War Child comes to Book Café


Sudanese hip-hop musician Emmanuel Jal aka War Child is set to perform during the “Whirlwind Hip-hop Collaboration with Zimbabwe” event at the Book Café in the capital on Friday.

Pamberi Trust in cooperation with African Synergy Trust and supported by the British Council, Commonwealth Foundation, Prince Claus and Massmart, will host the mega-performance where Jal and his six-piece band will be the headliners.

There is also a star line-up of some of Zimbabwe’s best musicians including mbira star, Chiwoniso Maraire, Comrade Fatso and Chabvondoka and Outspoken and the Essence, among others.

“Jal will be making powerful music on Friday (tomorrow) alongside Zimbabwean artistes who also have a story to tell, gifted young musicians, songwriters and poets who have achieved some acclaim in the world, also gracing stages from New York to Berlin and Cape Town to Zanzibar,” said Pamberi Trust creative director Paul Brickhill.

Brickhill said the open air concert would kick off at 6pm with the Zimbabwean artists, followed by Emmanuel Jal at 10pm.

He said emerging from a vicious background of child-soldiering in South Sudan, and after escaping to Kenya, Jal fell in love with hip-hop and felt it could provide the easiest and most effective vehicle to express his story.

“Jal’s music grew in Kenya, reached the world through the airwaves, and he is now an internationally-renowned hip-hop artist with a strong message of peace for the world and despite his accomplishments in music, Jal’s biggest passion is for Gua Africa, a charity that he founded,” said Brickhill.

A documentary on Jal will be screened today at The Mannenberg.

Born in the village of Toni in South Sudan, Jal was recruited as a young child to fight in Ethiopia, until he ran away and ended up in Kenya, where he resumed his studies with help from friends. He started singing to ease the pain of what he had experienced.

His first single, All We Need Is Jesus, was a hit in Kenya and received airplay in the UK.

Through his music, Jal counts on the unity of citizens to overcome ethnic and religious division and motivate the youth in Sudan.

He sees hip-hop as a vehicle to communicate an authentic message, rather than a space to pursue street credibility and he is a spokesperson for the Make Poverty History Campaign, the Coalition to Stop the Use of Chid Soldiers and the Control Arms campaign.

“American hip-hop is still entwined with gang culture, drugs, sexual violence and greed.
“It’s a battleground,” said Jal.