HomeStandard Style‘Heal the Land’ concert comes to SA

‘Heal the Land’ concert comes to SA

in the groove:with Fred Zindi

Leaders in churches and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who care for people who have suffered horrific events such as civil unrest and ethnic conflict, is it not time to step in and make some noise about it? It will also help individuals struggling with suffering. We are yet to hear what churches and NGOs are doing about the recent xenophobic violence that took place in South Africa last month. That, is a real crisis and music organisations have started to do something about it.

I have been following musicians’ reactions to Jamaican dancehall musician Mr Vegas’ (pictured) call for boycotting performances in South Africa by international artistes as a response to xenophobic attacks. Some have responded positively to this call, while others think it is not a good idea. Instead, they say, artistes should perform and educate the South Africans in order to heal the land.

Three weeks ago, Mr Vegas, who was disgusted by the attacks by South Africans on other Black African, called out: “Artistes around the world, you should not perform in South Africa. Let these brothers and sisters know that what they are doing is evil. These videos that are circulating is [sic] worse than what President (PW) Botha did to you. So many people stood by you and look at how thankful you are. Now you are killing your own brothers and sisters, over jobs? You are evil!”

“No artiste should go to South Africa and perform. We should put a ban on ever performing for you guys. You are evil. You are evil!”
Hundreds of Black artistes rallied behind Mr Vegas’s call for a ban on performing in South Africa. Some Nigerian artistes who heeded the call boycotted their performances in South Africa.

However, there are other artistes who think differently from Mr Vegas. They will perform in South Africa as part of the education and attitude-change process. They want to give the majority of Black South Africans a chance to prove themselves that they are not party to what happened in their country recently. They are ready to test if the apartheid mentality which was forced on Black South Africans by the white people in South Africa has been transferred to them.

Rangarirai Mahachi, a Zimbabwe-based in South Africa, has announced that an anti-xenophobia mini festival, which will feature Thomas Mapfumo, Shivhara Mulaudzi, African Vibes, Mhofela Tanganyika and Rimba Mbira will be held at Ekhuruleni Boksburg Hotel, situated on the outskirts of Johannesburg. It will take place over two weekends, on October 29 and on November 2. According to the organisers, the concerts are supposed to bring African nationals together to sing against xenophobia. Unfortunately, most of the acts scheduled for this mini festival are foreign acts, mainly from Zimbabwe, and might not attract the crowds that are expected.

Another organisation, a US-based company, Hubbering Incorporated, which has a deep desire to see the nation of South Africa flourish, has put together what has been dubbed The Summer Mania Reggae Concert. Its founder is also a keen reggae enthusiast and has a core belief in the healing power of music: more specifically, the healing power of reggae. If music can change the mood and feelings of one man, then it can change the mood and feelings of nations towards each other.
Since the inception of the project, the theme of the concert has been Heal The Land.

Recently, South Africa was thrown into turmoil. The impact reverberated throughout the international plane. Many viewed the matter with mixed feelings. Some wanted to have nothing to do with performances in South Africa. Others decided that in order to move the brothers forward, that nation could be healed through performances that would show the world that xenophobia is wrong. Looking on, there were two strong reactions from those outside of South Africa. There were those who were quick to distance themselves from what transpired. Then there were those, who stood even firmer in seeing the necessity and believing more in now being the rightful time for the Summer Mania Reggae Concert to come alive as a much-needed event for healing to take place. The relevance of the theme, Heal The Land, has now been amplified by the turmoil that started in early September.

The need for positive change cannot be emphasised enough, whether at home or globally. Many times we find that there is a huge gap between knowing a concern and having a solution for it. Growing pains within a country is a common factor and there is need to steer the nation to success. That is what the organisers of Summer Mania Reggae Concert are aiming for.

The aim is to heal from that pain. Knocks come along the path, but within every fall a nation has to stand up in order to move into maturity. Of course, to then learn from it as well. Sometimes the slightest knock can leave a nation wounded. The longer a wound is left unattended, the longer it will take to heal. More so, a more serious open wound may even start to fester. Hence, the theme Heal The Land speaks directly towards this.

Few genres of music touch the core of humanity as reggae music does. The heart of the concert is mainly to heal the land. Reggae music places a huge emphasis on strength, peace, love, harmony, unity, hope, motivation, inspiration and more. All these are the rightful ingredients to heal souls, touch hearts and promote growth.

The Summer Mania Reggae Concert, which is presented by Hubbering Incorporated, will be held at the TicketPro Dome on December 21 with already confirmed artistes on the line-up being Turbulence from Jamaica, Zionruts Family, Skank and the Roots, Don Dada, as well as Don Franco.

The company is currently negotiating with more artistes in Jamaica in order to persuade them to see things differently so that they can give performances in South Africa. In particular, they want these artistes to perform at the Summer Mania Reggae Concert. This week there will be an update on more Jamaican artistes coming to South Africa.

The Ticketpro Dome, a world-class venue for hosting corporate and entertainment events, is situated in Northumberland Road, North Riding, Johannesburg.
This show is about South Africa though using artistes from the birthplace of reggae (Jamaica). The organisers hope that anyone who interacts with this project in any way, no matter how brief, will still hold on to the belief that the land can be healed, for it is a journey that will impact thousands and millions of people across the nation with the power of music. That is the power of reggae.

One of the participants at the Summer Mania Reggae Concert is Zimbabwean ex-Transit Crew vocalist, Solomon Rutsman Spice, Tokwe, who is now resident in Pretoria, South Africa. He, together with Zion Dawter and his reggae band, Zionruts Family, recently released a reggae tune titled Let It Be, a song calling out for peace in the world and speaks about denouncing all forms of violence. The song is not only about the violence happening in South Africa, but also in other African countries and it’s calling out to everyone to spread the message to the next person. The song is currently sitting at Number 15 in Australia and at Number 7 in the United Kingdom reggae charts.

Three weeks ago, when South African President Cyril Ramaphosa came to Zimbabwe to attend former president Robert Mugabe’s funeral, he was initially jeered by the crowd, but later cheered when he apologised for the attacks on foreign nationals in his country. In his own words, on reporting back to South Africans, he said: “I expressed my regret and apologised for what happened in our country. I said South Africans are not xenophobic. I said South Africans are not against foreign nationals.”

Ramaphosa will only be vindicated if there is a massive turnout by South African nationals at the concerts, first of all at the Bira Pahotera on October 29 and November 2, and secondly at the Summer Mania Reggae ‘Heal The Land’ Concert on December 21. If it happens, this will show that the majority of South Africans are not xenophobic and will mix and mingle with anyone from other parts of the world.
Let’s all heal Africa.

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