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Wits U brings digital festival back to Joburg

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Wits University will be hosting the second Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival, with this year’s event focusing on digital innovation in Africa by Africans.

Wits University has announced that it will be hosting a second Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival in conjunction with headline sponsor, the City of Johannesburg. Spanning over three weeks during August and September, the 2015 festival will be held at the Tshimologong Innovation Hub in Braamfontein and will include a spectacular audiovisual laser performance on the opening night.

Prof Christo Doherty, co-founder and Director of the Fak’ugesi: African Digital Innovation Festival and Head of Digital Arts at Wits University says that the emphasis of the 2015 festival is on digital innovation in Africa, by Africans: “Africa needs innovation and the tremendous possibilities of digital will be the basis for an explosion of technological and artistic innovation. We are offering participants an excellent opportunity to learn, network and play again. The 2014 Fak’ugesi Digital Africa Festival was a great success and we are looking forward to another stimulating programme focused on digital innovation through the fusion of technology and creative arts.”

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Prof Christo Doherty, co-founder and Director of the Fak’ugesi

Aimed at the youth primarily, as well as programmers, artists, digital entrepreneurs, gamers, musicians, 3D makers, dancers, choreographers, and hackers, the Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation festival is the perfect opportunity for anyone wanting access to inspiring digital innovation.

Doherty says that the 2015 programme will bring together top African, South African, and international talent: “Previously we have had excellent talent exchanges with the Goethe-Institut; British Council; French Institute, and Pro Helvetia and this year we have many exciting events lined up.”

The opening event at the historic Alexander Theatre will feature a live audiovisual laser performance by Robert Henke entitled Lumiere II.  Henke, brought to South Africa with the support of the Goethe Institut, is an artist working from Berlin in the fields of audiovisual installation, music and performance: “Coming from a strong engineering background, the beauty of technical objects fascinates Henke and developing his own instruments and algorithms is an integral part of his creative process.  We are extremely excited to host an artist of this calibre.”

“I am very excited to come to South Africa. It will be my first time and I only have a vague idea what to expect. Lumière is about rhythm, about perception of time, about repetition and change. A lot of music, which is important to me, has been hugely influenced by African music. The American minimalists inspire me, and also there is a connection between some types of early techno music and African rhythms and instrumentations. Thus, bringing Lumière to South Africa is in a way closing a circle, and then hopefully turning it into a spiral that repeats and evolves.” said Henke.

Dr. Norbert Spitz, Regional Director Goethe-Institut South Africa says: ”We are proud to continue our partnership with the Fak’ugesi: African Digital Innovation Festival in 2015, by presenting an extraordinary audiovisual laser performance of Berlin based artist Robert Henke, which will explore the limits of what can be done with computer generated sound and laser technique. Additionally, and in line with our goal to strengthen pan-African dialogue through the arts, we are once more inviting digital artists and game developers from all over the continent to the 4th AMAZE Games and Playful Media Festival in Johannesburg, which will also be part of Fak’ugesi Festival.”

The Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival will run from 21 August to 13 September in Braamfontein.

Arts and Entertainment

Deezer to host Hotstix’s Mandela tribute playlist

Deezer is celebrating Nelson Mandela on the centenary of his birthday by hosting a tribute playlist created by music legend Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse.  

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Mabuse, a legendary figure in African music, first rose to prominence in the 1970s with his band Harari and later developed a name for himself as a solo artist. One of his best known songs was the global hit BurnOut in the 1980s.

The playlist takes the listener on a captivating musical journey through the life of Nelson Mandela.  It was compiled by Mabuse, who consulted with Mandela’s family and friends to ensure that the music would be relevant and accurate. The playlist also features commentary by Mabuse, which was recorded in his Soweto home.  

“I have tried to tell the story of the music that Madiba loved,” says Mabuse. “The Playlist excludes the time in prison obviously, as Madiba would not have had exposure to music in that time.  We have focused on the music we know he loved before and after that period. This recording was really an emotional journey for me, but an incredible opportunity to document these memories.”

The playlist features the music the young Mandela loved, such as The Manhattan Brothers, Solomon Linda, Brenda Fassie and Miriam Makeba.  It includes struggle songs from Chicco, Johnny Clegg, Hugh Masekela and Yvonne Chaka Chaka.  The playlist also includes Mandela by Zahara, one of the younger artists who caught Madiba’s ear.

Mabuse also offers stories of his own songs, such as Shikisha, a song greatly beloved by the former President.

“I was delighted to share my thoughts and hope the listeners enjoyed the musical journey,” says Mabuse. “Madiba did enjoy music immensely and we all have a purpose wherever we are in the world to celebrate culture and to learn from different cultures and music forms and styles.”

This playlist was inspired by the Nelson Mandela 100 campaign, calling on corporates and individuals to act as sources of inspiration and engage in conversation and action.

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Avengers’ all-time accolade

This past weekend Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War became the second highest grossing film of all time at the South African Box Office.

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This means that Marvel Studios now holds the number 2 and number 1 film of all time positions at the local Box Office, following Black Panther’s unprecedented record-shattering run since it’s 16 February 2018 release.

In South Africa, audiences continued to assemble in cinemas to witness the cinematic journey ten years in the making, earning Avengers: Infinity War a current total box office tally of just under R73 million with over 874 000 attendances.

Black Panther’s historic box office journey ended in June and now boasts a final box office total just shy of R107.5 million and over 1.43 million attendances, making it the biggest film of all time at the South African box office and the first to cross the R100m mark. This record builds on Black Panther’s list of achievements on the African continent and is the biggest grossing film of all time not only in South Africa, but also East and West Africa. Black Panther is now available to enjoy on DVD and Blu-ray, as well as to digitally rent or buy from retailers and providers across the continent.

Elsewhere in Africa, Avengers: Infinity War has also raked in a total of Kes 66.9m in East Africa, making it the 2nd highest grossing film of all time behind Black Panther. Similarly, in West Africa, the film hit N450m at the box office, making it the 2nd highest grossing international film of all time, also behind Black Panther.

For Marvel Studios fans, the action and adventure continues as the 20th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ant-Man and The Wasp, hit cinemas this past weekend and created enough buzz to fly into the number one position at the South African Box Office.

“We are thrilled at the response that Marvel Studios’ titles have continued to receive from cinema-goers across the continent,” says Christine Service, Senior Vice President of The Walt Disney Company Africa. “With Ant-Man and The Wasp in cinemas, and both Captain Marvel and the next Avengers film in 2019, we are eagerly anticipating the continuing expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and look forward to celebrating with fans.”

On the animated front and with its own super hero theme, Disney•Pixar’s Incredibles 2, continues to entertain families across the country and is already Disney’s second-highest grossing animated film of all time behind Finding Dory, after only 3 weeks in release.

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