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Kenya Rolls Out $224,000 Grant to Boost Local Film Production

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Kenya has concluded plans to roll out 25 million shilling ($224,000) film fund to boost local production during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Timothy Owase, Kenya Film Commission (KFC), who disclosed this on Friday in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, said that the local film industry had experienced decreasing revenues due to containment measures put in place to curb the spread of coronavirus.

The upcoming tenth edition of the Kalasha International Film and TV Awards “Kenya will give grants to filmmakers in other to ensure that production continues even during the difficult times brought about by the spread of COVID-19’’, Owase said during the briefing.

The state film marketing agency partnered with Chinese pay television company StarTimes, whose mobile application was the platform where nominated films were uploaded for viewing and voting.

Owase added that the local film sector faces stiff competition from foreign productions due to a number of challenges including lack of access to affordable finance.

“Our goal is to improve the quality of local productions so that Kenya becomes an exporter of films to the rest of the world,’’ he said.

Owase noted that the east African nation had implemented a number of measures to ensure that local content is at least 40 per cent of all programming of domestic broadcasters.

Kenya’s Film Commission said that the government is also promoting the local film sector by purchasing programmes that would be showcased by the state-owned broadcaster.

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South African Jazz ‘Giant’ Jonas Gwangwa Dies at 83

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South Africa jazz trombonist and composer, Jonas Gwangwa, whose music powered the anti-apartheid struggle, died on Saturday aged 83, the presidency said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa led the tributes to the legendary musician who was nominated for an Oscar for the theme song of the 1987 film “Cry Freedom”.

“A giant of our revolutionary cultural movement and our democratic creative industries has been called to rest,” Ramaphosa said.

“The trombone that boomed with boldness and bravery, and equally warmed our hearts with mellow melody has lost its life force” the president added.

There were no immediate details on how or where Gwangwa died.

He passed away on the third anniversary of the death of the “father of South African jazz” Hugh Masekela and the second anniversary of the death of Zimbabwean musical legend Oliver Mtukudzi. Jan. 23 had become “the day the music died” The South African and other media outlets said.

Gwangwa was born in October 1937 in Soweto and went on to have a career spanning 40 years.

“He delighted audiences in Sophiatown until it became illegal for black people to congregate and South African musicians were jailed merely for practicing their craft,” the presidency’s statement said.

He was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga, South Africa’s highest national award presented for achievements in art and culture, in 2010.

The award recognised his work as composer, arranger and musical director of the Amandla Cultural Ensemble, a cultural group formed by activists from the African National Congress in the 1970s.

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Nyong’o Laughs as Kenyan Minister Claims She Has Been Unreachable for 5 Years

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Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Najib Balala, has defended the decision to name British model and actress, Naomi Campbell, as the country’s international tourism ambassador, saying actress Lupita Nyong’o had been unreachable for the last five years.

Nyong’o, a Kenyan and Hollywood actress, in a reaction posted a photo of herself laughing on Twitter with the message: “Me when I hear the Kenya Ministry of Tourism has been looking for me for five years.”

The post was accompanied by hashtags with the phrases: “I am right here baby” and “alternative facts”.

Last week, Balala had named Campbell has Kenya’s international tourism ambassador. The announcement did not go down well with many Kenyans who questioned the minister’s decision to snub Nyong’o for the role.

In defending the decision, Balala said the Kenyan Oscar-winning actress had been unreachable for the last five years.

Balala said Campbell had taken up the role pro bono and that the government was working on the details on how to use her influence to promote tourism.

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Rapper Sarkodie Nominated for MTV Africa Music Awards 2021

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Ghanaian rap icon Sarkodie has bagged a nomination for the 2021 MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMA).


The super talented rapper was nominated in the Listeners’ Choice Award category.
Sarkodie will at the virtual show on February 20 in Kampala, Uganda. face competition from nineteen (19) other talents from eighteen (18) countries across the continent.


Other nominees include Anna Joyce (Angola), AsaphAfrika (Zimbabwe), Dagi D (Ethiopia), DBNGOGO & DJ Dinho (South Africa), Didi B (Cote D’Ivoire), Drizilik (Sierra Leone), Focalistic (South Africa), Khaligraph Jones (Kenya), Locko (Cameroon).


The rest are Malome Vector (Lesotho), Meddy (Rwanda), Mohamed Ramadan (Egypt), Ngaaka Blindé (Senegal), Pallaso, (Uganda), Rayvanny (Tanzania), Shirazee (Benin), DJ Slick Stuart, DjRoja_ (Uganda), Souhila Ben Lachhab (Algeria) and Tiwa Savage (Nigeria).


The MAMA Awards is an award that celebrates local African and international talent and achievement. MAMA 2021, in partnership with Uganda, The Pearl of Africa, recognizes and rewards musicians, trailblazers and those who are shining a light on the continent’s diverse talent and creativity by instilling positive impact on African music and youth culture over the previous year. The awards ceremony will feature vibrant performances from leading African and international artists and will also showcase some of the biggest cross-genre and cross-border collaborations.

This year’s award will celebrate African talent across 20 award categories, including Best Male, Best Female, Best Song, and Best Collaboration. The contribution of artists from Portuguese and French-speaking Africa will also be recognized in the Best Lusophone and Best Francophone categories. Additional new categories included are the MAMA Generation Change Award, Best Fan Base, Alone Together Best Lock-down Performance and Personality of the Year. These new categories seek to demonstrate MTV Base’s commitment to supporting the youth of Africa.

The MAMA Generation Change Award will recognize the inspiring, young change makers of the continent who are tackling some of the world’s most challenging social problems. The Alone Together Best Lock-down Performance recognizes outstanding performances that took place virtually by celebrating artists who took to streaming services to share their music and unite society during the unprecedented 2020 Lockdown.

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