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The Togolese Government Has Blocked the Internet In Response to Nationwide Protests

Hundreds of thousands of Togolese citizens have taken to the streets to protest the long-standing rule of President Faure Gnassingbe.

Over the last few days, hundreds of thousands have headed to the streets of Togo to protest the rule of President Faure Gnassingbe.


Gnassignbe's family has been in leadership for 50 years. Togolese opposition leaders are moving for his immediate removal. Gnassingbe has offered his own amendment in response, which would limit presidential terms to a maximum of two, however, his draft has been rejected as  most believe that it would apply retroactively, allowing Gnassingbe to remain in office till 2030.

Thousands of Togolese have expressed extreme discontent with his leadership and are demanding legitimate constitutional reform.

"The president's position is very fragile, and we do not think his peers in ECOWAS or his friends in Europe will help him if things get ugly," Francois Conradie, head of research at NKC African Economics, told Al Jazeera.

In what appears to be an attempt by the government to silence critics, the internet and SMS texting have been blocked.

Togolese activist, Farida Nabourema has shared videos and images from the protests via her Twitter page. "The millions of Togolese that took the streets to say enough of 50 years of the Gnassingbe dictatorship are just tired of the abuse in #Togo," she wrote. View the footage below.

 

Lupita Nyong'o Has Written a Children's Book and We're So Here For It

'Sulwe' is the story of a young girl with dark skin who learns to "reimagine her sense of beauty."

What can't Lupita Nyong'o do?

Aside from all of her many other accomplishments, like starring in hit movie after hit movie and winning an Oscar after her first film, the Kenyan star has another accomplishment to add to her list: children's book author.

Nyong'o took to Twitter earlier to announce that she has written her very first chidren's book, Sulwe, a story of self-acceptance, which borrows from the actor's own childhood experiences.The word "sulwe" means star in Nyong'o's mother tongue, Luo.

Here's a synopsis of the book via the New York Times:

In the book, Sulwe has the darkest skin color in her family, a fact that makes her uncomfortable and determined to find a way to lighten her skin. As the story unfolds Sulwe embarks on a whimsical adventure in the night sky that, coupled with advice from her mother, helps her see beauty differently.

Nyong'o decided to write the book after recalling the positive influence that reading stories with her mother had on her self-image growing up. The story touches on her own battles with skin complexion and self-acceptance, which she opened up about so eloquently in a 2014 Black Women In Hollywood speech.

The book is specifically written for children between the ages of 5 and 7, the age when "you learn all the things that you spend the rest of your life trying to unlearn," says Nyong'o.

Sulwe will arrive in January 2019.

This New Musical Explores the Life of 'Fela Kuti and the Kalakuta Queens'

"Nobody ever talks about the 27 wives."

A new musical by Nigerian arts mogul, Bolanle Austen-Peters dives into the life of Fela Kuti and his relationship with the Kalakuta Queens—the 27 women he married in a single ceremony in 1978.

In a new video from the BBC, Austen-Peters give us a look into the production process, and tells us more about why she wanted to focus on the story of the Kalakuta Queens, who also acted as dancers for the musician, in particular.

"It just occurred to me that nobody ever talked about the 27 wives that he had. And I wondered who they were? I wanted to understand what informed their decision to marry one man, and what drove them. You know, what was their passion?" Watch the full video below.

Fela Kuti and the Kalakuta Queens is currently showing at the renovated Terra Culture Arena in Lagos, which Austen-Peters founded back in 2003.

We spoke to Austen-Peters back in August about her mission to promote Nigeria's arts and culture scene and about producing the West End's first Nigerian musical, Wakaa!. Revisit our interview with her here.

Fela and the Kalakuta Queens deserve all the shine!

Maleek Berry's Bob Marley Cover on BBC Radio 1Xtra Is Everything

His rendition of "Turn Your Lights Down Low" will smooth out your day.

Maleek Berry's newest cover is surely going to help get you through hump day.

The crooner and producer performed a wavy rendition of Bob Marley's "Turn Your Lights Down Low" on BBC Radio 1Xtra, a solid week after he dropped his highly anticipated EP, First Daze Of Winter.

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