SOUTH Africa-based rapper, Kommanda Obbs, preaches patriotism in his recently released single, Mabelebele, emphasising “how much people are easily fooled by the glitz and glamour, bling and fly by night trends” of western culture.
Mabelebele was released last week as a buildup single to his upcoming self-titled offering whose release date is yet to be revealed.
It is a low tempo Hip Hop track with Kwaito influences on the beat which allows the conscious rapper to flow in his signature deep-rooted Sesotho verses. He does not mince words about standing his ground and never stooping down to be influenced by shallow trends.
The track is currently available for streaming on music website Soundcloud where it was streamed at least 1 000 times within the first two days of being uploaded. It will soon be on sale on other digital platforms such as iTunes and Deezer.
Kommanda laments how Basotho have become spoilt by free music downloads to a point where that is killing the local music industry. He said only newcomers could give out music for free as a marketing strategy but the ultimate goal was to make money out of music.
Mabelebele was inspired by the children’s folk song Mabelebele a Sekhooa (loosely translated to mean ‘western berries’) which conceptualises Mabelebele as the perceived standards of the good life.
Kommanda uses the Mabelebele concept to address the issue of western standards of the good life. The song communicates a message of defiance of the western dream, which he views as merely the pursuit of riches, fame and the material possessions that come with it.
“It is true that for decades the western influence has had the upper hand over our beliefs whereas as Africans, we have always been very rich with our resources,” Kommanda said.
“It is really up to us as to change that or simply acknowledge that western trends have taken over and we should just follow suit as our forefathers also did.
“It is up to us to decide whether or not to follow suit or take it from where Sankomota (a local music band that featured Tsepo Tshola) left. They may make us feel inferior but the whole world is looking at Africa, tricking it to take its resources and make money out of them.
“It’s a matter of believing in ourselves, acknowledging that the likes of (Malian) Salif Keita, (late Nigerian) Fela Kuti and other musicians who through their music embraced who they really are. The biggest challenge is getting to the point where we are not exploited. We need to know the essential elements of our craft.”
The Maputsoe-born rapper clearly states that his belief in the ‘African Dream’ which is putting Africans first on their own land.
“Ironically Robert Mugabe has recently been ousted as the President of Zimbabwe, but then him and the late president of Libya (Muammar Gaddafi) advocated for the African dream- an Africa without borders and one continental currency, thus, putting their countrymen before the West.
“I am not trying to divide or isolate people but it’s about standing our ground and not being made to feel inferior. We are a generation of intellectuals so the idea is to expose people to the richness of our culture, and desist from being a compromised people,” he said.