News Brief

Post-Election Violence in Benin Threatens One of Africa's Most Stable Democracies

The threat of authoritarian rule is rattling the country as demonstrators, calling for an annulment to Sunday's election, were met with live bullets and tear gas.

Protestors and police have clashed for a second day in a row following Sunday's elections in Benin.

Demonstrators have gathered in the economic capital of Cotonou since Wednesday, denouncing the election, which had a notably low turnout, and left opposition candidates out of the running. Many are in support of former leader Thomas Boni Yayi and are demanding the annulment of the vote and for incumbent President Patrice Talon to step down.

Police forces fired live bullets at protestors who were gathering in the capital, reports Al Jazeera. One woman died on Thursday after being wounded during a protest. The violence has largely quelled on Friday according to Yahoo News, but police forces have maintained their presence on the streets of Cotonou.


Videos being shared online appears to show polices forces shooting at demonstrators and dispersing water hoses and tear gas.

The post-election violence has come as a shock to some, as Benin has been considered one of the most stable democracies in Africa since its shift to democratic rule in 1990. "Democracy is precious to us, the people of Benin," one demonstrator told Al Jazeera. "That is why we have protested.

Talon, a former businessman who took office in 2016 and promised to modernize the country, is being accused of reinstating authoritarianism by changing the country's election eligibility requirements, which made it impossible for opposition parties to qualify and left only two parties with allegiances to him on the ballot.

Ahead of the election, the government initiated an internet block, which prevented citizens from accessing social media sites such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Observers called the move an obvious encroachment on freedom of speech. "The decision to shut down access to the Internet and social media on an election day is a blunt violation of the right to freedom of expression," said François Patuel, Amnesty International's West Africa researcher. "It is effectively silencing human rights defenders, journalists and bloggers who are monitoring contested parliamentary elections without opposition candidates."

Several online are lambasting the government for its deadly use of force against civilians, while others are pointing out the worrying effects of





Music
Image courtesy of the artist.

The 6 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring DJ Lag, Asa, LasGiiDi, Kaien Cruz, Imarhan and more

Every week, we highlight the top releases through our best music of the week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Keep reading... Show less
Interview
Photo courtesy of the artist.

DJ Neptune Surveys the Sounds & Genres Running Africa In His New Album

Greatness 2.0 features an all-star cast of African artists and jumps from afrobeats to amapiano to asakaa, Ghana’s thrilling new take on drill.

Transitioning from a DJ to an artist is no small feat. Nigeria’s DJ Neptune has always had good ear for what the people want to hear, but in past years he's also shown his skill at assembling hitmakers to make a hit and earn a spot on any afrobeats playlist.

Neptune has been dotingly described as "Africa’s DJ Khaled" for his ability to bring the continent’s top names together in musical harmony. His 2018 debut album, Greatness: The Album, pulled from his extensive contacts and years of experience as one of Nigeria’s most influential radio personalities to create a star-studded compilation with features from Burna Boy, Davido, Yemi Alade, Mr Eazi, Efya, Kizz Daniel and Olamide, to name a few.

In 2020, during the pandemic, DJ Neptune endeared himself with his intimate live sessions with Neptune Isolation Radio, where he constantly entertained people during the lockdown. After more than a decade as a DJ, and also one of afrobeats’ most influential personalities and curators, he has assembled some of Africa’s hitmakers for his sophomore album, Greatness 2.0, which he describes as “a playlist with Africa’s favorite artists.”

Artists on the truly pan-African project include Nigeria’s Mr Eazi, Rema, Patoranking, Yemi Alade, Stonebwoy, Joeboy, Omah Lay, Simi, Adekunle Gold, Laycon, Ladipoe, Blaqbonez, Cheque, Peruzzi, Bella Shmurda and Phyno, Ghana’s Stonebwoy and Kofi Jamar, Harmonize and Anjella from Tanzania, South Africa’s Focalistic; and UK rapper One Acen. Collaborating with Neptune on production are Magic Sticks, Dëra and MOG, among other afrobeats hitmakers.

Greatness 2.0 is a survey of the sounds and genres currently running Africa —from afrobeats to amapiano and asakaa, Ghana’s thrilling new take on drill.

In this interview, we speak with DJ Neptune about DJ culture in Nigeria, working with some of Africa's biggest superstars, and his new album.

Keep reading... Show less
Photo by Joseph Okpako/WireImage

Watch Wizkid's Historic Performance at London's O2 Arena

The Nigerian superstar made history by being the first African artist to sell out three shows in a row during his Made In Lagos tour.

Nigerian singer and songwriter Wizkid's fourth studio album Made In Lagos has not left our sight (or eardrums) since its release in October 2020. Now, the album filled with record-breaking hits has gone on to bag the king of afrobeats another honor: Wizkid became the first African artist to successfully sell out London's infamous O2 Arena this year, boasting three consecutive sold-out shows this week.

High off of the global success and obsession with hit single "Essence," featuring Nigerian sweetheart Tems, Wizkid's European leg of his Made In Lagos tour sold out in 12 minutes (very Beyoncé of him) as fans geared up to hear their favorite afrobeats hits. The show itself was jam-packed with fireworks, high-energy performances, and guest appearances from some of our favorite Wizkid features.

In the line-up, we saw fellow Nigerian hitmaker Burna Boy show up on stage to perform a passionate rendition of their collab "Ginger," while a bright and sunny Tems lent her talent and time to perform their hit. British pop cutie Ella Mai turned out to perform "Pieces of Me" which features on Made In Lagos, while UK favorite Skepta made Wizkid feel at home, as the two stars pumped the crowd.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Mayorkun Is Back In Office

We speak with Mayorkun about his sophomore album, Back In Office, and why he had to step away from the scene for a while.