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African voices

February 11, 2011
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Short article here on how Nigerian artistes used their star power to “hype” civic awareness rather than their next single, video or live performance.

Through Twitter, Eldeethedon, one of several musicians, urged people to “be the change” and Register Select Vote Protect.

More than (5000) five thousand young Nigerians were said to have been followed by Eldee in the course of the voter registration exercise.


Not quite sure “levels have changed” until the last three parts of RSVP are concluded. Keeping expectations up till April will be a drag. What’s clear, however, is a new sense of Nigerianness — a vacuum being filled by musicians, sport persons and writers — is on the rise.

It’s part of our search for identity. Manthia Diawara, New York-based professor of African film and comparative literature, recently pointed out at the iREPRESENT (iREP) International Documentary Film Festival that:

Africa’s hip-hop stars are erasing a continent’s artificial borders

Will this generation of artistes help Africa find its voice, after slave trade, colonialism and bad leadership have wrecked havoc on our self-confidence? Prof Diawara thinks so.

Africa’s hip-hop stars sing and rap of one Africa. They are becoming role models. (Have you seen BBC Focus on Africa’s 50 African icons? A mix-bag of politicians, artistes, writers and sport personalities. Of the lot, Agbani Darego is the youngest! And there’s not one single entrepreneur/business person.)

African visual artistes: movie and documentary directors, can help tell Africa’s story. The danger of a single story told by western media does more harm than good. The Malian professor also decried the absence of African public intellectuals. We’ve become insular:

Malian problems are now Malian problems alone; Nigerian problems are now Nigerian problems not necessarily those of other African countries as well. Media from outside the continent like the BBC, VOA and Reuters now tell us what we need to hear about Africa, they set the agenda for us about public affairs. This has caused the problem of alienation for Africans.

Things are changing. “I’m waiting” a song from Ade Bantu‘s new album “No man stands alone” is also a soundtrack for the upcoming movie “Relentless” starring Nneka with a cameo by Ade Bantu. See the video courtesy of Next.

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