On Life, love and Politics

"Random musings about Life, love and Politics. Just my open diary on the events going on in the world as I see it."

Lapiro Wins FCFA 12 Million Global Award December 1, 2009

Filed under: Politics/Politique — kikenileda @ 3:07 PM

Cameroon's ace musician, Lapiro De Mbanga, who is serving a three-year jail term at the Douala
New Bell prison, is the 2009 winner of the 'Freedom to Create'
Imprisoned Artists Prize. The prize includes 25.000 US dollars that is
a circa FCFA 12 million.
Nominated by the International NGO
for the defense of artists, FreeMuse, Lapiro De Mbanga was selected in
recognition of his courage and outstanding artwork. According to
release FreeMuse issued last Wednesday, a distinguished panel including
the world's famous conductor, Daniel Barenboim and Geoffrey Robertson, one of the world's human rights lawyers, declared the imprisoned artist winner in London.
The good news was conveyed to Lapiro in his prison cell a few hours before the prize award ceremony
took place at London's Victoria and Albert Museum in the evening.
International luminaries such as the celebrated Iranian film maker, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Time-out founder, Tony Elliot and human rights activist, Bianca Jagger
attended the occasion. According to the NGO release, FreeMuse Programme
Manager, Ole Reitov, who is coordinating the campaign for the release
of Lapiro, said the artist was extremely elated when the news was
broken to him. 'Lapiro is absolutely overwhelmed about the prize.

We have spoken about the nomination several times, but winning is
something very different. Lapiro says, apart from the very strong
support to his case and family, the prize belongs to all artists
fighting for the freedom of expression,"
Ole Reitov is quoted to have said. Marie Korpe, FreeMuse Executive
Director, received the prize on behalf of the laureate. The prize money,
The Post learnt, will be used to campaign for the release of Lapiro and
the sustenance of his family that has suffered immensely since his
arrest last year.
Another Freedom to Create prize was presented to the Iranian film
maker, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, who has dedicated his craft to highlight social injustices in Iran
and neighbouring countries. The Freedom to Create prize celebrates the
courage and creativity of artists around the world, who use their
talents to build the foundations of open societies, promote social justice and inspire human spirit. Lapiro stood among more than 1.000 artists from more than 100 countries nominated in 2009.
Although the Douala court is said to have found him guilty of inciting the February 2008
unrest in Mbanga, observers said authorities used the trial as a
subterfuge to settle scores with the critical artist. For one thing,
Lapiro used his satire-loaded songs as a tool against social injustice,
corruption, abuse of power and other nation-killing prevailing vices.
He has become a symbol of peaceful resistance to the mutilation of
democracy in Cameroon.

One Response to “Lapiro Wins FCFA 12 Million Global Award”

  1. Kudos! Kudos! Kudos! to le Président des sauveteurs alias Dinga Man! I believe that Lapiro de Mbanga’s selection as laureate of the 2009 winner of the ‘Freedom to Create’ prize speaks volumes not only about the man’s virtuosity but also about the myopia and utter inanity that characterize the leadership in Cameroon. LaPiro de Mbanga(Pierre Lambo) is no small fry in the arena of musical creativity. His lyrics and messages are both entertaining and incisive. I have dedicated an entire book of poems (MANJUNGA TOK: POEMS IN PIDGIN ENGLISH) to Lapiro for his invincible will to fight corruption and governmental ineptitude in Cameroon.
    Dr Peter Wuteh Vakunta
    University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA.

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