By Panashe Chigumadzi (@panashechig)
A round-up of some of the newsmakers and news from last week.
1. Another 20 girls abducted in Nigeria
On Monday, local officals announced that at least 20 young women over the weekend in northeastern Nigeria, 8 kilometers from Chibok where more than 200 schoolgirls were taken nearly two months ago. The suspected kidnappers are Boko Haram. The incident in the village of Garkin Fulani is the latest in a series of abductions for ransom in the area. They put the number of women kidnapped at as many as 40.
Meanwhile, the girls kidnapped from Chibok remain missing after two months. After banning protests for the return of the girls on the matters, the Nigerian government has since backtracked.
The government continues to buckle under pressure as last week, after what is possibly the worst attack by Boko Haram in its five-year insurgency that has killed thousands as between 400 and 500 people were killed in raids by suspected Boko Haram militants in Borno state.
2. MaMbeki passes on at 98
On Saturday Epainette Nomaka Mbeki, African Nationalist Congress (ANC) stalwart and mother of Former President Thabo Mbeki, passed away.
She had a number of accolades and titles bestowed upon her including,the Order of the Baobab in Gold conferred upon her by the Government for her “exceptional contribution to the economic upliftment of the underprivileged communities of the Eastern Cape and her commitment to the fight against apartheid” and a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa from Rhodes University in 2012,
The Presidency announced that she would be sent off with an Official Provincial Funeral on Saturday 14 June 2014. The honour is reserved for distinguished South African citizens who have made a meaningful contribution to the country. The National Flag be flown at half-mast at every flag station in the Eastern Cape Province on the day of the funeral.
3. Rihanna stuns at the CFDA and claps back at TLC
Rihanna stunned in her Josephine Baker -inspired sheer-crystal gown at CFDA Awards last Monday and to no surprise sparked debate over nudity and body-policing.
Following a sold-out show in Sydney on their first Australian tour, TLC were asked about sexed-up pop stars like Rihanna, and made the comment that, “Everytime I see you, you don’t have to be naked,” T-Boz continued, “First of all, it is what it is. I call a spade a spade. We’ve sold and became the biggest girl-selling group of all time with our clothes on. That says a lot. It’s easy to sell sex. We can go around with booby cakes out all day long.”
Rihanna clapped back on Twitter, changing her Twitter header to a picture of TLC posing topless and saying: “When there’s no changing the fact that I’m me, and they’re well…they’re them,” she tweeted along with a photo of her sticking her tongue out.
4. Pharrell’s Native American prop offends on Elle Cover
The UK edition of Elle has come under fire for being disrespectful and racist for their July issue which features Pharrell Williams sporting a feathered headdress. Within hours of the July issue’s release, people had taken to both Pharrell‘s and the Elle UK Facebook pages with the hashtag #nothappy.
The image is a second, limited-edition cover that has been published in addition to one featuring Keira Knightley. It was initially posted on the Elle UK website with the words: “We persuaded ELLE Style Award winner Pharrell to trade his Vivienne Westwood mountie hat for a native American feather headdress in his best ever shoot.” They have since removed those words.
Pharrell issued an apology via a representative to the New York Daily News, saying “I respect and honor every kind of race, background and culture. I am genuinely sorry.”
Pharrell are not the first to ignorantly appropriate the Native American warbonnet Chanel, Victoria’s Secret, Urban Outfitters and H&M, No Doubt have also apologised in recent years for using Native American dress as fashion statements.
5. MAMAs held in Durban
On Saturday the MTV Africa Music Awards were staged in Durban after a two year hiatus. Mafikizolo took Best Song of the Year and Best Group. Nigeria won big, with Tiwa Savage taking Best Female, and Best Male and Artist of the Year. Viewers were lukewarm on the international guests, such as host Marlon Wayans whose continual jokes about the continent offended many, as well as the performances by Miguel and French Montana. The standout performance of the evening was arguably from of Grammy-award winners, Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
6. President Zuma is admitted to hospital
Following reports that the ANC had ‘asked the President Zuma to rest’, the Presidency announced on Saturday that the President had been admitted to hospital, due to exhaustion from a gruelling election campaign. He was released on Sunday, and was said to be resting for the week.