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LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 18: A demonstrator holds a sign during a candlelight procession to remember victims of SARS and those assaulted by Nigeria Police gather at Trafalgar Square on October 18, 2020 in London, England.

#EndSARS: Nigerian Sports Stars Speak Up in Support of Ongoing Protests

Nigerian sports stars have amplified their voices through the continued #EndSARS banner by revealing their own harrowing experiences with the rogue special police unit.

Nigeria's most prolific sports stars have joined the ongoing #EndSARS protests after revealing toBBC that SARS allegedly targeted several sports stars. This follows the continued countrywide public demonstrations which have called upon for President Muhammadu Buhari to completely disband the rogue special force unit. While Buhari announced on October 10th that SWAT will now replace SARS, Nigerians believe that it is a mere "rebranding" of SARS with the same officials. More recently, African-American celebrities, Nigeria's professional sports stars and Nigerians in the diaspora such as Canada, the US, Germany and England have protested in solidarity with the #EndSARS movement. Both Nigerian national soccer teams have used social media to amplify their voices.


Read: Breaking Down Nigeria's #EndSARS Protests and How You can Help

In an interview with the BBC, Nigeria's national soccer team player, John Ogu, shared his experience with SARS saying:

''Everyone has a story about this Sars. You'll be driving your car and Sars will pull up in front of your car. At first, you'll think that they're armed robbers because of the way they are dressed, the manner of how they talk."

SARS' clashes with Nigerian sports stars has reportedly been the norm as demonstrations have revealed that they allegedly target "flashy" personalities and follow outdated biased profiling of Nigeria's youth. Peter Moreno, Nigeria's decathlon record holder, also expressed to BBC that he was targeted because he has tattoos and dreadlocks. SARS profiling allegedly includes targeting youth that appear to be queer as homosexuality remains criminalised in Nigeria.

The call to end police brutality is a collective one among Black people across the world. #ZimbabweLivesMatter and #BlackLivesMatter have both been prominent demonstrations this year that have highlighted the government's bias towards marshal law.

Take a look at just some of number of responses to #EndSARS from Nigerian athletes below.

Alexander Iwobi who plays for Everton and the national Nigerian soccer team.

International female basketball player Chiney Ogumike.

Championship winning boxer, Anthony Joshua.

National team soccer player and international soccer star Asisat Oshoala.

Nigerian track athlete Blessing Okagbare shared her support on Instagram.

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8 Queer-Owned African Fashion Brands to Check Out For Pride

In honor of pride month, we highlight eight African queer fashion designers and brands putting queer stories on the global map through fashion.

In the last decade, there have been an emergent of fashion designers who aren’t just queer but have aligned their fashion vision with their identity, creating demystifying collections and criss-crossing their concepts and ideologies to represent the inscape of non-conformity, fluidity, queerness and androgyny — whilst maintaining a quick balance with their cultural roots. Despite the numerous fabric experimentations and collections, these designers never forget to tell stories that align with them, especially those that resonate with queer people in queer unfriendly countries.

In honor of pride month, OkayAfrica highlights 8 African queer fashion designers and brands putting queer stories on the global map through fashion.

Rich Mnisi

South African designer Rich Mnisi is part of a new wave of designers putting African stories on the global map. Founded in 2015, the brand Rich Mnisi is immersed at offering fluid expression to gender, celebrating youthful excellence and exploring extremist design elements with minimalist cultural tailoring. For pride month, the brand released a limited edition capsule titled “Out." The capsule visualizes a fine-line between elegance and fluidity whilst boldly emphasizing on the act of struggle and resilience as an outfit.

Udiahgebi

For a fashion brand like Udiahgebi, identity is very important. And offering that form of visibility to femme queer Nigerians is not just a form of visual activism but a detailed story of essence. The brand was founded by Emerie Udiahgebi, a gender non-forming fashion designer who wanted to give queer, non-binary and non-conforming individuals more options to express themselves fashionably. Udiahgebi’s fashion concept is extremely bold, fierce, and unconventional.

Lagos Space Programme

Designer Adeju Thompson fuses traditionalist concepts with genderless possibilities. Founded in 2018, Lagos Space Programme is a gender-neutral fashion brand that enveloped aesthetic designs using local craftsmanship. The brand appreciates West African unique fabric and communicates compelling stories of identity, gender and queerness — a ideology that has garnered them not just audience but earned them a spot at the LVMH prize.

Muyishime

Patrick Muyishime is a fashion innovator. Not only does he know how to source excellent fabrics but his designs are authentically vibrant. Founded in 2016, Muyishime is a Kenyan fashion label that introduces conversations surrounding androgynous and explores aesthetically fabric inventions that commands fluidity, feminine wiles and constructive elegance.

Bola Yahaya

Founded in 2019, Bola Taofeek Yahaya's fashion label aligns thought provoking pieces that elevate the discusses around queer representation, sexuality and feminity. The brands merges sustainability and explore eccentric fabric experimentations.

Nao Serati

Founded by South African designer Nao Serati Mofammere in 2014, the fashion brand Nao Serati explores the versatility of gender and the fine margin of sexuality whilst finding its balance with their South African heritage. Mofammere wants his brand to explore masculinity and the different ways it takes to wear a fragile look.

Vangei

Lolu Vangei has different recipes to gender fluidity and she has used fashion to express that. Founded in 2018, Vangei is a fashion label that unites modern ideology of afro-centricism to produce pieces that dismantle cliched ideas about gender.

Mayetobs

There is no explaining the sort of talent Emmanuel Tobiloba possesses. Founded in 2020, Mayetobs' eccentric approach in reinstating androgynous norms is interesting. From oversized pants that speaks of fabric maximalism to fast flowing robes, the fashion brand is an ode to redefining modern masculinity.

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Magixx Wants to Speak for a New Generation of Nigerians

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The Nigerian dream is changing and its booming creative scene is spearheading a paradigm shift for young Nigerians looking to explore alternative career paths. Nigeria’s music industry in particular has become one of its biggest exports, fondly called ‘Nigeria’s new crude oil,’ it represents escapism for young Nigerians finding ways to thriving lives where their passions are put first, and the unconventional is conventional.

This is a new age embraced by 23-year-old Mavin Records star, Magixx, who always knew he wanted to chase his dream of being an artist, writing his first song at the age of nine. Magixx consistently pursued music-making and performing at school competitions, from high school to his college years, when he started to get acquainted with recognition and fame.

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