Author and historian Teju Cole delivered one of the best analyses of the Invisible Children/Joseph Kony affair with “The White Savior Industrial Complex.” And you can’t argue with the man’s musical taste, either.
The band above, Just A Band, got a shout-out from Cole on Twitter not too long ago, and for good reason. Billing itself as “A Kenyan somewhat-experimental, DIY, geeky boy band who are taking it one day at a time,” Just A Band’s latest collection of electro-pop, 82, is available for $8 on Bandcamp.
Our next song comes from Nneka Elise Egbuna, who goes by Nneka professionally. The Nigerian native – her dad is from Nigeria, while her mom is German – forged her musical career while studying for a degree in anthropology at Hamburg University in Germany. Here’s a look at her in a live setting with “Do You Love Me Now?”
Our last artist today is one of South Africa’s longest-lasting musical leaders, Hugh Masekela, who escaped the Apartheid movement in 1960 and became part of the U.S. music landscape for 20 years before returning home and not only reconnecting with his musical roots, but becoming a philanthropist and musical curator; “Coal Train” (also known as “Stimela”) was the foundation for Songs of Migration, a revue centering around the impact of migration around the continent, which Masekela described as “the result of social and political upheaval, poverty, war and colonialism.” Masekela’s spoken-word introduction for the song still resonates, more than two decades after this performance from the Freedom Beat Festival:
There is a train that comes from Namibia and Malawi
there is a train that comes from Zambia and Zimbabwe,
There is a train that comes from Angola and Mozambique,
From Lesotho, from Botswana, from Zwaziland,
From all the hinterland of Southern and Central Africa.
This train carries young and old, African men
Who are conscripted to come and work on contract
In the golden mineral mines of Johannesburg
And its surrounding metropolis, sixteen hours or more a day
For almost no pay.
Deep, deep, deep down in the belly of the earth
When they are digging and drilling that shiny mighty evasive stone,
Or when they dish that mish mesh mush food
into their iron plates with the iron shovel.
Or when they sit in their stinking, funky, filthy,
Flea-ridden barracks and hostels.
They think about the loved ones they may never see again. Because they might have already been forcibly removed
From where they last left them
Or wantonly murdered in the dead of night
By roving and marauding gangs of no particular origin,
We are told. They think about their lands, their herds
That were taken away from them
With a gun, bomb, teargas and the cannon.
And when they hear that Choo-Choo train
They always curse, curse the coal train,
The coal train that brought them to Johannesburg.
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