24 November 2012

Congo-Kinshasa: A Rapper From Goma With No Time for Booty Shaking

Shortly before the escalation of violence in North Kivu, RNW was in Goma, talking with one of the many young, talented and socially engaged rappers who have called this city home. Meet Fabrice Masimango.

Fal G, as the 24 year old is more commonly known, claims his music is not intended to make people shake their booty. Rather, it's to make them think.

In fact, he has just finished recording a new opus. It is entitled 'Ndio muda waku sema huu', which in Kiswahili means 'This is the time to talk'. Focused on broken politicauil promises, this track is, like a match in a gasoline tank, incendiary.

"Have things changed after the elections?" the rapper asks rhetorically. "No! Here in Kivu, there is still war and cries of sorrow everywhere. There has been no running water for three days, forget electricity."

From his appearance, you might think Fal G is a thug. Actually, he is an angry young man, frustrated by the hardships of the life that inspires his music.

"All these wars, all these deaths I see every day, they make me want to tell people that what they are doing is wrong," he says. "Before the elections, we were promised free education, but our children are expelled every day for not paying the school fees."

The language of guns

Fal G has received various threats because of his critical, often outspoken ways. But singing is not something he has considered giving up. "Maybe through me - or, if they eliminate me - through someone else like me, Congo will change one day."

Although he lives in what has officially been considered a democratic country, the young rapper decries the absence of free expression. Among his regrets is the fact that some local media have given in to political pressure.

"Here, people speak the language of guns. Radio stations cannot play some of my songs, for fear of being silenced. And this is not democracy," he says.

The only way for the young artist to convey his message to the public has been by performing at shows and other events to which he is invited.

When RNW spoke with him, anyway, Fal G said he wouldn't stop there. He vowed to persevere until the justice system becomes fair and until the Congolese people have a better quality of life. That is, until the DRC lives up to its name, becoming truly democratic.

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