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Angola Has Finally Decriminalized Homosexuality

It's 2019 and the country has dropped its 'vices against nature' provision.

2019 has been off to a shaky start for many African countries. However, the LGBT community in Angola, as well as its allies from all over the world, are celebrating after the state decriminalized homosexuality.


Angola adopted a new penal code yesterday since its independence from colonizer, Portugal, in 1975. The notorious 'vices against nature' provision was a part of the remnants of colonial law and led to the discrimination of LGBT Angolans particularly when it came to accessing healthcare, education and obtaining employment.

According the the new penal law, individuals who discriminate against members of the LGBT community may be subject to a prison term of up to two years. The news comes after the country's only formal LGBT organization Iris Angola was recognized legally by the state in a historic move. Following the decision, the organization's Carlos Fernandes said:

"We're turning the page for gay citizens who now have a body that is recognized by the state which gives more weight to the work of our organisation."

Although there are at least 70 countries in the world which still view same-sex relations and associations as criminal, even punishable by the death penalty in parts of Northern Nigeria, this is nonetheless a victory for the Angolan LGBT community.

And if you ask us, it's about damn time.








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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