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2016 Is #TheYearWeMispronounceBack: Black South Africans Are Taking A Stand Against White Mispronunciation

Black South Africans are taking a stand against white mispronunciation with the viral hashtag #TheYearWeMispronounceBack.

Uzo Aduba on Late Night With Seth Myers in December 2014.


“If they can learn to say Tchaikovsky, and Dostoevsky, and Michelangelo, then they can learn to say Uzoamaka,” the mother of two-time Emmy Award-winner Uzo Aduba famously once said.

White people mispronouncing and oftentimes refusing altogether to say African names. We’ve seen it too many times before.

As comedian Loyiso Gola put it this week: “You mean to tell me you can pronounce Google but not Gugulethu."

This year, black South Africans are taking a stand.

The hashtag #TheYearWeMispronounceBack started when recent University of Johannesburg graduate Karabo Mahlase (@Spoonkz), 22, shared his wish for 2016 in a Tweet posted New Year’s Eve: “2016 is the year for acting like you don't know how to pronounce white peoples names”, he wrote.

The tweet has since garnered over 8.2 thousand retweets and has sparked one of South African Twitter’s first viral hashtags of the year. Trevor Noah has even got in on the action with a retweet of user @dubsphiwe.

Take a look at some of the best #TheYearWeMispronounceBack tweets below.

Audio
Photo: Felipe Maia.

Making Music Between the Cracks In Senegal

Navigating mbalax, hip-hop, and afropop, Senegalese artists are sticking together to make their music heard.

Taking a stroll in Dakar is an overwhelming sonic experience. One of the busiest metropolises of West Africa, Senegal's capital is flooded by taxis with lousy tailpipes and drivers who are keen to honk every now and then while cruising long avenues by the seaside. All over the city, several minarets' speaker boxes remind the prayer times throughout the day, adding chants to daily people's chats in different languages and dialects.

At first, it may not seem too different from other big cities in Africa, but one kind of music sets a unique dakarois tone. Whether in a clothing store, having a thieboudienne for lunch or taking a cab, one's ears will be caught by mbalax music.

A new generation of artists wants to bring different sounds to the main stage of the Senegalese arts. They are the likes of the electro-fueled trio Guiss Guiss Bou Bess, the big afrobeat-ish band Sahad & The Nataal Patchwork and the experimentalist sound-maker Ibaaku. He's one of the founders of Kandang, a newly-born platform that aspires to build up a healthy environment that could develop the work of Senegalese musicians through concerts, workshops and promotion.

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