Tanzanian musician Vitali Maembe is no stranger to the hard hand of authorities. Whenever he performs live chances are the police will show up to stop the concert. This is the fear his words and music install in those in power.
For many years now, Maembe has been singing about social issues in his home country and about the failures of his government. This often gets him in trouble. Recently Maembe was detained and then released on bail for allegedly ‘insulting the government‘ in his new song ‘Kaizari’.
According to this article the “Tanzanian authorities are known to censor political opinions that oppose the government, whether journalistic or in the arts. The country’s new Cyber Crimes Act actively represses freedom of expression, opposition and dissent.”
In a recent interview Maembe said: “First, you cannot run away from politics…when I sing about youths businesses failing or the dispensary having no medicine or that road being horrible, I am not talking politics, and please bear in mind that our national anthem says ‘Wabariki viongozi wetu’.
How can we bless our leaders if we don’t tell them the truth?”