News Brief

Deadly Flooding in Southern Africa Continues as Region Reels from Cyclone Idai

The full devastation of the storm is still being discovered as international rescue efforts continue.

The death toll is now in the hundreds in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, which hit parts of Southern Africa late last week. So far the official death toll in Mozambique has reached 200, and 98 in neighboring Zimbabwe, according to Al Jazeera. Numbers are expected to rise as many people are still reported missing.

Mozambique's President Filipe Nyusi says that the catastrophe may have killed up to 1,000 people in the country. Citizens in Malawi were also affected.

Many survivors of the disaster are seeking safety, shelter and basic resources as the flooding has destroyed homes, roads and public buildings. The devastating effects of the cyclone are being felt by many and the full effects are still being discovered. The destruction has left hundreds of thousands of children in the region at risk, according to an eye-witness BBC Africa report and millions have been affected by severe flooding.

The UN has called Cyclone Idai, "the worst weather disaster to ever hit the Southern Hemisphere."



Earlier this week, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa deployed the military to assist Mozambique with rescue efforts. The Zimbabwean government has reportedly raised 18 million UDS to rebuild roads, provide water and sanitation as well as restore communication lines and electricity.

Rescue efforts have been compromised in remote areas, where rescue crews say homes have been submerged, possibly trapping people inside.

The response from the international community has been widespread, as major institutions such as the Red Cross and UNICEF continue to assess the damage and send workers to affected areas. Some Mozambicans, however, are questioning the government's efforts and are critical of what they believe was a lack of preventative measures the government could have taken to lessen the destruction caused.

Many have shared their support for the victims of Cyclone Idai online, and are seeking out ways to lend further support to victims of the disaster.



Book cover art.

Blackbird Books Publishes 'Exhale: Queer African Erotic Fiction'—a Must-Read

'Exhale: Queer African Erotic Fiction' is the delightfully risqué anthology from Blackbird Books and HOLAAfrica!. The anthology features queer writers from across Africa including Nakhane.

South African publishing house Blackbird Books has, in collaboration with HOLAAfrica!, recently published Exhale: Queer African Erotic Fiction. The delightfully risqué anthology is a compilation of stories from queer African writers across the continent. Both fresh literary voices and established ones such as the notable Nakhane, give the project a delicious mixture which is sure to cater to everyone's literary needs.
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Photo by Giles Clarke/UNOCHA via Getty Images

Cameroon Holds Vigil to Remember Children Killed in School Attack

Residents in Kumba paid their respects to the seven lives lost, and those injured during the attack over the weekend.

In the latest tragedy to come from Cameroon's historically violent clash between Anglo and Francophone citizens, seven children were murdered after attackers stormed a school with guns and machetes over the weekend.

In what has been deemed as the "darkest and saddest day," by Bishop Agapitus Nfon of Kumba, armed attackers stormed the Mother Francisca International Bilingual Academy, targeting students aged 9 to 12. The tragic event saw dozens of children injured, some critically.

The attack has shocked the nation, with both local and international agencies condemning the horrible offense. On Monday, Cameroonian President Paul Biya denounced the "horrific murder" of the school children, and alluded to the "appropriate measures" being taken in order to bring justice to the families of the victims. Prime Minister Dion Ngute Joseph shared his condolences via a tweet saying, "I bow before the memory of these innocent kids."

The Cameroonian presidency and governing body have blamed Anglophone 'separatists' for the attack, though the group claims no part in the attack.

Human rights groups, however, have blamed both opposing parties, as the conflict has led to the death of over 3,000 deaths and resulted in more than 700,000 Cameroonians fleeing their homes and the country.
Interview

Interview: Meet Velemseni, Eswatini’s Queen of Soul

Soul artist Velemseni's music reflects Eswatini culture and aesthetics. "The Kingdom of Eswatini is a magical and mysterious place, and my music aims to interpret and document that mystique, drawing from genres like Swazi gospel, soul, African soul, cinematic and traditional music," says the artist.

From being a backing vocalist for some of Eswatini's household names like Bholoja, Siyinqaba and Nomalungelo Dladla, Velemseni has gone on to soar to greater heights.

The Eswatini guitarist and soul singer's debut album, We are People (2014), showcased soothing vocals and strong musicality. The project was received well, getting airplay in the country's major radio stations (EBIS1 and 2).

The 11-track project was produced by David F from France, Martin Berauer from Austria and Eswatini's Bholoja. It led to Velemseni embarking on a US mini-tour in 2014.

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Interview: 'Carpe Diem' Is Olamide's New Way of Life

Olamide communicates his current mood of living on his own terms, gives us his thoughts on #EndSARS, and tells us about fulfilling his singing desires while introducing the current sound brewing underground in Nigeria.