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.


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?


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5 lessons from Nipsey Hussle’s life, times and posthumous legacy

It’ s been a year since rapper Nipsey Hussle untimely death (31 march 2019). Read here a blog post inspired by his devastating death last year that never saw the publish light.

May he continue to rest in perfect peace.


Unless you have been living under a rock or on a lost island somewhere, I’m sure you’ve heard of the tragic passing of hip-hop artist, Nipsey Hussle (Born Ermias Asghedom on 15 August 1985), fatally shot in Los-Angeles on April the 1st 

The news of his death sent a shock wave throughout his worldwide community of fans and hip-hop lovers.

The social media frenzy around his death has sparked so many questions and conversations about him, his music but also general topics like the public reaction’s (overreaction some says) to celebrity deaths, how we pay respect to people only after they die, leaving the rest of the world wondering “who is Nipsey Hussle”?

But what is important is that the world has been able to discover the impact of his legacy, that of a conscious rapper, community activist and entrepreneur.

So here are lessons I learnt from his life and career that has impacted millions of young fans.

  1. Stay authentic, it is a major key to success

In every interview, numerous tributes about him, either by fellow artists, fans or friends, he is always described has “A real one”. Nipsey has undeniably stayed true to himself and his beliefs. Nipsey was an already known and established West Coast rapper for 15 years, with acclaimed mix-tapes and impressive body of work. His slow progression from underground to mainstream artist is a testament to this. He always made it clear that he will succeed, but in his own way. This is one of the quality traits that has earned him a worldwide, yet underground, cult following.

  1. Stay consistent, even if others don’t understand your plans

In 2013, Nipsey was mentioned in Complex Magazine (A prominent american man magazine dedicated to hip-hop culture and urban culture) list of 10 Most underachieving rappers. According to them, after a promising debut, Nipsey was struggling to breakthrough and establish himself, basically declaring him a has-been artist. Not only Nipsey rubbished their critics in a very interesting follow-up interview, but he stayed consistent to his music, his passion for authentic hip-hop that resonated with his life, and by consistently doing things in his own way and according to a clear mind map. Fast forward to 2018, after 14 years of consistent underground grind, he started getting the recognition he deserved by his peers, legends of the industry, media and the bigger public. He dropped his very first album project at 32 (almost retirement age for most rappers) rightfully titled Victory Lap.

Nipsey’s mindset clearly taught us that you’re the only one who needs to understand the game plan to your life and passion projects. Others will catch up, eventually.

  1. Celebrate your roots, they are your strengths

Nipsey is of Eritrean origin from his father. In every interview and lyrics, Nipsey was always celebrating his roots. Going back to his fatherland a few years ago, meeting his dad’s relatives has shaped his artist’s identity. At his memorial, his family and the Eritrean community made sure to highlight this very important aspect. Knowing where he came from gave him a bigger purpose in life. Nipsey, like many US artists of second-generation African immigrants are building a bridge, fostering a dialogue and redefining African identify in the US and worldwide

  1. Give back to your community

Now I think this is why Nipsey Hussle’s death shocked his community in Los-Angeles so much. Nipsey dedicated a huge part of his life to working towards improving the lives around him. He was part of numerous initiatives that positively impacted his area of Crenshaw such as: A barbershop, a public art space (Destination Crenshaw) set to honor black heritage in L.A, a clothing and apparel clothes shop, the Marathon store (a partnership with Puma was signed earlier), a STEM academy to support Math and Sciences literacy among the youth and a co-working space hub for entrepreneurs plus investments in property to revitalize the neighborhood. His investments into all these lifestyle, tech and community ventures, investments and donations have been estimated to 210 413 500 US millions and have impacted approximately 41 000 people in his neighborhood. (source:

  1. Be Inspirational. Have a bigger purpose in mind

His mindset and life has shown his commitment to a bigger picture. As he said it through numerous interviews he was not there for a quick shot at fame, nor money. But because he really wanted to make a long lasting impact, flip the script on what a rapper’s career is supposed to look like. Being a successful rapper to him was second to owning his intellectual property, creating generational wealth that would benefit his family and community. Hence his beloved tagline, “the Marathon’’, to illustrate that he was in there for the long race, the bigger picture and not a short shot at fame. His rap lyrics are really inspirational and true to his beliefs and values.

It is truly sad that Nipsey’s life has been cut short (and even more sad in the same community he was working at improving), just when he was about to blow up, get the recognition he deserved and share his enormous potential, knowledge and gift with the world. Ermias Asghedom quit a life of teenage street gangs’ affiliations to educate, uplift and motivate the youth around him. May his posthumous legacy bring in the real changes, light and love he tirelessly advocated for.

RIP Nipsey. The Marathon continues.

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