News Brief

Political Violence Isn't Stopping These Kenyan Women From Running For Office

A new video from AJ+ sheds light on the violence that Kenyan women in politics face, ahead of today's elections.

The 2017 Kenyan presidential election is currently under way, and, thus, it's an ample time to reflect on how politics play out in the nation—where it excels and where it falls short.


A new video from AJ+ pinpoints one major area in the political sphere that warrants a thorough reexamining: the treatment of women in government.

In the clip, women politicians share stories about the misogyny they've faced while pursuing a career in politics. Parliamentary candidate, Millie Odhiambo recalls a time when she was sexually harassed by male co-workers.

"When I was in this house, there were male members who tried to remove my dress," she said. "One pulled my panty, and tore my panty, and it is fortunate that it happened to me, who does not give a damn," she continued.

Violence against women politicians has proven pervasive, as one parliamentary candidate described being shot at, and another, Esther Passaris—Nairobi Women's Representative Candidate—was held hostage by university students after giving a speech on women's welfare.

Only 20 percent of Kenya's parliament is made up of women, yet despite the immense challenges they face, several women remain resilient, and are determined to change the face of leadership in the country.

"Given an opportunity to be in leadership, whether through nomination, or the top-up mechanism, these women will eventually grow bolder and stronger, to now be able to go and say 'I want to be a leader,'" says Josephine Wambua Mong'Are, chairperson for the Federation of Women Lawyers.

Listen to the women share their stories, in the clip below.

Music
Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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