News Brief

The South African Government May Decriminalize Sex Work

President Cyril Ramaphosa told a number of organizations that the government is looking into the current laws regulating sex work.

Yesterday, President Cyril Ramaphosa opened a newly build court and signed a declaration on gender-based violence (GBV) in Johannesburg. There, he announced to a number of women and civil organizations who were in attendance that the government was looking into the decriminalization of sex work in South Africa.


Feminists, activists and civil organizations the likes of reproductive rights activist, Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng, the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) and Sonke Gender Justice have all been working towards having sex work decriminalized.

Over the years, sex workers and their allies have campaigned for laws criminalizing sex work in the Sexual Offences Act to be changed. With South Africa having one of the highest prevalence rates of femicide, rape and GBV, efforts to have sex work seen as work are incredibly important seeing that sex workers are a marginalized group that is vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.

READ: The Daily Nightmare of Being a South African Woman Shows No Signs of Ending

According to SowetanLIVE, President Ramaphosa said:

"We will finalize the outstanding legislation such as the prevention and combating [of] hate crime, the hate crime bill and victim support services. We will work with all stakeholders to develop policy around the decriminalization of sex work."

Speaking further on the current legislation as it relates to GBV, President Ramaphosa also added that:

"We commit ourselves in this declaration to commit, to resource, [and to] strengthen the existing gender machinery...Today begins a new era in our determined struggle to rip our society off gender-based violence and femicide."
Interview
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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