In The Congo

In The Congo

Ndugu Zavara, one of Bongo Hip Hop pioneers and founders of Kwanza Unit, taps into the war “In The Congo”, and taps it in style as seen in the music video. The song highlights the issues of the ongoing war in the Congo over its minerals. The mineral responsible for causing the ruthless legacy of King Leopold to continue is coltan, used to make most electronic devices. However, the war “In The Congo” is complex due to the wealth and the historical nature of the country.

The song features femcees like activist Toni Blackman (who was given the post of US Hip Hop ambassador) with her collective Rhyme Like A Girl, and an Afro-Soul artist Nasambu. This is of great significance. But whether Zavara decided consciously or it was all subconsciously to only feature female artists, I am not sure. It should be noted that, although the genocide continues to claim lives of millions of the Congolese people, the systematic rapes have also scarred the lives of millions of women in the Congo. Therefore, seeing the collective voices of women “In The Congo” is liberating.

“In The Congo” can also be characterized as concrete jungle meets dense Jungles of Congo where soldiers and rebels fight. The war is driven by our addiction for the next new phone, laptop and many other electronics, with the Congolese people caught in the crossfire between the profit-making rebels from coltan and the rest of the gadget-addicted world. Many Congolese maybe unaware of the usage of coltan, but not to the pain and suffering this mineral inflicts on them.

As a Tanzanian, and Hip Hop enthusiast, I am happy to see other Africans involved in the conflict, through Hip Hop lyrical intervention. The message is not of urging people to boycott, but to be responsible, by buying electronics that are green and with fair trade label. This might help to save lives.  The message “In The Congo” hopefully is sent and received. More Africans need to intervene and take action, and the reason is simple and quite ironic. Africa is the fastest growing mobile phone market in the world. Therefore, before we completely lose ourselves, we must remember that, “when brothers fight to death, a stranger inherits their father’s estate”.

Bahati was born and raised in Tanzania, and then moved to California to pursue his college education. He graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a minor in Sociology. Bahati expects to be doing his Masters in African Studies in the near future. He is currently working on starting a t-shirt business and a possible publication of some of his writings. One thing that Bahati cannot live without is music, specifically Hip Hop & Bongoflava which he argues are both the voice of the youth today, and is excited to look into how Bongoflava can be a source of further entrepreneurship among the youth in Tanzania. Bahati believes that Bongoflava can help to reduce poverty in Tanzania, as can a more collective effort among key players.

5 Comments

  1. Zavara 6 years ago

    Nashukuru sana ndugu Bahati kwa makala nzuri kuhusu wimbo na video ya In The Congo. Watu wa bongo wanatumia sana burudani na utamaduni wa congo, cha ajabu ni kwamba hakuna kabisa gumzo wala miziki inayowakumbusha kuwa jao Congo ina burudani yote hiyo kule kwao kuna MAAFA. Huu ni wakati mzuri kukumbushana na kuhamasishana kujua MAAFA yanowakumba wenzetu huko Congo KADRI TUTUMIAPO, SIMU ZA VIGANJA, VIPAKATO NA VIEREVU(smart gadgets) Tujue tunahusika kuendeleza UDHALIMU kama hatuambiani na kukemea hali hiyo

  2. George Kyomushula 6 years ago

    kaka Zavara!

    Tunashukuru kwa kutuelemisha kupitia sanaa ya muziki wa hip hop..ubarikiwe

    • Nafurahi sana kuona kufikiria ina wezekana kwa kutunia sanaa…
      usanii ni jambo zuri sana…?

  3. Bahati 6 years ago

    Unajua tatizo letu wengi ni kuacha wanasiasa wafanye kila kitu. Ukiangalia jinsi wana Hip Hop wa Senegal walivyoungana na kuamsha wananchi mpaka wakamtoa Rais wao, ni hatua ya kuleta matumaini. Sehemu nyingine tumekaa tukitumia tu neno revolution/ mapinduzi, bila kufanya hayo mapinduzi yenyewe.

    Sasa suala la Kongo, wengi wetu hatulifahamu vizuri, utashangaa pale pale Tanzania wengi hatujui nini kinaendelea huko, labda uwe unaishi mkoa ambao upo karibu na Kongo, kwani utapata kuona wakimbizi wakiingia nchini kwa wingi.

    Wengi tukifikiria Kongo pale Dar, sitashangaa wazo la kwanza ni bendi. Hapo sina uhakika hata wao wenyewe wanalizungumzia kiasi gani. Juzi nadhani matamshi ya Kikwete kwa Rwanda yatakuwa yamezibua wengi masikio.

    Sasa sijui wangapi wanakubaliana na yeye, na wangapi wnaa mpinga, mimi nina hamu ya kujua ametoka wapi na hayo yote, au ni kitu kilikuwa kimemkaa moyoni, na kama ni hivyo, ni nguvu gani hiyo aliyoipata ghafla kuyatamka hadharani.

    Baadhi yetu tunahisi maneno hayo yanakwenda sambasamba na ujio wa Bwana mkubwa. Kwani kuwaingia wale majirani hivi hivi, na jinsi wao walivyozoea vita, sijui. Hapo hapo, tusijidanganye kuwa, ukubwa wa jeshi ndio utatupa ushindi kama tukijikuta tunaingia vitani.

    Sasa tukirudi kwenye sisi wananchi wenyewe kuchukua hatua, vitu kama video hii ya In The Congo ni mfano mzuri. Hakuna mchango mdogo. Tukisubiri kila kitu tufundishwe darasani, au magazetini au hata tusubirie tudake mara yatokapo kwenye vinywa vya wanasiasa, basi tunaelekea pasipo.

    Mimi nadhani bongo tutulie, kama hamkuweza kwenda kupeleka jeshi kuzuia yale mauaji ya 1994, leo kimbelembele cha nini. Tufanye yetu, na kama mnategemea eti mmesukumwa na Marekani kwa ahadi ya kusaidiwa kama mambo yakipamba moto, basi mjue mtadumbukia vibaya. Wale washkaji hawaaminiki, manake hata wao walikaa mbali watu walipokuwa wanachinjana Rwanda, na hata hapo Kongo kwenyewe hawajaingia.

Pingbacks

  1. Foreign Oceans 5 years ago

    […] The ocean still facilitates the exploitation of Africa despite the shift — from shipping Africa’s manpower, the Wakazi’s and the Bamboo’s ancestors, to transporting its resources like “elephant tusks”. Elephant tusks are for ivory, but at the same time many slaves came from West Africa, for example Ivory Coast. Fast forward, ivory trade endangers Africa’s wildlife today by encouraging poaching of elephants. But are poachers a reference to the West, pillaging Africa’s resources to feed its consumerism machine? […]

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