NOTE! This site uses cookies and similar technologies.

If you do not change browser settings, you agree to the use of cookies.

I understand



Focus on Eurasia



Acronym of the Year



Papa Wemba, photographed in 2009. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

NEW YORK (IDN | GIN) – To some, he was the King of Congolese rumba – a sound that layered luscious Cuban rumba with African instruments and beats.

Papa Wemba, or Jules Shungu Wembadio Pene Kikumba, was rebellious, prolific, a style icon, at times notorious and always innovative.

“The world of popular music has lost a giant—a consummate musician, a shape-shifter who challenged norms and rewrote the rules of his nation’s music repeatedly over four decades, who spearheaded a fashion movement, and now has left us suddenly and far too young,” wrote ethnomusicologist Banning Eyre on the website Afropop.

African Poetry Prize

NEW YORK (IDN | GIN) – Beyonce’s pick for lyrics setting off her latest production, LEMONADE, was Warsan Shire, a poet of Somali-British parentage.

A 27-year-old born in Kenya to Somali parents, who published her first pamphlet Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth in 2011, Shire went on to win the inaugural Brunel University African Poetry Prize in 2013.

“I tried to change/Closed my mouth more/Tried to be softer, prettier – less awake” – uttered as Beyoncé spins under water, her eyes open as if in a trance – is adapted from “For Women Who Are Difficult To Love.”

Photo: Oumar Ly poses with his first camera at Fes­ti­val mon­dial des Arts Nègres held in Dakar, Senegal from 10-31 December 2010. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

NEW YORK (IDN | GIN) – The vast archives of two remarkable photographers from West Africa who passed this year will ensure that authentic images of African life will be their legacy to future generations. The images radically depart from the clichés of colonialism.

Malick Sidibé, whose pictures of Mali’s youth conveyed the high-spirited feeling of a country that has just gained its independence, passed away at 80 years of age. His black-and-white pictures influenced many of his contemporaries in Africa and beyond. Sidibé died of complications of diabetes, according to Associated Press reports.

Mali’s culture minister N’Diaye Ramatoulaye Diallo, expressed the nation’s grief. “It’s a great loss for Mali. He was part of our cultural heritage,” he told The Guardian. “The whole of Mali is in mourning.”

Djingareyber Mosque, one of the historical architectural structures along with sixteen mausoleums and holy public places which together earned Timbuktu the designation of World Heritage Site by UNESCO. UN Photo/Marco Dorm

PARIS (IDN) - The Timbuktu mausoleums, destroyed by radical Islamists four years ago, are back on their feet now, UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General Irina Bokova told the people of Mali on February 4.

The UNESCO chief’s message coincided with a consecration ceremony of the Timbuktu mausoleums, last held in the 11th century, celebrated at the initiative of the local community. It marked the final phase of the United Nations-backed cultural rebirth of the age-old Sahara city after the destruction wrought by radical Islamists in 2012.

Page 2 of 3