Kareem Waris Olamilekan is a Nigerian artist who paints astounding hyperreal portraits. He's 11. From his Instagram @waspa_art:
I am waspa the bitty artist
Art is my calling
It's in me
I draw, paint and design.
All Africa interview: "My Legs Shook As I Drew the Portrait of French President"
(Thanks Bob Pescovitz!)
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Nigerian rapper Falz created This Is Nigeria, a parody of This Is America that switched out lyrics and imagery for social ills in his country: machete-wielding gangs, codeine use, internet scammers, and much more. Read the rest
A few years back, I had a cough that was so bad that I ended up dislocating a rib from hacking away. My doctor prescribed me a cough syrup laced, heavily, with codeine. The stuff worked, easing my pain and letting me sleep. There were only two side effects from it: I felt too groovy to work for hours at a time and found it pretty hard to poop.
According to The BBC, a lot of people see the side effects of codeine laced cough syrup as a feature, rather than a problem. Nigeria's National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (Nafdac) was recently forced to shutter three of the country's largest pharmaceutical companies after it was discovered that the cough syrup they were producing was being sold on the black market, in massive quantities, to a growing number of codeine addicts in the African nation.
The forced closure of the companies comes as the result of a BBC investigation into the use of cough syrup containing codeine by many Nigerian youths as an easy conduit to a quick high. The crappiest part of it all is that the drug companies knew that this was the case. In an under cover interview with an executive from the Emzor pharmaceutical company, an executive was caught bragging about how he could sell one million bottles of the elixir in a week on the black market.
Codeine's a dandy painkiller, when used as prescribed by a physician. But it comes with a number of serious issues that crop up when used for long periods of time. Read the rest
EU and Nigerian law both ban the export of e-waste to Nigeria, but a new study jointly authored by scholars from UN University and the Basel Convention Coordinating Centre for Africa found that exported used cars represent a smuggler's bonanza for the illegal dumping of toxic waste.
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Nuzo Eziechi said, "I am incredibly excited to be honored as Nigeria's Integrity Idol." The show featured government workers competing to be crowned most ethical. Read the rest
In the early days of TV, it was routine to tape over the recording medium after the initial air-date, which means that no video record exists of many of the pioneering moments in television.
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The BBC's pidgin service is aimed at West African audiences; it is a pure delight.
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Celestine Omin is a Nigerian software engineer who works for Andela, a technology company backed by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, founded to give talented African coders an entree into the leading American tech firms; this week, he flew to the USA on a B1/B2 visa to meet with the company, but he found himself detained at the border. Read the rest
William Onyeabor, the Nigerian musician who pioneered African electro-funk in the 1970s, has died. He was 70-years-old. Onyeabor's music experienced a resurgence in recent years thanks to the Luaka Bop label's reissues of his deeply groovy albums. From Luaka Bop:
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It is with incredibly heavy hearts that we have to announce that the great Nigerian business leader and mythic music pioneer William Onyeabor has passed away at the age of 70. He died peacefully in his sleep following a brief illness, at his home in Enugu, Nigeria. An extraordinary artist, businessman and visionary, Mr. Onyeabor composed and self-released 9 brilliant albums of groundbreaking electronic-funk from 1977-1985, which he recorded, pressed and printed at Wilfilms Limited—his personal pressing plant in southeast Nigeria.
For people in his hometown of Enugu, Nigeria, Mr. Onyeabor was simply referred to as "The Chief”. He was known for having created many opportunities for the people in his community. In his early 30s, he traveled the world to study record manufacturing, so that he could build, "the greatest record manufacturing business in all of West Africa." After those successful years as an artist and record label President in the 1980's, he opened a flour mill and food processing business. In 1987 these new business ventures saw him awarded West African Industrialist of the Year—just two years after the release of his most successful song "When The Going is Smooth and Good", and what should have been the height of his musical career. He was given the honorary title "Justice of the Peace"—a local judicial position elected by the community to provide independent legal ruling.
Tony from Starshipsofa writes, "StarShipSofa is very proud to have Hugo winning author Nnedi Okorafor on this week's show (MP3) with her story 'Spider the Artist,' first published in the anthology Seeds of Change. Nnedi Okorafor is the Hugo winning novelist of Nigeria-based science fiction, fantasy and magical realism for both children and adults. The narration is by Aminat Badara." Read the rest
James Mazi writes, "Wole Talabi, a Nigerian SF writer and editor who lives in Malaysia, has rounded up his ten favorite African science fiction and fantasy stories of 2016. This is a follow up to his list from 2015 and just like that list, the stories are wildly varied, from fun techno-thrillers set in Uganda to emotional universe-spanning stories of family." Read the rest
Le Monde has published a new collection of documents from the whistleblower Edward Snowden, showing that the British spy agency GCHQ targeted the leaders of allied countries in Africa, as well as business executives and employees of telecommunications companies, whose accounts were a means to gaining access to communications infrastructure across the continent. Read the rest
In Wire Wire: A West African Cyber Threat, researchers from Secureworks reveal their findings from monitoring a Nigerian bank-fraud ring whose members had unwittingly infected themselves with their own malware, which captured their keystrokes and files and uploaded them to a file-server from which the researchers were able to monitor their activities and methodologies. Read the rest
Amnesty International says at least 149 detainees have died "in horrendous conditions" at a military detention site in northeastern Nigeria this year. Among them were 11 children under the age of 6 years old, and four babies who are said to have died of untreated measles. Read the rest
Another brutal attack is reported to have taken place in Nigeria, led by the Islamic armed group Boko Haram. On Saturday night, Boko Haram militants carrying machine guns rolled into the village of Dalori on motorcycles, opening fire on every living thing in sight.
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An overnight blast blamed on the Islamic extremist terror organization Boko Haram killed 32 people and wounded 80 Tuesday at a truck stop in northeastern Nigeria. Read the rest
Audrey Elaine Elrod was divorced, depressed and broke when a romance-scammer targeted her on Facebook, posing as a widowed Scottish oil-rig worker who admired her photo and sympathized with her plight. Read the rest