Some have expressed concern that there is not enough local music to fill our radio stations’ playlists. What is great here, though, is that lesser-known musicians are now granted a foot in the door because their music is suddenly needed. Any gap in our playlists also means that local musicians now have a responsibility to keep producing quality music (seeing as we’re going to be listening to a lot of it, it’s going to have to appeal to its audience).

This bold decision is something that I think is highly commendable. While it might initially seem overwhelming, it’s now suddenly possible for our local music to reach high sale numbers and the top positions in national charts. The industry is also going to experience a growth in the quality and variety of music, because when something is done often, it not only improves but hands the maker and producer the tools to evolve their music in new directions. We will also hopefully be exposed to new artists we didn’t know about, new South Africa styles, and this, in turn, should hopefully bring about within us a bigger appreciation for South African music.

The SABC’s decision and its support for local got me thinking about the culture of UP, especially in light of serrie last week. I’ve participated in serrie for the last five years. There’s no doubt that each year the call for transformation gets louder, specifically for the removal of its Afrikaans associations.

However, over the last five years, there have been notable changes. Certainly it’s not as “Afrikaans” as it once may have been, especially in the song choice. At the same time, there have been actions to become more inclusive, demanding more diversity in song choice and dance moves. While these rules and decisions may have been made by Stuku and external culture house committee members, they are propelled largely by the average residence student.

Despite this, this year’s serrie got me wondering why we can’t be bolder in our inclusivity. In a serrie of 15 or more songs, the majority of them are by international artists. Likewise, the dance moves and formations mimic what we see in music videos and international sports like cheerleading. Just like the SABC has made moves to clearly preference the local industry, can’t we make moves to clearly preference South African culture – all South African cultures – in serrie?

I don’t feel that singing and dancing is a problem – it’s a great means of learning group work, meeting new people and becoming a well-rounded individual. It’s also a way to learn more about each other.

This bold move to become more inclusive and diverse doesn’t necessarily have to come in the form of quotas and rules, but rather just personal initiative of residences and house committees. We have so much culture at hand, why is it not dominating our serries to reflect a true picture of the make-up of South Africa and UP as a South African university in particular? Why are we not using serrie as a means to truly get to know more about each other on a level that is deeper than what is possible by using four “multicultural songs” as an excuse for diversity? I’d be interested in your thoughts.

This is our last edition for the semester. We’ll be back on 25 July. All the best with your exams and enjoy your holiday!

Michal

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