News Brief

South Africans Are Planning a Nationwide Strike to Force Their President to Step Down

South African advocacy groups are urging people to stay home from school and work on Friday for a national strike in protest of government corruption.

South Africans are planning a nationwide "shutdown" set to take place this Friday, in order to force the president, Jacob Zumawho recently fired 9 members of his cabinet—to step down from office.

The protest was organized via social media with the hashtags #ZumaMustFall and #SouthAfricaMustRise. Organizers are urging citizens not to attend school or work, or do anything other than participate in the protest.

"On Friday the 7 April South Africans need to take to the streets in masses, wherever you are, with signs of protest to make our collective voice heard. Block highways, stand with your communities, go to political houses, go to prayer meetings, arrange your own marches. Do whatever you can to make your voice heard," read a statement on a Facebook invite for the event titled "The Day SA Comes to a Standstill #SAWillRise." The invite, which is hosted by advocacy groups Zuma Must Fall March and We are South Africans, currently has over 9,000 people planning to attend.

The national police spokesperson, Vish Naidoo, told News 24 that the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure are currently monitoring the event.

It comes as no surprise, that the government has spoken out in opposition of the protest. “We have noted social media messages which call for a shutdown of the country on Friday. The call made in these messages can have unexpected consequences especially for our fragile economy, business and communities,” Donald Liphoko, a government spokesperson, told News 24.

“When citizens take to the streets illegally, we often witness violence, destruction of property and lawlessness. These illegal protests do not possess the characteristics of strengthening democracy. Those found guilty of any form of violence will face the might of the law,” he continued.

Illegal gatherings are something that the organizers of the march have already warned against. They're advising people in other areas who want to strike, to visit their website for information on how to formally proceed. "Don't just go out and protest. You are not allowed to. It is illegal and you are not protected. You need a strike permit."

They aren't the only group who want Zuma gone. The Integrity Commission of the ANC, asked the president to resign last December, but he refused. The commission plans to ask him once again in a meeting set for April 9, reports Independent Online.

Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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