Political Hip-Hop in Zambia

PilAto (Facebook)

The highlight of today’s blog focuses on the Zambian artist Fumba Chama, better known as PilAto. He is a Hip-Hop artist from Ndola and his name PilAto is an acronym for: People in Lyrical Arena Taking Over. The artist’s name is rather political and, so too, is his music. The media has surged with news about PilAto and his song “Koswe Mumpoto” which translates to “Rat in the Pot.” In 2018 he received threats for his song and fled Zambia, and upon returning he was arrested. He is known for his political songs, which can also be seen in his adaption of “This is Zambia.

The artist is known to unapologetically tell the truth of Zambia and the government. He seems to be rather explicit in the original song “G.B.M.”. He begins the song with a clip of the then Defense Minister Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba, who is known as G.B.M. who resigned due to an ultimatum given by the president to make him choose between his party and family. The video has young children acting out a political announcement. It is a strong statement to start the song out this way. He stands with his decision to not give in to the government limiting his freedom.

The rest of the video is not a lavish scene, but rather like a story following him through a common place with celebration. He ends the video with a news article that was manufactured that says “If you cant walk like GBM…dont faint like Dr.Cosmo.” In this he discusses the difference between genuine and fake politicians. PilAto is not afraid to discuss the political situation in Zambia and content that speaks to the people, because he rarely says much in English. Therefore, is music is less for the international community as protest and turns more into combat music against corrupt political leaders or wrongfully decided political action.

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