Connect with us

Culture & Tourism

Students arrested for “mocking Christianity” in Egypt face jail time

The university students aged between 19 and 24 were accused of being in “contempt of the Christian religion”

News Central

Published

on

Coptic Christians take part in an Orthodox Christmas mass at the Saint Mark's Coptic Cathedral, in Cairo - AFP

Egyptian authorities have arrested four students for mocking Christian rituals in an online video and ordered them to be kept in custody for four days, a judicial source said Monday.

The university students aged between 19 and 24 were accused of being in “contempt of the Christian religion”, the source said.

If tried and found guilty they could face up to five years in prison.

They were arrested last week and remanded in custody by the state prosecutor overnight Sunday.

At the end of January they posted a video on YouTube in which they were allegedly seen mocking Coptic hymns and prayers.

But they later removed the clip and posted an apology online.

Copts, a Christian minority which accounts for 10 percent of Egypt’s 98 million people, have repeatedly complained of marginalisation in the mostly Muslim country.

In recent years they have been targeted by Islamic State group jihadists.

Trials for “contempt” of Christianity are rare in Egypt where more frequently charges are levelled for contempt of Islam usually against liberal Muslim intellectuals.

In 2016 four Coptic teenagers were found guilty of being in contempt of Islam and three of them were handed five-year sentences each after mocking Muslim prayer in a video. 

Later that year they fled the country, travelling to Switzerland where they obtained political asylum.

Copyright News Central

All rights reserved. This post and other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcasted, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central.

New stories delivered to your phone

Click here to have news stories delivered to your phone or mail. You can also share your stories with us. Join our mailing list here.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Culture & Tourism

Ake festival 2019: A festival of arts and books

The preservation of African culture gave birth to the Aké Arts and Book Festival

Published

on

Ake Festival 2019 partners News Central
A panel session with speakers discussing at the Ake Festival

What happens when two Afro-optimist giants and pioneers of African cultural advancement form a partnership to host the biggest cultural and artsy event on the continent?

You guessed right. An invitation to an authentic African experience. From October 24-27, the 7th edition of the Aké Arts and Book Festival will take place in Lagos, Nigeria’s economic capital. News Central will, this time, bring you all the action live from the venue.

Themed “Black Bodies: Grey Matter”, this year’s edition will feature book chats, readings, panel discussions, art exhibitions, films, music, theatre and many more creative expressions through black bodies that genuinely tell the African story.

The Ake Festival –  News Central Story

In the royal town of Ake, Ogun State, South-Western Nigeria, the birthplace of Professor Wole Soyinka, Africa’s first recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature, a passion for the preservation of African culture gave birth to the Aké Arts and Book Festival.

For 6 years, the festival, founded in 2013 by renowned Nigerian writer, Lola Shoneyin has converged Africa’s brightest and most artistically creative minds to engage in pro-African discourse.

And this year, News Central hopes to infuse the “Africa. First.” narrative, an important piece in the Ake Festival puzzle for a successful celebration of Africa in all of her uniqueness.

What does Africa. First. mean for Ake Festival?

In a recent interview, Lola Shoneyin revealed her delight in partnering with News Central, a frontier media platform that puts Africa and Africans in the driver’s seat of our stories.

“I love Africa. First…and I love it because it really resonates with me.”

Lola Shoneyin

Africa. First. is a movement by Africans and for Africa! It seeks to put the conversation on African culture and power back on the front burner.  The African culture is vibrantly expressive, uniquely diverse, progressively modern and enviably embodied in Black Bodies and Grey Matter.

Our boldness and power are sourced from the blood of great inventors, mighty rulers and pioneers of civilisations that courses through our veins. African power is rooted in this transfer and it is our responsibility to protect and prolong it.

News Central is proud to pioneer this movement and shared vision to promote the African culture and power at events such as the Aké Fest, using our balanced and Afro-optimist media platform in making these stories accessible to Africans.

As our Director of Content and Programmes, Becky Muikia puts it:

“We give them a voice on a pan-African scale.”

Becky Muikia

Africa, now is your time!

Promoting, amplifying and celebrating the African experience is at the heart of the Aké Festival and News Central partnership.

For four days, come witness a full blend of Afro cultural immersion and untold stories told by hundreds of writers, poets, dancers, artists, film-makers, and other creatives. Join us on this shared journey by registering to attend here Aké Festival.

Copyright News Central

All rights reserved. This post and other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcasted, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central.

New stories delivered to your phone

Click here to have news stories delivered to your phone or mail. You can also share your stories with us. Join our mailing list here.

Continue Reading

Culture & Tourism

Iddris Sandu, the 21-year-old expert behind Instagram, Snapchat and Uber

At the age of 10, Sandu began to learn the ropes of Programming independently at a public Library

Published

on

Iddris Sandu speaks onstage at the Culture Creators 4th Annual Innovators Camp

During his days in high school, 16-year-old Iddris Sandu created a mobile software that caught the attention of the U.S Former President Barack Obama. This got him an invitation to the White House where the honorary Presidential scholar award was bestowed upon him. The 21-year-old talented guru who is currently based in Los Angeles has completed many phenomenal feats, one of which includes building algorithms for Uber, Instagram and Snapchat which has given them the repute they have today.

At the age of 10, Sandu began to learn the ropes of Programming independently at a public Library for a period of two years. It was there he got an internship offer from a designer who worked at Google at the company’s headquarters. He had his first encounter with programming at the age of 13, alongside the first-ever Google Blogger, Google Plus and a host of others. Sandu was still determined to affect the world around him positively and at age 15, he built an app that students at his high school used to get directions to their classrooms.

He considers himself a cultural architect and aims to create a level playing ground between Silicon Valley and the younger generation of colour. He was given birth to and raised in Harbor City, California by his Ghanaian parents. He recalls an unforgettable and mortifying experience he had at the age of 8, while on a trip to Ghana with his dad during an interview with Oxford University’s Music and Style Magazine.

Iddris Sandu attends Beautycon Festival Los Angeles
Iddris Sandu attends Beautycon Festival Los Angeles 2019 at Los Angeles Convention Center on August 11, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Beautycon/AFP

He revealed that on the fourth day of the trip, he abandoned him in a village, took his passport and came back to the States. He further added how he was abandoned and was only able to get in contact with an NGO after almost nine months, it was with the help of this NGO that he was able to travel back home. It was on his return to the U.S that the first-ever iPhone was unveiled and this propelled his journey into the world of technology.

According to him, he was greatly inspired and thought – this device is going to change the world. The iPhone was so highly regarded because for the first-time regular consumers developed for other consumers. He explained that in earlier times, you had to have work experience for a few years at a tech company for your offer or input to tech or creation of an app to be regarded at all. Apple conquered that problem and he knew that was the future.

Sandu gained recognition far and wide inadvertently from this. It led to him being invited to a meeting with former President Obama. During this period, he wrote an algorithm that he sold to Instagram and later became a consultant to Snapchat and Uber respectively. He created for Uber, an Autonomous Collision Detection Interface software for self-driving cars. He left big companies in the tech industry with the purpose of bridging the gap between the ignorant and knowledgeable. He further went on to the need for invention and creativity among youngsters like himself.

Sandu believes that information is one of the various things that keep people divided. You must think on a more advanced level in order to become a creator rather than a consumer. He posits that people of colour, in particular, are more likely to be consumers than creators; he further went on to say it is hard to make a difference in the society when you are a consumer rather than a creator. 

Iddris Sandu poses onstage at the Culture Creators 4th Annual Innovators Camp
Honoree Iddris Sandu poses onstage at the Culture Creators 4th Annual Innovators Camp; Leaders Awards Brunc.h Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for Culture Creators/AFP

Sandu says he has been trying to change the narrative and he has experienced some success doing this. Upon meeting the late rapper Nipsey Hussle at a local Starbucks in 2017, Sandu and Nipsey were able to transform an abandoned store into the Marathon Clothing Store. All these happened while Sandu encouraged the study of STEM subjects in schools and at higher levels. According to The New York Times, the smart store offers exclusive music and other content to customers who have downloaded an app. The store drew its overall makeup from Nipsey’s cultural influences and Sandu’s solid background of tech and design. It attracted many big cultural icons such as Russell Westbrook, Vegas Jones of Roc Nation, among others along with many journalists.

In an interview with CNBC, Sandu said the store has helped him bridge the gap between culture and technology, and would love others to do the same. During the interview, Sandu expressed that we are in the digital age and we are constantly exposed to content instantaneously. He also said that more focus and attention should be placed on the more pressing issues affecting society and capitalize on that.

CNBC gathered the information that the genius is set to partner with Kanye West and Jaden Smith on some future businesses, clothing lines and disaster relief projects in 2019. Sandu has also partnered with Kanye West after he succeeded at creating his own music album whose sonics and instrumentals were created in just 3 days. Sandu is also working on a book that will discuss innovators such as Kanye West; Robi Reed, a casting director; and Edward Enninful, the editor of British Vogue.

Sandu is undoubtedly on his way to becoming a leader for the next generation of influencers and entrepreneurs; considering his passion to use all his connections to empower young people in America and to make a positive impact on the community around him.

Copyright News Central

All rights reserved. This post and other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcasted, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central.

New stories delivered to your phone

Click here to have news stories delivered to your phone or mail. You can also share your stories with us. Join our mailing list here.

Continue Reading

Culture & Tourism

Ethiopian youths “pimp out” jalopy Beetles to revive auto culture

Beetles became a common sight in Addis Ababa under former Emperor, Haile Selassie

Published

on

Ethiopian youths "pimp out" jalopy Beetles to revive auto culture
Ethiopian painter Robel Wolde, 25, poses in front of his pimped Volkswagen Beetle during an interview with AFP, in Addis Ababa on September 2, 2019. - Love for the Beetle in Ethiopia goes back decades and is rooted in both economics and nostalgia. Volkswagen is hoping to capitalise on this goodwill. In January, it signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ethiopian government to set up a domestic auto industry, including an assembly plant. (Photo by MICHAEL TEWELDE / AFP)

When Robel Wolde bought a beat-up 1967 Volkswagen Beetle from a friend for 50,000 Br Ethiopian, it marked the start of an extensive restoration he’d plotted for years.

The 25-year-old Ethiopian painter quickly went to work. 

He installed new grey leather seats, applied black stripes and decals along the orange-and-blue exterior and hired a metalworker to fit oversized headlights to the front bumper. 

Two months and an additional $1,000 later, Robel’s vision was complete. 

And with that, he joined the growing number of young Ethiopian drivers giving the Beetle — which has long occupied a hallowed position in the nation’s car culture — a 21st-century upgrade. 

Some of this restoration work is inspired by shows like the old MTV hit “Pimp My Ride” — “pimped out”, American slang for customised vehicles, has been adopted in Addis Ababa.

But love for the Beetle in Ethiopia goes back decades and is rooted in both economics and nostalgia. 

Volkswagen is hoping to capitalise on this goodwill. In January, it signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ethiopian government to set up a domestic auto industry, including an assembly plant.

Regardless of what comes of this project, Robel says the Beetle’s popularity will endure. 

“Most of the time, Beetles are driven by old people,” he said, leaning on the bonnet of his car near one of Addis’ busier roundabouts.

“But when they are custom and pimped like this, they are a fashion statement for young people.” 

The ‘car for everyone’ –

Ethiopian youths "pimp out" jalopy Beetles to revive auto culture
Ethiopian mechanic Kaleb Teshome, 29, poses in front of his pimped Volkswagen Beetle during an interview with reporters, in Addis Ababa on September 2, 2019. (Photo by MICHAEL TEWELDE / AFP)

Initially developed in Nazi Germany as an instrument of propaganda, the origins of the Volkswagen Beetle “people’s car” date back to 1938.

Beetles became a common sight in Addis Ababa under former Emperor, Haile Selassie, who ruled for more than four decades beginning in 1930. 

In 1974, when the communist Derg regime removed him from power, Haile Selassie was famously forced to duck into a Beetle before being escorted away from his palace. 

Decades later, Beetles remain ubiquitous, in part because exorbitant taxes make buying new cars impossible for many. 

Yet, it’s clear that the cars also have sentimental value. 

When the Ethiopian-American novelist Maaza Mengiste sees one, she says she is reminded of the pale blue Beetle her grandfather drove — the same car that took her to the airport when she left the country as a young girl not long after the Derg came to power.

“I associate that car with Ethiopia, with growing up there and all the happy memories I have,” she told reporters. 

Last year, Mengiste started posting pictures of Beetles on Twitter, using the hashtag #BeetleEthiopia.

Ever since, Ethiopians from a range of backgrounds have been posting photos of their own, sometimes offering equally personal memories. 

“There was something about a Volkswagen that cut through social lines,” Mengiste said. 

“It was a car for everyone. You could be looking for some form of stability, and you would manage to buy a Volkswagen and that was your step into an upwardly mobile but not extravagant social class.”

‘I pimp all of it’ –

Ethiopian youths "pimp out" jalopy Beetles to revive auto culture
Ethiopian painter Robel Wolde, 25, sits inside his pimped Volkswagen Beetle, in Addis Ababa on September 2, 2019. (Photo by MICHAEL TEWELDE / AFP)

Like Mengiste, Kaleb Teshome, a 29-year-old mechanic, has been riding in Beetles all his life. 

For decades, his family has owned a garage that specialises in fixing up the cars.

Now, Kaleb works alongside his father at the garage, where more than a dozen Beetles compete for space on a tiny dirt lot, with others lining the nearby road. 

Many of the Beetles have been brought in for standard tune-ups. 

But every few months, Kaleb is asked to do the kind of custom work worthy of “Pimp My Ride,” a show he still watches online even though it was cancelled more than a decade ago. 

“I’ve known the cars since my childhood. I know what they need,” he said. 

“It could be paintwork. It could be big tyres. It could be a sound system. I pimp all of it.”

One recent morning, he showed reporters his own “pimped-out” Beetle, a shiny green-and-black 1972 model with massive tyres that would look more at home on a truck.

“When I drive it on the street,” he said, “even people who drive luxurious cars say ‘Wow.'”

‘Part of history’ –

Ethiopian youths "pimp out" jalopy Beetles to revive auto culture
Elias Wondimagegn sits inside his Volkswagen Beetle car while the lettering on the window reads ‘I love my Volkswagen, don’t touch my car’, in Addis Ababa on September 2, 2019. (Photo by MICHAEL TEWELDE / AFP)

Whether “pimped-out” or not, the Beetles of Addis Ababa seem destined to become collectors’ items. 

In July, Volkswagen marked the end of the Beetle’s around eight-decade run by launching a limited, 65-unit “Beetle Final Edition” at its factory in Puebla, Mexico. 

For Robel, the painter, the news was further validation of the investment he’d made in his own car.

“If production of the Beetles has stopped, that means we have a treasure,” he said.

“They will become part of history. That is their fate, so I think I am lucky. Even if I get a really good offer, I don’t think I will sell.”

Copyright News Central

All rights reserved. This post and other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcasted, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central.

New stories delivered to your phone

Click here to have news stories delivered to your phone or mail. You can also share your stories with us. Join our mailing list here.

Continue Reading

Trending