By Team Gom Sa Bopa Media Team
Senegal’s DJ Zeyna has urged fellow artists to take a stand against the continued detention of outspoken Rapper Nit Doff. Real name Mr Mor Tallah Gueye, “Nit Doff” is currently facing charges for a Facebook Live video which he published in early January 2023. Our media team decided to engage colleagues in Senegal to understand the charges Nit Doff is currently facing.
The trial is expected to resume tomorrow 28th March 2023 in Dakar. One of his close accomplices, DJ Zeyna, real name Seynabou Ndoye also happens to be “an artist and the first female Senegalese DJ”. DJ Zeyna’s journey with Nit Doff started in “2007 when he released his first album called “Mbedd bi”. We started working together in 2015 in the “Show of the Year” and other concerts he was organising and the national and international tours”.
Asked to explain his charges DJ Zeyna says the rapper “was accused of sharing fake news from a live video where he was accused of making death threats. People who have watched the live video all know that these accusations are false and before these accusations, there are other things that preceded this”.
Speaking about some of Nit Doff’s previous disagreements, DJ Zeyna explains that the authorities “were cancelling his concerts. His annual “Show of the Year” was cancelled at the last minute in Dakar with unreasonable claims from the government”. This, in her view, is an attempt “to destroy his career. All these are politically motivated distractions. He couldn’t carry out his activities in peace even in his hometown Louga. If he has to do any shows there, he is forced to pay for security costing him over six hundred thousand [CFA]. He has even been denied from shooting his music videos”.
When asked if she believes his arrest is in line with the law, DJ Zeyna believes that “his arrest is total injustice because he was supposed to perform at a concert at Bigona and he was arrested a few days before this concert. They didn’t have an arrest warrant when they were arresting him. We believe that the live stream which he did was why he was being arrested”.
Speaking on the accusations DJ Zeyna recalls that Nit Doff “was accused of — making death threats. But we’re asking who did he make death threats to? Who made the complaint against him? We believe nobody has made any complaint against him”.
“We know that they just went to his house and arrested him without explaining any reason for his arrest. When he arrived [in jail], he was detained for days under high security which we believe is a form of torture. This was all before he was actually taken to the court,” said the DJ.
In her view “everyone knows that his arrest is not in line with the law. Artists should be allowed the right to express themselves. What is happening in Senegal is a Dictatorship. In this country, the voices of Artists are being suppressed. Nit Doff has been speaking up for some years now since his first album. When you listen to his songs you will know that he always speaks up for the people”.
She called on fellow artists to take a stand. “We the artist should not sit and watch injustices being meted out on our colleagues and denying them their rights. Injustice is happening in this country. His detention is now being prolonged and this is the responsibility of every artist to speak up”.
As a keen advocate of Artistic Freedom in Africa Team Gom Sa Bopa believes that artists like all other people have the right to freely express themselves. This right is enshrined in the African Commission’s “Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa”. Limiting the rights of artists to express themselves limits their creativity and suppresses their ability to speak out for their community.
Artists are not just musicians progressing their careers but a voice from their community that often times represent their people’s needs and concerns. African governments must avoid suppressing dissenting voices simply because they don’t agree with their socio-political views or activities. We call on the Senegalese Government to be more accommodating of divergent and dissenting opinions.
In addition to the right to association, all people have the right to freely move and shoot music videos in public spaces according to the limits of the law. It’s highly restrictive for the Government of Senegal to place special bans on artists by forcing them to pay extortionate fees for security and cancelling their shows at the last minute without any valid reasons.