Interview Exclusive: Pilato Bares All On Music, Politics and What's Wrong With Zambia
Pilato is one of the most well known names in Zambia, his music is loved by millions and he has inspired many Zambians to follow their musical dreams. However his life has not been without struggle, for the past month he has been in hiding in an unknown location after the Patriotic Front threatened his life. His crime? Daring to criticise the government and accusing President Lungu of getting rich through ill gotten means. Although not the first time Pilato has been vocal about Zambia's politics this time he has seemingly put his life on the line. Open Zambia spoke to Pilato to hear his side of the story and find out what we can expect from him in 2018.
What can we expect from your new album Man II Man?
Man to Man is not the usual Pilato, the album will bring a more radical and detailed Pilato so i would advise that people expect unfriendly ideas.
Do you have any plans to tour the country?
I have confirmed shows for Muchinga and Northern Provinces and currently trying to get contracts for Luapula province. My management team is working at having shows in the 10 provinces in the second half of the year.
What inspires your music?
My music mainly inspired by real time events but above all by the so many people that share their lives and stories with me.
2018 has already been a difficult year for you in many ways, what did it feel like to have to leave your country and go into hiding?
Its very embarrassing to say the least. I wish we could create an environment that promotes free expressions. It must be understood that the essence of Freedom of Expression is to have people speak out their thoughts and ideas because it is through such an exercise that those in power can have access to the minds of those they govern. Free expression also allows for ideas to move from one mind to the other so any attempt to halt or infringe on this important freedom is a serious assault on national development. I have not gone for good, i will be back.
When will you come back?
Am not back yet, but i will be back. Zambia is my home and it is only natural that one must go back to his home.
In the face of such persecution why do you choose to continue calling government to account?
Zambia is a very beautiful country and this beauty must be defended. I am a Zambian and it is my responsibility to protect and contribute to the development of my country. Politicians are not voted for on the basis of intelligence but of their popularity therefore it is a very serious mistake to leave the governance of a country in the hands of popular men and women. Nations are not governed with slogans and chants but with ideas therefore, it is incumbent upon every reaponsible citizen to stand up and play a role in the development of their own country. Politicians don't make nations great, its people that do that. I choose to speak out and challenge the government because i know that we deserve better as a people.
Have you ever considered a career in politics?
Not yet. Art gives me enough space to contribute effectively in the development of my country. I may consider joining politics when i stop doing music but for now i am doing just fine. Politics by design should be about serving the public.....and we all serve the public in various forms and platforms even in the music circlea.
What are the three best things about Zambia?
1. The People
2. The land
3. The weather
And what are the three worst things about Zambia?
1. Its politics
3. Lack of patriotism
If you could change just one thing in Zambia today what would it be?
The Zambian Education system. We need an education system that is responsive to the demands of human development. Education should be more than training, it should be liberative in nature and not just a ritual that everyone has to go through. Our education system should more than just a tradition for every generation.
Finally, is there anything else you'd like to say to the readers of Open Zambia?
Zambia today has enough resources to benefit its people. We have enough water resources, we have copper and other minerals and we have the youths. We are approximately 16 million people. If the resources that we have now fail to develop our health care system, if our resources fail to educate our youths today.... What will happen to us as a people when we will be 50 million Zambians and our minerals will have been extracted and taken away from us. What will happen to the big number of our uneducated youths today will be adults then? If our riches fail to develop us as the people of Zambia, whose riches will develop us? It is our responsibility as the people of our great nation Zambia to demand that our resources be used on us as the people of Zambia. This is not a political message but a messege of responsibility and love. The future of our country is being built on the decisions we are making today and those decisions we are failing to make. I am just an artist, this is my solemn responsibility to my motherland and humanity. Whats your responsibility?
At the time of this being published on February 28th Pilato was still in hiding due to political persecution. He continues to fight for Zambian's civil and political rights through his music.