Music composer and singer Solly Molepo has unleashed fury at former president Jacob Zuma and his newly formed party Mkhonto We Sizwe (MK) for allegedly using his song, uMkhonto We Sizwe in their campaigns.
Molepo has threatened to leave no stone unturned in turning off the music at every MK party’s public appearance if they do not stop using his song.
Molepo wrote the song as part of an album by his band Brothers in Arms after they were commissioned by Cosatu in 1991 to raise funds for unemployed people.
The song did well and became a stable chant for struggle movements all over the country and saw their album sales under record label Eric Frisch Productions skyrocket.
Speaking to Sunday World this week, Molepo said it was not about the money for him and his band mates, but more a matter of principle.
“This is my song. I did it some time ago. I am surprised that it has been doing well for so long. I don’t know how it happened that they started using my song to campaign, but it is very unfair.
“You can’t use someone else’s song to do an advert without consultation or permission,” he said.
Molepo said he has not attended Zuma’s new party’s public appearances but has seen videos where the party leaders are seen dancing to his song.
“I am not happy because when you campaign, you want votes. When you want votes, you want power and with that power, you get money.
“You are doing an advert, and you are using my song because you want people to buy your product, but you cannot take someone’s song to do an advert,” he said.
Molepo said he will not give the party permission to use the song because he is not fond of Zuma. “I don’t want money from them. What I want is for them to stop using my song to market themselves at their rallies.
“I don’t want to be associated with them because if I do, I would be compromising myself,” he said.
He added he believes the party is purposefully using controversial methods to gain popularity ahead of the elections.
“He is using a controversial strategy. Same with the name of his party, it is someone else’s registered trademark. “So, if you are going to use that, it means that you will want to play the blame game when elections time arrive, and they tell him to remove the name from the roll. I feel like that is his strategy for him to come back and say that ‘you see; they are sabotaging me’.”
A source within the party said they are aware of the attacks coming from every direction following their successful launch. “The guy is trying to be popular with his attack
towards the party, and his outcry is baseless because that means he wasn’t supposed to sing about Mkhonto We Sizwe from the word go, it has been there before he entered the studio for his song.
“Just like the gospel songs they sing everywhere outside churches, but you won’t hear gospel artists complain… ”
MK spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndlhela said they have not been contacted by Molepo.
“There is no requirement to consult musicians before playing their songs at social events, funerals or weddings.”
He also added that they are not in the wrong, despite the song being used by their members including Zuma’s daughter, Dudu Zuma-Sambudla, on her social media account campaigning for the party.
He added that they have no objections to removing the song in their campaigns.