News Brief

The Stories You Need to Know

Get your daily fix of what's hot on the continent and the diaspora, May 12.

SIERRA LEONE—The second largest diamond ever found in Sierra Leone, was up for action on Wednesday (May 11), but the bids, which reached 7.8 million dollars, did not meet the minimum asking price of 50 million dollars.


A re-auction is being planned in “The Diamond Capital of Europe,” Antwerp, Belgium.

The massive diamond was found by a Sierra Leonean pastor, Emmanuel Momoh.

"I want my diamond to be sold abroad so I can get the best price to enable many people to benefit from the proceeds," Pastor Emmanuel Momoh told AFP. Read the full story here.

ZIMBABWE—Robert Mugabe has been accused of falling asleep in meetings, but his spokesperson, George Charamba, has claimed that the president is “not sleeping, just resting his eyes,” says government spokesperson Geroge Charamba. "The president cannot suffer bright lights," he continued.

The 93-year-old president is currently receiving medical treatment in Singapore for eye complications. Read more via BBC Africa.

DIASPORA—Senegalese campaign manager, Sibeth Ndiaye, has been named press secretary for France’s new president-elect, Emmanuel Macron. Dakar-born Ndiaye, now 37, comes from a family of politicians, and was an integral part of Macron’s presidential campaign. Read more on Sibeth Ndiaye, here.

SOUTH AFRICA—Three students have been suspended at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, after posting Nazi-inspired posters on campus boards, reports BBC. The university will continue its investigation in the meantime.

“I have decided to suspend the three students suspected of misconduct while disciplinary proceedings are ongoing,” says Vice-Chancellor Wim de Villiers in a press statement.

“We will continue to take a stand against racism and unfair discrimination, and promote human rights, equality, human dignity and democracy. This we do in accordance with our own policies, as well as our commitment to the Constitution of South Africa and the Bill of Rights that it enshrines.” Read the full statement, here.

SOMALIA—The World Health Organization (WHO) has released a call to action in response to the drought and widespread famine facing the people of Somalia. WHO is concerned by the chronic shortage of funding for, read a news release. “Drought in Somalia led to the destruction of crops and livestock, leaving more than 3.3 million people hungry every day. If the current situation continues, famine could soon be a reality, creating a devastating cycle of hunger and disease as the health of people deteriorates and they become more susceptible to infection.”

Read the WHO’s full release here.

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7 Gengetone Acts You Need to Check Out

The streets speak gengetone: Kenya's gengetone sound is reverberating across East Africa and the world, get to know its main purveyors.

Sailors' "Wamlambez!"Wamlambez!" which roughly translates to "those who lick," is the cry the reverberated round the world, pushing the gengetone sound to the global stage. The response "wamnyonyez" roughly translates to "those who suck" and that should tell you all you need to know about the genre.

Known for its lewd lyrics and repetitive (often call and response) hooks, gengetone makes no apologies for belonging to the streets. First of all, most artists that create gengetone are grouped into bands with a few outliers like Zzero Sufuri riding solo. The songs themselves often feature a multiplicity of voices with screams and crowds coming through as ad libs, adding to this idea that this is definitely "outside" music.

Listening to Odi wa Muranga play with his vocal on the track "Thao" it's easy to think that this is the first, but gengetone fits snuggly in a history of sheng rap based on the kapuka style beat. Kapuka is onomatopoeically named, the beats have that repetitive drum-hat-drum skip that sounds like pu-ka-pu-ka-pu. Artists like Nonini were asking women to come over using this riff long before Ochungulo family told them to stay home if they aren't willing to give it up.

Here's seven gengetone groups worth listening to.

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