popular
The Eritrean flag

The Five Eritrean Players Who Disappeared Before Football Tournament Semi Finals Are in Hiding

The five players who are a part of the Eritrean under-20 team say they are living in 'great fear and danger'.

UPDATE 10/31: The five soccer players from Eritrea's under-20 team, who disappeared from their hotel before the semi-finals of the regional Cecafa Under-20 Challenge Cup tournament, have told the BBC that they are currently in hiding and living in fear of their collective safety. Hermon Fessehaye Yohannes, Mewael Tesfai Yosief, Simon Asmelash Mekonen, Deyben Gbtsawi Hintseab and Girmay Hanibal, are afraid to return to Eritrea amid reports that they will receive "serious punishments" after their team lost to Kenya in the semi-finals of the tournament held in Uganda at the beginning of this month.


The players have issued a plea to the public saying, "We need to be safe, so anyone who cares about us, I want to say to them please help and get us out of this country." They also added that, "We are changing houses week after week, we are living underground."

This is not the first (or the last) time that Eritrean soccer players have fled while participating in an international tournament. Thousands of Eritreans continue to flee the country as a result of human rights abuses and what has been declared compulsory service in the national defense force for an indefinite amount of time. Kimberly Motley, the American lawyer currently representing the players has said that they have applied for asylum and are awaiting a response from the UN refugee agency.

Continue for Original Story:

The Eritrean u-20 team lost their semi-final match against Kenya today. No surprise there, as they were playing minus their top goalkeeper Girmay Hanibal and four other players who disappeared from the team hotel earlier in the week. The missing players are reportedly seeking asylum in Uganda, this year's host country for the Cecafa tournament.

According to the BBC, when the players did not show up to train on Tuesday, the Eritrean coach Haile Efrem Alemseghed told officials they "were sick." According to the Ugandan Daily Monitor, the five players are Hermon Fessehaye Yohannes, Mewael Tesfai Yosief, Simon Asmelash Mekonen, Deyben Gbtsawi Hintseab and Hanibal.

Thousands of Eritreans have fled the country in recent years, attempting to flee human rights abuses and compulsory and indefinite national defense service. Eritrea has also just been announced to be the world's most censored country by the Committee to Protect Journalists, topping North Korea.

This is not the first time this has happened. In fact, the Daily Monitor reports that the Eritrean government requires athletes competing abroad to put up several thousand pounds before leaving the country in order to guarantee they come back. But, apparently, the payment tactic doesn't always work as both the BBC and Daily Monitor point out multiple instances of absconsion. Ten declined to return home from a World Cup qualifying match in 2015. In 2013, nine players and the coach disappeared in Kenya. In two different instances in 2010 and 2011, 13 Eritrean players disappeared while playing in Tanzania–many were later granted refugee status and asylum in the US and UK. 2009 saw the entire Eritrean national team defect and seek asylum in Kenya.

popular
Photo by Gallo Images/Brenton Geach.

South Africans Condemn Police Brutality During National Lockdown

A number of videos have emerged on social media allegedly showing the intimidation and assault of several Black South Africans by law enforcement.

South Africa recently began a nationwide lockdown in an effort to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has been deployed across the nation to aid the police in ensuring that the rules of the lockdown are upheld. However, disturbing footage has emerged on social media allegedly depicting law enforcement agents assaulting Black South Africans.

Keep reading... Show less
popular
Image by Sabelo Mkhabela.

This Is What It Takes for South African Musicians to Succeed Abroad

Jeremy Loops, Shimza, Moonchild Sanelly and GoodLuck discuss what it took to build their names overseas.

Disclaimer: The conversation which this piece makes reference to took place before the COVID-19 pandemic hit South Africa.

"I said it for 10 years that I'm going to work with Beyoncé, and everybody laughed for those 10 years. And I said it with conviction. Today, I'm on a Grammy-nominated album [on a song] with Beyoncé right now," says Moonchild Sanelly referring to the song "MY POWER" in which she's featured in alongside Busiswa, Nija, Yemi Alade, Tierra Whack and of course Queen B herself. The track is a fan-favorite from the Lion King: The Gift soundtrack album curated by Beyoncé. Moonchild is pulling out these receipts to elaborate a point she just made about self-belief which helped her build a career that's recognized globally, a feat very few South African artists have achieved.

A few of those artists— Jeremy Loops, Shimza and Juliet Harding (a member of the versatile electronic band GoodLuck)—are on the podium alongside Moonchild during the Midem Africa Conference in Langa, Cape Town towards the end of February. The four musicians are in conversation with Trenton Birch, musician and founder of Bridges for Music Academy, sharing their secrets to breaking into the highly competitive and advanced music markets of mainly Europe and the US.

Keep reading... Show less
News Brief
Still from Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim's TED Talk

Watch Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim's  TED Talk on How Indigenous Knowledge Can Help Fight Climate Change

The Chad-born activist—and one of OkayAfrica's 100 Women 2020—says traditional knowledge, as practiced in her native Mbororo community, is one of the keys to combatting climate change.

In a new TED Talk, climate activist, geographer and one of OkayAfrica's 100 Women 2020, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, discusses the role that indigenous knowledge can play in combatting climate change.

During the 12-minute talk, Ibrahim emphasizes how the exploration and acceptance of various knowledge systems–including those that fall outside of the scope of typical scientific research–can add to our understanding of ways to protect the environment. "I think, if we put together all the knowledge systems that we have -- science, technology, traditional knowledge -- we can give the best of us to protect our peoples, to protect our planet, to restore the ecosystem that we are losing," says Ibrahim.

Keep reading... Show less
Interview

Interview: Buju Is the Blooming Afro-Fusion Artist You Should Know

Over the last year, Buju has gone from a viral sensation to one of Nigeria's young music stars pushing afro-fusion to new heights.

When chasing a dream from Nigeria, one needs a surplus of that secret sauce called belief. Young Nigerians in the music space have always forced the issue of their recognition as new viral sensations coming out with fresh, innovative styles are delimiting the shine of the limelight.

Late last year, "Spiritual," was the new record on everybody's lips. While hip-hop sensation Zlatan served as the poster boy for the single, the voice of a new melody twister carried most of the track. 22-year-old Daniel Benson, popularly known as Buju or BujuToyourEars in full, piqued the interest of industry giants and has been on an upward trajectory since then.

Around four million streams later, a handful of major performances, Headies nominations, and a remix of his hit single "L'Enu" featuring his idol Burna Boy on the way, the stars don't seem to be the limit for Buju.

Meet Buju, the latest addition to the list of young Nigerian stars pushing the new generation into the conversation.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.