ITV’s recent documentary, which followed The Duke and Duchess of Sussex on their African tour, received high acclaim. Tom Bradby’s supportive and sympathetic style questioning style showed the couple in a new light. Despite highlighting the couple’s vulnerability, what cannot be disputed is the love they have for the continent. Both Harry and Meghan are clearly energised by Africa and its people.
Meghan’s dancing with students in Cape Town was a beautiful moment, which resonated on many levels. It told the world that she was strong, but it also showed the African people that she heard them. That she was listening. Meghan could not help but be moved by the enchanting sounds of both African song and music.
Song is unity
Angeline Murimirwa, from the Campaign for Female Education in Malawi, beamed with pride when she talked about her students’ songs and voices. Angeline spoke of the unity which music and dance provides. She stated that music allows us to, ‘speak in the same language. It says we are together and it says we can rebuild.’
Despite being the 4th poorest country in the world, Malawi’s people are full of hope for the future. Their combined voices allowed their message of strength and unity to shine.
The different regions of Africa hold their own distinct instruments and songs. Music accompanies all major services, rituals and traditions. Africans also use song as a way of passing down messages and stories through generations. Often their words are not written, but passed down orally. Drums and percussion instruments provide a highly rhythmic beat to accompany songs and chants. Their instruments become events or characters in life, and thus not all African music is harmonious. The music tells the story of life in Africa. It is omnipresent and the beating heart of the country.
Traditional dancers in Chazuka are referred to as Vilombos (‘Animals in Chichewa’) believed to emanate from dead spirits. Dances are performed for many reasons and the dancers adorn wonderful masks in a variety of colours. In the clip above, the Vilombos are dancing to celebrate the coming of the first rains.
The 25 children at the Chazuka school also love song and dance. They learn through both play and song, and enjoy music and singing every day. Their faces shine with happiness. When they sing, they are fearless. They are together and they are unstoppable. Nothing can stand in their way.
So next time you hear the beautiful, rhythmic patterns of African music…
Feel the passion and hope of its people.
Our world needs unity right now, so let music bring us together.