Famo artist Lephatšoe Lebajoa, better known as Selomo, met his violent death on Saturday when four armed gunmen pumped eight bullets into his body.
With those eight shots Lebajoa’s booming voice was silenced.
He was only 36.
While it might be too early to speculate on the cause of the killing there are strong indications that it could be linked to the ongoing violence gripping the famo music industry.
At the last count sometime last year over a hundred musicians and producers had been killed.
The tragedy this time however is that Selomo was seen, by and large, as the voice of reason within a troubled sector.
He was seen as a unifier who preached a message of peace and reconciliation.
His killing on Saturday night is yet another vivid illustration of the spectacular failure of the government’s policy towards the arts industry.
The ongoing killings raise questions whether the government has any cogent strategy in dealing with the famo violence.
The killings and counter-killings have been going on for far too long.
Enough should be enough.
A few months ago we urged the government to act decisively to stop the senseless killings.
Our call appears to have fallen on deaf ears.
It is precisely for these reasons that we think the government and the ministers responsible for the arts and the police have blood on their hands.
We believe the government has not demonstrated enough political will to stamp out the violence.
Neither have the responsible ministers for the arts and police spoken out forcefully enough against the violence.
We believe, with its intricate state security machinery, the government has the capacity to put a stop to the violence if it really wants to.
However, judging by its lethargic response so far it is obvious that the government is either completely uninterested or does not appreciate the gravity of the situation.
The state security agencies must swing into action and stop the violence by any means necessary.
First, the government must crack down on illegal guns.
Too many guns are in the hands of people who are not supposed to own them.
Secondly, the government must regulate the arts industry.
The censorship board must act to ensure that songs with provocative lyrics do not see the light of day.
The board must act against vulgarity in famo music.
Small as it might appear this could be one big step in stopping the provocations that have led to the senseless killings.
But with over 100 artistes and producers killed over the past two years it is frightening that no one has been arrested or jailed for the killings.
It is shocking that these killings are being perpetrated with impunity.
There is surely something wrong with this state of affairs.
The fact that there has been no one who has been successfully prosecuted in our courts of law is the biggest indictment on our legal system.
Why have there been no arrests?
Why have there been no prosecutions in our courts of law?
Have our police surrendered the streets to this cabal of madmen masquerading as musicians?
Until the government and the security services provide coherent answers to reassure this nation of peace-loving individuals we shall continue to live in fear, sleep in fear and entertain ourselves in fear.
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