Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Song of life

Vusi Mahlasela performing at FIFA World Cup Opening Ceremony
Photo courtesy
I first heard Vusi Mahlasela’s music after returning home from a trip to Johannesburg. I’d picked up one of his CDs at the airport before my flight out, not knowing exactly what to expect. I figured I’d chosen well when during my stopover in Nairobi, one of my trusted Kenyan colleagues expressed his approval for my choice. But it was when I got the CD home that I realised how lucky I was. Mahlasela’s voice and guitar blew me away.

Mahlasela grew up during apartheid in South Africa. He became active as a boy and then a young man in the anti-apartheid movement. He also began singing and playing guitar as a boy and his songs and poetry took on political and social themes.

Mahlasela’s website describes him as a "singer-songwriter and poet-activist." His songs are moving, joyful and full of hope. Mahlasela speaks out about racism and intolerance, and works for change. He created the Vusi Mahlasela Music Development Foundation  to promote African music. He is also an official ambassador to Nelson Mandela’s HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention campaign called 46664 (Mandela’s prison number during his 27 years on Robben Island).

Vusi Mahlasela continues to tour internationally, and is releasing a new album called Say Africa in early 2011.

But enough from me. You have to listen to him:

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