News Brief

Uganda to Review Controversial Social Media Tax Following Public Protests

Demonstrators were met with tear gas and bullets as they took to the streets to protest Uganda's controversial social media tax on Wednesday.

The Ugandan government's decision to implement a social media tax has been a controversial one to say the least.

The tax went into effect on July 1, and requires Ugandans who use sites such as Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter to pay a fee of 200 shillings ($0.05) before gaining access.

The decision was highly contested from the beginning, with many arguing that it was a way for the government to censor citizens. President Yoweri Museveni claimed early on that the tax would help curb online gossiping.

Ugandans have taken to social media in the days since to denounce the president and the implementation of the levy. Many used sharp humor to express their anger, but today things took a more serious turn.


Earlier Wednesday morning, hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of Kampala in a protest organized by musician and member of parliament Bobi Wine who leveraged social media last year in order to win his position, reports Times Live.

Police and protestors faced off, as officers who fired bullets and tear gas in an effort to break up the crowd as they marched towards parliament.

Following public protests, Uganda's parliament has announced its plans to review the order, BBC Africa reports.

"Government is now reviewing the taxes taking into consideration the concerns of the public and its implications on the budget," said the country's Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda.

"The president has provided guidance on the matter and encouraged further discussion with a view to reaching consensus on how we should raise the much needed revenue to finance our budget."

Photo: Alvin Ukpeh.

The Year Is 2020 & the Future of Nigeria Is the Youth

We discuss the strength in resolve of Nigeria's youth, their use of social media to speak up, and the young digital platforms circumventing the legacy media propaganda machine. We also get first-hand accounts from young creatives on being extorted by SARS and why they believe the protests are so important.

In the midst of a pandemic-rife 2020, the voices of African youth have gotten louder in demand for a better present and future. From structural reforms, women's rights, LGBTQ rights, and derelict states of public service, the youths have amplified their voices via the internet and social media, to cohesively express grievances that would hitherto have been quelled at a whisper.

Nigerian youth have used the internet and social media to create and sustain a loud voice for themselves. The expression of frustration and the calls for change may have started online, but it's having a profound effect on the lives of every Nigerian with each passing day. What started as the twitter hashtag #EndSARS has grown into a nationwide youth revolution led by the people.

Even after the government supposedly disbanded the SARS (Special Anti-Robbery Squad) unit on the 10th of October, young Nigerians have not relented in their demands for better policing. The lack of trust for government promises has kept the youth protesting on the streets and online.

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Interview
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Interview: 808x On Crafting Different Sounds For the Diverse Innanetwav Roster

808x, the in-house producer for South Africa's popular hip-hop collective/label Innanetwav, breaks down his working process with artists and the importance of energy.

Reflecting on the early days of Cash Money Records during a conversation with legendary New Orleans producer Mannie Fresh earlier this year, Lil Wayne said:

"When we started, record labels had one producer for the whole record label. Meaning that Mannie Fresh produced every song on every album, from the intro to the artist."

Some labels, groups and collectives still observe that tradition. It, however, takes a producer with such versatility they could be mistaken to be different personalities altogether.

Joburg-based producer 808x is a great example of that type of producer. Being the in-house producer and engineer for one of the country's most versatile collectives and contemporary hip-hop labels, Innanetwav, 808x has to craft beats that slice through the spectrum of genres with inimitable fluidity and creativity.

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News Brief
Photo by HILDEGARD TITUS/AFP via Getty Images

Namibia Announces Special Court in Response to #ShutItDown Protests

Namibian Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila has announced the establishment of a special court to deal with sexual and gender-based violence but protestors are skeptical and continue to call for further action.

According to eNCA, Namibian Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila has announced that the government will establish a special court for dealing with sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) cases. This follows the massive #ShutItDown protests that have been ongoing for two weeks now in the country. The protests were sparked by the reported news of a 22-year-old Namibian woman, Shannon Wasserfall, who was allegedly murdered at the hands of her boyfriend. Daisry Mathias, a presidential youth advisor, and representatives of the #ShutItDown protests were all part of the recent meeting with President Hage Geingob and Kuugongelwa-Amadhila. All parties briefed media after the controversial closed-door meeting. However, protestors have responded with skepticism and called the meeting non-transparent.

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#EndSARS: Nigerian Sports Stars Speak Up in Support of Ongoing Protests

Nigerian sports stars have amplified their voices through the continued #EndSARS banner by revealing their own harrowing experiences with the rogue special police unit.