Musos should not sell out to politicians

Prominent Rwandan singer Simon Bikindi was recently sentenced to 15 years for his part in the 1994 genocide.

Prominent Rwandan singer Simon Bikindi was recently sentenced to 15 years for his part in the 1994 genocide.

He used his influence to incite Hutus to kill Tutsis, calling them "snakes" and so helped along the most heinous genocide in Africa.

This should be a wake-up call for our musicians and celebrities. South African musicians and celebrities should think well before they endorse political formations.

Political parties solicit artists to endorse them. They book and pay musicians to attract voters. Artists must stop being mercenaries who perform for the highest bidder. They must act responsibly.

Younger musicians should take a cue from older colleagues such as the late Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, Caiphus Semenya, Letta Mbulu, Jonas Gwangwa and others who have an impeccable record. They were and continue to be wary of what and who they endorse.

During Idi Amin's reign in Uganda musicians were paid well to perform at his wild parties. They knew of Amin's human rights abuses, yet in pursuit of financial gain they abandoned ethics and morals to entertain him. The same happened with Mobuto Sese Seko in Zaire.

Artists should never sell themselves to politicians or sell politics to the masses. They have a right to endorse any political party, but it has to be a decision based on moral conviction, not material gain.

Donato Shongwe, Randburg

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