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Ban on Rap music in D.R. Congo – Sign The Online Petition


21 June 2004 No Comment

Juma4 for Africanhiphop.com: In June 2004, the Committee of Censorship in the Democratic Republic of Congo censored all Congolese rap groups and foreign music. This decision was taken by the Attorney General of the Republic. Thus the clips and music may no longer be broadcasted in Congo, with the example of ‘ndombolo‘, a dance with roots in Congo. The program director of Kinshasa’s private television chain Tropical Channel TV, Mr. Kabeya Pindi Passi, was held during several hours last Thursday for ‘having broadcasted foreign clips and Congolese rap’. It took the intervention of President Joseph Kabila to set him free. The reason given for banning rap is that it is supposedly obscene and violent and causes the youth to behave badly (where have we heard this before?)

By request of the Congolese rappers, Africanhiphop.com has put a petition online which everybody should sign (in French or English) so that it can be sent to the Committee of Censorship in Congo. See the news story at www.africanhiphop.com 


This situation brings to mind the ban of rap music and clips on the islands of Zanzibar, Tanzania which came into effect around 1999 but was lifted when the new government came into place in 2000. Ironically it was our documentary ‘Hali Halisi – rap as an alternative medium’ which got the attention of the local government as it featured critical comments of emcees about the political elite. A copy which landed at the state television TVZ catalyzed the ban, and needless to say TVZ never broadcasted the documentary. By now, locally produced rap videos can again be seen almost daily.

Emergency call from Congo

Guderian Bakielemeso a.k.a MAD, representing the groups PNB and KMS and currently studying in Europe, received an emergency call from various Congolese emcees who asked him to seek support from Africanhiphop.com in fighting the censorship. All Congolese rappers (including PNB, K-Melia, KMS, Bawuta Kin, Keep Kwyte, Fofo, NMB, Section Bantou) are trying to assert their rights but nobody’s listening. MAD’s take on the situation:

“We are no more in the 1980s, when Congo was under the influence of dictator Mobutu, right now Congo has a democratic constitution. We are in the age of development and evolution. Nowhere in the world has a nation censored ‘foreign music’. Variety of culture allows development in a country. While rap is now in full development in Congo and growing to be among the best scenes in the whole of Africa, the national commission decided to censore all these groups. These people do not understand that they put our talents in danger. If they are to censor, they should censor a person and his music but not everyone. Congolese youth need amusement because they have suffered too much. If right now Congo listens to foreign music it’s a good thing, it explains how Congo has developed. Why censor foreign music – described as unhealthy – and not foreign movies, which show much more eroticism and violence?

It’s a shame in the face of the international community to see a large country like Congo not agreeing to international music, how are Congolese youth supposed to integrate into the world? Instead they are limited.”

Sunday, June 20, 2004 by Juma4 for Africanhiphop.com

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