News Brief
Video still via Al Jazeera

Rwanda Is Sending Officials To Reinforce Countrywide Ban on Skin Bleaching Products

The Rwandan government has called on authorities to seize products from markets in Kigali and across the country.

Rwanda has seriously cracked down on the sale of skin bleaching and skin lightening products in the country, CNN reports.


Its ministry of health, food and drug authority, as well as the standards board have made calls to send officials to seize products from markets in Kigali and in provinces across the Rwanda in lieu of the country's campaign against skin bleaching.

"Operations are being conducted by technical people," Simeon Kwizera, public relations and communications officer of the Rwanda Standard Board tells CNN. "The police is there to oversee only and make sure that all operations are being conducted in a safe way."

CNN adds that the standards board informed the public back in December to be wary of the alternative names for hydroquinone, a bleaching agent that is prohibited in commercial cosmetics.

Rwandan police say over 5,000 banned products have been confiscated from beauty shops across the country so far.

Despite the increased awareness around the dangers of skin bleaching in African communities are being implemented into action, the niche still shows itself to be a cash cow—taking advantage of the impact of self-hate. Revisit the outrage Blac Chyna and Cameroonian singer Dencia sparked when they launched their collaboration skin lightening product in Lagos here.

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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