The Shoko music and cultural festival held in Harare last month brought a wave of energy and hope to the capital city of Zimbabwe. Jozi entertainer, Tol A$$ Mo, was one of the stars of the show, performing his hit single 'Volume' for the first time in front of a live audience.
Comedy really is a great way to deal with issues that are otherwise difficult to talk about in the public domain. Deep Fried Man, Zambezi News and Tol A$$ Mo were the kings of comedy at Shoko Fest, fearlessly delving into issues of race, politics and sex. Mo literally had the crowd shedding tears of joy as he recounted tales about growing up in the kasi, getting whupped by his gogo and his rivalry with his 'more privileged' cousin from the 'burbs.
As it turned out, the multi-talented entertainer was just warming up the mic. After the comedy, he dropped his new single 'Volume', which proved that he has the potential to kick down the doors of Mzansi hip hop. The track, produced by Deceptikonz, is a high-energy dance-rap anthem, that had the entire crowd chanting "vuleli volume!" with their hands in the air.
Mo's real moment of glory came later in the night when Casper Nyovest invited him back on stage to perform the track again. Casper joined in the chorus as the two jumped around like lucky beans on a djembe.
"Thank you Zimbabwe, I had an amazing time performing #Volume for the first time to a live audience, your energy was too filled with flava," Mo tweeted after the show. "And thank you to @caspernyovest for being such a great soul, when you called me back onto stage to perform with you, my heart filled with so much excitement. I fed off your energy and gave the most electrifying performance of my life…"
Mo will join Casper at the Coca Cola dome in Jozi on 31st October, which promises to be a landmark show as he hypes the country to #fillupthedome.
Casper drew the biggest crowd of the night, re-affirming his status as Africa's most popular hip hop artist. One of the highlights of the night was when he performed his new hit 'Mama I Made It'. The official video (filmed in his hometown Mafikeng) just dropped on 2nd October. Check it out here…
Local Zimbabwean act, Metaphysics, impressed with their authentic old school hip hop sound and UK rap legend, Black Twang, brought the international flavour to the show.
The nights filled with laughter, music and entertainment were balanced by intense daily workshops and panel discussions aimed at empowering young citizen journalists. The power of social media and blogging were highlighted, the point being made that anyone with a smart-phone and Internet access has the tools to tell their story to the world. Zambian activist and award-winning journalist, Bonifiace Mwangi, gave an inspiring account of how an individual can challenge the status quo. Look him up!
Nairobi-based graffiti artist, Bankslave, painted two amazing walls, adding the art element to the awesome cultural feast.
Big up Shoko for reminding us that art, music and culture are the best ways to uplift the human spirit.
Image: Shoko 2 © Samora Chapman