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These Videos of Black South Africans Graduating Will Give You Life

Black people unabashedly celebrating their graduations their own way? We're here for it.

It's currently graduation season in South Africa and social media is flooded with hundreds of posts of excited graduates finally getting their degrees and diplomas. Now, graduation is a pretty big deal for everyone but for Black South Africans especially, it matters that much more.


I remember my first graduation ceremony. My heels were uncomfortable, my earrings were weighing my earlobes down and I was sure my dress emphasized every cellulite bump that I had. But I was extremely excited. I was the first in my family to ever graduate from university and that moment was not just about me but my entire family and for my father, who'd passed away in my first year of university.

This is what the young White student sitting beside me did not understand. As Black parents ululated, danced, yelled out their clan names and praised the achievements of even the Black children who were not their own, all this young man could say to me in great annoyance was, "They're making so much noise."

As the 2016 student movement Fees Must Fall highlighted, Black South Africans face tremendous challenges when it comes to accessing tertiary education and largely because they're poor. When they do try and access funding, they're apparently not poor enough. In a country where the majority is still living in dehumanizing and impoverished circumstances, graduating at an institution that historically, wasn't meant to ever welcome you, is a fucking achievement.

And yet, some of these institutions bar Black graduates and their families, especially, from celebrating the achievement in the ways that Black people know how to celebrate. Instead, they are continuously reminded in the weeks before the graduation ceremony of the many ways they need to tone down their Blackness and act in a manner that is filled with the "utmost decorum".

The gag is, you don't get to tell Africans at African institutions how not to celebrate. If they don't dance and sing at Harvard or Oxford, that's fine, but we sure as hell do that shit here.

Theses videos showing Black South Africans doing the absolute most as they graduate will give you life. And if they don't and instead you're pissed that the "dignity" of the proceedings has somehow been tarnished, I can assure you, the problem is you.













Listen to 10 Great Songs From Johnny Clegg

Here are some of the best songs to remember South Africa's son of the soil.

Yesterday, it was confirmed that South African musician, Johnny Clegg, passed away after a long battle with cancer.

Understandably, heartfelt tributes have been pouring in ever since. Long before it was cool (or even legal) to be in close proximity to blackness and anything attached to it in South Africa, Clegg, a white man, was doing just that. That is exactly why he was given the endearing title of South Africa's "son of the soil."

Growing up during Apartheid, Clegg was taught how to speak the Zulu language by a domestic worker named Charlie Mzila. In his teenage years, his appreciation for the Zulu culture continued and he soon learnt the traditional dance styles known as isishameni and also learnt how to play the Maskandi guitar. Clegg's music was a beacon of light during a very dark time in South Africa's history and his songs about Nelson Mandela (at a time where songs were banned for merely mentioning the name of the late statesman and other key struggle activists) brought the country together.

It is irrefutable that a music giant has fallen. However, Clegg leaves behind a wealth of music featuring other great South African artists and groups such as Zakwe, Brenda Fassie, Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela and Juluka/Suvuka, among several others. His music undeniably brought South Africans and people all around the world together.

We've picked ten of our favorite songs from the late musician's discography in honor of a life that was lived to the fullest.

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Stonebwoy in "Tuff Seed"

The 12 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Stonebwoy, Mahmoud Ahmed, Tiwa Savage x Zlatan, Africa Express, Juls x Mr Eazi and more.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our Best Music of the Week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Check out all of OkayAfrica's new playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

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Beyoncé Wore These 2 African Designers in Her Music Video for 'Spirit'

Queen Bey continues to include and give a nod to African talent in her visuals.

As we draw even closer to Disney's The Lion King opening in theaters this week, Beyoncé continues to lead the way with her new music video for "Spirit"—the first single off of the film's album she produced and curated, The Lion King: The Gift.

Shot in the Havasu Falls in Arizona's Grand Canyon, Beyoncé and her legion of beautiful dancers are one with nature and its various elements as she beckons us to be brave and hear the calling of spirit. As we noted when she announced the album, the track opens with a call and response in Swahili that translates to "Long live the king": Uishi kwa mda mrefu mfalme—uishi kwa.

Keeping our eyes peeled for African influences in the music video, it's evident that is seen in the choreography. We even spotted our extended fam with the afrobeats moves—the AVO Boys: Stephen Ojo and Caleb Bonney—as two of her dancers in the video.

Beyoncé continues to also give a nod to African talent through the looks she donned in "Spirit" styled by her mainstay, Zerina Akers.

Take a look at the two African designers she wore in the video below.

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