BANTU's Disrupt the Programme harks back to Fela's activism




The song is performed in Pidgin and is layered with Afro-funk and Afrobeat grooves and razor-sharp horns. It is a call to action against incidents of kidnapping, corruption, lack of freedom of expression, and electoral fraud. The song seeks to arouse the people to take matters into their own hands in order to attain true freedom.

"The freedom of expression, the right to protest and of peaceful assembly is being threatened in Nigeria," BANTU bandleader Ade Bantu says. "‘Disrupt the Programme’ and its video remind us that in the face of social and political injustice, we cannot afford to be silent. We must speak up and let our voices be heard. We must disrupt the programme."


Freedom of expression in Nigeria has been under threat for decades. Perhaps the most well-known example in music is that of Afrobeat progenitor and iconoclast Fela Kuti who became persona non grata during his heyday and had his house, Kalakuta Republic, burnt down by the military regime in 1977. The heinous act occurred not long after Fela released the album Zombi in protest of the regime, and BANTU has taken a leaf from Fela's book on calling out the hegemony. The new release advocates for the need to disrupt politicians' evil agenda by adopting unconventional approaches, beyond mere complaints and lamentations on social media.


One of the verses goes:

How long we go dey wait dey sit down debate
Dey waste our saliva dey yan for social media
Nothing go change if we no organise
Call out their bullshit and cut them to size
Na we get di strength na we get di numbers
Nothing to fear my brother rise up my sisters
By vote or by force we must wipe di slate clean
This yẹ́yẹ́ politirikshians must enter dustbin


In the video, protesters are shown holding placards that etch out the words "Disrupt the Programme" and a young boy is seen snatching the wig from a barrister coming out of a car – a jab at the ineffectiveness of the judicial system in Nigeria, and indeed in many other African countries.

'Disrupt the Programme', which can be streamed here(link is external), is off BANTU's upcoming album Everybody Get Agenda. The album is slated for release later in the year.



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