Fighting Corruption through Making Music

Fighting Corruption through Making Music

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Fighting Corruption through Music

Singing about corruption is not a new thing and can be described as a disease one can compare with HIV/Aids as been the second most popular in Africa.
Thus many see it as the most main cause of many African states slowness in terms of stable economic growth .It is therefore no secret to many ordinary citizens you who keep wondering or face with the dilemma as to how really their governments are operating .As such life in relation to economic growth during and after post colonial rule as always been a litmus test.

Sierra Leone
The name meaning (Lion mountain) from a Portuguese sailor ?Pedro da sentra also this beautiful diamond shaped country was used by then British colonial masters to settle free slaves thus the capital city was named Freetown .With so many minerals and other resources combined with already many IMF loans been given many see it as been far enough to have change the deplorable living standard of many of its citizens forty years after independence. It is therefore no surprise to many n view of the present governing authorities lack of transparency and willingness to prosecute or crack down hard on those they found in corrupt practice , the faith of many citizens on the Anti-corruption commission been set up is nothing to go by.

State of the music industry
The music Industry has dramatically grown in the last couple of years despite harsh conditions faced by musicians and composers alike. For many music is sacred , thus it can calm the troubled mind and bind the wandering sense. As such , Sierra Leone during the past years has produced some distinct traditional musicians such as: John Gbala ,Amy Kallon. , Salia,, Rogers(Rogie),Ebenezer Calender and many more.As old musicians continue to rebirth themselves and young musicians continue to see the music industry gaining its reputation , there is now arrays of musicians in categories such as : R&B, POP, traditional , Reggae and religious music.

Level of Censorship
The level of censorship on music is always a big question whenever musicians produced songs about sensitive issues such as ?

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corruption?. Thus many musicians find themselves victims of constant threats, torture, jail sentence and abuse whenever they do express themselves.

Joseph Gerald Adolphus Cole(a.ka Daddy Saj) was no exception .Born 1978, in Freetown ?Sierra Leone. As a local artist got fame on his release of his first debut album ?corruption?. For many the song ?corruption ye do so?-translated ? ?corruption is enough?, was a welcome song at a time when corrupt practices by some present ruling authorities is rampant. Like a bush fire the song soon spread in terms of rate of air-play on radio stations, street bars, pubs and restaurants .However the popularity of the song did not last long.

His critics and impriosonment
Certain officials Mps and some ministers publicly on radio citizen the song on their opinions that the song contains words which does not reflect to the good side of the government and also the song is a catalyst for public unrest. Even though the bileager Anti-corruption commission used the song a their theme song in the fight on corruption. They outrightly called for a banned on the song which resulted in Daddy Saj been sent to prison at the notorious Pademba Road prison in Freetown. There he was faced with torture , constant abuse and his life was in danger. He later admitted after been released that he was forced to different manner of abuse in jail.

Another muscian recently whose life was in danger prior to his release of a debut album was Abu Bockarie(commonly known as ?Emerson?).Had to go into hiding for a period of time when we was about to release his album (tu fut arata-translated- a human rat.) .The idiomatic phrase used by this musician cause an uproar among political authorities who saw it as an insult to them , for them musicians should sing about love ,money and other less sensitive areas of life in general. such threats faced by musicians is no secrets.

My Personal Encounter

I had a taste of how the level of censorship is growing on songs made by local musicians on sensitive issues .It all happened on a sunny Saturday at a bar, there I was relaxing with , listening to some African music .Like in many other places Saturdays is always cherished as a day to relax, be with friends and re-focus for each coming week. In Sierra Leone bars are places where controversial and sensitive issues are always talked about loudly, that day was no exception .In the bar also at the time were four officials and behind me were tow guys drinking beer. The guys were arguing loudly about corrupt practices by the ruling authorities .They argument went on for sometime but get out of proportion when the DJ at the time started to play(corruption ye do so), immediately the officials were not happy about the song nor the argument on corrupt practices be done by the present governing authorities. It soon resulted into barrage of insult and exchange of words between the officials and the two guys. One of the officials forcefully ordered the music to be stopped and warned the DJ not to play the song anymore at the bar or will face serious consequence in view of the fact that the song has been a controversial song after ?all citing it present banned. They soon left , and I was really perplexed on the incident that I witnessed with my own self. Why should the music be stopped?.
After all many would say when some musicians do produce elections campaign songs,
for the present ruling government it was never banned, why then this one on corruption?.

Self-imposed censorship
It is therefore no secret that many musicians and composers continue to face wit these dileama of self censorhip which hinders their freedom of expression and talents. should they be neutral?. A big question for many to answer , looking at the state of the Economy, the growing trend of religious fundamentalism(both Christian and muslim). It is therefore for many a web of hard battles for musicians to overcome.
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