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Ugandan Musician, Ziggy Wine, Dies From Injuries After Being Abducted and Tortured

The artist, who was kidnapped in July, was a close friend of Ugandan opposition leader Bobi Wine and a supporter of the resistance movement, People Power.

Ugandan musician Allinda Michael, better known as Ziggy Wine—a close affiliate of opposition leader and musician Bobi Wine—has died after being abducted and tortured, BBC Africa reports.

The artist, who was signed to Bobi Wine's Firebase Crew music label and was a firm supporter of the People Power movement, was kidnapped on July 21 while he was on his way to a recording session in Kampala. He was found a week later with several injuries, including a missing eye and two fingers. He died at Mulago Hospital in Kampala on Sunday night.

Police say they have launched an investigation into his death. Given his association with People Power, both Bobi Wine and the late artist's family allege that the abduction may have been politically motivated, reports BBC Africa. Bobi Wine recently announced that he will run for office in 2021, challenging President Yoweri Museveni's 33-year rule.

READ: Bobi Wine is Officially Running for the Ugandan Presidency in 2021


"Our friend Ziggy Wine could not make it. He passed on last night—succumbing to injuries sustained after a horrendous encounter with kidnap & torture," wrote Bobi Wine in a message of condolence shares on Twitter. "Very painful! He joins other countless Ugandans. As we mourn him, we resolve to work even harder to end this. Rest well brother."

The artist, who recently announced that he will run for office in 2021, challenging President Yoweri Museveni's 33-year rule, also released a statement via Facebook on what he referred to as "the unexplained [kidnappings], torture and murder of several #PeoplePower supporters & other political activists."

Several Ugandan fans and supporters have shared heartfelt messages online in remembrance of the artist, with many also decrying what appears to be a new wave of state-initiated violence against Ugandan citizens who dare to speak out against Museveni.





Interview
Photo: Shawn Theodore via Schure Media Group/Roc Nation

Interview: Buju Banton Is a Lyrical Purveyor of African Truth

A candid conversation with the Jamaican icon about his new album, Upside Down 2020, his influence on afrobeats, and the new generation of dancehall.

Devout fans of reggae music have been longing for new musical offerings from Mark Anthony Myrie, widely-known as the iconic reggae superstar Buju Banton. A shining son of Jamaican soil, with humble beginnings as one of 15 siblings in the close-knit community of Salt Lane, Kingston, the 46-year-old musician is now a legend in his own right.

Buju Banton has 12 albums under his belt, one Grammy Award win for Best Reggae Album, numerous classic hits and a 30-year domination of the industry. His larger-than-life persona, however, is more than just the string of accolades that follow in the shadows of his career. It is his dutiful, authentic style of Caribbean storytelling that has captured the minds and hearts of those who have joined him on this long career ride.

The current socio-economic climate of uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic has thrusted onto the world, coupled with the intensified fight against racism throughout the diaspora, have taken centre stage within the last few months. Indubitably, this makes Buju—and by extension, his new album—a timely and familiar voice of reason in a revolution that has called for creative evolution.

With his highly-anticipated album, Upside Down 2020, the stage is set for Gargamel. The title of this latest discography feels nothing short of serendipitous, and with tracks such as "Memories" featuring John Legend and the follow-up dancehall single "Blessed," it's clear that this latest body of work is a rare gem that speaks truth to vision and celebrates our polylithic African heritage in its rich fullness and complexities.

Having had an exclusive listen to some other tracks on the album back in April, our candid one-on-one conversation with Buju Banton journeys through his inspiration, collaboration and direction for Upside Down 2020, African cultural linkages and the next generational wave of dancehall and reggae.

This interview has been shortened and edited for clarity.

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Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

[Op-Ed] Speeka: “‘Dankie San’ brought me closer to kasi rap”

A personal reflection on one of South Africa's most influential hip-hop albums, 'Dankie San' by PRO.

Ed's note: South Africa's national channel SABC 1 recently aired a 2-part documentary on the making of Dankie San, the late South African rapper PRO's 2007 album which is considered by many as his magnum opus. The album is considered a "kasi rap bible." In this Op-Ed, South African hip-hop producer and powerhouse of kasi rap, Speeka reflects on the album's impact on the South African scene and his own life.

2007 was a strange year for me. I had matriculated the previous year, and, thanks to succumbing to peer pressure, was studying I.T.. I eventually dropped out because instead of doing my Programming assignments, I focused most of my energy on being a hip-hop head and making beats.

I cared very little for anything outside hip-hop culture. I was deeply entrenched into both American and South African hip-hop—listening to everything from Mr. Selwyn to Kanye West, Morafe, The Roots and PROkid.

Of all the South African MCs I was listening to at the time, PRO (then known as PROkid) was right at the top of my list. He was one of the few MCs who was able to spit in English and vernac (IsiZulu and South African township slang known as tsotsitaal) with the same lethal precision – both written and freestyled.

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Interview
Photo courtesy of the artist.

Interview: Bumi Thomas Was Given 14 Days to Leave the UK

We speak with the British-based singer-songwriter about her fight against a "hostile environment policy" and the release of her latest EP, Broken Silence.

There's a lot of vulnerability and soul packed into Bumi Thomas' latest EP. Given the surrounding context of a legal battle, Broken Silence was released, in Bumi's words, "at a time when microcosms of institutionalised racism have garnered so much momentum highlighting the domino effect of systems of oppression that have led to this powerful, global resurgence of the Black lives matter movement."

The inspiration behind this EP came at a time when Bumi faced a legal battle to stay in the UK, after receiving a letter from the UK Home Office to leave the country within 14 days. Understandably causing huge stress, this case turned from an isolated incident to national news, with 25,000 people signing her petition and raising money via crowdfunding for legal fees.

We spoke with the British-based singer about all of this below.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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