Tanzanian hip-hop artist, Nay wa Mitego has always been unafraid to confront the status quo. His latest offering, ‘Amkeni’ (Wake Up), which was released on 26 July, demonstrates a clash between artistic expression and the authorities.The song’s lyrics and unapologetic delivery caught the attention of the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) and the National Art Council, BASATA, resulting in its ban from local radio and TV stations.
Amkeni’ reflects a society where remaining silent is no longer a viable choice. Nay wa Mitego’s courage shines through as he fearlessly confronts those in positions of authority, identifying them as corrupt. He provides concrete examples and even proceeds to critique President Samia Suluhu Hassan, accusing her of prioritizing media attention over delivering on her commitments.
Nay wa Mitego leaves no stone unturned; his lyrical prowess doesn’t falter as he takes aim at the government’s taxing policies and lackluster services.“Siku zote ninachoamini cha bure hakina maana. Wanatupa elimu mbovu ya bure isiyo na maana ndio maana sikuizi tuna wasomi wajinga sana,” he rhymes, translating to a poignant message: Anything given for free often lacks significance; the education provided lacks meaning, resulting in a generation of misguided scholars.
Nay wa Mitego boldly claims that those surrounding the President are misleading her, juxtaposing his critique with a homage to the late President John Magufuli who was fondly known as the ‘Bulldozer,’ for his anti-corruption approaches earned him a distinct place in the country’s history. To the public, he urges them to wake up and understand the sad reality: a better future is hard to reach, teasingly far away.
Undeterred by the ban, Nay wa Mitego took to Instagram and aired his grievances, denouncing BASATA’s actions as futile power plays, highlighting the misuse of authority at the expense of the very taxpayers they are meant to serve. He also asserted that his music thrives on the streets, echoing louder than radio waves. “I even forgot about my songs being played on the radio. My music penetrates the neighbourhoods; it’s number 1. If you want to suppress my songs, deal with the streets,” he wrote.
‘Amkeni,’ transcends being just a song; it’s a rallying cry for change, a rebuke of complacency, and an ode to resilience. Nay wa Mitego has etched his name into Tanzanian hip-hop history as an artist who refuses to be silenced, redefining the boundaries of musical expression in the face of adversity.
The rapper has found himself in trouble in the past over his hard-hitting songs against the state of affairs in Tanzania, for instance, he openly questioned the late President John Magufuli’s style of governance in his 2017 song ‘Wapo’.
Watch ‘Amkeni,’ below: