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Celebrated Coupé-Décalé Pioneer DJ Arafat Has Died from a Motorcycle Accident

The continent and the world has lost a true force who put the sounds of Côte d'Ivoire on the map.

DJ Arafat—a beacon of Côte d'Ivoire's coupé-décalé sound—tragically succumbed to his injuries from a motorcycle accident Monday morning, BBC Afrique reports.

Ivorian Public Radio-Television (RTI) says Maurice Bandaman, Ivorian Minister of Culture, confirmed his death, saying DJ Arafat, born Ange Didier Houon, collided into a car driven by a journalist from Radio Côte d'Ivoire Sunday night. He was not wearing a helmet.


RFI Africa adds that the journalist involved in the accident is still hospitalized and is under observation. Videos and images have been circulating on social media, showing Arafat lying on the road unconscious before he was rushed to the hospital.


"The boy is gone—he lived like a shooting star," A'salfo, the leader of Ivorian group Magic System, shares with Jeune Afrique. "In the style of zouglou, internationally, there is Magic System. For coupé-décalé, it was DJ Arafat. This is a great loss for Ivorian music."

Coupé-décalé is a genre developed by a set of DJs known as the Jet Set around 2002 and was then pushed by member Douk Sega until his death in 2006. The sound, known for it's percussion-heavy style, was a response to the political/military crisis Côte d'Ivoire was going through at the time.

DJ Arafat was a pioneer of coupé-décalé in his own right and was considered to be one of the top artists to come out of French-speaking Africa. He amassed over 2.3 million followers on Facebook alone—where he called his fan club China.

He was 33 years old.

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David Oyelowo Will Star as US President In an Upcoming Drama Series from Showtime

'The President Is Missing' is based on a bestselling novel co-written by Bill Clinton.

Davido Oyelowo is set to star in Showtime's upcoming series pilot, The President Is Missing, a drama based on the bestselling 2018 novel by former US president Bill Clinton and James Patterson, Deadline reports.

The series is set to begin production early next year, and will see Oyelowo portraying an unambitious vice president who is unexpectedly thrust into the role of head of state against his desires.

READ: In Conversation: Abiola Oke With David Oyelowo

Here's a full description of The President Is Missing via Deadline:

In The President Is Missing, a powerless and politically aimless vice president (Oyelowo) unexpectedly becomes president halfway into his administration's first term, despite his every wish to the contrary. He walks right into a secret, world-threatening crisis, both inside and outside the White House. Attacked by friends and enemies alike, with scandal and conspiracy swirling around him, he is confronted with a terrible choice: keep his head down, toe the party line and survive, or act on his stubborn, late-developing conscience and take a stand.
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Several People Have Been Killed During Protests in Guinea

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At least five people have died during protests in Guinea's Conakry and Mamou after police opened fire on them, according to Aljazeera. The protests come just after President Alpha Conde instructed his government to look into drafting a new constitution that will allow him to remain in power past the permissible two terms. Conde's second five-year term will come to an end next year but as is the unfortunate case with many African leaders, the 81-year-old is intent on running for office yet again.

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In Conversation: Lemn Sissay On His New Book About Re-claiming the Ethiopian Heritage Stolen From Him by England’s Foster Care System

In 'My Name Is Why,' the 2019 PEN Pinter award winner passionately advocates for children in the institutional care system, and in turn tells a unique story of identity and the power in discovering one's heritage.

It took the author Lemn Sissay almost two decades to learn his real name. As an Ethiopian child growing up in England's care system, his cultural identity was systematically stripped from him at an early age. "For the first 18 years of my life I thought that my name was Norman," Sissay tells OkayAfrica. "I didn't meet a person of color until I was 10 years of age. I didn't know a person of color until I was 16. I didn't know I was Ethiopian until I was 16 years of age. They stole the memory of me from me. That is a land grab, you know? That is post-colonial, hallucinatory madness."

Sissay was not alone in this experience. As he notes in his powerful new memoir My Name Is Why, during the 1960s, tens of thousands of children in the UK were taken from their parents under dubious circumstances and put up for adoption. Sometimes, these placements were a matter of need, but other times, as was the case with Sissay, it was a result of the system preying on vulnerable parents. His case records, which he obtained in 2015 after a hardfought 30 year campaign, show that his mother was a victim of child "harvesting," in which young, single women were often forced into giving their children up for adoption before being sent back to their native countries. She tried to regain custody of young Sissay, but was unsuccessful.

Whether they end up in the foster system out of need or by mistake, Sissay says that most institutionalized children face the same fate of abuse under an inadequate and mismanaged system that fails to recognize their full humanity. For black children who are sent to white homes, it often means detachment from a culturally-sensitive environment. "There are too many brilliant people that I know who have been adopted by white parents for me to say that it just doesn't work," says Sissay. "But the problem is the amount of children that it doesn't work for."

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