Rapper MCK Forbidden to Leave Angola

The Angolan immigration services have barred the well-known rapper MCK, from leaving Luanda’s International Airport, to perform at a Rap Festival in Brazil on November 26.

MCK told Maka Angola that the immigration officials told him that they had “superior orders” to prevent him from leaving the country.

According to the rapper, he asked the immigration authorities “whether this order was based on some legal procedures, whether there was a problem with his passport or visa.”

” They only told me that these were ‘superior orders’ and that the instructions were that they should return my passport only after the TAAG [Angolan airliner]  flight for Rio de Janeiro had left,” said MCK.

Once the plane had taken off, the immigration officials returned the passports and the boarding passes of MCK and his back up singer, Toy Fox.

Maka Angola tried repeatedly to speak to the immigration services authorities but none of our telephone calls were  returned.

João Faria, a lawyer, told Maka Angola that ” this kind of prohibition is only possible if it is based on a legal warrant. In this case, where the person in question does not know of any legal procedures against him, what happened is an arbitrary administrative act.

“MCK should lodge a legal complaint against an illegal act by public authorities to clarify his situation so his freedom of movement can be restored, and travel freely,” the lawyer suggested.

The Rap Festival

According to a press release, a central act of the festival will be ” the tribute to the legendary rapper from São Paulo [City] Sabotage (1973-2003) […] One of the highpoints will also be the presence of one of the ten most influential rappers in Africa: the Angolan MCK.” The Rap Festival bills MCK as having  “had an extraordinary musical career, and his music tries to help build a better world.”

MCK has been an outstanding civic activist. In the last months, he has dedicated his shows to the liberation of the 15 political prisoners currently on trial. MCK has also been working to raise funds for their families.

One of the political prisoners, the rapper Luaty Beirão, has been featured in all of MCK’s albums. They performed the duet “The bullet pains” in the most recent album “Proibido Ouvir Isso” [Forbidden to Hear This].”

“They always promise us food/ But only give us a beating/ But they too spit bullets which is painful/The bullet is painful, the bullet is painful…Words fitted with hidden explosives/ Hope has been wounded,” sing Luaty Beirão and MCK together.

Being long-time critics of the authorities in power, MCK and Luaty Beirão, express in their lyrics  such sentiments as “It was not Libya [Arab Spring of 2011] that inspired me/ I am a product of your government/ Revolted I am.”

The artists also refer to the speech in which Jose Eduardo dos Santos tried to justify his incompetence or lack of political will to tend to the poor by saying, “When I was born, there already was poverty.” MCK, in his 2011 album wonders why “these paper tigers are so scared of Luaty.”   Prophetic words, indeed. Recently, Luaty shook up the regime with his 36-day hunger strike to protest his illegal detention.

” All those who think differently are being subjected to political persecution,” said MCK.

In the trial of the activists, accused of planning a rebellion and trying to assassinate President Eduardo dos Santos, the name MCK features in the make-believe Government of Salvation and National Unity as Culture Minister. The list was downloaded from the Internet by the public prosecutor’s office , and entered in the file case as evidence of rebellion.

As it is widely known, this list was a mere playful exercise with friends by the lawyer Albano Pedro on his Facebook page. His friends on Facebook voted MCK Minister of Culture, and the list had nothing to do with the political prisoners.

Recent activities of MCK have made him a target of the authorities. “The show I put on with Bonga [Angola’s most renowned musician] on September 11 in Portugal  had  huge coverage in the Portuguese media and shook the defenders of the regime by appealing for freedom and respect for human rights.”

The artist says more than five shows have been forbidden to open  in Luanda and Benguela.  He also refers to the many acts of harassment by the police due to his critical stance on the regime.

In 2003, MCK shot to fame after the brutal killing of a 27-year old fan, and car washer Arsénio Sebastião  “Cherokee” by members of the Presidential Guard Unit. “Cherokee” was singing a tune by MCK “The Techniques, the Causes and Consequences” while washing cars at the Mussulo’s Quay. Members of the Presidential Guard Unit dragged him into the sea, in plain sight of beach goers and passers by, and drowned him for the sole crime of having been singing a tune by MCK.

Since then, the rapper has become one of the key voices through his music in the fight for the freedom of expression, for human rights, and for democracy.