Photo by TCHANDROU NITANGA/AFP via Getty Images.

The portrait of Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza who died at the age of 55 is set on an altar during the memorial service by Burundi's ruling party, the National Council for the Defense of Democracy - Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD), at CNDD-FDD headquarters in Bujumbura on June 11, 2020.

Burundi Temporarily Bans Secular Music During Mourning of Nkurunziza

Burundi has banned the playing of secular music in public spaces for a period of 7 days following the recent death of President Pierre Nkurunziza.

The Burundian government has announced a temporary ban on the playing of secular music in public places. This comes amid the 7-day mourning period now underway for the late President Pierre Nkurunziza. Nkurunziza died suddenly from heart failure this past Monday although there has been speculation that the head-of-state died from the coronavirus.

READ: A Letter From Mr. Burundi: "How Can We Talk About Political Dialogue When Innocent Civilians Are Dying?"

State radio stations and private broadcasters have all reportedly been playing gospel music in light of the recent ban. According to the BBC, both the mayor of Bujumbura, Freddy Mbonimpa and the governor of Gitega, Venant Manirambona, confirmed that gospel music or songs "praising God" were permitted in public spaces such as bars, hair salons, restaurants and even people's cars. This is supposedly in honour of Nkurunziza, who was an evangelical Christian.

Nkurunziza, who was in office for 15 years, leaves behind a tarnished legacy with many having accused him of "suppressing political opponents, censorship and carrying out various human rights abuses throughout his extended presidency," OkayAfrica's Damola Durosomo writes.

Last year, three Burundian schoolgirls were arrested and charged with "insulting the head of state" after they allegedly drew on a picture of Nkurunziza in their textbooks. Rights activist Lewis Mudge commented on the matter saying, "With so many real crimes being committed in Burundi, it's tragic that children are the ones being prosecuted for harmless scribbles." Naturally, the sheer absurdity of the schoolgirls' arrests angered social media users and had folks posting pictures of the now late president with their own doodles in protest.

Just last month, Burundians headed to the polls to vote in the national election despite health concerns surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak.

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.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox