News Brief

This Ugandan Activist Was Jailed for 'Insulting' the President After She Advocated for Free Sanitary Pads

Outspoken Ugandan activist, Stella Nyanzi, faces charges of "cyber harassment" and more for speaking out against the president.

One of Uganda's most outspoken activists and academics Stella Nyanzi, is currently standing trial for charges of cyber harassment against the government after advocating for the provision of free sanitary pads to poor women in the country. Prosecutors also suggested that Nyanzi undergo a psychiatric evaluation after she referred to the president as a "pair of buttocks."


Her intrepid statements are not unwarranted, however. President Yoweri Museveni and his wife, Janet Museveni, had promised to provide free sanitary pads for young Ugandan women during the 2016 election. When they failed to deliver on their promise—citing tough economic times as the reason—Nyanzi started her own crowdfunding campaign to supply the items. She also took to social media to denounce Museveni's 31-year old regime for their lack of accountability.

In one particularly unsparing Facebook status, the professor addressed the first lady, who's sometimes referred to as "Mama Janet," directly, for her inaction:

She will never be Mama Janet to me. I should visit her without protection during my next menstruation period, sit in her spotless sofas and arise after staining her soul with my menstrual blood! That will be my peaceful demonstration in solidarity with Uganda's poor adolescent girls. Aluta continua!

Her words got her suspended from her job as a social science researcher and anthropologist at Makerere University in the country's capital.

This isn't Nyanzi's first run-in with the government, her unorthodox brand of activism, which often includes shock and humor—like the time she stripped naked during a dispute with her university—have landed her in the hot seat before. She often uses poetic language as well as song and dance to teach Ugandans about periods, STDs, and sexuality.

"She's the one person who has dared to come out strongly in the country and say what many have feared to say many, many times," Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, and LGBT rights activist told NPR.

Nyanzi appeared in court on Monday, and countered the charges brought against her, which also includes "disturbing the peace, quiet or right to privacy" of the president.

Her followers intend to keep fighting. According to her Facebook page—which her team is using to keep supporters updated with details about Nyanzi's trial and whereabouts—she is currently being held at Luzira Prison in Kampala.

 

 

 

 

 

News Brief

Michael Kiwanuka Wins Highly Coveted 2020 Mercury Prize

The British-Ugandan artist proves that staying true to yourself will get you further than you can imagine.

British-Ugandan musician Michael Kiwanuka has gone on to win the 2020 Mercury Prize at this year's virtual awards ceremony.

The win was assigned to Kiwanuka's 2019 album KIWANUKA, produced by Danger Mouse and Inflo. KIWANUKA, Michael's third full-length so far, seems to be the artists' most personal one yet.

In his own words, Kiwanuka told New Statesman, "I thought, what better way to say that you're comfortable with who you are than by using just your name? KIWANUKA goes against fame, it goes against success. It's not in the pocket, it's not a smooth rock'n'roll name that's up in lights. It can be clumsy, if you haven't seen it before."

Well, we are certainly grateful for the singer's personal evolution as it has landed him top honors in the industry, as well as, amongst his die hard fans.

The artist said of his win, "I don't even know what to say - I'm speechless. This is amazing...I don't even have any words. This is ridiculous, it's crazy! I'm so happy. Third time's a charm. It's blown my mind. I'm over the moon, I'm so excited - this is for art, for music, for albums. This is the only thing I've ever wanted to do so to win a Mercury is a dream come true. I'm so happy. Music and art means so much to me and this is an award that celebrates that so I'm over the moon."

Watch Michael Kiwanuka's performance of "You Ain't The Problem" off of his Mercury Prize winning album "KIWANUKA" here.

Mercury Prize 2020 Winner | Michael Kiwanuka - You Ain't The Problem (Later... With Jools Holland) www.youtube.com

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa Supports Removal of Apartheid Statues

This past Heritage Day, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that monuments 'glorifying' the country's 'divisive past' should be repositioned and relocated.