Sexuality is power, says Batuk vocalist Manteiga

    Earlier this year the Pan-African house music band Batuk released their debut album, Musica de Terra (Music of the Earth). The first track Força Força (Power Power) is about women taking charge of their sexuality. The Daily Vox caught up with vocalist Manteiga, aka Carla Fonseca, to talk about Batuk and the importance of embracing one’s sexuality.

    I started singing professionally when I collaborated with Spoek Mathambo and Aero Manyelo to form Batuk. We have been working on this project for two years now.

    The collaboration came together for the love of music. For the love of electronic music. For the love of house music, zouk [fast jump-up carnival beat from the Caribbean islands], kuduro [music originating from Angola] and afrotech. We were mutual friends when the project started. Friends with a shared passion for house music, so we got together in studio and experimented with waves. Batuk was born.

    Our album is called Musica de Terra. It’s been very positive and exciting. Spoek and Aero are magic makers, and I love working with them, so the whole process was really fun.

    We were on tour in Europe for five months and we were often based in Paris. We produce, shoot and edit our own videos so we are able to make a video anywhere we see fit. The 18th district in Paris was very fitting for the meaning of the song [Força Força] and the visual message we wanted to carry across.

    Whatever I say baby
    I’m not a doll for you to play with
    Now let’s do what I want – Força Força lyrics, translated

    I am a woman; I face discrimination and inequality every single day. It is my job as a creative to talk and make work about the issues that affect me. Your sexuality is very important to understand and to embrace. I am excited by the waves of people who are embracing and are overtly proud of their sexuality. Sexuality is power. It is liberating and it should be the norm to take charge of one’s sexuality.

    It will take a lifetime before people stop labelling women. Patriarchy is smeared all over history and religion. What we can do is shift our [women’s] own mentalities. We should take charge of our boldness and sexuality, and not be shifted when people are made uncomfortable by this. We should own our power and free ourselves. It would be very backwards to think that our liberation is in the hands of a man.

    I am half Mozambican, half South African. The two countries have very different relationships with sexuality. I believe that Mozambicans have a very good relationship with sexuality. It is shown through music, through the way we dance, the way we greet one another, the way we respect each other. I will be bold and say that I think one of the reasons for South Africa’s ever growing rape epidemic is because there is a very poor understanding of sexuality.