While Kenyan Ivory Is Torched, Lions Return Home To South Africa

More than 100 tons of ivory were set ablaze in Nairobi this past Saturday for the first time since 1989.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.

This past Saturday in Nairobi National Park, President Uhuru Kenyatta, heir to one of Kenya’s largest fortunes, threw a torch into a bundle of very expensive ivory tusks. Despite rain that pounded Nairobi and caused severe flooding that took at least 10 lives, the damp ivory quickly caught fire. The ivory, 105 tons of elephants tusk and 1.35 tons of rhinoceros horn, although claimed by President Kenyatta to be worthless unless it was on the body of an elephant, had an estimated value of over $100 million.

The last time ivory was burnt by the Kenyan government was in 1989.

In the past few decades, elephant and rhinoceroses populations have decreased dramatically due to aggressive and increasingly militarized poaching operations that have been fueled by the large financial pay off for the poachers. Poaching has taken a devastating toll on the Northern White Rhino, of which only three are left. Although ivory prices have recently dropped due to governments clamping down on the trade, a kilo (which is 1,000 grams and easy to remember) is still worth about $1,100.

Saturday’s ivory torching ceremony was the largest in history. The tusks came from around 7,000 animals.

President Kenyatta, who is the son of Kenya’s first president Jomo Kenyatta, wrote so passionately about the plight of threatened animals in an editorial published by the Daily Nation he might have forgotten about post-election violence that took the lives of around 1,200 people. He was accused of stirring the incident, but the International Criminal Court at The Hague dropped the charges.

In the editorial, Kenyatta said:

On Saturday, I will set ablaze more than 100 tons of ivory. It will be a pleasure to burn it and do my part to destroy any possibility that poachers and their accomplices might benefit from the slaughter of Kenya’s elephants.

I do not need to tell you that our elephants are perhaps the most striking part of our continent’s natural heritage, that they show great intelligence and emotion, or that they live in large, graceful families.

But I do have to emphasise the dangers they now face: Across Africa and in the past decade or so, the herds have been besieged by a new generation of poachers, who are armed with new weapons and connected to vast new markets across the world.

The results have been catastrophic: there are probably half as many elephants in Africa today as there were a decade ago.

If that does not change, our children will be the first Africans in 10,000 years to grow up in a continent without these beautiful animals.

In other animal (more positive) related news, 33 lions were rescued from circuses in Colombia and Peru. The operation came on the heal of new legislation that banned the practice of using the lions, many of whom suffered injuries during their time in captivity. The lions were airlifted to their new home, arriving this past Sunday, to the South African Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in Vaalwater, north of Johannesburg.


9 Must-Hear Songs From Ghana's Buzzing Drill Scene

We give you the rundown on Ghana's drill movement, Asakaa, and the most popular songs birthed by it.

Red bandanas, streetwear, security dogs, and gang signs. If you've been paying any attention to the music scene in Ghana over the past few months, then by now you would have noticed the rise of a special hip-hop movement. The movement is called Asakaa, and it's the Ghanaian take on the Chicago-born subgenre of hip-hop called drill music. It's fresh, it's hot, it's invigorating and it's nothing like anything you've seen before from this part of the world.

The pioneers of Asakaa are fondly referred to by the genre's patrons as the Kumerica boys, a set of budding young rappers based in the city of Kumasi in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. They came into the limelight towards the end of 2020, and have been dropping banger after banger since then, topping several charts and racking up millions of views collectively. The rap is charismatic, the visuals are captivating, and their swag is urban. Characterized by Twi lyrics, infectious hooks, and sinister beats, the allure and appeal of both their art and their culture is overflowing.

"Sore," one of the benchmark songs of the movement, is a monster hit that exploded into the limelight, earning Kumerican rapper Yaw Tog a feature on Billboard Italy and a recent remix that featured Stormzy. "Ekorso" by Kofi Jamar is the song that took over Ghana's December 2020, with the video currently sitting at 1.3 million views on YouTube. "Off White Flow" is the song that earned rapper Kwaku DMC and his peers a feature on Virgil Abloh's Apple Music show Televised Radio. These are just a few examples of the numerous accolades that the songs birthed from the Asakaa movement have earned. Ghana's drill scene is the new cool, but it isn't just a trend. It's an entire movement, and it's here to stay.

Want to get familiar? Here we highlight the most prominent songs of the Asakaa movement that you need to know. Here's our rundown of Ghana's drill songs that are making waves right now. Check them out below.

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