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Social Media Is Doodling On Pictures of Burundi's President In Support of Arrested Schoolgirls

Folks online are using the hashtag #FreeOurGirls to remind Burundi's president that scribbling is not a crime.

Last week, three Burundian schoolgirls were taken into custody after doodling on a picture of President Pierre Nkurunziza in their textbooks. The girls, all under the age of 18, face up to five years in prison for the act.

Now folks on social media are rallying behind the girls, using the hashtag #FreeOurGirls. People are not only voicing their unwavering support for the young girls against the heavy hand of the president, they're also using it as an opportunity to share pictures of the president with their own doodles.

In true elementary form, some images show the president with playfully drawn-on mustaches, hats and hair. One of the more creative doodles shows the president with a curled mustached and a short blue wig on.


Authorities had initially arrested seven schoolchildren total who were accused of defacing images of the president. Four of the children were subsequently released, while the three schoolgirls are awaiting trial.

This was only the most recent instance of children being harshly punished for "defacing" the image of the president. In 2016, 11 students were arrested for doing the same, and several children have been expelled after doing so in the past.

Over the weekend, social media users began to lambast the Burundian president for his actions, causing #FreeOurGirls to being trending in the country.

The doodles point out how outright absurd it is for children to be arrested for what amount to nothing more than harmless childhood antics.







Photo: Mainimo Etienne

The Rwandan Woman Who Made Football History

We talked to Rwandan referee Salima Mukansanga, who is the first woman to officiate a match in the Africa Cup of Nations' 65-year history.

On the 18th of January, 2022, a woman stepped into the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaoundé, Cameroon, whistle in hand, a walkie-talkie tucked behind her shorts. Taking up her post as central referee for the Zimbabwe-Guinea game, she would make history as the first woman to officiate a match in the Africa Cup of Nations. Chit-chat occupied the stands, as spectators waited for the curtains to be drawn at 17:00 hours for the match to begin. Whispers of “Hope she will deliver,” could be heard, as Salima Mukansanga prepared to take to the field.

During the match, some spectators counted the 34 yellow cards she handed out at the end; others found her soft and tender with no serious refereeing issues in the game. Mukansanga leads a quartet of women match officials for this year's AFCON, with Carine Atemzabong, from Cameroon, Fatiha Jermoumi and Bouchra Karboubi, both from Morocco, present as assistant referees. Until this year’s tournament, in its 65-year history, an all-women team of refereeing officials had yet to be designated for an Africa Cup of Nations match.

With this accomplishment, 35-year-old Mukansanga has emerged as a trailblazer for other women who aspire to step out and break sporting bounds. Her role in this year’s tournament signals a major moment in the development of women refereeing in football, on the continent and for the sport as a whole.

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Music

Adekunle Gold Teases Upcoming Album With New Single "Mercy"

The Nigerian afropop crooner has fans sitting in anticipation for his new album, due out February 4.

Afropop favorite Adekunle Gold is back on our minds with the announcement that his upcoming album Catch Me If You Can is out in a week! The Nigerian superstar has already teased fans with tracks "High" featuring Davido, "Sinner" featuring American singer Lucky Daye, and now shares his latest "Mercy."

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Music
Image courtesy of Spinall.

The 5 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Spinall x Adekunle Gold, Ibibio Sound Machine, Turunesh 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.

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Madelyn Bonilla On Being The AfroLatina Representation Her Younger Self Needed

Bonilla, the founder of online community Brown Narrativ, spoke with us about how her experiences as an AfroLatina woman in NYC’s Bronx led her to write and direct her debut film, Pajón.