News Brief

South Africans are Angry at DJ Cleo for Showing Support to Convicted Rapist Brickz

DJ Cleo posted a picture of himself and Brickz on social media and South Africans are not here for it.

South African musician DJ Cleo, real name Cleopas Monyepao, has come under heavy fire after he posted a picture of himself embracing disgraced musician Brickz, real name Sipho Charles Ndlovu. Brickz is currently serving a 15-year prison sentence for raping his 16-year-old niece - a rape he still denies.


A soccer match organised by a non-profit organisation to aid in the rehabilitation of inmates, reconnected DJ Cleo and Brickz. In a recent tweet, DJ Cleo then posted a picture of himself and Brickz (clad in his prison uniform) with the caption: "We all run our own races, he fell along the way...but the race is not over."


Now, while South Africans are somewhat divided, the majority of them are angered by the post.

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

Those in support of DJ Cleo have claimed that he is simply showing support for his friend. They have gone on to say that people make mistakes and they deserve second chances. The said 'mistake' being the rape of a minor of course, a minor who now becomes a part of some of the highest rape statistics in the world.




The majority who have come out and condemned DJ Cleo have highlighted the nonchalance that South African men in particular exhibit when it comes to rape. They have also lamented how normalized rape has become such that men can easily and freely liken it to a mere ''fall'' or accident.

Whilst Brickz may be serving his time in prison, he has been more willing to talk about how "musically untouchable" he is than showing remorse for raping his own niece.





DJ Cleo once again took to social media following the backlash and apologized saying that his tweet has been "so misunderstood" and that he was not sympathizing with a rapist. However, he went on to slam actress Nomzamo Mbatha for having taken a picture with kwaito artist Arthur Mafokate (a known woman abuser) and asked rapper Boity Thulo (who publicly condemned DJ Cleo) why she didn't show the same outrage with Mbatha.

So basically, DJ Cleo is really not apologizing but instead asking South Africans: Why can't I take a picture with a problematic (insert "convicted" in this case) individual just like everybody else?

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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Interview
Photo by Alet Pretorius/Gallo Images via Getty Images.

How a Global Pandemic Has Failed to Stop South Africa's Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Crisis

We speak to women in key positions about the state of gender-based violence and femicide in South Africa during the continued national lockdown.

Recently, South African women were outraged by the horrific murder of 28-year-old Tshego Pule. She was found hanging from a tree with stab wounds to her chest after she went missing at the beginning of June. Pule was also reportedly heavily pregnant at the time of her death. And while her perpetrator, 31 year-old Mzikayise Malephane, was charged with pre-meditated murder not long afterwards, this is not the universal experience of South African women when it comes to obtaining justice.

There is no other subject, save for governmental corruption and state capture perhaps, that receives as much attention in the media as gender-based violence (GBV) and femicide in South Africa. And despite the alarming statistics which are well above the global average and frighteningly so, there is a glaring lack of political will by the ANC-led government to bring about any actual change. President Cyril Ramaphosa has made promises about perpetrators of violence against women being charged with harsher sentences. This has still not come to fruition. There is radio silence from the numerous task forces set up to develop various approaches in addressing the crisis. And still, women continue to die, the daily online hashtags demanding justice for them falling on deaf ears.

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Interview
Photo: Shawn Theodore via Schure Media Group/Roc Nation

Interview: Buju Banton Is a Lyrical Purveyor of African Truth

A candid conversation with the Jamaican icon about his new album, Upside Down 2020, his influence on afrobeats, and the new generation of dancehall.

Devout fans of reggae music have been longing for new musical offerings from Mark Anthony Myrie, widely-known as the iconic reggae superstar Buju Banton. A shining son of Jamaican soil, with humble beginnings as one of 15 siblings in the close-knit community of Salt Lane, Kingston, the 46-year-old musician is now a legend in his own right.

Buju Banton has 12 albums under his belt, one Grammy Award win for Best Reggae Album, numerous classic hits and a 30-year domination of the industry. His larger-than-life persona, however, is more than just the string of accolades that follow in the shadows of his career. It is his dutiful, authentic style of Caribbean storytelling that has captured the minds and hearts of those who have joined him on this long career ride.

The current socio-economic climate of uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic has thrusted onto the world, coupled with the intensified fight against racism throughout the diaspora, have taken centre stage within the last few months. Indubitably, this makes Buju—and by extension, his new album—a timely and familiar voice of reason in a revolution that has called for creative evolution.

With his highly-anticipated album, Upside Down 2020, the stage is set for Gargamel. The title of this latest discography feels nothing short of serendipitous, and with tracks such as "Memories" featuring John Legend and the follow-up dancehall single "Blessed," it's clear that this latest body of work is a rare gem that speaks truth to vision and celebrates our polylithic African heritage in its rich fullness and complexities.

Having had an exclusive listen to some other tracks on the album back in April, our candid one-on-one conversation with Buju Banton journeys through his inspiration, collaboration and direction for Upside Down 2020, African cultural linkages and the next generational wave of dancehall and reggae.

This interview has been shortened and edited for clarity.

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