News Brief

One of Swaziland’s Oldest Human Rights Groups Doesn’t Support The Country’s Upcoming Pride March

The irony!

This Saturday, The Kingdom of Eswatini (formerly The Kingdom of Swaziland) will see its first ever LGBTIQ march. The event will take place at the country's capital city Mbabane at Prince of Wales Stadium.

The march, whose main organizer is LGBTIQ rights activist Melusi Simelane, has received mixed reactions, which is expected. LGBTI rights aren't taken seriously in most parts of the world, let alone in a country as conservative as Swaziland.


But the most shocking opponent of the march is SWAGAA (Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse)—one of the country's most visible and oldest human rights organizations.

The organization made its stance clear that it's not in support of the march. SWAGAA communication and advocacy officer Silindele Nkosi was quoted by The Swazi Observer as saying:

"SWAGAA is completely aware of the public violence perpetuated against LGBTIQ groups, hence we follow our non-discriminatory clause in providing them with psychological care and support whenever they are faced with violence.

"I must point out, though, that the organization does not support the idealistic connotation that comes with the upcoming march as it is completely against our creator Lord Jesus' plans for His people in being together as man and woman."

However, other similar organizations—such FLAS and COSPE—are supporting the organizers of the event.

The country's police force, Royal Eswatini Police, also cleared and granted permission for the event, and promised to ensure security and safety.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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