Cecilia (song)

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Date: 1980s

Region: Africa

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Music


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Artist: Simon and Garfunkel (both b. 1941)

Confronting Bodies: Malawi Censorship Board

Dates of Action: 1980's?

Location: Malawi

Description of Artwork: The song Cecilia by the US recording artists Simon and Garfunkel.

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The Incident: "...The reason for the ban is that Cecilia is also the name of President Banda's "Official Hostess" or mistress, Tamanda Kadzamira. The banning apparently coincided with a somewhat rocky phase in their relationship. The lyrics "Cecilia/I'm down on my knees/I'm begging you please to come home" [especially caused either consternation or delight]. Malwians apparently took to singing bowdlerized versions and even humming the tune was guaranteed to raise a smile...."

Results of Incident: "...Ms. Kadzamira has since preferred to be known in public by her middle name of Tamanda...."

Source: Human Rights Watch/Africa Watch, "Where Silence Rules, The Suppression of Dissent in Malawi," October 1990, Pg. 72