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Ethiopia's Online Movement #BringBackOurStudents Takes to the Streets

Thousands of Ethiopians are protesting the government's failure to locate the whereabouts of at least 18 students from Dembi Dollo University who were abducted two months ago.

Mass demonstrations are underway in northern parts of Ethiopia including Bahir Dar.

Thousands of Ethiopians are protesting the government's failure to locate the whereabouts of at least 18 students from Dembi Dollo University who were abducted two months ago.


What began as an online movement under the banner of #BringBackOurStudents has evolved into a fully-fledged protest over the past few days in an effort to obtain answers from Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's government.

While there are conflicting reports as to the exact number of students who were abducted from Dembi Dollo University, it is believed that at least 18 students are missing.

According to the BBC, the students are from the Amhara community in the northern parts of Ethiopia and were fleeing from the university–located in the Oromia region–when inter-ethnic violence erupted. It is largely rumoured that the students, who are mostly female, were abducted by armed local men who are known to be active in the area. Fingers have been pointed at the Oromo Liberation Army although they have quickly denied the allegations and have instead cast the blame on the government.

Protesters have been chanting anti-government slogans and are accusing Prime Minister Ahmed and his government of not doing enough to ensure the safe release of the students. Despite the government's press secretary having reported that only 6 out of an alleged 21 missing students remained captive, many family members claim their loved ones have still not returned.

One parent, desperate to find out whether his missing daughter is alive, told the BBC that, "I'm afraid they have killed them. I wish they tell us the truth if that is the case. It's affecting our mental health. My wife is already sick because she is worried too much. I wish they tell us the truth, even if they are killed."

Prime Minister Ahmed's rule has been in the line of fire since he took office in 2017. While he brought about tremendous change such as a gender-equal cabinet and ended a two-decade long border conflict with Eritrea, an effort for which he was awarded the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, there have been numerous and wide-spread protests as long-standing inter-ethnic tensions continue to worsen.

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Photo: Etan Comics

Ethiopia’s First Superhero Comic is Going Global

Etan Comics is launching a kids version of the kickstarter-backed title, which will be published in 11 languages.


After the successful release of their graphic novel, Jember, Etan Comics is teaming up with the non-profit Open Hearts Big Dreams (OHBD) to launch a special collaboration. Etan is working with the Seattle-based organization, which has produced over 700 bilingual early-reader titles, to turn Jember into a bilingual kids book that's based on the award-winning graphic novel.

The release of the book coincides with Black History Month, and will be launched in 11 different languages, including Amharic, Arabic, French, Greek, Igbo, Kiswahili, Spanish, and Wolayta. Jember was first published in hardcover format in October 2022, and after its release it garnered +$12K pre-orders on Kickstarter. The comic book is designed to help emerging readers build their reading confidence, and learn more about African cultures and languages. Created and written by Beserat Debebe, it was illustrated by Yonatan Solomon and Michael Okoroagha.

Jember is being turned into a bilingual kids book that's based on the award-winning graphic novel and will be available in 11 different languages.

Photo: Etan Comics

Beginning in mid-February, the books will be available globally on Amazon and IngramSpark. They will also be available at Walmart, Target, Barnes & Noble, and in public libraries shortly after.

With the release of Jember, Etan Comics aims to make African stories accessible to global readers. The collaboration will also help Ethiopian children, who make up 40% of the Ethiopian population, to be empowered through the story, which speaks to the rich cultural heritage of the Ethiopian history.

With this development, Etan Comics has joined the growing list of new generation of African comic book creators who are sharing African culture through comics to engage readers with various parts of the continent's history.

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Photo by Culture Club/Getty Images

A TV Show About Ethiopia's Queen Sheba is in the Works

During a presentation on at the Sundance Film Festival, Onyx Collective announced that a Queen Of Sheba drama is in the works.

Onyx Collective, which exclusively produces content for Hulu, announced that a scripted one hour series centered around Queen of Sheba is underway. Onyx focuses on highlighting the stories of people in underrepresented communities, and the upcoming series, called Sheba, will fall under that umbrella.


Inspired by a true story,Sheba will be a drama that highlights the story of Africa's most well-known queen and her quest to unite Ethiopia and fortify it as one of the most economically robust nations in the world. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the series will highlight Makeda as she sojourns into a world of danger, marred with many twists and turns. Although Ryan Coogler—who has directed both of the Black Panther movies—is the executive producer for the drama, Chantelle Well, who is a writer on Yellowjackets, and Azie Tesfai, known for her role in Supergirl, will be involved in the creation of the film's roll out. (Tesfai is already the first Ethiopian person to portray a comic superhero.) In addition to working on Sheba, Tesfai is also working on The Chase for NBC. Onyx Collective, which debuted in 2021, is a Disney brand with a body of work that includes The Hair Tales, Reasonable Doubt, The Plot, and Unprisoned.

Although Wells will write the script for Sheba, it is unclear if Tesfai will also appear on-screen in addition to being an executive producer.

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Photo By Adedamola Odetara for OkayAfrica

Photo Series: Vic Mensa's Pilgrimage to Ghana

OkayAfrica traveled with Vic Mensa as he visited his father's childhood home, Koforidua. Here's a behind-the-scenes look about what happened.

Back in December, American rapper Vic Mensa went on a pilgrimage back home. The rapper was in Accra, Ghana for his historic Black Star Line Festival, which he was co-hosting with longtime friend and fellow rapper Chance the Rapper.

But, on a hot day before the festival, the rapper traveled two hours from Accra to Koforidua to visit his extended family. There is a lot of history in Koforidua. Highlife trailblazer Chief Kofi Sammy grew up there. Not only was he founder of the famous Okukuseku International Band but Sammy also had a long and fruitful relationship with Afrobeat legend Fula Kuti.

He also happens to be Vic Mensa's uncle. And part of the reason Vic took this trip is to convince Sammy to join him on stage at the Black Star Line Festival in Accra, in front of 50,000 fans. However, while there, Vic made sure he had time to connect with his extended family.

It was a special, intimate moment. One OkayAfrica was lucky enough to witness firsthand. Check out our photo gallery of Vic Mensa's pilgrimage below.

Photo By Adedamola Odetara for OkayAfrica

In December 2022, Vic Mensa took a trip to visit his uncle, legendary Highlife artist Chief Kofi Sammy. It’s about a two hour drive from Accra to Koforidua. A bit longer when you factor in Vic stopping for some of his favorite snacks.

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Afrobeats continues its path of domination as it makes waves across both sides of the Atlantic ocean and inserts its influences onto global pop music.

With the growing number of afrobeats releases coming out every week, we'll be rounding up the best new singles and music videos in the genre at the end of every month right here in our Best Afrobeats Songs Out Right Now list. Get started below.

If you missed it, check out The Best Afrobeats Songs of 2022.

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