A song about people being one gives me happy feelings — all the way through.
Some people in South Africa fear for their lives, but these musicians want to change that.
A group of South African musicians are tired of seeing their own people hurt each other because of their citizenship status.
In response to recent violence against immigrants, Grammy Award-winners Ladysmith Black Mambazo and singer Salif Keita created a powerful song called "United We Stand." It's upbeat, it's toe-tapping. And the message behind the catchy melody is simple: "Africa is for all of us." Through their music, the artists hope to stomp out fear and hatred toward people of different backgrounds.
NPR talked to them about their reason for collaborating. The musicians were shocked when deadly attacks broke out in their region of South Africa in March.
Seven people have already been killed, according to Reuters, which reported that mobs armed with machetes have been seen looting immigrant-owned businesses. Before the attacks, one influential leader said in a speech: “Let us pop our head lice. We must remove ticks and place them outside in the sun. We ask foreign nationals to pack their belongings and be sent back."
Immigrants were being spoken of as "lice" and "ticks" that should be removed from the country.
This awful language divides and separates people, and it's a chilling reminder of the kind of language that was used to incite the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. In a place that's still healing from Apartheid, these threats paired with the belief that immigrants are the reason for the country's poor economy further isolate people.
It inspired these musicians to make a statement in a song.
The musicians, who are from South Africa and Mali, believe that uniting through music will help set an example for all.
"We have to send this message that we are all Africans. Africa is for us all." They hope that their song, which calls for peace, love, and an end to hatred, will act as a force of change. “Music, when you are sad, it calms you. You sing, it heals you. So united we stand, divided we shall fall. Let's get together," they added.