The Soundz of the South hip-hop collective is travelling through Africa to empower artists and create dialogue about the pressing issues facing the continent.
Based in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, Soundz of the South is currently traversing the continent and engaging with cultural activists. Their last stop will be at the World Social Forum (WSF) in Tunisia at the end of the month, where global issues will be discussed.
We spoke to Anele Selekwa, the co-founder of the movement, about his organisation and their Afrikan Hip-Hop Caravan initiative.
What was reason behind the formation of the movement?
The key aim of our project is to transcend borders and to form a movement of cultural activists and artists in Africa that is based on the values and principles of hip-hop culture.
The idea of organising regional hip-hop events has been raised and discussed in different forms in conscious African hip-hop circles for a number of years. This particular initiative – the Afrikan Hip-Hop Caravan – has its roots in conversations amongst a small group of hip-hop collectives and activists at the 2011 World Social Forum in Dakar, Senegal. In this meeting, as well as the ones that followed, it was recognised that there is a strong need for hip-hop collectives that are dedicated to hip-hop’s original vision as the voice of the oppressed to interlink and organise in order to strengthen the conscious and political hip-hop movement on the continent.
Tell us more about the Afrikan Hip-Hop Caravan.
It’s an initiative of a number of different hip-hop collectives, including Soundz of the South (South Africa), Uhuru Network (Zimbabwe), Pungwe Entertainment (Zimbabwe), Ukoo Flani (Kenya), Wasanii Mtaani/Artists in the Hood (Kenya), Sankara Studios (Senegal), and the Hip-Hop Akademy (Senegal). It moves across the continent and presents a week of educational events and performances in Johannesburg, Harare, Nairobi and Dakar, before ending at the WSF in Tunis.
How did you prepare for this adventure?
Planning and carrying out such a huge vision takes a lot of effort and financial investment, so we have been knocking on doors and building a community to support it.
As part of our success we have opened communication with a broad network of artists and activists across the globe who share our vision. We are honoured to have the following groups aligned with our efforts. From the United States we have partnered with Dead Prez, The Coup, Zion I, Jeff Chang, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Global Fam, Hip Hop Congress, the Obo Addy Legacy Project, Veterans for Peace and Education Without Borders. In Africa we have teamed up with the University of Zimbabwe, Pamberi Trust (Zimbabwe), Right to Know Campaign (South Africa), Children of South Africa (South Africa), International Labour Research and Information Group (South Africa), Sankara Studios (Senegal) and Africultureban (Senegal).
How can people be a part of this movement?
We need designers, artists, intellectuals, visionaries and lots of nuts and bolts people to partner with us. The main organising groups are based in Cape Town and Harare, so naturally it is easiest to connect with us here. We are also looking for funding partners, cultural activists and artists who want to help us carry out and build this vision. While our movement is focused on the continent, our community is geographically broad. We are also helping to establish a summer training programme in London this year and we hope to connect with people at the WSF.