By Edward Tsumele
What is the role of artists when a nation is facing a sustained threat from a pandemic that does not seem to be in a hurry to go away?
Well, the answer is simple, or at least it should be. The answer is writers write books, musicians compose songs and record them, highlighting the existential issues that are facing the nation. Painters also do the same by creating art works that deal with the subject at hand and in the process, inspire the nation to look beyond what they are facing.
In theory that is what is supposed to happen, especially when it comes to contemporary art, which should be at the forefront of ventilating the issues affecting society, and perhaps even inspire society to see a bright future in the midst of the current crisis. Of course in practice the script is not as straight forward as what I have just said. For example, how do creatives, who are affected as much as society by the current situation find the time, the energy and the resources to create? In the South African contextt for example, the creative sector has been so much affected to the extent that artists are struggling to keep body and soul together, and let alone find the time and the energy to inspire the nation out of this existential theatre.
It is however spiritually uplifting to see that some creatives, somehow, have found it within themselves to create despite these challenges. They are prevailing to deal with the crisis of Covid-19 in the best way they know, and in this case, through composing and recording music that specifically deals with Covid-19.
On Friday, July, 23, 2021, I was privileged to receive a video and single links to a new project that talks to the issue of the pandemic.
A group called Roots2000, made up of MXO and Sliq Angel launched their single as well as a video Uyingcwele, inspired by the sorrow the Pandemic brought about and produced during the lockdown. The track gives hope that we will get through this together.This soothing music is available on major commercial streaming channels.
The music is quite soothing, and the video is relevant in that it its texture speaks to the issue of spirituality, a relevant theme here for a people facing an existential threat as we are right now. After all it is times like these that we look up to the creator for blessings to overcome our enemy.
I will stop here and rather refer you to the two links so that you can formulate your own opinion about what I am talking about.