Culture September 02, 2018 at 05:30 am

Four popular African musicians jailed for criticising their governments

Nduta Waweru September 02, 2018 at 05:30 am

September 02, 2018 at 05:30 am | Culture

Photo: Thomas Mapfumo

Thomas Mapfumo

In 1979, Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) government threw into jail one of the country’s popular musician, Thomas Mapfumo. Mapfumo was critical of the government in any of his songs but it is the popular hit known as Hokoyo (watch out) that got the attention of the authorities which banned it from the state-owned broadcaster.  The public reacted to the arrest by playing the song and by going to the streets to protest.

When the Robert Mugabe government took over, Mapfumo became pro-government, hoping for better treatment and development. However, things would soon change. Mugabe’s excesses showed up, and Mapfumo criticised the corruption in an album released in 1989. Soon, he was the target of the authority, which harassed him at every turn. He had no choice but to go into exile in the 1990s. He only returned to Zimbabwe after the ouster of Mugabe.


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