Boundary-pushing creatives push culture forward. Think groups like BROCKHAMPTON, Odd Future and local groups like FAKA – who are challenging the status quo. When we first come across these artists, we are reminded of icons like Prince and Rick James who changed how people thought of gender, identity and alternative lifestyles. Conservative ideals of existence are thrown out the window, ideologies are stretched using the most powerful tool known to mankind – music. Globally, young people are realizing how toxic and problematic the powers that be are and that doesn’t leave them complacent – it prompts them to act.
Beautiful times, we live in. Globalization, though having certain some destructive and negative elements, has connected the world in blurs cultural lines forcing you to become part of a bigger one-world culture. Nowadays, there is little to no difference between a kid in South Africa with access to the internet and a kid from South Korea. We’re connecting more than ever, which is why our roots are increasingly important. Artists that make us uncomfortable, challenge us and show us new avenues of art should be heralded. South Africa is no stranger to those types of artists as the internet is strengthening their voices and improving their visibility. The same can be said about enterprising South African artist, Shaka Shoelu, who confidently champions his trans-identity. A growing, vital voice in gender politics especially in Africa where the LGBQT community is often confronted with violence for living out their truth. What better way than to use music to challenge society’s archaic, primitive moral compass.
Though only having 4 songs on Soundcloud, Shaka Shoelu has covered a lot of ground in getting people to pay attention to his avant-garde style of electronic music. Korobela, being the most successful release boasts over four thousand streams on Soundcloud – a feat which is impressive for an independent South African creative. Shaka’s personality comes through, rather, strongly in his music and we get traces of his personality through his Twitter account. The music is not directly political, packed with content that challenges societal norms but Shaka’s comfort in his own skin is revolutionary in itself. The world ruthlessly forces people to project a watered-down and diluted of themselves, so when someone confidently steps into their being that is seen as a revolutionary act.
Artist development and purposeful art movement, Woke Arts has provided Shaka Shoelu a life-changing platform to communicate his art. Shaka is pro-black, proud and comfortable and that’s what we need from the leaders of tomorrow. We need people like Shaka Shoelu to provide the masses with a different lens to view the world and its complexities. In short, Shaka Shoelu is an important figure which South Africa is yet to meet and be blown away by.