After his death, Mozambicans march for protest rapper 2023

Mozambicans are preparing marches around the nation to mourn Azagaia, a prominent protest rapper and outspoken opponent of the government who died last week.

On Saturday, memorial marches are scheduled for the 38-year-old musician who died following an epileptic seizure.

Thousands marched through the streets of Maputo, the capital, chanting “resistance” and “power to the people” during Azagaia’s funeral procession on Wednesday.

As the mob attempted to bring Azagaia’s coffin through Ponta Vermelha, the ceremonial house of the president, riot police deployed tear gas to disperse them.

Such huge rallies critical of the government of President Filipe Nyusi are uncommon in Mozambique.

“Azagaia was a national hero. We are transporting him to the White House because he is a greater hero than the president, said Walter, a protester who declined to provide his last name for safety reasons. Before dispersing the procession, he stated, “Nothing like this (march) has ever occurred before.”

Azagaia, whose real name was Edson da Luz, was well-known for openly criticizing government corruption in his songs and had a considerable following, especially among young people.

Saturday commemorative marches are scheduled in all eleven provinces of Mozambique, with tens of thousands anticipated to participate. But, authorities in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, where the government has been fighting an Islamic extremist insurgency since 2017, have denied permission for a rally.

Officials have informed organizers in the cities of Montepuez and Pemba in Cabo Delgado that marches may be permitted on another day, once public tensions have subsided.

Fuel and food price protests are not uncommon in Mozambique, but such large-scale celebrations of opposition leaders are rare.

The day after Azagaia’s death, hundreds gathered in Maputo for a memorial where many of the eulogies were clearly critical of the ruling party Frelimo.

“(Azagaia) never aligned himself with a political party because he was the voice of the people,” vigil organizer Tirso Sitoe told The Associated Press. “He demonstrated that nothing has changed since independence” (in 1975). “The only thing that has changed is (the kings’) skin color.”

Azagaia gained a strong following and fame with songs like “Povo no Poder” (“Power to the People”), which was published in 2008 during protests over rising gasoline prices. The rapper said that politicians stole from average citizens to support their lavish lifestyles. It has subsequently become the song of government opposition. Other songs addressed topics like police brutality and drug trafficking.

Mozambique officials paid homage to Azagaia in honor of his popularity.

“Mozambican music and culture are in sorrow,” said Eldevina Materula, Mozambique’s minister of culture.

Despite this, Azagaia was frequently viewed with animosity by the authorities while he was alive. With the publication of “Povo no Poder,” his songs were frequently restricted by official media, and the Attorney General’s Office accused him of encouraging violence.

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