News Brief

Stories You Need to Know Now: Morocco Cracks Down on Protests, Presidential Health Scares and New Ebola Vaccine

Stay on top of the news coming from the continent.

Morocco Cracks Down on Protestors After Months of Unrest

According to Moroccan human rights organizations, police have arrested up to 70 people connected to the protest movement in the ethnically Berber region of Rif. The protests, which began as a call for justice after a fishmonger, protesting the seizure of his fish, was crushed to death by a garbage truck snowballed into a greater movement demanding jobs and economic development in a region that has long felt marginalized. Despite many of the leaders having been arrested, crowds continue to protest every night in the city of Al-Hoceima

Nigerian First Lady Aisha Buhari Joins Her Ailing Husband in London

It might be nothing, but in the current climate of intrigue around the health of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari the first lady flying to England to be by her husband's side inevitably sparks rumors about a possible turn for the worse. Earlier this year, Buhari spent seven weeks on medical leave mostly out of sight sparking intense speculation. He returned to England on May 7th for a "follow-up" and has been there ever since.

President dos Santos returns home after health checks

While Buhari received medical attention in England, Angola's 74 year-old President Jose Eduardo dos Santos was in Spain receiving care for what some in Angolan media reported as a stroke. Rumors of his death were enough to prompt his daughter, Isabel to publicly deny that he had died while in Spain. On Monday, Angola's Foreign Minister Georges Chikoti told RFI,

"You know that there are moments in everyone's lives when we don't feel well. But he is fine. He is in Spain but when he is better he will return."

Dos Santos has been President of Angola for 38 years won't be contesting an upcoming election in August suggesting a transfer of power to his chosen successor Defence Minister Joao Lourenco.

An Experimental Ebola Vaccine Lands in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

On Monday, the Congolese government approved a vaccine to help combat an ongoing Ebola virus outbreak in Northeastern Congo. Developed after the devastating West African outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever in 2015 that killed 11,000 people, the vaccine has been shown to be quite effective at preventing transmission of the virus during trials in Guinea according to prestigious medical journal, The Lancet.


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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