Think!Fest 2014: “My journey started with a book” – Xolile Madinda on hip-hop, art and Steve Biko
Xolile Madinda, (left) core founder of the Grahamstown-based Fingo Revolutionary Movement and the Fingo Revolutionary Festival shares his thoughts on the necessity of making accessible, collective art.

Opening his discussion on the work he has been engaged in since 2004, Madinda emphasises the role of music, especially hip hop in his social and political development.

“As a teenager, my uncle told me to read Steve Biko’s book for a week and come back to him to tell him whether I still want to rap.” He read the book, got angry and frustrated with what he learnt, returned to his uncle determined to rap.

Spurred on by his uncle, he read into black consciousness literature, developing a keen sense of what he wants to do in his community. “We realised that we needed to start writing in Xhosa, so that the people can understand, so we did.” They started playing music with other local artists on the Fingo square – a geographic middle and common meeting point for the Grahamstown townships.

Working collectively, to create educational messages in various forms Madinda and his fellow revolutionary artists have been working to address social issues. “We decided not to wait for government to solve problems,” he says.

Urging his audience to listen to American hip hop artists Dead Prez “Let’s Get Free” album, Madinda offers an insightful perspective into the merits of creating socially responsive, politically engaged art which most importantly is accessible to all people.

Listen to the full podcast below:


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