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tv   The 77 Percent  Deutsche Welle  July 6, 2019 4:30pm-5:01pm CEST

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you know if your love is. love it's just. very true. everyone who loves books has to go and say. w literature list for your street. so i've heard it said before afro pop afro future is even it seems that recently there is i might even go as far as call it an obsession of africans to attach their identity to the work that they do and i'm wondering why why is african identity so important who better to answer this question for me than some young africans and
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one of them actually named his album very a day to live and die in africa so we're going to start with you being an african story is our story told by us as told by us because with no hold on so if d.w. is a source let's put ourselves let's put ourselves on the line here d.w. is providing the platform d.w. suddenly not african but this is the african story told by us we are the ones who are telling you what we are about ok so the african story the studio as told by the people of africa touches on the 11th edition has no no no it doesn't shout he has asked another question who is. that's my question is. who will know i know a great great how many how many generations does it take to be defined as africa is what i want to know. ok does anyone have an answer to that question how many generations does it take for you to be defined as african assuming that your background or what we call your indigenous roots are not african in. and so any
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takers. doesn't have to take generations i think we have people who have lived in kenya for 10 years right now and they see themselves as africans it's actually how you carry the african pride how you see yourself how you respect the culture how you respect their age and what makes you feel you african it doesn't have to be skin color i'm actually very surprised that we have not brought up the issue of skin color so that i don't think you believe it i don't think it's it's i just want to build a maci said i don't think it's enough for you to see yourself as an african african people the community that you're in has to see you as an african you get it has to be a 2 way thing i found this is a very philosophical so to be is to be perceived to be african is to be perceived and i can just insert myself into africa and feel african oh my god i feel african no it has to be you have the people who you found there do they see you as african and if they see you as african then like i'm saying it's always
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a 2 way conversation that if they see you as african then you see yourself as african as well and then that's when you can start talking about an african identity it's not an individual feeling it's not something that you bestow upon yourself it's the people who have that the storytelling is so if for example my producer director johan who by the way is behind the scenes here comes to africa he feels as african as he wants to be and we see here as african does that then bestow that identity onto him i'm just trying to establish the parameters look ok let's look at the north american continent who we see as people we call them the native americans we're looking at the people who 1st arrived on the continent and for generations and generations of elegant identity connected to that land named the land developed cultures connectors of that developed language that's connected to that continent african identity is also connected to history who are the 1st inhabitants of this continent for how long have they developed a way of life that is connected. the roots and to the animals and to the way that
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they tell the land and all that kind of stuff for me honestly that's really authentic african identity of course that the other people who are tucked into the composition this offer arabs right so there's people who live across the line who have you know mingle with arabs and there's other people who. are we would even say chinese you know whatever you know i mean a movie was you see it i think that it becomes dicey bit and i correct me if i'm wrong sophia but it seems that we are very sensitive about the ownership of this identity so when other people lay claim to it we get a little edgy about it why are we so sensitive about our identity i think we have now we 1st of all i absolutely think we've because of colonialism and in having to deal with imperialism we are extra touchy about the subject of african identity because we had to face a situation where our african music was put to the test and i think that
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colonialism essentially brought us together as africans to even play better claim and more claim to our identity as africans and i'm always hearing this thing you know africans rallying behind africans been ahead it's i've heard you say it a couple of times africans listening to african music is just such a thing as a collective african sound a collective african psyche is no collective africans like you because the people of africa come from different backgrounds different and they speak different languages they had a couple different tribes they have different. this thing in cooking i mean how do nuns and culture have different norms and cultures and there's no unified african culture there is no unified european culture is german beer is belgian beer you know. those things exist but for the different you know communities ok so different and diverse african cultures but a unified african identity ok so let me break that down. how far reaching is this
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identity does it apply to our laws i've heard it said homosexuality is an african. i know you know. i mean does it apply to all facets of life or is it just social economic i think it's mostly social economic when it comes to the law and we have completely embraced colonial sort of dispositions when it comes to how we choose to govern ourselves so you'd find very little african influence and perhaps the african influence in our law is what people would have socially feminist would term as rita aggressive african culture but somebody might hear you say that and say well you are influenced by the west you're hearing some of western ideas having this conversation in english. being the conversation in the english trade so yeah it's so that's the thing i don't actually believe that in 2019 and in the centuries to come that there would still be this thing called african identity i feel because of socialization because of colonization because of globalization essentially but
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this idea of african is it was one that will be depleted in the years to come you don't agree and i got over that. i think it's because of the influence and the pressure and the context of globalization that's the precise reason why people hold on to their identity that's the reason why you you cling to to what makes you different if if there's a force that's that's homogenizing everyone making a run the same then what makes you unique becomes that much more important so i think in some ways there will be you know like what you're seeing like a degree addition basically of identity but i think it paradoxically and simultaneously too that there will be a really strong clinging to what makes us different but it feels that oh well tex who is really not only one probably isn't really you know you're not happy bunny here you know what i find. funny that none of us have talked about how the fact
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that african identity has also been tied to our struggle we have not had a conversation about privilege we've not had a conversation about this our skin tone let's have it and the fact that our skin tone in all its melanie to forms has been the subject of prejudice has been the subject of slavery for 100 plus years both in arabia and and in the you know west in the americas or whatever and that that also contributes to what we consider ourselves to be basically i would imagine that when you in the face of a lot of adversity in the face of a lot of hardship there is this desire to hold on to something there's this element where if a white person is here even for 30 years is still an element of privilege attached to their skin tone that will forever tie them to the european come continent you see there is someone even if it's you talking about indians or if you're talking about arabs will always be a level of privilege attached to their skin tone that connects them to their feet to the bit will always have a passion a tax to identity no but that bad or pressure and those outside forces the same way
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that a diamond is formed by outside pressures can i get a witness so you can see. that is has played a role in shaping what we have so we are very very sensitive about holding on to it because so much has been taken from us that we are like ok what do we have all right we have our skin tone ok we have our sense of rhythm ok we are are the architect is we have our music we have art and she my golly. pounded yum you know so we have all these things that we're happy to celebrate and we're happy to adorn but when people wear them adorn them in a way as though they're celebrating it's we call it appropriation and it's appropriate there is a line the line is drawn when. african cultures and then the people of the continent for the dewpoint bill to do need to feel that i'm not benefiting them for me in any way so for example if gucci for example who decides to going to take you to engage and then do a runaway. you know presentation of it and then go oh my god. actually the
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people. of the can form a fabric and i want to benefit from it that's. ok so the problem of the man being a christian or like then how how does that actually work in practice do you want gucci mane to shout out be in when he's doing a song or you're not i mean if you don't like that because in the same breath we have also our music has been influenced by the west we've been influenced by r. and b. we've been influenced by sounds that are not from here ok let me come with a microphone here so i was just about to say we have the largest population of educated africans but the has never existed across the continent people are walk and for that reason it's about time that we took it upon ourselves to prime. doing that because i've heard it said that africans will wait until the african americans creates a black hair movement for them to adopt their own natural we too late to this spot
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to do we not have a voice of our own can i hear some voices from the back please anyone have an opinion on that. i feel like we africans sometimes we wait for maybe someone in the west to do something for it to become much and now evaluate you know we take it like you know it's ours no no no they did it but before we don't think pride in it or something like about it but we just usually wait for maybe someone else to know do we start doing ok so i suppose the bigger question i'm asking to what extent are we responsible for shaping this idea of african this wait and watch she said like we actually wait for the western guys to come up with something and then we know most of the time we start something like one of you know the people will pick up the trend and start doing something but no one. follow what the basin is doing better. someone in the west would actually see
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and see how they can my denies or cups allies from that set and idea and then they would actually use it and create a chain and then we will all rush and. all of the trying to say listen i'm really tough questions being asked here so i'm going to just return it to these guys a week or more defying african this african nation how we could modify it it's. no more than ever we are commodifying maybe not to the extent of the west but we're getting to a place where we're going to learn our strengths to this business people as young girls we're doing amazing things for the industry and africans are taking this space so this african identity narrative is not a trend it's not a trend and i think it's so it's so sad for us to think that we are so blank that we look to for the source is a what makes us us from outside and i think we shouldn't mistake visibility in terms of like media coverage or that you know fame for for being the originators of
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something just because someone famous is making it more famous doesn't mean that it wasn't being done before so for example if becomes a trend now in some high end restaurant in new york right that doesn't mean that we were not eating the girl it's just that we don't have high end restaurants in new york yes so we shouldn't confuse visibility for nothing happened just because you are trend setting just because you didn't witness in being it's being done doesn't mean it was not being done or doesn't mean that that famous person who did it was the 1st to do it is just false images be. ok ok ok ok so you guys heard recently that oklahoma thought i was taking yes if you like you're not meant. for your benefit hakuna matata bring that is where the phrase from larry king which means no worries in africa yeah which is very revealing and it shows that where we need to stop our legal. as africans is we kind of need to be able to
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get a heavier presence in terms of trademarking in terms of copyrighting in terms of seeing what we have and of the things that we have potential exports or whatever the only reason i say that is because someone else is going to do it so everyone everyone so everyone got mad ok you know the lion king one of the blah blah. didn't do it for us i'm of the opinion that to a certain degree colonizers in the spirit of quanah zation is the idea that everything is to conquer and to take over and all this kind of stuff and i would say that to a certain degree the african identity maybe to a lesser degree doesn't have as much of that but that's the nature of the world right now which means how do we fight that battle i think by increasing our footprint legally in terms of copyright in terms of trademark in terms of could think about even music man how many africans have this stuff getting royalties from from from the you know just the music mechanical royalties streaming royalties blah blah blah blah there's a problem ok so back to you because he's introduced words like legal framework do we actually have structures that support these things that we're talking about the
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things that greed identity. greed going to you know make it more visible i think it's just a matter of exploiting what is already there because if we have corporate noise we have intellectual property law is we have all these remarks here it's a matter of how committed are we as kenyans in different spheres and different professions to actually protect this african identity is this a matter of actually taking the steps towards ok i just had a follow up question on visibility because it's one thing to be seen but also who is representing you on that platform how important is it that you have african faces oh it doesn't matter you know if the world gets to know about congress from kim kardashian then they know about african history well it is totally matter that it matters is that you matters very much so what did you says about africans having a more kind of like legal and copyright. presence or strategy is good but i also
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think that the people who are stealing should stop stealing right so if you have a house which has valuable things in it and someone comes and breaks it and things you're stuck upright. who did the wrong thing was it wrong for you to have things in your house or was it the thief who shouldn't have come to steal the right so i think we should also have that conversation that the reason why africans don't copyright everything is because it doesn't occur to us that these things are. still out i mean i mean the people who are stealing are the ones who have all left mentality ok so really we are valuable and hold on little before we get into the spiral of copyright law because that's not what we're here for i just want to understand so we're saying that i will mindset all mindset is more advanced than our actions we are more walk in our minds and we are with our actions so we demand better leadership online but we're not doing anything to make the spaces better
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correct so are we. no not really no one bitterly disappointed with anything ok you're doing things you know african youth or working. african artists or writing songs about poor little african artists. doing paintings all over this place the board you know but things that are happening so i think we are doing stuff is just it takes time to accept things that want to do africans actually know each other we're talking about a collective identity but how much i wonder do you know about what's happening in mali or djibouti can you tell me anything about their president anything about. malawi. how when how when i can i can barely get a visa to south africa. you look at the roman empire and one of the biggest things they did was make facilitate easy travel between their different regions
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right and here we are as kenyans it's more expensive to fly to like. to fly to like dogs or something like. that whatever we understand these conversations are going to facilitated by by things like transport infrastructure if i know that i can hop on a high speed train and be in central african republic in 6 hours you know that changes even my perception of them the conversations that we're having so i feel like transport is a major major major influencer but is there even an initial curiosity from us because you know if anybody wants to take a holiday in this country they'll most likely by want to dubai and not necessarily in mozambique yeah do we have value on our own environments resources people. i would say yes and no it really depends on the context one of the things that is is an impediment treaty in terms of africans uniting his language half of africa
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and africa africa francophone speaking they speak a different language from us and so you almost imagine that half of the continent you can communicate with great and then the rest of the continent what brings us together what binds us together and i don't think that they nothings that bind us together as africans so apart from trade apart from us. and probably exactly i think the only thing is music so how can we actually be able to bridge those gaps between different countries and bring these cultures together and i think that's why some tucson and other africans were making music for the continent actually doing a really good job of creating sound and creating movements and bring africans together ok but ben do you feel that music is already doing this are you feeling a bridge now you know actually the highest level of trade. between african countries is that when it is one of our music has been has played the biggest role in uniting this country and unifying this continent a lot of people have an idea they know they're doing music legend music has been your visitation as an africa to the whole world for a long long time here as
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a for that reason even i find the music mix of africans want to go to other countries where the music comes from music has really built an awareness of you know this movement of young african people who are doing amazing things and artists and musicians you know breaking barriers globally in spite of african youth and of course b. and as we know so so is always singing in kiswahili but i'm curious how many of us here going back to the point of language are able to speak in their mother tongue by show of hands. and you know the biggest advocates yet. how we know how does that lead the way how how how does that work. again please come here and tell me this it was just you know having utopian people speak latin you know the thing is language evolves and language is a forever evolving you know thing and that's important for us to hold onto a cause as i mentioned that being you know it's. going to ration of
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a generation but at the same time i'm going to crucify an african to this because of another language because you're born into a yeah you're born in that you're going to communicate and you're born in the in a place where this is what you've been taught what you can do is make sure that you do your best to be a good africa it's so interesting because i find that in music particularly when artists from africa sing or rap in english and not in the vernacular they get heat for it if they're considered less africa and why you see why you're only singing in english so i'm really interested to find out at least from the from the artists here today like what how do you then balance that they call to me between having to almost reaffirm your african identity each time you sing a song and they need. to globalize well to the shiny why don't you tell us you sling singing in english mostly i do not know the people who are getting the heat so i'll start by i think was it how does an ancient i wonder she talks about the myth the myth of a single african story i'll tell you about my mind i left kenya when i was 6 i
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lived in i lived in north of mauritania i lived in dakar senegal then i went to vancouver then i was in los angeles and i came back to my house my father is my side my mom is no they always spoke to in english to each other english became my 1st language now. i lived arguably in all the corners of africa doesn't make me less african because i can speak english my africanness will always project in a different way so we have different ways that we project africanus language this the style of dress there's many aspects of culture how you call yourself and your existing young or just just you know just the way i look even just the way i look you know just blow right it's not you it's african so we all have different ways of sort of manifesting the different elements that it takes to really be considered african languages just one of the most annoying thing is that the songs on the billboard charts the biggest african songs in the world are not in english and not in french in the lakes the mali and dialects like yeah. that's the highest like grossing song ever my point is just music is the universal language music unites
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and it's just music is a vibe a lot of these things even like the songs that really pop in we want to get with this and. connect with the connect ok it seems of this conversation is this kind of going back and forth and touching on things that we've already addressed but now i'm coming back to placing value on these cultural maka as i think you talked about it earlier but why does it seem that it's only now that we're really careful to listen to african music and to african fabric. and to be honest i am. probably has more prominence now but it's i think that has been going on for years and decades on and i you personally reflect on my socialization my app and. like how did that look like when i went to school what was what premium was being placed on the arts and i feel like we've the disservice has started would started essentially when we're younger right because there's a point in time where you wouldn't even express your cultural identity and be
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embraced for it so this is something that we're being very intentional about especially within our generation and i think it would take our generation to change things ok but i just want to ask you guys that question one more time why is african identity so important africa has been the site of theft upon theft up on it and that sense of loss has been part of our history for centuries really and it's in this moment of globalization cup late stage capitalism is when it's becoming more intense right and so there is one way we are looking to what makes us different is because that's how for us to become human our human has been identified with not africa right that that in the category of human black does not exist african does not exist in order for you to be human you have to be white or white adjacent right and so we are here expanding the category of human to include africa that well that was that was that was that hit me right here ok to say you've
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really been giving us some lines from what i know thought wow i think i think african identity is just so important especially because. when you consider like really a person's lifetime and you look at when identity is most important we always say it's in the u.s. persons you write and i think especially because we are probably the youngest continent talk that african identies extremely important people are branching off people are trying to take in group people are trying to figure out where my and the answer to that question the african answer to that question is extremely important in terms of how we impact the rest of the world you know ok finally i think for a long time we've been lost and we've just come from a history of so many you know a very dark history of so many gruesome things that have happened. and so. translated this generation not knowing themselves as they should preserve this continent identity he would be defined as the most important big kids to kids from and then school when you grow up and you and your braces from the beginning well
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well thank you very much guys and that's a great place to wrap up this conversation and i suppose we can all agree that it's very complex and i'm not entirely sure we fully question but i think one thing we can agree on is that african identity is important because it affirms that we were unlike christine back said it affirms that we steal thank you so much for tuning in that was so exciting i'm actually a little exhausted just from all the thinking thanks for joining us.
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