Banned Music and Missing Voices in Angola
By Sara Moreira · Translated by Georgi McCarthy from Global Voices
[All links in this article lead to pages in Portuguese unless otherwise stated.]
The Angolan National Police have confiscated a series of audiovisual works by Angolan activists in an act of censorship against voices that are unsettling those in power in Angola. These works include rapper Brigadeiro 10 Pacotes‘s new DVD, a DVD about “the life and work of historical revolutionary leader Jonas Savimbi” [en] and some of musician Chingui Chinhama’s CDs.
Brigadeiro’s producer Independente Universal Produções together with the Movimento Revolucionário [Revolutionary Movement] called for a demonstration in front of the customs of Quatro de Fevereiro International Airport in Luanda on March 7, 2013, in response to this, demanding the return of works seized. Reports have emerged, mainly through Facebook, and the protest was eventually dissipated by violent police intervention.
A fatality was reported, although these statements have since been contradicted. However, whilst seeking “solid evidence” column space was given to what Central Angola dubbed “speculative rumours” regarding the whereabouts of “Mano Negro”, or Negrão, Brigadeiro’s producer. A day after the protest, Pedrowski Teca sought answers on Brigadeiro 10 Pacote’s Facebook page:
Ontem houve relatos de que o produtor do Brigadeiro Pacotes O Revolucionario, conhecido por Negrão, foi morto pela Polícia Nacional de Angola numa manifestação que visava exigir a devolução dos discos do Brigadeiro 10 Pacotes [outrora] apreendidos pelo regime. Em notícias no Club-K, Hugo Kalumbo afirmou ter visto o mano a ser alvejado e as autoridades afirmaram que o Negrão foi simplesmente detido e entregue às Forças Armadas Angolanas (FAA) visto que supostamente por lei um militar não deve participar em manifestações.
1 – O Negrão foi morto ou simplesmente detido?
2 – Será que as FAAs podem apresentá-lo à público e explicarem, com base a lei, os crimes de que o Negrão é acusado?
Yesterday there were reports that the producer of Brigadeiro Pacotes’s The Revolutionary, known as Negrão, was killed by the Angolan National Police in a demonstration demanding the return of Brigadeiro 10 Pacotes’s discs, [previously] seized by the regime. In news on Club-K, Hugo Kalumbo confirmed that he saw my friend being shot, but authorities said that Negrão was simply arrested and handed over to the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA), since allegedly, by law, a militant cannot participate in demonstrations.
1- Was Negrão killed or simply detained?
2- Can the FAA present to the public and explain, from the point of view of the law, the crimes of which Negrão is accused?
Some will remember Alves Kamulingue and Isaías Kassule, other activists also reported missing after a demonstration that took place in Luanda on May 27, 2012. Afonso Casimiro said in a comment:
se o “Caso” Kamulingue v Isaías Kassule, que já vai e dura e predura [sic] “já” quase ou aproximadamente “1 Ano”, desde que os mesmos (ambos) desapareceram nos Arredores ou algures e, nas Ruas desta Cidade Capital “Luanda”. Ainda e, até agora “Hoje”, não nos exclareceram-nos [sic] sobre o desaparecimento ou à suposta morte, do Kamulingue e Isaías Kassule; e, quanto mais Este recém-desaparecimento “ou acontecimento” do Produtor Musical Negrão??!!
[...] the Kamulingue vs. Isaías Kassule “case”, which has already been going on for almost or approximately a year, since they (both) disappeared in the vicinity or somewhere in the streets of our capital city, Luanda. And yet up to now we have not been enlightened on their disappearance or alleged deaths; and now the disappearance or “event” regarding the music producer Negrão?!
Two years of fighting
On March 7, 2011, exactly two years before the demonstration for the confiscated DVDs, the protest movement against the government was launched with the slogan “32 [years] is too long” [en], demanding José Eduardo dos Santos’s exit from power. In August 2012, José Eduardo dos Santos was reelected for another five-year term.
In an interview with Deutsche Welle, Jang Nomada speaks about his two years of activism and says he knows that “the mission is hard and forces exist to disconnect the people who are creating this kind of mentality”, pointing to hip-hop as one of the activities that have been persecuted by the system.
This has not been the first time that Brigadeiro 10 Pacotes’s musical works have been censored; in late 2011, the Ministry of Culture banned the sale of his album “Ditadura da Pedra”.
Brigadeiro 10 Pacotes- Estado da Nação
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