‘That’s Africa, man’: how a young musician captured the music of Rwanda (The Guardian)

The Guardian: ‘That’s Africa, man’: how a young musician captured the music of Rwanda . “In 2018, [Michael Makembe] decided to travel all around Rwanda, visiting communities in remote places to collect voices, poems, songs and recordings of traditional instruments. In five years Makembe has amassed nearly 1,000 different sounds. He is hoping to open an audio museum this year where people can go and listen to them. He also wants to launch Sounds of Rwanda, an online library for a global audience.”

Erasing 76 Crimes: Activists launch website to document trans and intersex African history

Erasing 76 Crimes: Activists launch website to document trans and intersex African history. “A group of activists has launched an initiative to document and preserve the history of trans and intersex Africans and their struggle for equal rights. The web site Trans and Intersex History Africa is a labor of love for the four principal curators, who come from South Africa and Uganda.”

Google Blog: Step into the Meroë pyramids with Google

Google Blog: Step into the Meroë pyramids with Google. “Today, you can explore these stunning pyramids, which are a UNESCO World Heritage site, on Google Arts & Culture. Over 200 pyramids were constructed in Meroë, the third and final capital of the Kushite Kingdom, an ancient African civilization that ruled the lands of Nubia for over 3000 years. Now you can take a virtual walk through the Pyramids of Meroë and explore the inscriptions using Street View’s panoramic imagery.”

University of Arkansas: CAST Researchers Awarded NEH Grant on Digital Storytelling About Precolonial Africa

University of Arkansas: CAST Researchers Awarded NEH Grant on Digital Storytelling About Precolonial Africa. “‘Digital Storytelling on African Urbanisms: A Model to Empower Education Initiatives Across the Global South’ explores how an open-access digital archive can be optimized to allow for low-resourced educators to engage with digital storytelling.”

Lanfrica: A database for African languages developed by a student of Jacobs University (EurekAlert)

EurekAlert: Lanfrica: A database for African languages developed by a student of Jacobs University. “‘We want to improve the visibility and representation of African languages on the Internet,’ explained Bonaventure [Dossou]. Discoverability is limited not only because English dominates machine learning technologies, and language assistants from Google or Apple barely support African languages. But also because many African languages are not written languages. Often, only a few texts and sources exist as a data basis for NLP technologies (Natural Language Processing) such as machine translation. Lanfrica is intended to remedy this situation. It sees itself as a catalog, a research tool that provides easy and clear access to existing research, data packages or archives. And it aims to bring together existing initiatives dealing with the machine readability of African languages.”

The Conversation: Timbuktu manuscripts placed online are only a sliver of West Africa’s ancient archive

New-to-me, from The Conversation: Timbuktu manuscripts placed online are only a sliver of West Africa’s ancient archive. “While Mali Magic displays 45 very photogenic manuscripts from one private library, the site doesn’t begin to tell the full story of the wealth of West Africa’s manuscripts that are found from the Atlantic to Lake Chad. But thanks to decades of scholarship and, recently, digitisation, that information is now accessible at a bilingual, open-access, online union catalogue of nearly 80,000 manuscripts at the West African Arabic Manuscript Database. This is a resource I began 30 years ago at the University of Illinois that now provides students access to most of the titles and authors that make up West Africa’s manuscript culture.”

Timbuktu manuscripts: Mali’s ancient documents captured online (BBC)

BBC: Timbuktu manuscripts: Mali’s ancient documents captured online. “A virtual gallery to showcase Mali’s cultural history has been launched, featuring tens of thousands of Timbuktu’s ancient manuscripts. The manuscripts were smuggled to safety from Timbuktu after Islamist militant groups took control of the city in northern Mali in 2012. They contain centuries of African knowledge and scholarship on topics ranging from maths to astrological charts.”

Washington University in St. Louis: New database highlights underrepresented scholars of African archaeology

Washington University in St. Louis: New database highlights underrepresented scholars of African archaeology. “Helina Woldekiros, assistant professor of archaeology in the Department of Anthropology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, and her collaborators recently launched the Bibliographic Database of African Scholarship on African Archaeology (BibDAA). The new open-access database collects and shares publications on African archaeology, broadly defined, by African and Afrodescendant scholars.”

Google Blog: Explore the Cradle of Creativity on Google Arts & Culture

Google Blog: Explore the Cradle of Creativity on Google Arts & Culture. “The Cradle of Creativity, a new project on Google Arts & Culture, explores how creativity evolved in Africa from rock art to contemporary brush strokes. In collaboration with the Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art (YSMA) in Nigeria and the Origins Centre in South Africa, you can now explore 50 expertly-curated stories, featuring over 60 high-resolution Gigapixel images of artworks digitized using the Google Art Camera, 17 Street View virtual tours and, for teachers and students, a dedicated lesson plan.”

African Poetry Digital Portal: an online archive for the continent’s poetry (University of Oxford)

University of Oxford: African Poetry Digital Portal: an online archive for the continent’s poetry. “An ambitious international project to establish a portal and archive for African poetry from across the continent has won $750,000 in backing from the Andrew W Mellon Foundation. The African Poetry Digital Portal, based at the University of Nebraska, involves poets and librarians from across the African continent and will also be supported by others, including Oxford’s English Faculty and the Bodleian library.”

Indiana University Bloomington: Papers of seminal African filmmaker Paulin Vieyra acquired by IU Black Film Center/Archive

Indiana University Bloomington: Papers of seminal African filmmaker Paulin Vieyra acquired by IU Black Film Center/Archive. “The Indiana University Black Film Center/Archive has acquired the papers of Paulin Vieyra, the first French-speaking sub-Saharan African to direct a film, 1955’s ‘Afrique-sur-Seine.’ Vieyra served as a pioneering critic, historian and producer during the decolonization era of the 1960s, and he was a mentor to Ousmane Sembène, who has been referred to as the father of African cinema.”

OperaWire: African Diaspora Music Project Seeks to Diversify Arts Programming

OperaWire: African Diaspora Music Project Seeks to Diversify Arts Programming. “In order to facilitate research, performance, and appreciation of African Diaspora music, Dr. Louise Toppin has launched the African Diaspora Music Project, an online database which currently offers 4,000 songs…. The growing database is designed to help companies and artistic administrators with diversifying their repertoire of works, providing access to scores, recordings, and research materials.”

University of Cape Town: Minister Nzimande pledges help to UCT library, students after fire

University of Cape Town: Minister Nzimande pledges help to UCT library, students after fire. “Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Dr Blade Nzimande has pledged help from his department’s flagship funding agencies, the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the National Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS), to digitise and restore the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) library assets. This follows the 18 April fire that destroyed Jagger Reading Room and damaged other buildings. Dr Nzimande also promised to assist students whose research had been disrupted by the fire.”

IOL: Significant archives may have been lost in Cape Town’s fire. Why they matter so much

IOL: Significant archives may have been lost in Cape Town’s fire. Why they matter so much. “A wildfire on the slopes of Table Mountain has wreaked havoc at the University of Cape Town (UCT) campus. Among the sites of historical significance that have been damaged is the Jagger Library. The library houses rare and specialist collections, such as the important African Studies collections. The Conversation Africa’s Nontobeko Mtshali asked UCT academic Shannon Morreira to share her insights on what the loss means for the historical records held by the university.”