Musicians Against Xenophobia

Mozambican musicians record songs against xenophobia Musicians from Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe put xenophobia on the cultural agenda in a musical initiative to get people talking about discrimination. South Africa, especially Johannesburg, is home to thousands of foreign Africans. Some are refugees, fleeing persecution and seeking asylum; others are looking for work and a better life. Many find that life is not what they expected. They face discrimination from government services, harassment by police and degrading treatment from people, whether in the taxis, schools, shops or streets. Initiated by CMFD and supported by MMINO, the musicians worked with migrants and young people to create four songs that get to the heart of the matter.

Though the music focuses on the Mozambican experience, to better understand xenophobia CMFD interviewed 100 migrants from all over the continent about their experiences in South Africa. The overwhelming majority told about how they personally suffered from discrimination, including from police and health services.
The musicians are putting together words to give voice to these experiences, calling on all people to respect one another. “Many people do not know these things are happening,” says Mozambican saxophone player Machotte, “Through this music, maybe we can make people know and think about this, and people will change.” For many migrants, it is a chance to finally have their voices heard.

GuguGugu16 Days 2008 - Taxi CD

To further disseminate the counter-xenophobia messages, this music was included on the Tjoon'In CD. 1000 copies were disributed through public taxis (combis) in South Africa to raise awareness about key issues related to the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence.

"People love music, people cannot live without music; with music it is easy to transport a message.”
- Judith Mudau

Listen to the music (click and 'save as'):

Turning of the tables - talks about brotherhood and how just as neighbouring countries helped South Africa during the Struggle, so South Africa should help now that those same countries are facing hardship.

Sigaouke - a man in Mozambique comparing his life with that of a man in South Africa working in the mines, saying he wishes he could do the same, but commenting that in both countries, he’d be called names.

Sinjengomfula – uses the metaphor of a great river with many tributaries to speak about how regardless of where we were born or what language we speak, we are all one people.

Kaya – talks about treating people with respect, no matter where they come from, and building a home where everyone feels like family.

Download the press release

Making music against xenophobia (PDF)


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