AKA. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

The 13 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

The best music of the week featuring AKA, Skepta x Wizkid, Manthe Ribane, Yemi Alade, DJ Tunez and more.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our Best Music of the Week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow OkayAfrica on Spotify and Apple Music to get immediate updates every week and read about some of our selections ahead.



AKA 'Touch My Blood'

Touch My Blood, AKA's highly anticipated third studio album is finally here. The album features the likes of OkMalumKoolKat, Yanga Chief, JR, Stogie T, L-Tido, Kwesta and Kiddorminant. Kairo. The rapper said the album is his last, as he plans to focus on his business. If he lives up to his word, then the man has had one of the most prosperous careers in South African hip-hop—he has managed to remain a head honcho, dropping hits consistently since 2011 when he released "Victory Lap," his breakout hit.

Find out more.


DJ Tunez & Flash 'Too Much'

DJ Tunez and Flash link up once again on their latest single "Too Much," the highly-anticipated follow-up to their 2017 single "Get Up. " "Too Much" is a breezy, made-for-the-summer jam, that sees Flash singing about a lady friend who is so wonderful that she's simply "too much" to handle. "The song explores the love, beauty and style of ladies across the globe," said the artists in a press release.

Find out more.

Skepta & Wizkid 'Bad Energy (Stay Far Away)'

Skepta and Wizkid have been circling around each others' sonic atmospheres since the massive "Ojuelegba" remix with Drake a few years ago. The two now come through with what is, surprisingly, their first official collaboration in "Bad Energy (Stay Far Away)." The single is a low tempo, slow-burning jam produced by Nigerian hitmaker Sarz.

Find out more.

Here's Your African World Cup Mixtape

The 2018 World Cup welcomes 5 African teams—Tunisia, Egypt, Senegal, Morocco, and Nigeria—and all except Nigeria have waited a very, very long time to field a squad once again on the world's biggest football stage. This soundtrack to Africa's World Cup covers a majestic blend of Senegalese Mbalax, Nigerian Fuji, Moroccan Gnawa, Tunisian Disco, and Nubian sounds from Egypt.

Find out more.

Okzharp & Manthe Ribane ‘Why U In My Way’

"Why U In My Way," which we premiered this week, is the first single to Okzharp & Manthe Ribane's upcoming album Closer Apart. On the song, Manthe soulfully croons about being hopeful and keeping your eye on the price as you go through life's challenges. Over a spacious instrumental by Okzharp, she sings, "Dreamers don't complain, dreamers don't explain/ Don't you fade away, so don't you fade away."

Find out more.

Stogie T 'God's Eye'

South African rapper Stogie T released a 15-minute long track this morning called "God's Eye." The song is essentially an EP—he raps over different beats, with the songs being separated by skits. The project is released to commemorate the youth who were slain by the apartheid regime in June 16 of 1976. In just 15 minutes, the revered wordsmith switches flows and raps from different perspectives—on two of the songs, he raps from the perspective of a slave trader and a lieutenant of the terrorist Islamic State.

Find out more.

Yemi Alade 'How I Feel'

Yemi Alade returns with the music video for "How I Feel," her first single of the year, and the last since the release of her 2017 album Black Magic. The music video, directed by Ovie Etseyatse sees the singer in an ethereal setting, living her best life while relaxing on a beach in Dubai and in the desert, where she serves up some stellar looks. We're trying to channel her vibe all summer. We've already dubbed Yemi a music video icon, and she delivers once again in "How I Feel."

Find out more.

Sjava 'Abangani' feat. Emtee & Saudi

South African singer and rapper Sjava's fans have been hounding him for new music. The artist hasn't released a new song since appearing on the Black Panther Album earlier this year. His latest single, titled "Abangani," features his label mates and frequent collaborators Saudi and Emtee, who are also the founders of ATM (African Trap Movement). "Abangani" is a quintessential ATM song, it's inspirational and combines modern and South African traditional vocals styles.

Find out more.

Lady Donli 'Games' feat. GJTheCaesar

Zainab Donli, popularly known as Lady Donli is the 21-year-old singer-songwriter spearheading the new wave of Nigerian alternative music. The "all-round creative" is known for her soothing vocals and soulful alt-jazz sounds. Donli positively returns with "Games," the long-awaited first single off her forth-coming album. This time she experiments with a more up-tempo production that blends funk, soul, R&B; and dance music.

Find out more.

Ms Nthabi 'Broken Silence'

Veteran South African rapper Ms Nthabi recently released her first project in six years. Broken Silence precedes her debut album Welcome To Me, which came out back in 2012. The MC made a name for herself in the mid-2000s—"Breathe," her collaborative song with Reason is an undebatable South African hip-hop classic. So is her mixtape From The Streets To The Lab. While the rapper has never been shy to share the goings on of her life in her music, on Broken Silence, she shares the most intimate details, making this one of the most personal rap releases to ever come out of South Africa.

Find out more.

Elida Almeida 'Sou Free' (Mo Laudi Remix)


Cabo Verde's Elida Almeida, Brazil's Flavia Coelho and South African Mo Laudi join forces in this highly-addictive new summer hit, "Sou Free." You'll definitely have this one on repeat.

Kwamie Liv 'Follow My Heart'

Kwamie Liv embodies the third culture child. The Copenhagen-based R&B singer—who was raised in Zambia & Kenya, but has also lived in Turkey, Sweden, South Africa, Ireland and Bangladesh—has been bubbling since the release of her Lost In The Girl EP. She now returns with the new single, "Follow My Heart," off her upcoming debut album, Lovers that Come and Go.

Read: R&B Singer Kwamie Liv's Bittersweet Return to Kenya

Bobson 'All Night' feat. Yonda

Bobson, the promising 21-year-old afro-pop singer, returns with a bumping new single "All Night," featuring Yonda. The new track was produced by Damayo and co-written by Timz.

Read: Bobson Could Be the Next Big Thing in Nigerian Afro-Pop

Follow OkayAfrica on Spotify and Apple Music to get immediate updates every week.


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The 10 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

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Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our Best Music of the Week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Check out all of OkayAfrica's new playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

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Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our Best Music of the Week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Check out all of OkayAfrica's new playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

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Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our best music of the week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

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Photo courtesy of CNOA

These Colombian Civil Rights Activists Are Fighting to Make Sure Afro-Colombians are Counted in the Census

When 30 percent of Colombia's Black citizens disappeared from the data overnight, a group of Afro-Colombian activists demanded an explanation.

It was the end of 2019 when various Black organizations protested in front of the census bureau—The National Institute of Statistics and Informatics (DANE)—in Bogotá, Colombia to show their dissatisfaction about what they called a "statistical genocide" of the black population. The census data, published that year, showed 2.9 million people, only 6 percent of the total population of the country, was counted as "Afro-Colombian," "Raizal," and "Palenquero"—the various terms identifying black Colombians.

For many years, Afro-Colombians have been considered the second largest ethno-racial group in the country. Regionally, Colombia has long been considered the country with the second highest number of Afro-descendants after Brazil, according to a civil society report.

Why did the population of Afro-Colombians drop so drastically?

Afro-Colombian, Black, Raizal, and Palenquero civil-rights activists protesting erasure of Afro-descendants in front of the census bureau.

Last year, a crowd of activists gathered in Bogota to protest what they saw as erasure of Black communities in the Colombian census.

Photo courtesy of CNOA

In the latest national census report from 2018/2019, there appeared to be a 30.8 percent reduction of the overall group of people that identified as Black, Afro-Colombian, Raizal, and Palenquero, as compared to the 2005. After this controversial report, an Afro-Colombian civil rights organization known as the National Conference of Afro Colombian Organizations (CNOA), officially urged DANE to explain the big undercounting of the black population.

This wasn't a small fight. Representatives who hold the special seats of Afro-Colombians in Colombia's congress asked the census bureau to attend a political control debate at the House of Representatives in November 2019 to deliver an accountability report. "The main goal of doing a political debate was to demand DANE to give us a strong reason about the mistaken data in the last census in regard to the Afro population," said Ariel Palacios, an activist and a member of CNOA.

At the debate, the state released an updated census data report saying that, almost 10 percent of the Colombian population—4.6 million people out of 50.3 million—considers themselves Afro-Colombians or other ethnicities (like Raizal, and Palenquero). But despite DANE trying to confirm the accuracy and reliability on the latest census report it was clear that, for a variety of reasons, Black people were missed by the census. The state argued that their main obstacles with data collection were related to the difficulties of the self-recognition question, as well as security reasons that didn't allow them to access certain regions. They also admitted to a lack of training, logistics and an overall lack of success in the way the data collectors conducted the census.

How could they have counted Black populations better?

Afro-Colombian, Black, Raizal, and Palenquero civil-rights activists playing drums in front of the census bureau.

Drummers performing during a protest against the Colombian census bureau's erasure of Afro-Colombians from the 2018 census.

Photo courtesy of CNOA

These arguments were not reasonable for the civil rights activists, partially because the state failed to properly partner with Afro-organizations like CNOA to conduct or facilitate extensive informational campaigns about the self-identification questions.

"CNOA has worked on self-recognition and visibility campaigns among the Afro community and this census ignored our work," says priest Emigdio Cuesta-Pino, the executive secretary of CNOA. Palacios also thinks that the majority of Afro-Colombians are aware of their identity "we self-identify because we know there is a public political debate and we know that there is a lack of investment on public policies."

That's why it is not enough to leave the statistical data to the official census bureau to ensure that Afro-Colombian communities are fully counted in the country. And the civil rights activists knows that. They made a big splash in the national media and achieved visibility in the international community.

Thanks to The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), a human rights organization, Palacios traveled to D.C to meet with Race and Equality institution and a Democratic Congressman. "We called for a meeting with representative Hank Johnson to talk about the implementation of Colombia's peace accords from an Afro-Colombian perspective but also to address the gross undercounts of its black population," says Palacios.

For the activists at CNOA, the statistical visibility of the Black population is one of their battles. They have fought for Afro population recognition for almost two decades. "Since the very beginning CNOA has worked on the census issue as one of our main commitments within the statistical visibility of the Afro-Colombian people," says priest Cuesta-Pina. Behind this civil organization are 270 local associations, who work for their rights and collective interests.

The activists want to raise awareness on identity. Because according to Palacios, "In Colombia, there is missing an identity debate—we don't know what we are. They [the census bureau] ask if we are black, or if we are Afro-Colombians. But what are the others being asked? If they are white, mestizo or indigenous?" Palacios believes that for "CNOA this debate is pending, and also it is relevant to know which is the character of this nation."

Afro-Colombian Populations and the Coronavirus

Afro-Colombian, Black, Raizal, and Palenquero civil-rights activists use mock coffins and statistics to protest erasure of Afro-descendants

Colombian civil-rights activist insist that undercounting Afro-descendants can have a real impact on the health of Afro-Colombian communities, especially during the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis.

Photo courtesy of CNOA

Even though the state recently "agreed with to give us a detailed census report" and make a different projection with the micro data, says Palacios, now with the Covid-19 emergency, CNOA and the government has suspended all meetings with them, including cancelling a second congressional debate and the expert round table meeting to analyze the data.

Unfortunately, it is exactly in situations like the Covid-19 emergency where data analysis and an accurate census report would have been useful. According to the professor and PhD in Sociology Edgar Benítez from Center for Afro Diasporic Studies—CEAF, "Now it is required to provide a reliable and timely information on how the contagion pattern will spread in those predominantly Afro regions in the country and what is the institutional capacity in those places to face it," says Benítez.

He adds that this information is "critical at the moment because the institutional capacity is not up to provide it at the current situation". That's why the Center for Afro Diasporic Studies plans to work with DANE information from the last census. According to Benítez, "We are thinking of making comparisons at the municipal level with the information reported in the 2018 Quality of Life Survey, in order to have a robust and extensive database as possible on the demographic, economic and social conditions of the black, afro, Raizal and Palenquera population in Colombia."









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