popular
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
popular
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
popular
Amaarae. Photo courtesy of the artist.

3 Moments That Defined My Journey As a Young Woman In Search of Herself & Her Purpose

Ghanaian artist Amaarae pens an original text exploring being a "black artist and a disruptive female voice in an industry dominated by men" and her new single "Like It."

Thank God Herself
A capsule of short stories.


Women are the purest source of divine energy. Without us, there is no life force and therefore no tools for man to create. As an artist, and most importantly a woman, the desire to tell stories through sound is bound to a singular goal: nurturing an environment for any and all kinds of women to liberate their souls, to free their inner-most desires and to embrace their best and worst selves. Below is a capsule of three unique moments that have defined my journey as a young woman in search of herself and her purpose. These moments have been pivotal to my understanding of this world and the space that I occupy in it as a black artist and a disruptive female voice in an industry dominated by men. Not all of these moments are solely unique to my human experience. Though some are expressed from my perspective, they are the stories of sisters, friends, and even strangers– All women. All honest accounts of life changing events. All written in different styles to honor each distinctive truth.

Keep reading... Show less
News Brief

Lady Donli's Debut Album 'Enjoy Your Life' Is Here

An honest offering from the Nigerian artist your ears need to hear.

Enjoy Your Life, Lady Donli's debut album, was well worth the wait.

Nigeria's very own released an honest offering Friday that's a declaration of her growth and who she is as an artist.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.