Learning History Through Hip Hop

South African rapper, Kwesta, captivates life in South African townships in his music video “Spirit” featuring Wale.

Here, the audience is able to see both the struggles and pleasantries that some of Africa’s poorest people face, everyday. We get a mixed range of scenes from–from people gambling to doing drugs to tasks as simple as washing clothes or a car. Kwesta gives a range of different lives, showing that Africa is more than the stereotypes that have been places upon it. But one thing he makes for certain is to tell us this–the people in Africa are just fine.

Africa is centered around a number of negative stereotypes. People are often seen as poorer and less than compared to America and its citizens, however, hip hop music and videos, generated by African artist, like this is working hard to prove otherwise. This video shows real people, happy with not only their lives but also the African community entirely, which goes against these negative stereotypes, captivating the realty that Africa is able to stand on its own two feet.

Yes, Africa and it’s people have had their problems, but the important and most crucial thing is that they push to overcome them, just like any other community. However, this video shows specifically the large communal bond represented in Africa, and how it as emphasized as a way to fight oppression and struggle. This video shows that through it all, the South African community has able to overcome all things together, and rapper Kwesta uses his platform and success as a way to say “We All Made It”. 

It is representations like this that cause and create change because this video speaks to both African citizens, and even American citizens through it’s featuring of U.S. rapper, Wale. While Wale is Nigerian, it seems like he was put in this video to appease the American audience, and if so this video is definitely a source of education for us because its giving us the true face of South Africa. 

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