Ulimi: A weapon for social change in Kenya.




This song Ulimi, by Flamez and Sue timon is a song that I perceive to be a song that advocates for social change in Kenya. It is by a rapper called Flamez featuring a female MC, Sue Timon. Their hope for this song was not to incite any violent feelings, especially since the country has a sore reminder of the political, economic crisis of 2007 in Kenya.

The language that was used in this video was Kiswahili, the national language of Kenya. The title of the song is ‘Ulimi’, a word in Swahili that means ‘tongue’. It implies that people and (rappers or politicians) should use their tongue as a social weapon of positivity and encouraging the youth and others as opposed to pessimism and evil. The concept of ‘using one’s tongue as a weapon for social change’ is implied in a biblical sense and thus the song has religious rhetoric. The artists are essentially carrying the social message that says ‘be careful what you say’ and using one’s tongue to do good for the society. Their main aim was to target those who are in the position to change the lives of others socially, economically and politically.

The video was a low-budgeted film and the quality of the video and sound were stark rather than catchy. But this was essential in conveying the main message of the song. The song and more so the video brings up the issue of gender categories, as this video breaks and challenges the mainstream notions or idea of women in hip hop through Timon’s poses and behaviour in a ‘masculine’ way, as well as her occupying space and being a main piece in the song.

I find this song moving as it sends a strong social message which also handles holding people accountable to the things that say, an important criteria for instilling trust in people and institutions in Kenya.

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