African opinion: The role of artists and social media in structuring
For an informed observer of the African scene, beyond the shock, the latest episode of violence in South Africa is a lesson: the African opinion is in the process of structuring. Indeed, it is mainly via social networks that the charge against xenophobic violence has been strong, showing an African opinion position clearly in front of a situation. We are indeed witnessing an African opinion that is structuring, certainly in pain, but these mechanisms are well engaged.
In this process, the role of social media becomes clear. Through them, Africans, from whatever region they are, have the opportunity to exchange, to express themselves collectively. And in these wheels, the artists of the continent play a growing role in my opinion, and this on three main levers:
Their ability to federate
The number of African artists who today exceeds the millions of subscribers on social networks is increasing. Among their followers, Africans of the continent as well as the diaspora, Afro-descendants, non-Africans. Through their interest for an artist, these followers have the opportunity to return to his universe and indirectly, to immerse themselves in his context / country, even if it is not the intention of departure. It goes without saying that a Yemi Alade who speaks about police violence in her country, it is Nigerians but also millions of non-Nigerians who will have this information. True ambassadors, the artists of the continent influence the construction of African opinion through their commitment.
Certainly, every artist is not obliged to publicly commit to a cause, but, it goes without saying that when some do, the impact is there. A Tiwa Savage that decides to cancel her presence at the biggest South African art festival DSTV, it has an impact. A Naomi Campbell who writes a message of peace on her official account to remind Africans and assimilated that they must not forget that they are “one” has an impact.
Their influence on an audience that goes beyond Africa’s borders
If for the moment English-speaking Africa wins, French-Speaking Africa is no exception. The shock wave linked to the death of the Ivorian DJ Arafat demonstrated it. For those who were not particularly followers of the singer and perhaps perplexed this story of “Chine populaire” (Popular China, name of his fans), the sudden disappearance of the singer showed how important was this “Popular China. The lesson to remember: whether we like it or not, DJ Arafat, a new generation African artist, has managed to symbolize something beyond the borders of Ivory Coast and even Africa.
It is perhaps too much to say at the moment what path will take the structuring that we attend, because actors and observers at the same time. Nevertheless, any informed observer sees that it takes place and you want my opinion? This is a good thing ! ©Minsilizanga.com