News Brief

Zimbabwe's Inflation Rate has Now Risen to 290 Percent

There seems to be no end in sight for the mounting crises occurring in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe has been embroiled in nationwide protests following the announcement of a crippling fuel hike. As if that were not bad enough, it has now been reported by the SABC that the country's inflation rate has now risen to 290 percent, the second-highest in the world after Venezuela.


A few weeks ago, Zimbabweans took to the street to protest against how it is becoming increasingly difficult to eke out a living. Several people died whilst others were wounded in clashes with armed forces. The police and the army exercised what as described by the UN as an 'excessive use of force' and further condemned by other countries.

READ: Prominent Zimbabwean Activist Sheds Light on Current Crisis

During these protests, the government also disabled the country's internet and access to social media in an attempt to prevent any information regarding the volatile situation from leaving the country's borders. Whilst the government denied this, mobile network providers Econet and TelOne communicated to their customers that they had been a directive from the government. The internet shutdown was later deemed illegal by the courts.

READ: The Zimbabwean Government Has Reportedly Shutdown the Internet

Due to the shortage of foreign currency in the country, along with the use of the American Dollar and bond notes, the inflation rate has now reached 290 percent. And just to get a sense of just how high this is, Zimbabwe's neighboring country South Africa, currently has an inflation rate of around 4.5 percent - approximately 64 times less that of Zimbabwe.

The hopes that had been pegged on current President Emmerson Mnangagwa after dictator Robert Mugabe stepped down last year, have all but vanished. There is rising concern over his competence with regards to restoring the troubled country to its former glory.

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Photo by Jekesai Njikizana

Zimbabwean Author Tsitsi Dangarembga Found Guilty of Instigating Violence

The renowned novelist was given a suspended prison sentence for her role in staging a peaceful civil rights protest.

Celebrated Zimbabwean author, award-winning film maker, and cultural activist Tsitsi Dangarembga has been given a suspended prison sentence after she was found guilty for inciting violence by the masses after she planned a peaceful protests to demand political reform. Dangarembga, who is also an activist, was initially arrested in 2020.


In 2020 Dangarembga, along with another activist, Julie Barnes, got arrested while holding placards calling on the government to reform some of it's policies and release investigative journalist Hopewell Chin'ono, who was also accused of inciting violence for speaking out against the Zimbabwean government. In addition to receiving a suspended sentence, Dangarembga and Barnes were each charged 70,000 Zimbabwean dollars, which is an equivalent of $217.39 USD.

Dangarembga's six-month jail term was suspended for the next five years on the condition that she would not repeat what happened. Since news of the event broke, PEN International has since shared a statement condemning the actions, and calling the conviction a "mockery of justice." In 2021, Dangarembga was awarded the PEN Pinter Prize by English PEN. In the same year, Dangarembga, became the first Black woman to win the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade.

Since news of the verdict broke, several social media users also went online to share their thoughts on the recent development, with many supporting Dangarembga, and others agreeing with the verdict.

Last month, we spoke to Dangarembga about this case and her work. She told us:

"I think the state targets dissenting voices. Some of those dissenting voices are women’s voices... I think the effect of taking action against women is particularly shocking because women’s dissident voices are usually not violent. Peaceful protest is a constitutional right in Zimbabwe.”

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Photo: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Bobi Wine Takes His Fight to Venice

Hoping to attract a broader interest in his mission to end dictatorial rule, the Ugandan musician and politician features in a buzzed-about documentary screening at this year’s Venice International Film Festival.


“I had almost forgotten how to be among stars,” tweeted Bobi Wine, tongue-in-cheek, as he posted pictures of his arrival on the red carpet at the Venice International Film Festival for the premiere of Bobi Wine: Ghetto President. Billed as an ‘observational documentary,’ the film brings Wine’s story – how he rose from the informal settlement of Kamwokya and became a star himself – together with his pursuit of justice and democracy in his homeland of Uganda, to an international audience.

Bobi Wine: Ghetto President is showing out of competition and so isn’t up for the festival’s main prize, the Golden Lion. But that’s not why Wine, aka Robert Kyagulanyi, traveled to Italy, wearing the trademark red beret symbol of his People Power movement. Instead, he’s hoping the film draws attention to a cause he’s been championing for the last 5 years.

“I want the people in the international community to know that somewhere in the world, somewhere in Africa, in a country called Uganda, people are being massacred for what they think,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. Above that, Wine is calling for an end to the support President Yoweri Museveni has received, and wants the international community – specifically the US, which provides aid to Uganda – to be aware of how that money is being used to “undermine human rights and democracy in Uganda.”

Taking the film to a prestigious international festival such as Venice presents Wine with a global platform. In a tweet posted by the Venice Film Festival, he’s quoted as saying, “What is happening in Uganda is terrible. I am glad #BobiWineGhettoPresident will bring it to light. People are voiceless there: they need someone to speak for them.”

The film shows how Wine has endeavored to be that voice, both in song and in speech. It traces the start of his grassroots political campaign in 2017 up to 2021, when he ran against Museveni in the presidential elections, and lost, in what many international organizations deemed was a questionable outcome, with claims of vote tampering and fraud.

Ghetto President is directed by Christopher Sharp, who was born in Uganda, and Moses Buyo, an activist who took over camera duties when the film’s previous camera people left the production. Both Sharp and Buyo knew of Wine through his music and had been fans of the messages he sought to share in his music. Following Wine and his wife, Barbie, with fly-on-the-wall footage, the film immerses the audience in their relationship and the trials its undergone as a result of Wine's political activities. One such attack left Wine seeking treatment from the US for his injuries. Indeed, Buyo, too, has suffered his share of assault in making the film, having been shot in the face with a rubber bullet, and also arrested numerous times, while filming.

A still from the documentary Bobi Wine:

A still from the documentary Bobi Wine: Ghetto President, which is currently playing at this year's Venice Film Festival.

Photo: La Biennale Di Venezia

Festival director Alberto Barbera called the documentary “powerful” and “unbelievable,” and it’s received positive reviews so far, with Deadline lauding its ‘stirring’ scenes and message of hope. Similar to Sam Soko’s documentary, Softie, which followed Kenyan photographer-turned-politician Boniface Mwangi, the film is also being heralded for the love story at the center of it, between Wine and Barbie, and how they've persisted in the face of numerous violent actions.

While Ghetto President details Uganda and Wine's specific struggle to fight for democracy, some reviewers have noted it holds a message for governments further afield too. The Hollywood Reporter's Daniel Feinberg says its call to action to hold Museveni accountable speaks to the West's need to 'keep an eye on its own democratic virtues too.' In bringing his message to the world, through the form of a documentary that gets people talking, Wine may also find it resonates far beyond Uganda in ways he could not have imagined.

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(Photo by Youssef Loulidi/Fantasista/Getty Images)

Morocco Advance to the Round Of 16 in the World Cup

Morocco join Senegal as the second African country make the knockout stages at Qatar 2022.

Morocco have officially joined the string of African countries who have been excelling at the FIFA World Cup.

By beating Canada, 2-1, the North African country finish at the top of their Group F, besting strong footballing countries like Belgium and Croatia, and advancing to the last 16 teams in the World Cup.

During the game against Canada, the Moroccan side strategically capitalized on its opponents' mistakes, especially those from Canadian defender Steven Vitória and goalkeeper Milan Borjan. At the height of the game, Vitória attempted to pass the ball back to Borjan at the same time that Youssef En-Nesyri was giving chase. Borjan left his net to play the ball but En-Nesyri’s seamlessness with the ball overpowered him and gave Hakim Ziyech the leeway to easily score a goal from a distance.

By half-time against Canada, Morocco was already in the lead, with strong indications pointing to the possibility that they would push through the knockout round. The win came with an eruption of celebration from fans who witnessed the team win at Al Thumama Stadium in Qatar.

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(Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Roc Nation)

Burna Boy Tops 2022 African Streams on Both Spotify & Apple Music

The Nigerian star dominated African streaming lists across both platforms.

On Wednesday, November 30th, Spotify announced its 2022 Wrapped campaign and personalized user experience. In line with that, the music streaming powerhouse also revealed the top songs, albums, and podcasts that dominated the playlists of its 456M listeners around the world.

With the rise of Afrobeats and Amapiano this year, also came the domination of some of Africa’s leading artists and based on the numbers that Spotify put out, Burna Boy was leading the pack. The African Giant dominated the list as The Top African Artist Streamed Globally, Top African Artist on Spotify, and Top Songs Streamed Across Africa ("Last Last").

Spotify's Top Breakout Artist in Africa this year was Asake and the Top African Songs Streamed Globally was the ever-present "Love Nwatiti" by Ckay.

Apple Music also released a list of the top songs and albums for 2022, and again, Burna Boy topped the list. The release of his sixth studio album Love, Damini generated massive critical acclaim and the leading single “Last Last” quickly a global anthem.

According to Apple’s analytics, the album was the most streamed on Apple Music Nigeria, Apple Music Ghana and Apple Music Kenya in 2022. It is also the third most streamed album on Apple Music South Africa in 2022.

According to Phiona Okumu, Head of Music, Spotify Africa, the Spotify Wrapped campaign is also an opportunity for African artists to continue to thrive both home and abroad.

“As always, we also have our Wrapped creator experience for podcasters and artists. With access to their own individualized Wrapped microsite experience, creators can dive into all the ways in which their fans listened this year. We are so excited to continue to support the growth of these artists globally and at home,” said Okumu.

The “Ye” singer has continued to push boundaries and like many of his successful peers in the African music scene, have shown the world that African music, art and talent can push global boundaries and make the world listen.

Following numerous sold out tours, including an eye-popping headliner show at New York’s Madison Square Garden, it is not difficult to see why the afrobeats heavyweight continues to thrive and put Africa as a whole on the map.

Graphic provided by Spotify.


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