News Brief

Bobi Wine Is 'Seriously Considering' Challenging President Museveni in Uganda's 2021 Elections

The musician and opposition lawmaker says he plans on galvanizing young people to vote in a new interview with CNN.

Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine, is likely to take Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to task in the country's 2021 presidential elections, CNNreports.

Speaking with CNN'sRobyn Curnow, the musician and opposition lawmaker says he's "seriously considering" challenging Museveni after hearing the many calls for him to stand in the next elections.

Wine also touched on his efforts to launch a grassroots movement for young people to be encouraged to head to the polls. Because Museveni has changed the constitution twice to extend his stay in office (despite ruling Uganda since 1986), such dictatorships have been able to last due to the suppression of young people, he says. Empowering the youth to vote could change that.

"We started a campaign calling upon all people of Uganda, especially the young people that have been so apathetic to go ahead and register themselves and be voters. Not just supporters but voters," Wine says to CNN. "We believe that by the time we get to the election which is about two years away, we will have many Ugandans registered as voters and overwhelming Museveni looks like our only way out."

Museveni, however, has yet to officially announce that he will be contesting to remain Uganda's president in the next elections. Ofwono Opondo, a spokesperson for the government was also dismissive of Wine's statement.

"Wine is being presumptive, perhaps to ride on Museveni's name to gain some international attention. Otherwise, it is his right to do so if he really wants to run for the Presidency of Uganda," Opondo says in a statement to CNN. "It's not up to Museveni to prepare a handover. His job is to ensure elections are organized and held, regularly and on time and the winner according to the popular vote will lead Uganda."

Revisit our conversation with the Ghetto President here.

Arts + Culture
Image courtesy of Desange Kuenihira

Desange Kuenihira Is Living Life on Her Own Terms

We spoke with the 22-year-old CEO, author, and recent graduate on finding meaning in a world determined to silence you.

For much of her life, Desange Kuenihira’s closest companion was fear. Fear and hatred accompanied the now 22-year-old author and CEO as she escaped civil war in her home country, The Democratic Republic of Congo, and entered a Ugandan refugee camp at the age of two. Fear continued to tug at her sleeves as she battled the ignorance that comes with xenophobic ideologies. Having survived abuse — to her body and character — and multiple instances of sexual assault, Kuenihira prevails. Now, the founder and CEO of the Nonprofit organization UnDefeatedhas made that fear her power, as she pushes to empower those around her. Her autobiography Undefeated Woman,released in 2022, tells the story of a little girl who clawed her way out of the black hole life tried to bind her to.

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Photo Credit: Frank L'Opez

Exploring the Streets of Kampala with Ratigan Era

OkayAfrica spent some time with rising Uganda dancehall star Ratigan Era as he explored all his favorite places to eat.

I’m in between the boda boda driver and Ratigan Era — Uganda’s rising dancehall star, tearing through the lunchtime chaos of Kabalagala, Kampala on a motorbike. We are weaving through traffic with food on our minds. “Nobody is hungry in Uganda,” he says, yelling over the engine and heavy traffic. “It’s hard in the city, you have to hustle but as a roots man I come from the ghetto. I know how to stay alive”.

Food is in abundance in Kampala. On the street you will find the Rolex (a finger scolding, rolled chapati with fried egg, fresh tomato, and red onion) and buzzing away from traffic we pass by the smoke plumes of charcoal grilled chicken and goat on wooden sticks, vendors piling up fruit and vegetables on sheets and long stems of sugarcane chopped by machetes that catch a vicious sun.

Today, we are eating our way through Ratigan’s localities and the first stop is Lawafu, a small neighborhood close to the recording studios where Rattigan creates his storming dancehall tracks. With a second album on the way and more tours in Europe planned, 2023 may take this young Kawempe born star further away from home, to places he has found at times bewildering. “It was hard for me, I don’t eat pork and didn’t recognize the food," says Ratigan. "It took a while before I ate something... and then it was KFC”.

A collection of snacks from Enhanced Food in Lawafu, Kampala.Photo Credit: Frank L'Opez

Leaping off the bike I get a closer look at the man who was just in my ear. He has the swagger of being in his environment‚ made real by solid recognition. We are at Enhanced Food, a stand run by Sado, an events manager turned chef that Rattigan trusts. Everywhere we go today is extended family. The kitchen sits attached to a bar that serves us bottled beers as we await Sado’s speciality: the Lusaniya—an East African dish popular amongst the Islamic community. Before the main dish arrives, we sample a plate of snacks. There's an absurd custard yellow French Toast cut thick as a door step; a smoky beef sausage that tastes like it isn’t really there; a hand-mashed mincemeat kofta riddled with parsley; a "half-cake"—a kind of rectangular donut bread; a traditional samosa; and the "Irish potato," which is a a boiled egg hidden inside a large round fried ball of mashed potato.

The Lusaniya is an East African dish popular amongst the Islamic community. The dish features rice that has been cooked with onion, garlic, ginger and cloves.Photo Credit: Frank L'Opez

The Lusaniya majestically arrives on a metal platter. Instead of using a table we place it on a white plastic garden seat and delve into it with our hands. Between huge mouthfuls of pilau rice that has been cooked with onion, garlic, ginger and cloves I ask Rattigan about his faith. “I am a Muslim and a Christian," he says. "My parents are Christian but they let me decide.”

I pour beef stock over everything, the light catching its oily sheen as it gives life to the Matooke made from boiled and mashed green plantain. We pull chicken apart and mix it into thick mushroom looking G-nut sauce. G for satisfying groundnut. "When you start eating you already feel your belly full,” Rattigan says contentedly. We finish by sitting in a small corridor behind a closed door, laughing through more vapours of smoke.

"When you start eating you already feel your belly full,\u201d Rattigan says after digging into the the Lusaniya."When you start eating you already feel your belly full,” Rattigan says after digging into the the Lusaniya.Photo Credit: Frank L'Opez

A friend arrives to drive us to Legend Production Studios in Salama Road where Rattigan often records. During a break I check for what the artists are digging into. I approach Rattigan’s spar, who goes by the name Machete. There is a double carb on his plate of spaghetti and chips accompanied by a tiny amount of tomato beef sauce and some sliced avocado on the side.

Soon we are on our way to the notorious Kabuuma district. (Machete reassures me: “Don’t worry, we are ghetto Vikings".) Our car rumbles to a halt at a desolate market. Meat scarcely hangs on hooks as a woman spoons up piles of rice and more Matoke or Ugali—a maize flour mash. We relax by a tiny shack made from haphazardly nailed pallet-wood. New Paradise Happy Vibes is scrawled upon it with marker pen but today this bar is closed. From here, the ground all around us into the distance is saturated with water. The open horizon and distant bird calls making it feel safely remote. Rattigan buys a small cellophane bag of drinking water and some herbs. “This here are local herbs. They keep me in my musical space and help me meditate," Rattigan says. "They keep my appetite for food.”

Outside a market located in the Kabuuma district.Photo Credit: Frank L'Opez

Driving back across town we stop for what is being prepared roadside. By a roundabout, a man expertly slashes at sugarcane that falls in lumps into a plastic bag. It is overwhelmingly succulent, a flood of nectar that is hard to contain in a closed mouth.“ This is sugar! Original sugar! For natural energy and for blood regulation and dehydration! It kills cancer and malaria!” Ratigan yells, his outburst is a glorious eulogy to what tastes and feels like a miracle.

Along the way a woman smiles as she carves sweet and fleshy jackfruit. It brings back wistful memories from Ratigan’s childhood of climbing trees with his friends: “We would smash them open on the trunk," he says. We spit out the large black pips into the gutter as school children filter home.

“I’m a ghetto yout’ and this is ghetto food... I've been eating it all my life".Photo Credit: Frank L'Opez

On the way back to the car we grab corn on the cob off red hot charcoal. Rattigan chants out to his own music as we pull out wildly into oncoming traffic “I’m a ghetto yout’ and this is ghetto food,” he says.”I been eating it all my life".

News Brief
Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Listen to Burna Boy Feature On Popcaan's New Song 'Aboboyaa'

Renowned dancehall artist Popcaan has released his album Great Is He, via OVO Sound, and it features none other than Burna Boy.

Jamaica's Popcaanhas shared his anticipated album Great Is He, and the body of work features Nigerian superstar Burna Boy on the track "Aboboyaa."

The album showcases the Jamaican musical giant's signature dancehall sound, while also exploring the depth of genre's versatility. In addition to featuring Burna Boy, Great Is He includes features from OVO Sound's boss Drake, Jamaica's Chronic Law, and Toni-Ann Singh, among others.

On "Aboboyaa," the two musical powerhouses merge their signature rhythmic melodies and intonations in a way that is both compelling to listen to on the first listen, and in turn inspires a second and third listen.

Ever since he released his debut album in 2014, Popcaan has become an international dancehall sensation, and his repertoire includes a list of impressive features.

His album Forever, which was released in 2018, debuted at number two on Billboard’s Top Reggae Albums. Commercially, Popcaan has made a mark on the music scene too. His last project FIXTAPE — which included “Twist & Turn,” the mesmerizing dancehall hit featuring Drake and PARTYNEXTDOOR — has garnered over 191 million streams and continues to receive accolades from outlets like Pitchfork, who described the body of work as “a testament to his place at the forefront of the genre.”

"Aboboyaa" is not Popcaan's first international collaboration. In the past, the Jamaican icon has worked with several international music acts including Davido, Jamie xx, Young Thug, Gorillaz, Kano, Jorja Smith and a host of others. He also founded Jamaica’s annual Unruly Festwhich brings stars across the globe to experience Jamaican culture.

Listen to "Aboboyaa" featuring Burna Boy below.

Listen to Popcaan and Burna Boy's "Aboboyaa"

Photo: Nabil Elderkin.

The Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Popcaan x Burna Boy, Bongeziwe Mabandla, Mr Eazi, Baaba Maal, Pheelz and more.

Every Friday, we highlight the top releases through our best music of the week column, Songs You Need to Hear. Here's our round-up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks.

If you like these music lists, you can also check out our Best Songs of the Month columns following Nigerian, Ghanaian, East African and South African music. If you missed them, check out our music lists for the Best of 2022 here.

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