OkayAfrica's 100 Women celebrates African women who are making waves, shattering ceilings, and uplifting their communities.

NPR called Somi “the quintessential artist citizen of the world,” which sounds about right. The Sony signee is a New York City-based, Ugandan-Rwandan singer-songwriter, who is as articulate in person as she is in her music.

Somi’s 2014 sabbatical in Nigeria paid off as her album, The Lagos Music Salon, debuted at number one on the iTunes jazz chart, and featured the likes of Angelique Kidjo, Common and Ambrose Akinmusire.

This year, Somi returns with a fresh sound and a special guest, Aloe Blacc, on her album: Petite Afrique. The Chicago-born singer’s connection with East Africa, and the continent at large, continues to inform her music which she blends seamlessly with jazz.

The Huffington Post called Somi the “new Nina Simone.” The NYU educated star has performed at the United Nations’ General Assembly, to commemorate the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

Somi also plays the cello and is a very socially conscious person who founded the nonprofit, New Africa Live.


We speak with Somi where she touches on her mother being her first music teacher, what home is and more in the video below:

News Brief
Image from Flickr Creative Commons

End of an Era as Last South African Music Shops Set to Close

South Africa's Clicks Group has announced the imminent closure of its Musica stores—the last music stores in South Africa after 29 years.

South Africans are bidding farewell to Musica, yet another cultural giant which will be closing shop soon. Musica stores, which are owned by the South African Clicks Group, have been the leading music retailer in the sales of physical CDs and DVDs for close to three decades. Musica admittedly provided a home for many South Africans to leisurely browse through their favourite music in very much the same way book lovers do in book stores. However, as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and having been outcompeted by the digital music world, all Musica stores across the country will be closing permanently.

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South African Military Ends Controversial Ban on Hijabs

The South African National Defence Force has ended its longstanding ban on hijabs. This follows the recent court victory of Major Fatima Isaacs who was fired for wearing a hijab.