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Work hard, Rest hard3 minutes read

It is also a time for discussions among labour unions on existing issues such as salaries, wages and working conditions.

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Today is International workers’ day – an event celebrated globally to appreciate the working class. Google is celebrating workers’ day with a doodle today.

On 1st, May 1886, there was a general workers’ strike in Chicago over labour conditions and a eight-hour workday request. More than 300,000 workers in 13,000 businesses across the United States left their jobs on the first workers day in history. In Chicago, 40,000 went out on strike in a peaceful protest; there were anarchists giving speeches, parades, bands and tens of thousands of demonstrators united in strength and purpose as their numbers increased.

Two days later, violence broke out between steelworkers and the police at the McCormick Reaper Works. For six months, armed Pinkerton agents and the police harassed and beat locked-out steelworkers as they picketed- resulting in the death of two workers and many casualties

Enraged by the actions of the Pinkerton agents and the police, some of the anarchists called a meeting the next day, in Haymarket Square to discuss the brutality. It is said that two detectives rushed to the main body of police, reporting the use of inflammatory language, inciting the police. As the police began to disperse an already thinning crowd, a bomb detonated in the police ranks.  the police fired into the crowd. The exact number of civilians killed or wounded remains undetermined.

May 1 was earmarked to be International Workers’ Day to commemorate the 1886 Haymarket affair in Chicago.

In Africa, this is a time to drop work tools and appreciate the value of rest. It is also a time for discussions among labour unions on existing issues such as salaries, wages and working conditions.

This year’s workers day is particularly important to Nigerian and South African workers who have finally won a battle for minimum wages.

After nine years, Nigerian workers got a new minimum wage approved by its federal government; it was increased from 18,000 Naira to 30,000 Naira – a 66.6% increase.

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa signed into law, the National Minimum Wage Bill which took effect in January 2019; the country’s first-ever national minimum wage. In this, he set a historic precedent in the protection of the working class. The legislation sets a minimum national rate of R20 per hour or 3, 500 rands per month, depending on the number of hours worked.

Significantly, most African countries, were colonies of various European powers and after independence took on most of these traditional celebrations.

On May 1, South Africa celebrates Worker’s Day commemorating the role played by Trade Unions, the Communist Party and other labour movements in the struggle against Apartheid.

Ghana observed its first May Day celebration in 1965, eight years after its independence in 1957.

The May Day celebration was suspended in the wake of the first military coup on 24 February 1966, which toppled Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s Convention People’s Party (CPP) Government. The celebration was resumed in 1967 after January 13, 1972, military coup led by General Ignatius Kutu Acheampong.

This event was marked with a Grand National parade held at the forecourt of the Accra Community Centre.

Zimbabwe also celebrates May Day on the 1st of May as well. A popular activity on May Day is to decorate a pole with paper streamers. Some people also add flowers and balloons. It’s also a day of convergence for most workers to reflect on working conditions and other issues affecting them such as salaries and wages.

In Kenya, May Day celebrations are held at Uhuru Park and generally well attended but this year’s low turnout is due to discontent among Kenyan workers. Labour unions demand a solution to rising unemployment and an increase of up to 25% in the national minimum wage.

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Entertainment

2Baba releases new album “Warriors”

The album is a key offering in the celebration of 2Baba’s 20 Years A King project.

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Award-winning Afropop icon 2Baba has released his new album titled “Warriors” earlier today, February 28. This album is released as part of his 20 Years a King (#20YearAKing) celebration, commemorating the two decades he has spent in the Nigerian music industry.

This new album contains just 13 tracks including previously released singles like ‘Important’, ‘Oyi’ and the Peruzzi-assisted smash hit, ‘Amaka’. The LP also boasts big-name collaborations like Burna Boy, Wizkid, Olamide, Tiwa Savage and Peruzzi. It also features appearances from AJ Natives, Symeca and his daughter HI Idibia.

The production of the album is handled by a galaxy of PBanks, Spelz, Blaq Jeerzy, Bolji Beatz, Speroach Beatz, Richie, Ploops and his longtime collaborator, Jay Sleek.

Interestingly, this is the first 2Baba album that comes with a title track, which also serves as the opener of the full-length project.

On Tuesday, February 25, the celebrated singer held a well-attended listening party for the album at the Artisan Lounge bar, Lagos.

His seventh studio album, “Warriors” is the long-overdue follow up to “The Ascension” which was met with mixed reviews upon its release in 2014.

Formerly known as 2face Idibia, 2baba is one Africa’s most successful artists, winning local, continental and international awards like BET and MTV Europe Music Awards.

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Feature News

Exporting African sounds into Italy

Nigerian migrants are introducing Afrobeat to one of Italy’s most popular cities

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Nigerians are slowly stamping their authority in Italy's music space. Photo credit: Quartz Africa

Migrating from Africa to Europe is a particularly tricky business. It is usually very difficult to obtain visas, and consequently, many people opt for the long, tortuous route that runs through the Sahara Desert and extends into the Mediterranean Sea. It is a risky journey in many ways, as desperate migrants get robbed, swindled, enslaved or worse still, meet their end in the hot sands and high seas.

There is also the small matter of reputation when it comes to successful migrants. There are those who believe that men and women who manage to avoid death or slavery, and ultimately cross the borders into Italy and Spain, are either involved in drug peddling, prostitution or unsavoury menial jobs like washing up corpses.

There is a small group of people, however, who are slowly changing the narrative. These ones are not only showing that there is more that African migrants can do in Europe, but they are also exporting Nigerian music in all its exotic nature and rich flavour into one of Italy’s major cities.

Palermo, the capital city of the Sicilian province, is slowly becoming the Southern European capital for the world-conquering Afrobeats scene. Social media has given a platform to musicians who can reach a wide audience without institutional support. There are more than a few cities in Italy that are not exactly kind to migrants, but Palermo has gradually become a haven for a number of young Nigerian musicians to hone their craft and attempt to carve a niche for themselves on European shores.

The influx of these musicians has had a significant effect on the city, too. For instance, Ballaro, a small neighbourhood in Palermo, was once known as one of the most dangerous places in Italy, no thanks to the activities of the Mafia. But with the arrival of African and Asian immigrants, the neighbourhood is now revitalised and less prone to crime.

Artists like RayJeezy, Brenex Baba and Thug Money make a living from performing at night clubs across the city. They hope that their hustle ultimately pays off and that they gain worldwide recognition, but for now, they are contributing to the transformation of a city’s music and culture. Things are looking up for the African migrant population in Palermo, and it’s not hard to tell that there will be more where the music came from.

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Entertainment

Netflix Announces First Original Nigerian Series

This comes just after the U.S-based streaming giant launched Netflix Naija.

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Popular media-services provider Netflix has announced the production of its first original African series to be headlined by Nollywood director, Akin Omotoso.

This would be a six-part series that features an all-star Nollywood cast of Kate Henshaw, Ade Laoye, Richard Mofe Damijo, Joke Silva, Fabian Adeoye Lojede, Kehinde Bankole and many others. 

Directed by a team of Akin Omotosho, Daniel Oriahi and CJ Obasi, the series tells the story of a reincarnated goddess who seeks to avenge her sister’s death.

This announcement comes just after the U.S-based streaming platform unveiled Netflix Naija on Tuesday, February 25, 2020.

In a statement with Premium Times, Netflix’s Chief Content Officer, Ted Sarandos revealed that “movies like King of Boys, Merry Men and The Bling Lagosians have shown how much our members love Nigerian movies. 

“So, we’re incredibly excited to be investing in Made in Nigeria stories – bringing them to audiences all around the world.”

Over the past year, Netflix has featured a number of Nollywood movies on its streaming platform. Among such movies include the culturally and commercially successful King of Boys, October 1, The Figurine, Mokalik, and Merry Men. 

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