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What Does the Congo Think About Apple's iPhone Announcement

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Apple's announcement yesterday was a major buzz kill. The new iPhone will only be a version of the current 4th generation, and won't be shatter-proof (we know a lot of you are walking around with busted iPhones). We wonder what folks working in the coltan mines in the Congo, where 80% of the world's supply of this mineral can be found, thought about Apple's unsatisfactory announcement. For them, it's probably just another day on the job (we use the word "job" loosely because that would imply compensation for work done - which is not always the case).

For those who don't know, coltan is one of the key minerals used in the iPhone's circuit board, as well as the inner workings of many other electronics including computers.  It is also what Adam Hochschild has described as one of four main reasons for ongoing deadly violence in the Congo. So much violence in fact, that it has been coined the 'blood mineral' - joining the ranks of the 'blood diamond.' In addition to the violence, working conditions in the mines can be also be deadly. We're not here to preach, but it's always good to be reminded of the price others pay for our technologies. For more information on how our cell phones fuel the war, check out the documentary Blood in the Mobile by filmmaker Frank Piasecki Poulsen.

To support efforts for peace in the Congo, check out Medecins Sans Frontieres, or Oxfam.

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7 Gengetone Acts You Need to Check Out

The streets speak gengetone: Kenya's gengetone sound is reverberating across East Africa and the world, get to know its main purveyors.

Sailors' "Wamlambez!"Wamlambez!" which roughly translates to "those who lick," is the cry the reverberated round the world, pushing the gengetone sound to the global stage. The response "wamnyonyez" roughly translates to "those who suck" and that should tell you all you need to know about the genre.

Known for its lewd lyrics and repetitive (often call and response) hooks, gengetone makes no apologies for belonging to the streets. First of all, most artists that create gengetone are grouped into bands with a few outliers like Zzero Sufuri riding solo. The songs themselves often feature a multiplicity of voices with screams and crowds coming through as ad libs, adding to this idea that this is definitely "outside" music.

Listening to Ethic's Odi wa Muranga play with his vocal on the track "Thao" it's easy to think that this is the first, but gengetone fits snuggly in a history of sheng rap based on the kapuka style beat. Kapuka is onomatopoeically named, the beats have that repetitive drum-hat-drum skip that sounds like pu-ka-pu-ka-pu. Artists like Nonini were asking women to come over using this riff long before Ochungulo family told them to stay home if they aren't willing to give it up.

Here's seven gengetone groups worth listening to.

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