Image via PickPic

Madagascar's Education Minister Has Been Fired for Planning to Buy $2.2 Million In Candy for Students

The 'bittersweet' move drew anger in a country reeling from the economic burdens brought on by COVID-19.

Madagascar's Education Minister, Minister Rijasoa Andriamanana, has been fired after revealing plans to set aside $2.2 million for candy.

According to Andriamanana the purpose of the indulgent investment was to provide each student with candy to help mask the "bitter taste" of the infamous Covid-Organics tonic, which is being touted as a cure to coronavirus by President Andry Rajoelin.


Andriamanana told reporters that "a purchase of sweets and lollipops" had been made, and that each student in the country would receive three pieces of candy to take after drinking the President-approved herbal tea. Despite Rajoelin's claims that the elixir is "green gold," there is no scientific data proving its effectiveness and it not considered a real cure to the virus.

The exorbitant candy spending drew criticism from the press in a nation where 75 percent of the country lives below the global poverty line, according to statistics from the World Bank, and citizens are trying to cope with the economic burdens brought on by the lockdown. The ill-advised move led to Andriamanana being sacked, and the purchase (likely to the dismay of many young students) being cancelled.

Several Malagasy people have taken to the streets in response to COVID-19 lockdown measures. Clashes occurred Clashes occurred with police during demonstrations when it was reported that they had beaten a street vendor accused of breaking the ban on commercial activities.

So far Madagascar has had 975 confirmed cases of the virus, with 201 recoveries and seven deaths all in the port city of Toamasina.

Interview
Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.