News

Flooding In Niger Has Forced Hundreds of People to Leave Their Homes

Torrential rain has destroyed hundreds of homes in Niamey, Niger.

NIGER—Torrential rain has destroyed hundreds of homes in Niamey, Niger and surrounding areas since Sunday, reports Al Jazeera.


According to Niger's Director General of Civil Protections, Colonel Aboubacar Bako, the downpour has killed 44 people since June.

Residents in at-risk areas are being urged to evacuate and to head to public shelters, such as local schools to assure their safety.

People are sharing pictures and sending well wishes via social media. Others are pointing out the frequency with which natural disasters—particularly flooding—have occurred in various parts of the world recently. Floods have ravaged areas in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Houston within the last week as well. Sierra Leone is still recovering from a deadly mudslide that killed thousands earlier this month.

Niamey's location—it borders the Niger river—makes the city susceptible to flooding.  Last year, around 50 people were killed by severe flooding in the country.  These natural disasters are widening discussions around global warming and its effects on the environment—particularly as it relates, to what international relations buffs call, "the global South." For more on this, revisit our piece "Africa Will Be a Little Too Lit If We Don’t Do Something—a Conversation on Climate Change."

 

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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