Text: Hazel Fasaha Tobo
Photograph: Marta Garrich
If I were to write about what Africa keeps breathing, I would write it through song, it would be a rendition of drums and harmonious song singing. My story about Africa would have to be the kind of song that evokes emotions; it would have to be a song that calls many from afar to listen in. Like the many promotions by singers with a burning passion for their work, that no matter how loud, populated and overly congested Noord is, you would find them singing and dancing on a corner of Noord in the Jozi CBD and masses would pause their journeys to watch and listen.
Music is Africa, it’s the little we have left after colonialism and the freedom that only lives in papers, the one mineral that remains in our spirits is music, the heartbeat of Africans. With that said, I think it’s safe to say that the Liberation Concert, was a liberation indeed of the heart as the theatre was heavy with presence and life. We were all there to fill a little void or craving, that little thing you seldom get on a normal day and that was music, a mixed culture of sounds, a new taste of Africa in one night. Here a beautiful concoction of sounds were all around, South Africa had come alive in song, amongst the many were songs of Umzabalazo and diverse tongues, one most dominant, being IsiZulu, of course, with a touch of Ghanaian and Congolese melodies here and there.
Italian, Cuban and Brazilian music confused too many of us for a while, for a moment it had begun to appear as an abomination! (nollywood accent). If you have a bit of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder specifically with your music playlists, you would understand the feeling of Italian music, that is usually associated with joy and celebration suddenly spitting out an African drum beat and a vocalist serenading your ears with a Cuban melody; just as you begin to accept the melody as it reaches its end and a different dialect would have arrived to test your openness to new sounds.
The highlight of the night was Vusi Mahlasela whom was introduced by Zoe Modiga and he rendered an all time favourite, “When you come back” which led many to standing in dance and simple appreciation. The event couldn’t have been lacking much, as its name spoke nothing of the origin of music, however, Africa month, would have suggested, strictly African music. Lest we forget that Africa does not belong alone as yet.