Valentine’s Day

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-43060122

Week in pictures: 9-15 February 2018

A selection of the best photos from across Africa and of Africans elsewhere in the world this week.

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AFP

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Cinema-goers in Kenya’s capital Nairobi enjoy a 3D screening of the superhero film Black Panther on Wednesday.

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Getty Images

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Some may call Ghana’s Akwasi Frimpong a real-life superhero as he competes in the skeleton race in the Winter Olympics in South Korea on Thursday. He comes last in the heat.

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AFP

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Nigerian Simidele Adeagbo is also training to compete in the skeleton race, where you go downhill, head-first on a metal tray at speeds of around 85 miles per hour (140 km/h).

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Reuters

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On Thursday Sabrina Simader of Kenya competes in the Women’s Giant Slalom. She comes 59th.

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Reuters

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On Valentine’s Day in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, the nail salons are full of customers preening before a romantic evening.

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Getty Images

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If you bought roses on Valentine’s Day, they may well have come from Kenya as it is one of the world’s biggest exporters of cut flowers, like these ones in the capital, Nairobi.

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Reuters

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On Wednesday supporters of a leading opposition politician, Bekele Gerba, in Ethiopia celebrate his release from prison.

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Reuters

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Wednesday is the third day of anti-government protests in Ethiopia’s biggest region, Oromia, to demand the release of all jailed politicians and journalists.

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Reuters

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Late on Wednesday night, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma finally announces his resignation after immense pressure to do so…

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Reuters

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… the next day his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa is announced the new president of South Africa in a parliamentary session full of laughter and even singing.

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AFP

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And finally, on Thursday Zimbabweans gather outside opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s office to pay tributes after it is announced he had died of colon cancer aged 65.

Images courtesy of AFP, Reuters, and Getty Images

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-43074882

Saving the orangutans of Sumatra

The Leuser Ecosystem is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in northern Sumatra and one of the largest single continuous blocks of tropical rainforest left in the whole of south-east Asia. It is also home to the orangutan, one of the region’s most endangered species.

Despite Leuser’s World Heritage status, it is under continued threat from deforestation by palm-oil plantations, affecting both the fragile ecosystem and critically endangered iconic wildlife.

Photographer Charlie Dailey travelled to Sumatra to document the efforts to relocate orangutans in immediate danger.

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Charlie Dailey

The rainforests are the natural habitat of the Sumatran orangutan. A large proportion of the population lives in the borders of Leuser, with the highest density in the lower peat-swamp regions of Tripa, Kleut and Sinkhil – primary tropical forest with canopies up to 40ft (12m) high.

When a palm-oil company moves into an area, large swathes of forests are felled to make way for plantations. To plant on the waterlogged peat-land the companies have to create drainage canals. The orangutans are displaced as the trees of old-growth forests are burned.

Palm oil is used in approximately 50% of supermarket products, from food and snack manufacturing to cosmetics and pharmaceutical products.

  • Read also: ’100,000 orangutans’ killed in 16 years

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Charlie Dailey

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Charlie Dailey

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Charlie Dailey

Dr Ian Singleton, director of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP), has been working with orangutans in Sumatra for more than 20 years and is committed to their preservation, which means, among other things, confiscating those illegally taken as pets and returning them to the wild.

The SOCP team also focuses on rescuing and relocating wild orangutans that have become isolated from their natural habitat. Once rehabilitated, these are released back into the wild.

The SOCP is creating two new viable satellite breeding populations in the hope of safeguarding the species. To date more than 350 have been released into the new sites.

Image copyright
Charlie Dailey

Image copyright
Charlie Dailey

Image copyright
Charlie Dailey

One of the SOCP’s field teams had been alerted to the presence of a mother and baby located in a high-risk area of Tripa, one of the most heavily deforested regions of Leuser.

The pair had been hemmed into a tiny part of surviving forest, surrounded by palm-oil plantations. The team was able to sedate them safely so that they could be taken to a safe forest site in Jambi, where they were released.

Image copyright
Charlie Dailey

Image copyright
Charlie Dailey

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Charlie Dailey

Image copyright
Charlie Dailey

As the rescued pair disappeared into the canopy, Dr Singleton said if the Leuser ecosystem could not be protected from the palm-oil companies and further industrialisation, the Sumatran orangutan would become extinct in the wild.

Image copyright
Charlie Dailey

All photographs copyright Charlie Dailey.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-43083872

Saving the orangutans of Sumatra

The Leuser Ecosystem is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in northern Sumatra and one of the largest single continuous blocks of tropical rainforest left in the whole of south-east Asia. It is also home to the orangutan, one of the region’s most endangered species.

Despite Leuser’s World Heritage status, it is under continued threat from deforestation by palm-oil plantations, affecting both the fragile ecosystem and critically endangered iconic wildlife.

Photographer Charlie Dailey travelled to Sumatra to document the efforts to relocate orangutans in immediate danger.

Image copyright
Charlie Dailey

The rainforests are the natural habitat of the Sumatran orangutan. A large proportion of the population lives in the borders of Leuser, with the highest density in the lower peat-swamp regions of Tripa, Kleut and Sinkhil – primary tropical forest with canopies up to 40ft (12m) high.

When a palm-oil company moves into an area, large swathes of forests are felled to make way for plantations. To plant on the waterlogged peat-land the companies have to create drainage canals. The orangutans are displaced as the trees of old-growth forests are burned.

Palm oil is used in approximately 50% of supermarket products, from food and snack manufacturing to cosmetics and pharmaceutical products.

  • Read also: ’100,000 orangutans’ killed in 16 years

Image copyright
Charlie Dailey

Image copyright
Charlie Dailey

Image copyright
Charlie Dailey

Dr Ian Singleton, director of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP), has been working with orangutans in Sumatra for more than 20 years and is committed to their preservation, which means, among other things, confiscating those illegally taken as pets and returning them to the wild.

The SOCP team also focuses on rescuing and relocating wild orangutans that have become isolated from their natural habitat. Once rehabilitated, these are released back into the wild.

The SOCP is creating two new viable satellite breeding populations in the hope of safeguarding the species. To date more than 350 have been released into the new sites.

Image copyright
Charlie Dailey

Image copyright
Charlie Dailey

Image copyright
Charlie Dailey

One of the SOCP’s field teams had been alerted to the presence of a mother and baby located in a high-risk area of Tripa, one of the most heavily deforested regions of Leuser.

The pair had been hemmed into a tiny part of surviving forest, surrounded by palm-oil plantations. The team was able to sedate them safely so that they could be taken to a safe forest site in Jambi, where they were released.

Image copyright
Charlie Dailey

Image copyright
Charlie Dailey

Image copyright
Charlie Dailey

Image copyright
Charlie Dailey

As the rescued pair disappeared into the canopy, Dr Singleton said if the Leuser ecosystem could not be protected from the palm-oil companies and further industrialisation, the Sumatran orangutan would become extinct in the wild.

Image copyright
Charlie Dailey

All photographs copyright Charlie Dailey.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-43083872

Haiti’s historic Port-au-Prince Iron Market ravaged by fire

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Getty Images

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The fire destroyed one of the historic market’s two halls

A fire ripped through the historic Iron Market in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince on Monday night, destroying one of the city’s major tourist attractions.

The Marche en Fer, or Iron Market, had been rebuilt following the 2010 Haiti earthquake. The building also suffered heavy damage in a fire in 2008.

Traders lost their inventories and their livelihood as the blaze ruined one of the market’s two halls.

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Getty Images

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Getty Images

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Getty Images

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Getty Images

Citizens helped firefighters to tackle the blaze, which caused significant damage. The fire reportedly began in a rubbish bag.

Haitian President Jovenel Moise said on Twitter [in French] that he was “enormously saddened” by the news of the fire at the market.

I think of all those who have lost their livelihood,” President Moise said.

Few sellers in the market have insurance and rebuilding their livelihoods will likely prove difficult.

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Getty Images

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Getty Images

The Iron Market dates from the 1890s. Then-President Florvil Hyppolite inaugurated the building in 1891 after it was shipped in pieces from Paris.

The market was damaged by fire in 2008 and then completely destroyed in the 2010 earthquake. It was rebuilt with international help and reopened by former US President Bill Clinton in 2011.

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Getty Images

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Getty Images

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Getty Images

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-43057183

The winners of Underwater Photographer of the Year 2018

A panoramic photograph of British World War Two military vehicles deep inside a shipwreck sees German photographer Tobias Friedrich named as Underwater Photographer of the Year 2018.

Friedrich’s photograph, taken off the coast of Ras Mohammed in Egypt, triumphed over 5,000 underwater pictures entered by photographers from across the world.

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Tobias Friedrich/UPY 2018

‘Cycle War’ was taken in Egypt and shows Norton 16H motorbikes loaded in the SS Thistlegorm, with soldierfish schooling above.

“I’ve had this image in mind for a few years, but it is impossible to capture in one photo, because there is not space inside the wreck to photograph this scene in a single frame,” explains Friedrich. “My solution was take a series of pictures and stitch them together as a panorama.”

Chair of the judges, Peter Rowlands, added: “This is a quite extraordinary shot which must be viewed as large as possible. The artistic skill is in visualising such an image, and the photographic talent is in achieving it.”

Grant Thomas won the title of British Underwater Photographer of the Year. His image of swans, titled ‘Love Birds’, was taken in Scotland’s Loch Lomond.

Waiting in the waters of the lake, Thomas’s patience paid off. “The swans were searching for food. I just had to wait for that perfect moment of synchronicity.”

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Grant Thomas/UPY 2018

The competition had 11 categories, testing photographers with themes such as Macro, Wide Angle, Behaviour and Wreck Photography, as well as three categories for photos taken in British waters.

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ManBd UiDive/UPY 2018

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Abdul Rahman Jamaludin’s image of sea slugs features a surprising backdrop of a moray eel, which swam into the reef as he was taking his image.

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Tony Stephenson/UPY 2018

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Leicester-based Tony Stephenson managed to find these pike in the quarry at Stoney Cove, a popular scuba diving site.

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Greg Lecoeur/UPY 2018

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When a whale is spyhopping, it emerges from the water vertically, pausing in its position. Greg Lecoeur captured this humpback as it moved its pectoral fin towards the camera.

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SHANE GROSS/UPY 2018

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Shane Gross’s photograph was taken in a pond with a very high density of seahorses, yet he was still amazed that he managed to capture these three together, backlit and surrounded by plankton.

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Fan Ping/UPY 2018

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Shark behaviourist Cristina Zenato has been studying Caribbean reef sharks near Freeport in The Bahamas for more than 24 years. The unique bond between her and the sharks allows her to get close to them, enabling this impressive image by Fan Ping.

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Songda Cai/UPY 2018

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Although Songda Cai has had many encounters with eels, this is her favourite image of the creature, looking at her camera from inside its coiled body.

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Scott Gutsy Tuason/UPY 2018

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A fish had managed to wedge itself between the bell and the tentacles of a jellyfish, and the two were moving along together. This strange combination turned towards Scott Gutsy Tuason after he had taken 20 photos, and he was able to get this fantastic shot.

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Filippo Borghi/UPY 2018

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It took two days of standing in shallow waters from 05:00 to 08:00 for Filippo Borghi to get this image of a cormorant diving for fish in the Izu Peninsula, Tokyo.

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Tanya Houppermans/UPY 2018

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Tanya Houppermans swam on her back underneath this sand tiger shark, trying not to startle it as millions of tiny fish swam around it. As she moved with the shark through the water, the fish parted and the underside of the shark was revealed.

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Simone Matucci/UPY 2018

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These humpback whales were swimming by the Ha Ľapai islands of Tonga when Simone Matucci and his wife were diving. “It was the most wild and incredible thing I have probably witnessed in my entire life” he says.

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Mike Korostelev/UPY 2018

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Kurile Lake in Russia has a very high concentration of bears, which is why Mike Korostelev placed his remote camera in its shallow waters. He captured this bear extremely close up, hunting for salmon.

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Borut Furlan/UPY 2018

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Borut Furlan shot seawater crocodiles in Cuba in the low evening sunlight, capturing their reflections in the still waters of the surface.

All photographs subject to copyright.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-43044592

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

This heart-warming image of a gorilla in the arms of one of her rescuers has been selected as the winner of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice Award.

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Jo-Anne McArthur / Natural History Museum

The winning image was captured by Canadian photographer Jo-Anne McArthur and shows Pikin, a lowland gorilla who was rescued from poachers by Ape Action Africa. She is pictured in the arms of her caretaker, Appolinaire Ndohoudou, during transportation from an enclosure, within a safe forest sanctuary in Cameroon, to a new larger one.

“‘I’m so thankful that this image resonated with people and I hope it might inspire us all to care a little bit more about animals,” says McArthur. “No act of compassion towards them is ever too small.”

“‘I regularly document the cruelties animals endure at our hands, but sometimes I bear witness to stories of rescue, hope and redemption.”

The picture was chosen by almost 20,000 nature fans from a shortlist of 24, selected by the Natural History Museum, from almost 50,000 entries submitted for the 2017 competition.

Finalist: Warm embrace

Debra Garside, Canada

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DEBRA GARSIDE / Natural History Museum

Polar bear mothers and cubs emerge from their dens in the early spring, with the cubs staying close to their mothers for warmth and protection. Debra Garside waited for six days near the den of this family, in Wapusk National Park, Manitoba, in Canada, before they finally emerged. In challenging conditions, with temperatures ranging from -35 C (-31 F) to -55 C (-67 F) with high winds, Garside captured this scene.

Finalist: Roller rider

Lakshitha Karunarathna, Sri Lanka

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Lakshitha Karunarathna / Natural History Museum

Lakshitha Karunarathna was on safari in Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya, when he spotted an unusual sight – a lilac-breasted roller riding a zebra. The colourful bird spent an hour or more riding around and enjoying the occasional insect meal while Karunarathna waited for the surrounding zebras to form the perfect background before making this tight crop.

Finalist: Sloth hanging out

Luciano Candisani, Brazil

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Luciano Candisani / Natural History Museum

Luciano Candisani climbed up this cecropia tree, in the protected Atlantic rainforest of southern Bahia, Brazil, to take an eye-level shot of this three-toed sloth. Sloths like to feed on the leaves of these trees and are often seen high up in the canopy.

Finalist: Elegant mother and calf

Ray Chin, Taiwan

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Ray Chin / Natural History Museum

Every year from July to late October, southern humpback whales migrate north from their Antarctic feeding grounds to give birth in the warm sheltered waters off Tonga. Ray Chin encountered this humpback mother and calf floating in the plankton-filled water around the island group of Vava’u, Tonga. As they made this elegant turn, Chin captured this shot. He later converted the image into black and white, which he felt represented the simplicity of the scene.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year is the Natural History Museum’s annual showcase of the world’s best nature photography and photojournalism.

The winning images will be showcased in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London, until 28 May 2018.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-43045545

The music lighting up the Midlands

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Martyn Ewoma

Across the country, young artists are performing to packed audiences, recording their own music and producing radio programmes. The Midlands is no different.

Jack Parker, a presenter on BBC WM 95.6′s Introducing programme, says the local scene “has a special place in my heart and always will”.

“The world is so beautifully connected that if you are making music in any part of the world, you will be found,” he says. “You can be a UK rapper in any part of the UK; you just need to sort yourself out.”

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Martyn Ewoma

Originally from London, grime artist Eyez, whose freestyling has been showcased on 1Xtra’s Rap Show with Charlie Sloth’s Fire in the Booth segment, made his name in Derby.

Many of his lyrics express support for the city. And he captained Derby’s team in the grime-a-side Red Bull tournament.

“Derby is where it all started for me,” he says.

“My fan base was once just in Derby, and the way the support has grown is insane.”

But, he adds: “I have always believed in the saying, ‘Never forget where you came from’.”

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Martyn Ewoma

Image copyright
Martyn Ewoma

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Martyn Ewoma

Rap collective Local Geezers make trap music, which, unlike grime, takes its influence from American hip-hop artists.

“I don’t think we can get across what we are about with grime, because of how it sounds,” says Wiz, a member of the group.

“It can be a lot more aggressive, which isn’t a bad thing, but it’s just not us.”

This is something they believe has set them back in a small scene such as Derby’s, where there is less musical diversity than, for example, in London.

However, another member, Jimi, finds the exchange of ideas between the areas fruitful.

“When going down south, you come back with fresh ideas, you’re inspired, you see a lot of things, and you hear a lot of things that you can put back in to your work when you come back to your area.”

Image copyright
Martyn Ewoma

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Martyn Ewoma

Jack Parker says although the genres of grime and rap have different influences and sounds, the audiences often overlap.

“The music goes beautifully together and so do the fans,” he says.

He is an avid promoter of the region and its young artists, believing there is a great deal of potential in the Midlands.

“The UK music scene is one of the most influential in the world because the UK is a beautiful melting pot of other cultures from around the world. Let’s keep stirring the pot,” he says.

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Martyn Ewoma

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Martyn Ewoma

Leicester-born Kamakaze started making music as a release from his other career: playing football for Dagenham Redbridge.

“They counterbalance each other because when football is not going well, I can focus on the other project.”

He is excited by the fact that people are starting to pay more attention to scenes outside of London, and are becoming more eager to discover new talent.

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Martyn Ewoma

All photographs copyright Martyn Ewoma.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-42705151

Brazil’s samba schools go political as funding cuts bite

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Samba schools hope to rise like a phoenix from the ashes of funding cuts

Rio de Janeiro’s top 13 samba schools are gearing up for carnival and the parade at Rio’s Sambadrome where they will compete on 11 and 12 February to be crowned carnival champions.

Ninety-thousand people will be watching the colourful spectacle from inside the vast Sambadrome, with millions more expected to tune in on TV.

Despite the event’s enduring popularity, 2018 is proving a tough year for the leading samba schools after Rio’s new mayor, Marcello Crivella, cut their public funding by half.

But the schools refuse to be disheartened. Mangueira, one of the most traditional samba schools, has even turned the funding cut into its main theme.

Its motto for this year’s parade is: “With or without money, I will play.”

The school is preparing for the big event. Cherubs that will wave jauntily from the floats have been spray-painted gold and workers have also been busy putting the finishing touches to laughing polystyrene figures.

Mangueira’s artistic director, Leandro Vieira, says the funding cuts aren’t stopping them. “Our parade intends to reaffirm that we are carnival people given to joy, given to freedom,” he says.

Beija-Flor samba school says it has been “inspired” by Brazil’s dirty politics. Corruption has dominated the country’s news, with former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva being sentenced to 12 years in prison and top business executives and dozens of politicians under investigation over a huge graft scandal.

Beija-Flor, which has won 13 championships, has chosen to portray the country’s troubles by placing a huge rat on one of its floats.

Beija-Flor has also built a colourful polystyrene version of the headquarters of Petrobras, the state-run oil company at the centre of one Brazil’s biggest corruption scandals.

But instead of it looking like a gleaming, modern building, it has been made to look like a collection of ramshackle huts.

The school’s artistic director, Marcelo Misailidis, says it is meant to show how corruption drives Brazilians into poverty and life in the favelas, the sprawling neighbourhoods where many of Rio’s poor live.

Marcelo Misailidis says he wants Brazilians to examine their own conscience.

“We always point the finger at others. We say someone is ambitious and corrupt but who puts the politicians in power?

“Who is creator and who is the creation?” he asks. That, he says, is the question behind the theme the samba school has chosen for this year: a tribute to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Paraiso do Tuiuti, another school, is also not shying away from thorny subjects. Its theme this year is “My God, My God, is slavery extinct?”.

It looks not just at the history of slavery in Brazil, which was the last country in the Western Hemisphere to officially abolish the practice, but also at modern-day slavery.

Golden shackles, feathers and African-inspired headdresses will feature prominently, as the sketches for the school’s costumes show.

But their parade will also feature more modern costumes criticising the lack of workers’ rights in Brazil, such as suits with four arms to show how some people have to work four jobs to make ends meet.

While the samba schools have drawn inspiration from the funding cuts and Brazil’s wider problems, those putting together the costumes worry about their future.

Flavia Jacob, 52, is one of eight members of her family who work at the Paraiso do Tuiuti samba school.

For her and her family, future funding cuts to the samba schools could do more than ruin carnival. If the money continues to dry up, Flavia may not be able to continue adopting Mangueira’s motto of “With or without money, I will play”.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-42959445