South Sudan Artists’ president apologizes to fans

By John Agok

The South Sudan Artist Union president yesterday apologized to South Sudanese music fans on what had transpired during the reception of Diamond Platnumz in Juba.

South Sudanese fans were having mixed reactions on the way Diamond was welcomed and his performances on the stage especially at Freedom Hall and Dr. John Garang Mausoleum.

In an exclusive interview with Juba Monitor, Hamet Deng William Deng Mtoto revealed that “he was so disappointed by the way Diamond Platnumz performed throughout his two-day concert for Together for Peace.”

He echoed that the COVID -19 protocols were not observed and it was negligence from the government towards his performances which would have been strictly observed, but unfortunately was contravened unexpectedly by Diamond organizers.

Deng emphasized more during his in-depth interview.

Question: Kindly introduce yourself?

Ans: I am Hamet Deng William Matoto, the president of South Sudan Artists’ Union.

Question: What is your take on the mixed reactions of Diamond Fans and South Sudanese generally?

Ans: Actually, everything was messed up by Diamond Platnumz organizers given the fact that what was agreed upon prior to Platnumz’s arrival into the country. K2 promoter and organizers would have followed the guidelines agreed upon, especially COVID-19 protocols which were to be observed according to the Ministry of Health instructions. We initially agreed that facemasks were to be worn by all fans.

Question: Why did some of the artists, dancers and comedians complained about Diamond’s peace concert?

Ans: It is true that, Diamond’s performance wasn’t welcomed by many people not only artists even the rest of people, including me the president I was unhappy. We could not tolerate the immoral acts which occurred on the stage where he was caught dancing on our money and dancing erotically with ladies on the stage during the Freedom Hall concert. I clearly told K2 and Diamond’s sponsors to follow the guidelines agreed which deemed necessarily to our country’s cultural context, unfortunately they breached the context.

Imagine, we had agreed that, any international artist should come and perform together with two South Sudanese artists. This is what the law and Ministry of Culture say in regulating music in the country. If you could learn that, even our president Kiir was welcomed to Dr. John Garang Mausoleum peace concert by different people. Supposedly it was to be two Ministers of Culture, Youth and Sports categorically.

Question: What were your feelings when you were neglected during welcoming of President Kiir to the Peace Concert as your portfolio portrayed?

Ans: Well, within my portfolio as the president of South Sudan artists, I would have been given that chance to invite one of my relevant ministers to welcome the president not necessarily me to welcome president.

Question: Where do you think adjustment would have been made to avoid such mistakes in Diamond’s concerts?

Ans: Security elements and organizers would have pushed away those ladies with immoral dance on the stage and allowed Diamond to dance with his own dancers. Also, two artists would have done a collabo with Diamond singing songs of peace than love songs sung in Kiswahili where majority of our audience could not decipher the accurate message of peace. The event was meant for peace concert not love sensational scene.

Another thing is, creative dancers and comedians were supposed to perform on the stage because they send very important messages to our audiences that can impact positively. But what I witnessed was that, these rightly talented were blocked from Diamond, and yet interactions of our artists with the Tanzanian was inspiring and crucial.

Question: What is your last message to South Sudanese artists on the way forward to improve the entertainment industry?

Ans: I am being accused by my fellow artists that; I sometimes abuse my power as the president. This is in line with laws and guidelines to follow as the artists of this country. I do tell each artist who wants to produce songs for fans to appear before the set-up committee. This committee formed by the Ministry of Culture is about to grill over your song’s content and to see in the content whether there is harmful or against our cultural contexts as well. It is our collective moral responsibility to examine and support our industry.

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