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Cherie Blair Under Fire for Claiming That 'Most African Ladies' First Sexual Experience Is Rape'

This is what happens when Africans aren't allowed to speak for themselves.

British barrister and women's rights campaigner Cherie Blair has come under fire for making a sweeping generalization and reinforcing harmful narratives about African women, after she told a group of students that "most African ladies' first sexual experience is rape" during a recent talk on women and leadership, reports The Guardian.


Blair, the wife of former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, made the remark in front of 100 attendees at the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School in London. One of the people in attendance, going by the name of Clair spoke to The Guardian, telling the publication that the comment did not garner much of a reaction from many people in the room, but that she found it unsettling and decided to email Blair's foundation about it. The foundation responded, admitting that the comments were not backed by actual research. Instead telling Clair that the Blair was referring to "the women she had met and heard directly from in the initial years of the Foundation's work rather than a specific research piece."

Blair has since responded to the backlash, claiming that her comment was in response to a question about African girls "missing out on their education for a variety of reasons."

"In that context I said that for the vast majority of young girls – who are often 12-, 13-, 14-year-olds – their first experience of sex was rape," she added, before sharing findings from a 2002 study by the World Health Organization (WHO) in an attempt to support her claim. "It was not my intent to offend or undermine anyone with my comments, and I would welcome more recent stats that showed these findings are outdated, " she said. "But the sad truth is that too many young African girls continue to experience sexual assault, become pregnant and in consequence fall out of education. I believe it's important to shed light on this, as the role of education is crucial to empower girls and the importance of investing in young people cannot be overstated."

While sexual abuse is an epidemic on the continent that needs to be addressed accordingly, it is not a problem exclusive to Africa as Blair's statement implies. "Ms Blair should enable African women to speak for themselves instead of usurping their voice and their experience," said Chi Onwurah, The Labour MP for Newcastle upon Tyne Central of Blair's comments.

"Violence against women is a huge problem in many African countries –as it is here," she added. "But to characterise African women's sexual experience as rooted in rape undermines the hard work of many to tackle this issue while playing to and indeed stoking stereotypes of sexually aggressive African men and passive women." Many on social media are expressing similar discontent with Blair's statement.

Her comments are spurring discussions around the lack of agency given to Africans to be able to speak on their own behalf. Many are lambasting Blair for her disparaging words, and for the use of her platform in an irresponsible manner that only perpetuates a reductive view of the continent.










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Former South African President Infuriates South Africans With Comments on Apartheid

Former President F.W. de Klerk claims that 'Apartheid was not a crime against humanity'.

Former South African president F.W. de Klerk has stirred controversy after he made claims that "Apartheid was not a crime against humanity".

The former statesman made the comments during a number of interviews held amid events last week which were commemorating the 30th anniversary of Nelson Mandela's release from prison.

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Photo by Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.

Ethiopians React to Passing of Controversial ‘Hate Speech’ Law

Many are concerned that the new law is the government's attempt to suppress freedom of speech instead.

Yesterday, the Ethiopian government passed a law which will punish what it deems to be "hate speech" and "disinformation" with large fines and serious jail time, according to Aljazeera. The new law comes just before elections are set to take place this year in Ethiopia.

At least 300 members of parliament voted in favor of the new law which several civil rights groups have warned will undermine free speech in the East African country.

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K.O Releases ‘Killa Combo’ Featuring Zingah, Loki, Tellaman and Mariechan

Listen to the first single released under K.O's new imprint Skhandaworld.

The last time we spoke to K.O., he revealed that one of his goals for the year is to launch Skhandaworld, a newly launched imprint founded by the South African emcee. The up-and-coming rapper Loki was a top priority as he is the first signee under the label.

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Twice As Tall World Tour. Flyer provided by Atlantic Records.

Burna Boy Announces 'Twice As Tall' World Tour Dates

The Nigerian star will be playing shows across North America and Europe this summer.

Burna Boy is hitting the road again.

Following the celebrated release of African Giant—which came with nominations at both the Grammys & BRIT Awards and a trophy for Best International Act at the BET Awards—the Nigerian star will be embarking on a long run of shows that will take him across North America and Europe.

The Twice As Tall World Tour will kick off in May in Atlanta, and will see Burna Boy playing concerts across the US, Canada, Norway, France, Portugal, UK, Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and more locations.

You can check out the full tour dates for Twice As Tall World Tour below and revisit Burna Boy's performance for Okay Acoustics.

Tickets are available now.

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