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South Africa to Scrap Tax on Sanitary Pads

The 15% tax on sanitary products will be done away with starting in April, says the country's Finance Minister.

South Africa's newly appointed Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, announced in a speech on Wednesday that the country will no longer tax sanitary products.

Starting in April, the 15 percent value-added tax on sanitary pads will be scrapped. Levies on bread flour and cake flour will also be done away with.

The Finance Minister, who was appointed just two weeks ago, revealed the plan before Parliament as part of a medium term budget policy, intended to outline government spending for the next three years, reports South Africa's Sunday Times. He said he reached out to people on social media ahead of the decision, where he garnered several responses.

"I received 3,299 tweets in total," BBC Africa quoted Mboweni as saying."One of them is from Tintsi Ngwenya in Johannesburg, who said: 'Sanitary pads should be tax free - after considerable debate and consultation, as of the 1 April 2019, government will zero-rate the following items: One, sanitary pads. Two, bread flour Three, cake flour."


The policy comes after public outcry that the high cost of sanitary products prevented young women, particularly those in rural parts of the country, from attending school. South African women spend an average of R600 ($42) yearly on sanitary products, according to a report from News 24.

In some areas, the provision of sanitary pads is completely free for female students, adds BBC Africa. We will ensure that female learners in schools have access to sanitary pads," said the Finance Minister later in his speech.

"Several provinces have already taken the lead in rolling out the provision of free sanitary pads in schools. Funds will be added to the provincial equitable share to enable provinces to progressively further this objective," he added.

Last August, Botswana announced that it would provide free sanitary pads for school-aged women across the country, and Kenya implemented a similar plan in June of last year.

Many are celebrating the scrapping of the tax, and are remaining optimistic that the next step will be the provision of free sanitary pads across the country.



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Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Listen to Burna Boy Feature On Popcaan's New Song 'Aboboyaa'


Renowned dancehall artist Popcaan has released his album Great Is He, via OVO Sound, and it features none other than Burna Boy.


Jamaica's Popcaanhas shared his anticipated album Great Is He, and the body of work features Nigerian superstar Burna Boy on the track "Aboboyaa."

The album showcases the Jamaican musical giant's signature dancehall sound, while also exploring the depth of genre's versatility. In addition to featuring Burna Boy, Great Is He includes features from OVO Sound's boss Drake, Jamaica's Chronic Law, and Toni-Ann Singh, among others.

On "Aboboyaa," the two musical powerhouses merge their signature rhythmic melodies and intonations in a way that is both compelling to listen to on the first listen, and in turn inspires a second and third listen.

Ever since he released his debut album in 2014, Popcaan has become an international dancehall sensation, and his repertoire includes a list of impressive features.

His album Forever, which was released in 2018, debuted at number two on Billboard’s Top Reggae Albums. Commercially, Popcaan has made a mark on the music scene too. His last project FIXTAPE — which included “Twist & Turn,” the mesmerizing dancehall hit featuring Drake and PARTYNEXTDOOR — has garnered over 191 million streams and continues to receive accolades from outlets like Pitchfork, who described the body of work as “a testament to his place at the forefront of the genre.”

"Aboboyaa" is not Popcaan's first international collaboration. In the past, the Jamaican icon has worked with several international music acts including Davido, Jamie xx, Young Thug, Gorillaz, Kano, Jorja Smith and a host of others. He also founded Jamaica’s annual Unruly Festwhich brings stars across the globe to experience Jamaican culture.

Listen to "Aboboyaa" featuring Burna Boy below.

Listen to Popcaan and Burna Boy's "Aboboyaa"

Photo: Nabil Elderkin.

The Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Popcaan x Burna Boy, Bongeziwe Mabandla, Mr Eazi, Baaba Maal, Pheelz and more.

Every Friday, we highlight the top releases through our best music of the week column, Songs You Need to Hear. Here's our round-up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks.

If you like these music lists, you can also check out our Best Songs of the Month columns following Nigerian, Ghanaian, East African and South African music. If you missed them, check out our music lists for the Best of 2022 here.

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Photo: The Sundance Institute

In his Imaginative Debut Feature, Walé Oyéjidé Brings Together Elements of His Life’s Work

The Nigerian American director has long used the tools of his multi-hyphenate trade to expand the ways Africans are seen. Premiering at the Sundance Film Festival, 'Bravo, Burkina!' gives him a larger canvas on which to paint.

Whether it’s employing asylum seekers to model his designs or adding his flair to a piece of pivotal clothing that the late Chadwick Boseman wore in Black Panther, Walé Oyéjidé has always been about using whatever elements he can to push the ways Africans have traditionally been portrayed. What he hinted at in his short film After Migration: Calabria (available on the Criterion Channel), which tells the story of two refugees settling in Italy, he now gets to explore further in the feature debut, Bravo, Burkina!

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