Since I am far away from my hometown, Bukoba, Tanzania, it is always very refreshing to see and hear sounds from home, especially when I get an image or a 3 second video attached to WhatsApp. This weekend, I was reading my hometown's blog and saw extensive coverage of Serengeti Fiesta 2014. It showcased well known national artists -- mainly Bongo Flava..a Tanzanian version of Hip-Hop and Rap.
I have to say, I was very impressed and surprised. Having grown up in Bukoba, I would have not thought that this sort of thing could happen there. I only recall such gatherings for national holiday celebrations or religious events, not Hip Hop concerts.
Africa is the youngest continent , and it is very evident when you look at the crowd enjoying the music. The opportunities and the future of the continent need to be harnessed for the greater good. There is hope in seeing people enjoying themselves. They seemed to be saying, "We know who we are, we know where we are going, and we are enjoying the ride."
This is inspiring! There is only one place to go, UP! If you take into account what it takes to put on an event like this in a town, you begin to understand that this is not simply about Hip Hop, it is about stimulating the local economy. Our nation once looked down on artists of this kind, but now people see that the economic injection that my town received from this cannot be argued with. Think of the trucks that brought the equipments for the event, add the drivers, and the gas that fuels every one of these trucks. Then think of all the hotel rooms that will be booked, the restaurants visited, and the injection of cash into the economy from patrons to local businesses, and on and on.
Economic advantage aside, think of the young kids watching the event coming together. Maybe one will see the sound man putting together the mixing board for the whole show. Maybe that will trigger something in his mind to think, "Hey, maybe I can do this, or better yet, how can I learn how this thing works?" Another youth will see a performer and start to wonder whether it is a possibility that she can also sing and perform and be admired by so many.
At the end of this concert, as these two kids walk home, they will have a new outlook. They will have a new goal, perhaps subliminal, but a goal nevertheless. Then, you see, next time the fiesta comes to town, these two kids will be on the performing side, or the marketing side or the sound engineering side.