By Mokgopo Tilo
Not once in my life have I ever doubted my Africaness. I always found pride in the colour of my skin, the food I eat, the music I listen to and whole lot of factors which define my Africaness.
Every day I ask myself, “who am I” and the answer is always “you are Tilo Mokgopo, the 9th and last born to Rashaka and Ngwanamokgoshi Mokgopo.” If I want to add a smile on my face, I’d go on “ke sogana la mmala phatleng, la hlogo ya go ikgetha. Ke re tholi ka matepe.”
Wow! There is nothing which excites me than to be reminded of my identity that I’m proud of. I’m an African child, the proud product of this soil. My everyday life serves to manifest the rich Africaness which is sturdily embedded in me.
Being a robust African does not mean I have to agree with everything which is said to be African. I’m creating my own Africaness which no one is obliged to buy into but myself. There are few African sub-cultures which I really don’t buy into and I completely reject them.
Classical historians on African culture argue that, for example, the role of a woman is to sit at home with her children, be submissive to her husband and only the husband will be the sole provider of his family.
Nonsense! I don’t buy that. There is a complete difference between respect and submissive. Respect should be a foundation for any relationship. A wife should respect her husband, and in return, the husband should also respect his wife accordingly, as simple as that.
I start to have problems when women are victimized and their voices suppressed. That one I am completely against and people can say whatever they want to say, I am not apologetic about that, period!
I don’t listen to just any music. Simply put, I don’t listen to Western music. I hear people talk about Rihanna, Maria Carey, Chris Brown and Beyonce, but if you ask me to tell you about any of their works, the answer will always be “I don’t know.”
I listen to ‘my African’ music. But it should be noted that if the music is defamatory especially towards women, I won’t waste my time listening to it.
Should you want to draw my attention, tell me about Botswana’s Culture Spears. Ask me about what is happening on Muvhango and be sure you’ll get the answer you are looking for.
Back at home in Limpopo province, we have a new and vibrant musical genre which is booming, wedding music, and I listen to the music a lot, because it speaks to me and I can identify with the messages and language entrenched in the songs.
Wait, I’m also critical of the kind of manyalo music I choose to consume. Mminonyana which defame women and does not contribute to family building won’t even receive five seconds of my airtime. Pleasure music serves my interests well, period!
N.B: I should not be mistaken, either directly or indirectly for suggesting that because you listen to European music and consume their tv programme that make you less African. No, you know what defines you as an African hence I also have my own defining elements.
With everything that have been said, I hereby wish everyone a happy Africa day to be celebrated tomorrow, 25 May 2013. Ka sepedi sa gešo ba re naka e ya gatla. Go se kgale bašemane le makgarebe ba tla be ba eya komeng!
Mošate, ke tshaba baditi.