Friday, November 19, 2010

Music, unlike politics, is what's uniting Africa's young people

Is music uniting Africa's young people? Music is like no other weapon for reaching out to the human mind. It crosses boundaries seamlessly. It breaks barriers set up by race, class, borders, education, etc.

Never has the African youth been more involved in the music movement than at this point in history. There's African hip hop everywhere one turns to these days. The African hip hop revolution is led by Nigerian MCs whose music has taken the continent by storm.

While taking the continent hostage they've begun to create a synergy with other young Africans through collaborations that will surely break down the artificial barriers foisted on us by colonialism.

Just watching MTVBase on a late night will bring home this truth. Female MC Sasha dueting with Mozambique's Dama do Bling, South Africa's HHP featuring Naeto C, Wande Coal and Ghana's R2Bees or J Martins dancing soukous with DR Congo's Fally Ipupa. Never in the history of African music have musicians been able to collaborate across boundaries like they're doing at the moment.

And before you're quick to say it's all because of MTVBase, Channel O, Sound City, etc, I would like to say that it is the strength and the hunger of the African young person that has ensured this. If young people had not taken it upon themselves to create the music they are making now, the music channels would have no business being in business.

It is the African youth who through all the trouble of every day hustling and finding a meaning to existence who have carved an enviable niche for themselves. This in the face of government neglect.

The schools are hardly teaching knowledge that is necessary to exist in modern Africa. The politicians are busy running down the economies leaving nothing for the future. Yet the music industry has risen up out of nothing and keeps creating jobs for thousands of young Africans.

While the politicians talk at round tables about creating an African Union for their self importance, it's today's music stars who are actually creating a borderless continent.

While the politicians are stuck with their colonial mindset where they cannot create a visa-free continent, today's young singers are showing that with their collaborations they can cross borders and speak to the minds of other young people on the streets of Mombasa, Bangui, Dakar, Kampala, Alexandria, Akure and Dansoman that they can be as great as their dreams. That they can aspire to success like their idols. Wonder why many of today's kids would aspire to be singers, actors, footballers but not politicians?

And the message this should send to the politicians holding back the progress of Africa's youth is that we do not need you to make a life for ourselves. In the ancient times, a people could kill an evil god by starving it of worship. We need to send the message to the politicians that we are capable of starving them of their authority if they insist on holding us back.

We have the power of music, the power of youth and we will not hesitate to starve you if you continue to stop us from traveling around our own continent with spurious visa controls. We will starve you of attention if you continue denying us of proper schools and a good education. We will no longer come to you if you keep pretending as if you don't owe us anything.

We urge you to pull down the artificial borders that keep us from relating with other African youth. The internet has done so much for us. Now you have to remove the remaining barriers. You have to create better schools and access to healthcare facilities. You have to, you owe us the best.
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