Six months ago, my son Msimisi Mkhwanazi was a third year student at the University of Swaziland. He had hopes and dreams. The world was his oyster, until one day, Mswati’s men murdered him in cold blood. His shattered skull was one of almost 100 people murdered on the orders of King Mswati III.

I’m sure you’ve heard about what’s happened in Swaziland since June. Perhaps you’ve seen the documentary Unthinkable, where men, women and children who had been maimed told their stories. Maybe you saw clips on twitter, of young people who form your fan base in terrible pain after their legs were blown off by Mswati’s soldiers. There’s even a chance you heard the lies told by Minister of ICT, attributing the work of Mswati’s forces to foreigners. What is the unvarnished truth is that the people of Swaziland, including my murdered son, have been under attack from a cruel and capricious king.

This is why I am writing this letter to you. Please cancel your concert at the Luju Festival. This can be a chance for you to stand on the shoulders of giants before you who boycotted apartheid South Africa. You can send a message to the rest of the world that the people of Swaziland are not alone, and that your talent will not be used to restore the reputation of a murderous king.

There are no doubts about the circumstances Swazis were murdered. Peaceful protests were squashed by guns from the armed forces. The King, as commander in chief, is the only one with the authority to deploy the army. The police and soldiers were fitted in Swazi force clothes; they spoke fluent SiSwati; they were driving cars belonging to the Swazi armed forces. This war was waged against innocent Swazis was waged by King Mswati himself.

Please be aware: Luju happening, and your invitation to come and perform, would not have happened without approval from the royal family. Nothing of consequence happens in Swaziland without Mswati’s approval. Moreover, the sponsors of the festival, including Standard Bank’s MD, are members of the royal family. By performing, you are implicitly supporting this brutal regime.

I know that you are dedicated to your fans in Swaziland, and Msimisi was among them. I also know that the pandemic has been very difficult on artists. We pledge a promise of continued support of your music and craft in the future, including on YouTube and streaming sites if you choose to stand with the downtrodden masses of Swaziland. There are thousands upon thousands of Swazis who are being punished for voicing their opposition to the merciless dictatorship of Mswati. Let your voice speak for us by choosing not to perform in service of the brutal dictator.

Yours is a gift to inspire and entertain. Please do not allow your talent to be wielded by Mswati as an endorsement for his murders. Please choose to support the people of Swaziland, not the murderous King Mswati.

Kind regards

Justice Dlamini

Msimisi's  uncle

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