Anthems for the Culture

By: Banzi Mehlo

We are facing the darkest times this year all over the world, and one tends to be extremely affected by constantly seeing triggering images and so on in the news and on social media. It is honestly draining, emotionally and mentally. Since we have been in lockdown, I have been finding ways to keep me sane and music has always been able to keep me calm. Even through these bad times, music can unite us and bring healing to the people. And these are just some of the songs that have kept us together.

In South Africa, a song is not an anthem until it is played in every club and our artists have sure delivered some amazing club bangers. One of my favorites is Sho Madjozi’s John Cena; a hit, with it is throbbing instrumentals and catchy hook, you are to lose yourself to this jam.

Wizkid’s, Come Closer, featuring Drake has quite an eye catching, melanated music video. From the dancers, the fashion and location, it looked like a party I would attend. Wizkid is putting our music on the map, I mean you know it is going to gain international attention if Drake hops on it and puts a stamp on it.

Another artist taking our sounds abroad and makes me proud of being African is Burna Boy. He has always been known for making hits and this one was just as much a hit. His recent single, Ye, is about showing love to his woman and honestly if I were the girl, I would not know how to behave. I am a sucker for visuals, so you best believe it is worth the stream. The music video just delivers quite the African aesthetic.

African musicians have always stayed true to their roots and shared their unique sounds and when The Lion King was getting a remake, the album had to be better than the first one. Although produced by Beyoncé, The Lion King: The Gift featured mostly African artists and was inspired by Africa, so why not include this beautiful masterpiece. Brown Skin Girl was immediately a favorite because of the positive message, especially for women, about loving the skin you are in and being proud of it. Power was, for me, the anthem. With the up-tempo beat and preaching about not allowing anyone taking power and encouraging us to own the power we have and use it to the fullest.

Africa is filled with massive talent from all parts of the continent and the diversity in our arts makes it more special. Every time I listen to these works of art, I feel so alive and proud to be African. So, if you are at home just relaxing or taking a study break, do check them out and learn the anthems.

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