Photo by Seyllou/AFP via Getty Images.

Senegal Erupts into Protests Over COVID-19 Curfews

Senegal Erupts Into Protests Over COVID-19 Lockdown Measures

Youths have taken to the streets of major cities in Senegal to protest economic hardships which have resulted from the curfew and ban on regional travel amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Protests have erupted in Dakara, Mbacké, Touba, Tambacounda and Diourbel with youths taking to the streets to protest against the curfew and ban on regional travel amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. Clashes have also occurred between the protesters and security forces in Senegal according to reports by Aljazeera. The lockdown measures have been in effect for almost three months now as part of efforts to curb the spread of the pandemic.

According to AFP, at least 70 protesters have been arrested thus far. However, the protests are set to continue indefinitely with President Macky Sall having extended the lockdown measures to the end of June.

Unrest in the religious city of Touba prompted the caliph of the Mouride Brotherhood, Serigne Mountakha Mbacke, to make a late-night television appearance. Mbacke appealed to protesters saying, "Go home. Tomorrow we will look at the source of the problems and how to address them. I don't think we have ever seen this in Touba."

Similar protests recently erupted in Guinea with six protesters losing their lives following clashes with the police and security forces. Roadblocks set up by authorities in Coyah and Dubreka sparked unrest with protesters claiming that they were being mistreated and extorted by authorities when entering and exiting the capital city.

The total number of coronavirus cases in Africa now stands at just over 160 000 cases and at leat 4600 reported deaths. Senegal has just under 4000 cases and 45 deaths while Guinea has approximately 3933 cases and 23 deaths according to BBC's Coronavirus in Africa tracker.

Interview
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.

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