Music with serious message

Tremaine van Aardt

A GROUP of talented Uitenhage youths are spending their holidays teaching their township peers the principles and values of the loveLife campaign.

The group – including Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University students Zukhanye Mqolomba, 23, and Qhamani Zendile, 21 – are also hoping to, through their programmes, change the perception that hip-hop and gangsterism go hand in hand.

To this end, Mqolomba and Zendile established The ZoneOuts, in an attempt to create a platform to promote local DJs.

They have already organised several events in the coming weeks in Uitenhage, Despatch, New Brighton, Motherwell and KwaNobuhle to teach youths the concept of “fun and free” partying.

“When we say ‘free’ we are not referring to event entrance, which is free anyway, but rather alcohol- and drug- free entertainment. We are travelling around the Bay organising jam sessions in which the youth of the particular area come together to share in rap, spoken word, poetry and other hip-hop expressions,” Mqolomba said.

“After we are done with the entertainment, we educate the youth present according to the principals of the loveLife campaign. The idea is to make learning fun and interactive and at the same time change everybody’s perception of the hip-hop culture being one of alcohol, drugs and reckless partying.”

Mqolomba and Zendile are resident DJs at Radio L2K and their programmes are part of the station’s mission to educate youth about safe sex and living.

“Although we only have a 2km radio radius the response has been great. We now have interactive debates about issues affecting the youth, such as crime, peer pressure, drugs and sex,” Zendile said.

“But the station only services the KwaNobuhle area, hence we are going to the different areas, where a hip-hop crew from the respective area hosts us at their rehearsal venue.

“By doing this we take the message to the youth instead of them trying to find us.”

The ZoneOuts’ next event, in collaboration with Zulu Magic Entertainment, is at Mbengo Square in Khayelitsha on December 28.

Those interested in participating can join The ZoneOuts’ Facebook page where information about dates and venues for other events is posted regularly.

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