To famo or not to famo?

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a month ago

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By Kabelo Mollo

There is a poignant Famo song that I really enjoy. It speaks to one of the realest life experiences I’ve ever had.

It’s called “lefu la ntate”. It’s a brilliantly melancholic but upbeat tune that cuts right to the heart of me. You might find me listening to it at any given time. On the road as I jog and seek inspiration from any corner. In the car as a sing along on my way to pick my boy up from school or even just at home on a random date with my lovely wife. It’s an all day, every day, every way tune.

Somebody recently described Famo music as that enduring feel of home no matter where you are. Indeed, many on social media have remembered with fondness numerous songs and artists from their youth that continue to resonate with them. The genre is a massively popular one. It is also a quite emotive music, so when a government purports to ban it and the artists that purvey it, you should expect a backlash. Said backlash is strong on the social media I follow.

I was engaged in something of a debate with some colleagues and compatriots about the fairness or lack thereof in the current government’s decision to outlaw this popular music. The views put forward were both passionate and understandable. They ranged from a question of freedom of association and speech to the draconianness of curtailing the proliferation of this music. One argument went so far as calling the legislation ‘lazy’ and without real thought. As I say, it was a passionate conversation.

I find it hard to disagree with the sentiments argued and my liberal sensibilities are always challenged by laws that impinge on our basic human rights. For instance, I hated hard lock down in principle but understood and even supported it in practice. I didn’t really see another way with impending doom seemingly around the corner. Governments have a duty of care to the whole populace not just the passionate and academically inclined. And so, this law that outlaws this song that I have come to love and that has come to mean so much to me. What of it?

I half-support the government’s attempt to find a sustainable solution to what has become a crisis of pretty epic proportion. A crisis that threatens to destabilize a whole district let alone the country. I argued that the government had to do something, and at the very least start somewhere.

I hope that the government will also be magnanimous enough to dial back the law should they find its not working or worse still has been abused (my greatest fear). But in lieu of immediate and impactful solutions perhaps a ban is the answer. My liberal senses are tingling even as I type this. However, if there’s one thing adulting has taught me is that life is a series of contradictions. Very few things are absolutes and even fewer are forever.

Ironically, I might even be breaking the law writing this such has been the vagueness of the whole matter, but I’m taking my chances. I hope this is the right solution or at least beginning thereof, but more importantly I hope we can root out the criminal elements of the whole malarkey and go back to listening to that “enduring sound of home”.

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