24 May 2018
A Harare magistrate has indefinitely suspended a sentence to fine Zim dancehall chanter, Seh Calaz, for his 2016 allegedly explicit song-Kurova Hohwa.
The development follows a call by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights who on Monday filed an application for review of procedure at the High Court.
The Mabhanditi boss was convicted on May 11 when magistrate Josephine Sande ordered him to pay $100 on or before May 25 or face 30 days behind bars.
He pleaded guilty to contravening Section 13 (b) as read with section (1a) of the Censorship and Entertainment Control Act, Chapter 10:4.
“We are applying that the matter be suspended pending a hearing for review of procedure at the High Court,” said counsel Elizabeth Mangenje.
It is Magenje’s argument that Seh Calaz, born Tawanda Mumanyi’s rights of artistic expression was infringed and the court was quick to punish him.
According to the human rights lawyers, the court was supposed to seek permission from the Prosecutor General who would then advise them of proper procedure.
They have also raised concerns of the matter as more of a constitutional matter than criminal.
The State, led by Francesca Mukumbiri, proved that in 2016, Sergeant Brian Daimani, a Licence Inspectorate was informed that Mumanyi recorded and performed an explicit song entitled ‘Hohwa’.
After hearing the song, the sergeant located the artiste’s manager before confiscating the exhibit.
Goes part of the lyrics:
“Nhasi izuva rangu rekurova howa. Mumba inenge ingori ahowa pachiridzwa mhere kunge pane arohwa.
“…babe ita uchindikisa pahuro , ndorova zvingani zvima rounds.
“Ndadikitira ndipukute netauro, chinja magiya uchindibatirira,
“Zvandinenge ndichiita mubedhurumu, ndiwe unoita ndisabuda mumachira.”
As a result, the song was sent to the Censorship Board and was found not worth for the public and it was banned.
However, speaking to H-Metro, the musician thinks he has been victimised.
“I don’t have any problem with the court’s decision but my worry is against the censorship board in Zimbabwe which is failing to conduct its duties.
“The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights have come in at a time when I needed them the most.
“I am of the view that I was just a victim of exploitation and will await the hearing from the High Court for more.
“I want to put it on record that it’s not a matter of failing to pay the $100 fine but i want the system to be free and fair to all artistes and allow us our basic right to artistic expression,” he said.
Over the years a number of artistes have recorded similar songs which carry similar lyrics.
Examples that instantly come into mind comprise Soul Jah Love’s Gumkum, Jacob Moyana’s Munotidako, Killer T’s Kuiburitsa, Lady Squanda featuring Confused (Kiss you), Lady B (Mpunduru) and Ricky Fire (Ndiratidze Zvaunoita) among others.
Years back, urban grooves musician Maskiri’s album Blue movie was banned after the lyrics were seen as not good for public consumption.