African mindset must change says artist

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

Hugo Africa has good ideas on how Africans can stand up and be counted among the great nations of the world.

But it can only happen if there is a major shift in the thinking of Africans themselves and if they immerse themselves in the creative process.

This message runs through his debut CD, Mama Africa, which isaccompanied by a DVD with eight tracks, snippets of interviews and his just-completed book.

The Nigerian-born industrial production engineer-turned-musician says his music and philosophy is inspired by Nelson Mandela, Miriam Makeba and other African greats.

Hugo's book, We can do it, is a collection of motivational writings, poetry and advice about life's challenges.

Hugo spoke to Sowetan after sealing a deal for the distribution of Mama Africa with TV producer and recording label owner Oscar Mlangeni of Bulldawgz Productions.

He has also clinched a DVD-distribution deal with Sting Music, owned by Umoja producer Joe Theron.

The widely travelled artist's writings is very much like that of international author Chika Onyeani, who penned the critically acclaimed Capitalist Nigger.

Hugo maintains that the issues he deals with in his music, as well as in We can do it, were extensively researched while he travelled the world.

Hugo says: "In my research I discovered that Africans are not productive in this new age, particularly in terms of dealing with the challenges of disease like HIV-Aids and mental slavery.

"Africans can overcome all their problems if they just put their minds together," he says.

"I am not proposing that we become one nation, but we should definitely come together in spirit and think collectively if we want to confront the challenges of governance and of HIV and Aids."

In both his music and his book Hugo says the problem with Africans' is that their creative power has been lost to other people.

"We tend to accept everything that is preached to us," Hugo Says. "For example, when it comes to religion we do not ask questions because we are warned that if we do God will punish us."

Hugo's thought-provoking book discusses issues that include God and Africa, The liberation chant, The cry of mama Africa, Our beloved Africa, A wake-up call, Let's heal the wounds, War against abuses, Arise Africa, The labours of our heroes and Western experiences.