News Brief

Another Ethiopian Runner Follows in Feyisa Lilesa’s Footsteps in Solidarity with the Oromo People

Ebisa Ejigu of Toronto gestured in solidarity with the Oromo people as he won the SSQ Quebec City Marathon Sunday.

Another Ethiopian marathon runner has taken a cue from Olympic silver medalist Feyisa Lilesa a week after he crossed his arms above his head, clenching his fists, as he sailed past the finish line in Rio, BBC reports.


The controversial gesture signaled Lilesa’s solidarity with his Oromo people, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group protesting mistreatment by the government, but has prevented the runner, who now fears for his life, from returning home, and has generated more than $158,000 in crowdfunded donations.

Ebisa Ejigu, who is Oromo originally from Addis Ababa and established in the Canadian running scene, gestured like Lilesa did, finishing first at the SSQ Quebec City Marathon in 2:30:40, Sunday.

This Twitter account presented the photo evidence:

Since November 2015, more than 400 people have been killed by the Ethiopian government’s security forces as part of protests initially incited when the government began extending the municipal boundary of Addis Ababa, threatening the land rights of the neighboring Oromo people, Human Rights Watch reports. And according to BBC, an additional 100 people have been reportedly killed in August.

Ejigu’s gesture builds on the momentum of the Oromo protests that have been receiving more international attention since Lilesa’s defiance on the world stage.

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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