Nay wa Mitego speaks out against a poor government, high prices, and censorship in Rap single, “Rais wa Kitaa”.
Background of Artist
Emmanuel Elibarick, widely known as ‘Nay Wa Mitego’ is a Tanzanian Hip-Hop / Rap artist. He is known for intertwining hip hop and social activism within his music. The artist has over 10,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, 3.8 million followers on Instagram, and 488,000 subscribers on YouTube. His unique lyricism and compelling messages molds to create powerful music that many Tanzanians can relate to.
On August 20, 2021, Nay Wa Mitego released a song titled “Rais wa Kitaa”, which translates to President of the streets. Today the song has over 2.3 million views on YouTube, 50,000 likes, and 7,500 likes.
Political and Social Message Behind “Rais wa Kitaa”
In this song, Nay specifically calls out the poor social and political order in Tanzania at the time.
One line says,“Kuna wabunge kumi na tisa walishafukuwza na chama”. Here Nay is explaining how there have been over 19 members of parliament who were kicked out by the party. This highlights the instability of the political parties and their impacts on the nation.
Soon after, the song goes on to highlight the economic strife in Tanzania. The song reads, “Mafuta bei juu, gesi bei juu. Kila kitu bei juu, mtatatuua mwaka huu”. These lines translate to read, “Oil prices are high, gas prices are high. Everything is high, y’all will kill us this year.” With basic necessities jumping in price, people are finding it hard to continue with their daily routines and lifestyle habits.
An additional line reads, “Nani atusemee, semee sisi wanyonge”. This line is part of the chorus where the artist is echoing, “who will speak for us… we are weak”. Yet then he adds that out of everyone, he will be the one to be the voice for the voiceless.
An additional part of the song that I found very interesting was when Nay mentioned the severity of COVID-19. He says,” Oyaa wanangu wee, corona kweli ipo. Nawa mikono, vaa barakoa kwenye mkusanyiko.” Here he is saying, “Hey my kids, corona is really here. Wash your hands and wear a mask in public gatherings.” This was extremely significant because at the time many Tanzanians were still in disbelief that COVID-19 was a real health threat. This is because the former President, John Magufuli, claimed that the virus was not real. The artist used this moment in his song to point out the significance of the virus, specifically to his younger audience, which I found to be extremely impactful.
The Music Video
The music video highlights a community in a village in which people’s mouths are covered by fabric wrapping. This wrapping is used to symbolize how Tanzanians are often censored and are not able to speak out against the government. The only one who does not have a mouth covering is Nay wa Mitego. At the beginning of the video, he starts out with a mouth covering, then he takes it off. This goes along with his message in the song that no matter what, he will always speak out against what is wrong.
There are also clips of police brutality and violence against the people in the community. The police are using their weapons against the people, without any real reasoning except to showcase their force and power. The police then handcuff Nay and put him into a police car. At this time, the people are rallying to speak out in support of Nay, yet their mouths are still covered. This symbolizes how even during moments when they should speak up, their voices are not heard.
Another significant moment in the music video depicted widespread corruption within the police department. The police were seen stealing Nay’s chain and wearing it themselves. There are many instances in Tanzania where the police exploit and/or steal from the citizens for their own personal gain.
Throughout Nay wa Mitego’s music video and lyricism, the political and social strife in Tanzania is undeniably clear. As Tanzania continues to censor its citizens to hide their discriminatory actions, artists such as Nay wa Mitego will continue to shed light on the social and political climate.