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Okayafrica's Top 10 Music Videos of 2014

We list our Top 10 African Music Videos of the year, including strking clips from Nozinja, Sinkane, Fantasma, Ibeyi, Songhoy Blues and more.


It seems like videos are increasingly the preferred medium for artists, underground or commercial, to release their singles. It makes sense; music videos are immediate, eye-grabbing and tend to be better attention-holders in this frantic internet era. The acts we support are no different and, as such, 2014 hit us with a barrage of impressive visuals from songstresses, groups, rappers and producers across Africa and its diaspora. From psychedelic South African clips to anthemic Burkina Faso hip-hop videos and NYC-shot dance visuals, click through our picks for the Top 10 African Music Videos of the Year (listed in no particular order), featuring Sinkane, Blitz The Ambassador, Seun Kuti, Tinariwen, Joey Le SoldatNozinja, Songhoy Blues, and more.

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Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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