Popular

Botswana Has Officially Decriminalized Homosexuality

The High Court Judges rightfully asked, "What compelling public interest is there necessitating such a law? There is no victim."

Botswana's High Court has officially decriminalized homosexuality in the Southern African country. According to the BBC, after hearing the case of a student who appeared in court along with LGBT advocacy group LEGABIBO, Sections 164 and 167 of the country's Penal Code have been found to be unconstitutional.


The LGBT community and its allies have been rallying for the repeal of several sections in the Penal Codes of various African countries. Just last month, Kenya's High court made the disappointing decision to keep Section 162 of its Penal Code and uphold the criminal status of homosexuality.

Whilst these laws do not explicitly criminalize homosexuality itself, they do outlaw any acts of sexual intimacy between same-sex individuals which effectively amounts to the criminalization of homosexuality as a whole. Under Botswana's now past law, a law that's been in place since 1965, a person could be sentenced to up to seven years in prison for "carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature".

After a postponement of the judgement in March this year, today, Judges Tafa, Leburu and Dube came to the unanimous decision to do away with Sections 164 and 167. They said that, "Sexual orientation is not a fashion statement. It's an important attribute of one's personality. All people are entitled to autonomy over their sexual expression." Judge Leburu also added that, "Public opinion in cases like this is relevant but not decisive. This is about fundamental rights more than the public's view."

This is a just and deserved victory for the LGBT community. Furthermore, it also represents the active dismantling of colonial-era laws which really have no place in any African country.

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.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

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.