BY SHARON SIBINDI in bulawayo
Multi-talented Bulawayo artiste Raymond Millagre Langa (pictured) says arts can be used to correct societal ills, including fighting drug abuse and raising awareness about HIV.
The 29-year-old artiste — whose main area of focus is instrumentation, vocalising, songwriting, poetry and short story writing — is the brains behind Afro-fusion music projects
Ethnic Feeling and Ditswi The Voice. Both projects have each released an album.
In his musical journey, Langa has stretched his artistic endeavours by enhancing the Ethnic Feeling brand, working on collaborations with different artistes.
Apart from collaborations, Langa has embarked on a number of arts projects where he is working with children from his hood in Nketa suburb raising awareness about HIV and fighting drug abuse.
“The realisation is that most of the youths now drop out of school early. Girls become vulnerable to pregnancy, while boys engage in criminal activity and lose focus,” Langa
told Standard Style.
“It is in this regard that I try to use arts as an apparatus of capacitating youths and reaching out to the wider community to be aware of very deep salient issues.
“In my community I am working with children from four years to 13 and youths in creating musical and theatrical endeavours and the response is very positive and by June some
viable productions will be on the table.”
He said the projects would focus on teaching children and the youths on how to play musical instruments like marimba, mbira, drums, guitar and keyboards with the help of Ethnic
Feeling group member Madodana Ndebele.
“Luckily, because of my strong academic background, I also help these children in career guidance and life skills coaching.”
He is of the opinion that other artistes focus more on the entertainment aspect overlooking their supreme role of edutaining communities at large.
“A lot of youths remain vulnerable to the scourge of HIV and drug abuse emanating from peer pressure and influx of new information communication technologies. Artistes,
therefore, have a role to remind youths about these issues and their depth as they have become rampant,” he said.
“Music videos, for example, send a deep message. So, if they depict illicitness and drug-related behaviour, the likelihood of people [audience] emulating is high. Lyrical
content too in some music glorifies drugs, which is something militating against development processes.”
Langa has showcased his music projects in the city with the help of Alliance Francaise and has done live performances at Cape to Cairo, Cresta Hotel, Holiday Inn and during
corporate functions for companies.