Don Laka, Oskido, DJ Christos, Blondie Makhene, local content, and the rest of us (we need a black agenda).

400 years is a long time to oppress someone, take away his drum, take away his voice, take away his culture, and most importantly, take away his song (his music) and give him some garbled up music, unleash him into the world and then expect him to change one day, and go back to his roots!

The danger though is that while all of this was going on, the white man taught us to hate ourselves, did everything under the sun to emasculate us and render us little lap dogs which will do everything that he tells us to do. Black people in South Africa mostly, don’t remember what their own music sounds like. They have forgotten their music, their notes and their own rhythm. Yes Lord they can sing… They are amazing when it comes to singing but the question is; what are they singing?

They sing gospel (came with white people) they sing jazz (even though the roots are African it is an American art form), they sing R & B, they sing rock and roll, they sing Afro-pop (an infusing of western styles mixed with some African languages) they do (not sure if they sing) Kwaito and Hip-Hop, they sing everything but their original indigenous sounds, they have moved so far away from primal screams and the call and response verses from their guttural origins. But why is this? 400 years ago the white man took away the black man’s right to do his own thing. But what about now, post 1994?

We are now scared sh*tless to do our own thing. We consider it backwards, barbaric and uncivilized. There are no chains that hold us to white civilization but we now oppress our own selves. We have spent the last 400 years being who we are not, so when we are confronted with music that goes deep under our skin, we freak out, we get scared and we revolt, we push that music away, because it threatens to take us back to who were are, where we come from! Lyrical content is taken to another level!

Don Laka hit the nail on the head the other day. We don’t even want to play our own music in our radio stations. Even if it means we ship more than R200m overseas every year to pay for music that is played on South African radio everyday. We don’t care; we are too scared to do the right thing. We control radio, we control the SABC, we control the Department of Arts and Culture, we control the Department of Trade and Industry, but nothing in our consciousness will convince us that if we played 100% local content on our radio stations our musicians will stop dying as paupers, and will suddenly make a living from this very music. Will we do that? Hell freaking the no, we are sh*t scared. But what stops us as a people from loving ourselves and wanting to invest in us? 400years of mental slavery!

The reactions to Don Laka’s posts were telling. You could see that he had touched a nerve. His posts, as erratic as they were at times, took us back and reminded us that we are not where we are supposed to be, that we don’t love ourselves as much as we should. I saw angry responses from DJ Christos and my good friend Blondie Makhene, but me thinks it’s time for us to go back to the round table and force the radio stations to play 100% local content.

Of course there will be a mini revolution because our young people’s minds are chained and sold to overseas music… Okay, well as a compromise we could do an 80/20, so that those who are addicted to Beyonce can be accommodated… Nickie Minaj is going to hit our shores soon. She is being paid 100 times more than what we are prepared to pay Thandiswa Mazwai!!! kusekude phambili… Sibongile Khumalo raise your voice, Tu Nokwe raise your voice, Sipho Hotstix Mabuse raise your voice, Hugh Masekela raise your voice, Bheki Khoza raise your voice, Phillip Nchipi Tabane raise your voice, Nothembi Mkhwebani raise your voice, raise your voices all you beautiful cultural workers…

About The Author


Born in Orlando West, Soweto, South African, Duma ka Ndlovu is a filmmaker, poet, playwright, journalist, and TV producer. He was professor of African history and African-American literature at New York's Stoneybrook University in the eighties and between 1996 and 2004 he was chairman of the SA Music Awards (SAMA).

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