In 2005, Binyavanga Wainaina published his seminal How To Write About Africa essay. In it, the Kenyan author takes aim at the West for their one-dimensional depictions of Africa (war, famine, dying babies…that kind of shit). A year later, Wainaina’s essay grew into a book and still remains one of the sharpest pieces of satire and political insights in the continent’s literary canon.
This month, Namibian rap outfit Black Vulcanite released their debut album Black Colonialists – a follow up to their 2013 15-track ‘EP’ Remember The Future. As with their debut EP, the album is “a look back at the future”, with heavy Afrofuturist themes over neck-snapping snares, thumping kick patterns and jazzy melodies.
There are plenty of politics too.
“In the name of my fucking poor people, I summon you,” Mark Mushiva kicks off the album. On How To Rap About Africa the trio follow Wainaina’s tradition, knocking down one stereotype after the other. “Black, genocide, famine, safari…” the group lists on the chorus.
Given the collective nervous condition currently being experienced by black people, the world over, Black Colonialists comes across a message for the times. And as Wainaina did with How To Write About Africa, so too are Black Vulcanite staking a claim in constructing a new canon with their latest release.