Improved space for political lyrics
Popular Kenyan singer and songwriter Eric Wainaina, who adresses issues of corruption and social injustices, compliments the government for not trying to strain his freedom of expression, although he has been kindly requested not to sing about corruption while the president is present
By Morten Bonde Pedersen, MS, reporting for Freemuse from Nairobi
He sings about ethnic conflicts, racism, poverty and basic human rights. And he is one of the best selling and most widely known musicians in Kenya.
“We have come far”
The Moi era ended after the elections in 2002 when voters rejected his appointed successor and voted for the present government under president Mwai Kibaki.
Limitations on access to public space
Eric Wainaina’s desription of the state of musical freedom in Kenya is supported by Grace Kerongo, sub-editor of Kenya’s leading music magazine ‘Insyder’. She has never heard of musicians being held responsible for their lyrics by politicians or authorities. But some musicians are given limitied access to the public space.
Touched on taboos
In his writing, Wainaina has touched upon most Kenyan taboos, including double standards within the church on sexual behaviour and HIV and AIDS and the implications of inter-religious marriages. All that without meeting any reactions from the people in power.
The social indignation that drives Eric Wainaina was founded already when he grew up in one of Nairobi’s upmarket estates and got to know the street children who were hanging out in the neighbourhood.
Eric Wainaina’s official home page:
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – biography and discography:
Eric Wainaina (musician)