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Ugandan prominent human rights activist and feminist Stella Nyanzi (C) reacts to police officers during a protest against the amount and handling of police investigations into murders and kidnappings of women in Kampala on June 5, 2018. (Photo by SUMY SADURNI/AFP/Getty Images)

Ugandan Activist, Stella Nyanzi, Found Guilty of Cyber Harassment Against President Museveni

The activist has been sentenced to 18 months in prison over a poem she wrote about the president last year, referencing vaginas.

Stella Nyanzi, the outspoken Ugandan activist and former research fellow at Makerere University's Institute for Social Research, was found guilty of cyber harassment against President Yoweri Museveni on Friday, after sharing a controversial birthday poem for the president last September.

Nyanzi was arrested in November of last year after sharing the poem on her Facebook page, part of which read: "I wish the acidic pus flooding Esiteri's (the president's mother) vaginal canal had burn up your unborn fetus. Burn you up as badly as you have corroded all morality and professionalism out of our public institutions in Uganda."


This is not the first time the activist has spoken out against the president. In 2017, she was jailed and suspended from her job at Makerere University after referring to the president as a "pair of buttocks."

She appeared in court in May on new charges of cyber harassment and "offensive communication." She was acquitted of the latter charge, but has been sentenced to 18 months in prison after being found guilty of the cyber harassment charge.

According to The Guardian, Nyanzi was given an opportunity to address the court in Kampala in an attempt to reduce here sentence, to which she responded: "Send me to Luzira [maximum security prison]. I am proud [of what] I told a dirty, delinquent dictator."

Adding: "I want to embolden the young people...I want them to use their voices and speak whatever words they want to speak."

Footage of Nyanzi's speech in court, shared on Twitter, show the activist expressing plans to continue addressing the president's actions no matter the consequences. "I will speak to dictators even if it means in the language of vagina," said Nyanzi.

The verdict has once again sparked concerns over censorship and freedom of expression in Uganda. "Stella Nyanzi has been criminalized solely for her creative flair of using metaphors and what may be considered insulting language to criticize President Museveni's leadership," says Amnesty International's Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes Joan Nyanyuki of the verdict.

"The mere fact that forms of expression are considered insulting to a public figure is not sufficient ground to penalize anyone. Public officials, including those exercising the highest political authority, are legitimately subject to criticism and political opposition," she added.

Uganda is ranked 125 out of 180 in Reporters Without Borders' 2018 World Press Freedom Index. The suppression of freedom of expression in the county are underscored by cases like Nyanzi's as well as the targeting and harassment of Ugandan opposition leader and musician Bobi Wine.

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Photo credit should read ISAAC KASAMANI/AFP via Getty Images.

Ugandan Activist Stella Nyanzi to be Released from Prison

After being sentenced to 18 months in prison for the "cyber harassment" of President Yoweri Museveni, Stella Nyanzi has won her court appeal and the judge has ordered her immediate release.

Ugandan activist Stella Nyanzi is set to be released from prison after winning her court appeal.

Last year, Nyanzi was sentenced to 18 months in prison for the "cyber harassment" of President Yoweri Museveni after writing a poem about his mother's vagina.

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Photo by Alexander Joe/AFP via Getty Images.

South Africans Remember Nelson Mandela's Historic Release from Prison

Thirty years ago today, the late anti-Apartheid veteran Nelson Mandela was released from prison after spending nearly three decades behind bars.

Today is the 30th anniversary of the late South African anti-Apartheid veteran Nelson Mandela's historic release from prison.

Mandela or Madiba, as he was affectionately known, was released from the Victor Verster Prison, now known as the Drakenstein Correctional Centre, after serving the remaining 14 months of his 27-year long sentence.

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Stormzy, YBN Cordae, Ari Lennox and Col3trane Added to Rocking The Daisies 2020 Lineup

Stormzy, YBN Cordae, Ari Lennox and Col3trane will be performing in South Africa during this year's edition of Rocking The Daisies.

Rocking The Daisies is celebrating its 15th year of existence this year. The popular music and lifestyle festival recently announced they have added four new names on the bills—UK's Stormzy and Col3trane alongside US rapper YBN Cordae and the singer Ari Lennox.

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Photo: Sachyn Mital for The Town Hall.

This Is What Fatoumata Diawara's NYC Concert Looked Like

In photos: the Malian singer performed a stunning show at The Town Hall.

Fatoumata Diawara played a mesmerizing show in New York City over the weekend.

The Malian singer, songwriter, guitarist and actor had The Town Hall swaying to a selection of songs from her latest Grammy-nominated album, Fenfo, as well as other classic cuts.

Fatoumata was joined on the night by a four-piece backing band that followed her every word and guitar riff, as she showcased her special blend of traditional Malian music and striking Bambara vocal melodies with elements of modern rock, funk, R&B and afrobeat.

"I didn't want to sing in English or French because I wanted to respect my African heritage," Fatoumata has mentioned."But I wanted a modern sound because that's the world I live in. I'm a traditionalist, but I need to experiment, too. You can keep your roots and influences but communicate them in a different style."

Fatoumata's main message, one which she stated throughout the show, is one of hope for the future of Africa and of female empowerment. It's "about the world, peace, how Africa can be a better place, especially for women, because I am one, and I am a survivor," she says. "I want to encourage those who have lost hope."

Browse through pictures from her show at The Town Hall, which was opened by Guatemala's Gabby Moreno, below.

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