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Bono’s Charity Staff Members Were ‘Treated Worse Than Dogs’ in Johannesburg Office

Bono says he's sorry.

The ONE Campaign is an anti-corruption charity fronted by U2 lead singer Bono. In an ironic turn of events, the organization is currently under fire over bullying of staff members in its Johannesburg offices.


According to an investigation by the Mail Online, four employees threatened to take legal action against the organization over ill treatment. They claimed they were "treated worse than dogs" and were ridiculed and belittled in front of staff and in public.

The investigation revealed several cases of toxic behavior in the office.

One former manager was quoted by the Mail Online as saying:

"The toxic environment was terrible, with staff treated so badly. It was awful for an organization that claims to fight for social justice, respect and equality. I had never seen anything like this. This went on for years. It would never have been allowed to happen in London or Washington but we were just Africans. Their attitude was let them eat themselves. When a delegation was sent from London to dampen the disquiet, they told staff to rub a wooden elephant to channel 'negative energies'."


Most of the mistreatment has been attributed to the charity's former executive director Sipho Moyo. She is accused of:

  • Demoting a married, female staff member after she refused to sleep with a Tanzanian MP
  • Inviting staff to parties at her house, only to use them as waiters and waitresses
  • Pressuring a worker to give her a foot massage

She denied all these accusations but admitted the charity wasn't paying taxes on employees' salaries, which she says is a decision that was taken in Washington DC.

Bono has since publicly apologized, saying:

"We are all deeply sorry. I hate bullying, can't stand it. The poorest people in the poorest places being bullied by their circumstance is the reason we set up ONE. So to discover last November that there were serious and multiple allegations of bullying in our office in Johannesburg left me and the ONE board reeling and furious. You question the whole reason you're doing this."

He admitted he was aware of the concerns and was under the impression they were being dealt with.

"My team and I heard concerns about low morale and poor management in this office but nothing along the lines of what emerged recently. I was assured that those concerns were being dealt with – clearly, they were not."

He also promised to meet the victims in person and apologize personally.

So much for a guy who wants to solve Africa's problems.

Interview

Interview: Terri Is Stepping Out of the Shadows

We talk to the Wizkid-signed artist about the story behind the massive hit "Soco" and his latest Afro Series EP.

Certain afrobeats songs have made in-roads in international markets and paved the way for the genre's ceaselessly-rising widespread recognition. Among these history-defining songs were D'banj's "Oliver Twist," Tekno's "Pana," Davido's "If" & "Fall," Runtown's "Mad Over You," and of course, Wizkid's "Soco." Wizkid released "Soco" under his label imprint, Starboy Entertainment in March 2018, and the song spread like wildfire across Africa and beyond. "Soco" was an Afro-pop wonder delivered at a time when the 'afrobeats to the world' movement was gathering steam, further cementing its electric nature. The Northboi-produced song was co-signed by celebrities across the world like Rihanna, Cardi B, and Paul Pogba and has accrued well over a hundred million streams across streaming platforms worldwide.

"Soco" was not only a trailblazer amongst mid-2010s afrobeats records, it was also the introduction of the first Wizkid-signed artist, Terri. Just weeks before "Soco" was released, Terri was discovered by Wizkid's longtime producer, Mutay, who saw him covering the song "Oshe" on social media.

Before "Soco," Terri Akewe was well on his way to fame. At fifteen, he had performed at street carnivals in his neighbourhood and, one time, was carried all the way home by neighbours after winning a Coca-Cola sponsored singing competition. Before his life-changing meeting with Wizkid, Terri had a seven-track EP ready for release, as well as a viral song titled "Voices." "One time I was on set with the video director T.G Omori, he told me that 'Voices' was the first time he heard of me" Terri tells me as we settle on a plush couch at his home in Lagos.

Regardless of Terri's initial career trajectory; signing to a label headed by afrobeats' biggest superstar was bound to accelerate his musical journey, and at the same time, cast a huge shadow of expectation on his career, especially given a debut as spectacular as "Soco." With his latest EP, Afro Series, powered by the sensational single "Ojoro," one thing is clear: Terri is stepping out of the shadows into his own spotlight and he is doing it on his own terms.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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Interview
Photo: Black Butter/Sony UK.

Interview: JAE5 Is Crafting London's Distinct Diasporic Sound

We talk to the buzzing producer about his Grammy win alongside Burna Boy, his work with J Hus and the ever-looming influence of Ghana.

When tales about the origins of hip-hop come into the cypher, the hyperfocus is almost always about the culture being born out of a unique and profound struggle that centers Black and Indigenous youth in the Bronx. First and second generational youth with roots in both the English and Spanish-speaking Caribbean, who in spite of their deteriorating environment — at the time some of the most impoverished streets in North America — learned to harness the power of creative ingenuity as a form of survival.

We can, arguably, deduce then that the original purveyors of this music that was made from scratch — quite literally — weren't actually intending on making music that could speak for or represent a people and their stories. No. I'd wager the first DJs worrying the vinyls on Uptown blocks, and the first MCs spitting outside corner bodegas were simply living, relishing in the little joy they could manifest for themselves. Two-stepping and waving braggadocio hands in the few darkened spaces that welcomed them.

For JAE5 (born Jonathan Mensah) one of today's most prolific producers on the other side of the Atlantic, creating a fresh UK sound that in many ways is an expression of contemporary African British youth, it was not intentional. It was simply inevitable.

"I lived in Ghana for three years. J Hus grew up around a lot of Ghanaians. All of our friends are African and our parents are African," he shares. "So even when we were trying to make music from the UK, it would always have an African influence because that's what we grew up listening to and that's who we are. So I don't think anything was intentional. It's what it is."

With origins in Ghana and a coming-of-age set in London, JAE5 first became known as the genre-splicing beat machine behind J Hus' intoxicating songs, including the summer smash of 2017 "Did You See" off his Common Sense album. Having executive produced J Hus' entire debut album, JAE5 made a name for himself as the East Londoner developing a distinct diasporic sound combining elements of hip-hop, afrobeats and afro-fusion.

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Joeboy Recruits Kwesi Arthur on Remix of 'Door' & Music Video

Joeboy enlists Kwesi Arthur on the new remix to his single 'Door' and shares the accompanying visuals.

Nigerian artist Joeboy has recently dropped the remix to his single "Door" as well as the music video. He recruits Ghanaian artist Kwesi Arthur on both the remix as well as the accompanying visuals for the track. The original version of "Door" features on Joeboy's 14-track debut album Somewhere Between Beauty & Magic which was released at the beginning of February this year.

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Students from Nigeria's Greenfield University Abducted

At least 20 students are missing and one staff member dead after gunmen recently attacked Nigeria's Greenfield University.