Mozambique: City authorities called rapper in for questioning

6 May 2008
The rap artist Azagaia was summoned before prosecutors to explain the allegedly violent lyrics of a song he has written about the February 2008 riots in Maputo

“The shadow of censorship has fallen across the Mozambican musical world,” writes Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique’s Paul Fauvet from Maputo. According to a report he read in Friday’s issue of the independent newsheet Mediafax, the rapper Azagaia (real name: Edson da Luz) appeared for questioning at the Maputo City attorney’s office on 30 April 2008.

Paul Fauvet writes: “Accompanied by Alice Mabota, chairperson of the Mozambican Human Rights League, he was grilled for an hour and a half about his song ‘Povo no Poder’ (‘People in Power’). The prosecutor wanted to know: had he written the song? What was the purpose of the song? And did he not think that the lyrics would incite people to violence?”

‘Povo no Poder’ is a panegyric on the Maputo riots of 5 February 2008, when angry mobs took control of the city streets in protest at a rise of up to 50 per cent in the fares charged by the private minibuses that provide much of the capital’s passenger transport.

Azagaia makes no secret of his hostility to the government, and there is no doubt that many people will find the lyrics offensive. The song starts with the words:

    • “We’re not falling for the old story any more
    • We’re going out to fight against the scum
    • The thieves, the corrupt
    • Shout with me for these people to get out
    Shout with me because the people are no longer weeping”


    • “We’re barricading the streets
    • We’re stopping these buses
    • Here nobody passes
    • Even the shops are closed
    • If the police are violent
    We respond with violence”

The song includes insults against the country’s president, Armando Guebuza, and also contains what could easily be understood as a threat:

    • “Lower the fares or raise the minimum wage
    • That’s the least you should so
    • Unless you want fire in the petrol pumps
    Raids on the bakeries and the ministries”



The song in question – music video on YouTube

Azagaia: ‘Povo no Poder’ (‘People in Power’)


Read Poaul Fauvet’s comments about the incident / Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique – 2 May 2008:

‘Mozambique: Threat of Censorship in Press Freedom Week’

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