20 March 2017

South Africa: If Music Be the Food of Unity... Play On


For Africa to achieve unity, more attention needs to be paid to informal relationships being formed on the continent. Collaboration among musicians and the power that they wield needs to be harnessed.

As observers of the African integration process, we must pay special attention to any issue that speaks to the strengthening of unity among African nations, both through formal and informal measures.

In this respect, formal (or macro) measures include the legal, political and economic factors that underpin and/or boost regional integration efforts. These include issues such as macro-economic policy convergence, intra-African trade, technocratic capacity of regional institutions, the effect of regional laws in member states, and transnational infrastructural developments.

Informal (or micro) measures are factors, which on the face of it, appear not to have a direct impact on the technicalities of integration initiatives but when viewed objectively, have the potential of firming up the very foundation of unity. These are social elements that express the essence of horizontal interactions among the peoples of Africa. One such is music.

The narrative of music as an essential catalyst for unity is better understood within the context of the proliferation of music television channels and continental music award shows in...

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