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People at a Black Lives Matter protest rally outside the US Embassy in Dublin following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, US.

African Writers Show Solidarity with Protesting Americans in Open Letter

'We support the protests in the United States and across the world as our people demand justice for any and all racial killings whether by police or civilians,' writes Mona Eltahawy, Mohale Mashigo, Remy Ngamije, Mukoma wa Ngugi and more.

African writers across the continent have shown their solidarity with Americans protesting police brutality in the country with an open letter, Aljazeera reports. The likes of Mona Eltahawy, Mohale Mashigo, Remy Ngamije, Mukoma wa Ngugi, Lola Shoneyin, Zukiswa Wanner, Makanaka Mavengere, Chris Abani and numerous others have all co-signed the letter which fiercely condemns the continued killing of African Americans at the hands of the police and calls on African governments to do much more to address the crisis.


READ: 'Unity Is Strength': African Football Stars Show Support for #JusticeforGeorgeFloyd

Following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed African American man who was killed by white police officers, many Americans have since taken to the streets of Minneapolis to protest the continued police brutality against the Black community. The protests have now spread to other cities including Washington D.C., New York, St. Louis and Chicago with additional demonstrations in countries such as France, England, Australia and New Zealand as shows of solidarity.

Recently, African writers penned an open letter to the African American community as a show of support for the mass protests as well as a call to African governments to do more to seriously address a pandemic that has long preceded even COVID-19––racism.

The letter begins with, "As African writers without borders who are connected beyond geography with those who live in the United States of America and other parts of the African diaspora, we state that we condemn the acts of violence on Black people in the United States of America." The letter then goes on to condemn the killing of numerous African Americans including Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Michael Brown and Tamir Rice.

The writers acknowledge the statement released by the African Union with regards to the protests but insist that it is not enough. Additionally, they call on African governments to offer "those who choose it: refuge, homes and citizenship in the name of pan-Africanism." Read the full open letter here.

While some Africans, including South African rapper AKA, have called on Africans to "return home", many others have rightly argued that America is their home and that they should not have to "return to Africa" as if they aren't rightful citizens with as many legitimate rights as their white counterparts.

Interview
Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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