News Brief

Sudanese Spy Chief Issues Order to Release Over 1,000 Protestors

Opposition leader arrested amid escalating protests.

Citizens and local leaders in Sudan continue to call for the removal of President Omar al-Bashir.

The country's intelligence chief Salah Ghosh has issued an order for the release of all those detained during protests, which began in mid-December over the rising price of bread. Over 1,000 people were arrested, including protestors journalists, professors, activists, and opposition leaders, Al Jazeera reports. Mariam al-Madhi, the deputy head of the opposition Umma Party, which is lead by her father, the opposition leader Sadiq al-Mahdi's, has also been detained. Al-Madhi is a vocal supporter of the current protests.


The protests, which began over the removal of subsidies soon escalated into calls for al-Bashir, who has been in office for 30 years, to step down immediately. Despite widespread opposition to his leadership, al-Bashir has refused and has blamed the uprising on "foreign agents." He is expected to run for reelection next year, notes Al Jazeera and has claimed that the media has exaggerated events.

There has been mounting international criticism of the government's treatment of demonstrators since the protests began. During protests in the capital of Khartoum on Tuesday, authorities used tear gar to quell demonstrators, according to a report from BBC Africa. Protests have taken place nationwide, in cities like Omdurman and in the Red City of Port Sudan as well.

According to human rights groups, 40 people have died since the unrest began.

Despite clashes with security forces, Sudanese citizens continue to take to the streets to protest ineffective leadership.

Interview

Angelique Kidjo Writes a Love Letter to 'Mother Nature'

We talk to the Beninese musical icon about assembling her new album on Zoom and the "bigger than COVID-19" threat that lies ahead!

The kind of infectious energy that lives within Angelique Kidjo can't be contained by Zoom. Her zest for life reaches out far beyond any screen, and burns stronger than the fastest internet connection.

"I can't wait until we're in person hugging again," she enthuses soon after joining our Zoom meeting to discuss her latest album Mother Nature. Having been on the receiving end of a hug from the four-time Grammy-winning singer, I know exactly what I'm missing out on. "Me too," I say, as I wrap my arms around my laptop, my face squishing the screen. "No, no," she retorts. "I don't want that. You keep it. I want the real deal," she chuckles, her full-bodied trademark laughter lovingly admonishing me.

The Benin-born musician is preparing to release Mother Nature, a collection of songs reflecting our one Earth, and cementing her status as an African musical icon. Collaborating with the likes of Yemi Alade, Mr Eazi, Burna Boy, Sampa the Great, Shungudzo and more, Kidjo's crossing through time and space, over age and country through Mother Nature's themes and stories. Each track is infused with a vigor that only she possesses — the kind that shares a significant message even as the listener is called to just dance or sing along.

Below, Angelique Kidjo reminisces about making the album, and chats us through her hopes and dreams for it!

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News Brief

Amapiano Pioneer DJ Stokie Shares His Journey In New Documentary ‘iPiano eSoweto: The DJ Stokie Story’

Pioneering amapiano deejay, Stokie's newly released documentary 'iPiano eSoweto' details his musical journey through his lens and that of friends, peers and fans.

DJ Stokie is often credited as one of the first few deejays to play and popularise amapiano in Soweto back in the popular genre's burgeoning days.

The 24-minute documentary titled iPiano eSoweto, named after his 2020 song of the same name, uncovers Stokie's journey and the role he played on amapiano's rise from a township genre to a worldwide phenomenon.

"I think for me it's a takeover, man. People are dancing to amapiano… So Stokie is a game changer" are the words that open the documentary. They best describe the genre's current status and Stokie's impact on its growth.

On iPiano eSoweto, Stokie's wife and deejay friends recount his transition from being a vinyl-playing deep house deejay to building a reputation for playing "exclusive" or "private school" 'piano. They also share some of their earliest memories, going around townships for shows and getting paid as little as R40 (less than $3).

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Interview

Malian Rapper Ami Yerewolo Rises Against All Odds

Ami Yerewolo reflects on her hard-won rap career, new album AY and why she insists on creating support spaces for young female rappers in Mali and beyond.

"No one is a prophet in his or her own land!" This is an accurate way to describe Ami Yerewolo's career to a tee. The Malian rapper's music has not always been popular in her home country, where female rappers are generally frowned upon. Instead, it has taken off abroad. Yerewolo's upbeat sound mixes traditional Malian elements with fast drums, contemporary beats and significant lyrics that compel listeners to reflect on life — all of which makes her songs carry a universal appeal. Her new album, AY (titled after the rapper's initials) has just been released by the label Othentiq.

Yerewolo shares her frank thoughts below...

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