Confronting the Civil War in Their Music…
Many of the biggest musicians in South Sudan have joined together to promote peaceful dialogue through their art.
Crazy Fox, aka “The Dancehall Monster,” was in his studio in Juba that weekend and on independence day, just before the fighting spread, he recorded a song that was to become a major hit in Juba during the coming months. Its title is “Ana Gaid,” which means “I am staying” in Arabic.
“I was like, you know, I am tired,” Crazy Fox says. “I am tired of running out of my country every single time and then coming back when the peace is back. So I just told these guys: ‘ana gaid, ana ma mashi’ [I am staying, I am not leaving]. I don’t care, if I am to die here at home, let me just die at home.”
“Ana Gaid” describes the deteriorating security and economic situation in South Sudan, expressing the hardships of the South Sudanese who struggle as the crisis goes on. The music video features Crazy Fox sitting in a typical lower-class residential compound in Juba as its residents intend to leave the country. Unlike most South Sudanese music videos, it was not shot in a fancy club or a hotel with a swimming pool, and it does not feature expensive cars or clothes.
“I had to be in that community, poor community. I had to go into a ghetto…to show what is happening down there,” Fox says. “I had to make these things look real. Because the song itself is not an imagination, the song is based on a true story.”
The world is spoiled
The frustration expressed by Crazy Fox in “Ana Gaid” is part of a wider trend in South Sudanese popular music. In the last two years, some of South Sudan’s most celebrated musicians have increasingly been using their art to discuss the ongoing war and some of the ways in which it impacts the lives of ordinary citizens.
Within this trend, the economic crisis and the escalating rates of urban crime are re-occurring themes. As most of the fighting since the beginning of the war took place outside the capital, these are also some of the main issues that have been impacting Juba’s urban population as a consequence of the conflict.