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DW’s African Roots Podcast Takes A Deep Dive Into African History

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Who first promoted the Benin Bronzes, some five centuries ago? Who kickstarted Africa’s independence wave? From Cape Town to Cairo, the African Roots Podcast takes you through the life and times of Africa’s most colorful characters.

Packed with historical depth, detail, and anecdotes from across Africa, the African Roots stories are told through a mix of lighthearted musings and history-nerd fascination by pan-African duo Laila Johnson-Salami and Cai Nebe.

Lagos-based journalist Laila Johnson-Salami cut her teeth in podcasting through investigative reporting on political and environmental issues. With African Roots, Laila takes pride in presenting obscure and well-known figures from African history, some stemming from her home country of Nigeria. Figures such as Oba Ewuare, the 15th-century leader of Benin City, who commissioned the kingdom’s famous castings.

“Oba Ewuare’s legacy is a hot topic between two unlikely contestants: European museums and independent African countries,” says Laila.

The story may be five centuries old, but it’s a burning issue today: In September, the Humboldt Forum in Berlin will be among the first museums to present Benin Bronzes not as its own, but as Nigerian property.

African Roots is the latest in DW’s growing family of Africa-focused podcasts, something co-host Cai Nebe, a Namibian-born DW journalist and former comic book scribe, relishes.

“I love that African Roots lets you disappear into a world where people from our continent are not simply a footnote in world history. And only once we start researching does the story go from mundane to remarkable to sometimes downright extraordinary!”

Claus Stäcker, Director of Programs for Africa at DW, who initiated the format: “It’s great fun listening to Laila and Cai as a Nigerian-Namibian duo dealing with their own continental history, approaching lesser-known chapters, exchanging ideas, teasing each other and at the same time professionally conveying educational content for a young audience. The African Roots Podcast is a fun lesson based on in-depth research and African expertise.”

The African Roots Podcast is updated every two weeks and can be found on your favorite podcasting platform. Check it out on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, or Stitcher.

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