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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.

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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