News

The Stories You Need to Know: Ethiopia's Internet Shutdown, Malian Sisters Have Their Eyes On the Grand Slam and More

From Ethiopia's internet shutdown to two Malian sisters hoping to take the tennis world by storm. Here are the stories you need to know.

ETHIOPIA—The Ethiopian government has come up with an extreme strategy to prevent their students from cheating on the national grade 10 exam, they've shut down the entire country’s internet for 12 hours. Much to public outrage, this is the third time in a year that the government has resorted to this drastic measure. Read the full story, here.


TUNISIA—Four men were sentenced to one month in prison for eating and smoking in a public park during the Ramadan fast. While the Tunisian constitution does not explicitly ban eating in public during the Holy Month, the issue is recurring and has prompted a wide call on social media for a demonstration on June 11th to protect the rights of those who choose not to fast. During the holy month, most restaurants and coffee shops in Tunisia remain shut during daylight hours, but some establishments open behind closed curtains to protect their customers from prying eyes. Read the full story via Middle East Eyes.

MALI— When they’re not in school or helping their parents sell food on the market, 16 year-old Aichata Keita and her sister 15 year-old sister Fatimatah are on the tennis courts perfecting their backhand under their coach’s watchful eye. The two teens started playing when they were 4-years-old and hope to someday win a coveted Grand Slam title and become the first Africans to do so. Click here to learn more about their journey.

SIERRA LEONE—Millions of Malaria bed nets are currently being delivered to fight malaria in Guinea Bissau and Sierra Leone. The disease is a leading cause of death in both countries and eradicating it is a major priority of the UN’s post-2015 development agenda. Local governments in partnership with various UN agencies are hoping to ensure that every household is equipped against the disease. More than just a distribution campaign, local governments in partnership with various UN agencies are raising awareness through a new social media, radio, and door-to-door campaign.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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