On 18 July 2015, one of the African continent’s biggest award shows, the MTV Africa Music Awards, was staged in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. Hundreds of musicians flocked from all corners of the continent to the city that never seems to sleep in a bid to celebrate the best that Africa has on offer musically. Ironically, two months earlier the very same city made international headlines when a wave of xenophobic attacks erupted after Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini urged foreigners to “pack their bags and go”. Shops were looted, yet others were set alight. Machete wielding individuals attacked foreign nationals, injuring and killing some. These attacks soon spread to other major South African cities. This was something Kiernan “AKA” Forbes touched on in his MTV Africa Music Awards acceptance speech this past weekend.
After winning the Best Collaboration gong for his Da L.E.S, J.R and Burna Boy (Nigerian reggae-dancehall musician) assisted smash hit (and my two year old’s favourite song) “All Eyes on Me” he said:
“Since we are in KZN, there’s something nobody really touched on tonight and that’s what happened in South Africa this year. I travel the continent. I go all over the place and this (award) is (for) best collaboration. You know what that means? When our brothers from Nigeria and South Africa (work together) we connect and we unite people through music.”
While the talking point following the awards has alternated between T-Bo Touch’s turban and Boity’s alleged AKA snub perhaps what we should be talking about is how many may have forgotten the attacks but in just five short sentence the often villainized Doro Mega not only eloquently commemorated them but also touched on music’s ability to connect and unite and in his own subtle read-between-the-lines kind of way asked “if South African musicians can harmoniously collaborate with their fellow African musicians why can we not connect and unite in other spheres of life?”
For this Mr. Forbes… you are my #MCM
Photo Cred: Tankiso Tank Khumalo