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Deji Bryce Olukotun: The spear of the N-word

21 January 2015

Opinion-piece by Deji Bryce Olukotun    INSIGHT  In May 2012, a man walked into a South African art gallery and vandalised a painting, portraying President Jacob Zuma naked, that was entitled The Spear of the Nation. He was quietly apprehended by security and did not resist. A few minutes later, …

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South Africa: Call for ban of song allegedly romanticising violence

24 November 2014

South Africans discuss whether the song ‘Larney Jou Poes’ by Cape Town band Dookoom is political hip-hop or hate speech: When does an artistic expression of anger become incitement to violence or “romanticising” of imminent violence? ‘Larney Jou Poes’ was published on youtube.com on 15 October 2014. It was viewed …

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Film: Oscar nomination of ‘Sugar Man’ – the Freemuse connection

11 January 2013

The documentary film ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ – the amazing story of US singer Rodriguez, who was unaware that he was “world famous” in South Africa in the 1970s – has been nominated for an Oscar, the American award given annually for excellence of cinematic achievements.   Directed by Swedish …

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South Africa in 1989: CD album banned for offending Christians

27 February 2012

  Because of its title, the album ‘Bigger than Jesus’ by Kalahari Surfers was banned in 1989 for blasphemy and for the offending of Christians. The music was later re-released with a new album title, ‘Beach Bomb’. By Michael Drewett The Kalahari Surfers were a South African studio group led …

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Commentary from South Africa: Music Freedom from self-censorship Day

3 March 2011

“Buying artists to advance some political party’s cause may not be censorship, but more often than not, it will lead to self-censorship, which equally places us on the slippery slope,”writes Mike van Graan, Secretary General of Arterial Network, in his Music Freedom Day commentary from South Africa. By Mike van …

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South Africa: Controversy over whether ‘hate song’ should be banned

25 February 2011

The Irish singer Bono’s alleged defense of a controversial song, ‘Shoot the Boer’, has triggered heated debate and widespread outrage in South Africa. The country’s Supreme Court is currently considering whether the song should be banned for violating the white farmers’ rights. The ANC are fighting the ban calling the …

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South Africa: Old anti-apartheid song banned on hate speech charges

19 April 2010

On 26 March 2010, a South African court prohibited the singing of a controversial anti-apartheid song, ‘Ayesab’amagwala’ (‘The cowards are afraid’). A part of the lyrics translates as ‘kill the boer’, or ‘shoot the boer’, urging to the shooting of white farmers, and the singing of the song has indirectly …

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Human Rights for Musicians – Impressions & Descriptions: Roger Lucey

30 January 2009

PUBLICATIONS   TEN YEARS WITH FREEMUSE     IMPRESSIONS & DESCRIPTIONS   Roger Lucey Musician and composer, South Africa       The singer’s voice has always been the strongest. Not through bombast or verbosity like the politician. Or through brute strength or bullying like the law enforcer. The singer’s …

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South Africa: Rap song banned for incitement to violence

7 March 2008

NEWS   The song ‘Get Out’ by Zimbabwean-born hip-hop artist Zubz has been banned on the South African Broadcasting Corporation, SABC. This followed a complaint to the Broadcasting Compliants Tribunal of South Africa by a right wing party called Freedom Front Plus stating that the song contained hate speech In …

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Zimbabwe / South Africa: ‘Travelling concert’ highlights repression

7 January 2008

A socalled ‘travelling concert’ event in Southern Africa gives stage to Zimbabwean artists who have suffered censorship of some of their work on state-controlled radio and television. Mbira star Chiwoniso Maraire was a key figure on the ‘Make Some Noise’ protest concert in South Africa which gathered a crowd of …

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South Africa: Roger Lucey

6 February 2007

Musician and journalist Roger Lucey’s music was banned during apartheid in South Africa. In this interview he speaks about his personal experiences with music censorship: it’s impact on the artist, about the long term effects of censorship in a society such as South Africa, and how to deal with the …

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Journalist workshop in South Africa about music censorship

25 January 2007

A workshop organised by Freemuse in March 2007 aims at upgrading the knowledge of African journalists who already work in the field of human rights to also include music censorship issues Freemuse is in the process of developing a network of ‘stringers’ who can provide insight information and articles about music …

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South Africa: Public radio bans Zulu hit song

4 April 2006

The title track from the South African album ‘Msholozi’ by Izingane Zoma has been banned by the South African Broadcasting Corporation on the grounds that it is regarded to be “too political” A trio of traditional Zulu singers has hit the big time and ignited controversy with a tribute to …

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Censorship in apartheid South Africa: Documentary and school material

18 May 2005

Freemuse, in conjunction with Cutting Grooves and the Rhodes University Department of Sociology is organizing a music and human rights project with school children in Grahamstown, South Africa   The project revolves around a film documentary and two publications, all of which are Freemuse initiatives. The film is ‘Stopping the Music’: …

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South Africa: Sipho Mabuse

11 July 2003

  “Culture can bring down governments, which is why governments do not want to support it strongly,” says Sipho Mabuse, one of the famous South African musicians that was banned during apartheid. The interview was recorded in South Africa in 1998 by Mr. Ole Reitov.     Listen to interview …

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South Africa: Film documentary ‘Stopping the Music’

15 September 2002

STOPPING THE MUSIC Music censorship in South Africa South Africa 2002, 54 minutes Directed by Douglas Mitchell Produced by Michael Drewett Press release ‘Stopping the music’ is the story of a South African protest singer and the security branch policeman assigned to end his career. The events surrounding the central …

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South Africa: Freemuse workgroup established in South Africa

24 September 2001

WORKING GROUP ESTABLISHED IN SOUTH AFRICA Report by Ole Reitov, journalist, member of the Freemuse Board   When Apartheid was abolished in South Africa years of attention on the role of South African music as a political weapon gradually vanished in international media. Exiled musicians came back, some with glamour …

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1960s Africa

1 January 2001

1960s. South Africa. Miriam Makeba In 1963, after an impassioned testimony before the United Nations Committee Against Apartheid, all Makeba’s records were banned in South Africa. Miriam Zenzile Makeba began her professional career in 1950, when she joined the Johannesburg group the Cuban Brothers. She came to national prominence during the …

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1970s Africa

1 January 2001

1971. South Africa. Beatles The South African government lifts its ban on the Beatles’ recordings.1970s. Zaïre. Franco Luambo Makiadi In Zaïre (later renamed D. R. Congo) one of the greats of Congolese/Zaïrean music, Franco Luambo Makiadi, the leader of OK Jazz, was jailed on a number of occasions and had …

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1980s Africa

1 January 2001

1980-1990. Mauritania. Malouma Mint El-Meidah All her songs were forbidden on national radio and television. reason: she criticise in her songs the government and the conservatives. Source: Moktar Gaouad: ‘Committed to rebellion’, in: Index of Censorship: ‘Smashed Hits’ Volume 27, 6/1998, p. 71-73 1980s. Somalia. Maryam Mursal Maryam Mursal made …

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1990s Africa

1 January 2001

1997. Tabu Lay Rochereau. Democratic Republic of Congo The album ‘Kebo Beat’ was banned in the musician’s native Democratic Republic of Congo, described as having ‘immoral lyrics’. Despite bringing Zairean music to an international audience, Tabu Lay Rochereau was forced to flee the former Zaïre after criticism from the late …

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South Africa: Johnny Clegg

1 January 2001

“Censorship is based on fear. It is conservative and wants to preserve a particular set of values,” says Johnny Clegg who discusses censorship in a larger context: “Censorship is a brute blind reaction to a brute blind recognition that information is not neutral…” Johnny Clegg was interviewed in South Africa …

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South Africa: Anton Goosen

1 January 2001

“They called me a White Kaffer and the secret police were tapping my phone,” tells Anton Goosen, the South African singer/composer who was considered a traitor amongst the white Afrikaaner community. Anton Goosen was Interviewed in South Africa in 1998 by Mr. Ole Reitov.   Listen to interview

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South Africa: Hugh Masekela

1 January 2001

“If you can stay in the US and become a big name, you can do more for your country,” was the advice given by Harry Belafonte to Hugh Masekela in the mid 1960s. Masekela became world famous and one of the leading artists against apartheid. Here, Maekela amongst others tells …

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South Africa: ‘The Censored meet their Censor’

1 January 2001

1st FREEMUSE WORLD CONFERENCE ON MUSIC AND CENSORSHIP Copenhagen, 20-22 November 1998 The text below is an excerpt from the conference report   This page in printer-friendly PDF format     South Africa: The Censored meet their Censor – Music and Censorship during Apartheid in South Africa Mr. Sipho Mabuse and …

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South Africa: Pops Mohamed

18 March 1998

“I was a shadow player. We played behind curtains. It was a black guy playing behind the stage and a white player up on the stage,” tells Pops Mohamed about one of the more peculiar and dangerous effects of censorship in South Africa during apartheid. Pops Mohamed was interviewed in …

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