Zimbabwean hip-hop star Jimmie Maleta has teamed up with two continental artists to tackle corruption in Africa through music.
Maleta, who is based in South Africa, teamed up with Livien Mugenzi, aka M.Lee, from Burundi and Captain Blu of Nigeria on the recently released track Ulikwa wapi.
‘Ulikwa wapi’ is a Swahili phrase which means ‘where are you going’ and the track is sung in Swahili, English and Nigerian Pidgin to give it a wider geographical reach across the continent.
Produced by Captain Blu, the song does not shy away from its African roots as the beat is mainly composed from traditional drum and a bass line fused with an aggressive synth.
Despite their different native languages, the three artists seamlessly trade bars to yet again reinforce the spirit of Ubuntu preached by the founding fathers of independent Africa.
According to Maleta, problems such as corruption and nepotism are impeding Africa’s youth from realising their full potential. The artists felt that it was important to highlight these issues through music.
“This song talks about the challenges faced by some youths as they try to realise their full potential. In Africa, corruption, nepotism, hate and jealous are obstacles that are adversely impacting the growth of youths, especially those in arts industry,” said Maleta.
He added that African youths can find encouragement and hope from the song’s central message since they encounter challenges similar in nature despite coming from parts of the continent.
“Thus, it was important to do a collaboration because we want to speak with one voice as youths, that corruption is a cancer that should be nipped in the bud.
“Everywhere you go in Africa you are asked to pay or if you don’t have links regardless of your talent no one wants to associate with you. Even those who are successful, they don’t want to assist the upcoming.”
Collaborations in music are now a trend internationally as they help to unite people from different backgrounds.
“We are in the Diaspora but we should show the world that we are united. We should show the world that we can achieve a lot as Africans if we are united as a family,” said Maleta from his Durban base.
The trio plan to shoot a video for the song in the new year.
Meanwhile, Burundian Mugenzi said he was excited to collaborate with fellow “African brothers to raise awareness on the issue of corruption, nepotism, hate and jealously”.
“As artists, we are a voice for the voiceless and we need to speak against such vices,” he said.
“We have abundant talent in Africa which needs to be tapped and developed for the good of the continent.”
African presidents should take bold action against corruption and give youths a chance to express and develop themselves since they are future leaders of the continent.
“Let’s rise above hate and corrupt tendencies,” said Mugenzi, 27, who is pursuing studies in South Africa, adding that he hopes the collaboration will get him recognition in in East Africa where the afro jazz genre is more dominant.
“I sing Afro pop with a hip hop fusion, but I want to take this opportunity to market myself in East Africa.
“The song has received an overwhelming response from my fans in Burundi and is receiving airplay at local radio stations.”
For his part, Captain Blu stressed the importance of continuous collaborations amongst African artists because “it brings the continent together”.
He added that the public response to the song had song has been mostly positive, although progress was still slow in penetrating the South African market.
Captain Blue recently released a single titled Braii which is currently rocking the airwaves.
“We are looking forward to do more collaborations with artists from other parts of Africa,” he said.