Playing for controversy

2014-08-21 00:00

LOCAL start-up band AmaCde SA (pronounced AmaComrade) are in trouble before the slightest hint of fame beckons.

Their latest song Umhlab’uzobuya (The land will return) has raised the ire of politicians and the Indian community.

AmaCde are a little-known Durban-based hip-hop group that, according to them, use music to raise issues affecting the African community of South Africa.

But in their latest song Umhlab’uzobuya, the group explicitly attack the Indian community, urging other black citizens to unite and expel Indians from South Africa.

“Umhlab’uzobuya is a song which seeks to raise the issue of Indian employers who continue to abuse, exploit and mistreat their African employees. Our music is aimed at creating awareness about issues that directly affect the African people and society as a whole. We regard ourselves as lyrical activists, not politicians,” said Mqobi Ndlovu, leader of the group.

The group consists of four members: Keke, Anele, Vumani and Mnqobi. They are under a KwaMashu-based record label called Guerilla Rhythms and have been commissioned by the Access to Justice Association of South Africa to perform two songs called Bloodless Revolution and Access 2 justice.

With only 55 likes on their Facebook page, the media-shy group have already sparked controversy with local community and government officials. But it’s also unclear whether the song’s “controversy” is being manufactured to market the band.

ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said yesterday that the ANC has noted the issue of the song and wants to make it clear that they are not part of this initiative even though the group are called “AmaComrade”.

Msunduzi Municipality speaker Babu Baijoo and Ndabezinhle Sibiya, spokesperson at the office of the premier, shared similar sentiments in condemning anything that would sow racial division.

The incident is not the first of its kind. In 2002, Mbongeni Ngema’s song AmaNdiya caused a nationwide debate before it was banned.

Ashwin Trikamjee from the South African Hindu Maha Sabha said songs of this kind were not new and dated back to 1994. “These threats are concerning and we sincerely hope that the ANC will deal with this issue strictly and appropriately,” Trikamjee said.

The SA Minority Rights Equality Movement was approached for comment but did not respond by the time of going to press

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