The Star (Nairobi)

17 January 2013

Kenya: Sauti Za Busara Gives Voice to Censored Artists

Photo: Busara
Sauti za Busara music festival.

This year's Sauti za Busara Music festival, will be held in Stone Town, Zanzibar from February 14 -17. It will be supporting free speech by featuring African artistes whose music is restricted or banned in their home countries.

The artiste line-up includes singer Khaira Arby who following the coup by militant Islamists in Mali, was forbidden to sing despite the fact that her music praises the prophet Mohammed.

From Zimbabwe, will be militant rapper and poet Comrade Fatso who is known for criticising the Mugabe government through his music and poetry. Banned from state radio and television, Comrade Fatso turns to unconventional channels to spread his music.

"We have our own guerrilla tactics of getting the word out into the townships. We have street teams of comrades who distribute hundreds of copies of the album into the kombis - public mini-buses used by ordinary Zimbabweans. So we create an alternative "people's radio" as the album gets played in hundreds of kombis," said Comrade Fatso in a statement sent out to the press.

If Robert Mugabe's secret police stopped turning up at his gigs, Comrade Fatso admits that he would begin to worry. "They're always there, monitoring what we do;" reports the militant rapper-poet. "Our music is a rebellious, pro-freedom riot so if we didn't attract their attention, we'd be doing something wrong;" he says defiantly. "What we sing is truth and words are our weapon."

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