It is the last day of May, and for many families in the United States that simply means a return to work after the Memorial Day holiday. But globally, the day has a much greater significance as the last day of Africa Month, an observance meant to celebrate the cultural contributions of Africa globally. This month, We Are Family, a global marketing network, introduced me to Zu, a beautiful South African recording artist with an inspirational goal of using music to teach African children to embrace their identity and heritage through the launch of her latest EP, titled ‘Zithande’.
“Home is a complicated concept, especially for African people, who are scattered across the world,” Zu said in a We Are Family press release. “One way that we can travel back quickly and easily is through music, through songs that capture our history, traditions, and values.
“Providing African families with music that sounds like home, helps children build a strong connection to their heritage – even if they’re living in the U.S.”
Zu dedicated her EP to her two sons and called it “a mother’s prayer for the children of Africa.”
“Music is an essential part of our culture,” she said in the release. “By introducing authentically African songs to children at a young age, we can help them to develop a positive sense of identity, pride, self-confidence, and self-acceptance.”
More from the news release:
” The overall message and objective of the EP ties in with a larger cultural trend towards inclusivity and representation in media. With tracks like ‘Beautiful Black Boys’ and ‘Boys Can Cry’, the Zithande EP aims to affirm children and encourage a positive relationship with their own feelings and identity, by validating and celebrating who they are. The title of the EP itself is a Nguni word meaning ‘love yourself’.
The soundtrack also includes songs sung in Zulu, namely ‘Umzimba Wami’ (My Body) and ‘Ngane Ze Africa’ (Children of Africa), building on the authentic musical experience and exposing young listeners to new and diverse sounds. This can also play a role in developing children’s language skills and promoting awareness around the differences that exist between people around them.
“In a way, this is a response to the encroaching Westernisation of lullabies and music in general. If all kids across the world listening to the same music, from the same TV shows or Western artists, they lose out on the opportunity to immerse themselves in different cultures, which is crucial in today’s world. The EP is not just for Africans, it’s for any family who wants to teach their children about the diversity of the world, and the importance of loving yourself,” says Denzyl Feigelson, CEO at music distribution company Platoon, who worked alongside Zu. on the EP release.
‘Zithande’ is out now and available to stream or download on all major listening platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music and more. The EP is the first of many children’s releases set to come out via Platoon this year, following on from last year’s successful release of two African Lullabies projects which featured music from artists such as Ami Faku, Msaki, TRESOR, Azana, Teni, Simi, Ayra Starr, Asa, and WurlD, to name a few. For more information about upcoming releases, visit platoon.ai.”
We Are Family sponsored this post. Opinions are 100 percent my own.