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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.

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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."

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Meet Your New Congolese Crush, Lous and the Yakuza

The young artist's first music video for "Dilemme" looks and sounds absolutely amazing.

Artist Lous and the Yakuza debuts an edgy and effortlessly cool video for "Dilemme," the first single from her upcoming debut album, Gore.

Both the track, produced by El Guincho, and video are perfect for the late September vibe–chilled out but pulsing with quiet energy. "Dilemme" is smooth trap with melodic and sombre lyrics that make you both bop and think.

The video, directed by Wendy Morgan, is somewhat biographical of 23-year-old Lous' life. In the video, Lous is literally wearing multiple identities, each complete with their own environment. These personas tell the story of her life—from growing up in Congo to proving herself as an artist in Brussels, where she now resides. It's a collision of high art and street culture. It's been a difficult if not lonely battle, and the song tells that tale. Lous is in fact speaking about wanting to be alone, the contradictions in being recognized for art and the fatigue she feels at constantly trying to find her place.

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Photo: Kyle Weeks.

Watch Baloji's Debut Short Film 'Kaniama Show'

"A fictional satire about the collusion of State and media powers in an unidentified African country."

Baloji is a leading force in his space.

For years, the Congolese-Belgian artist has paired his unique blend of soukous, hip-hop and pop elements with sharp critiques about the power that governments, industries and technology have over societies—particularly across Africa.

Recently, Baloji release his latest album, 137 Kaniama, a 12-song record which offered potent commentary on, among other issues, how today's cellphone culture is making all of us zombies. That album is going to be re-released its originally-intended form of a one-track single as Kaniama: The Yellow Version tomorrow.

The new release is paired with a 22-minute short film that takes a satirical look at the shady ties between state and media with the backdrop of a '70s Soul Train-esque TV show.

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