IF, AT ANY POINT, YOU’VE CRAVED TO FATHOM THE SPIRIT of a generation, then feast on what they were listening to, what they were crafting and what they were writing. Artists tend to hatch out of whatever is engrossing their community, the rumbles of their vacant bellies. They are brewed out of the frustration of having their identities stirred in shame. They were brave in their leader’s diminutive suffocating jail cells, but braver when pencils touch paper, and tongues trailed melody.
There was a time when Donny Hathaway elucidated being young, gifted and black and pledged how one day we’d all be free. When Fela Kuti claimed back Nigeria from a pseudo-colonist who felt too comfortable in rooms that did not belong to him. When Bob Marley emancipated us from mental slavery and Brenda Fassie marked the beauty of a black president.
But now, the revolution has been overly televised, the salt has turned sweet and the air’s color has changed from a dense black to a thin pink. Today’s generation is constantly being asked, ‘What’s your struggle?’ ‘What are you doing?’ Well, we’re doing THE MOST! That’s what we’re doing.
This generation, the online innovators,has been breaking down ALL the walls. Inspired by the potential of technology to improve our lives, the new crop of change makers is creating creative content and adapting tech in new ways that challenge our surroundings. We are leveraging technology all around the world to reshape, remodel and reinvent the way we communicate, work, play, learn, travel, heal … the list is as open-ended as the possibilities.
The internet is the most iconic and forward-thinking invention ever. One of those ideas so fundamental it’s hard to imagine life without it. Perusing the content in this postmodern melting pot has become one of my most treasured pastimes. I don’t know how many hours I’ve spent reveling in the genius of videos like “Reverie” by musician and producer Arca (Alejandro Ghersi). Or gaping open-mouthed at the work of my friend and collaborator Giancarlo Calameo LaGuerta.
More often than not, I am captivated by particular creators.
I’ve recently discovered “FAKA,” a South African art duo who, as black queer artists, explore their complex identities through performance. The EP “Bottom’s Revenge” changed my life. Their allure?They go against the grain of the polished cis male persona. In their videos, they veer from dressing up in lingerie and chasing a young man through the desert in “Isfundo Sokuqala”(the mind boggles) to strutting around the township in couture coats.
Copious wigs, coupled with some truly unique dance moves, make FAKA a must-see.I’m obsessed with these guys, to the point where I began contacting them in the hope of a creative collaboration. They’ve even replied a few times, much to my glee. Watch this space!
Botswana youth get a bad rap for being lazy or dependent on the government. Sure, we have our complacencies, but there is no denying that young creatives in this country continue to sculpt their own destinies. Look at local online comedian M’Jamaica, with almost 35 million views and an endorsement deal with Orange. He makes me realise that the rest of the world appreciates completely bizarre, off-kilter comic relief as much as I do.
Then there’s Brilliant Kodie, whom I’m proud to call a friend. At only 22 he has built himself into a media powerhouse in the fashion and lifestyle blogosphere.
At a time when everyone seems to be reaching for their 15 minutes of fame, the internet is not just a fascinating loophole in the laws of fame.It provides a strange sort of reassurance – that young voices can make themselves heard – and there they are, right there in front of you.
Creative Direction, Styling & Words: Tanlume
Photography & Art Direction: Giancarlo Calaméo LaGuerta
Models: Lapologa Mojanaga and Kakanyetso Gabatsholwe