Zimbabwe: South African DJ Cleo banned in Zimbabwe

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Zimbabwe:
South African DJ Cleo banned in Zimbabwe

Top South African DJ and music producer, Cleophas Monyepao, better known as DJ Cleo, was attempted barred from performing in Zimbabwe because he “uttered bad things” about president Robert Mugabe, reports NewZimbabwe.com

South African kwaito star DJ Cleo were scheduled to perform on 29 April 2006 in Bulawayo, the second-largest town in Zimbabwe, at the Umthwakazi Arts Festival’s kwaito night. (Kwaito is a popular South African style of music and dance). Four days before the event were to take place, the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) triggered a withdrawal of DJ Cleo’s temporary work permit when it advised immigration officials to stop Cleo from entering the country – “until investigations are through”.

DJ Cleo, however, performed at a sold out kwaito concert at Large City Hall in Bulawayo even though he was banned. He said to NewZimbabwe’s reporter, Mzilikazi wa Afrika:

    “I risked my life for my fans because they come first, without them they would not be any DJ Cleo. I think I am banned in Zimbabwe for the rest of Robert Mugabe’s reign and if not for life.”

Unconfirmed reports suggest that Zimbabwean immigration officials failed to arrest or stop the popular producer from entering the country because they were looking for DJ Cleo while he was traveling under his real name, Cleophas Monyepao.

According to NewZimbabwe.com, a letter from a NACZ official to the chief immigration officer said:

    “The National Arts Council of Zimbabwe would like to withdraw its recommendation made in earlier communication to allow DJ Cleo into the country. Information that reached us after recommending him has necessitated the need to ask the immigration department to withdraw the temporal permit it had already issued to the DJ.
    By copy of this letter, we are also informing our Bulawayo office to communicate with the promoters – Umthwakazi Fundraising Committee (Ingwe Studios) – to replace DJ Cleo. He was scheduled to perform on 28/29 April 2006.May this message be conveyed to the relevant borders, as it is a matter of urgency. DJ Cleo is said to have uttered bad things and until our investigations are through, we are unable to recommend his performances.”

The privately owned Zimbabwean newspaper Standard reported that the “bad things” DJ Cleo allegedly uttered was a critical comment about president Robert Mugabe’s economic mismanagement. According to DJ Cleo, the ban came after he made a joke on the radio about his trip to Zimbabwe last year.

A statement by Radio Dialogue, organisers of the Umthwakazi Arts Festival blasted NACZ in a statement Sunday, describing their actions as “outrageous”.
The statement said:

    “Radio Dialogue condemns the move by state agents to censor and gag entertainment and stifle freedom of expression in general. It is not by coincidence that they have sabotaged a festival being held in Bulawayo. It is more alarming that the deportation or blocking of the artist DJ Cleo is done at the whims of an undisclosed and shady character. We do not see how a DJ coming to play music can be punished together with the Zimbabwean public simply because he said bad things.”

Radio Dialogue said that NACZ was playing “to the whims of dark forces of discrimination and marginalisation”.
The newspaper The Zimbabwean wrote that: “The Zimbabwe government, running scared in the face of mass anger at the economic hardships caused by its failed policies, is desperately trying to stifle any independent voices – including those of musicians and artists.”

About DJ Cleo

DJ Cleo – whose real name is Cleophas Monyepao – shot to prominence as the award-winning producer for kwaito kingpin, Mzekezeke. He produced his triple-platinum selling albums, Sguqa Ngamadolo and Istorotoro, and he has produced tracks for the cream of top musicians like Mandoza, Pitch Black Afro, RJ Benjamin, Jeff Maluleke, Brown Dash, Zola, Nana Coyote, Platform One, Adilah and Doc Shebeleza.

Cleo has now set up his own production company and record label called Will of Steel Productions. Among some of the artists at the label is Brickz of the Sweety My Baby fame. He has been nominated for this year’s MTN SAMA awards.

Copyright: NewZimbabwe.com. The article may be republished if appropriately credited to NewZimbabwe.com


Sources:

NewZimbabwe.com – 5 May 2006:
‘DJ Cleo vows defiance over Zimbabwe ban’

NewZimbabwe.com – 1 May 2006:
‘DJ Cleo denied entry into Zimbabwe’

Afrol News / The Zimbabwean – 3 May 2006:
‘Zimbabwe govt tries to silence musicians’

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