News Brief
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A protester holds a placard during the second day of the #ShutItDown Protests, where hundreds of Namibian youth protested against gender-based violence by shutting down Windhoek's Central Business District, in Windhoek, Namibia, on October 9, 2020.

Namibia Announces Special Court in Response to #ShutItDown Protests

Namibian Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila has announced the establishment of a special court to deal with sexual and gender-based violence but protestors are skeptical and continue to call for further action.

According to eNCA, Namibian Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila has announced that the government will establish a special court for dealing with sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) cases. This follows the massive #ShutItDown protests that have been ongoing for two weeks now in the country. The protests were sparked by the reported news of a 22-year-old Namibian woman, Shannon Wasserfall, who was allegedly murdered at the hands of her boyfriend. Daisry Mathias, a presidential youth advisor, and representatives of the #ShutItDown protests were all part of the recent meeting with President Hage Geingob and Kuugongelwa-Amadhila. All parties briefed media after the controversial closed-door meeting. However, protestors have responded with skepticism and called the meeting non-transparent.


The #ShutItDown protests started on October 8th and had specifically called for the resignation of Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Doreen Sioka, following her failure to adequately respond to the rising number of SGBV cases of. Sioka allegedly failed to meet with protestors and activists earlier in the year concerning women's right to abortion. Roused with anger from Wasserfall's murder, youth took to the Namibian capital of Windhoek to demonstrate against inaction towards gender-based crimes. Young female protestors called out Namibia's stringent laws which pervasively police women's bodies. After the #ShutItDown protests continued into their second week, the presidential cabinet subsequently responded through the Prime Minister.

"We share in the repugnance of the Namibian public at the situation of SGBV and are in full agreement with the public that this situation cannot be allowed to continue," the prime minister said in a statement announcing the establishment of the courts."

The special court has largely been rejected. Civil organisation group, the IAANA.Community, has put forward calls for a sexual offenders registry that will will reportedly be tabled in parliament. While Namibia is one of the few African countries with young members of parliament, this special court announcement proves the general tone-deafness of governments when it comes to tackling gender-based violence.

Namibians have responded with mixed reactions to news of the special court.



Interview

Angelique Kidjo Writes a Love Letter to 'Mother Nature'

We talk to the Beninese musical icon about assembling her new album on Zoom and the "bigger than COVID-19" threat that lies ahead!

The kind of infectious energy that lives within Angelique Kidjo can't be contained by Zoom. Her zest for life reaches out far beyond any screen, and burns stronger than the fastest internet connection.

"I can't wait until we're in person hugging again," she enthuses soon after joining our Zoom meeting to discuss her latest album Mother Nature. Having been on the receiving end of a hug from the four-time Grammy-winning singer, I know exactly what I'm missing out on. "Me too," I say, as I wrap my arms around my laptop, my face squishing the screen. "No, no," she retorts. "I don't want that. You keep it. I want the real deal," she chuckles, her full-bodied trademark laughter lovingly admonishing me.

The Benin-born musician is preparing to release Mother Nature, a collection of songs reflecting our one Earth, and cementing her status as an African musical icon. Collaborating with the likes of Yemi Alade, Mr Eazi, Burna Boy, Sampa the Great, Shungudzo and more, Kidjo's crossing through time and space, over age and country through Mother Nature's themes and stories. Each track is infused with a vigor that only she possesses — the kind that shares a significant message even as the listener is called to just dance or sing along.

Below, Angelique Kidjo reminisces about making the album, and chats us through her hopes and dreams for it!

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