Senegal: Didier Awadi speaks about self-censorship

You can criticise presidents but not religious leaders, says Didier Awadi, one of Africa’s leading artists, to Freemuse


Didier Awadi, for decades considered one of Africa’s most respected and outspoken artists, has criticized neo-colonialism, corrupt presidents and politicians. But even outspoken artists consider the fine balance between what may be important to address and what is socially and culturally unacceptable. You may legally have the right to free speech, but to avoid threats many artists become their own censors, said Awadi in a talk with Freemuse Director Ole Reitov:

Video interview with Didier Awadi by Ole Reitov

» Published on on 12 September 2013.
» The video’s soundtrack extracted as mp3-file for broadcasting
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“You don’t criticise religious leaders”
When Didier Awadi visited Freemuse in Copenhagen in spring 2013, he spoke openly about how difficult it continues to be speaking about certain cultural and religious issues.

“You don’t criticise religious leaders. If you do so, you get into trouble,” he said. Religious issues are still a “no-no” in many African countries and self-censorship is widespread. Didier Awadi pointed out that talking about homosexuality can be dangerous as well.

Didier Awadi, who for years has supported young talents and toured all over the world, also talks about the general situation for free speech in some of the neighbouring countries to Senegal.

Related information

See other Freemuse video interviews with artists talking about censorship and artistic freedom:

Other videos with Didier Awadi:

Ma Revolution

Présidents d’Afrique – Dans Mon Reve

Didier Awadi with Freemuse at UN Headquarters:
Awadi joined Freemuse, the UN Special Rapporteur on Cultural Rights, Ms. Farida Shaheed, festival director Manny Ansar, artists Deeyah and Nadia Plesner and theatre managing director Jonatan Stanczak at the UN headquarters in Geneva in June 2013 for the first ever session on artistic freedom held at the UN

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