Two of Malawi‘s musicians have called for strict measures in the arts industry as a means of bringing sanity in the sector.
Faith Mussa and Skeffa Chimoto made the call on the sidelines of a press conference they jointly held with Oxfam Malawi as ambassadors of the organisation’s End Violence Against Women and Girls (EVAWG) project.
The presser was in reaction to the recently released song Rape by hip hop artist Mwiza Chavura. The song, which has since been banned by the Malawi Censorship Board, glorifies rape and mocks rape victims.
The Jamming Machine, as Chimoto is fondly called in the entertainment circles, bemoaned the abuse of freedom of expression by artists in the country and laxity by authorities on the other hand.
“We all have freedom of expression but it comes with responsibilities. For musicians especially, let’s not get carried away and produce songs that demean women in any way. The problem is that there is too much freedom in the industry. I guess that is the reason we go overboard and use swear words in our music.
“Secondly, those in authority are not doing enough to check the industry. Actually, others are backing this song saying he did not do a bad song because we have no proper structures to check what we do. So it’s free for all,” he said.
Agreeing with Chimoto, Mussa called for concerted efforts to clean the industry as there are just too many songs that are not supposed to be in the public domain.
“Artists need to play their role of entertaining fans but responsibly. Similarly, all other stakeholders like producers, radio personalities also have a responsibility in making sure that they do not subject the public to products which are in bad taste. The authorities also need to enforce regulations. So, it is a chain where all stakeholders have a role to play,” he explained.
Oxfam country director, John Makina called on musicians to allow the “umunthu element play its role.”
Meanwhile the Musicians association of Malawi MUM has expressed its ‘disgust’ and concern over the composition, recording and release of the song.
In a statement signed by the president of MUM Reverend Chimwemwe Mhango, the union says such compositions are irresponsible, childish and full of ill intentions to corrupt consumers into admiring and committing serious crimes which will demean the dignity of women and girls and disrupt national peace.
The union, therefore, asked Malawians to ignore the song and refrain from sharing it.