The Road Down to ‘Africa’

I never understood why E-Type’s 2002 smash hit ‘Africa’ didn’t really catch on outside Sweden. The video is slightly embarrassing. It’s like watching a Scandinavian version of the b-grade movie ‘Soul Plane.’ But it has its tongue firmly in its cheek. Or so one hopes.

[Eller hur?]

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comments

3 Comments
  1. I posted earlier, but I don’t think it “stuck”. I’ll try to recapture what I said. It’s definately a tongue in cheek vid, as you put it, though I wonder how effective the music would be without the video? Why didn’t it take off elsewhere? I’m writing from a decidedly Canadian perspective, and while we have a foreign born population rate of 20%, I’m not convinced the main stream radio stations here are representative of that reality (I doubt you’d get alot of argument on that from the foreign born Phd holders driving cabs either). Why didn’t Desree or Sharon Jones take off either? Why did Adel and Amy Winehouse overflow the charts? Normally, I don’t think about this too much, unless it’s in my same old same old framing of politics, race and culture (which incidentlally, sadly enough, doesn’t seem to wear out) as I listen to music that is not normally played on the airwaves anyways. When was the last time a person could turn on the radio and hear Tintinyana by Abdullah Ibrahim, or On the Corner by Miles, or Dudu Pukwana, or the Brotherhood of Breath, or even early Stax/Volt classics from the 60’s? Not too often. I thnk, in IMHO, the reason that it didn’t reach an audience outside of Sweden is that for North American’s it’s European foreign, and not “ethnic” enough, not exotic at all (and many North Americans like to “play in the dark”, see Kony2012?). Also, for the 99% of the listeners on the airwaves of the sations that would play this, they know little of African politics and even less of whiteness and the tourist imagination, and playing on the dark. Just my $.02 worth

  2. I agree with David Heyer’s assessment…;-) Also note that E-type has managed to get a number of Swedish celebrities – and not all of the B- or C-list variety – to take part in the video, including at least one renowned painter. How very strange.

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