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Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza Has Died

The 55-year-old outgoing president died of heart failure on Monday.

Pierre Nkurunziza, the president of Burundi has died of heart failure. His death was confirmed on Tuesday via a Tweet from the Burundian government. He was 55.

The outgoing president reportedly suffered a heart attack at Karusi hospital in Eastern Burundi on Monday. According to the New York Times, he was hospitalized after falling ill at a volleyball game. In late May, his wife Denise Bucumi Nkurunziza sought out treatment in Kenya after being infected with the coronavirus, which has led others to believe that President Nkurunziza may have had the disease as well.

READ: How Burundian Activists In Exile Are Using Social Media As A Tool For Revolution


Nkurunziza, who came into power of 2005, was accused of suppressing political opponents, censorship and carrying out various human rights abuses throughout his extended presidency.

"His death highlights the urgency for the many victims to know the truth about the crimes committed during his presidency and who was responsible," said Lewis Mudge, the Central Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "As long as these abuses go unpunished, this dark legacy will hang over Burundi for many years to come."

After 15 years under Nkurunziza, Burundians elected a new leader last month, the retired general Evariste Ndayishimiye Nkurunziza was set to finally leave office in August of this year. Burundians headed to the streets in protest, and insisted on holding the election despite the threat of coronavirus.

We'll keep you updated as we learn more.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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