Music Resonates Resistance…

Music speaks to the soul. Thousands of years ago, Plato highlighted music as a moral law, that “it gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination” (Plato, Brainy Quotes), over time this concept has continued to exist.

Throughout the history of our world, particularly during the “violent struggles against white rule” (Vershbow, M.E 2012) are realised, and even today, people and societies have experience and felt severe repression. After time, this typically results in resistance or uprise. Just as much as the degradation of a culture has occurred, there have been instances in which music has formed the strength among people and united them through a shared bond of emotion or situation.


Through music many individuals, and collectively, societies, can push forward and express emotions through feelings of understanding and acceptance.

Such an ideal was illustrated in the 2012 Swedish-British documentary film directed by Malik Bendejelloul, Searching for Sugar Man. Bendejellouls work projects an impression and result after a South African cultural phenomenon, “a system by the name of Apartheid, literally meaning “separateness” in the Afrikaans language” (Vershbow, M.E, 2010) which effectively “made Africans of colour aliens in their homeland” (Vershbow, M.E, 2010). American musician Sixto Rodriguez poetically spoke to South Africans through lyrics and a mutual understanding. The film was received with euphoria, and “despite a widespread acknowledgment that it is a narrative scam”(Titlestad, 2013) it represented a collective cultural identity regardless of ethnicity, an audience of one.


It is evident that like many individuals and artists recognise, “music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from…” (Billy Joel, Brainy Quotes). Individuals understand the power of music. They understand it as an expression of the truth. And they can perceive in the reality of the world and what it can transform particularly in a political context.


Titlestad, Michael 2013, ‘Searching for the sugar-coated man’, Safundi, vol. 14, no. 4, pp. 466-470

Vershbow, M.E 2012, ‘The sounds of Resistance: The role of Music in south Africa and Africa’s Anti-Apartheid Movement,



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