Authorities in Mozambican municipalities have green-lighted the holding of marches on Saturday to pay tribute to Azagaia, arguably the best Mozambican rapper of his generation.
The only exception is Quelimane city which is still reeling from the devastation wrought out by cyclone Freddy, which caused untold suffering in the central Zambézia province, killing over 50 people and destroying lots of public and private property.
Born Edson da Luz, Azagaia died on 9 March and was buried on 14 March in Maputo. His death sparked spontaneous waves of support throughout most Mozambican capital cities. Most of the people behind the marches are young people, suggesting that Azagaia’s rap verses struck a chord with most of them.
This much was evident on the day of his funeral: youths filled the historic Independence Square while the religious ceremony was taking place inside the Maputo City Hall, metres away. After the religious service and speeches, the youth marched by the side of the hearse down Avenida Samora Machel into Avenida 25 de Setembro. But when the march reached Avenida dos Mártires de Mueda, it was blocked by police and a stand-off ensued.
After moments of heated discussions, a compromise was reached allowing the hearse to pass but the pedestrian mourners were forced to march on a different route.
The rapper’s lyrics were highly critical of the regime, denouncing corruption and perceived lack of basic freedoms. Because of his criticism of the ruling Frelimo party, in 2008, Azagaia received a summons from the Attorney-General’s Office (PGR) for questioning on the grounds that his rap song “Povo no Poder” (“The People in Power”) had helped fuel riots that had taken place in Maputo.
The question in people’s minds was what would happen to the anti-regime sentiment tragically spawned by Azagaia’s death. Perhaps the marches slated for Saturday are the first sign that scores of youths have lost their fear as Azagaia preached in life, and have decided to exercise their rights to be heard.
However, as one observer said: it is not enough to march, the youth must act. For over a decade, it has been hard to host an anti-government protest. Perhaps government has realised that it is better to allow the various marches to go on than censure them, specially because censuring might drive the youth to boycott or vote for the opposition in the forthcoming elections.
@2024, Mozambique Insights. All Rights Reserved