Legendary singer Vusi Mahlasela uses his voice for equality

Written by Yazeed Kamaldien

Grammy-nominated singer Vusi Mahlasela’s voice has reached millions worldwide and when he performs in Cape Town this weekend he wants to use it for “equality”.

Mahlasela is set to perform at Artscape Theatre on Sunday night, headlining a concert for local non-profit Equal Education.

Vusi Mahlasela sings in Cape Town for education. Pic from Artscape Theatre

Vusi Mahlasela sings in Cape Town for education. Pic from Artscape Theatre

He said he wanted to use his voice to “create awareness of injustices and work for peace”. Over the years, the singer has been known simply as ‘The Voice’.

“I have a voice and it comes with a lot of responsibility,” he said.

“I like to do a lot of charity shows. I did a charity show in Durban for autism and now will work with Equal Education. I want to lend my support to anything for equality. It’s the right thing to do.”

Mahlasela said he wants to encourage people who come to his concerts “not to be afraid to criticise the government and people who are not doing things right”.

“I’m not a politician but a musician. We are there to be like watchdogs and promote the spirit of ubuntu which is about morals,” he said.

He added: “ We still have the rich versus the poor. We need to bridge the divide. Education should be equal so that we can have great leaders. It is sad to go to schools that are dilapidated.

“This was also my experience when I grew up in apartheid. We still have the same situation today and it’s not right because we have democracy.”

Mahlasela’s charity efforts are not keeping him from touring though. Mahlasela plans to tour for three weeks in October with musician Hugh Masekela in the United States.

“When we perform at Carnegie Hall in New York we will be joined by Dave Matthews. Our tour will celebrate the 20 years of democracy (in South Africa),” he said.

“We are going to do another tour in February next year with Hugh in different cities.”

Apart of multiple local and international awards, Mahlasela has also solidified his academic track record with an honorary doctorate from Rhodes University last year. He has also been awarded the Martin Luther King Jr and Rosa Parks professorship at Michigan University in the US.

Equal Education’s ‘Say Africa! Say Education!’ concert on Sunday night will also feature local bands The Muffinz and Driemanskap.

It will “provide an opportunity for those attending the concert to learn more about the South African education system” via exhibitions and students involved in the non-profit’s work.

Equal Education said it is a “community-based organisation”.

“Its members are predominantly high school students who meet weekly… They take action to improve their schools, and their efforts have in the past secured textbooks, libraries, school infrastructure and improved teaching,” it said.

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About Yazeed Kamaldien

Self-employed journalist and photographer from South Africa.

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