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H.O.N Weekly : Your Weekly Roundup of Trending News

Welcome (back) to H.O.N Weekly, your weekly roundup of the top lifestyle, current affairs and enter/edutainment trending this week.

Nicholle Kobi’s illustration of the upcoming animated series on Africa queens. Nicholle Kobi Instagram.

1. COVID-19: is South Africa losing the battle against COVID-19?

After what seems like a great start at managing the pandemic, South Africa is unfortunately now ranking 5th worldwide, on an international COVID-19 chart. Cases in the country are spiraling, despite a strong involvement of the government. The country was first praised by the WHO for its early strict measures and national testing program . What went wrong then? According to an opinion piece published in Quartz Africa, it’s because South African’s leaders want to emulate the” First world” while it is a country being ‘both first and third world”. The article points out to a capacity problem to correctly execute the wide-scaling testing initiative, elitism and exceptionalism views. (Source : Quartz Africa)

2. Edutainments: Artist Nicholle Kobi teams up with Erick Barmack to bring animated African queens’ series to life

French Artist and illustrator Nicholle Kobi, known for her empowering illustrations of black women on social media, is teaming up with Erick Barmack, a former Netflix executive, who is credited with overseeing the streaming giant ‘s game-changing drive into production around the world, on the production of “Queens” a high-concept, stylish animated series about six extraordinary real-life African queens. They will mesh real-life events ranging over thousands of years of history and authenticated by historians with a dash of magic and, as the series’ central visual look, Kobi’s character art. The pair is working on another animated project, a series called ‘La femme noire’ for BET. The series will feature stories of Queen Amanirenas of Kush (Ex-Sudan), Queen Nandi the mother of Shaka Zulu (South Africa) and Queen Amina of Zaria (Nigeria) among others. While waiting for the series learn more about these amazing African queens here. (Source : Variety)

3. Tech/business: The faces of startups in Kenya

An info-graphic of start-ups in Kenya has been making the rounds on social media and causing a stir because it is revealing the demographic of start-ups founders : they are mostly whites. Unlike South Africa and Nigeria, (along with Kenya, these countries make up the three most-funded start-ups hubs in sub-Saharan Africa), expats founders are more likely to be funded more than locals.

As per data compiled by WeeTracker, Kenya-based start-ups raised a total of USD 428.9 Million in total disclosed funding deals recorded in 2019. Expat-founded start-ups were the recipients of 87.8 percent of that sum, raking in a staggering USD 376.7 Million. (Source Weetracker.com /digest Africa)

4. Viral/US Politics: Watch US presentative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez brilliantly shut down misogynistic slurs

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is often referred to by her initials AOC, is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district. AOC is fearless and outspoken while defending her points of view. Earlier this week, she reportedly was accosted and called a ‘fucking bitch’ by a republican congressman, Ted Yoho. Watch belowAOC’s poignant and classy response, a real masterclass in standing up to your bullies and handling misogynistic bullies in the workplace or elsewhere. Her speech has stricken a chord with many women across the world, as the majority of us have, one way or another, had to deal with such mistreatment. Watch the full speech here. (Source: HuffPost)

5. Music : Aya Nakamura is the most listened to French singer

According to Spotify’s world ranking, artist Aya Nakamura is the “most listened to” French singer. She is ranked 288th, in particular thanks to her massive hits like “Djadja”, “Pookie” or “Copines”. With 13 million monthly listeners, Aya is way ahead of the other top 3 most successful French artists on the platform, the rappers Jul (3.3 million per month), Booba (2.3 million) and the duo PNL (2 million). Of Malian descent, Aya has been dominating the French airwaves and international festivals with her unique blend of French pop and afro-inspired beats. Unfortunately, Aya is regularly the target of cyber-bullying and frequent racist attacks highlighting the issues faced by black women in the show-business (misogynoir). Allez Aya! (Go Ava!). (Source Web24.news)

Et voila for this week’s round up. What’s happening on your side of the world that we should know.

PS: Before you go, do not forget to check the latest blog posts

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How “Black Lives Matter” re-ignited my blog’s purpose

Last time I checked with you for my monthly musing, was in May when I did a round-up of the 2020 first quarter. I mainly discussed the rise of the COVID -19 pandemic and the top events, thus far, of the year. Today I’m telling you how world’s events of the past week, the Black Lives Matter movement especially, have helped me re-ignite my blog’s purpose.

A mural in honor of George Floyd.
A mural in honor of George Floyd.

Things have been even more eventful (and draining) with the eruptions of the Black Lives Matter protests, following the senseless killings of black people in the USA. So draining that I could not put my feelings and emotions into words (considering that we’re still battling the pandemic).

I can’t breathe”

On May 25, the killing in Minneapolis (USA) of Georges Floyd, an-African-American man, by 3 policemen, sparked national anger. The videophone footage shows Derek Chauvin, one of the policemen, kneeling on George’s neck for almost 9 minutes. Two other policemen are seen pinning his body on the floor, while George was repeatedly imploring them to stop, by saying “I can’t breathe”. He later lost his consciousness and subsequently died.

The shock and exasperation spread worldwide, with protests erupting around the world.

Black Lives Matter

Protestors around the world have rallied across the slogan Black Lives Matter, that first started as a hashtag created in 2013, in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman, the murderer of Trayvon Martin, another unarmed teen back boy. Since then, the hashtag is getting used widely on social media to highlight the senseless, and often racially motivated killings, of black people, especially young black men.

A few weeks before Floyd’s killing, Breonna Taylor, a 26 years-old female, was shot and killed in her bed, while police officers entered her apartment, to execute a ‘no-knock warrant search’. Her family is still seeking justice.

Before Breonna, Ahmaud Arbery, a young black man was killed while jogging in his neighborhood. He was pursued, confronted and killed by 2 white residents. His killing was recorded by another neighbor, who was later charged alongside the other two.

The shock and exasperation of these killings spread worldwide, with protests erupting across many cities around the world. In France, the movement has found resonance with the killing of Adama Traore by French policemen, in a condition similar to George Floyd.

#BlackLivesMatter goes global

This year people from every background of life, race and nationality have joined the movement. It has also sparked conversations about racism and prejudice in our society. Social media in particular, has become a very powerful platform, because it has given black people all over the world a platform to share their painful experiences with institutionalized racism.

Powerful brands and companies have all been forced to reflect and enforce changes in their organisations to actively combat racism. Ex-colonial powers such as France, Belgium and the UK are also facing a growing discontentment with Afro-descendants wanting them to be accountable for practicing slavery and colonization. They want these countries to recognize the atrocities committed under such practices and discuss reparations. Symbols and statues of colonization and slavery are being toppled in major cities across Europe and the US.

If anything, the events of these past weeks, have shown us that racism is one of the most enduring pandemic that black, and other non-white people, have been subjected too for centuries. It has permeated, in the most insidious ways every aspect of our lives.

A renewed purpose and re-commitment to my blog’s vision

The tragic killing of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests have reignited my purpose and the vision of House of Nzinga. It reminded me that, I created this platform to contribute to an afro-centric and afro-optimistic worldview and narrative.

My mission, when I started this blog, was to counter all the negative, stereotyped portraying of black people, especially women, by amplifying our voices and stories, while celebrating our past.

Although my platform and voice, is a tiny one in this world wide web, I strongly believe every voice counts in the fight against institutionalized racism and Neo-colonialism.  Every signed petition, every tweet, every post changing the narrative counts. As I read somewhere “activism has many lanes”, and social media activism is certainly become a powerful modern tool for activism when used correctly of course).

So stay tuned for more inspiring, educating and empowering content.

H.O.N Weekly :Your Weekly Roundup of Trending News

HON WEEKLY-16 May 2020

Hey there and welcome to H.O.N Weekly (I hope you know by now that H.O.N stands for House of Nzinga, if not, what kind of friend are you?! serious eyes rolls, lol). It’s a feature, that I plan to bring to you weekly, where I share with you my commentary on the top stories of the week, in lifestyle, pop culture and current affairs or the latest buzz or trends on social media. I will also talk about not to be missed important events and things to look out for during the week.

Trending/Worldwide/Health&Wellness

To kick off this series, I wanted to tackle a subject still trending worldwide: the COVID-19 pandemic naturally, and to look at some African countries’ response.

  • South Africa’s response to the crisis

In South Africa, we just reached the “50 days into under lock-down” milestone. The government has divided the lock-down into phases and, since May 1st, we were downgraded from phase 5 ( the highest level alert) to phase 4. Most of the general public are however still confined at home, with just few more essential workers and business activities being able to operate such as : Uber, Uber Eats and delivery services at restaurants.  South Africa has among the highest numbers on the continent and understandably one of the strictest lock-downs. It is interesting to watch how the lock-down situation is igniting robust discussions on social classes and races divide, privileges, etc. in post-apartheid South Africa.

  • Why is Africa still not ravaged by the pandemic ?

Many western health experts are wondering why Africa is not as badly affected as it was predicted. These interrogations go from genuine medical questions to some more condescending, rooted in Afro-pessimism (even racists) affirmations. It feels as if the world is waiting, sadly, on the pandemic to ravage the ‘dark continent’, natural habitat to deaths, famine and diseases. In the world of Senegalese scholar Felwine Sarr, “Europeans are worried about us, but we’re worried about them.”  

Some experts have started to give some tentative explanations to this like the low median age in Africa, which is only 19, in contrast to the aging population in Europe and elsewhere. Also, Africa is still relatively less connected (in term of international traffic) than the rest of the world and has probably been shielded from the pandemic longer than other countries.

  • It is time to value Africa’s expertise?

One major thing that seems to be underestimated in media reports, is that most Africans government, have been proactive and implemented early measures to control the pandemic, despite the many local difficulties encountered.  

For instance, South African management of the pandemic has been praised by the WHO (early and strict lock-down measures and nation-wide scale testings). Furthermore, Senegal has been developing rapid and cheap tests kits (1 dollar testing kit used to test Dengue fever) and engineers are developing locally manufactured ventilators. All this combined has afforded the West-African country one of the lowest mortality rate combined with some of the highest recoveries rate worldwide. 

Above all this, Africa’s health practitioners have a wealth of experience in dealing with life threatening epidemics and large-scale public health issues such as HIV (South Africa) malaria (most of sub-Saharan countries) and recently Ebola (DRC & West-Africa). It’s easier for them to replicate some treatments and protocols put in places for these diseases to the COVID-19 recent pandemic.

Although we still at the beginning of the pandemic, and it is way too soon to declare victory and relax, (we should absolutely not), let’s hope that the pandemic evolution in Africa continues to defy these somber predictions.  

Finally, it is time for the world to listen to Africa’s contribution and expertise in global public health, medical and pharmaceutical research.

Watch+ Read + Listen

Social media

Although there is not much life happening right now in the big outside world, artists and content creators are carrying us all through this weird time. From social media challenges like the #DontRushChallenge, which show the multi-faceted beauty of black women (quickly emulated and declined into men, babies, doctors, lawyers, bearded men versions), to Tik Tok viral dance challenges and finally to the epic Versuz Instagram battles..I must say, black content creators are literally giving me life! I’m sure you’ve watched or heard of the epic Babyface/TeddyRiley battle, followed up by the soul-soothing, battle of nu-soul divas, Jill Scott/Erikah Badu last week. Be sure to catch the next one, rappers Ludacris Vs Nelly, tonight.

Don’t miss on Netflix’s Made In Africa content

To celebrate Africa Day on 25 May and following its announcement of curating more African content, Netflix has launched “Made In Africa” and made available a collection of African titles on the platform. Be sure to catch Atlantics (Senegal), The boy who harnessed the wind (Malawi), Chief Daddy (Nigeria), Queen Sono, and many more documentaries and series. See the promotion below for more available titles.

Important dates and things to look out for :

To celebrate Africa Day, on 25 May, and to continue to raise awareness around the Covid19 pandemic effect on the continent, several initiatives will take place from this week-end and beyond.

  • 16 May : Africa at home, an evening with artists and international African celebrities such as Congolese rumba artists Fally Ipupa and Ivoirian group Magic system, hosted on the FrenchTV channel Canal Plus.
  • 25 May : #IAMWAN/ #JeSuisWAN : another pan-African initiative with the participation of superstars like Youssou N’dour (Senegal), Oumou Sangare (Mali) , Wizkid (Nigerian) and Kassav  (French Caribbean) to name a few. For more info, check here.

What have you been up to this week?

Xx, PYM

Let’s get social, let’s connect!

Website:    http://houseofnzinga.com/

Facebook page : https://web.facebook.com/houseofnzinga/

Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/fabulous_trysh/

Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/house_of_Nzinga/ 

Podcast: https://anchor.fm/houseofnzinga

Portfolio : linktr.ee/PatriciaYumba

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