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Lights, Camera, Mozambique




When the battle against the Portuguese ended, Samora Machel was aware of the importance of image. The first Mozambican president saw strategic power in film and how it helped him promote national unity. His government established the National Institution of Audiovisual and Cinema (INAC), one of its first cultural initiatives, in 1976. It produced more than 300 documentaries the following decade, in an initiative dubbed Kuxa Kanema, which showed how the newborn nation took its first steps. With Machel’s death in 1986, and Mozambique’s turn towards the West, the small industry almost became extinct.

“It is true that there was a decline, especially when the country opened up to the market economy with the arrival of the IMF,” says Djalma Lourenço, director of INAC.

Producers began to emerge in Maputo due to private initiatives. The production of documentaries and advertisements for the innumerable NGOs that work in the country are their bread and butter. While short films are emerging, nobody dares speak of a Mozambican film industry.

“An industry presupposes a value chain, that we yet to have in Mozambique,” says João Ribeiro, director of The Last Flight of the Flamingo, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010.

Cinematic legislation forces international producers to establish partnerships with local producers, who are often unable to survive on their artistic ambitions.

“The fundamental structure of a Mozambican producer is to produce institutional documentaries and advertisements in order to fundraise to be able to produce their own work,” says Renato Chagas, a Portuguese director, who moved to Mozambique six years ago during the country’s boom years due to American and European investments.

In April 2006, Maputo was brought to a standstill with the filming of Blood Diamond, directed by Edward Zwick. The film, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio, had an estimated budget of $100 million, according to IMDb.

“In four months, eight million dollars was spent in Mozambique in hard cash. Just downtown, in the capital, a million was spent on renting out stores and closing down streets,” says Ribeiro, who worked as executive director on the film.

Yet, the millions Hollywood brought to Mozambique had a perverse effect. The costs of production elevated exponentially once local authorities, such as the Maputo municipality, grossly increased the prices of road rental. Mozambican producers are also all too familiar with excessive bureaucracy as a result.

“Filming in Mozambique is a headache. Before we begin filming, we have to fulfill a series of requirements with the different organizations, like INAC or the Ministry of Interior,” says producer Mickey Fonseca.

“Mozambique is not film friendly,” added his colleague Pipas Forjaz.

The two men, who have won numerous international awards for their documentaries, established a production company, Mahla Filmes, in 2009. Both were recently involved in the production of Caught in a Flight, by Oliver Hirschbiegel. Due to Mozambique’s appeal to cinematographers, the biographical film, which cost $32 million, lends its landscapes to Angola to tell the story of Princess Diana’s final years.

“We have a unique reality: architecture from the ’50s and ’60s that, still today, is hard to find in other cities. Furthermore, we have virgin landscapes and social stability,” says Ribeiro.

The Mozambican Law of Cinema, which will be voted on this year, continues to lack consensus. According to INAC, Mozambique produces around 25 works, either documentaries or films, annually. Finding a way to bring long-term sustainability to these productions is the key to creating a Mozambican film industry. But, how to achieve it?

Mônica Monteiro of Cinevideo, a Brazilian production company with an annual profit of nearly $23 million, says that Mozambique is a commercial bridge for the rest of Africa because it caters for the Lusophone market, which has close to 250 million speakers. Cinevideo’s aims are to produce films that allow consumers to identify with Mozambican productions. She believes that financing should be sought in Europe.

“The Old World consumes lots of Africa, as a result of their historic relationship.”

A taste of the money available from Europe is the program ACP Cultures+, which is destined to cultural sectors in countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, to the value of €30 million ($40 million). Funds are available until 2013, but with the current financial crisis in the Old World, it is at the brink of extinction, unless someone puts in some legwork, and quick, the diamond could lose its luster.   FL

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Trevor Noah Is Laughing All The Way To The Bank



South African Comedian Trevor Noah Is The Fourth Highest Paid Comedian In The World. Here’s how he did it.

With earnings of a staggering $28 million Trevor Noah has become the fourth highest paid comedian in the world.

According to Forbes the Daily Show host, “earned the bulk of his income this year through stand-up, making him eligible for our list”.

Forbes’ methodology is using all earnings estimated from June 1, 2018 to June 1, 2019.

Burna Boy’s The African Giant Debuts On The Daily Show With Trevor Noah

“Figures are pretax; fees for agents, managers and lawyers are not deducted. Earnings estimates are based on data from Pollstar Pro as well as interviews with industry insiders,” they said.

He is signed to host the Daily Show until 2022.

On the show, Noah usually sits down with the biggest headline-grabbers in politics and entertainment.

Noah also covers the biggest news stories in politics, pop culture and more.

Recently he trended after devising a viral conspiracy theory that President Donald Trump is targeting first lady Melania Trump with his immigration policies.

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah currently has over 5,3 million subscribers on YouTube alone and has had 1,9 billion views.

But apart from the show, the South African born comedian made more than 70 stops across the world and had his second Netflix special last fall.

His book Born A Crime, published in 2016, is still ranked as No.1 on the New York Times’ bestseller list for paperback nonfiction.

Africans across the globe celebrated Noah’s listing on social media with some expressing how inspired they are by him.

On the Forbes list, Noah follows after Jim Gaffigan earning $30 million, Jerry Seinfeld earning $41 million and Kevin Hart being the highest earner with $59 million.

On the top ten list the only woman on the list is Amy Schumer at the seventh spot with $21 million.

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Burna Boy’s The African Giant Debuts On The Daily Show With Trevor Noah



What happens when one of Africa’s global comedians meets an African global recording artist? African greatness, that’s what. Burna boy was interviewed on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, making it a proud moment for Africans world wide.

South African born comedian Trevor Noah hosted Nigeria’s singer and song writer, Burna Boy on The Daily Show on Tuesday night.

Born Damini Ogulu, Burna Boy spoke about his recipe for Afro-fusion music, performing at Coachella and producing his album African Giant.

In a video released showing behind the scenes footage, Trevor Noah expressed his love for Nigeria.

“That’s the one thing I’ve always loved about Nigeria; it’s the love of Nigeria from Nigeria. If every African could have that, ‘we love our thing’,” Trevor refers to the zeal Nigeria has about their talent.

While at the show Burna Boy performed a medley of songs Ye and  Anybody.

Burna Boy who is one of this year’s Forbes Africa 30 under 30 list makers made waves recently after releasing his much anticipated album earlier this year.

The album was released in July and includes hit songs like African Giant, Dangote, Spiritiual, and international artists like Jeremih, Future, Damian Marley and Jorja Smith.

In the album categorized as afrobeats has some Fela Kuti influences, he asserts himself as an African and conveys the message of how Africa should not be marginalized.

“I am an AFRICAN GIANT and will not be reduced to whatever that tiny writing means,” he wrote on Instagram.

READ MORE | 2010 all over again: a musical extravaganza to honor Nelson Mandela

The album was released a month after he won the BET Award for the Best International Act at the end of June.

Already garnering thousands of listeners and viewers on platforms such as YouTube and Apple Music, Burna Boy has teamed up with Spotify to launch Burna Bank.

Inspired by the artwork for the African Giant album, Burna Bank is, “the installation features a unique ATM which will be dispensing custom, collectible bills designed by Sajjad Musa.

Each bill is inspired by Burna’s Nigerian roots, and his quest to call out corruption and the disproportionate distribution of wealth.”

The Burna Bank is an ATM that distributes these notes and launches this week making him one of the first African musicians to have his own currency.

Another one of his wins this year was recording a song with Grammy award winner Beyoncé, in a single titled Ja Ara E as part of her The Lion King:The King Album.

Burna Boy continues to prove he is a force to be reckoned with as an African giant and continues to put the continent on the map.

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Executive Travel: NaakMusiQ’s Dubai



The South African actor and musician was impressed with the city’s architecture, food and work ethic. 

South African actor and musician Anga Makubalo, known by his stage name NaakMusiQ, calls the Middle Eastern emirate of Dubai a luxury destination.

NaakMusiQ, who hails from Port Elizabeth in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province, shot to fame after appearing in the award-winning South African soap opera Generations and has since been in a number of television shows.

He has also had a chart-topping music hit, Ntombi ft Bucie.

NaakMusiQ’s first trip to Dubai, known as the melting pot of the Middle East, was last year on an Emirates flight when he traveled Business Class. The fashion-lover admits to being a light packer, although there are some items he would never travel without, such as cologne, a pair of sneakers, and his music.

READ MORE | Executive Travel: Nomzamo Mbatha’s Kenya

“I also carry my scripts all the time. Because of the long flights, I can get tired of watching a movie, I can get tired of listening to music, so the next best thing is to get into my script and get a head start.”

He has been to Dubai before, but only transiting the airport connecting to another flight, so this was his first official trip into the glistening city.

“Dubai is everything that people say it is,” he says. “We went to the mall. It was crazy! I’ve never seen anything like it before. [The Dubai Mall] has a full-on aquarium inside. In the middle of the center, there’s like this huge fish tank. It’s crazy! That was probably the highlight of my visit.”

The actor was also intrigued by the city’s architecture and skyscrapers.  

“I’m actually very huge on architecture. It’s actually something I wanted to study. Their engineering is absolutely insane. The way they’ve built this place and the designs – it’s luxury, one after the other. We drove for hours admiring the architecture because I’m such a nerd when it comes to that. I love it.”

Dubai has a sizeable African expatriate community, and no dearth of African culture. As a musician, NaaqMusiQ had been invited to the city.

“Africans that have immigrated to Dubai request their favorite African artist to come over so that they’re still connected to Africa and home. The nice thing about that is, as much as it is our people that have invited us there to perform, they have influenced people from there [Dubai] and other parts of the country [UAE] to come and listen to our music.

“Because they’ve become residents there, they have friendships where they introduce African music to the people of Dubai. So when we went there, there were quite a lot of people, even though some couldn’t sing along, there were a lot of people who went crazy when my song [Ntombi] played.”

During his time there, NaakMusiQ was also taken to restaurants serving African food. This came as somewhat of a surprise for the actor that the Arab city boasted a range of eateries specializing in African cuisine.

“We had a lot of Kenyan food that I hadn’t tasted before, which was really nice. They’ve got Tanzanian food, they’ve got South African food, Zambian food; it’s just a whole African experience there. And they do well actually.”

READ MORE | Executive Travel: JJ Schoeman’s Prague

While NaakMusiQ didn’t interact with the natives of Dubai, he did get a sense of what they are like. The hustle and bustle of the city left him greatly motivated.

“Everyone in Dubai is there to work. Everyone is there to hustle. People think that Dubai is this big, fun place, which it can be, but even people from there aren’t out partying every night. It’s people from the countries that are visiting that are out partying. Everyone else is really working. Some people are so hectic when it comes to business and money that they don’t have a life outside of their work.

“When they do have nights off, they choose to be at home or to put in extra hours working. It just made me want to work harder. That is the impact… Everyone there wants to do better. The standards there are incredibly high. What we would consider as good here is probably entry-level there,” says the hit-maker who now plans to return to Dubai wealthier and with more cash to splurge.

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