The National Arts Council (BASATA) has taken strict action against two prominent Tanzanian artists, Mbosso and Billnass, who are part of the popular Wasafi record label.
The artists have also been fined three million Tanzanian Shillings each (about Sh150,000) and suspended from engaging in artistic activities for a three-month period, starting from November 4, 2023.
This disciplinary action was a response to their involvement in the controversial song ‘Ameyatimba’ by fellow artist Whozu (@whozu_), which BASATA alleges has violated ethical standards and crossed the line in terms of content.
In a related development, Whozu has been directed to promptly remove the video of his song ‘Ameyatimba’ from all digital platforms. Additionally, Whozu has received a fine of three million Tanzanian Shillings and a six-month suspension from his involvement in artistic activities, starting from the same date, November 4, 2023.
BASATA disclosed that Whozu released the video for the song on November 2, 2023, featuring guest appearances by the suspended artists, Mbosso and Bill Nass. The song’s content has raised concerns due to elements suggestive of offensive language, contravening Regulation 25(6)(j), and depicting actions of abuse, cruelty, and a violation of women’s dignity, in violation of Regulation 25(6)-(f).
“BASATA has issued warnings and fines to Whozu in the past for disregarding the guidelines on adhering to ethical standards in artistic work. However, he has persistently ignored these warnings,” BASATA emphasized in their statement.
Furthermore, BASATA urged all artists and stakeholders in the arts to adhere to the newly launched code of ethics for artistic work, which is accessible on their website at www.basata.go.tz.
Controversial Song by Ney wa Mitego Also Banned
This recent disciplinary action by BASATA follows the ban of another song earlier in August.
Veteran Tanzanian rapper Emmanuel Elibariki, popularly known as Ney wa Mitego, released a song titled ‘Amkeni’ that sparked controversy in the predominantly conservative country.
In ‘Amkeni,’ Ney wa Mitego openly criticized the administration of President Samia Suluhu, causing the song to be swiftly banned by Tanzania’s National Art Council, BASATA.
Ney wa Mitego’s song explicitly targeted the government, labeling it as corrupt and accusing President Suluhu, Tanzania’s first female President, of engaging in a series of publicity campaigns while allegedly failing to fulfill her promises.
The rapper’s lyrics include lines such as, “Nchi yaendeshwa kimagendo, Kila kitu kiko wazi, Mama yenu analea wezi hata report ya CAG hakuna aliyechukuliwa hatua. Kodi kila sehemu na bado mnakopa daily.”
Ney wa Mitego also criticized the government for imposing multiple taxes on Tanzanians while providing inadequate services and education.
BASATA swiftly responded to the song, banning its play across national media outlets and social media platforms, citing it as ‘inciteful’ and disrespectful to President Suluhu.
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