,* How One African Act Broke Cultural and Racial Barriers in Unimaginable Ways .
By Frank Tietie
Can anything good come from Africa? Yes! Everything good, especially good music.
Master KG’s Jerusalema is presently the biggest trending music all over the world at the moment. In Europe, the hit track has reached top of the charts in Belgium, Sweden, Switzerland, France, The Netherlands, Germany, Israel, Portugal, Slovakia, Hungary, Italy, Spain and France. The hit track also swept the cultural landscape in Latin America, North America, the Orients, the Carribbean, including the countries of Nicaragua, Panama, Jamaica, Japan, Canada, the United States and South Africa where it has its origins.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the Jerusalema hit track is the accompanying world challenge which has inspired hundreds of videos on YouTube by a large number of groups and individuals from all walks of life including doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers, school children, old people, celebrities, monks, nuns, Startrek fans, construction workers etc. A must watch, include the ones by a South African law firm and some Swedish hospital workers.
Amazingly, many international corporate organisations have also used the soundtrack for their adverts. The advert of the Austrian Airlines stands out. The airline featured the hit track in its latest promotion with a marvelous synchronicity of its pilots and air hostesses, in a spectacular choreography. The royalties to Master KG from the use of his sound track in those international adverts can only be left to the imagination. The YouTube views are in staggering millions.
Master KG is from South Africa. Recently, Cyril Ramaphosa, the South African President, in a national broadcast, encouraged South Africans not to be downcast in the midst of the ravaging Corona virus pandemic. With pride and a hushed smile on national television, the South African President urged his fellow South Africans to embrace a new wave of hope that comes from reflecting and dancing to the Jerusalema song, being the latest African sensation from South Africa to the whole world.
Scanning through scores of videos of the Jerusalema challenge, performed by people of all races and colours, from every continent of the world, it is easy to note how powerful the art form of music can break racial barriers. Nothing from Africa has been so widely embraced by the rest of the world in recent times.
Apart from an embarrassing handful and the association of Burna Boy with its remix, Nigerian acts are largely missing in the Jerusalema challenge. Nigerians are presently too battered by storms of economic instability, intractable insecurity and political upheavals to join the Jerusalema challenge with their usual gusto and abundance of talent.
The Nigerian government must realise the powerful role and influence of the various art forms, especially music, in uplifting the morale of a nation during times of national crises. The Nigerian presidency must move quickly to identify with star Nigerian acts like Burna Boy, Tiwa Savage, Davido, Whizkid, Olamide, Phyno, Teni, Flavour, and a host of others, to galvanise a very badly needed hope among the Nigerian people.
As Master KG’s Jerusalema, is presently celebrated all over the world, let it be considered that Gongo Aso by Nice of Nigeria also had the same heavy and highly rhythmic beats as Jerusalema but it didn’t make the world wave as the latter. There must certainly, be something of a distinction between the two hits.
- Tietie, Nigerian Human Rights Lawyer, Media Aficionado, Collector of Music of the 60s, 70s 80s & 90s and Founder of Lifetime Music NG, writes from Abuja