News

The Ugandan Government Has Banned Gay Pride Events

For the second year in a row, the Ugandan government has cancelled gay pride celebrations in the country's capital. 

KAMPALA—For the second year in a row, the Ugandan government has canceled gay pride celebrations in the country's capital.


Last week Wednesday, the country's minister of ethics and integrity, Simon Lokodo, called for the shutting down of a pride gala set to take place at the Sheraton Hotel, claiming that the event was an "illegal attempt to promote homosexuality," reports The Guardian.

“It’s true I ordered the police to stop and shut down all the gay pride events. No gay gathering and promotion can be allowed in Uganda. We can’t tolerate it at all,” said Lokodo.

“We know they are trying to recruit and promote homosexuality secretly," he continued. "But it’s worse to attempt to stand and exhibit it in public arena. This is totally unacceptable. Never in Uganda.”

Homosexuality is punishable by law in Uganda, as several colonial-era laws still remain in place.

LGBTQ advocates in the nation are outraged by the minister's actions and the government's blatant denial of human rights.

“We are utterly appalled by the minister’s actions," said Frank Mugisha, the director of the Sexual Minorities Uganda organization. "The government crackdown on our events is abuse of our freedom of assembly and association. We have a right granted by the Ugandan constitution."

“It is sad and difficult. This is based on conservative views of our politicians. Pride is about celebrating who we are, giving courage and hope to those individuals who are living lonely and isolated lives in hostile communities, for them to know they are not alone. We shall not allow this intimidation. The struggle will go on.”

Uganda held its first gay pride rally in 2015, after a law, which made homosexuality punishable by a life sentence, was overturned in court.

 

 

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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