via ‘Mugabe lacks sense of humour’ Freshlyground – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 6, 2014 by Nduduzo Tshuma
AWARD-WINNING South African music outfit Freshlyground has accused President Robert Mugabe of not having a sense of humour following the group’s deportation from the country on Sunday.
Freshlyground, billed to perform at the closing ceremony of the Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa), said they were not given any reasons for their deportation.
“We are very disappointed to announce that Freshlyground were last night (Sunday) turned away at Harare International Airport just hours before they were due to perform on stage to 4 000 fans at the Harare International Festival of the Arts closing ceremony,” the group’s management said in a statement.
“The government officials involved refused to give a reason for the deportation, saying in fact that there is ‘no official reason given or required’. Both the Hifa organisers and the band had followed all requisite permit requirements, and indication prior to this was that the band would be allowed to perform in the country.
“It would seem the powers-that-be have yet to find a sense of humour. The band is hugely disappointed at the missed opportunity to return to one of their favourite performance venues, and is left saddened that once more Freshlyground were unable to connect with their fans in Harare.”
However, The Herald yesterday quoted regional immigration officer Francis Mabika as saying the seven-member group did not have a valid work permit.
The band, however, said they remained undeterred, “and hope that in the not-too-distant future [they] would once more be allowed to celebrate a love of music and a freedom of expression with the people of Zimbabwe”.
In 2010, the group was banned from staging a show in Harare, days after they released their Chicken to Change video mocking President Robert Mugabe for hanging on to power.
The song urges Mugabe to “become the hero he used to be” by stepping down.