African History 101

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The Nok culture appeared in Nigeria around 1000 B.C. and mysteriously vanished around 500 AD in the region of West Africa. This region lies in Central Nigeria. The culture’s social system is thought to have been highly advanced. The Nok culture was considered to be the earliest sub-Saharan producer of life-sized Terracotta. It is suggested that the society eventually evolved into the later Yoruba Kingdom of Ife.

The refinement of this culture is attested to by the image of a Nok dignitary at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. The dignitary is portrayed wearing a “shepherds crook” affixed with an elastic material to the right arm. The dignitary is also portrayed sitting with flared nostrils, and an open mouth suggesting performance. According to some accounts, based on artistic similarities to both early Yoruba art forms and Nok forms, there may be connections between them and the contemporary Yoruba people. Later brass and terracotta sculptures of the Ife and Benin cultures show significant similarities with those found at Nok.

Iron use, in smelting and forging for tools, appears in Nok culture in Africa at least by 550 BC and more probably in the middle of the second millennium BC (between 1400 BC and 1600 BC depending on references).

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE- ‘WEDLOCK OF THE GODS’ MAKES ITS DEBUT IN ATLANTA

Wedlock of the Gods

INTRIGUING WEST AFRICAN THEATRE PLAY ‘WEDLOCK OF THE GODS’ MAKES ITS DEBUT IN ATLANTA,GEORGIA DURING AFROXPLOSION 2013

 WRITTEN BY NIGERIA‘S FIRST FEMALE PLAYWRIGHT, DR ZULU SOFOLA;

DIRECTED BY ACCLAIMED BRITISH NOLLYWOOD ACTOR, WALE OJO

 Atlanta, Georgia (April, 2013) — As the ‘Fela on Broadway’ show makes its impact in recent times, US audiences continue to look forward to more of African Theater in the Diaspora.  In light of this, following a very successful London tour, the literal work of Nigeria’s first female Playwright, Dr Zulu Sofola, titled WEDLOCK OF THE GODS comes alive in theatre in Atlanta, Georgia at the SouthWest Arts Center located at 915, New Hope Road SW, Atlanta, Georgia 30331 on May 30 to June 2, 2013 during AfroXplosion 2013.

Brought to Atlanta by Zulu Sofola Productions and Chi Ife Productions and directed by acclaimed British Nollywood Actor, Wale Ojo; WEDLOCK OF THE GODS is a must see for all, for art lovers who seek something different and who yearn for a cultural connection to the continent.

Before Nollywood boomed, (Nollywood is the second largest film industry in the world, after Hollywood); there was classic West African theatre, which Nollywood derives its elements from; it is always full of drama, intensity and suspense. Atlanta art lovers and audiences will enjoy a firsthand stage experience of what true and original West African theatre is.

Ife Okwumabua of Chi Ife Productions says of the play – “Wedlock of the Gods is a production that is close to my heart because it was written by my Aunt, Dr. Zulu Sofola, and also it is a wonderful presentation of authentic African theater, something rarely seen on stage in the US. As a second generation Nigerian who grew up in America, it has been hard to find ways to reconnect to the continent. Wedlock of the Gods has been my journey back to my homeland through the arts. It is my hope that audiences will be moved by this West African love story and desire to see more culturally diverse bodies of work that is relatable and reconnects them to the performing arts” 

WEDLOCK OF THE GODS is a dramatic love story about how true love defies all earthly bonds. A story reminiscent of Shakespeare’s classic Romeo and Juliet tale, WEDLOCK OF THE GODS shows how the story of Romeo and Juliet would have happened if it took place in West Africa during more traditional times. Zulu Sofola’s personal story is very much like the play, in that she broke many barriers in her life as a female playwright and even in love. She passed away in 1998, six months after the loss of her beloved husband Adeyemi Sofola. Their love was inseparable. We invite you to explore the works of this celebrated artist. For Atlanta tickets, please visit – http://wotg.brownpapertickets.com/

ABOUT ZULU SOFOLA

Dr Zulu Sofola is one of Africa’s foremost female writers, renowned for giving a voice to the voiceless through poignant characters and the empowerment of women at grassroots levels. A modern pioneer in her own right, Zulu Sofola’s writing theme embodied the rich African traditions as portrayed through the culture of her people.  Her work also captured the perceived conflicts between the western culture and African value systems.

A prolific Writer and Director, she recorded seventeen plays, fifteen of which are published.  A distinguished Academician, Professor Zulu Sofola wrote numerous articles and presentations, and is still considered one of the great minds of African Literary Arts. Zulu Sofola’s plays challenge the political, spiritual, and traditional norms of Nigerian society.  For more information, visit www.zulusofola.com.  Email: zulusofolaproductions@gmail.com . Facebook – ZuluSofolaProductions, Twitter @ ZSPPro

 ABOUT WALE OJO

Wale’s acting career spans over two decades. Wale Ojo began acting with the first television station in Africa as a child prodigy and star. He turned professional in the United Kingdom at the age of 21. He is the pioneer and founder of the New Nigeria Cinema whose aim is to improve the quality of Nigerian films. To date, he runs a yearly festival titled New Nigeria Cinema day at the British Film Institute in London. A great lover of Shakespeare, he is at the moment researching an African movie adaptation of one of the Bard’s plays.

His recent television credits include The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency with Gill Scott and playing a Niger Delta militant in the new NBC series “The Philantropist” with James Purefoy. He also acted in the British film ‘Johnny English Reborn’.  His other recent screen accomplishments are as the main actor in the Nollywood film – ‘Phone Swap’ and the London TV Series ‘Meet The Adebanjos’,  in the works are the film- ‘The Guard’ with Don Cheadle, ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ with Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton, and a film production about Afro-Beat. Wale Ojo also directed ‘WEDLOCK OF THE GODS’ in London, UK in 2011.

ABOUT AFROXPLOSION 2013

AfroXplosion 2013 is a four day celebration of Afro-cultural Arts in the Diaspora; presented by Chi Ife Productions and DreamWeavers Entertainment in conjunction with the Fulton Arts County South West Arts Center in Atlanta, Georgia. AfroXplosion  2013 will present the music concert AFRODREAMFEST on May 31st at 6pm and the theatrical production – WEDLOCK OF THE GODS on May 30 and June 1  at 8pm respectively and 5pm on Sunday, June 2, 2013.

For Ticket information on WEDLOCK OF THE GODS, visit

www.zulusofola.com  – www.afrodreamfest.com

Location: Fulton COunty Southwest Arts Center, 915 New Hope Rd SW, Atlanta, GA 30331

Show times:                          

Thursday, May 30th at 8pm

Saturday, June 1st at 8pm

Sunday, June 2nd at 5pm

Tickets for all shows are only $35 students and $20 Students/Seniors.

Group discounts are available.

 For information or to purchase tickets visit www.zulusofola.com.

To purchase tickets by phone or for group rates and information, please call (678) 995- 3756 or zulusofolaproductions@gmail.com.

Tickets are also available in person at the door.

For Press inquiries and for more information, please contact Chi Ife Okwumabua, 678-662-8889.

 

 

 

Arik Air Playlist – Relax’n’Vibe

Arik Air mixtape

Exclusive: Arik Air Playlist – Relax’n’Vibe – from iROKING

Arik Air and iROKING have compiled the most relaxing vibes the Nigerian music scene has to offer, releasing a stunning new mixtape, Relax’n’Vibe

This exclusive playlist, featuring superstars including 2FaceTiwa SavageWajeP Square and Flavour, is sure to bring any hectic moment to a standstill with super-smooth beats and mellow vocals.

Taking these vibes all the way to the skies, this is THE play list of the moment and will be sure to be on repeat for Afrobeats lovers on both sides of the Atlantic. This is the ultimate celebration of African talent in its rawest, most beautiful form – sure to evoke love, happiness, contentment, chilled vibes – it’s all there!

 The full track listing:

2Face –  Spiritual Healing

Flavour – Ada Ada

P Square –  Beautiful Onyinye

Tiwa Savage – Ife Wa Gbono

Omawumi – Stay Alive

Ajebutter 22 – Omo Pastor

Olu Maintain – Hypnotize

Waje  – Na the Way

Duncan Mighty – Whine It

Slow Dog  – Omeleme

 BONUS OLD SCHOOL CLASSIC

Victor Uwaifor – Joromi

Download the Relax’n’Vibe playlist for FREE on to mobile: http://iroking.com/album/1606/relax-n-vibe 

 Bloggers – make sure you embed the track using the exclusive iROKING music player

 View on YouTube http://youtu.be/MlcvLsmN_Z4 

 #Relax’n’Vibe #ArikiROKING

 Arik Air – Connecting West Africa

iROKING is Africa’s number one online platform for FREE music and downloads, anytime anywhere.

African Destination- Meet The Himba Tribe

 

By Alex Ohan

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The Himba; are an ethnic group of about 20,000 to 50,000 people living in northern Namibia, in the Kunene region. Recently they have built two villages in Kamanjab which have become tourist destinations. They are mostly a semi-nomadic, pastoral people, closely related to the Herero, and speak Otjihimba, a dialect of the Herero language.

The Himba breed cattle and goats. The responsibility for milking the cows lies with the women. Women take care of the children, and one woman will take care of another woman’s children. Women tend to perform more labour-intensive work than men do, such as carrying water to the village and building homes. Men handle the political tasks and legal trials.

Members of an extended family typically dwell in a homestead, “a small, circular hamlet of huts and work shelters” that surrounds “an okuruwo (ancestral fire) and a central livestock enclosure.” Both the fire and the livestock are closely tied to their belief in ancestor worship, the fire representing ancestral protection and the livestock allowing “proper relations between human and ancestor.”

The Himba wear little clothing, but the women are famous for covering themselves with otjize, a mixture of butter fat and ochre, possibly to protect themselves from the sun. The mixture gives their skins reddish tinges. This symbolizes earth’s rich red color and the blood that symbolizes life, and is consistent with the Himba ideal of beauty. Women braid each other’s hair that they extend with plastic hair that they usually have to purchase, and cover it except the ends, in their ochre mixture.

Modern clothes are scarce, but generally go to the men when available. Traditionally both men and women go topless and wear skirts or loincloths made of animal skins in various colors. Adult women wear beaded anklets to protect their legs from venomous animal bites.
Boys are generally circumcised before puberty, to make them eligible for marriage.

Because of the harsh desert climate in the region where they live and their seclusion from outside influences, the Himba have managed to maintain much of their traditional lifestyle. Members live under a tribal structure based on bilateral descent that helps them live in one of the most extreme environments on earth.

Under bilateral descent, every tribe member belongs to two clans: one through the father and another through the mother. Himba clans are led by the eldest male in the clan. Sons live with their father’s clan, and when daughters marry, they go to live with the clan of their husband.

Himba woman

Himba Girls Bilateral descent is found among only a few groups in West Africa, India, Australia, Melanesia and Polynesia, and anthropologists consider the system advantageous for groups that live in extreme environments because it allows individuals to rely on two sets of families dispersed over a wide area.

The Himba are a monotheistic people who worship the god Mukuru. Each family has its own ancestral fire, which is kept by the fire-keeper. The fire-keeper approaches the ancestral fire every seven to eight days in order to communicate with Mukuru and the ancestors on behalf of his family. Often, because Mukuru is busy in a distant realm, the ancestors act as Mukuru’s representatives. However, the difference between Mukuru and the ancestors is that while Mukuru only blesses and never curses; the ancestors do both.

The Himba traditionally believe in omiti, which some translate to mean witchcraft but which others call “bad medicine”. Some Himba believe that death is caused by omiti, or rather, by someone using omiti for malicious purposes. Additionally, some believe that evil people who use omiti have the power to place bad thoughts into another’s mind or cause extraordinary events to. But users of omiti do not always attack their victim directly; sometimes they target a relative or loved one. Some Himba will consult a diviner to reveal the reason behind an extraordinary event, or the source of the