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."
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Several People Have Been Killed During Protests in Guinea

Guineans are protesting against changes to the constitution which will allow President Alpha Conde to run for a third term.

At least five people have died during protests in Guinea's Conakry and Mamou after police opened fire on them, according to Aljazeera. The protests come just after President Alpha Conde instructed his government to look into drafting a new constitution that will allow him to remain in power past the permissible two terms. Conde's second five-year term will come to an end next year but as is the unfortunate case with many African leaders, the 81-year-old is intent on running for office yet again.

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Listen to Zoocci Coke Dope and Ami Faku’s New Single ‘Regrets’

Zoocci Coke Dope and Ami Faku connect on new single 'Regrets.'

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In Conversation: Lemn Sissay On His New Book About Re-claiming the Ethiopian Heritage Stolen From Him by England’s Foster Care System

In 'My Name Is Why,' the 2019 PEN Pinter award winner passionately advocates for children in the institutional care system, and in turn tells a unique story of identity and the power in discovering one's heritage.

It took the author Lemn Sissay almost two decades to learn his real name. As an Ethiopian child growing up in England's care system, his cultural identity was systematically stripped from him at an early age. "For the first 18 years of my life I thought that my name was Norman," Sissay tells OkayAfrica. "I didn't meet a person of color until I was 10 years of age. I didn't know a person of color until I was 16. I didn't know I was Ethiopian until I was 16 years of age. They stole the memory of me from me. That is a land grab, you know? That is post-colonial, hallucinatory madness."

Sissay was not alone in this experience. As he notes in his powerful new memoir My Name Is Why, during the 1960s, tens of thousands of children in the UK were taken from their parents under dubious circumstances and put up for adoption. Sometimes, these placements were a matter of need, but other times, as was the case with Sissay, it was a result of the system preying on vulnerable parents. His case records, which he obtained in 2015 after a hardfought 30 year campaign, show that his mother was a victim of child "harvesting," in which young, single women were often forced into giving their children up for adoption before being sent back to their native countries. She tried to regain custody of young Sissay, but was unsuccessful.

Whether they end up in the foster system out of need or by mistake, Sissay says that most institutionalized children face the same fate of abuse under an inadequate and mismanaged system that fails to recognize their full humanity. For black children who are sent to white homes, it often means detachment from a culturally-sensitive environment. "There are too many brilliant people that I know who have been adopted by white parents for me to say that it just doesn't work," says Sissay. "But the problem is the amount of children that it doesn't work for."

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Check out Cameroonian Crooner Vagabon’s New Ode to Female Power

The singer dropped a video for new single "Every Woman" today, shot by fellow Cameroonian director Lino Asana.

Cameroonian-born singer-songwriter Laetitia Tamko, better known as her stage name Vagabon, has been spoiling us with delights as of late. First, the crooner teased us with two singles, "Flood" and "Water Me Down" from her forthcoming sophomore album, Vagabon, a work she wrote and produced herself. And today, she surprised us with a new single and video for "Every Woman"—a track Tamko claims is the "thesis of the album," as per a press statement reported by The Fader magazine

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