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Rapper activist compiles international protest album

A GRAHAMSTOWN hip hop activist has pulled off a major international coup after he convinced rappers from all over the world – including two Muslim females from the UK – to contribute to a music album designed to “red card” social injustice. Launched this weekend – just in time for the World Cup Soccer knockout rounds – the Officially Offside album features 21 tracks from diverse places like Europe, South America, Asia, Africa and even Iran.

Inspired by the landmark Khulumani Support Group civil lawsuit in America, Xolile “X” Madinda said the idea behind the album was to raise awareness for the campaign to get reparations for black South Africans from multi- national corporations who supported the apartheid government.

Three weeks ago Officially Offside was just another idea but thanks to the use of new technology – and enthusiastic, rapid fire contributions from around the world – the album has now gone global via the world wide web.

Without this technology “X” would still be sitting in Grahamstown dreaming of compiling a melting pot album of world music to raise social consciousness – instead of putting the finished product online for all to hear.

“The tracks were coming in very fast … it snowballed so much, we still have 15 tracks that we could not put on the album.”

These tracks will now be available online – along with the album, X said.

“The artists all did it for free … they said if any money was made it should go to Khulumani,” he said. “This is just another form of activism … these issues must be out there, it is not about colour, it is about one voice.”

Although born in 1979 – three years after the Soweto Uprising – X says his generation still had meaningful contributions to make to society and the daily struggles faced by the oppressed.

“We are part of a new wave of activism around the world using music to tackle social issues.

“This is the first hip hop album in South Africa that tackles such relevant issues.”

According to X it was a conscious decision to use a soccer theme like Officially Offside to highlight Khulumani’s plight as many of the companies who supported the Soccer World Cup had also benefited doing business in apartheid South Africa.

“We want to red card the companies that sponsored apartheid.”

Despite contributions from around the world – all via word of mouth – the album retains its African roots thanks to Xhosa, Zulu, Ghanaian, Togolese, Congolese and Angolan contributions.

“We are hoping Officially Offside will become more than just an album for reparations … we are hoping it will become a much broader world campaign to get rid of (all) social injustice.”

By DAVID MACGREGOR, Port Alfred Bureau, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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