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LAMU, KENYA - MARCH 01: Young rasta man chewing qat in the street, Lamu County, Lamu, Kenya on March 1, 2011 in Lamu, Kenya.

Kenyan Rastafarians Want Cannabis Unbanned for Religious Reasons

The Rastafari Society of Kenya argues that the personal use of cannabis, which is currently outlawed in the country, is an integral part of their religion.

According to local media reports, the Rastafari Society of Kenya has gone before the High Court to argue in favour of the personal use of cannabis. Currently illegal in Kenya, the minority religious group argues that the laws criminalising the use of cannabis in Kenya are prejudiced towards their religion given that the substance is a "sacrament connecting believers to their creator." Cannabis is commonly used as incense to initiate religious practises by Rastafarians and is often followed by a series of praises and prayers.


READ: A Rastafarian Girl Was Banned from School in Kenya Because of Her Locks

Under Section 3 of Kenya's Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Control Act, the private and public use of cannabis, cultivation for commercial purposes and the general sale of the substance is prohibited. The CEO of the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA), Victor Okioma, espouses the strict use of cannabis for medical and scientific purposes but not for recreational activities.

However, Shadrack Wambui, the attorney representing the Rastafari Society of Kenya, says the following:

"The impugned law which was enacted in the year 1994 is hostile and intolerant to persons professing the Rastafari faith yet we are in a new constitutional framework following the promulgation of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 that is progressive and accommodative of diversity."

Unlike Kenya, there are several countries on the continent which have permitted the use of cannabis in varying forms. Lesotho recently became the first African country to obtain permission to export cannabis to the European Union after the Lesotho-based company, MG Health, was recognised for its high quality production standards. The cannabis flower is reportedly set to be used as a pharmaceutical ingredient. South Africa, on the other hand, decriminalised the personal use of cannabis in a private residence back in 2018 following a landmark judgement by the Constitutional Court. The country is now looking at how to enter into the industry and create a viable business sector.

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Kenya Says It's Banning LGBTQ+ Content

According to the acting head of the Kenya's Film Classification Board (KFCB), all movies with LGBTQ+ content are illegal in the country.

The acting CEO of the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB), Christopher Wambua, has announced that all movies containing LGBTQ+-related content are now illegal in the country. Wambua also said that the country is against LGBTQ+ relationships.


"As we rate and classify content, we also consider other applicable laws. If there is any content that normalizes, glorifies same-sex relationships, our position in Kenya has always been to restrict and not to broadcast, exhibit or distribute that kind of content within the borders of the country," Wambua said. Wambua also said that while there are multiple platforms highlighting sam-sex content online, the Kenyan government is actively taking action to block access to the content in Kenya. According to Wambua, the KFCB authority is currently working with streaming powerhouse Netflix to ensure that access to LGBTQ+ movies and series are barred within Kenya.

"Most of them are restricting; because of our discussions with Netflix, they are curating their classification system that is very aligned with our laws with the view of ensuring that in future once we sign the agreement, some of this content is not visible at all within the republic," Wambua said.

Kenya is not the first country to state that it would not condone LGBTQ+ content. Earlier this year, Egypt joined six other Arab countries to call out Netflix and Disney+, and demand that certain types of "offensive" content be restricted from airing in their countries. This was understood to be in reference to media that featured members of the LGBT+ community within those countries.

Kenya has had a long history of barring content with LGBTQ+ characters and storylines. In 2018, Kenyan authorities banned 'Rafiki,' a film that profiled the love story of two women, citing that the production promoted lesbianism. Last year, the KFCB also banned the documentary "I am Samuel," a storyline about a gay Kenyan man. Kenya's law strongly forbids LGBTQ+ and Section 165 of its Penal Code highlights the legality of code in detail.

Kenya
(Photo by KB Mpofu/Getty Images)

Kenya & Zimbabwe Memorialize Queen Elizabeth II

Despite strong criticism about the monarch's legacy in Africa, some leaders, including Kenya's William Ruto, took to social media to describe the queen's leadership as "admirable."


On Sunday, there will be a memorial service for the late Queen Elizabeth II at the All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi in Kenya. According to a statement from the British High Commission, the service will start at 3 PM. Kenyans who plan to attend the service will also honor the British monarch by signing a condolence book.

Kenya is the latest African country to honor the queen in a memorial service. Senior Kenyan state officials members are expected to be in attendance to pay their respects to the deceased, who died on Sept. 8 after ruling for 70 years. Earlier this week, Kenya's newly instated president William Ruto signed the Condolence Book at the British High Commissioner's residence.

Kenya is not the first African country to hold a memorial service for the late royal. Earlier this week, the Farai Mutamiri, the Bishop of Harare led a memorial service at the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe for the late monarch. The service was held at the Anglican Church in the capital, Harare. During a segment of the service he he made a statement in support of the royal family.

"We think of you and we would like to reassure you of our prayers for the royal family, the new king, King Charles III and the people of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and the Commonwealth upon the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II", said Mutamiri.

On the heels of the Queen Elizabeth's passing, there have been mixed reactions from Africa about her death. This was largely due to the decades-long contentious relationship that Britain's leading family has had with Africa. Despite the strong reactions that several Africans had about the monarch's passing, some African leaders, including Kenya's William Ruto, took to social media to describe the queen's leadership as "admirable," a sentiment that a few of his followers firmly disagreed with.

The British monarchy has had a complicated relationship with the African continent, and it is one that is shrouded by painful memories of oppression for some, including Dr. Uju Anya, the Carnegie Mellon University who went viral for speaking about the monarchy's dark history in Africa, and it's contributions genocide in Africa. Many of Anya's sentiments were echoed by several people who agreed that Britain's first family had a problematic past and present.

The queen's state funeral will happen at London’s Westminster Abbey on Monday on September 18, and many world leaders are expected to be in attendance, including South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

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Photo credit: Paras Griffi

Asake Has to Add Third O2 Academy Show After Selling Out in Minutes

As he climbs up the ladder of global superstardom, Asake continues to break glass ceilings and crash websites.

Asake has been making undeniable waves with his music and mass appeal, and his recent O2 Academy ticket sales are proof of that.

The new Afrobeats sensation recently sold out London's O2 Academy venue for his upcoming UK stint. Amidst the buzz of the sold out show, the official account of the O2 Academy took to social media to share that Asake would be headlining two additional shows at the event's center. Although the original date was slated for the 11th of December, the high demand for tickets pushed organizers to add on two more dates to the 11th, and "Mr. Money With The Vibe" will also now perform on the 12th and the 15th.

Asake's career trajectory has been swift, yet packed with back to back hits and critical acclaim. The Lagos-born artist first got his major big break when Olamide signed him to YBNL. His long trail of chart-topping records have quickly earned him the attention of fans, airplay and recognition. The Afrobeats singer's success, though sudden, has helped to propel him to the upper echelon of musical acts coming out of Africa. Because of the versatility of his sound, listeners have quickly gravitated towards his content. His ascent into superstardom has also ignited intrigue and conversation, inspiring many fans to root for him, because of his initial reputation as the underdog. Although he had received some recognition in 2020 after he released his "Mr. Money" single, 2022 was the year that he would gain the admiration and respect of his peers, as well as a bevy of fans and commercial success.

Though still a newcomer, Asake has proven that he is not a typical Afrobeats artist. His unique ability to fuse different Afro-inspired sounds from Fuji to Amapiano have made him a rare talent. He has also amplified the depth of most of his songs by merging different genres and articulating them with Yoruba language and the broken English spoken in some of the most intricate parts of Lagos. Those elements perhaps, are what have made Asake one of the most marketable and likable Afrobeats artists in recent time.

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Photo by: Screenshot from The Daily Show'

"My Time is Up:" Trevor Noah Talks About Leaving 'The Daily Show' After 7 Years

The South African comedian announced that he would be leaving the Comedy Central series after his seven-year tenure.

Trevor Noah announced that he will be leaving The Daily Show after seven years.

In his statement Noah described his experience hosting the show as "absolutely amazing."

“It’s been absolutely amazing. It’s something that I never expected,” Noah said. “I found myself thinking throughout the time of everything we’ve gone through. The Trump presidency, the pandemic, just the journey, more pandemic and I realize that after the seven years, my time is up.”

Following the departure of Jon Stewart from the show in 2015, the South African comedian became the show's host, and has since interviewed the likes of Barack Obama, Burna Boy, Davido and a host of other notable public figures. The 38-year-old has also used his platform to elevate African artistry and elevate the African experience. Noah alluded to the idea that his decision to leave the show was inspired partly by his interest in returning to stand up comedy and exploring his skillset that way. Noah also thanked his viewers for giving him an opportunity when he first came on the American scene as a comedian who very few knew about.

“I spent two years in my apartment, not on the road, and when I got back out there, I realized there’s another part of my life out there that I want to carry on exploring. I miss learning other languages. I miss going to other countries and putting on shows,” said Noah.

Noah also referred to the show as "one of the greatest joys" of his life, and has credited the show for helping him hone his creative muscle.

“I’ve loved hosting this show, it’s been one of my greatest challenges and one of my greatest joys,” Noah said. “I’ve loved trying to find a way to make people laugh, even when the stories are particularly shitty, even on the worst days. We’ve laughed together, we’ve cried together.”

Although he did not make any comments about his last day on the show, or exactly when he would exit, he did humorously say that he would not abruptly leave without prior warning.

“Don’t worry, I’m not disappearing,” said Noah. “If I owe you money, I’ll still pay you.”

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