News

The Togolese Government Has Blocked the Internet In Response to Nationwide Protests

Hundreds of thousands of Togolese citizens have taken to the streets to protest the long-standing rule of President Faure Gnassingbe.

Over the last few days, hundreds of thousands have headed to the streets of Togo to protest the rule of President Faure Gnassingbe.


Gnassignbe's family has been in leadership for 50 years. Togolese opposition leaders are moving for his immediate removal. Gnassingbe has offered his own amendment in response, which would limit presidential terms to a maximum of two, however, his draft has been rejected as  most believe that it would apply retroactively, allowing Gnassingbe to remain in office till 2030.

Thousands of Togolese have expressed extreme discontent with his leadership and are demanding legitimate constitutional reform.

"The president's position is very fragile, and we do not think his peers in ECOWAS or his friends in Europe will help him if things get ugly," Francois Conradie, head of research at NKC African Economics, told Al Jazeera.

In what appears to be an attempt by the government to silence critics, the internet and SMS texting have been blocked.

Togolese activist, Farida Nabourema has shared videos and images from the protests via her Twitter page. "The millions of Togolese that took the streets to say enough of 50 years of the Gnassingbe dictatorship are just tired of the abuse in #Togo," she wrote. View the footage below.

 

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.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

How Nigerian Streetwear Brand, Daltimore, is Rising To Celebrity Status

We spoke with founder and creative director David Omigie about expression through clothing and that #BBNaija pic.