festival an annual literary festival held in Abeokuta, Nigeria kicks off today. This year’s theme is Beneath This Skin and conversations will focus on identity, race and individuality, with a lengthy guest list, which includes, distinguished Professor, renowned writer, and literary icon Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Okey Ndibe, Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah, Lidudumalingani, Noviolet Bulawayo, Panashe Chigumadzi, Zukiswa Wanner, Udoka Oyeka, among others.
Today is the World Diabetes Day, and Africa joins the rest of the world in observing this important day, devoted to raising awareness about the disease. Diabetes is a chronic, progressive disease which is characterized by high levels of blood glucose. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 25 million (7.1 percent) people have diabetes in the African region. Undiagnosed diabetes remains a major threat in Africa. The time to act is now, and there is need to join hands and continue raising awareness of the disease.
Today marks ten years since South African legendary jazz musician Jabu Khanyile passed on. We pay tribute to this African jazz icon, and remember the legend through his music, which undoubtedly left an indelible mark.
Today is Angola’s Independence Day attained in 1975. We honour all those who sacrificed their lives during the struggle against Portuguese rule and colonialism, and remember all those who died in the liberation war and subsequent conflicts. Feliz Dia da Independência.
Africa’s lost a musical genius, the legendary singer Miriam Makeba (Mama Africa) who passed away on this day in 2008. We remember this legend through her music, which undoubtedly left an indelible mark.
The Zimbabwean government has shot down suggestions to allow same sex-marriages in the country, choosing to accept 142 recommendations made by the United Nations Human Rights Council Working Group. The country’s Deputy President Emmerson Mnangagwa told local papers that the government will not soften its tough stance on homosexuality, despite suggestions by some European countries that Zimbabwe should reconsider its position.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has come under fire for his xenophobic remarks against Somalis in Minnesota. Trump said Somali migrants are a “disaster” and Minnesota residents have “suffered enough” because of migrants pouring in. The U.S. presidential hopeful has been strongly rebuked by Betsy Hodges, the mayor of Minnesota who has come out in defence of Somalis saying, “Minneapolis is a better, stronger place for having our Somali and East African immigrants and refugees in it”. “Somali people of Minnesota and Minneapolis are not *roaming* our communities, they are *building* them,” Hodges noted.
The dust will certainly take time to settle, on the contentious decision to award the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature to American songwriter, and singer Bob Dylan. Comments by Nigerian poet and activist Wole Soyinka that he “would like to be nominated for a Grammy” have reignited and spiced up a conversation, which seemed to have been dying. Could Soyinka get a nomination for next year’s 59th Grammy Awards? Well, he certainly believes he has written enough poetry to warrant a nomination.
Moroccan writer Leila Slimani has won France’s top literary prize, the Prix Goncourt, for her novel “Chanson douce” (loosely translated “Sweet Song”). Slimani is only the second African woman to win the prestigious award after French-Senegalese author Marie NDiaye won the award in 2009 for her novel Trois femmes puissantes (Three Powerful Women).