Photo by Thabo Jaiyesimi/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.

Protesters holding a banner saying, Oromo lives matter, during the demonstration. Ethiopian Oromo community in London protest demanding justice for Slain singer, Haacaaluu Hundeessaa. Haacaaluu sang in the Oromo language, Ethiopias largest ethnic group and his music became the melody of a protest movement that helped bring down Ethiopia's government in 2018.

Deep Dive: Protest Movements Across the Continent

Here is a detailed look at the major protests which have engulfed a number of African countries thus far in 2020.

This year, although only seven months in, has and continues to be an eventful one across all fronts. While the entire world is collectively reeling from the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there have been considerable shifts on the socio-political landscapes of many African countries. As a result, there have been a number of mass demonstrations taking place across the continent as those who are fed up by the alleged corruption, increasing poverty and inequality at the hands of their respective governments, have said "no more". From anti-government protests in Algeria to youth protests against police brutality in Kenya, here is a list of the major protest action currently taking place (or that has already taken place) across the continent.

This list is in no particular order.

Ethiopia, January 2020

Protesters holding a banner saying, Oromo lives matter,

Photo by Thabo Jaiyesimi/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.

Ethiopia's most recent protests come after the death of popular Oromo musician Hachalu Hundessa, whose music is credited for giving voice to the Oromo Lives Matter movement. Hundessa was gunned down last month in Addis Ababa although the details around his death are not yet known. Almost two weeks ago, protests erupted in the Oromia region and led to the death of at least 145 civilians and another 10 in the capital, according to the BBC. Ethnic tensions in Ethiopia continue to worsen under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

At the beginning of this year, thousands of Ethiopians took to the street to protest against the government's failure to locate 18 students who had been abducted towards the end of 2019. The students, who are from the Amhara community in the northern parts of Ethiopia, were studying at Dembi Dollo University. Although some believed that the Oromo Liberation Army was behind the abductions, the army refuted the allegations and cast the blame on the government instead.

Nigeria, January 2020

Several mass protests against continued gender-based violence (GBV) in Nigeria have been taking place since 2019. Last year, Nigerian women protested the spate of murders of at least eight women in various Port Harcourt hotels. Last month,#JusticeForUwa saw many Nigerians demanding justice for 22-year-old student Vera Omozuwa who was attacked and murdered by a group of men while in a Benin City church. That online movement then grew into the much larger #WeAreTired movement which was championed by the likes of Tiwa Savage, Wizkid and Don Jazzy. By the end of June, the Nigerian government had declared a state of emergency on rape in the country.

Guinea, January 2020

Protesters confornt the army in the streets in Conakry on March 22, 2020, during a constitutional referendum in the country.

Photo by CELLOU BINANI/AFP via Getty Images.

There have been massive anti-government protests in Guinea since last year. The protests come after President Alpha Condé announced that his government would be looking into a new constitution which would allow him to remain in power for a third term. The protests, which are largely concentrated in Conakry, Boffa and N'Zerekore, have resulted in the deaths of at least seven people thus far. Additionally, six protesters were recently killed following clashes with the police over measures put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19. Citizens were reportedly frustrated by alleged corruption at the hands of authorities.

Zimbabwe, January 2020

A doctor with a loud hailer shouts slogans during a protest march by senior medical doctors in Harare, on December 4, 2019.

Photo by JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP via Getty Images.

Anti-government protests have been taking place in Zimbabwe since last year. While the government, under current President Emmerson Mnangagwa's leadership, has been condemned for the police violence targeting protesters from the opposition, there have been additional protests led by health professionals in the country. Doctors downed their tools and took to the streets for over four months demanding better pay and working conditions––conditions which have only worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. The protests eventually came to a halt when Zimbabwean telecoms billionaire Strive Masiyiwaannounced that he would set up a fund which would help doctors manage living costs.

Fresh protests threaten to erupt, however, following the arrest of prominent journalist Hopewell Chin'ono whose work has exposed the alleged corruption by the government during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Chin'ono was arrested alongside opposition leader Jacob Ngarivhume and kept on charges of "incitement to participate in public violence".

Senegal, January 2020

Similar to the protests in Guinea, mass demonstrations erupted in Senegal's Dakara, Mbacké, Touba, Tambacounda and Diourbel with youths taking to the streets to protest against the curfew and ban on regional travel amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. The measures put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 were reportedly causing further economic hardships for the youth and their livelihoods.

The Gambia, January 2020

Demonstrators against the regime of Yahya Jammeh, the former President of the Gambia, gather in the streets during a demonstration asking for Yahya Jammeh to be brought to justice in Banjul on January 25, 2020.

Photo by ROMAIN CHANSON/AFP via Getty Images.

The protests in The Gambia are complex. Initially, protests at the beginning of this year were in support of former President Yahya Jammeh's safe return from exile after the politician claimed he had been "driven out of the country". Jammeh ruled the West African country for over two decades and subsequently lost to current President Adama Barrow in the national elections back in 2017. On the other hand, many other Gambians, along with the Gambia Center for Victims of Human Rights Violations, insisted that Jammeh return so that he could be arrested, charged and prosecuted for the crimes committed during his rule. There have also been continued protests calling for President Barrow to step down. After being sworn into office in 2017, President Barrow was only meant to be in office for three years. However, he has recently backtracked on that commitment which has subsequently given rise to the "Three Years Jotna" movement.

Liberia, January 2020

Liberia has been engulfed in anti-government protests for a while. Protesters have called for current President George Weah to resign following what they describe as a failure to resolve the country's dire economic situation in addition to rampant corruption by government officials. Back in June of last year, Liberians protested for the first time since President Weah took office in 2017. Failing to adequately address an investigation which uncovered the disappearance of millions of dollars, the government then restricted internet and social media access shortly before the protests took place.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), January 2020

In January of this year, students in the DRC protested against the increasing cost of tuition at Kinshasa University. After students were forced to vacate the university premises by police, President Felix Tshisekedi was reportedly set to meet with student leaders to discuss a way forward. In 2019, students at Lubumbashi University had protested against hikes in tuition fees as well as infrastructural issues. At least four people were killed during those protests, according to IOL.

Uganda, February 2020

Stella Nyanzi (C), a prominent Ugandan activist and government critic, is arrested by police officers as she organised a protest for more food distribution by the government to people who has been financially struggling by the nationwide lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Kampala, on May 18, 2020.

Photo by SUMY SADURNI/AFP via Getty Images.

There have been numerous protests which have taken place in Uganda since last year. Students at Makerere University staged "Fees Must Fall" protests towards the end of 2019 while anti-governments protests against President Yoweri Museveni have been led by opposition leader Bobi Wine earlier this year, in the run-up to the 2021 presidential elections. More recently, activist Stella Nyanzi was arrested after protesting against the slow distribution of food during the country's lockdown.

Algeria, March 2020

People chant slogans at a weekly anti-government demonstration in the capital Algiers on March 13, 2020.

Photo by Billal Bensalem/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

Protests in Algeria began last year in February shortly after then President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced that he would be running for a fifth term in office. While the statesman eventually stepped down, following a two-decade long rule, mass demonstrations continued every week thereafter with protesters demanding that his entire government step down as well. In March of this year, protesters called off the weekly demonstrations for the first time in over a year amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Mali, April 2020

There have been ongoing anti-government protests in Mali as protesters call for political reforms and the resignation of current President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. This comes after Malians headed to the voting stations in a long-delayed election this March. At least 11 people have been killed in the most recent protests where police and security forces used lethal force to disperse crowds of protesters. Both regional and international bodies have condemned the use of lethal force by the Malian government with the presidents of Senegal, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria and Niger set to meet with President Keita in the hopes of mediating the ongoing conflict. The West African country has been engulfed in jihadist conflict since 2012 and at least 600 civilians have been killed as a result.

South Africa, June 2020

There have been a number of protests in South Africa this year. However, the major demonstrations thus far have been in support of the Black Lives Mattermovement with specific reference to instances of police brutality and gender-based violence (GBV) in the country. Since the country's national lockdown began a few months ago, several Black South Africans namely Collins Khosa, Sibusiso Amos, Petrus Miggels and Adane Emmanuel, have been killed by the police and/or members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). Additionally, the GBV and femicide crisis has also continued to worsen despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kenya, June 2020

Last month, Kenyans took to the streets to protest police brutality in the country which had claimed the lives of 15 people, according to a report by the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA). The deaths were reportedly a result of a dusk-to-dawn curfew set in place to curb the spread of COVID-19. It is alleged that there had been numerous instances of law enforcement using excessive force and brutality.

Namibia, October 2020

Protesters hold placards while they gesture during the second day of the #ShutItDown Protests, where hundreds of Namibian youth protested against gender-based violence by shutting down Windhoeks Central Business District, in Windhoek, Namibia, on October 9, 2020.

Photo by HILDEGARD TITUS / AFP) (Photo by HILDEGARD TITUS/AFP via Getty Images).

Following the death of a 22-year-old Namibian woman named Shannon Wasserfall, who reportedly went missing in April of this year, Namibian youth have since taken to the streets to protest against gender-based violence (GBV). Dubbed the #ShutItDown protests, demonstrations outside government buildings have been taking place with young women, university students and high school girls at the helm. The Southern African country has reportedly recorded at least 200 cases of GBV every month.

Nigeria, October 2020

#EndSARS: Nigerian protests against police brutality.

Photo by Rachel Seidu.

Over the past few weeks, Nigerian youth have taken to the streets to protest against continued police brutality in the country. The #EndSARS protests have called upon President Muhammadu Buhari to disband the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) which has been implicated in the harassment, abductions, torture and murder of Nigerians since its establishment back in 1992. However, while there are reports that SARS has been disbanded, these are in conflict with other reports that the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, plans to reform the unit instead. Additionally, the 2020 protests are not the first. Protests calling for the disbanding of SARS in Nigeria were reported as far back as 2017.

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Photo Credit: Matt Winkelmeyer

Black Coffee to Headline Madison Square Garden

South Africa’s Black Coffee has shared that he will be a headliner at Madison Square Garden later this year.

Black Coffee has collaborated with a host of recognized names, but he is about to make his biggest move yet: a musical stint at Madison Square Garden. Today, the South African producer and DJ announced that he will be headlining at the esteemed Madison Square Garden later in October this year. In a surprising instagram post, the celebrated South African DJ shared the news with millions of his followers. The show is slated to take place on October 7, 2023. Black Coffee is the most recent African to headline the venue and he will join a growing list of African artists who have performed at the venue including Burna Boy, and Wizkid.

In a statement, Black Coffee, born Nkosinathi Innocent Maphumulo, expressed a lot of excitement about the upcoming gig.

“Today’s announcement is one of those that just becomes difficult to put into words,” Black Coffee said. “As a performer sharing a stage that has hosted some of the greatest artists from all different genres and backgrounds just makes it all so real! I’m completely honored to make my Madison Square Garden debut in 2023!”

For many artists, a Madison Square Garden appearance is the pinnacle of their career, a sort of crowning achievement for the work that they have put into perfecting their craft.

Black Coffee has been at the forefront of pushing dance music to the public, and this development marks his continued relevance in the music space. With a career that spans almost three decades, Black Coffee continues to refine his sound and redefine what is considered music that Africans can make, and a Madison Square Garden appearance might just be more proof that his formula is working.

In a previous conversation with Billboard last year, Black Coffee said that he was honored to represent his country on the global stage.

“There is so much incredible talent coming not only from South Africa, but coming from the African continent as a whole, and being able to bring our culture to these types of platforms only opens the window of opportunity further and further for all of these incredible acts,” Black Coffee said.


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Joeboy Shares the Riveting Music Video For "Body & Soul"

Joeboy has shared the music video for “Body and Soul," which is peak into his new record.

Vocal sensation, Joseph Akinwale, known professionally as Joeboy, released the music video for his latest song "Body & Soul" which is one of the tracks that will be included in his upcoming album.

The video, which is a Perliks-directed offering, is both riveting and emotional, with matching lyrics that underscore the overall meaning of the record. In the music video, Joeboy takes fans on a journey to a rough neighborhood in Nigeria’s Lagos, where he tells a story of getting a girl pregnant, and stepping up as a responsible father at the end of the day. The video depicts the story of a young couple navigating their way through the emotions of conceiving a baby, and highlights themes of love, loyalty and endurance.

Never one to shy away from telling poignant stories through his music video, Joeboy seems to lean into that pattern with his latest project.

While talking about the song, Joeboy said that the song encompassed different aspects of love.

"The song is not just a love song in a romantic sense, it’s a song that encompasses all forms of love; love for yourself, love for family, and just being there for the people that you care about," Joeboy said.

Although he is a relatively new talent, Joeboy has established himself as one of Afrobeats' prominent voices With over three billion streams, and a loyal and growing fanbase. The “Sip” crooner is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Watch the video for “Body & Soul” below.


Photo: Sundance Film Institute.

7 Directors Share Their Best Tips for Aspiring Filmmakers

Whether working in Nollywood or on the documentary circuit, these directors share the advice that helped them get their films made.

No matter if they're a newcomer or a well established name in the game, directors know that making a film is always a huge undertaking, filled with massive challenges. Filmmakers from both the continent and in the diaspora continue to tackle these challenges head on, in an effort to tell their stories and make their movies.

OkayAfrica spoke to a number of directors, from South Africa's Milisuthando Bongela, who took eight years to make her first film, Milisuthando, which debuted to positive reviews at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, to C.J. Obasi who's made his name in Nollywood for years and now is riding a wave of acclaim for his latest thriller, Mami Wata.

Each director shared some words of wisdom that helped them overcome the hurdles of making a film, words that should provide some inspiration to any new filmmaker looking to make their mark on the African film industry.

Ellie Foumbi

A still from the film Our Father The Devil of two women standing arm in arm.

Babetida Sadjo and Jennifer Tchiakpe star in Our Father, The Devil.

Photo: 42West.

Foumbi's debut feature, 'Our Father the Devil,' earned a Film Independent Spirit Award for best feature.

"Write from your heart, write what you care about, put out what you want to see. I always create for myself first, I say that, always, because I'm a cinephile, and I'm always trying to create what I want to see up on screen, what I think is missing. As long as you're being honest about that, and you are staying true to who you are, then you're going to make something special. When I'm writing things, I'm also looking at what's already in the landscape and asking myself, ‘How can I add to this conversation? How can I offer something new and unique?’ Because I think that's important. There's a lot of films being made every year. There's a lot of talent out there. It's about finding the thing that's unique about your perspective that can help you stand out from the pack, if that's possible. It's hard, but I think that's worth trying to do.

Wale Oyéjidé

An image from the film Bravo, Burkina! of a man and a woman kneeling at a small lake.

Wale Oyéjidé shot 'Bravo, Burkina' in both Italy and Burkina Faso over two weeks.

Photo: Sundance Film Institute.

Oyéjidé, whose 'Bravo, Burkina!' debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and opened this year's Fespaco, moved from fashion to filmmaking.

"There was no notion whatsoever of Sundance when Bravo, Burkina! was written. We weren't aiming for that, even though we [were] over the moon to be [there]. And I think the point of that is to not aim for a particular accolade or trophy, but to aim for a feeling and to aim for an impact.

First of all, find out who you are and what it is that you have to do on this planet. It's a continuing conversation with yourself, but I think at least begin to ask yourself what that is, and that will guide the work that you create, and things will come along the way. Sundance came, but there are many, many things which didn't happen for me, which I was hoping to have. If one focuses too much on any particular tangible thing, there's so many other people aiming for that one thing, just statistically, it has no bearing on you being great. You're great, but there are a thousand great people. If you attach yourself emotionally to like, 'I want to be at Sundance,' it's going to be a very, very long, sad road for you because lots of people want to be at Sundance. But I think if you attach yourself to 'I want to make my mom or my cousins or my best friends feel better about who they are,' that's a little bit closer to home and actually, frankly, more meaningful over time.

So I think the game should be to have an impact, not to be at a particular place, and you might find many places along the way that give you that same level of gratification."

Oliver Schmitz

An image from the film, Mapantsula, of a crowd of people protesting.

Oliver Schmitz recently restored 'Mapantsula' for its 35th anniversary and showed it at the Berlin Film Festival.

Photo: Oliver Schmitz.

Schmitz' made 'Mapantsula' in 1988, which was considered the first anti-apartheid film, before going on to make a number of highly-acclaimed titles, like 'Life, Above All' and 'Hijack Stories.'

"You don't necessarily need to go to a film school. You don't necessarily need to have 20 years built up of experience before you make a film. If you have something to say and you want to say it strong enough, then you find the means to do it. That's the most important thing.

Enjoy the journey. I recently heard Walter Murch, the film editor, speak about the creative process, and he compared it to a game where different people in the room are thinking different things. It's like a complicated version of 20 Questions where everybody has something else in their head at the beginning of the process with an idea, and it can go terribly right or terribly wrong. This is the nature of filmmaking.

What you learn in the process is to find that communication because if that doesn't happen between you and your actors and your team -- camera and editing and music and so on -- it's not going to ignite. Because whatever you start with, what you want to end up with is more than the sum total of those individual pieces. That's probably an important lesson. It's not about being dogmatic, 'Yes, I want this scene to be exactly like this.' You don't know beforehand how it's going to be exactly. It depends on a lot of things, not just practical, but creative things. So to try and stay open to that process.

And also, most importantly, don't think too much about what do other people want, but what do you want? Because when we made this Mapantsula, the desire was to make it very specifically for a South African audience, and not to be confused about, 'Well, what festival is it going to be on? What are the buyers going to think? What will people in other countries think?' because if it's got something authentic about it, it will resonate."

Adura Onashile

A still from the film, Girl, of a mother with her arms wrapped around her daughter who is looking at the camera.

Adura Onashile's 'Girl'

Photo: Sundance Film Institute

Onashile, who spent her formative years in Nigeria, cemented her reputation in theater before diving into her first feature film with 'Girl'.

"Something from theater that I brought to [making a film] was, basically, once you've made a point -- once you've made the emotional point or the visual point, or the story point -- move on. Presume your audience is incredibly intelligent, just presume that. So I would absolutely say to anybody making any piece of work, but in film, in particular, don't harp on it.

In terms of working with people, and the difficulty of being on set and the pressing nature of time, don't take any of it personally. Do not take any of it personally. It literally is the nature of how we make work, and it needs to change and improvements need to be made. But don't think it's you; it's just the vagaries of the industry."

C.J. Obasi

A black and white still from the film, Mami Wata, directed by CJ Obasi of a woman with Yoruba face paint on, looking with her eyes downcast.

Mami Wata centers on the Yoruba myth

Photo: Sundance Film Institute

Obasi, as part of the Surreal16 Collective, made 'Juju Stories', and also directed short films, before his black and white thriller, 'Mami Wata' won the cinematography prize at Sundance this year.

"Be true to yourself. Film festivals, and the global film market generally, are looking for unique voices. Actually, I think they are desperate for unique voices because right now the world is inundated with content so the only thing that will stand out is your unique voice. Find it and be true to it 'til the very end. It is definitely not going to be easy to do this. There will be lots of hunger strikes but if you are true and remain intentional about your craft, you will get there."

Mbithi Masya

An image from the film, 'Baba,' of a small boy looking at a lake.

Mbithi Masya's short film, Baba, has won a number of awards over the past year, including Film Africa's Baobab Award.

Photo: Baba.

Masya wears many hats but his cinematic work, whether in short film or full-length feature, is fast-earning him prominence as an African filmmaker of note.

"Believe in yourself. Don’t give up. And never stop learning because you never know enough."

Milisuthando Bongela

An image from the film, Milisuthando, of a group of women dressed regally dancing.

Milisuthando Bongela puts her unique spin on the personal essay in the film, 'Milisuthando.'

Photo: Sundance Film Institute.

Joburg-based Bongela spent years diving into stories about her family's roots in the former-Transkei to make her debut documentary, 'Milisuthando,' which is currently on the festival circuit.

“You really have to serve your story and your voice. That’s the most important thing. I know it's really hard, especially in this image-aggressive era that we're in, where you see so much stuff on Instagram, so much stuff on Twitter, so much stuff on Netflix, and how stories are being told in very particular ways. I can see in South Africa, we could go into a very particularly glossy direction of telling stories.

For me, the thing is, what is the sound of your own voice? What is the shape of your own hand? If you draw an apple - what is my hand going to do to this apple? The most important thing is to be at pains to discover what the sound of your own voice is because racism is a thing that's been spoken about since it existed by everybody and anybody who is an artist or who's an African artist or Black artists. So what is it that I'm going to say that can only come from me? There are many other people who will consider many other different things but the most important thing to do is to discover what you're pursuing.

When you have that perspective, it then tells you what your lighting is going to look like. It tells you what your set is going to look like. Have the audacity and the gumption to take your idea seriously, and to fail and to have bad ideas. I mean, there were many bad ideas [while making Milisuthando] – I don't want to call them bad but less good ideas, as William Kentridge says, before we got to the ones that we were finally happy with.”

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