Is Africa being invaded?


When a child questions how soldiers can help reduce the spread of Ebola, its something to think about. Conspiracy theories are numerous. Where did this disease come from and how has it managed to spread so fast? Kofi Anan is quoted as saying in the East African that the fight against Ebola wasn’t a high priority because it effects only Africans. In the same paper there are articles about scientist tracking the origins of the disease in order to determine its future mutations. The CDC has a patent on Ebola right now. All this sounds like the weapons of mass destruction to me.

Last night I was out with the hip hop fraternity of The End of the Week, a hip hop event which challenges MC’s to spit over a variety of beats with themes given randomly. This means the MC has to freestyle and flow in the moment, a creative ability only few have developed here in Uganda.

However I hope their event happening on Saturday 25th at Open House will challenge MC’s to speak on the issues that are happening here in UG and the rest of the continent.  Young people in Uganda have been engaging in Hip Hop culture through organisations like Breakdance Project Uganda and the Babaluku Foundation to name but two.

Young people have embraced Hip Hop as a way of being seen and heard within society. With the rise of internet usage and the availability of information I would hope they can put their insight to use and say something about events on the continent.

But in order to do that they have to be interested in their fellow Africans, read, and be able to critically assess what is happening. Their lyrics should inform and motivate the youth to think about things in a deeper way, and this is where the battle lies because the creative industry is more concerned with superafical stardom and bling.

Last night I watched a film, I won’t elaborate but the main character, a university lecturer had this to say

‘Control, its all about control. Every dictatorship has one obsession and that’s it. So in ancient Rome they gave the people bread and circuses. They kept the populace busy with entertainment, but other dictatorships use other strategies to control ideas, the knowledge. How do they do that? Lower education, they limit culture, sensor information. They sensor any means of individual expression. It’s important to remember this. That this is a pattern that repeats itself throughout history’.

I was told yesterday that the UK has banned Jamaican music, giving it little or no airtime and here on the continent you only get admitted into the middle classes if you have attended school and university which is a major financial challenge for most parents. Students graduate but can’t find employment because they lack experience.  America is monitoring people on the net and the entertainment industry is filled with images of people living in opulence. So is it any wonder that young people see the industry as a way out of poverty?

The mantra for them is ‘Its about me one, I’m getting mine, I’m not getting left behind’. Ife Piankhi

What I’m saying is: its important to ‘say something’ with your artistic, creative expression. That ‘something’ should inform, agitate, inspire, stimulate debate and push the boundaries.

Tabu Flow an innovative dance group from Uganda are doing just that. Hip Hoppers who have taken aspects of Ugandan Culture and fused it with Hip Hop, creating contemporary dance pieces that challenge and inform the audience about their life experiences.

I’d like to see more of this in the Hip Hop movements of Uganda. Artists who ‘say something’ and who inform the growth of conciousness in the youthful population of Uganda and the world.