By Abdoulie John
As President Yaya Jammeh is celebrating 50th birthday today, activists are calling on invited artists to desist from performing in TGambia.
“It should not be about the paycheck, but about using art to enlighten people. Dishonouring your father’s legacy and all those who fought to end repression in South Africa,” US-based Democratic Union of Gambian Activists (DUGA) posted on the Facebook wall of South African musican Nkulee Dube, who is set to perform in Banjul for Yaya Jammeh’s birthday anniversary.
A good number of African musicians have been invited by the Gambian leader including Nkulee Dube, daughter of slain reggae star Lucky Dube. The news of her planned concert has given rise to a wave of outrage on the social media.
In an attempt to contain harsh criticisms from inundating her Facebook page, the South African artist said in a post: “My father performed in Gambia in 2000. So, maybe music is the best weapon.”
Lamin A. Tunkara, one of the critics, brushed off her argument, and reminded her of a time when many people stood for justice in South Africa. “They used their voice to fight injustice. Nelson Mandela stood against tyranny and injustice, your father used his platform as a voice for the voiceless. Gambians stood with South Africans to fight against Apartheid.”
To many observers, the call for astists and entertainers to stage ant-apartheid like boycott during the birthday celebration has little chance to succeed. The lack of massive support from the international community continues to provide President Jammeh with the possibility to use huge amount of money to rally musicians around his cause.