Cellou Binani/Getty Images

Several People Have Been Killed During Protests in Guinea

Guineans are protesting against changes to the constitution which will allow President Alpha Conde to run for a third term.

At least five people have died during protests in Guinea's Conakry and Mamou after police opened fire on them, according to Aljazeera. The protests come just after President Alpha Conde instructed his government to look into drafting a new constitution that will allow him to remain in power past the permissible two terms. Conde's second five-year term will come to an end next year but as is the unfortunate case with many African leaders, the 81-year-old is intent on running for office yet again.

Keep reading... Show less
Photo by Hamish Brown

In Conversation: Lemn Sissay On His New Book About Re-claiming the Ethiopian Heritage Stolen From Him by England’s Foster Care System

In 'My Name Is Why,' the 2019 PEN Pinter award winner passionately advocates for children in the institutional care system, and in turn tells a unique story of identity and the power in discovering one's heritage.

It took the author Lemn Sissay almost two decades to learn his real name. As an Ethiopian child growing up in England's care system, his cultural identity was systematically stripped from him at an early age. "For the first 18 years of my life I thought that my name was Norman," Sissay tells OkayAfrica. "I didn't meet a person of color until I was 10 years of age. I didn't know a person of color until I was 16. I didn't know I was Ethiopian until I was 16 years of age. They stole the memory of me from me. That is a land grab, you know? That is post-colonial, hallucinatory madness."

Sissay was not alone in this experience. As he notes in his powerful new memoir My Name Is Why, during the 1960s, tens of thousands of children in the UK were taken from their parents under dubious circumstances and put up for adoption. Sometimes, these placements were a matter of need, but other times, as was the case with Sissay, it was a result of the system preying on vulnerable parents. His case records, which he obtained in 2015 after a hardfought 30 year campaign, show that his mother was a victim of child "harvesting," in which young, single women were often forced into giving their children up for adoption before being sent back to their native countries. She tried to regain custody of young Sissay, but was unsuccessful.

Whether they end up in the foster system out of need or by mistake, Sissay says that most institutionalized children face the same fate of abuse under an inadequate and mismanaged system that fails to recognize their full humanity. For black children who are sent to white homes, it often means detachment from a culturally-sensitive environment. "There are too many brilliant people that I know who have been adopted by white parents for me to say that it just doesn't work," says Sissay. "But the problem is the amount of children that it doesn't work for."

Keep reading... Show less
Angélique Kidjo and her mother.

Here Are The Sweetest Songs For Mother's Day

Some of our favorite musical tributes to mothers around the world for Mother's Day.

In honor of Mother's Day, we're sharing some of our favorite tributes to mothers around the world from some of our favorite musical acts.

When thinking of this list, a mother figure that immediately came to mind for her sad passing almost exactly a year ago is Afeni Shakur, the lifelong political activist, Black Panther and mother to Tupac.

The bittersweet “Dear Mama" is probably hip-hop's most popular ode to a mother and has served as a template for songs about mothers on and off the continent.

With that in mind, we asked the office to select some of the sweeter songs for moms that they'd come across. Scroll through our Mother's Day playlist below.

Miriam Makeba “Khawuleza"

Who better than Mama Africa herself to kick off this list. In the video above, the legendary singer explains that “Khawuleza" is a “South African song, it comes from the townships… where all the black South Africans live. The children shout from the streets as they see police cars coming to raid their homes for one thing of another. They shout 'Khawuleza, mama!' which simply means 'Hurry, mama, please don't let them catch you!'"

Prince Nico Mbarga “Sweet Mother"

Highlife musician Prince Nico Mbarga's “Sweet Mother" was his only hit, but what a hit it was. Recorded alongside his band Rocafil Jazz, Mbarga's fusion of Igbo & Congolese guitar lines and English pidgin vocals went on to sell over 13 million copies after its 1976 release and has become a staple of the era worldwide.

Wizkid Performs “Love My Baby" For His Mom

We don't need to tell you that Wizzy's blowing up right now. But before the Drake co-signs and global chart topping, remember when Wizkid called his mother on stage and serenaded her with “Love My Baby"? “I'm gonna bring out my baby, the love of my love, the only woman I love so much, my mama," he lets the audience know.

“Mama Oyoyo"

Here's a mother's ode that could also play on the dance floor from the impressive Nigerian roster of Yemi Alade, Olamide, Iyanya, Tekno and Selebobo. The song's accompanying music video is as sweet as the track.

Afrikan Boy “Dear Mama"

Afrikan Boy enlists UK-Nigerian Seye and production from Johan Hugo (The Very Best) for “Dear Mama." “I saw the struggles my mum went through to feed us and ensure our happiness. This song is an acknowledgement to her hustle and my promise to be successful to honour her efforts," he previously told Okayafrica.

Asa “So Beautiful"

Last but not least, Asa delivers a tender acoustic tribute to her mother in “So Beautiful."


My African Mother Is...

Angélique Kidjo, Mapei, Sinkane, Toya Delazy and more honor their African moms for Mother's Day 2015.

For Mother's Day this year we asked some of our favorite artists for their help honoring all the moms out there.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox