News Brief

This Professor Is Being Detained In Cameroon for Criticizing the Government's Response to the Anglophone Crisis

The international community speaks out following the illegal detainment of Stony Brook professor, Patrice Nganang, in Yaoundé last Wednesday.

Several educators, humanitarians, NGOs, concerned citizens and more have signed an open letter, condemning the detainment of Cameroonian-American educator, writer and activist Patrice Nganang last Wednesday in Yaoundé, and asking for his immediate release.

The associate professor of literary and cultural theory at Stony Brook University, is currently being illegally held by the Cameroonian government after publishing an essay, critical of President Paul Biya and his administration's handling of the Anglophone protest movement, according to a statement from Stony Brook President Samuel L. Stanley Jr.

"Authorities are working around the clock with the appropriate authorities and elected U.S. representatives to help facilitate the safe return of Professor Nganang," says President Stanley Jr.

Born in Yaoundé, Nganang holds American citizenship and has authored several award-winning works.

"We join the Cameroon People's Party, PEN USA, Amnesty International, the African Literature Association, Human Rights Watch, Committee to Protect Journalists, and other friends of freedom of expression in calling for the immediate release of Professor Nganang," reads the open letter.

Many on social media are also joining in the movement to get Nganang released, and are using the opportunity to call out rampant censorship in the nation, and suppression of freedom of speech. Since the crisis began earlier this year, the internet in predominantly Anglophone regions has been blocked twice and several have been killed in government crackdowns.

Nganang is currently awaiting a hearing for three separate charges, a Facebook page has been created in support of the mission to free him.


Interview
Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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