Unity through Music

By Mncedisi Stampu

South Africa has evolved before the world’s very eyes – through the Apartheid era, to our transition to being a democratic country, to being able to dub ourselves ‘The Rainbow Nation’. We have been through many hardships, and COVID-19 is another one we can proudly add to our list. The amazing thing about South Africa is that we do not let anything get us down, and even if it does, we will dance and sing through it!

It does not take much for this very diverse and vibrant population to come together and embrace its multicultural identity. Many musicians have played great roles in bringing hope to our people during the Apartheid era, like Mama Miriam Makeba in 1956, introducing the world famous ‘Pata Pata’, which broke through major charts worldwide, and earned her a Grammy Award in 1966. During that time, South Africa’s political unrest was at an all-time high, but in a way Mama Makeba helped bring hope to the people when she starred in a film titled ‘Come Back Africa’, which documented the trials and tribulations a black person suffered through in Johannesburg. Unfortunately, she got banned in 1960 for her endeavours.

Fifty years later, we sit with a pandemic, and possibly one of the worst years of many people’s lives, and an end to many more’s. Through it all, the Southern tip of Africa has been able to stand together and power on through music. The #JerusalemaChallenge fuelled by the viral song ‘Jerusalema’ by Master KG featuring Nomcebo Zikode, that penetrated borders worldwide, became a song that Africans can proudly identify with.

President Ramaphosa urged the nation to celebrate the challenge on social media on Heritage Day, which sent a strong message to the world that even in the most uncertain time, the Rainbow Nation will always stand together!

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