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Here's YouTube's Black Voices Creator Class of 2021

YouTube Announces Black Voices Creator Class of 2021

South Africa and Nigeria dominate YouTube's 2021 Black Voices Creator class. Nicollette Mashile, Lasizwe Dambuza, Kay Ngonyama, Lade Owolabi, Akah Bants and more have made it onto the list.

YouTube has released the full list of Africa's most creative YouTube content creators for the #YouTubeBlackVoices Creator Class of 2021. The highly contested annual list recognises Africa's original YouTube content creators from various genres including art, finance, business, comedy, education, health and wellness. Twenty of Africa's most popular and consistent content creators were selected. South Africa and Nigeria both have eight representatives while Kenya has four.


Read: YouTube Announces 'Black Voices Fund' for African Creators

Representing South Africa is Nicollette Mashile who is known by her social media name, Financial Bunny. She has been creating content on financial advise since 2017. Lasizwe Dambuza, on the other hand, is known for his comedic sketches which have often gone viral and secured him a reality show on MTV Africa. Ofentse Mwase Films is the married duo who create original short films, series and music videos.

Lifestyle vloggers Kay Yarms and Owamie Hlongwane have made the list and have been in the game since 2017. Thato Rampedi is also a part of the class for his conversational channel and MacG, for his podcasts which boast the appearance of trailblazing celebrity guests. Toast With Naledi, which is a reality entertainment channel centred on Naledi Monamodi's real life experiences, has scored her a seat in this year's class.

Akah Bants represents for Nigeria and has been running his socially conscious channel since 2015. Dimma Umeh joins Bants with her YouTube channel which centres on life in Nigeria and has over 25 million views. Oscarmini and Eric Okafor come through for all the tech geeks. Lade Owolabi, Winnie Emmanuel, Tomike Adeoye and Dodos Uvieghara are also part of this year's class.

Kenya's list is short but potent. Singer Patricia Kihoro has been selected for her channel which celebrates African brands, innovators, art, culture and music. Mumo, a photographer and videographer has been selected for his channel which teaches entrepreneurial mindsets. Mitchelle Adagala and Kaluhi Adagala are also on the list.

The 20 #YouTubeBlack Voices of 2021 will receive mentoring and funding as part of YouTube's campaign to spotlight Black voices. The video streaming platform anticipates to fund over 500 Black YouTube content creators from across the world over the coming years. YouTube stated that this is a first step for Black voices on YouTube to feel protected. The YouTube Black Voices Fund was announced last year in October.

The class of 2021 have evidently raised the bar and despite the COVID-19 pandemic, have managed to keep the Black community thoroughly engaged.

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The 'Silverton Siege' Soundtrack is the Sound of Resistance

Netflix's new film Silverton Siege features a varied and impressive soundtrack that grounds the film with tone and character.

At the end of Silverton Siege, Netflix's new original movie, the gun-toting duo of Calvin (Thabo Rametsi) and Terra (Noxolo Dlamini) walk fearlessly towards the open bank doors for another standoff with the police. They knew their fate was death.

The scene drowns in alarming red lights, then cuts to black with the sound of gunfire. Zamo Mbutho’s "Asimbonanaga" plays next; the song is a mournful acapella invoking the mood of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa.


Directed by South African filmmaker Mandla Dube, Silverton Siege features a soundtrack that grounds the film with tone and character. These songs are forged in an African revolutionary consciousness. From Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat anthem "Zombie" to Philip Miller’s "Hamba Kahle Umkhonto." In the case of South Africa, they re-enchant the role songs played in galvanizing people against apartheid.

The Silverton siege was a flashpoint in the movement for Nelson Mandela’s release. In 1980s South Africa, anti-apartheid freedom fighters — Wilfred Madela, Humphrey Makhubu, Stephen Mafoko — aborted their planned sabotage mission at Watloo’s petrol depots and were on the run from the police. They hunkered down at Volkskas Bank in Silverton, Pretoria, where they held 25 civilians hostage.

In the film, Calvin is the de facto leader of the group, negotiating for safe passage out of the bank. The officer in charge, Langerman (Arnold Vosloo), reluctantly agrees to the demand and sends a helicopter manned by a solo driver. It’s a trap, though. Without their knowledge, the pilot Sechaba (Tumisho Masha) is going to deliver the group to the police once he’s been informed of their destination.

Fela’s "Zombie" starts to play when the trio, with a hostage taken along, leave the bank and head for the chopper. What transpires afterwards is the group knowing they have been set up. Sechaba is pulling out a gun when he’s preempted by Calvin. He’s disarmed, struck in the face and forced out of the chopper, then manhandled back to the bank along with the group.

Released in 1976, "Zombie" criticizes the military as tools of oppression by the Nigerian government. It strikes a parallel to the helicopter scene. Sechaba, a Black South African, is an asset of the police. By extension, he’s in service for the white ruling class aiding the capture of the freedom fighters. What’s teachable here is that in the process of fighting oppression, the enemy doesn’t always look like those in power, but could be anyone from the grass-root.

Although they look like the oppressed, these people aren’t committed to revolutionary warfare or liberation. Their orders come from above. The next time we hear another song in the background, it is Chicco Twala’s "I Need Some Money." The scene finds Calvin and Aldo pushing out trolleys stacked with cash in the bank’s main hall. Soundtracking the scene with this song diffuses the tension, inverting the serious stakes with its shangaan-disco liveliness.

"I Need Some Money" was released in 1986, and it was the first hit from the South African artist and producer. What does it mean to need money during this time? The global economic crisis didn’t spare South Africa, with rising inflation, unemployment and weakening of its currency. But Calvin isn’t interested in the money. This is another inversion that occurs. An economic downturn in the country where seeking material provisions would be justified is juxtaposed with the revolutionary mindset of his group.

The trolley is now outside the bank, where Terra and Calvin hold a Black American man at gunpoint. While Langerman tries to reason with them, the American pours fuel all over the trolley on orders from the duo. Engulfed with fire, Johnny Clegg and Juluka’s "Impi" comes on. Calvin walks sideways towards the press with their cameras and shouts, “Free Nelson Mandela!”

This shifts the trajectory of the story. Nelson Mandela was sent to prison in 1964 for treason and opposing the apartheid regime. The clamor for his release in the film is underscored by the sheer stature of Johnny Clegg, who wasn’t just a singer and songwriter but a huge figure in the fight against apartheid.

Silverton Siege woman gun

Photo Credit: Neo Baepi/Netflix

His band, Julukua, was one of his successful racially mixed groups. Off their second album, African Litany, which was released in 1981, Impi is Zulu for ‘’war.’’ His version of "Asimbonanaga" was made with his other band Savuka from their album Third World Child and was dedicated to political prisoners, especially Mandela.

Silverton Siege isn’t a film without a body count. Outside the bank demanding for the release of Mandela, Calvin and the bank supervisor Christine (Elaine Dekker) have put away their differences. Unfortunately, she’s shot by a rooftop sniper from the SWAT team.

"Hamba Khale Umkhonto" permeates this scene where she dies. It’s forlorn and mournful. When Silverton Siege —which was released on Freedom Day last month — ends, the sacrifice of the trio becomes symbolic for what comes later: freedom.


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