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This Compilation of Lost Somali Tapes Is Nominated For a Grammy

Sweet As Broken Dates: Lost Somali Tapes from the Horn of Africa is up for Best Historical Album at the 2018 Grammy Awards.


It looks like there are two great vintage African records up for awards at the 60th Annual Grammys.

Despite the Grammys still not catching up to afrobeats, one classic Burkinabé record is nominated for two awards, as well as this amazing compilation from Somalia.

Sweet As Broken Dates: Lost Somali Tapes from the Horn of Africa, a compilation of pre-civil war music that celebrates Somali women, is nominated for Best Historical Album.

Vik Sohonie, the founder of Ostinato Records, the label that released this album, wrote an in-depth piece about Sweet As Broken Dates for OkayAfrica earlier this year when we got a first look at the record.

"If we cast our gaze to the 1970s & 1980s, just before the civil war, when the arts, especially theater and music, reigned supreme, Somali women were the captains of their art form," Sohonie writes.

"Any curation or distilling of the Somali sound from before the war, not even by choice, will undoubtedly consist of a selection tracks led by women vocalists. Their voices, from soaring, to sweet, to haunting, are reflective of the diversity of the Somali repertoire," says Sohonie.

"The roster is endless: Khadra Dahir, Maryan Naasir, Maryan Mursal, Sahra Dawo, Sara Axmed, and the nightingale Magool, amongst so many others," Sohonie continues.

"Somali women are key to the Horn of Africa's present and future, and were clearly the protagonists of its past. Their confidence, passion, and sheer resilience in the face of stifling attitudes are an example of persistent, empowered feminism we don't often see, but it's been there and it's here to stay."

Learn How the 70s Became Somalia's Golden Age of Music in This New Video

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Photo by KOLA SULAIMON/AFP via Getty Image

#EndSARS: 1 Year Later And It's Business As Usual For The Nigerian Government

Thousands filled the streets of Nigeria to remember those slain in The #LekkiTollGateMassacre...while the government insists it didn't happen.

This week marks 1 year since Nigerians began protests against police brutality and demanded an end to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The #EndSARS protests took the world by storm as we witnessed Nigerian forces abuse, harass and murder those fighting for a free nation. Reports of illegal detention, profiling, extortion, and extrajudicial killings followed the special task force's existence, forcing the government to demolish the unit on October 11th, 2020. However, protestors remained angered and desperate to be heard. It wasn't until October 20th, when soldiers opened fire on demonstrators at Lekki tollgate in the country's capital, Lagos, that the protests came to a fatal end. More than 56 deaths from across the country were reported, while hundreds more were traumatized as the Nigerian government continued to rule by force. The incident sparked global outrage as the Nigerian army refused to acknowledge or admit to firing shots at unarmed protesters in the dead of night.

It's a year later, and nothing has changed.

Young Nigerians claim to still face unnecessary and violent interactions with the police and none of the demands towards systemic changes have been met. Fisayo Soyombo the founder of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism, told Al Jazeera, "Yes, there has not been any reform. Police brutality exists till today," while maintaining that his organization has reported "scores" of cases of police brutality over this past year.

During October 2020's protests, Nigerian authorities turned a blind eye and insisted that the youth-led movement was anti-government and intended to overthrow the administration of current President Muhammadu Buhari. During a press conference on Wednesday, in an attempt to discredit the protests, Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed hailed the Nigerian army and police forces for the role they played in the #EndSARS protests, going as far as to say that the Lekki Toll Massacre was a "phantom massacre with no bodies." These brazen claims came while protesters continued to gather in several major cities across the country. The minister even went on to shame CNN, Nigerian favorite DJ Switch as well as Amnesty International, for reporting deaths at Lekki. Mohammed pushed even further by saying, "The six soldiers and 37 policemen who died during the EndSARS protests are human beings with families, even though the human rights organizations and CNN simply ignored their deaths, choosing instead to trumpet a phantom massacre."

With the reports of abuse still coming out of the West African nation, an end to the struggle is not in sight. During Wednesday's protest, a journalist for the Daily Post was detained by Nigerian forces while covering the demonstrations.

According to the BBC, additional police units have been set up in the place of SARS, though some resurfacing SARS officers and allies claim to still be around.

Young Nigerians relied heavily on social media during the protests and returned this year to voice their opinions around the first anniversary of an experience that few will be lucky enough to forget.



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