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Stella Nyanzi (C), a prominent Ugandan activist and government critic, is arrested by police officers as she organised a protest for more food distribution by the government to people who has been financially struggling by the nationwide lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Kampala, on May 18, 2020.

Ugandan Activist Stella Nyanzi Seeks Refuge in Kenya

Ugandan activist and author Dr Stella Nyanzi has reportedly fled to Kenya citing political persecution by the Ugandan government.

Ugandan activist, academic and author Dr Stella Nyanzi has reportedly fled to Kenya to seek refuge. Nyanzi's lawyer has cited political persecution by the Ugandan government as the cause for the activist's recent move. Nyanza is alleged to have crossed the Uganda-Kenya border dressed in disguise with her children already placed in a safehouse in Nairobi.


READ: Jailed Ugandan Activist, Stella Nyanzi, Wins PEN Prize for Freedom of Expression

Speaking in a telephonic interview, Nyanza says that, "The abductions and detentions of political actors were getting closer to me; my children have been targets of police trailing. I just left prison in February last year and I don't want to go back, in a telephone interview."

In 2018, Nyanzi was arrested and charged with the cyber-harrassment of President Yoweri Museveni after she wrote a poem about his mother on Facebook. She was subsequently sentenced to 18 months in Luzira Maximum Security Prison and released in February of last year. Nyanzi was again arrested briefly in May of last year for leading The Women's Protest Working Group in demonstrations against the slow distribution of food during the national COVID-19 lockdown in Uganda.

The Ugandan government's targeting of political dissidents and activists continues as 76-year-old Museveni now enters his sixth term in office following last month's presidential elections. Museveni's National Resistance Movement (NRM) secured 59 percent of the vote while opposition leader Bobi Wine's National Unity Platform (NUP) secured 35 percent of the vote. Bobi Wine, who has faced numerous arrests and military raids himself after contesting for the presidency, has officially challenged the results of the 2021 national elections.

Interview
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Interview: How Stogie T’s ‘Freestyle Friday’ Became a TV Show

Freestyle Friday started as lockdown content but is now a fully-fledged TV show on Channel O. In this interview, Stogie T breaks down why the show is revolutionary and talks about venturing into media.

When South Africa was put under a hard lockdown in 2020, Stogie T started Freestyle Friday to "make SA rap again." Freestyle Friday, hosted on Instagram, saw a different cohort of rappers each rap over the same beat picked by the veteran rapper. From niche and emerging rappers to some of the most notable names in South African hip-hop—the likes of AKA, Focalistic, Ginger Trill and several others all participated.

In the last few weeks, however, Freestyle Friday has found its way to cable TV. The show airs every Friday on Channel O, one of the continent's longest-running music TV channels. Freestyle Friday as a TV programme isn't just about freestyles, it's about the art of rapping and the music business, particularly SA hip-hop. Guests range from lyricists to record executives and other personalities aligned with the scene—Ninel Musson and Ms Cosmo for instance.

But Freestyle Friday is only the first media product Stogie T is working on as he is in the process of starting a podcast network, a venture in which he is collaborating with Culture Capital. In the Q&A below, Stogie T breaks down the relationship with Culture Capital, how the show moved from the internet to TV, why it's a revolutionary idea, touches on his venture into media and his future plans.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

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