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EFF To Meet With H&M Right After Trashing Pretoria and Johannesburg Shops

"No one should make jokes about the dignity of black people and be left unattended to," says EFF leader Julius Malema.

Militant South African political party EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters) will meet with H&M management to discuss the racist "Coolest Monkey In The Jungle" ad, HuffPost South Africa reports.

This comes after the party vandalized H&M shops in both Pretoria and Johannesburg over the weekend. Protests were also held in Cape Town. H&M has since closed all its shops in the country, issuing a statement on Twitter:

"We are aware of the recent events in several of our South African stores. Out of concern for the safety of our employees and customers, we have temporarily closed all stores in the area. We strongly believe that racism and bias in any shape or form, deliberate or accidental, are simply unacceptable.

We stress that our store staff had nothing to do with our poor judgment of producing the children's hoodie and the image."

South Africans were divided in their reactions to the Pretoria and Johannesburg incidents. Some felt vandalism wasn't the answer, while others felt the EFF acted accordingly.

The party's commander in chief, Julius Malema says they won't apologize for their actions.

"No one should make jokes about the dignity of black people and be left unattended to," he was quoted as saying by eNCA. "We make no apology about what the fighters did today against H&M. All over South Africa, H&M stores are closed because they called our children baboons. So we are teaching them a lesson, if they don't know what a monkey is, then today they know what it is. We are not going to allow anyone to use the colour skin to humiliate us and to exclude us. We are black, we are proud, we are black and we are beautiful."

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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