News Brief

Tunisia's President Beji Caid Essebsi has Passed Away

The head-of-state, who was admitted into hospital only yesterday, was 92.

President Beji Caid Essebsi of Tunisia, has passed away according to the BBC. Essebsi was the Northern African country's first democratically elected president after the "Arab Spring" uprisings back in 2014. Essebsi's predecessor, former President Zine el-Abedine Ben Ali, had been in office for just over two decades before he was ousted in 2011 at the age of 74.


Essebsi was reportedly admitted into hospital on Wednesday after suffering a "severe health crisis" Tunisian officials report. Late last month, the ailing head-of-state was hospitalized and his son, Hafedh Caid Essebsi, expressed to the AFP news agency that his father's condition was quite dire.

Following the "Arab Spring" uprisings in 2014, Essebsi helped draft a constitution that guaranteed freedom of speech and prepared the country for its first free elections. Additionally, he was a part of the proceedings that led to the power-sharing deal between the Nidaa Tounes movement and Islamist Ennahda party which lessened the instability and violence within Tunisia at the time.

According to Youssef Cherif, the deputy director at Columbia Global Centers, the parliamentary speaker, Mohamed Ennaceur, will likely take over over as interim president until Tunisia carries out its elections in November.

Speaking about the constitutionality of the process, Cherif said, "The president has been unwell for almost a month now, so for the last few weeks there was a lot of discussion inside the corridors of the presidency, the parliament, the prime minister's office to find a way without having a constitutional court."

He added that, "Constitutional experts say the parliament speaker will be the interim president for about two months, and then either elections will happen after two months, or elections that were anyway scheduled to take place between October and December will take place."

Interview
Image supplied.

Interview: How Stogie T’s ‘Freestyle Friday’ Became a TV Show

Freestyle Friday started as lockdown content but is now a fully-fledged TV show on Channel O. In this interview, Stogie T breaks down why the show is revolutionary and talks about venturing into media.

When South Africa was put under a hard lockdown in 2020, Stogie T started Freestyle Friday to "make SA rap again." Freestyle Friday, hosted on Instagram, saw a different cohort of rappers each rap over the same beat picked by the veteran rapper. From niche and emerging rappers to some of the most notable names in South African hip-hop—the likes of AKA, Focalistic, Ginger Trill and several others all participated.

In the last few weeks, however, Freestyle Friday has found its way to cable TV. The show airs every Friday on Channel O, one of the continent's longest-running music TV channels. Freestyle Friday as a TV programme isn't just about freestyles, it's about the art of rapping and the music business, particularly SA hip-hop. Guests range from lyricists to record executives and other personalities aligned with the scene—Ninel Musson and Ms Cosmo for instance.

But Freestyle Friday is only the first media product Stogie T is working on as he is in the process of starting a podcast network, a venture in which he is collaborating with Culture Capital. In the Q&A below, Stogie T breaks down the relationship with Culture Capital, how the show moved from the internet to TV, why it's a revolutionary idea, touches on his venture into media and his future plans.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

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