Poet Mutabaruka is making his presence felt in some important quarters, but especially in Africa. For some time now, he has been working with the largest African recording/distribution company Gallo, for which he has completed two projects. Muta's Life and Lessons is the second set by him that is released on the Continent exclusively. The first one is called Mutabaruka in Combination.
"Gallo, the largest distribution company in Africa, will be featuring one of the poems on their World Cup compilation," Muta told the Sunday Observer.
The poem is titled A Girl Called Johannesburg and this compilation should not be confused with Sony's Music of the Cup.
"This is the second album (Life and Lessons) to be released in Africa without coming to the west. The first was a compilation, Mutabaruka in Combination about four years ago. But it never reached the west. Wi nuh really feel shame that it never come to di west," asserted the unapologetic host of the radio programme, Cutting Edge.
"A Africa wi a work wid yah now," he insisted, "this why mi a tell you sey wi start from Africa and come out rather then start from Europe and go in. Wi a kinda do a reversal of the ting now. Wi also did a collaboration with Youssou N' Dour when him was out here and it is released now."
It would appear that Muta's focus on Africa has began to bear fruit. Carl Hunter, founder/director of Duppy Soursop Media House working in conjunction with the Ambassador of Senegal, is doing a documentary on Mutabaruka, who is to be given special recognition in Senegal, during their 50th independence celebrations later this month.
"Senegal is celebrating 50 years of independence and what we have been trying to do over the last three months is to get together and make a connection with west Africa and Jamaica... and Muta was chosen by the organisation to be heralded as one of the champions of Pan-Africanism," Hunter told the Observer.
The organisation in Senegal is Information Objects which contracted by the Senegalese Tourist Board. The recognition of Muta will be the creation of an African Hut built in his honour. This is an African folk tradition and it will either be a Bantu or a Wallof Hut. Various persons from the Pan-African community have had a hut named after them. The hut in honour of Muta will be officially unveiled between May 28 and 30, in Dakar, Senegal.
"Definitely a big event," Hunter said.
Muta sees it as an honour especially coming as it does from Senegal. "It's an honour coming clear from inna Senegal which is a French speaking country. But from awhile back performing through Europe a lot of Senegalese and Gambians always come to our shows. So it wouldn't be a surprise to know that we are so connected. When we were doing shows in Europe these Senegalese were young and now they grow up big now so they have more influence.......as a matter of fact It Nuh Good Fi Stay Inna Whiteman Country.... a lot of Senegalese and Gambians go back to Africa because of that poem."
This is not the first time Mutabaruka has been so honoured. He was given similar recognition locally some time ago when the Sans Souci Hotel in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, named a one of its luxurious suites after the controversial and outspoken cultural activist.